Corporate Blogs

Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started

The Domain.com Blog -

When you open your own business, whether it be a full or part time thing, you need to know the basics of marketing. Pop Quiz: Where do you start? A)    Digital Marketing B)    Social Media Marketing C)    Cold calling D)    Direct mailers E)    TV advertising F)     All of the above Our point is that it’s hard to know where to crack the marketing nut. There’s so much information about marketing available at your fingertips that it’s overwhelming. We’re going to get down to marketing basics: what it is and how it’s done, to make life easier for you. Once we’ve covered the basics of marketing we’ll discuss different tactics that you can employ today and some that you can plan for. Marketing, a definition If you search Merriam-Webster you’ll find marketing defined as Look to Dictionary.com and you’ll see Marketing, in a nutshell, is about getting your product or services in front of people who will purchase them. It’s been around for generations. You’ve heard of the ancient Greeks, right? What do you think they were doing when they loaded their goods into their carts and brought them to the agora? It wasn’t so people had something to look at, it was to get their products in front of prospective customers. Imagine a crowded Greek marketplace with multiple people selling the same product — they’re competing for the same customers. They need to cut through the noise and get the attention of the buyers so maybe they have a catchy slogan, or brightly colored carts, or a device to amplify the volume of their voice. These could be called ancient Greek marketing tactics.* We doubt you’re pulling your goods to a crowded, hilltop market in Greece, so your marketing tactics are going to look a little different. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. An explanation of common marketing terms you’ll encounter It’s hard to walk the marketer’s walk if you can’t talk the talk. We get it. Here are some common marketing terms you should know. Analytics– The information that you get from analyzing data or statistics.B2B– Business-to-business. If you sell products or services to other businesses, you’re in the B2B category.B2C– Business-to-consumer. If you sell products or services directly to consumers (including e-commerce, or online sales), you’re in this category.Bounce Rate– This measures the number or percentage of people who land on your website, but leave it after looking at only one page.Brand– A brand is a tricky thing to define. Here’s a good summary.Buyer Persona– A representation of what your ideal customer looks like: what motivates them, what are they trying to accomplish, what are their behaviors, and their demographics.Click-through-rate (CTR)- This measures the number of times someone clicks on your advertising or marketing materials. It’s a measurement of engagement.Conversion Rate– The number or percentage of people on your site who take the action you want them to take (make a purchase, get more information, sign up for your email list, etc.)Data– The statistics and facts you collect for analysis.Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)– KPIs describe the quantifiable ways you measure success. For example, if I were to send an email newsletter, I might choose open rate and click-through-rate as two of my KPIs.Marketing– We’ve got this one covered. If you’ve forgotten, see the start of this post.Marketing Funnel– A model of the path a prospective customer takes to become a paying customer. Marketing tactics for your small business or side gig What marketing tactics are best for you? There are so many that it can be difficult knowing where to begin. Unless you have a large marketing budget, you’re not ready for national TV advertising, so let’s look at other options. Email Newsletter– Email marketing is a great way for your customers (or prospective customers) to stay connected to you. Consider providing updates on sales, coupons, or special offers for your frequent readers.Podcast– What’s your expertise or interest? Can you provide value and insight to your customers by creating podcasts? Depending on your goals your podcast can vary from an entertaining overview of a recent comic (if you’re looking to drive engagement and build a fan base) or you can provide short, actionable tips and advice for your listeners.Blog– Blogs aren’t just for stay-at-home moms who share recipes. Writing blog posts increases your subject matter authority and can help your website rank higher in search engine results.Social Media– You don’t have to be on every single social media platform, but you should be where your customers, or potential customers, are. Share tips, tricks, offers, and build a community with your followers.Website– This is your home base. Your website should be built around the end user experience. Make it easy for your website visitors to find what they’re looking for or complete a purchase. If your website stinks, your marketing can only do so much.SEO– Search Engine Optimization. There are some great resources that exist to help you understand what you can do to rank higher in search engine results. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to SEO, so don’t get down on yourself if you can’t master it all in a day. Keep in mind that no matter how you start your marketing efforts, you should go into it with an idea of what your customers look like and what motivates them; this is what allows you to cater your marketing strategy and tactics for success. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Ready to take on your marketing? The word “marketing” shouldn’t strike fear into your heart. Marketing has been around for centuries, and whether or not you realize it, you’ve probably already started marketing your business (word-of-mouth counts, so have you told anyone about your business?) Use our definitions of common marketing terms and suggestions for small business marketing tactics to jumpstart your marketing efforts today. What else do you suggest a small business owner, or someone just starting a side business, do to start their marketing? Any advice that you’ve learned through experience? We’d love to know, so share it below in the comments. *The author is no scholar on ancient Greece or Greek civilization. These events are dramatized as an illustration. Though, if you are an expert and have some background information to share, post it in the comments. The post Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

A Single Page Website Doesn’t Limit Your Options

InMotion Hosting Blog -

First of all, why do you need a website for your business? You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who denies the value of having an online business presence in the digital age. And yet, there is much debate about the benefits of hosting your own site, using a hosted web builder service, or just cultivating a brand on various social media channels. We think it’s best to having your own self-hosted website. Continue reading A Single Page Website Doesn’t Limit Your Options at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss in 2019

DreamHost Blog -

While traditional careers have their benefits, there’s something very appealing about being your own boss. You can work whenever, however, and wherever you want to while still pursuing your passion. The tricky part is knowing how to get started. With accessible and easy-to-use tools such as WordPress and WooCommerce, setting up shop online is relatively simple. By launching an e-commerce store, you can take your product ideas to the web and access the vast pool of customers available there. This article will walk you through the steps to build your online store with WordPress and WooCommerce and become your own boss in no time. Let’s go! Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest eCommerce platform.See Plans 9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss The very first thing you’ll need to start an online store is a product customers will want to buy. We can’t help you with that, unfortunately — your idea has to be all your own! You’ll also need a way to manufacture your product, either by doing it yourself, hiring a company to do it, or some combination of the two. Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to set up your online store and start selling your merchandise, which is where the steps below will come in handy. Step 1: Secure Your Web Hosting and Domain Name The first two things you need to start any kind of website are a hosting provider and a domain name. Your hosting provider will store your website’s files, while your domain name provides an address where customers can find your store. If you’re building a WordPress site (which we recommend), you might also want to consider WordPress hosting. These types of plans are explicitly geared towards the platform, and the servers they run on will be optimized. Our shared WordPress hosting plans, for example, are ideal for new WordPress sites. You’ll have access to our 24/7 tech support team, and plans are cost-effective, starting at just $2.59 per month for a single site. What’s more, we can also help you register your domain name. You can quickly check the availability of your desired web address, then register it once you’ve found the perfect fit. Simply fill in some information to complete the process. Domains usually start at $11.99, but if you’re also hosting your site with a shared WordPress plan, you’ll get yours for free. Related: Why You Should Consider Keeping Domain Registration and Web Hosting Under One Roof Step 2: Set Up WordPress and WooCommerce Regardless of your current host, a WordPress hosting plan likely comes with the platform pre-installed or with a one-click installation option. In some cases, you may need to install WordPress manually. Next, you’ll need to set up WooCommerce — a premiere e-commerce solution for WordPress (we’ve compared it to other competitors and think it’s the best ecommerce platform available). The first step is to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. Once this is complete, you’ll be prompted to configure your store using the onboarding wizard — fill in the fields as best you can now, or come back to this step later. Related: A Comprehensive Introduction to WooCommerce Step 3: Identify Your ‘Value Proposition’ Before you begin creating content for your e-commerce business, consider identifying and writing out your value proposition. This is simply a statement explaining the mission and value of your business and products. Two of the most important questions your value proposition should answer are: What problem does my product solve for customers? What makes my approach to this problem unique compared to other similar businesses? Establishing your value proposition now should help you create content later. Also, any copy, product, or long-form content (such as a blog post) should reflect the values you identified in your proposition. We’d also suggest sharing your value proposition with customers on your website. Most companies do this on an About page or as a ‘Mission Statement.’ Here’s ours as an example: Sharing your values with customers can help demonstrate why your product is relevant to them. Plus, you might win over customers who might have otherwise purchased from your competition. Step 4: Create Your Product Pages Now you’re ready to go back to setting up your online store. Navigate to Products > Add New within WordPress to start adding your first item. There are a lot of settings to consider here, but your priority should be your product photos and description. Taking Quality Product Photos Showcasing your products in their (literal) best light is crucial. Unprofessional, low-quality photos make your site seem untrustworthy, which will discourage customers from opening their wallet. As such, make sure your product photos are well-lit and taken in front of a clean background. If you can, take pictures from a variety of angles, and include some close-ups of unique details to help catch customers’ eyes. Once you have your product photos, make sure to optimize them with a plugin such as ShortPixel or Optimole before uploading them to your site. This will help prevent large media files from slowing your site down. Writing Captivating Product Descriptions You’ll also want to craft your product descriptions carefully, to help convince site visitors to become paying customers. Keep your value proposition in mind when you’re writing, and make sure to point out information about how the product will benefit customers. It’s vital to make your description easy to scan, as ‘skimming’ content has become more popular over the years. Keeping paragraphs short, while using formatting techniques such as bullet points and subheadings, can convey more information than a brutal wall of text. Specifying Product Data Finally, for this section, you’ll want to configure the settings in the Product Data section of the product editor. Here you’ll set your product’s price, add a SKU number and shipping information, specify if it comes in any variations (e.g., other colors or sizes), and more. Take your time with these, as they’re an essential aspect of your store and business. Once you have the basics down, you may want to consider setting up Linked Products to help cross-sell other store items and enable reviews to add some social proof to your site. Related: 5 Amazing WooCommerce Templates to Increase Sales on Your Website Step 5: Configure Your Tax Settings In the U.S., each state has laws regarding sales tax for internet-based retailers. It’s not a bad idea to talk with a tax attorney before your business gets up and running, but at the very least, you should familiarize yourself with the laws in your area. To set up sales tax for your products in WooCommerce, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > General within WordPress. Make sure the Enable taxes setting is checked, then save your changes. If there wasn’t one before, you should now see a Tax setting tab at the top of your WooCommerce Settings page. Click on it, then configure the settings on the page. You can determine whether your prices will automatically include tax at checkout and what information WooCommerce should use to calculate tax for each product. It’s also possible to add Standard, Reduced, and Zero tax rates if needed. Step 6: Specify Your Shipping Methods Shipping is a make-or-break aspect of running a store. As such, in the Shipping settings tab, you can add practically as many options as you want to implement a delivery strategy. If you’re going to make your products available in a wide range of locations, you might want to create ‘shipping zones.’ They essentially let you offer different rates to customers depending on where they’re located. If you also want to charge extra for international shipping, you can do so here. Step 7: Decide Which Payment Gateway to Offer In the Payments settings tab, you can specify how customers can pay for their products. By default, WooCommerce will set up Stripe and PayPal vendors for you. However, you can add additional gateways — including popular solutions such as Square and Amazon Pay — with WooCommerce extensions. In addition, you can enable your customers to pay with a check, cash, or by bank transfer. The gateways you decide to offer are ultimately up to you, based on familiarity, ease of use, and transaction fees. However, it’s also important to consider your customers, as these criteria are also their primary concerns. As such, gateways such as PayPal are usually a given. Related: The 10 Most Popular Online Payment Gateways for Your Website, Compared Step 8: Run Through Your WooCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Checklist You’re almost ready to welcome customers to your store, but first, they need to be able to find it. SEO is the answer. By optimizing your content for search engines, you’ll make it more likely customers can find you while searching for products online. As with many site aspects, WordPress plugins can help. Yoast SEO is a highly rated and effective plugin that can help manage on-page SEO factors such as keyword usage, permalinks, and readability. If you want something a little more specialized, you can also look into the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin. It’s better suited to WooCommerce than the free version, and can also help promote your products on social media. At $49 per year, it’s cost-effective and may be a solid investment, especially if it helps to bring in a few more organic customers via search engine. Step 9: Publish and Promote Your E-Commerce Website While you can keep refining your site, you’ll want to publish at this point — think of it as laying down a ‘marker.’ You’ll also want to make sure customers know who you are and what you do. Promoting your site on social media and through email marketing campaigns can help get you started. Fortunately, there are a variety of WooCommerce extensions available to help. You can choose popular services such as Drip, MailChimp, and even Instagram to promote your products to followers and subscribers. Marketing will be an ongoing responsibility, so investing in some tools to help you streamline your efforts will be worth it in the long run. The extensions mentioned above range from free to $79 per year. You can also search the WordPress Plugin Directory for more free solutions, although you may find functionality lacks depending on the plugin. Building an Online Store No one said becoming your own boss was easy, and there’s a lot of work that goes into starting a brand new business. However, WordPress and WooCommerce can simplify many of the tasks required to get your e-commerce site up and running. Ready to set up an online shop? Our WooCommerce hosting packages make it easy to sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform. The post 9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss in 2019 appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Rackspace and Telos Team Up to Accelerate the FedRAMP Journey

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

SAN ANTONIO – May 14, 2019 – Rackspace today announced a new program that provides affordable FedRAMP compliance for SaaS providers, Rackspace Inheritable Security Controls (RISC), powered by Telos® Corporation’s Xacta. Leveraging the power of FedRAMP inheritance and Rackspace’s existing Joint Authorization Board (JAB)-authorized platform-as-a-service, RISC significantly shortens the time and reduces the cost required […] The post Rackspace and Telos Team Up to Accelerate the FedRAMP Journey appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Better HTTP/2 Prioritization for a Faster Web

CloudFlare Blog -

HTTP/2 promised a much faster web and Cloudflare rolled out HTTP/2 access for all our customers long, long ago. But one feature of HTTP/2, Prioritization, didn’t live up to the hype. Not because it was fundamentally broken but because of the way browsers implemented it. Today Cloudflare is pushing out a change to HTTP/2 Prioritization that gives our servers control of prioritization decisions that truly make the web much faster. Historically the browser has been in control of deciding how and when web content is loaded. Today we are introducing a radical change to that model for all paid plans that puts control into the hands of the site owner directly. Customers can enable “Enhanced HTTP/2 Prioritization” in the Speed tab of the Cloudflare dashboard: this overrides the browser defaults with an improved scheduling scheme that results in a significantly faster visitor experience (we have seen 50% faster on multiple occasions). With Cloudflare Workers, site owners can take this a step further and fully customize the experience to their specific needs. Background Web pages are made up of dozens (sometimes hundreds) of separate resources that are loaded and assembled by the browser into the final displayed content. This includes the visible content the user interacts with (HTML, CSS, images) as well as the application logic (JavaScript) for the site itself, ads, analytics for tracking site usage and marketing tracking beacons. The sequencing of how those resources are loaded can have a significant impact on how long it takes for the user to see the content and interact with the page. A browser is basically an HTML processing engine that goes through the HTML document and follows the instructions in order from the start of the HTML to the end, building the page as it goes along. References to stylesheets (CSS) tell the browser how to style the page content and the browser will delay displaying content until it has loaded the stylesheet (so it knows how to style the content it is going to display). Scripts referenced in the document can have several different behaviors. If the script is tagged as “async” or “defer” the browser can keep processing the document and just run the script code whenever the scripts are available. If the scripts are not tagged as async or defer then the browser MUST stop processing the document until the script has downloaded and executed before continuing. These are referred to as “blocking” scripts because they block the browser from continuing to process the document until they have been loaded and executed. The HTML document is split into two parts. The <head> of the document is at the beginning and contains stylesheets, scripts and other instructions for the browser that are needed to display the content. The <body> of the document comes after the head and contains the actual page content that is displayed in the browser window (though scripts and stylesheets are allowed to be in the body as well). Until the browser gets to the body of the document there is nothing to display to the user and the page will remain blank so getting through the head of the document as quickly as possible is important. “HTML5 rocks” has a great tutorial on how browsers work if you want to dive deeper into the details. The browser is generally in charge of determining the order of loading the different resources it needs to build the page and to continue processing the document. In the case of HTTP/1.x, the browser is limited in how many things it can request from any one server at a time (generally 6 connections and only one resource at a time per connection) so the ordering is strictly controlled by the browser by how things are requested. With HTTP/2 things change pretty significantly. The browser can request all of the resources at once (at least as soon as it knows about them) and it provides detailed instructions to the server for how the resources should be delivered. Optimal Resource Ordering For most parts of the page loading cycle there is an optimal ordering of the resources that will result in the fastest user experience (and the difference between optimal and not can be significant - as much as a 50% improvement or more). As described above, early in the page load cycle before the browser can render any content it is blocked on the CSS and blocking JavaScript in the <head> section of the HTML. During that part of the loading cycle it is best for 100% of the connection bandwidth to be used to download the blocking resources and for them to be downloaded one at a time in the order they are defined in the HTML. That lets the browser parse and execute each item while it is downloading the next blocking resource, allowing the download and execution to be pipelined. The scripts take the same amount of time to download when downloaded in parallel or one after the other but by downloading them sequentially the first script can be processed and execute while the second script is downloading. Once the render-blocking content has loaded things get a little more interesting and the optimal loading may depend on the specific site or even business priorities (user content vs ads vs analytics, etc). Fonts in particular can be difficult as the browser only discovers what fonts it needs after the stylesheets have been applied to the content that is about to be displayed so by the time the browser knows about a font, it is needed to display text that is already ready to be drawn to the screen. Any delays in getting the font loaded end up as periods with blank text on the screen (or text displayed using the wrong font). Generally there are some tradeoffs that need to be considered: Custom fonts and visible images in the visible part of the page (viewport) should be loaded as quickly as possible. They directly impact the user’s visual experience of the page loading. Non-blocking JavaScript should be downloaded serially relative to other JavaScript resources so the execution of each can be pipelined with the downloads. The JavaScript may include user-facing application logic as well as analytics tracking and marketing beacons and delaying them can cause a drop in the metrics that the business tracks. Images benefit from downloading in parallel. The first few bytes of an image file contain the image dimensions which may be necessary for browser layout, and progressive images downloading in parallel can look visually complete with around 50% of the bytes transferred. Weighing the tradeoffs, one strategy that works well in most cases is: Custom fonts download sequentially and split the available bandwidth with visible images. Visible images download in parallel, splitting the “images” share of the bandwidth among them. When there are no more fonts or visible images pending: Non-blocking scripts download sequentially and split the available bandwidth with non-visible images Non-visible images download in parallel, splitting the “images” share of the bandwidth among them. That way the content visible to the user is loaded as quickly as possible, the application logic is delayed as little as possible and the non-visible images are loaded in such a way that layout can be completed as quickly as possible. Example For illustrative purposes, we will use a simplified product category page from a typical e-commerce site. In this example the page has: The HTML file for the page itself, represented by a blue box. 1 external stylesheet (CSS file), represented by a green box. 4 external scripts (JavaScript), represented by orange boxes. 2 of the scripts are blocking at the beginning of the page and 2 are asynchronous. The blocking script boxes use a darker shade of orange. 1 custom web font, represented by a red box. 13 images, represented by purple boxes. The page logo and 4 of the product images are visible in the viewport and 8 of the product images require scrolling to see. The 5 visible images use a darker shade of purple. For simplicity, we will assume that all of the resources are the same size and each takes 1 second to download on the visitor’s connection. Loading everything takes a total of 20 seconds, but HOW it is loaded can have a huge impact to the experience. This is what the described optimal loading would look like in the browser as the resources load: The page is blank for the first 4 seconds while the HTML, CSS and blocking scripts load, all using 100% of the connection. At the 4-second mark the background and structure of the page is displayed with no text or images. One second later, at 5 seconds, the text for the page is displayed. From 5-10 seconds the images load, starting out as blurry but sharpening very quickly. By around the 7-second mark it is almost indistinguishable from the final version. At the 10 second mark all of the visual content in the viewport has completed loading. Over the next 2 seconds the asynchronous JavaScript is loaded and executed, running any non-critical logic (analytics, marketing tags, etc). For the final 8 seconds the rest of the product images load so they are ready for when the user scrolls. Current Browser Prioritization All of the current browser engines implement different prioritization strategies, none of which are optimal. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer do not support prioritization so everything falls back to the HTTP/2 default which is to load everything in parallel, splitting the bandwidth evenly among everything. Microsoft Edge is moving to use the Chromium browser engine in future Windows releases which will help improve the situation. In our example page this means that the browser is stuck in the head for the majority of the loading time since the images are slowing down the transfer of the blocking scripts and stylesheets. Visually that results in a pretty painful experience of staring at a blank screen for 19 seconds before most of the content displays, followed by a 1-second delay for the text to display. Be patient when watching the animated progress because for the 19 seconds of blank screen it may feel like nothing is happening (even though it is): Safari loads all resources in parallel, splitting the bandwidth between them based on how important Safari believes they are (with render-blocking resources like scripts and stylesheets being more important than images). Images load in parallel but also load at the same time as the render-blocking content. While similar to Edge in that everything downloads at the same time, by allocating more bandwidth to the render-blocking resources Safari can display the content much sooner: At around 8 seconds the stylesheet and scripts have finished loading so the page can start to be displayed. Since the images were loading in parallel, they can also be rendered in their partial state (blurry for progressive images). This is still twice as slow as the optimal case but much better than what we saw with Edge. At around 11 seconds the font has loaded so the text can be displayed and more image data has been downloaded so the images will be a little sharper. This is comparable to the experience around the 7-second mark for the optimal loading case. For the remaining 9 seconds of the load the images get sharper as more data for them downloads until it is finally complete at 20 seconds. Firefox builds a dependency tree that groups resources and then schedules the groups to either load one after another or to share bandwidth between the groups. Within a given group the resources share bandwidth and download concurrently. The images are scheduled to load after the render-blocking stylesheets and to load in parallel but the render-blocking scripts and stylesheets also load in parallel and do not get the benefits of pipelining. In our example case this ends up being a slightly faster experience than with Safari since the images are delayed until after the stylesheets complete: At the 6 second mark the initial page content is rendered with the background and blurry versions of the product images (compared to 8 seconds for Safari and 4 seconds for the optimal case). At 8 seconds the font has loaded and the text can be displayed along with slightly sharper versions of the product images (compared to 11 seconds for Safari and 7 seconds in the Optimal case). For the remaining 12 seconds of the loading the product images get sharper as the remaining content loads. Chrome (and all Chromium-based browsers) prioritizes resources into a list. This works really well for the render-blocking content that benefits from loading in order but works less well for images. Each image loads to 100% completion before starting the next image. In practice this is almost as good as the optimal loading case with the only difference being that the images load one at a time instead of in parallel: Up until the 5 second mark the Chrome experience is identical to the optimal case, displaying the background at 4 seconds and the text content at 5. For the next 5 seconds the visible images load one at a time until they are all complete at the 10 second mark (compared to the optimal case where they are just slightly blurry at 7 seconds and sharpen up for the remaining 3 seconds). After the visual part of the page is complete at 10 seconds (identical to the optimal case), the remaining 10 seconds are spent running the async scripts and loading the hidden images (just like with the optimal loading case). Visual Comparison Visually, the impact can be quite dramatic, even though they all take the same amount of time to technically load all of the content: Server-Side Prioritization HTTP/2 prioritization is requested by the client (browser) and it is up to the server to decide what to do based on the request. A good number of servers don’t support doing anything at all with the prioritization but for those that do, they all honor the client’s request. Another option would be to decide on the best prioritization to use on the server-side, taking into account the client’s request. Per the specification, HTTP/2 prioritization is a dependency tree that requires full knowledge of all of the in-flight requests to be able to prioritize resources against each other. That allows for incredibly complex strategies but is difficult to implement well on either the browser or server side (as evidenced by the different browser strategies and varying levels of server support). To make prioritization easier to manage we have developed a simpler prioritization scheme that still has all of the flexibility needed for optimal scheduling. The Cloudflare prioritization scheme consists of 64 priority “levels” and within each priority level there are groups of resources that determine how the connection is shared between them: All of the resources at a higher priority level are transferred before moving on to the next lower priority level. Within a given priority level, there are 3 different “concurrency” groups: 0 : All of the resources in the concurrency “0” group are sent sequentially in the order they were requested, using 100% of the bandwidth. Only after all of the concurrency “0” group resources have been downloaded are other groups at the same level considered. 1 : All of the resources in the concurrency “1” group are sent sequentially in the order they were requested. The available bandwidth is split evenly between the concurrency “1” group and the concurrency “n” group. n : The resources in the concurrency “n” group are sent in parallel, splitting the bandwidth available to the group between them. Practically speaking, the concurrency “0” group is useful for critical content that needs to be processed sequentially (scripts, CSS, etc). The concurrency “1” group is useful for less-important content that can share bandwidth with other resources but where the resources themselves still benefit from processing sequentially (async scripts, non-progressive images, etc). The concurrency “n” group is useful for resources that benefit from processing in parallel (progressive images, video, audio, etc). Cloudflare Default Prioritization When enabled, the enhanced prioritization implements the “optimal” scheduling of resources described above. The specific prioritizations applied look like this: This prioritization scheme allows sending the render-blocking content serially, followed by the visible images in parallel and then the rest of the page content with some level of sharing to balance application and content loading. The “* If Detectable” caveat is that not all browsers differentiate between the different types of stylesheets and scripts but it will still be significantly faster in all cases. 50% faster by default, particularly for Edge and Safari visitors is not unusual: Customizing Prioritization with Workers Faster-by-default is great but where things get really interesting is that the ability to configure the prioritization is also exposed to Cloudflare Workers so sites can override the default prioritization for resources or implement their own complete prioritization schemes. If a Worker adds a “cf-priority” header to the response, Cloudflare edge servers will use the specified priority and concurrency for that response. The format of the header is <priority>/<concurrency> so something like response.headers.set('cf-priority', “30/0”); would set the priority to 30 with a concurrency of 0 for the given response. Similarly, “30/1” would set concurrency to 1 and “30/n” would set concurrency to n. With this level of flexibility a site can tweak resource prioritization to meet their needs. Boosting the priority of some critical async scripts for example or increasing the priority of hero images before the browser has identified that they are in the viewport. To help inform any prioritization decisions, the Workers runtime also exposes the browser-requested prioritization information in the request object passed in to the Worker’s fetch event listener (request.cf.requestPriority). The incoming requested priority is a semicolon-delimited list of attributes that looks something like this: “weight=192;exclusive=0;group=3;group-weight=127”. weight: The browser-requested weight for the HTTP/2 prioritization. exclusive: The browser-requested HTTP/2 exclusive flag (1 for Chromium-based browsers, 0 for others). group: HTTP/2 stream ID for the request group (only non-zero for Firefox). group-weight: HTTP/2 weight for the request group (only non-zero for Firefox). This is Just the Beginning The ability to tune and control the prioritization of responses is the basic building block that a lot of future work will benefit from. We will be implementing our own advanced optimizations on top of it but by exposing it in Workers we have also opened it up to sites and researchers to experiment with different prioritization strategies. With the Apps Marketplace it is also possible for companies to build new optimization services on top of the Workers platform and make it available to other sites to use. If you are on a Pro plan or above, head over to the speed tab in the Cloudflare dashboard and turn on “Enhanced HTTP/2 Prioritization” to accelerate your site.

How to Create Services Pages that Showcase Your Work and Win You Clients

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Create Services Pages that Showcase Your Work and Win You Clients appeared first on HostGator Blog. Every kind of service business has the same basic challenge: You need to let your target customers know what you offer, why you’re the right person for the job, and how to contact you. That’s why it’s so important to have a well-written, well-designed services page on your website. 5 Tips for Building a Service Page that Wins Clients Here are our top five tips for building a services page that works. 1. Know the ideal audience for your services. Who is your services page for? A good services page speaks directly to the needs of your best customers—or, if your business is brand-new, the customers you hope to have. Think about your customer personas, if you’ve developed them. If you haven’t yet developed customer personas for your marketing, do that before you create your services page. 2. Decide whether you want one services page or a page for each service. If you already know you’re going with a single-page website, then your services section will be part of that single page. Otherwise, you need to choose to have one or multiple service pages. When you should have one Services page Putting all your information on one page makes it easier for visitors to scroll through your offerings on a phone. Some SEO experts and theme developers also say putting all the information on one page moves visitors through the conversion funnel faster, so they’re more likely to subscribe or contact you. One services page may be best: Your business is new and you don’t have a big portfolio yet.You offer a small range of easy-to-understand services.Most of your customers find your site through mobile search. When you should have multiple Services pages You can also have a services overview page that links to individual pages for each service. This gives you more places to use focus keywords to boost your SEO. The trick here is to limit the number of subcategories, so your site remains easy to navigate. Multiple services pages may be your best bet if: You have portfolio examples and testimonials to show for each type of service.You offer a large range of services or services that require explanation.You’re in a competitive niche or location and want to raise your SEO game. 3. Create content for your services page Every service page needs your unique selling proposition, service descriptions, social proof, and calls to action. Your USP You don’t have to write a novel, but this is the place to brag on yourself. Do you have years of experience? Thousands of positive customer reviews? Case studies showing how your services helped clients reduce costs or increase revenue? Link to or embed that information here. Service descriptions Go into some depth on each service, because longer copy with relevant long-tail keywords can help your page rank better in search results. Does your premium dog grooming package include a canine massage? Do your birthday party packages include gluten-free cupcake options? People searching for this level of detail are often ready to buy. Help them find you! Social proof If you have them, include or link to portfolio samples, reviews, testimonials, or case studies somewhere on your services page—either in your USP at the top or in each service description. A call to action Put your call to action (“call us now” or “request a quote”) at the top and bottom of your page. Signup content To stay in contact with undecided visitors, offer free content in exchange for their email address. It can be general, like “A guide to choosing a home renovation contractor.” You can also create several pieces of content tied to individual services, like “How to decide between wood and vinyl siding” and “Which replacement windows are right for your home?” You can segment customers who sign up by the types of content they request and nurture those leads via email. 4. Make your services page easy to navigate. Now that you have the information you want to include on your services page, make that information easy for potential customers to use. Scan-friendly copy Organize your text so it’s easy to scan. Subheadings, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists are easier to read on small screens than long paragraphs. Consistent style Keep your headings consistent. On a single services page, use the same heading level (H1 or H2) for each service you offer, with descriptions underneath. This helps readers grasp your services at a glance, and it’s better for SEO, too. If you make separate pages for each service, keep descriptions, heading usage, and page formats consistent across those pages. Consider turning on breadcrumbs, so users can easily see where they are. Appealing design You can design your services page with the Gutenberg drag-and-drop editor when you choose one of HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plans. These plans come with more than 100 free template options to help you design a great-looking site fast. You can also install other WordPress themes to get the look you want. Some of the free themes we like for small businesses and solopreneurs are Experon, Life Coach, Ryan Grid, Astra, and Schema Lite. Want to have a pro design your services page? You can save time and get great results with HostGator’s Website Design Services. In addition to a professionally designed site, you also get expert SEO guidance, individual training, and monthly marketing help. 5. Monitor your services page metrics. After you debut your services page, watch your metrics in Google Search Console. When you click the Performance tab, you’ll see a list of the search queries visitors have used to find your site, the click-through rate from search results, and the pages they visited. Over time, you’ll see whether your services page keywords match the keywords your visitors use to find your page. You’ll also see whether they’re sticking around, signing up for your free content, and more. You can adjust your keywords, calls to action, and other page elements if you need to, based on your Search Console data. Ready to get started? Check out the services pages for HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plans and Website Design Services today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Managed VPS Hosting and its Advantages

Reseller Club Blog -

Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS Hosting) is one of the most sought-after options when businesses outgrow their Shared Hosting space. The reason being your business now has a large customer base and the traffic count too has increased significantly. These two reasons impact your website by improving the visibility and revenue of your business but also, resulting in slower website loading speed. And while the former is a positive impact, the latter can affect your business and its brand value. It is thus important to switch to a hosting plan that accommodates your growing traffic, as well as, improves the website loading speed, and VPS Hosting fits the bill. First off, let us understand what a Virtual Private Server is. In Virtual Private Server, there are several servers sharing the same server space, however, all are isolated from each other. To understand this better let us consider an example of an apartment building. Say you have a 4-floor apartment building, and each floor has 3 flats. The residents of the building share some common resources like water supply, staircase and elevator, however, they each live separate isolated lives each having a different number of people staying, interiors and consumption of resources and other such things, with no interference to the other flat owners. Here, the apartment building will be the main VPS server and, whereas, the apartments are the isolated server space each user is allocated. Now, that we’ve seen what is a Virtual Private Server, let us move on to understand its type. There are two types of VPS Hosting available, namely, Managed VPS Hosting and Unmanaged VPS Hosting. In this article, we’ll help you understand what Managed VPS Hosting is and how it helps your business. What is Managed VPS Hosting? As the name suggests, Managed VPS Hosting is a managed service where you need not worry about anything related to server management. In Managed VPS Hosting, your service provider takes care of server maintenance like updating the core, software installation, backup, security and more. Thus, as a business owner, you need not worry about server management and can invest your time and concentration on growing your business further. Managed VPS Hosting can be chosen by any business owner, irrespective of you having any technical experience or not, as it eases your work. Advantages of Managed VPS Hosting Full root access VPS Hosting is a combination of Shared and Dedicated Server Hosting, thus, providing the ease and advantage of both. Since your managed server is isolated from other servers you can modify it based on your needs and having full root access allows you to do so. Ease of managementWith your server management and maintenance being taken care of by your web hosting provider, you can now easily concentrate on building your business and managing the brand side of it, whereas, the technical aspect is taken care of by the web host. Instant resource provisioningServer resources like OS, RAM and CPU are instantly allocated as soon as your server is set up. Moreover, as your traffic grows you can easily scale these resources depending on your needs. Cost SavingSince the maintenance of your website’s backend is taken care of by your web hosting provider, you need not hire an additional technical administrator to manage your website. Even though Managed VPS Hosting may seem costly to you at the start, however, when you compare it with paying a dedicated resource it is economical and cost saving to invest in a managed virtual server. Performance The performance of your server depends on the hard drive used. There are two types of drives viz. SSD and HDD. And most businesses these days opt for SSD based VPS Hosting as it is better as compared to HDD in terms of performance. One of the most important advantages of SSD is that it improves the website load speed thus, improving the Google search ranking and performance. Still confused about SSD and HDD? Read all about SSD vs HDD VPS Hosting here! Security Website security is of utmost importance. With managed virtual server hosting even though all the websites share the same physical space, the IP addresses are unique to each server owing to the Dedicated Hosting feature of isolation. Should you go for it? If you are a growing business whose goal is to increase your customer base and incoming traffic, then it is implied that you would be spending your resources and time planning the marketing and development activities to engage your customers better. At such a time, it would be a wise decision to choose Managed VPS Hosting, as it allows you to concentrate on the business aspect while the service provider takes care of the technical aspects of running your business website. We at ResellerClub understand the importance of time and resource management and offer fully Managed VPS Hosting with top-notch infrastructure, 24/7 system admin support, 99.9% uptime guarantee, easy upgrade, an intuitive dashboard and much more so that you can focus on running your business. I hope this article helped you gain a better understanding of what managed VPS hosting is and its advantages, and if you as a business owner should opt for it. If you have any questions or queries, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Managed VPS Hosting and its Advantages appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Learn How to Report Unprofessional Behavior: How-to Videos Now in Multiple Languages

LinkedIn Official Blog -

When you use LinkedIn to find jobs, learn skills and make connections we recognize you need to feel comfortable, confident and in control of how you engage with other members. Our Community Policies make it clear that there is simply no room for unprofessional behavior on LinkedIn. This includes a clear no-tolerance policy for harassment on LinkedIn, in whatever form it can take -- unkind words, unwanted romantic advancements, hate speech or bullying. We use a combination of technical and human... .

What’s the Big Difference Between ‘Hosting’ and ‘WordPress Hosting’?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

If you have a WordPress website, do you need to get special WordPress hosting? Not necessarily. In theory, any hosting service will offer the tools needed to run your site. But choosing the best hosting plan for your website can help ensure that it works well, stays secure, and offers the best user experience possible – and WordPress hosting offers many features and functions specially designed to make your website run at peak performance, while other services typically do not. Continue reading What’s the Big Difference Between ‘Hosting’ and ‘WordPress Hosting’? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Dedicated vs. VPS Hosting

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Choosing a hosting provider is hard enough, but choosing the right hosting plan can add to that frustration, especially if you don’t know the differences between them. For this guide, we are going to discuss two of the more secure options for hosting plans, VPS and Dedicated. What is a VPS and Dedicated Plan? Before we discuss the differences, let’s talk about the plans themselves and what makes them unique. VPS. Continue reading Dedicated vs. VPS Hosting at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

What to Look for in a Web Host

HostGator Blog -

The post What to Look for in a Web Host appeared first on HostGator Blog. In those exciting early stages of launching a new website, you have a lot of decisions you need to make. You need to clarify your brand, choose your domain, and plan out your website’s design. On the long to-do list of getting a new website up and running on the web, one of the most important choices you need to make is what plan and provider to choose for web hosting. Luckily, this step is easier than a lot of the other items on your list. Designing your website and promoting it once it’s live are much harder and more time consuming tasks than selecting a good web hosting service provider. But nonetheless, you do want to take a little time to consider your options and make sure you choose the best web hosting plan for your needs. If you choose the right web hosting service provider from day one, you’ll save yourself the headache of having to migrate your site to a different company later. But if this is your first website, then how are you supposed to know what to look for? Especially if you don’t entirely understand what website hosting really is. We explain. What Is a Web Host? Before we can choose a web host, it’s important you first understand the web hosting basics. Web hosting is essentially the physical side of the web. Every website you see online is made up of various images, media, apps, and other files that take up storage space. While we tend to think of the internet as something that exists outside of physical space, all those files have to be stored in a physical server somewhere. In order to contain all the files that make up your website and serve them up to every person that visits it, a physical server must have a lot of power. For most website owners, owning and maintaining a server that powerful isn’t practical. That’s where website hosting companies come in. Web hosts own a large number of servers that have the power required to provide consistent, reliable service for thousands of websites. When you sign up for a hosting plan, you rent some of the space on their servers. A good web host isn’t just selling that space, they’re also selling their expertise in keeping their technology running smoothly, efficiently, and securely—so that your website runs consistently without problems. Do I Really Need a Web Host? If you want your website published online where anyone can find it, the short answer is yes. Every website needs web hosting because it’s the mechanism that takes the pages you’ve designed on your personal device and makes them accessible to people on other devices across the world. But in addition to making it possible for people to access your site, web hosting companies also offer some important additional value. They invest in the proper firewalls and other security precautions that make your website less likely to get hacked. And they keep experts on staff to provide any maintenance needed to ensure your website stays up consistently. By investing in the right tools and talent to keep web hosting servers functional all day every day, they make sure that your website is available and loads quickly and without problem whenever your visitors want it.   10 Things to Look for in a Web Host To get all the best benefits of web hosting, you need to find the right web host. With so many options out there, a newbie will understandably struggle to figure out how the different providers compare and which criteria are really the most valuable to judge each option by. No matter what type of website you’re launching, these are ten of the most important features to look for in a web host. 1. They have a strong reputation in the industry. One of the best measures of a business in any industry is their overall reputation. When a business consistently serves customers well for years, word gets around. But how do you find out what a company’s reputation is? Look for evidence from third-party sources. Have they earned any web hosting awards from reputable organizations or websites? Can you find reviews of them from tech publications? If so, what do they say? Just as importantly, what do reviews from their actual customers say? A little bit of sleuthing on Google will uncover a lot of information about what people have to say about the web hosting company you’re considering. If it’s generally positive, then you can trust you’ll be in good hands. 2. They promise at least 99% uptime. If your website is for a business, any time it’s not available loses you money. Even if this is a website you’re starting for fun, you risk providing a disappointing experience to visitors and losing followers if they can’t access your website each time they try to visit. The main job a web hosting company has is to keep your website up and accessible online. Every web hosting company will have to do occasional maintenance that will temporarily take your website offline. And if servers aren’t properly maintained, they could overheat or break down, which means more time your website is inaccessible. One of the big differentiating factors in the quality of web hosting providers is how well they manage the types of issues that can take your website offline. In industry parlance, the amount of time a web hosting company guarantees that your website will be available is called uptime, and reputable web hosting companies routinely promise at least 99% uptime. The best web hosting companies go even further, offering 99.9% uptime with a money-back guarantee. 3.  They offer a variety of plans. Today, you’re looking for a hosting package that delivers what you need right now. But you have big dreams for your new website. You hope that in the coming years, the number of people that find your website and become regular visitors will grow. Maybe you hope to continually create new content to add to your site as well. In either case, you need room to grow. Most new websites get everything they need with an affordable shared web hosting plan, but as a website grows in size and popularity, at some point you’ll want to upgrade to a cloud hosting, VPS hosting, or possibly even a dedicated hosting plan. When that time comes, you’ll have a much easier time making the transition if you can stick with the company you choose from day one. An upgrade is simpler than a full migration to a new company. So before you choose the right hosting package for today, take some time to think about what you’ll need tomorrow and beyond and see if your provider has plans to match your future needs as well. 4. They provide 24/7 customer service. When you’re up late at night working on those website fixes you’ve finally gotten around to, the last thing you want is to hit an issue you need customer support to resolve and realize you have to wait until the morning to get an answer. Any time your website has a problem, you want it fixed fast. And you should be able to work on your website on your own schedule, without having to wait on the business hours of your web hosting company’s support reps. So make sure your web host offers top-notch customer support at all hours of the day. Bonus points if they offer a number of ways you can get in touch, so you can choose between phone, email, or live chat based on what works best for you.   5. The price is right. Web hosting is a necessary cost if you want to have a website, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Simple shared web hosting plans start at less than $3 a month. When deciding on the right hosting plan for your site, keep in mind that web hosting isn’t a one-time cost. Web hosts use a subscription model for billing. Make sure that the cost is something you’re comfortable with moving forward, and that it seems in line with what the plan is worth. While many new websites will manage just fine with the cheapest type of hosting plan, some will find it well worth spending more for additional features and higher bandwidth. Sometimes spending more is worth it, just make sure the value matches the price. 6. Their account interface is intuitive. While the main service web hosts provide is keeping your website published and accessible, they also provide an interface that allows you to do a number of important web management tasks, such as: Domain name managementSetting up redirectsManaging your SSLManaging your domain email addressesAdding new applications or databases to your websiteManaging your backupsUpgrading or renewing your hosting solutions You don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to do some of the basic, but important work involved in running your website. Look for a web hosting provider that makes it all intuitive with a good interface and simple processes. 7. They provide ample resources for getting started. Even if the overall design is intuitive, you’re still likely to have questions about how to do certain things with your website. Before choosing your web hosting provider, look into the type of resources they provide to help you learn how to use their products. They should have comprehensive support materials such as tutorials and how-to articles. What’s even better is also having an active support community where you can turn to other people who use the web hosting provider for help with your questions. See if the company has an active forum, in addition to their other support resources and customer service team. 8. If you have a site already, migration is supported. The idea is to find the right web hosting platform from day one, but not everyone meets that ideal. If you’re on the search for web hosting solutions because you’re not happy with your current web hosting company, then you want to find a provider that will help you with the process of transferring your website over. Look into what the migration process is like. Consider talking to a support person there for details, so you know what you’re getting into. If they can make the process relatively simple and painless, then you’ll be able to switch over quickly and get back to focusing on the work of running your website. 9. They support domain name management as well. Web hosting is one of the necessary elements all websites need, a domain name is another. One of the most important steps in starting a new website is finding and registering your domain. And it’s just as important to keep your domain name registration current for as long as you keep your website. While it’s entirely possible to register your domain with a different service than the web hosting provider you choose, you’ll have a much easier time staying on top of domain name management if you keep it all in one place. Make sure your web hosting provider allows you to manage your domain registration and renewals in the same interface you use for managing your web hosting. 10.  They offer satisfactory security options. Hackers and data breaches are an unfortunate part of the online world today.  Every website owner ought to prioritize security. While there are a number of steps you can take to make your websites more secure, one of the best things you can do for website security is choosing a web host that treats it as a priority. A good web hosting company invests in powerful firewalls, includes SSL certificates as part of their plans, and offers affordable security software or other add-ons to enhance your website security. Research the company’s reputation for security to make sure you’ll be in good hands. Bonus Feature to Consider: A Website Builder If you already have a great professional web designer in mind for your website, or have the skills to do it all yourself, then this feature won’t be necessary. But for anyone wanting a quick and affordable way to build a website, in spite of lacking programming skills, an intuitive website builder will make your life much easier. And opting for a website builder from a web hosting provider means you keep all your website management tasks in one place. It’s one less log in to remember and account to keep up with. Choose Your Web Host Today If you’re ready to make your decision and get started with a web host now, consider one of HostGator’s plans. We offer a range of options, so there’s plenty of room to grow. We have a money-back guarantee of 99.9% uptime. We also provide 24/7 customer support and lots of helpful resources to help you get started. And we’re one of the most respected web hosts in the industry, as evidenced by third-party reviews and awards. Ready to learn how to build a website? Give our experts at HostGator a call today and we’ll help you find the best hosting plan for you and your needs. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How We’re Knocking Down Silos at Rackspace  

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

I’ve spent most of my career in tech — Hewlett Packard, HPE, Dell, DXC — and for much of that time, I’ve been aware of Rackspace’s famed culture: the all-hands-on-deck customer service, the deeply embedded service ethos, the servant leadership. So it’s been one of the highlights of my career to be asked to lead […] The post How We’re Knocking Down Silos at Rackspace   appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Argo and the Cloudflare Global Private Backbone

CloudFlare Blog -

Welcome to Speed Week! Each day this week, we’re going to talk about something Cloudflare is doing to make the Internet meaningfully faster for everyone. Cloudflare has built a massive network of data centers in 180 cities in 75 countries. One way to think of Cloudflare is a global system to transport bits securely, quickly, and reliably from any point A to any other point B on the planet.To make that a reality, we built Argo. Argo uses real-time global network information to route around brownouts, cable cuts, packet loss, and other problems on the Internet. Argo makes the network that Cloudflare relies on—the Internet—faster, more reliable, and more secure on every hop around the world.We launched Argo two years ago, and it now carries over 22% of Cloudflare’s traffic. On an average day, Argo cuts the amount of time Internet users spend waiting for content by 112 years!As Cloudflare and our traffic volumes have grown, it now makes sense to build our own private backbone to add further security, reliability, and speed to key connections between Cloudflare locations.Today, we’re introducing the Cloudflare Global Private Backbone. It’s been in operation for a while now and links Cloudflare locations with private fiber connections.This private backbone benefits all Cloudflare customers, and it shines in combination with Argo. Argo can select the best available link across the Internet on a per data center-basis, and takes full advantage of the Cloudflare Global Private Backbone automatically.Let’s open the hood on Argo and explain how our backbone network further improves performance for our customers.What’s Argo?Argo is like Waze for the Internet. Every day, Cloudflare carries hundreds of billions of requests across our network and the Internet. Because our network, our customers, and their end-users are well distributed globally, all of these requests flowing across our infrastructure paint a great picture of how different parts of the Internet are performing at any given time.Just like Waze examines real data from real drivers to give you accurate, uncongested (and sometimes unorthodox) routes across town, Argo Smart Routing uses the timing data Cloudflare collects from each request to pick faster, more efficient routes across the Internet.In practical terms, Cloudflare’s network is expansive in its reach. Some of the Internet links in a given region may be congested and cause poor performance (a literal traffic jam). By understanding this is happening and using alternative network locations and providers, Argo can put traffic on a less direct, but faster, route from its origin to its destination.These benefits are not theoretical: enabling Argo Smart Routing shaves an average of 33% off HTTP time to first byte (TTFB).One other thing we’re proud of: we’ve stayed super focused on making it easy to use. One click in the dashboard enables better, smarter routing, bringing the full weight of Cloudflare’s network, data, and engineering expertise to bear on making your traffic faster. Advanced analytics allow you to understand exactly how Argo is performing for you around the world. You can read a lot more about how Argo works in our original launch blog post. So far, we’ve been talking about Argo at a functional level: you turn it on and it makes requests that traverse the Internet to your origin faster. How does it actually work? Argo is dependent on a few things to make its magic happen: Cloudflare’s network, up-to-the-second performance data on how traffic is moving on the Internet, and machine learning routing algorithms.Cloudflare’s Global NetworkCloudflare maintains a network of data centers around the world, and our network continues to grow significantly. Today, we have more than 180 data centers in 75 countries. That’s an additional 69 data centers since we launched Argo in May 2017.In addition to adding new locations, Cloudflare is constantly working with network partners to add connectivity options to our network locations. A single Cloudflare data center may be peered with a dozen networks, connected to multiple Internet eXchanges (IXs), connected to multiple transit providers (e.g. Telia, GTT, etc), and now, connected to our own physical backbone. A given destination may be reachable over multiple different links from the same location; each of these links will have different performance and reliability characteristics. This increased network footprint is important in making Argo faster. Additional network locations and providers mean Argo has more options at its disposal to route around network disruptions and congestion. Every time we add a new network location, we exponentially grow the number of routing options available to any given request.Better routing for improved performanceArgo requires the huge global network we’ve built to do its thing. But it wouldn’t do much of anything if it didn’t have the smarts to actually take advantage of all our data centers and cables between them to move traffic faster.Argo combines multiple machine learning techniques to build routes, test them, and disqualify routes that are not performing as we expect.The generation of routes is performed on data using “offline” optimization techniques: Argo’s route construction algorithms take an input data set (timing data) and fixed optimization target (“minimize TTFB”), outputting routes that it believes satisfy this constraint.Route disqualification is performed by a separate pipeline that has no knowledge of the route construction algorithms. These two systems are intentionally designed to be adversarial, allowing Argo to be both aggressive in finding better routes across the Internet but also adaptive to rapidly changing network conditions.One specific example of Argo’s smarts is its ability to distinguish between multiple potential connectivity options as it leaves a given data center. We call this “transit selection”.As we discussed above, some of our data centers may have a dozen different, viable options for reaching a given destination IP address. It’s as if you subscribed to every available ISP at your house, and you could choose to use any one of them for each website you tried to access. Transit selection enables Cloudflare to pick the fastest available path in real-time at every hop to reach the destination. With transit selection, Argo is able to specify both:1) Network location waypoints on the way to the origin.2) The specific transit provider or link at each waypoint in the journey of the packet all the way from the source to the destination.To analogize this to Waze, Argo giving directions without transit selection is like telling someone to drive to a waypoint (go to New York from San Francisco, passing through Salt Lake City), without specifying the roads to actually take to Salt Lake City or New York. With transit selection, we’re able to give full turn-by-turn directions — take I-80 out of San Francisco, take a left here, enter the Salt Lake City area using SR-201 (because I-80 is congested around SLC), etc. This allows us to route around issues on the Internet with much greater precision.Transit selection requires logic in our inter-data center data plane (the components that actually move data across our network) to allow for differentiation between different providers and links available in each location. Some interesting network automation and advertisement techniques allow us to be much more discerning about which link actually gets picked to move traffic. Without modifications to the Argo data plane, those options would be abstracted away by our edge routers, with the choice of transit left to BGP. We plan to talk more publicly about the routing techniques used in the future.We are able to directly measure the impact transit selection has on Argo customer traffic. Looking at global average improvement, transit selection gets customers an additional 16% TTFB latency benefit over taking standard BGP-derived routes. That’s huge!One thing we think about: Argo can itself change network conditions when moving traffic from one location or provider to another by inducing demand (adding additional data volume because of improved performance) and changing traffic profiles. With great power comes great intricacy.Adding the Cloudflare Global Private BackboneGiven our diversity of transit and connectivity options in each of our data centers, and the smarts that allow us to pick between them, why did we go through the time and trouble of building a backbone for ourselves? The short answer: operating our own private backbone allows us much more control over end-to-end performance and capacity management.When we buy transit or use a partner for connectivity, we’re relying on that provider to manage the link’s health and ensure that it stays uncongested and available. Some networks are better than others, and conditions change all the time.As an example, here’s a measurement of jitter (variance in round trip time) between two of our data centers, Chicago and Newark, over a transit provider’s network:Average jitter over the pictured 6 hours is 4ms, with average round trip latency of 27ms. Some amount of latency is something we just need to learn to live with; the speed of light is a tough physical constant to do battle with, and network protocols are built to function over links with high or low latency.Jitter, on the other hand, is “bad” because it is unpredictable and network protocols and applications built on them often degrade quickly when jitter rises. Jitter on a link is usually caused by more buffering, queuing, and general competition for resources in the routing hardware on either side of a connection. As an illustration, having a VoIP conversation over a network with high latency is annoying but manageable. Each party on a call will notice “lag”, but voice quality will not suffer. Jitter causes the conversation to garble, with packets arriving on top of each other and unpredictable glitches making the conversation unintelligible.Here’s the same jitter chart between Chicago and Newark, except this time, transiting the Cloudflare Global Private Backbone:Much better! Here we see a jitter measurement of 536μs (microseconds), almost eight times better than the measurement over a transit provider between the same two sites.The combination of fiber we control end-to-end and Argo Smart Routing allows us to unlock the full potential of Cloudflare’s backbone network. Argo’s routing system knows exactly how much capacity the backbone has available, and can manage how much additional data it tries to push through it. By controlling both ends of the pipe, and the pipe itself, we can guarantee certain performance characteristics and build those expectations into our routing models. The same principles do not apply to transit providers and networks we don’t control.Latency, be gone!Our private backbone is another tool available to us to improve performance on the Internet. Combining Argo’s cutting-edge machine learning and direct fiber connectivity between points on our large network allows us to route customer traffic with predictable, excellent performance.We’re excited to see the backbone and its impact continue to expand.Speaking personally as a product manager, Argo is really fun to work on. We make customers happier by making their websites, APIs, and networks faster. Enabling Argo allows customers to do that with one click, and see immediate benefit. Under the covers, huge investments in physical and virtual infrastructure begin working to accelerate traffic as it flows from its source to destination.  From an engineering perspective, our weekly goals and objectives are directly measurable — did we make our customers faster by doing additional engineering work? When we ship a new optimization to Argo and immediately see our charts move up and to the right, we know we’ve done our job.Building our physical private backbone is the latest thing we’ve done in our need for speed.Welcome to Speed Week!Activate Argo now, or contact sales to learn more!

Publishing to WordPress from Bear Just Got Better

WordPress.com News -

Sharing is a core part of the iOS experience, and WordPress is committed to helping people share their stories, products, or services freely and widely.  So when the fine folks at Shiny Frog—makers of the excellent writing app Bear—asked for an easier way turn Bear notes into WordPress posts, we enthusiastically said yes. We’ve been working together to create a great publishing experience, and today Bear and WordPress both have app updates that incorporate this latest and greatest integration. Go ahead, give it a try! The Bear and WordPress apps work together seamlessly to turn your note into a fully-formatted blog post. Update your Bear and WordPress apps to make sure you’re using the latest versions.Open Bear, and tap the share icon at the top right of a note.Tap WordPress in the top row of options (learn how to enable app extensions on iOS).The WordPress app will open and prepare a new blog post with the contents of your note, complete with proper formatting of headings, links, formatting, lists, and even photos. To automatically give your blog post a title, make sure your Bear note begins with an H1. You’re all set—the only thing left to do is publish. How we did it If you’re curious about the technical details: our mobile team updated the app to support TextBundle files shared from other apps. On Bear’s end, the app now knows WordPress for iOS supports TextBundle, and automatically shares notes in that format. TextBundle is made for sharing plain text files that include attachments like photos, and since it’s  built on an open standard, other developers can integrate their apps with it. If you’re an app developer looking to improve your WordPress publishing experience, you can start with Shiny Frog’s open source TextBundle library, the same one that’s used in WordPress for iOS. Finally, if you try out this new integration, let us know what you think! Download the WordPress mobile app for iOS and Android.

Got a side hustle? Enter the Side Hustle Stars Awards

HostGator Blog -

The post Got a side hustle? Enter the Side Hustle Stars Awards appeared first on HostGator Blog. Do you have a side hustle? A “Side Hustle” is a venture created in addition to an individual’s primary income source, created with the intent to gain money, credibility, community, or even a career. Maybe your “day job” wasn’t fulfilling your creative needs. Maybe you needed supplemental income to support your hobbies.  Maybe you wanted to jump on the blog wave to share your ideas, make money, or simply get your creative juices flowing. Or maybe you wanted to create a community of like-minded individuals to support something you’re passionate about. Whatever reason led you to create a “side hustle,” we know the hustle and grind can be tough. And there’s truth in the name – the hustle often means late nights, early morning ‘jam sessions,’ and to-do lists before you ever get to your day job. It’s dreaming up your perfect life, and then hustling to make it happen. At HostGator, we love the side hustlers because our company was founded the same way – in a college dorm room where a single college student had big ideas to make money. His big ideas sky rocketed into an international company with millions of websites launched to date. Who knows if your side hustle will turn into something like HostGator one day, but the first step to building your dream starts with the hustle. We want to hear your story, and how you’ve used a HostGator website to support your side hustle goals! About the Competition HostGator’s Side Hustle Awards competition celebrates side hustlers like you who are working hard to make the big dream happen. A “Side Hustle” is a venture created in addition to an individual’s primary income source, created with the intent to gain money, credibility, community, or even a career. The side hustle can now be full-time employment, but should have originally been created as a supplementary activity.   You’re hustling. It’s time to celebrate your hard work! Tell us about your side hustle and what makes it successful! Complete the entry form below for a chance to win cash prizes and free hosting for 1 year*! Get your entries in NOW because the first 100 qualified entries will receive a special Side Hustle Fuel Pack – a Starbucks gift card, Yeti tumbler, and limited-edition Snappy stress ball!    The contest is only open to current customers of HostGator with a live and active website hosted with HostGator. The Prizes 1st Prize – $1000 plus free website hosting for 1 year* 2nd Prize – $500 plus free website hosting for 1 year*3rd Prize – $250 plus free website hosting for 1 year*First 100 qualified entries get Side Hustle Fuel Kits! An entry is considered “qualified” once all elements of entry form have been completed and the website is verified as hosted with HostGator. Note: *free hosting package does not include dedicated servers and VPS. Earnings for hosting credit will be applied to individual’s HostGator account. The Details Entrants must be current customers (hosted with HostGator), with a website created prior to award announcement. Applicant must enter on their own behalf (no freelancers submitting for client).Entrant’s side hustle website must be hosted with HostGator.Entrant must be 18 years of age and older.Entrant must reside in the United States.No HostGator Affiliates, EIG employees, or their immediate family members.Entry must be submitted in written English language. Must approve HostGator to use your story in marketing materials and promotions. Click to review complete details, including [Official Rules of this contest]. If you have questions about this contest, please contact hgcontests@hostgator.com. Side Hustle Stars Entry Form [contact-form]Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Welcome to Speed Week!

CloudFlare Blog -

Every year, we celebrate Cloudflare’s birthday in September when we announce the products we’re releasing to help make the Internet better for everyone. We’re always building new and innovative products throughout the year, and having to pick five announcements for just one week of the year is always challenging. Last year we brought back Crypto Week where we shared new cryptography technologies we’re supporting and helping advance to help build a more secure Internet. Today I’m thrilled to announce we are launching our first-ever Speed Week and we want to showcase some of the things that we’re obsessed with to make the Internet faster for everyone.How much faster is faster?When we built the software stack that runs our network, we knew that both security and speed are important to our customers, and they should never have to compromise one for the other. All of the products we’re announcing this week will help our customers have a better experience on the Internet with as much as a 50% improvement in page load times for websites, getting the  most out of HTTP/2’s features (while only lifting a finger to click the button that enables them), finding the optimal route across the Internet, and providing the best live streaming video experience. I am constantly amazed by the talented engineers that work on the products that we launch all year round. I wish we could have weeks like this all year round to celebrate the wins they’ve accumulated as they tackle the difficult performance challenges of the web. We’re never content to settle for the status quo, and as our network continues to grow, so does our ability to improve our flagship products like Argo, or how we support rich media sites that rely heavily on images and video. The sheer scale of our network provides rich data that we can use to make better decisions on how we support our customers’ web properties. We also recognize that the Internet is evolving. New standards and protocols such as HTTP/2, QUIC, TLS 1.3 are great advances to improve web performance and security, but they can also be challenging for many developers to easily deploy. HTTP/2 was introduced in 2015 by the IETF, and was the first major revision of the HTTP protocol. While our customers have always been able to benefit from HTTP/2, we’re exploring how we can make that experience even faster.All things SpeedWant a sneak peek at what we’re announcing this week? I’m really excited to see this week’s announcements unfold. Each day we’ll post a new blog where we’ll share product announcements and customer stories that demonstrate how we’re making life better for our customers.Monday: An inside view of how we’re making faster, smarter routing decisionsTuesday: HTTP/2 can be faster, we’ll show you howWednesday: Simplify image management and speed up load times on any deviceThursday: How we’re improving our network for faster video streamingFriday: How we’re helping make JavaScript fasterFor bonus points, sign up for a live stream webinar where Kornel Lesinksi and I will be hosted by Dennis Publishing to discuss the many challenges of the modern web “Stronger, Better, Faster: Solving the performance challenges of the modern web.” The event will be held on Monday, May 13th at 11:00 am BST and you can either register for the live event or sign up for one of the on-demand sessions later in the week.I hope you’re just as excited about our upcoming Speed Week as much as I am, be sure to subscribe to the blog to get daily updates sent to your inbox, cause who knows… there may even be “one last thing”

Who Has the Best Deal on Dedicated Server Hosting?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Choosing the right dedicated server hosting plan for your business can be a daunting prospect – If you choose the wrong plan, you may end up with poor website performance or unneeded features that can affect your overall success. Often, though, website owners choose a hosting plan based on price alone, without considering any of the other benefits. While budget is a large concern, it shouldn’t be your only concern. That being said, when you’re spending top dollar on a premium hosting service, you do need to be sure that they can guarantee the best performance possible. Continue reading Who Has the Best Deal on Dedicated Server Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

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