Industry Buzz

¡Bienvenidos a Latinflare!

CloudFlare Blog -

Our StoryWhen I first began interviewing with Cloudflare in the Spring of 2019, I came across a Cloudflare blog post announcing Proudflare, the company’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). The post gave me a clear sense of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I could tell this was a place that values and celebrates diversity, which really appealed to me as I progressed through the interview process with Cloudflare, and ultimately accepted the role. Fast forward to my Cloudflare new hire orientation, two weeks of training and introductions at our San Francisco HQ. We learned about the various ERGs at Cloudflare including one for Latinx employees. While I had a strong desire to be part of a Latinx ERG, it was clear that the group was actually in need of someone to lead the effort and rally the troops. At Cloudflare, we have offices across the country and around the world. I wasn’t really sure how to launch an ERG that would be global in scope. After meeting with leads from other Cloudflare ERGs, understanding the landscape, and attending an external workshop, everything started to come together.In early August, we officially gave ourselves the name Latinflare. In mid-September, we agreed on our amazing logo (which by the way, includes the primary colors of flags from across Latin America set over a lava lamp background). Most importantly, we have agreed, as a group, that our priorities are:to offer a space where Latinx employees and their allies can gather and network,to create a pipeline of future employees of diverse backgrounds, andto be an integral part of the communities where we work. A mural of Frida Kahlo captured on the streets of Buenos Aires. The mural took the collective of three artists – Julián Campos Segovia, Jean Paul Jesses and Juan Carlos Campos – three weeks to paintWhat’s Next for LatinflareWe are gearing up for Hispanic Heritage Month. These efforts include launching Latinflare, holding our inaugural event on October 16th, and continuing to plan more events and activities moving forward. Great things are starting to happen!How you can supportIf you are not a Cloudflare employee but are interested in celebrating Hispanic Heritage, I urge you to find events and activities that are taking place near you. And while our inaugural Latinflare event will be an employee-only event, the group has high hopes to host quarterly meet-ups that will eventually give us the opportunity to network with ERGs and organizations outside of Cloudflare. In addition, you will hear from us again towards  the end of the year, when we plan to share some “tradiciones navideñas” with the rest of the Cloudflare family.  Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all! Latinflare stickers will be available in most offices starting this week. If you are not a Cloudflare employee, but are located near a Cloudflare office, please stop by the front desk at your location and ask for one. Stickers for everyone!  NYC Office celebrates the launch of Latinflare!!‌‌Latinflare London - PRESENTE!!Latinflare Miami enjoying a Peruvian lunch :-)Latinflare at our Headquarters in San FranciscoProud Latinflarians representing Austin, TX!

A Beginner’s Guide to Domain Registration

BigRock Blog -

If you plan to launch your own business website then there are a number of things to be taken care of –  from deciding the niche of your business, to designing the layout of your website, finding the perfect place to host it (read web hosting) and most importantly, a name. And the most crucial of them all is, choosing the right domain name. Simply put, your domain name should reflect the personality of your brand. At the same time, it should be simple, crisp and attractive to the customer. Once you’ve decided on the perfect domain name for your website, it is now important to register it before someone else does so. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to register a domain name and once purchased, how to manage it. So let’s start. The choice of the service provider Before you choose a service provider make sure that you research them thoroughly as you would most likely purchase your hosting too from them. A good hosting provider aims and delivers maximum uptime, security and support for your website. In fact, we at BigRock offer 24/7 support and varied hosting plans to support your business right from Shared Hosting to VPS Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. How to register a domain name Follow the steps listed below to understand the domain name registration process: Step 1:  Go to the BigRock home page.  Here you will find the domain name checker Enter the domain name you wish to purchase  On the right-hand side, you have a section to display the various domain extensions for your website viz. .COM, .IN, .CLUB, .BIZ etc.  We have selected .COM and .IN  Click on the ‘search icon’  Step 2:  If your choice of the domain name is available then the tool would show you the price and ‘Buy’ button. However, if the domain name is already taken then it will suggest other options to consider.  To our surprise, both the .COM and .in were available for our choice of the domain name. We chose the .IN domain extension, and clicked on ‘Buy’. Post clicking on the ‘Buy’ option it displayed the ‘Checkout’ option on the far right corner of the page. Should you wish to get Business Email for your domain name, you can choose one the plans and click on ‘Add’ to add it to your cart. We didn’t want any Add-ons, hence we didn’t opt for Business Email. P.S: There are 2 Free email ID’s included with every domain name purchased! Step 3: After clicking on ‘Checkout’ you will be redirected to the ‘Order Summary’ page to make sure you’re placing the right order.  Next, select the duration you want to purchase your domain name for and click on ‘Next’. Step 4: Next, you’ll be redirected to the ‘Sign In’ page. If you are an existing user, please enter your ‘Username’ and ‘Password’. However, if you’re a new user, click on ‘Continue’ to create your new account with us. Creating an account hardly takes a few minutes.  Step 5:  Once you’ve created an account/signed-in you’ll automatically be taken to the ‘Payment Option’ page; There are 6-different ways for Payment viz: Netbanking/Debit Card (via CCAvenue Payment Gateway) Credit Card (Visa/ Mastercard) Wallets – PayTM, Freecharge, Mobikwik and JioMoney UPI (Unified Payment Interface) Pay via Cheque/Demand Draft/Direct Deposit Pay via Account Balance (you can add Funds to your account by logging into your Control Panel)  After selecting the payment method, you will be redirected to the appropriate page to make payment. Post successful payment, you’ll get an email for ‘Successful Purchase of the Domain Name’.  Your domain name registration process is now officially complete! Step 6:  Post purchasing your domain name, you can go to your Control Panel to manage your domain name.  Log in to your control panel Click on ‘Orders’ on the left-hand side vertical bar Click on ‘Your domain name’ in our case ‘purplefairie.in’  A new window opens as shown below, where you can manage your domain name. For instance, enable ‘Privacy Protection’, ‘Domain Forwarding’, ‘Changing Nameservers’ etc.  Conclusion  We hope this article helped you understand how to register a domain name in a few simple steps. If you have any queries related to domains, hosting or anything else, feel free to contact our support for expert guidance or you can even leave a comment below!

The Best BigCommerce for WordPress Themes Out There Right Now

Nexcess Blog -

You may have heard of BigCommerce the SaaS platform. An ecommerce platform that has gained popularity in recent years. But forget about the SaaS platform for a second, because what we’re talking about here is BigCommerce for WordPress (BC4WP): a headless ecommerce solution that lets merchants get started quickly by uploading products, setting prices, and finding the perfect BigCommerce for WordPress theme.  BigCommerce for WordPress works with any modern WordPress theme. This is because it was engineered in accordance with WordPress development guidelines.  As a result, it’s straightforward for WordPress developers to build custom themes or to use one of the thousands of pre-built premium and free themes available for WordPress. The trick is finding one that lets you visualize the right ecommerce components in the best way possible.  We’d like to highlight some of the more flexible and user-friendly WordPress themes compatible with BigCommerce. Each of these themes is an ideal choice for an online retailer getting started with BigCommerce and WordPress on our BigCommerce for WordPress hosting platform.   What Is BigCommerce for WordPress? BigCommerce is a headless cloud ecommerce platform that provides inventory management, a shopping cart, a PCI-compliant shopping cart, and built-in analytics. As a headless ecommerce platform, BigCommerce handles the heavy lifting of online retail but relies on a front-end application to provide the store’s interface. As a result, the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin transforms WordPress into a BigCommerce front-end.  BigCommerce for WordPress offers the best of both ecommerce and content worlds. But to make the most of that, you’ll need the right theme.  WordPress is known for its capable content management features. So the combination of both applications means that merchants are able to make the most of ecommerce and content functionality; creating both an incredible storefront and an incredible content marketing platform.  Do you want to know more about how to integrate BigCommerce with WordPress. Learn more about our BigCommerce for WordPress hosting solutions. However, to truly make the most of these features, you’ll need a WordPress theme that’s compatible with BigCommerce and provides an attractive platform for content delivery.    How to Choose a Good BigCommerce Theme Choosing the right BigCommerce theme for your WordPress frontend can mean browsing through thousands of different options to narrow down the right one.  Luckily, we’ve assembled a list of the four best themes available.  Previously, we talked about WordPress themes and what makes any specific one better than another. Yet those themes were more aimed at content sites and didn’t provide a user experience optimized for product delivery.  When it comes to choosing the right theme for a BC4WP site, there are five main areas you should consider. That way, you’ll end up with a site that delivers results for both ecommerce and content.    Navigation The most important factor you’ll want to keep an eye on is navigation. More specifically, how easy it is to find the right product.  Firstly, take a look at the menu. Is it prominent on the site? Does it come with accessibility features? Would you like using it to  navigate around a site? Bad navigation instantly turns customers away; or forces them to leave after they can’t find what they’re looking for. Remember, ecommerce navigation isn’t just about the nav, it’s also about paying attention to ecommerce SEO and categories. Categories make finding and navigating a site easier.  Beyond that, search is also vital. 70% of people rely on ecommerce product search, and searchers are 200% more likely to make a purchase than a browser.  When choosing a theme, it’s important to pay attention to the placement and clarity of the search experience. We’ve seen themes that don’t make it clear and this can have hard-hitting effects on conversion rates.    Loading Time Your next key focus should be loading time. More specifically, how long does it take for assets and code to allow a user to browse content on a site?  A 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% decrease in sales. So even the slightest delay as a result of load time can mean fewer sales.  What this means is making sure that  time to interactivity is as quick as possible. Some theme developers talk about time to first byte (TTFB). We question this and think it’s more important to look at time to interactivity (a measure of how long before a user can actually engage with a page).   There are a number of tools available to site owners for testing page speed. Tools like GTmetrix are a good start. You can even test site speed with tools built into your browser, like Lighthouse.   If you’ve tried everything and your site is still slow, then it’s worth reaching out to your hosting provider to see if there are any configuration problems.  In some cases, your site may be slow as a result of your hosting provider. If you’ve tried optimizing code, cutting down on plugins and trying these speed optimization trends,  and your site is still slow, then it’s a good idea to contact your provider and their support team to see if there is a problem with your server.    Responsiveness If you’re not offering a mobile responsive website yet, then you’re doing it wrong. Not only because it means you’re probably offering a terrible user experience, but also because it means you’re SEO is suffering. Remember, Google now indexes sites based on a mobile-first policy. According to Google, that began July 1st, 2019.  This means that all sites now not only have to offer a mobile version, but also provides an excellent user experience for those using it.  This ripples out into several different areas of site development; from UX to code, and more.  BigCommerce for WordPress is a headless application, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be offering a mobile-optimized frontend. Being headless, BC4WP means you have complete control over the front-end. So take a look at the competition and make sure your site design isn’t out of date.    Security Bad themes are an easy goldmine for hackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities. Whether it’s bad coding practices, something missed by accident, or just simple laziness, a theme with security vulnerabilities can mean the end of your online store.   Yes, theme vulnerabilities are not as frequent as plugin or core vulnerabilities. But they still make up a sizeable amount in terms of numbers. And all it takes is one exploited vulnerability for you to find your store quickly losing the business and trust of your customers.  Sticking to official and officially supported themes means you’re picking a theme that complies to WordPress coding standards and is a lot safer.  Try sticking to themes that are either available in the official WordPress theme bank, or that have official support from BigCommerce. Stay away from anything you have to download and install manually.  If you’ve already decided on a theme and want to know how secure it is, we recommend taking a look at the WPScan Vulnerability Database. Here, you’ll be able to see a list of vulnerabilities identified from not just themes, but also plugins, and core.    Code Code links into pretty much everything we’ve just said. Bad theme coding means problems with design, security, and the user experience. For most non-technical merchants, you’re probably not able to check the code for yourself. So just like with themes, the best option is to take a look at the creator of the theme. If it’s a trusted source, chances are they have followed coding standards. Remember, any themes available through the WordPress theme bank have been checked to make sure they match up to the WordPress theme standards.  If you really want to check the theme code for yourself, there are tools available to help. These will generally help you see if the theme will cause problems in terms of user experience or security. Four BigCommerce for WordPress Themes We Recommend Divi Divi, by Elegant Themes, is one of the most popular premium WordPress themes on the market. Divi is billed as a “website building platform” rather than simply a theme. The highlight feature is a powerful page builder that allows WordPress users to visually construct pages from the wide selection of elements that are built into the theme. A true drag-and-drop solution, Divi incorporates over 40 different page elements, including sliders, galleries, and forms. Divi can be used to create any type of site, but it includes several features aimed at ecommerce retailers, including pricing tables. WordPress users who buy a Divi license also gain access to over 100 layout packs, including ecommerce designs with page layouts, images, and graphics. Make Make is a free theme that aims to make it simple to build an attractive WordPress site. It has fewer features than all-in-one plugins like Divi, but that’s deliberate, and it has made Make a favorite of WordPress users who have downloaded the theme more than a million times. The free version of Make includes a page layout engine with several built-in layouts. Make integrates well with the Customizer, providing over a hundred settings that can be visually tweaked. For users who need access to advanced features, the Make Plus premium tier includes additional ecommerce features and advanced layout options. Shapely Shapely is an elegant one-page theme suitable for simple stores with a handful of products. Unlike the other themes we’ve looked at, Shapely is intended for store owners who want to choose a pixel-perfect design and stick with it. It doesn’t include a heavy page-builder, but there are plenty of Customizer options to bring the theme in-line with a store’s branding. GeneratePress We’ll conclude our theme round-up with Generate Press, a free, lightweight theme that loads less than 30KB of assets on a default WordPress installation. It’s a simple, elegant theme that makes it easy to build a beautiful ecommerce front-end without loading product pages down with superfluous JavaScript. We have looked at just four of the thousands of WordPress themes that are compatible with BigCommerce for WordPress. To learn more about BigCommerce for WordPress, check out “Introduction to BigCommerce for WordPress, Important Concepts” by BigCommerce WordPress Evangelist Topher DeRosia. The post The Best BigCommerce for WordPress Themes Out There Right Now appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

What Project Management Style is Right for Freelancers?

Liquid Web Official Blog -

When I started my business, I was barely hanging on to the wild ride known as “freelancing.” I was happy when a project got finished somewhere near the deadline. Each day I was excited if I could spend less than a few hours trying to find the right questions to ask Google so I could complete the bit of code I was muddling my way through. This is where many business owner’s start. They have a skill and decide that they can make more money offering that skill directly to consumers instead of to a company. The problem is, that running a successful business is less about the skill you are selling and more about the way in which you deliver the skill. You can be one of the top freelancers in your specialty, but if you can’t deliver a project on time within the budget expectations of your client, you won’t get repeat work. Conversely, if you can only write bad code but serve your customers well by building a thriving business that lets you step back to manage a fleet of great employees (that can code), you’ve got a winning formula. Today we’re going to walk through the project management side of what it means to run a good freelance business. As you read about the project management systems, envision yourself using them in your business. Ask yourself which one fits best with yourself and the type of projects that you do. Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get more Web Professional content like this sent straight to your inbox. Sequential Project Management (SPM) We’ll group our project management systems into a few broad categories. First, we’ll look at the sequential systems. If you know what a Gantt chart is and your eyes are glazing over, or if the thought of finding out sounds exhausting, then SPM methodologies won’t be for you. Waterfall A while back when I wrote about figuring out if you’re talking to the buyer or the gatekeeper I mentioned that I don’t do RFP’s. RFP’s are more often going to result in sequential project management styles like waterfall. You get all the requirements in fine detail up front, and then commit to fulfilling those requirements when you have the least amount of information on the project. With Waterfall Project Management, you sequence out all the tasks up front so that you can map the exact path to the final deliverable. Then you work on these tasks in order. Critical Path Critical Path Project Management is considered sequential because of all the planning you do up front. A quick three step summary of Critical Path would be: Define the project scope Critical Path analysis and identification Plan the different critical project paths Your goal with Critical Path is to identify where you’re going to need resources before you even start the project and then make sure that the proper people have been cleared to work on the projects at the proper time. You do this to ensure that each project requirement is fulfilled by the time it would start to block the next piece of the project. At each stage you leave some buffer in your estimation so that you can deal with any unforeseen items and still have any of the blockers ready to go before they truly block the project from completion. To do Critical Path well, you’ll need a team that is highly flexible and cross-trained because they’ll be reassigned to work on different parts of a project to ensure that each one hits the deadline and doesn’t extend the critical path. Critical Path doesn’t work well for small projects with a quick-turnaround because it puts so much planning up front. The big problem with sequential development is one that I’ve already highlighted: you end up in phases. First you gather a bunch of research. Based on that research, (some of which may be months old) you start building the project. You spend weeks or months building the monolith to ship for testing. Finally, your client combs through it to ensure that it meets all of the requirements defined at the beginning. If the market changes in the middle of the work, then it’s time for a change request from the client and likely more billing. Do you wait to fulfill that change request until you’ve shipped the initial request, or do you change your requirements now and then rework the plan? These are the challenges with Critical Path. Agile Project Management (APM) Next is Agile Project Management. Let’s start with a definition. Agile software development is an approach to software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customer(s)/end user(s). It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, empirical knowledge, and continual improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. – Wikipedia That’s a bit of a doozy, so let’s break it down. In APM you break the project into small parts and deliver those small parts regularly. You get feedback and move onto the next small part with the new knowledge in hand. With APM you and your client should be willing to change the project to meet the needs you become aware of as you learn more about what your customers need. Where you often have a highly defined testing phase in Waterfall Project Management, APM expects you to be testing all the time and learning from what each test teaches you. With most APM styles you’ll work in short sprints. Two weeks is the number I hear tossed around most often, but it could be one week or one month. The point is that you’re never too far from shipping something that works to your end users so you can test it. If you’re a step-by-step list follower, then you may find Agile methods hard to wrap your head around. This is not a linear process, it’s a process that can get threaded around itself and sometimes take two steps back to take one step in a new and slightly different forward direction. With Agile methods, it’s highly unlikely you’ll end the project and realize that you built something no one needed. Let’s take a look at a few popular Agile methods. Scrum This is one of the more popular APM Methods with software developers. One of the hallmarks of Scrum is the Scrum Master, whose sole job is to watch what happens in the team and make sure that any obstacles are cleared so the team can keep working. If you’re a solo business owner, then you’ll need to make a point of stepping into different “hats” throughout the process to ensure that you’re following Scrum methods properly. Scrum is designed to handle the fact that clients will change their mind, and that projects will hit obstacles that you couldn’t plan for. These aren’t problems, just things that happen and you’ll need to adjust the plan as you’re going to accommodate for these changes. To dive deeper into Scrum I recommend reading Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. Kanban One of the key principles in Kanban is that you need to make work visible. Hardcore adherents will say that software doesn’t make your work visible enough and you should really be putting your work on sticky notes on your walls or a whiteboard. Kanban creates “lanes” to put your work into. Someone running an editorial team may have these lanes: Ideas Approved Working Editing Ready to Publish In this method, each article would start as an idea, and when approved move to the Approved lane. When it’s been assigned you’d add a name to the card and move it to the working lane. A task may travel from Editing to Working and back many times and have different names attached to it as you refine the content. Once it’s Ready to Publish it may move on to another team that takes care of the final publishing of your content. With Kanban, feel free to add more lanes to represent the different stages of work. You need to visualize every step in your work. If it’s a step you have no control over, you still have a lane to visualize the waiting. If you’re looking to dig deeper into Kanban, one of the best books I’ve found is Personal Kanban. It digs into the realization that work and home really aren’t that separate and shows you how to use Kanban to help you organize both at the same time. It’s not super prescriptive, but gives you a solid foundation you can use to add Kanban to your life and be more productive. Extreme Programming Extreme Programming or XP is one of the more regimented versions of Agile Project Management in that it has three XP values and 12 different practices you need to do to fulfill XP methods to the letter. In some circles XP would actually be viewed as a better fit with our next methodology, Change Management. As evidenced by the name, Extreme Programming, XP is clearly aimed at programming projects. While anyone can do some of the XP practices, some can only be undertaken inside a team environment. Pair Programming comes to mind specifically since it requires more than one person to pair program. To go deeper into Extreme Programming read the Extreme Programming Pocket Guide. Change Management Methods This family of project management methods is similar to Agile, but has an extra focus on planning for risk and taking control of change when it happens. Specifically, Extreme Programming could be considered a better fit for this style of managing projects than Agile because of how it is setup to deal with massive project change and still deliver on the project for your clients. Event Chain Methodology Event Chain Methodology is considered by some as the next step in the evolution of Critical Path methods. It’s considered the next step because it has mathematical models to try and cut out the bias that people have when they’re planning projects. We all expect things to go smoothly, and then estimate accordingly. If you’re heading into a risky project, then using some of the tools out of Event Chain Methodology can help you correctly anticipate the risks instead of whitewashing them. Like Critical Path though, if the thought of running a bunch of risk models and looking at Gantt charts sounds unexciting, this won’t be for you. Process Based Project Management I’m going to mention these to be complete, but for most freelancer’s they’re so overkill as to be not even on the table. If you’re running a big business then Lean, Six Sigma, or Process Based Project Management is something to look into, but if you’re running a business on your own you’re going to be overwhelmed. You simply don’t have the people around to implement many of the ideas that are key to the processes. If nothing else that has been mentioned speaks to your fancy, then go ahead and take a look into the process based project management methods, but be ready to heavily adapt them for your small business. Decide Which Freelance Project Management Method To Use Now that you have a better understanding of different Project Management Methodologies, it’s time to decide which one is right for you. Most small businesses will use one of the Agile Methods. I use a mix of Kanban and Extreme Programming. I don’t use either one right down to the letter, but mix and match to to suit myself and my projects. Keep in mind what software and processes you are using today (and in the next few years) when making the decision. Accelerate Your Digital Agency Growth with Managed Hosting The post What Project Management Style is Right for Freelancers? appeared first on Liquid Web.

How Your Domain Affects Your SEO [8 SEO Best Practices for Domains]

HostGator Blog -

The post How Your Domain Affects Your SEO [8 SEO Best Practices for Domains] appeared first on HostGator Blog. The first decision you have to make when starting a new website is what domain name to register. And finding the right one matters, since it’s the real estate you’ll be building the rest of your website on. In addition to being the main address visitors will know and find your site by, choosing the right domain name plays a role in your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) authority. If you want people to be able to find your website, SEO matters. To establish a strong SEO basis for your website, the domain name you choose also matters.   What Is a Domain Name? A domain name is the address people use to navigate to a website when using a web browser. Every time you type a name into Firefox or Chrome that starts with www or http, that’s the website’s domain name.  That may seem simple enough, but you should also understand a few main parts and subsets of domain names: Top-level domains (TLD)  – A top-level domain is the part of the domain you see at the end of the domain name. The most common one is .com, but you’re probably also familiar with TLDs like .net, .org., and .gov. Many top-level domains communicate something about the website, such as what country it’s based in, if it’s a business website (.biz, .co), a nonprofit (.org), or an educational institution (.edu). Root domains – All the pages of your website will have unique URLs building off your domain. The part of the website that stays the same for all of them is your root domain. It’s your unique domain name combined with your TLD. So for HostGator, the root domain is hostgator.com. Subdomains – If your website includes several distinct parts, you can create subdomains. These will share the same root domain, but you can make it clear they belong to a specific subset of the website by putting the subdomain name before the root domain. For example, blog.yourdomain.com, or shop.yourdomain.com. Knowing the main lingo for all this stuff is useful in navigating how to choose the right domain name and organize your website well for SEO.  How Your Domain Affects SEO To decide where websites should rank for different keywords, search engine algorithms look at a variety of factors to try to understand: What a website’s aboutHow authoritative it is The domain name you choose is an opportunity to help with that first part. If your domain name says something about what your website is, it gives you a leg up in convincing Google that the site is a relevant resource on that topic.  Over time, as you work to improve your website’s SEO, all the authority you build will be tied to the domain name. While it’s possible to change your domain name later and use techniques to maintain some of that authority, it’s hard. Choosing the right domain name from day one is preferable.  8 SEO Best Practices for Domains Choosing a good domain name for SEO starts on the day you register your domain, but it goes beyond that. Here are eight useful SEO domain name tips. 1. If possible, choose a domain that includes an industry keyword. Search engine algorithms have a complicated process for figuring out what a particular page is about. While no one understands all the details of how it works, we do know that the algorithms pay attention to what words are used on a few main parts of a webpage, and give weight to some parts more than others. The page URL is widely regarded as part of the page that’s given a lot of weight in algorithm calculations.  A website that has its primary keyword right in the domain name can get an SEO boost because of it. But for that reason, a lot of the most obvious keywords to target in your industry will likely be taken—either by your competitors or by domain investors that charge a high price for them. Also, going this route has some risks. You don’t want the domain name you choose to seem spammy or be confusing to your visitors.  A few notes to consider here: If you already have an established brand, prioritizing your brand name when choosing a domain is usually smarter than going for a keyword. If you haven’t chosen your brand name yet, consider a brand name that includes a relevant keyword. To find a brand and domain name that is still available, add something unique about your brand to the name, like putting your name in front of the keyword, e.g. katesflowerdelivery.com. Or if your brand is local, adding your geographic location, e.g. charlotteflowerdelivery.com.   2.  But don’t keyword stuff your domain name. SEO shortcuts don’t really exist, because every time people start abusing a technique that seems to yield easy results, Google changes the algorithm. In the past, buying a domain with a keyword in it like cheap-flower-delivery.com could work as a shortcut to buying a ranking for that term. But Google doesn’t want brands to buy rankings; their results are more useful to people when the websites at the top actually earn those spots. That means while choosing a domain with a keyword in it still has some SEO value, overdoing it can hurt your rankings. Choosing a domain name that makes sense for your brand is more important than registering one that includes a keyword.  Consider if the domain name you’re considering looks legitimate to you. As a consumer, would you assume this was a respectable brand? If it feels at all spammy, move on and figure out an alternative.  3. Choose a strong TLD. If you can find a good domain name option that’s available as a .com, that’s your best bet. It’s the easiest TLD for consumers to remember and carries a bit more respect than most of the others.  That said, your TLD doesn’t have a direct effect on SEO. If you find an available domain name with another TLD that works better for your brand than choosing a less relevant .com option, don’t discount it. Consider if the TLD is related to what you offer. For example, a tech company could go with .tech or .io, both TLDs that provide information on what the company does.  The one exception for when TLDs do influence rankings is geographic ones. If your company primarily does business in a specific country, choosing the TLD for that country signals to Google where you are, so you’re more likely to show up in the results for people searching in that location. 4. Choose a domain that’s easy to remember. The golden rule of SEO is that while search engines matter, people matter more. The best domain name for SEO is one that visitors will be able to easily connect to your business and remember when they want to come back. If your business is named Joe’s Burger Shack and you go for the domain affordable-burgers-chicago.com, your biggest fans will be confused when they go looking for you at joesburgershack.com.   Before you choose a domain name, think about your customers. Will the domain name be intuitive to them? Will they be able to remember it the next time they want to find you online? 5. Keep it short and straightforward. While long-tail keywords can be useful in some aspects of an SEO strategy, they’re bad news for domain names. The best domain names are short, simple, and straightforward. Sticking with those 3 S’s helps you choose a domain name that’s easy to remember and doesn’t require too much typing. Customers have a lot going on, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find you and keep coming back for more. A long, complicated domain name like glassrepairprofessionalsnewyorkcity.com might communicate what you do and get some keywords in there, but it’s unwieldy and tedious.  6. Keep your website at one domain. All the SEO work you do builds authority for your domain name, which means that if you split your website between multiple domains, you have to work that much harder to earn authority for each of them. To get the best SEO results for the time you put in, focusing them all on one domain name is best.  That includes picking one version of your domain name to stick with between: www.yourdomain.com, http://yourdomain.com, and https://yourdomain.com. Choose one, then set canonical tags on the others, and be consistent with which you use when building links to your website.  Occasionally, there’s a good business reason to create a new domain for your business. For example, if you spin off a new brand that has a different focus and new target audience. But in most cases, your SEO efforts will go further if you stick with one domain.   7. Know when to use subfolders versus subdomains.  A subdomain, as previously described, is when you create a subcategory under your root domain for a distinct part of your website, such as shop.yourdomain.com. Search engines treat subdomains as a separate website for SEO purposes. As you work to build authority for your website, that can be a problem. If your blog is set up as a subdomain, any backlinks your blog posts earn will strengthen the authority of your blog, but not the rest of your website. Subfolders are an alternative way to organize your website into parts and one that’s useful for SEO. You can create a subfolder for each of the main categories on your website, and the subfolder becomes a part of the URL for every page included within it. For example, your blog becomes a subfolder at yourdomain.com/blog. Every new post will become a part of the subfolder, i.e. yourdomain.com/blog/postname, and will still be treated as part of the domain name for SEO purposes. Subfolders are an important part of building an intuitive website architecture that’s good for SEO as well as visitors.  Subdomains can still be valuable in certain use cases. If a section of your website will target a distinct audience, different keywords, or a different geographic area than other parts, a subdomain may be useful from an SEO perspective. And in some cases, a subdomain makes sense for a part of your site that isn’t focused on SEO and/or that requires a different platform to run, like a support forum. That’s the case for HostGator’s support forum (located at https://support.hostgator.com), as one example.  8. Customize all website URLs. Many of these tips come into play on day one when you’re choosing the domain name for your website. This one is important to apply for every new web page you create moving forward. When you create a new web page, don’t stick with the automatically generated HTML. Take time to create a unique URL that’s relevant to the page. In each case: Use the primary keyword you want the page to rank for.Choose a URL that describes what’s on the page.Keep it short. The URL isn’t the place to go into detail describing what’s on the page. Stick to a few words that describe the main idea and don’t bother with full sentences. Avoid stop words like and, but, and the. They don’t add anything to the meaning, but do increase the length.  Creating a relevant URL for each web page is one of the fastest, easiest steps you can take to improve SEO for the page. If you have a CMS like WordPress, an SEO plugin or extension will make this step easy.  SEO Starts with Your Domain Name Choosing the right domain name gives you a strong SEO foundation to build your website on. If you haven’t registered a domain name for your website yet, use HostGator’s domain registration tool to find out what’s available and snag the best domain name for your website. While your domain name is important, it’s just step one to achieving rankings for relevant keywords for your website. Once you’ve landed the domain name of your choice, you’ll want to work on a full SEO strategy to build authority for your website. Every SEO win you have will make the domain you chose stronger in your eyes of the search engines.   Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Write Facebook Ads That Convert

Social Media Examiner -

Want your Facebook ads to move people to action? Looking for a framework to help? In this article, you’ll discover how to develop and compose Facebook ad copy that converts and sells your products. #1: Research Customer Needs and Preferences in Facebook Groups Marketers often talk about how hard it is to get accurate customer […] The post How to Write Facebook Ads That Convert appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Cloudflare’s protection against a new Remote Code Execution vulnerability (CVE-2019-16759) in vBulletin

CloudFlare Blog -

Cloudflare has released a new rule as part of its Cloudflare Specials Rulesets, to protect our customers against a high-severity vulnerability in vBulletin.  A new zero-day vulnerability was discovered for vBulletin, a proprietary Internet forum software. By exploiting this vulnerability, bad actors could potentially gain privileged access and control to the host servers on which this software runs, through Remote Code Execution (RCE). Implications of this vulnerability At Cloudflare, we use three key indicators to understand the severity of a vulnerability 1) how many customers on Cloudflare are running the affected software 2) the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score, and 3) the OWASP Top 10, an open-source security framework.We assess this vulnerability to be very significant as it has a CVSS score of 9.8/10 and affects 7 out of the 10 key risk areas of the OWASP 2017 Top 10. Remote Code Execution is considered a type of injection, which provides the capability to potentially launch a catastrophic attack. Through RCE an attacker can gain privileged access to the host server that might be running the unpatched and vulnerable version of this software. With elevated privileges the attacker could perform malicious activities including discovery of additional vulnerabilities in the system, checks for misconfigured file permissions on configuration files and even delete logs to wipe out the possibility of audit trails to their activities.We also have often observed attackers exploit RCE vulnerabilities to deploy malware on the host, make it part of a DDoS Botnet attack or exfiltrate valuable data stored in the system.Cloudflare’s continuously learning Firewall has you coveredAt Cloudflare, we continuously strive to improve the security posture of our customers by quickly and seamlessly mitigating vulnerabilities of this nature. Protection against common RCE attacks is a standard feature of Cloudflare's Managed Rulesets. To provide coverage for this specific vulnerability, we have deployed a new rule within our Cloudflare Specials Rulesets (ruleId: 100166). Customers who have our Managed Rulesets and Cloudflare Specials enabled will be immediately protected against this vulnerability. To check whether you have this protection enabled, please login, navigate to the Firewall tab and under the Managed Rulesets tab you will find the toggle to enable the WAF Managed Rulesets. See below:Next, confirm that you have the Cloudflare Specials Rulesets enabled, by checking in the Managed Rulesets card as shown below: Our customers who use our free services or those who don't have Cloudflare's Managed Rulesets turned on, can also protect themselves by deploying a patch on their own. The vBulletin team have released a security patch, the details of which can be found here.Cloudflare’s Firewall is built on a network that continuously learns from our vast network spanning over 190 countries. In Q2’19 Cloudflare blocked an average of 44 billion cyber threats each day. Learn more about our simple, easy to use and powerful Cloudflare Firewall and protect your business today.

New Facebook Live Tools: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore new Facebook Live tools with Luria Petrucci. Tune In to the Social Media Marketing Talk Show Listen […] The post New Facebook Live Tools: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

4 WP Engine Products and Features that Make Life Easier for Agencies

WP Engine -

In order to deliver the best return on investment for their clients, agencies must be intimately aware of the latest and most effective technologies and trends. Thinking creatively and strategically is key to the success of agency work; getting bogged down in monotonous technical work can take away from time-to-market, profitability, and the effectiveness of… The post 4 WP Engine Products and Features that Make Life Easier for Agencies appeared first on WP Engine.

Birthday Week 2019 Wrap-up

CloudFlare Blog -

This week we celebrated Cloudflare’s 9th birthday by launching a variety of new offerings that support our mission: to help build a better Internet.  Below is a summary recap of how we celebrated Birthday Week 2019.Cleaning up bad botsEvery day Cloudflare protects over 20 million Internet properties from malicious bots, and this week you were invited to join in the fight!  Now you can enable “bot fight mode” in the Firewall settings of the Cloudflare Dashboard and we’ll start deploying CPU intensive code to traffic originating from malicious bots.  This wastes the bots’ CPU resources and makes it more difficult and costly for perpetrators to deploy malicious bots at scale. We’ll also share the IP addresses of malicious bot traffic with our Bandwidth Alliance partners, who can help kick malicious bots offline. Join us in the battle against bad bots – and, as you can read here – you can help the climate too!Browser InsightsSpeed matters, and if you manage a website or app, you want to make sure that you’re delivering a high performing website to all of your global end users. Now you can enable Browser Insights in the Speed section of the Cloudflare Dashboard to analyze website performance from the perspective of your users’ web browsers.  WARP, the wait is overSeveral months ago we announced WARP, a free mobile app purpose-built to address the security and performance challenges of the mobile Internet, while also respecting user privacy.  After months of testing and development, this week we (finally) rolled out WARP to approximately 2 million wait-list customers.  We also enabled Warp Plus, a WARP experience that uses Argo routing technology to route your mobile traffic across faster, less-congested, routes through the Internet.  Warp and Warp Plus (Warp+) are now available in the iOS and Android App stores and we can’t wait for you to give it a try!HTTP/3 SupportLast year we announced early support for QUIC, a UDP based protocol that aims to make everything on the Internet work faster, with built-in encryption. The IETF subsequently decided that QUIC should be the foundation of the next generation of the HTTP protocol, HTTP/3. This week, Cloudflare was the first to introduce support for HTTP/3 in partnership with Google Chrome and Mozilla.Workers SitesFinally, to wrap up our birthday week announcements, we announced Workers Sites. The Workers serverless platform continues to grow and evolve, and every day we discover new and innovative ways to help developers build and optimize their applications. Workers Sites enables developers to easily deploy lightweight static sites across Cloudflare’s global cloud platform without having to build out the traditional backend server infrastructure to support these sites.We look forward to Birthday Week every year, as a chance to showcase some of our exciting new offerings — but we all know building a better Internet is about more than one week.  It’s an effort that takes place all year long, and requires the help of our partners, employees and especially you — our customers. Thank you for being a customer, providing valuable feedback and helping us stay focused on our mission to help build a better Internet.Can’t get enough of this week’s announcements, or want to learn more? Register for next week’s Birthday Week Recap webinar to get the inside scoop on every announcement.

Workers Sites: Extending the Workers platform with our own serverless building blocks

CloudFlare Blog -

As of today, with the Wrangler CLI, you can now deploy entire websites directly to Cloudflare Workers and Workers KV. If you can statically generate the assets for your site, think create-react-app, Jekyll, or even the WP2Static plugin, you can deploy it to our entire global network, which spans 194 cities in more than 90 countries.While you could deploy an entire site directly to Workers before, it wasn’t the easiest process. So, the Workers Developer Experience Team came up with a solution to make deploying static assets a significantly better experience. Using our Workers command-line tool Wrangler, we've made it possible to deploy any static site to Workers in three easy steps: run wrangler init --site, configure the newly created wrangler.toml file with your account and project details, and then publish it to Cloudflare's edge with wrangler publish. If you want to explore how this works, check out our new Workers Sites tutorial for create-react-app, where we cover how this new functionality allows you to deploy without needing to write any additional code!While in hindsight the path we took to get to this point might not seem the most straightforward, it really highlights the flexibility of the entire Workers platform to easily support use cases that we didn’t originally envision. With this in mind, I’ll walk you through the implementation and thinking we did to get to this point. I’ll also talk a bit about how the flexibility of the Workers platform has us excited, both for the ethos it represents, and the future it enables.So, what went into building Workers Sites?“Filesystem?! Where we’re going, we don’t need a filesystem!”The Workers platform is built on v8 isolates, which, while awesome, lack a filesystem. If you’ve ever deployed a static site via FTP, uploaded it to object storage, or used a computer, you’d probably agree that filesystems are important. For many use cases, like building an API or routing, you don’t need a filesystem, but as the vision for Workers grew and our audience grew with it, it became clear to us that this was a limitation we needed to address for new features.Welcome to the simulationWithout a filesystem, we decided to simulate one on top of Workers KV! Workers KV provides access to a secure key-value store that runs across Cloudflare’s Edge alongside Workers.When running wrangler preview or wrangler publish, we check your wrangler.toml for the site key. The site key points to a bucket, which represents the KV namespace we’ll use to represent your static assets. We then upload each of your assets, where the path relative to the entry directory is the key, and the blob of the file is the value.When a request from a user comes in, the Worker reads the request’s URI and looks up the asset that matches the segment requested. For example, if a user fetches “my-site.com/about.html”, the Worker looks up the “about.html” key in KV and returns the blob. Behind the scenes, we’ll also detect the mime-type of the requested asset and return the response with the correct content-type headers. For folks who are used to building static sites or sites with a static asset serving component, this could feel deeply overengineered. Others may argue that, indeed, this is just how filesystems are built! The interesting thing for us is that we had to build one, there wasn’t just one there waiting for us.It was great that we could put this together with Workers KV, but we still had a problem…Cache rules everything around meWorkers KV is a database, and so it's set up for both read and write operations. However, it's primarily tuned for read-heavy workloads on entries that don’t generally have a long life span. This works well for applications where data is accessed frequently and often updated. But, for static websites, assets are generally written once, and then they are never (or infrequently) written to again. Static site content should be cached for a very long time, if not forever (long live Space Jam). This means we need to cache data much longer than KV is used to.To fix this, on publish or preview, Wrangler walks the entry-point directory you’ve declared in your wrangler.toml and creates an asset manifest: a map of your filenames to a hash of their content. We use this asset manifest to map requests for a particular filename, say index.html, to the content hash of the most recently uploaded static asset.You may be familiar with the concept of an asset manifest from using tools like create-react-app. Asset manifests help maintain asset fingerprints for caching in the browser. We took this idea and implemented it in Workers Sites, so that we can leverage the edge cache as well!This now allows us to, after first read per location, cache the static assets in the Cloudflare cache so that the assets can be stored on the edge indefinitely. This reduces reads to KV to almost nothing; we want to use KV for durability purposes, but we want to use a longer caching strategy for performance. Let’s dive in to exactly what this looks like:How it worksWhen a new asset is created, Wrangler publish will push the new asset to KV as well as an asset manifest to the edge alongside your Worker.When someone first accesses your page, the Cloudflare location closest to them will run your Worker. The Worker script will determine the content hash of the asset they’ve requested by looking up that asset in the asset manifest. It will use the filename and content hash as the key to fetch the asset’s contents from KV. At this time it will also insert the asset’s contents into Cloudflare’s edge cache, again keyed by filename and content hash. It will then respond to the request with the asset.On subsequent requests, the Worker script will look up the content hash in the asset manifest, and check the cache to see if the asset is there. Since this is a subsequent request, it will find your asset in the cache on the edge and return a response containing the asset without having to fetch the asset contents from KV.So what happens when you update your “index.html”- or any of your static assets? The process is very similar to what happens on the upload of a new asset. You’ll run wrangler publish with your new asset on your local machine. Wrangler will walk your asset directory and upload them to KV. At the same time, it will create a new asset manifest containing the filename and a content hash representing the new contents of the asset. When a request comes into your Worker, your Worker will look into the asset manifest and retrieve the new content hash for that asset. The Worker will look in the cache now for the new hash! It will then fetch the new asset from KV, populate the cache, and return the new file to your end user.Edge caching happens per location across 194 cities around the world, ensuring that the most frequently accessed content on your page is cached in a location closest to those requesting content, reducing latency. All of this happens in *addition* to the browser cache, which means that your assets are nearly always incredibly close to end users!By being on the edge, a Worker is in a unique position to be able to cache not only static assets like JS, CSS and images, but also HTML assets! Traditional static site solutions utilize your site’s HTML an entry point to the static site generator’s asset manifest. With this method of caching your HTML, it would be impossible to bust that cache because there is no other entry point to manage your assets’ fingerprints other than the HTML itself. However, in a Worker the entry point is your *Worker*! We can then leverage our wrangler asset-manifest to look up and fetch the accurate and cacheable HTML, while at the same time cache bust on content hash.Making the possible imaginable“What we have is a crisis of imagination. Albert Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it.” - Peter BuffettWhen building a brand new developer platform, there’s often a vast number of possible applications. However, the sheer number of possibilities often make each one difficult to imagine. That’s why we think the most important part of any platform is its flexibility to adapt to previously unimagined use cases. And, we don’t mean that just for us. It’s important that everyone has the ability to customize the platform to new and interesting use cases!At face value, the work we did to implement this feature might seem like another solution for a previously solved problem. However, it’s a great example of how a group of dedicated developers can improve the platform experience for others.We hope that by paving a way to include static assets in a Worker, developers can use the extra cognitive space to conceive of even more new ways to use Workers that may have been hard to imagine before.Workers Sites isn’t the end goal, but a stepping stone to continue to think critically about what it means to build a Web Application. We're excited to give developers the space to explore how simple static applications can grow and evolve, when combined with the dynamic power of edge computing.Go forth and build something awesome!Have you built something interesting with Workers? Let us know @CloudflareDev!

Workers Sites: Deploy Your Website Directly on our Network

CloudFlare Blog -

Performance on the web has always been a battle against the speed of light — accessing a site from London that is served from Seattle, WA means every single asset request has to travel over seven thousand miles. The first breakthrough in the web performance battle was HTTP/1.1 connection keep-alive and browsers opening multiple connections. The next breakthrough was the CDN, bringing your static assets closer to your end users by caching them in data centers closer to them. Today, with Workers Sites, we’re excited to announce the next big breakthrough — entire sites distributed directly onto the edge of the Internet.Deploying to the edge of the networkWhy isn’t just caching assets sufficient? Yes, caching improves performance, but significant performance improvement comes with a series of headaches. The CDN can make a guess at which assets it should cache, but that is just a guess. Configuring your site for maximum performance has always been an error-prone process, requiring a wide collection of esoteric rules and headers. Even when perfectly configured, almost nothing is cached forever, precious requests still often need to travel all the way to your origin (wherever it may be). Cache invalidation is, after all, one of the hardest problems in computer science. This begs the question: rather than moving bytes from the origin to the edge bit by bit clumsily, why not push the whole origin to the edge?Workers Sites: Extending the Workers platformTwo years ago for Birthday Week, we announced Cloudflare Workers, a way for developers to write and run JavaScript and WebAssembly on our network in 194 cities around the world. A year later, we released Workers KV, our distributed key-value store that gave developers the ability to store state at the edge in those same cities. Workers Sites leverages the power of Workers and Workers KV by allowing developers to upload their sites directly to the edge, and closer to the end users. Born on the edge, Workers Sites is what we think modern development on the web should look like, natively secure, fast, and massively scalable. Less of your time is spent on configuration, and more of your time is spent on your code, and content itself.How it worksWorkers Sites are deployed with a few terminal commands, and can serve a site generated by any static site generator, such as Hugo, Gatsby or Jekyll. Using Wrangler (our CLI), you can upload your site’s assets directly into KV. When a request hits your Workers Site, the Cloudflare Worker generated by Wrangler, will read and serve the asset from KV, with the appropriate headers (no need to worry about Content-Type, and Cache-Control; we’ve got you covered).Workers Sites can be used to deploy any static site such as a blog, marketing sites, or portfolio.  If you ever decide your site needs to become a little less static, your Worker is just code, edit and extend it until you have a dynamic site running all around the world.Getting startedTo get started with Workers Sites, you first need to sign up for Workers. After selecting your workers.dev subdomain, choose the Workers Unlimited plan (starting at $5 / month) to get access to Workers KV and the ability to deploy Workers Sites. After signing up for Workers Unlimited you’ll need to install the CLI for Workers, Wrangler. Wrangler can be installed either from NPM or Cargo:# NPM Installation npm i @cloudflare/wrangler -g # Cargo Installation cargo install wranglerOnce you install Wrangler, you are ready to deploy your static site, with the following steps:Run wrangler init --site in the directory that contains your static site's built assetsFill in the newly created wrangler.toml file with your account and project detailsPublish your site with wrangler publishYou can also check out our Workers Sites reference documentation or follow the full tutorial for create-react-app in the docs.If you’d prefer to get started by watching a video, we’ve got you covered! This video will walk you through creating and deploying your first Workers Site: Blazing fast: from Atlanta to ZagrebIn addition to improving the developer experience, we did a lot of work behind the scenes making sure that both deploys and the sites themselves are blazing fast — we’re excited to share the how with you in our technical blog post.To test the performance of Workers Sites we took one of our personal sites and deployed it to run some benchmarks. This test was for our site but your results may vary. One common way to benchmark the performance of your site using Google Lighthouse, which you can do directly from the Audits tab of your Chrome browser.So we passed the first test with flying colors — 100! However, running a benchmark from your own computer introduces a bias: your users are not necessarily where you are. In fact, your users are increasingly not where you are. Where you’re benchmarking from is really important: running tests from different locations will yield different results. Benchmarking from Seattle and hitting a server on the West coast says very little about your global performance. We decided to use a tool called Catchpoint to run benchmarks from cities around the world. To see how we compare, we deployed the site to three different static site deployment platforms including Workers Sites.Since providers offer data center regions on the coasts of the United States, or central Europe, it’s common to see good performance in regions such as North America, and we’ve got you covered here:But what about your users in the rest of the world? Performance is even more critical in those regions: the first users are not going to be connecting to your site on a MacBook Pro, on a blazing fast connection. Workers Sites allows you to reach those regions without any additional effort on your part — every time our map grows, your global presence grows with it. We’ve done the work of running some benchmarks from different parts of the world for you, and we’re pleased to share the results:One last thing...Deploying your next site with Workers Sites is easy and leads to great performance, so we thought it was only right that we deploy with Workers Sites ourselves. With this announcement, we are also open sourcing the Cloudflare Workers docs! And, they are now served from a Cloudflare data center near you using Workers Sites.We can’t wait to see what you deploy with Workers Sites!Have you built something interesting with Workers or Workers Sites? Let us know @CloudflareDev!

Meet a Helpful Human – Ethan Price

Liquid Web Official Blog -

We’re the employees you would hire if you could. Responsive, helpful, and dedicated in ways automation simply can’t be. We’re your team. Each month we recognize one of our Most Helpful Humans in Hosting. Meet Ethan Price Why did you join Liquid Web? I used to work in the oil field and thought my career was set. The next thing I knew, oil prices dropped and I didn’t have a job. I found out how unstable that career path actually was and decided I needed to find a more lucrative and stable path moving forward. At first, I wasn’t sure what kind of field I would like, so I decided to go back to school while working multiple jobs to see if anything interested me. After taking a few IT courses in college, I fell in love with computers and technology. I also did some research in the field and saw that Liquid Web was hiring. I felt there was an opportunity to learn, to better myself, and to work with the latest technology in the Cloud Industry. So I applied and joined the Managed Applications Support Team as a Support Technician at Liquid Web. It’s so awesome to be able to work at a company with Liquid Web’s reputation and culture. Is there something specific at Liquid Web that you just love? The variety of issues that I troubleshoot on a daily basis makes this job challenging and fun at the same time. For instance, the other day I was helping three customers simultaneously in live chat. The first customer needed help creating Nginx rewrites; the second needed a backup recovered for their website, and the third was requesting information on best practices for securing their WordPress sites. It was rewarding to be able to help different customers with diverse needs all at the same time. Experiences such as these at Liquid Web have shown me how to give customers the best support possible. And that makes me a more Helpful Human. What’s your favorite part about the company culture at Liquid Web? The concept of open-source learning, or “teaching a person how to fish,” rather than just giving him the fish, is relevant at Liquid Web. When starting my journey here, my coworkers were very helpful and understanding. Whether it was asking questions, sharing notes, or training with veterans, I always had the resources I needed to learn and grow. A huge thanks to those that mentored me: Rory, JC, Jennifer, Ian, and Steven. Thanks for teaching me “how to fish!” In your eyes, what’s the difference between Liquid Web and other employers? Our team outings are always amazing! Each quarter, our team will get out of the office and take half a day off to discuss the previous and upcoming quarters. The best part is that we get to pick the place we have our meeting (this involves a lot of food and fun!). Over the last two years, we have gone to Top Golf, a Brazilian steakhouse, and Dave & Busters. A few other teams even went to Schlitterbahn, an amazing water park in Texas (I’m a little jealous of that one!). Tell us about a truly rewarding experience you’ve had with a customer. I was helping a Managed WordPress customer that had a site that was intermittently crashing. Initially, it looked like the site was being brute force attacked (which is when automation software from a malicious source tries to gain access to your site through attempting to “guess” your login credentials by trial-and-error using hundreds or thousands of login attempts) and the customer was worried the site might have been compromised. After digging into the server’s processes and checking for malicious content, I found that wp-cron was causing the issue. It was causing too many cron jobs to run. Once I disabled wp-cron, the site came back online and ran smoothly once more. The customer was very happy with the results. Not only was their site not compromised, but performance was also restored! They thanked me profusely. It is these kinds of scenarios that make me love being one of The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting™. Work aside, what are some of your hobbies? I love to play with my dog Rosey! My family and I are currently working on training her to play fetch (it doesn’t come natural to all dogs…who knew?). I am also on a Liquid Web kickball team. We meet up once a week to compete and have fun. This usually involves a few beers, a lot of laughs, and a few pulled muscles! If you could have dinner with one famous person [dead or alive], who would it be? Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, hands down. I really admire Teddy as a great conservationist. I would like to discuss our current climate issues and pick his brain on how he would encourage more people to get involved and help to make a difference. You can follow Ethan Price on LinkedIn. We hope you enjoyed our series, and stay tuned for the next Most Helpful Human in Hosting profile. The post Meet a Helpful Human – Ethan Price appeared first on Liquid Web.

What Is a Subdomain?

HostGator Blog -

The post What Is a Subdomain? appeared first on HostGator Blog. When you’re searching for a new domain name or your very first one, you’ve probably come across the term subdomain. To those just getting started, this can be a little confusing. But, chances are, you’ve already come across a subdomain or two during your time online, especially if you’ve ever used a site like Craigslist. So, they’re more common than you might think. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll have a thorough understanding of what a subdomain is, how they work, and why they’re used for. Then, you’ll be able to decide if using a subdomain is right for your website. What Is a Subdomain? A subdomain is an entirely separate part of our website that still operates under the same main domain. For example, your primary domain could be “catlover.com,” while your blog could be on a subdomain at “blog.catlover.com.” You can think of your subdomain as an additional aspect to your primary domain name.  By using a subdomain vs. a domain name, you give yourself the ability to create an entirely separate portion of your website without the hassle of having to set up a brand new site or deal with confusing domain redirections. For example, let’s say you’re building a massive resource directory that’s going to be filled with helpful tutorials, user guides, and all kinds of other goodies. Chances are the structure of this, and the overall layout, will be different than the core of your website.  So, instead of trying to make it work within the existing scope of your website you’ll rely on a subdomain to give you the freedom of a new website, while still retaining the original main domain name. Typically, subdomains are used for a specific purpose that allows you to address the needs of your visitors.  Some of the most common uses for a website subdomain are for creating support and knowledge portals, like the one we have here at HostGator, or even Google’s Support.  Subdomains can also be used for creating a separate company blog page. You’ll see this a lot with online startups and eCommerce shops.  Still, there are a lot more uses for subdomains, which we’ll cover in greater detail below.  When Should I Use a Website Subdomain? Whenever you’re thinking of using a subdomain, you should do so with serious thought.  Although it’s pretty easy to create a subdomain, they don’t offer the best user experience for your visitors without the proper planning. Here are the most common reasons for deciding to use a subdomain under your root domain. 1. Cater to Different Product Lines or Markets Subdomains can be very helpful when you have a large and expansive business that caters to multiple markets.  For example, maybe you have a main site that caters to different markets and languages across the globe. Or, you target different niches that are entirely unrelated to one another. If so, then using a subdomain will help to differentiate each group of users you’re targeting, so there’s no cross-pollination. For example, we can look at Disney. They have a multitude of different subdomains that all cater to an entirely different aspect of their business. Just take a look at “cars.disney.com” and “princess.disney.com”. Both sites look and operate very differently and they cater to different types of people as well.  If your business is large enough, each subdomain will effectively act as its own unique entity, operating under the umbrella of your primary domain name.  Essentially, a subdomain gives you the ability to speak to the unique needs of different markets while not having to create an entirely new website every time you want to do so. 2. Separate Dedicated Site Resource Sections Like we mentioned above, you might be running a website that requires an extensive resource or tutorial section. Usually, these are content heavy, so you’ll need a way to present this content in a way that’s organized and intuitive to navigate.  So, here you’ll be using a subdomain to create a separate part of your website that looks and functions differently. The overarching goal isn’t to generate traffic but instead, to help and support your visitors.   People who will be using this resource section will already be familiar with you and your main site, so the subtle domain change will seem natural and won’t have a negative impact on your overall user experience.  3. Host Your Company Blog Some website owners might even want to isolate their company blog, so it’s separate from the rest of the site. This isn’t the most common approach, but it can have certain advantages depending on the type of site you’re running.  This is a common approach that’s taken in the eCommerce niche. When you’re running an eCommerce store, you’ll need a high level of security and specific software in place to safely and effectively process transactions. Since this might require a different software setup, it doesn’t make sense to run this configuration on your blog as well. So, you create your company blog on your subdomain. You can even install a CMS like WordPress to help you more easily manage your blog. Or, the opposite can be true as well, where you host your eCommerce shop on a “shop.mydomain.com” subdomain, and run the rest of your site on your primary domain.  You also see this approach across the startup space as well. Companies may place a higher value on their web app, or SaaS tool, so they host their blogs on the “blog.startupname.com” subdomain and market their service on the main “www.startupname.com” site. Generally, if you are going to be hosting your blog on a subdomain you’ll want to do so because it makes organizational sense when you’re building out your site.  Advantages to Using a Subdomain As you’ve learned by now subdomains are a very common way to organize your website. They aren’t as common as sites that only use a primary domain name, but they still have applicable use cases. Here are the most common advantages to using a subdomain. 1. Create Test Campaigns/Content Let’s say you’re thinking about adding new sections to your site, but you’re not sure if your audience will be receptive. All you have to do is create a subdomain, and then create your new landing page, opt-in page, or whatever else your campaign requires. Then, you can send traffic to this page to see how it performs. If it does well, then you can add it to a page on your primary campaign. Or, you can simply delete the subdomain without any changes to your primary domain.   This allows you to quickly test and create experiments without having to change the design or interfere with the rest of your existing website.  2. Assist With Brand Growth Subdomains can be a useful way to grow your brand without having to create an entirely new website. For instance, let’s say you have a generic sports website and you want to expand your reach to every sport under the sun.  Instead of overcomplicating your existing URL structure, you can simply create different subdomains for each sport, so you’ll have URLs like “golf.mysportsite.com”, or “football.mysportsite.com”. This will take more work, but it allows you to create a large online brand without having any crossover between the different sub-sites. For example, visitors looking for the latest football scores might not be interested in who’s leading at the Masters.  This can be an effective way to spread your brand around the web, while organizing your growing database of content at the same time. This is a similar approach to how sites like Disney and Craigslist organize their websites.  3. Build Separate Sites Under a Single Domain Usually, when you build out your site you’re basically stuck with your existing design. Sure, there are tools like page builders, and you can always custom code certain site elements, but the overall structure will remain the same. If you want more flexibility, then you can rely upon subdomains to help you create a section of your site that uses a different design from the ground up.  Maybe you want to create a separate web app, or a web-based tool that will enhance your site? Using a subdomain will give you this unique advantage.  Disadvantages to Using a Subdomain Although subdomains can serve a variety of purposes, they won’t be perfect for every situation. In fact, they do come with some distinct disadvantages. Here are the biggest drawbacks you’ll experience when using a subdomain. 1. Requires More Work With Long-Term Assets When you’re utilizing a subdomain you’re essentially building another asset that you need to maintain. If you’re using a subdomain to build out a support site, then this will be easier. But, if you’re creating an entirely separate site, then this will be effectively doubling your workload. You’ll need to maintain your subdomain site, create content, build backlinks, and everything else required to help make it a success. For large teams, this won’t be an issue, but solopreneurs running their own sites might find this additional workload impossible to manage. Instead, you may want to opt for a single domain and use a subfolder like “mysite.com/blog” instead.  2. Can Create an Inconsistent Brand Experience If you’re planning on hosting your company blog on a subdomain, then you’ll need to think about maintaining a consistent brand experience. Even if you’re using a CMS or platform that’s different from your main website you’ll still need to think about creating a brand experience that remains the same no matter where your users happen to be across your site. If you’re using a separate CMS, then it might be difficult to match your existing design. Or, you might have to hire a professional designer to design a theme that matches that of your existing site.  3. Potential SEO Downsides We’ll dive into this point in greater depth below, but there can be potential SEO issues when using a subdomain.  Generally, Google will view your subdomain and standard domain as a single site. But, this isn’t always the case. As you browse through the search results for any given keyword you’ll probably find that primary domains show up much more frequently than subdomains.  Keep reading to learn more about the SEO implications of using a subdomain.  Subdomains and SEO The debate surrounding SEO and subdomains still rages on. However, in general, using a subdomain won’t hurt your search results.  In the past, a subdomain was treated entirely separately from the root domain. So, naturally, people would take advantage of this and rank their subdomains and root domains for a given keyword. Google fixed this by treating subdomains and domains roughly the same way. However, some SEO pros will disagree with this sentiment. Usually, it’s because it takes much more effort to rank a subdomain for a given keyword, than the standard top-level domain. Moz actually recommends not using a subdomain for your company blog. Although there shouldn’t be any negative implications from using a subdomain, they found that in a handful of cases it did actually impact rankings.  Generally, building links to a subdomain will require more work, especially if you’re using multiple subdomains that are all directed towards different markets and verticals. Google won’t devalue your site or your rankings for creating subdomains (according to their guidelines), but it won’t give you a boost either. Is a Subdomain Right for Your Site? Hopefully, by now you can answer a lot more than the simple question, “What is a subdomain?” Now that you understand what a subdomain is and why they’re used, it’s time to ask yourself if it’s actually beneficial to your website to use a subdomain. In some scenarios they might actually make sense, but for most website owners sticking with a single primary domain name will probably make more sense—at least in the beginning stages of your site.  As you decide whether or not to add a subdomain to your site make sure you keep the above points in mind. Luckily, most hosts (including HostGator) allow you to add multiple subdomains for free. This gives you the freedom to experiment, before deciding what’s right for your current website.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

TikTok: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Are you curious about TikTok? Wondering how to use TikTok for your marketing? To explore what marketers need to know about TikTok, I interview Rachel Pedersen on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Rachel is an organic social marketing pro and host of the Social Media Secrets podcast. Her new book is called, I Need Attention. […] The post TikTok: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Reseller in Focus: Varial Hosting

Reseller Club Blog -

We at ResellerClub believe in providing the best quality service and excellence to you, our resellers. At ResellerClub, we’ve partnered with over 2,00,000 resellers all around the world to enable them to flourish in their businesses through our products and services. Over the past few years, we’ve published stories of our resellers in their own words to let you, the readers know about them, as well as, help budding businesses gain insights from their experience. Today we want to introduce you to one of our resellers who has been with us for a long time, and who we’re proud to do business with – Ryan Smith of Varial Hosting. Launched in 2002, Varial Hosting has grown from a simple domain and hosting business catering to local bands, to a full-fledged reselling business. Let us know, Ryan Smith’s story about his journey and his business Varial Hosting in his own words! Company Name: Varial Hosting Company Logo:  We spoke to: Ryan Smith Website Link:  https://varialhosting.com/ Favourite Control Panel Feature: ResellerClub API I Chose Resellerclub Because of:  Approachability and Pricing  Q1. When did you enter the Web Services Industry and where do see your business going? I launched my very first website in 2002, a discussion forum for local musicians. It became wildly popular, leading me to learn a lot about hosting technologies to keep up with its growth. I began to offer domain and hosting services to local bands and businesses in 2003, which sparked a 16-year career in the web services industry. Recently, Varial Hosting launched our next-generation hosting platform and optimized WordPress Hosting plans, and with it, a new data centre located in our hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This shift in our business strategy to become a Managed WordPress service provider has been very successful, and we are now focused on expansion and continuing to improve our services. Q2. What do you think is your secret to success and why do Customers prefer Varial Hosting? Customers often tell us that the quality of our support is the reason why they host with us. Our support staff is expertly trained, and our business has grown primarily from the word of mouth of our satisfied customers. We have brought high quality Managed WordPress Hosting services to the Canadian market at competitive pricing, which has attracted a lot of new customers since launching this service. Q3. Tell us a little about doing business in Canada. What are the most unique aspects of the market? While we do have customers in nearly all parts of the world, most of our business comes from our Canadian client base. In fact, we sell just as many .CA domains as we do .COMs! Having our data centre located in the Canadian prairies is an advantage as it’s a location that is safe from natural disasters, allowing us to maintain great uptime. We also accept payment in both Canadian and US dollars, making it easy for both our local and international customers to purchase our services. Q4. Is there any advice that you’d like to give others that are still learning the ropes in the Industry? Try to keep your expenses low when you are first starting your company. Things like an expensive office space are not always needed until you are truly ready to afford them. If you want to avoid working from home or out of coffee shops, consider co-working spaces where you can book meeting rooms and have a mailbox for a fraction of the cost of an office. Hosting is also a very challenging industry and keeping up with security can be stressful and time-demanding. We often see web design agencies trying to do it all, building beautiful websites while also trying to manage their servers. If you do not have the expertise to manage a server, you may want to seek a hosting provider to do this for you, so you can focus on what you do best. We’ve acquired the hosting customers of several web design agencies because managing their servers became too much of a challenge for them. Q5.  You have been with ResellerClub since 2010. What do you think has changed over the years? Since starting my company 16 years ago, ResellerClub has grown from a simple domain reselling business, to offering many other products like hosting, servers, email solutions, website themes and plugins, etc. They have also been very hands-on in helping me migrate my domain name business from another provider to ResellerClub, not only allowing me to offer better rates to my customers but keeping me informed about promotions and suggesting ways to help me continue to grow my business. Q6. Could you tell us some interesting stories or anecdotes about your company? How has having ResellerClub as a partner helped your business? When the domain reselling partner we had previously worked with for 15 years substantially increased their rates, we approached ResellerClub to see what they could do for us to try to avoid increasing domain rates for our customers. Not only were they able to offer more competitive rates, but they were also able to beat the pricing we originally had on our best selling domains, allowing us to keep pricing the same for our customers while making more profit for ourselves. Fun fact: Varial Hosting is named after the best trick I could do on a skateboard when I first started the company. Our original data centre was even located across the street from a skate park. Being in a band in my early twenties and building my first music-related website in 2002 led to this unexpected career in web services. Sometimes you never know where life will take you. I’m proud to have followed my passions and built a successful business that keeps me interested every day. Favourite Control Panel Feature We have deeply integrated the WHMCS billing software into our website, and are thrilled that changing domain registrars within the software took only minutes and we can continue to easily register domains for customers using ResellerClub’s API. As we offer hundreds of top-level domains for sale, we frequently visit the Domains Pricing Overview page of our ResellerClub control panel to view our costs for new domains we wish to sell and to plan promotional offers for our customers. A big thanks to Ryan for taking the time out to answer these questions, we wish you all the best with your future endeavours! Also, an added thanks to Manik Bajaj our Account Manager for interviewing Ryan. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Reseller in Focus: Varial Hosting appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

That’s a Wrap!

cPanel Blog -

The end of the 2019 WebPros Summit has come, and it was an event for the books. We have enjoyed getting spend time with all of you, and cannot wait to do this again next year! We owe huge thanks to all of our attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors. We strive to put on the best event we possibly can for you, and joining us for these past few days is incredibly worth it. A big ...

A Modern Web Application Stack From Nexcess

Nexcess Blog -

Modern web applications are large, complex, and resource-intensive. The methods of hosting these applications have changed drastically as as result. It is no longer ideal to simply host a modern web application on a Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) stack, as doing so will severely limit the performance capabilities of modern web applications.   A web application stack is a collection of software that works together to provide modern, secure, and fast application delivery. These modern application stacks go beyond a typical LAMP stack and include additional components such as Nginx and Varnish. Extensive tuning keeps these components working together for the best end user experience.   Learn more about the Nexcess Application Stack.  This article covers the different applications and technology that make up our Nexcess Cloud web application stack, focusing specifically on application delivery. Discover the Nexcess Stack   Nginx  Nginx is a full-featured, high-performance web server that we use as a reverse proxy within our web application stack. Favored by many websites, Nginx has been a popular replacement for the Apache Web Server because it excels at serving static content.  Nginx makes serving static content a walk in the park, with improved object caching, TLS Termination, and HTTP/2 Support. With this in mind, we use Nginx together with Apache web server in our application stack. The use of Nginx in front of Apache as a reverse proxy allows each to focus on their respective strengths.  Object Caching Nginx includes a built-in cache called a micro cache. While a micro cache has many potential applications, we focus its caching on small static objects like images, CSS templates, JavaScript, and other small files.  This benefits low-traffic and high-traffic sites, as cached objects prevent the need to retrieve the object from the web server with every request. Many modern CMSs can have well over 100 static objects per page load, all of which can be served by the Nginx micro cache. This removes significant load from the dynamic content web server, noticeably so during peak web traffic times. TLS Termination TLS terminators handle the decryption of HTTPS connections. Typically, the web server application handles TLS decryption, although this is often not ideal. Varnish and other caching proxies do not currently support HTTPS connections, and so require decryption of TLS connections before they reach your caching layer. Load-balanced solutions also require the TLS certificate to be installed on every application server when not using a TLS terminator.  A solution to these limitations is to let Nginx handle TLS decryption. While alternatives such as Pound and HAProxy exist, Nginx handles it natively and can also provide load balancing if necessary, removing the need for additional load balancer services.  Modern TLS Support Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the successor to the older encryption protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). TLS provides the encryption for HTTPS connections, which is nearly a requirement for all modern websites.  Current security standards (most notably, PCI DSS) have flagged older SSL and even some early TLS as inadequate, and only modern TLS ciphers make it possible to meet these evolving standards.  Like SSL, TLS has several versions, the most recent being TLS 1.3. As a PCI-compliant hosting provider, we enable only secure ciphers according to the Mozilla Modern standards.  HTTP/2 Support Nginx fully supports the latest HTTP/2 protocol. HTTP/2 is a revision of the original HTTP 1.1 protocol released in 1999. It focuses on improved performance, perceived end-user latency, and use of a multiplex connection between web servers and browsers. HTTP/2 is currently supported by all major browsers and is enabled by default in Nginx on Nexcess Cloud solutions. Nginx also has plans to support the new QUIC – HTTP/3 protocol, which we will also support as soon as it becomes available. Content Compression Data compression is not a new idea. If site data can be quickly compressed on the server and uncompressed in the browser, this reduces the size of transferred data, thereby saving time.  Web servers and browsers have supported several compression algorithms such as gzip and deflate for years. While both of these have historically worked well for content delivery, a modern and more efficient option is available: Brotli. Compression algorithms like gzip have been supported for years, but we support a more efficient option: Brotli. Brotli is a data specification that uses a dictionary-based compression algorithm designed specifically for the transfer of text-based web application static files such as HTML and CSS. Due to its specialized role, it offers significant upgrades over other common web compression algorithms in both compression ratio and compression speed. All modern browsers and web servers now support Brotli including Nginx, which is enabled in our configuration. Apache Apache is an industry-standard open source web server that first saw the light of day in 1995. In 2012, the release of version 2.4 began the support of a significant feature set that continues to improve to this day.  One of Apache’s strengths is the ability to deliver dynamic content at high concurrencies through various application interfaces like the FastCGI Process Manager (FPM). We utilize PHP-FPM for all PHP-based applications on our cloud application stack. Beyond fast dynamic application support, Apache 2.4 has several other notable features, as described below.  The Event MPM Apache 2.4 saw the release of the event multiprocessing module (MPM), which provided significant performance gains over previous prefork and worker MPMs of previous versions.  The event MPM makes Apache much more efficient with memory usage and increases thread handling for incoming connections in a manner similar to Nginx. Nexcess Cloud plans use a carefully tuned event MPM configuration as part of our application stack. Web Application Firewall A web application firewall (WAF) is an essential security feature for any website. Their purpose is to provide an HTTP content filter for common vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and request forgeries, among others. WAFs also provide protection for known application vulnerabilities and backdoors, protecting known remote shells and unpatched software from being exploited.  Our application stack uses ModSecurity, an open source WAF for application protection. Having ModSecurity in place with Apache provides additional protection to web applications, and helps meet security and compliance requirements such as PCI DSS.  Content Optimization Created by Google, Mod_Pagespeed is an open source module designed to optimize content on the server and decrease site load times. This module performs a set of front-end optimizations to static content, including HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and images. These optimizations include static code inlining, combining, and minifying, which reduces the size of these files and the number of total requests.  Front end optimizations are smart for site development, but time constraints often lead to them being pushed to the wayside. That’s when Mod_Pagespeed becomes invaluable.  While front end optimizations are smart for site development, time constraints sometimes kick these to the wayside. In these cases, Mod_Pagespeed is invaluable.  While Mod_Pagespeed is available for both Nginx and Apache, we have enabled it with Apache web server. This allows it to optimize the code as part of Apache, when it then can be cached optimally in the Nginx micro cache. Application Compatibility As mentioned earlier, any web application can be configured under Nginx or Apache, but the latter’s support of .htaccess sometimes makes Apache a more suitable candidate. Some CMSs use .htaccess configurations not fully supported by Nginx. While there are pros and cons to using .htaccess files as a whole, it is generally preferable to make them available, rather than force our clients to modify their site to Nginx standards.  Varnish Varnish is a caching HTTP accelerator that provides high-performance static and dynamic content delivery. When enabled and properly configured, content requests normally handled by Apache and Nginx are now handled by Varnish, which directly delivers cached assets from memory to users’ browsers. Dynamic sites with complex back ends that require considerable PHP interpretation (such as Magento) can benefit greatly from the use of Varnish. If you’re running a dynamic site that relies on PHP interpretation – Magento, WordPress, WooCommerce, and more – then Varnish can greatly improve load times for users.  One downside to Varnish is its complexity in implementation. Controlling which content is cached can be tricky, especially with dynamic content. Extra care must be taken when dealing with session-based eCommerce sites to keep shopping carts updating properly. Varnish handles these configurations using its Varnish Configuration Language (VCL). The VCL can be customized for websites, and some applications such as Magento 2 provide a base VCL file to get the application up and running. Currently, Varnish only supports the HTTP protocol, not HTTPS. This requires the use of an SSL terminator in front of Varnish, which is handled by Nginx in our web application stack.   Get started with a Magento Cloud solution that gives you the speed your store needs.  PHP – Software Collections Our web application stack utilizes RedHat’s Software Collections (SCL) for application language support. SCL allows multiple languages and versions such as PHP, Ruby, and Node.js immediately available for any given site. SCL also makes it easy to switch language versions. As an example, our clients may set their PHP version for any given account to any version between 5.6 and 7.3 from their Client Portal.  PHP Opcache Opcache is a PHP-caching accelerator that increases performance by optimizing and storing precompiled script bytecode in shared memory. The integration of a properly tuned Opcache instance with PHP allows frequently used scripts to be read directly from memory, skipping the intensive compilation process. This has dramatically reduces load times for most applications.  Opcache is included with modern versions of PHP and the latest release of 7.3, and has replaced older PHP script-caching methods such as eAccelerator and APC. To fully realize the benefits of Opcache, we have spent considerable time tuning the Opcache default variables within our application stack. This is frequently overlooked but nonetheless critical, as neglecting to tune the default Opcache configuration to the size of the hosted application can negate any performance gains. CDN While not a local part of our application stack, nearly any website will benefit from using a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN caches frequently used static content on servers around the globe, thus giving users’ browsers a local option for retrieving site content and reducing latency. We offer a CDN solution with our cloud solutions and strongly recommend its use.   Tying It All Together Modern web applications are mammoth and have considerable system requirements for best performance. While it is possible to host an application on a simple Apache or Nginx instance, it sacrifices performance for convenience. Apache, Nginx, and Varnish have complementary strengths, and using them together grants the best results for performance and scalability.  While our application stack is complex, it has been engineered with two decades of experience using these systems, and was tested and tuned for a variety of applications. It is also constantly evolving. As new technology and features becomes available for respective components of our application stack, we test these new elements before rolling them out. The first of these considerations are the various headers used across the different services, each of which must be carefully managed. Nginx, Apace, and Varnish each provide default and custom headers for content control, cache control, and debugging information. Headers from external CDN or accelerator services can complicate this even further. Configuring headers properly ensures proper placement of caching and streamlines the flow of data through the stack.  Logging also presents a challenge, both for debugging and compliance requirements. Each service in the stack generates a log, all of which must be stored in a secure remote location to facilitate tracking of each request and response through these various components. Threading, connection limits, and resource utilization must also be taken into account. Any component in this application stack can be a bottleneck if not properly tuned.. Many of these configurations are outlined in our paper, The Definitive Guide to Magento 2 Optimization. The post A Modern Web Application Stack From Nexcess appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

How to Start a Photography Blog (In 4 Steps)

DreamHost Blog -

Photography is a popular and useful hobby, especially with the variety and convenience of advanced camera options we have now. Whether you’re into dark rooms and film or high-end digital lenses, turning your photography hobby into a business might be on your radar. Figuring out how best to get your work online, however, can be a full-time job. That’s where WordPress and the time-saving functionality of website builders come in. When you combine the content management options of WordPress with drag-and-drop site design capability, it’s easy to turn your big ideas into a professional photography site. In this article, we’ll cover four steps for creating a photography website with WordPress. We’ll also discuss why this platform is the best option and share the best website builder tools for WordPress to help you attain your dream photography blogging site. Take that lens cap off your camera, friend, and let’s get started! Why You Should Consider a WordPress Website for Your Photography Blog When it comes to Content Management Systems (CMSs), we make no bones about it — WordPress is the best. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. WordPress owns 50–60% of the global CMS market. Additionally, it’s the first choice for 14.7% of the top 100 sites on the web. Outside of those numbers, WordPress’s practical, open-source platform is another reason we suggest it for a photography blog. A nearly endless array of custom themes and plugins are available to help you eliminate distractions and create a truly unique website for your photography. One more plus? WordPress software is free. That means that even as a brand new blogger, you can afford a self-hosted website. Related: Why Should I Use WordPress? 12 Reasons We Recommend the World’s Most Popular CMS How to Start a Photography Blog With WordPress (In 4 Steps) One of the first steps in designing a photography website is to determine your own style or niche. Whatever your blogging focus might be, knowing this ahead of time will help you design your site and target your specific audience. Take a few minutes to set some goals for your site and then write them down. Once you have your blogging goals, the following four steps should help to guide you through setting up and designing a site with WordPress. Step 1: Choose Your Domain Name and Web Host Picking out a domain name can be a fun but frustrating process. One of the best ways to stand out as a blogger is with a unique and brand-oriented name. You might find, however, that many of the names you want are already taken. Fortunately, while choosing a .com is still popular, there are quite a few new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) available that might be just right for your photography site if the domain you wanted is unavailable. As for selecting a hosting provider, this step might seem overwhelming at first. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you shop that should help. For instance, if you plan on setting up an e-commerce page as part of your blogging strategy, you’ll want to look into what each host provides for that use case. Regardless of your goals as a blogger, other significant features to look out for include: Storage. If you plan on using the same host for your website and your photos, you’ll want to investigate the amount of storage that’s available. There may be several options, or even additional storage available as an add-on to handle your larger, high-quality images. Software. You’ll also want to consider whether you’ll need a one-click solution to get started with WordPress. This is an excellent option for anyone who is not hiring a developer and isn’t a programming expert. Support. The last thing you want is for your clients to run into downtime while trying to view your photos. Make sure your web host has 24/7 support, and read up on its site backup and restoration options in case something happens. Extras. Some hosts come with extra features you might want to consider. These can include premium themes or plugins, staging sites, or site builders. No matter what type of hosting you ultimately decide you need, here at DreamHost we offer a wide range of WordPress plans. You Take Great Photos, We’ll Handle the HostingOur automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can stay behind the camera.Check Out Plans Step 2: Install a Dedicated Photography Theme Installing a theme enables you to customize the look of your WordPress site. What’s more, it’s as easy as uploading a file or clicking a button. There are a lot of photography themes out there, however, so deciding which one is best for you might be the hardest part. If you’re using DreamHost as your WordPress hosting service, you’ll have access to WP Website Builder. As a photographer, this means you can drag-and-drop your site elements in a front-end view of your website. You can choose from photography-specific custom templates and view your changes live as you make them. Getting started is easy. You simply need to select “WP Website Builder” as an option when purchasing your DreamHost plan. Once you complete your purchase with the website builder selected, WordPress and premium plugins built by our friends at BoldGrid will be installed. The Page and Post Builder and Inspirations will appear in your menu options once you visit your WordPress dashboard. Once you’re logged into WordPress for the first time, you’ll be immediately taken to a setup page. When you’re ready, select Let’s Get Started!. Next, you’ll be able to choose from a menu of theme categories. Inspirations includes 20 stunning photography-friendly themes. Once you select the theme you want, you’ll be guided through choosing some custom content options. You can use preset page layouts and create menus. You’ll also be able to test your theme’s responsiveness to mobile devices. You might notice additional content on your WordPress dashboard now as well. There are some tutorial videos, for example, in case you need extra support along the way. Plus, if you want to spice things up later and change your theme, the Inspirations menu will lead you through that process. Step 3: Select Plugins to Enhance Your Site Now that you’ve selected a theme, you might want to look at some plugins as well. WordPress plugins are add-on packages of code that can enhance and extend the functionality of the platform. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the best way to manage them, in order to make sure you’re keeping your site safe and secure. Photography blogs and websites have some unique needs, such as the ability to display and watermark high-quality images. You may also need to create image galleries with password protection or tie your e-commerce options to a file download manager. All of these tasks can be tackled with plugins. One tool to check out is Photography Management. This plugin is a client management solution for photographers who need to provide images and galleries to their customers. It can help you create a login portal for clients and provides notifications when your clients complete an action. Another reliable photography plugin is Envira Gallery. The Envira feature list is extensive. It includes options for watermarking your images, which may be an important part of your security strategy. You can also set up a storefront, create video galleries, and import content from Instagram. Combining this kind of tool with our website builder makes displaying your work dynamically online a cinch. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up Step 4: Create Compelling Content When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there is more to think about than just keywords. What other pages say about you is just one other element that is vital for securing better page rankings. Gaining backlinks or having your pages shared on social media are both effective ways to build page rank and clients. One way to garner more backlinks is to create compelling content. This could come in the form of tutorials, downloads, infographics, videos, or podcasts. A beautiful example of these options can be seen on the Julia & Gil photography site. Adding a blog to your page is also a great way to build a following and establish yourself as a trusted name in the industry. How to Promote Your Photography Business Now that your photography has a home on the web, you might be wondering how to get more eyeballs on your work. Self-promotion can be a challenge at times, but with WordPress and your professional theme, you have plenty to showcase! There are a few ways to approach promoting your new site, including: Social Media. Sharing your work on social media can reap significant benefits. One way to get into the habit is to stay on a posting schedule, so interested viewers know they can regularly expect new content. Here’s how we recommend promoting your blog on social. Testimonials. Research shows that 82% of consumers seek recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase. This makes customer testimonials a powerful tool on your website. Call to Action. If your goal is to gain clients or fill up your email subscriber list, you might want to study up on the art of writing a good Call to Action (CTA). This will clearly guide your site’s visitors towards the action you want them to take. Portfolios. Creating a portfolio can give you a portion of your site that is specifically geared toward promoting your skills. While your entire website might function as an advertisement, a portfolio allows you to pick and choose your best work to highlight. However you decide to promote your new website, it’s a proven best practice that keeping your site information up-to-date and accurate is crucial when it comes to improving SEO and gaining a following. Related: How to Write Meta Descriptions That Get Clicks Blogging Photographers Whether it’s nature, weddings, family portraits, or street photography, you can personally display your images with a professional photography theme and WP Website Builder. WordPress’ niche photography plugins can also help you add unique elements to set your site apart. Here at DreamHost, we want you to be focused on the next shot — not whether your site might crash. Our complete WordPress hosting solutions come with easy built-in solutions for backing up your website and maintaining top-notch performance. Additionally, WordPress setup is fast and easy, so you can get up and running and share your amazing images with the world! The post How to Start a Photography Blog (In 4 Steps) appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

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