Interview with Matt Worthington - TAZ's Server Admin

By The Sandman, Feb 25, 2015 | |
Rating:
5/5,
  1. The Sandman
    Matt Worthington is MattWMattW, TAZ's server admin. Matt set up TAZ's server, keeps it up to date, and fixes it whenever I mess something up. :eek:

    Matt's well know on XenForo.com and throughout the XF community for his technical expertise and helpfulness. We're lucky he's part of the TAZ community as well. :)

    Let's see what we can find out about Matt. :D


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    Can you give us a brief bio?

    Sure, so I'm Matt Worthington, 31, Married for almost 8 years, and have a 1 year old daughter, Violet.


    Tell us about life in Sheffield.

    It's great. I've lived in Sheffield all my life, and don't have any plans to move elsewhere. My work is 6 miles from home, so I don't really have traffic issues starting at 7am or 7pm, depending on what shifts I'm working. One thing that catches people out, is just how hilly it actually is. That's not great for my running!


    What is your educational background?

    Educated to A-Level standard in the UK. I got pretty crap grades, due to them changing the way A-Levels were done (AS / A-Level) and we were the first year doing it, and got taught the wrong curriculum! Never went to University.


    What do you consider as your major accomplishments up to this point?

    My biggest accomplishment so far is Violet. She's turning into a cracking little toddler, and is a pleasure to be around. In my professional career, at 24, I was made a Supervisor after just 18 months of being in the job.


    Any failures you'd care to tell us about?

    The only thing I've really failed at was a job interview I had to be a signaller on the railway, because I got 1 part of the perception test wrong.


    What is your fulltime job?

    I'm a Supervisor in a Global Network Operations Centre.


    What are your responsibilities as a Supervisor in a Global Network Operations Centre?

    I currently manage a shift of Network Analysts, who are ultimately responsible for the running and operating of the Global Network our company has. We do things from booking out telco circuits when they fault, to troubleshooting Cisco router issues, to having to trawl through software debug to try and find out why a single transaction has failed out of several thousand. Then there is the maintenance and changes that we undertake. As a Supervisor, we are also responsible for Major Incidents, and engaging and managing various support teams to help is getting them resolved.


    What other projects and/or ventures are you involved in?

    I'm still going a lot of fundraising for my local Children's Hospital


    What is your ultimate professional goal, your dream job?

    I don't really have one! I love my current job, because of how technical and diverse it is, and no two faults that we investigate are ever the same.


    Describe your typical workday schedule.

    It can vary drastically. If the network is behaving itself, it's fairly quiet, and we just pick up the run of the mill faults. However, stuff can break, and break badly! I had to work 20 hours on Christmas Eve one year because of a fault that affected the global network we have.

    I'll then get home, and crack on with any work request from MattWServices so build / migrate stuff. If I'm not on shift, then on my days off, I'll allocate a few hours per day to get the MattWServices work done.


    How did you get into hosting and server management?

    I started helping out on a site my friend was running, and as part of my job, was asked to set up a server for our own internal web stuff. Once I'd figured that out, I thought I could do a better job than the shared hosting we were currently on. Within 4 months, we were on a dedicated server.

    I then started offering bits of hosting for friends and family to help cover the bills of the server.

    I always enjoy learning new things, and trying to make things as fast and efficient as possible.


    Tell us about MattW Services.

    I started the site officially as it was easier than trying do manage all my conversations on XenForo's forum. It then gives people a dedicated place to contact me, and where I can properly advertise my services.

    It was originally just listing the server builds, but then I kept getting asked if I could offer affordable shared hosting, so that is now available as well.

    I offer custom server / vps builds, using with cPanel or without a panel using nginx/mariadb/php-fpm. This can be done with either Centminmod, Axivo's RPMs, or direct from source. This enabled me to branch out to Debian/Ubuntu OS and not limiting what I offer to CentOS.

    It's really grown in the first 12 months, with quite a few large sites taking on my monthly maintenance package, where I offer 1 hour work per month to perform administrative tasks on their servers.


    How did you get involved with the XenForo community?

    It all started when I migrated my own site from phpBB3 to XenForo in February 2012. Once I started to become more familiar with the sofrware, I was able to start offering advise on the forums. There are a great bunch of talented developers on there, and really enjoy working with them on their addons. I've beta tested quite a few addons people now.


    What are the most common technical mistakes you see new admins making?

    Copying and pasting configuration files found on the internet, without actually taking the time to understand what they are doing. This then causes further issues when it doesn't work, and they don't know why.


    What are the most common administrative mistakes you see new admins making?

    Lots of forums with no content. Start small, and branch out accordingly.


    What forums do you own/administrate?

    https://mattwservices.co.uk
    https://z22se.co.uk
    http://www.britishmods.com/forum

    Those are my own 3 sites, however, I now have admin accounts on a lot of sites, due to the work I do via MattWServices.


    Which online communities do you enjoy as a member?

    When I was into spending stupid amounts of money on my cars, I was always a member of the sites associated with them, such as VXROnline, AstraOwnersClub, and a detailing forum DetailingWorld. Since I sold the VXR, I'm only really active now on XenForo and TAZ, plus my own sites.


    What are your favorite books? Movies? TV shows? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages?

    Movies: Anything decent with Ghosts, Zombies or Aliens in it :)
    TV Shows: Walking Dead, Supernatural, most things on Discovery Channel
    Music: Hard Style, Hard Trace, Hardcore
    Games: Resident Evil (all of them). These are the only games where I've been able to play them for 16 hours straight!
    Food: Pizza, Pasta, Chocolate
    Beverages: Coffee, Monster, Coke Zero


    What do you do for fun and relaxation?

    Running. I don't drink or smoke, and I've been able to lose 5 stone (70lb) since I started running just over 5 years ago. I try and run at least 4 times a week. I find getting out really helps clear the mind, and I regularly have "epiphany" moments while out running. For example, if I'm stuck on something at work, going out for a run and having a think about it while out usually helps me figure out what I need to do.


    What do you know now that you wish you'd known 10 years ago?

    I wish I would have been better with money. I spent a LOT of money on cars, which was a total waste. In 4 years, I spent £32,000 on my Astra VXR!


    Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.

    I can also DJ. I'm playing on a boat in March.


    What does the future hold for Matt Worthington?

    Hopefully more of the same. Personally, we are looking for a bigger house, as we have found we need more space now we have Violet. I'll also have a home office then, rather than having to work from the kitchen table.

    For MattWServices, I'm currently in talks with a provider to be able to start offering my own VPS solutions out of London. I also want to try and grow the shared hosting side, as the customers I have on there currently are VERY happy with the service and speed.

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