Industry Buzz

How Facebook Delivers Ads: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Want better results from your Facebook ads? Do you understand how the Facebook ads delivery system works? In this article, you’ll learn how the learning phase of Facebook ads affects your ads’ visibility and find tools to improve ad performance. How Does the Facebook Ads Delivery System Work? The Facebook auction and algorithm were designed […] The post How Facebook Delivers Ads: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Unlock and Begin Again — Getting Back to Business

BigRock Blog -

As we started getting used to the COVID-19 global lockdown, it was overwhelming to imagine that someday this will all be over and ‘life as we know it’ will resume. We’ve been talking about the ‘post corona world’ and the ‘new normal’ —  well it seems like it’s almost here!  With many countries and states reopening, it’s time to start preparing and planning to continue doing business, while aligning with the current norms and needs.  What is this ‘new normal’? To start with, it’s a world where health and safety come first. Additionally, it’s keeping in mind the changed interaction between businesses and customers, the new expectations and demands, and a new way of communicating and reassuring customers.  It’s been over 3 months of lockdown for most countries, and it’s extremely important to remember that although the situation might be improving in some countries and states, COVID-19 is still here, and one cannot stop being careful, and taking all the necessary steps. That said, as a business, you also need to be mindful of your customers and understand that not everyone is ready to unlock.  Your strategy to unlock and begin again needs to be two-pronged — one that caters to those ready to unlock and one for those who prefer, or need to, stay locked down.  Plan Your Business Unlock  When making any business strategy it’s important to carefully plan every step before you jump to execution. Now, more than ever, strategic planning will go a long way in ensuring a strong and effective unlock plan for your business.  Let’s take a look at the different aspects you need to think about and plan for: Your Location If you own a physical business store, the first thing you need to consider is the reopening guidelines within your state/locality. The reopening guidelines are different for every state and you must adhere to the ones laid down by your governing authorities.  Your Business The next thing you need to consider is the services and products your business offers. If your business works on physical interaction and social distancing is not possible, or minimal, you may want to rethink your business reopening plan. For example, if you’re a beauty salon, how will you minimize physical interaction? If you’re a home decor store, how will you maximize social distancing within the store and take complete sanitisation measures?  Your Customers Knowing your customers and catering to their needs is the most important thing to run a successful business. You don’t just need to know who your ideal target audience is, but also understand how the customer interaction has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are more customers willing to unlock and head to your physical store, or would they rather deal with you online? Like we mentioned before, chances are that you’ll have a mix of both and you need to plan a reopening strategy for both.  Your Employees Employees are the backbone of your business and considering their safety and needs must be high on your priority list. Take into account the individual needs of your employees and come up with a plan that suits best for all.  Your Reopen Communication How will you communicate with your customers about your unlock plan? What are the things you need to communicate about? What are the different channels you will use to communicate? How will you continue the communication and ramp up customer engagement to boost business?  Execute Your ‘Begin-Again’ Strategy Having considered all your unlock factors, it’s time to create and execute your ‘begin again’ business strategies. If you are in a country or state that continues to be in lockdown, there are several ways you can maintain business continuity during COVID-19. If you are in a country or state that is starting the reopening phase, here’s what you could start doing: Update your website We live in a digitally connected world, and digital communication is the first step to reopen the business. Update your website homepage with clear communication about your reopen plan. This must include when you plan to reopen, what are the measures you are taking to ensure safety, any change in operations like business hours or contact information, FAQs that clearly lay down your reopen strategies.  Announce on Social Media Use your social media handles to announce your reopening plan. You can do this by creating several posts that talk about the different steps you’ll be taking to ensure safety and one main announcement post that includes the date of reopening, working hours, and any other information that is vital for your customers.  Announcement Email  Email marketing allows you to reach right into your customer’s inbox. Create an announcement email campaign that includes all the necessary information, steps, contact information and operational changes that the customers will benefit from.  While it may be exciting to get planning and working on your reopening business plans, ensure your messaging is sensitive and factors in the customers who are not ready to get out and do business with you yet. You need to sound reassuring, while also being careful and abiding by all necessary safety guidelines.  It is also critical to understand that customers are more likely to trust, especially during these times, businesses that they are already familiar with. This is thus also a great time to let your customers know how their support and loyalty has helped you bounce back. Thanking your customers for trusting you, letting them know that you will leave no stone unturned to guarantee complete customer satisfaction, and making them feel like they are valuable will make reopening and beginning again much more successful.  Get Back to Business  It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming, and a million other things to think about getting back out there — we’re all in this together.  It’s time to make the health and safety of our customers, business, employees, community, and everyone around us our priority, and reopen with a paradigm shift in our strategies and approach to the way we do business.  Plan, plan again and plan some more. You want to do this right, by your business and your customers. Start creating and executing plans, keeping in mind both sets of customers — those willing to get out and those who prefer maintaining distance. This is the time to strike an equal and healthy balance between your online and offline business strategies.  As places and businesses start to reopen, let’s inspire one another, and bounce back stronger — together.  Looking for more tips and ways to boost your business? Head to our Learning and Resources Blogs category to know more. If you have any questions or ideas about doing business in the ‘new normal’, do share with us in the comments below. 

Four Tips to Network on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Your professional network can help you find a job and unlock new opportunities, so it’s important to build and foster your professional relationships. We’ve seen an increase of 55% in conversations among connections on LinkedIn over the past year, and expect that to continue as people focus on reconnecting and engaging with people in their existing network. If your network is filled with people you know personally, it is real and usable, and every connection has the potential to impact your... .

Instagram Stories: Why and How They Help in Marketing Your Business

HostGator India Blog -

  Instagram Stories are the latest trend in the social media town. Whether you have a personal Instagram account or a business account, chances are you must have viewed an Instagram Story – those snippets of photos, videos, quiz questions, stickers and more on the top of your Instagram feed.  Launched in August 2016, the […] The post Instagram Stories: Why and How They Help in Marketing Your Business appeared first on HostGator India Blog.

The WordPress.com Referral Program: Empower Others to Start a Website

WordPress.com News -

All of us know interesting people. Some have unique talents. Others have business ideas, write beautiful poetry, or have a passion to change the world for the better.  Should your mom be sharing her recipes with the world?Does your roommate have hilarious opinions on current events?Got a co-worker who needs to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams?Is your favorite singer-songwriter looking for a better way to make money from his music? If they’re not online, they should be. If you’ve ever told a friend or family member that they should create a blog, start their own podcast, or sell what they make online, this is your chance to give them the nudge they need. The WordPress.com Refer-a-Friend Program kicked off this spring. Both you and your connections can earn credits for their new WordPress.com websites. But what’s really exciting is how you’ll give people you know the opportunity to bring their big ideas to life. How the referral program works We’ve designed our peer referral program to be mutually beneficial: You simply invite someone  — friends, family, casual acquaintances — to build a website. As long as they’re totally new to WordPress.com, they get a US$25 credit towards purchasing a WordPress.com plan. And every time someone you refer picks a plan, you get a US$25 credit, too! That’s our way of saying “thanks.” The credit will be applied within two months of the referrer signing up and making an eligible purchase. WIth current pricing, a $25 credit is more than 50% off the first year of a Personal plan and more than 25% off a Premium plan. Plus, your referrals also get a free custom domain name for their first year. Here’s how to start: Log in to your WordPress.com account and go to Tools → Earn. Locate your unique referral link in the Refer-a-Friend section. Copy the link and share it via email, social media, or text message. Think about what you’ll say to each person before you pass along that link. Instead of saying, “Click this link and you’ll save money on a website,” tell people why you think they should make that leap. Tell them why you believe in them. Then, tell them why you use WordPress.com and explain how you think it will help them, too. A little encouragement goes a long way Why should you bother? Why should you take the time to tell others about WordPress.com? It’s not really about saving a few bucks (although that’s nice!). The credit is just a little incentive that convinces your friends they should take that first step towards doing something meaningful. You’re not clipping coupons. You’re encouraging the creation of something new and valuable on the internet. Think back to when you first built a website. Think about the first blog post you ever published. If you’re like most people, it felt like a big deal. And it was a big deal. You had something to say, a goal you were striving to reach, and your website gave you the power to make it happen. Now it’s time to empower others with that same sense of possibility. In a world of tweetstorms and 24-hour news cycles, websites help us stop consuming and start creating. They give us a space to be thoughtful and proactive. We need more original artists. We need more thoughtful writers. We need more brilliant entrepreneurs. We need more compassionate community activists. Everyone at WordPress.com believes in the importance of democratizing online publishing. That means giving small businesses, free thinkers, and creators the tools they need to build an online presence. But we also need you. We need you to help spread the word about what can be done with a real website. Think about three people you can refer to WordPress.com today and give them the spark they need to get started. Want to send along some inspiration? Check out the amazing websites and customer stories featured on Discover!

YouTube Analytics [Your Ultimate Guide]

HostGator Blog -

The post YouTube Analytics [Your Ultimate Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog. Marketers and content creators put a lot of emphasis on social media. It’s widely regarded as one of the best channels for promoting your content and growing your following. But while many people think first of Facebook or Twitter when you say social media, Pew Research found that YouTube is the most popular of all social media channels in the United States, with 73% of all adults using it. If you want to reach a large audience, YouTube is one of the most lucrative places to do so. And since it’s owned by Google, the same company that brought us arguably the best analytics platform in the digital world, YouTube offers useful and intuitive analytics to users.  Video can be a powerful way to reach your audience, but it does take resources to create. If you’re going to invest in it, take time to check your YouTube analytics to understand what’s working. Here’s how to do it.  How to Access YouTube Analytics Log into the YouTube account you want to see results for. Once you’re in, click on the Profile icon in the top right corner of the screen. In the dropdown menu, select YouTube Studio.  Once you’re within the YouTube Studio view, you’ll see a menu along the left side of the screen that includes Analytics, click there.  Now you can access all the data you need on how your videos are performing with your audience.  10 YouTube Analytics to Pay Attention To Every brand or creative using YouTube will have their own goals and priorities for the platform. So to know for sure which analytics should get more of your focus, you want to start by clarifying what you want to achieve with YouTube.  For most YouTubers, these ten main analytics will provide most of the information you need. 1. Views YouTube views are one of the basic metrics to follow, akin to tracking the number of visits on a website. The number of views tells you how many people are watching your video overall in a set period of time. This isn’t a count of everyone who has clicked play, it’s specifically people who watch at least 30 seconds. Someone who clicks but immediately changes their mind or loses interest won’t get counted. Nor will someone who had your video autoplay after another, unless they like it enough to keep watching. Views is mostly an important metric for making sure your videos are reaching anyone to begin with. It tells you something about how easy your videos are to find. If your views are low, then you either need to put more effort into promotion and YouTube SEO, or consider if YouTube may not be the right fit for your target audience.  2. Watch Time YouTube watch time is pretty straightforward: it’s the total amount of time people spend watching your videos. If you’re posting videos that are a few minutes long and someone watches 30 seconds—they get counted in your view numbers. But you probably wouldn’t consider that a success. To better understand whether people are finding value in your videos and liking any of what they see, watch time is a more valuable metric.  Watch time is an important factor in YouTube’s algorithm. The site isn’t interested in promoting clickbait to viewers that they don’t actually enjoy. They want to keep people on the site longer, so they’ll keep serving up suggestions for the videos they see people are watching all the way through. To increase your likelihood of showing up for new viewers, your watch time needs to be impressive.  3. Retention YouTube’s audience retention data allows you to dig into the details behind the watch time metrics. Looking at one video at a time, you can see where in the video viewers drop off. You can analyze if viewers find certain parts of your videos more interesting than others, which will help you make sure your new videos focus more on the type of content they like.  Your YouTube retention metrics can also provide insights into whether your videos are the right length. If you’re regularly loading 10-minute videos, but always lose people at the 3-minute mark, maybe it’s time to consider sticking with 3-minute videos.  YouTube Analytics puts your audience retention metrics alongside those of videos of a similar length, so you can see how your data compares to the norm. If you’re losing people a lot sooner than the average, then consider strategies you can try to change that.  4. Playback Locations YouTube analytics don’t just tell you about what people are doing on the YouTube site. Because YouTube videos can be shared and embedded across the web, the platform tracks data for any views or interactions people have with your videos anywhere they show up online, like a video you’ve embedded on your WordPress site. The Playback Locations section of YouTube’s analytics helps you understand where people are finding you. If a lot of your views are coming from outside sources, knowing it can help you better focus your promotion efforts where they’ll be the most successful. 5. Demographics For any type of content to be successful, it’s important to know who you’re making it for. When you have a target audience in mind, you can more successfully speak to what they care about. YouTube provides graphs that show you who’s watching your videos broken down by demographic factors like gender, age, geography, and device type. Use this information to see if you’re reaching the people you intend to, or to learn if you’ve found unexpected audiences for your content.  6. Traffic Sources Everyone who watches your videos has to learn about them somewhere. The Traffic Sources section of YouTube’s analytics tells you how people are finding you. This is where you can gauge how well your promotion efforts are working out. If you’re doing paid advertising, you’ll see if it’s netting you the intended results. If people are finding you by using YouTube’s search feature, then you’ll know your YouTube SEO efforts are working. And if a lot of people are finding your videos through external sites, then you’ll know offsite promotion is worth continuing to invest in.  7. Subscribers Getting a new viewer is hard work. But if you win them over and they subscribe, your new YouTube videos will automatically show up in their feed. At that point, gaining repeated views is much easier. Subscribers aren’t easy to get on YouTube—there are tons of channels out there for them to follow— they have to really see yours as worth it.  That makes your number of YouTube subscribers an especially valuable metric. If your subscriber numbers tick up, you know you’re doing something right. If they start to drop, you want to figure out why. YouTube Analytics both helps you track the numbers, and makes it easy to see correlations between new and lost subscribers and specific videos, so you can better analyze why people subscribe and unsubscribe.  8. Likes and Dislikes Getting people to watch your videos is nice, but viewing something is passive. When they take action in response, that’s a whole other level of engagement. YouTube likes and dislikes are a direct way viewers can communicate their feelings about the video they just saw.  They’re a pretty common way for viewers to give feedback, since it’s easy—simply a matter of clicking a button. Likes tell you you’re doing something right. If you’re getting a lot of dislikes, especially in comparison to your likes, it could point to a need to update your strategy.  9. Comments YouTube comments are the other direct way for viewers to provide you with feedback. But in comparison to likes and dislikes, comments give them the chance to provide more information about what they think. Comments can be a valuable way to better understand who your audience is and what they care about. And they give you an opportunity to respond back. You could even get a conversation going. Because comments do require a bit of effort on the viewer’s part, tracking the number of comments you get is a valuable metric for showing how interested people are in your videos. Inspiring an active response like a comment is usually a good sign (although the content of the comment matters as well).  10. Shares Getting your YouTube videos in front of a new audience is hard. When your audience steps in to do some of the work for you, it’s a pretty big deal! YouTube analytics tracks shares that people make directly within the YouTube screen, using the social media button they provide. This gives you a partial look into the total shares. This particular type of share plays a big role in how YouTube’s algorithm determines the worth of your video, so it’s an important metric on multiple levels.  YouTube Analytics Provide Important Insights for Growth If you want to find an audience on YouTube and provide real value to them, then you need to pay attention to how they interact with your videos. YouTube’s analytics provide useful information about how many people are finding your videos, how they’re interacting with them, and how they feel about them. Use that information to understand what your audience likes, so you can tailor your video strategy to better meet their needs. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Web Pro in Focus: Startec Web Solutions

Reseller Club Blog -

ResellerClub is extremely proud to be associated with powerful, thriving and dynamic web pros, that we have the honour to call our customers. Looking at our customer’s successful journeys is what marks our success.  Startec Web Solutions is one such ResellerClub customer that has grown and flourished over the years. We spoke to multiple people from the support and client relations team, who shared their experience of working with us, working in this dynamic industry and their overall growth journey.  Company Name: Startec Web SolutionsWe spoke to: Multiple people in support & Client RelationsWebsite Link: https://startecwebsolutions.com My name is Matt Schlueter and it’s my passion to guide businesses and organizations to success through their web presence. I’ve been building websites since 2001 when I was asked to create one for our church and never looked back. I started my business as a one-man show, and still operate that way, outsourcing only what I need to. I started hosting for my clients when I myself ran into bad hosting services one after the other. I found it easier to support them myself, branching out into maintenance plans and controlling things hosted on my own. Using trial-and-error to find the best options for my people. Truly, I strive to make sure a website isn’t a burden, but rather a powerful tool to help organizations thrive. I Choose Resellerclub Because: I needed a resource for multiple types of hosting products without having to build the infrastructure myself. I wanted as many choices as I could have for my various types of clients. After testing some of the ResellerClub products, I was impressed by the number of offerings, as well as the quality and pricing. Eventually, I even moved my own site to a ResellerClub SSD Cloud account. Q1. When did you enter the Web Services Industry and where do you see your business going? I started building websites in 2001 and started the hosting side of things in around 2004 when I figured out it could be a source of recurring revenue. It’s been a slow, steady, growth since then, with 95% customer retention, repeat design clients, and I plan to continue that into the future. Q2. What do you think is your secret to success and why do Customers prefer Startec Web Solutions? My secret is simple. Ensure the customer is taken care of — even if they don’t know they need to be taken care off. Website infrastructure is fairly invisible to most customers. I make sure they have as close to 100% uptime as possible, as much speed as possible, and stay on top of any problems they might be having. Q3. Tell us a little about doing business in the United States of America. What are the most unique aspects of the market? I don’t know how to compare business in the USA to other countries, as it’s all I know. However, in the web industry, pretty much every small business I see is a potential client. Q4. Is there any advice that you’d like to give others that are still learning the ropes in the Industry? Don’t do it. LOL! Honestly, unless they can afford their own infrastructure and marketing, those looking to get into the web hosting business will likely have a very hard time. The competition is just too steep, and most people know to stay away from unknown names these days. I use the hosting side as a supplement to my design services. I do have some people who only host with me and designed their own sites, however, the vast majority of the people using my hosting services are people I designed sites for. Q5.  You have been with ResellerClub for how many years now? What do you think has changed over the years? I’ve been with ResellerClub for a couple of years. I joined because I needed more offerings for my clients, specifically cloud & VPS. This allowed me to sell these products under my name without owning the infrastructure. Other than upgrading to newer versions of existing products, I haven’t seen a lot of changes in this time. Q6: Do you know about our all-new WebPro Panel? If yes. How is your experience of using it? If not, would you like to learn more about it? I’ve been using the new panel, and really like the look & feel. It does seem like some of the more advanced functions, like API, branding, pricing, etc. are hidden away and not as easily accessible. Q7. Could you tell us some interesting stories or anecdotes about your company? How has having ResellerClub as a partner helped your business? Almost all of my business has come from word-of-mouth referrals. Some people found me by accident, but just getting referred by happy customers has kept me quite busy most of the time. ResellerClub has allowed me to offer any kind of hosting product to my clients that is possible. Integration into my WHMCS invoicing system makes ordering super easy for them. As long as I have funds available in my account, as soon as they order their product, it is immediately created for them at ResellerClub via the API functionality. Super convenient. Q8: Could you tell us what your most preferred product is from ResellerClub? Also, how has your experience been? I really like the SSD Cloud Hosting. It is super fast. 100% uptime so far, cPanel convenience, and unlimited space. It’s a winner. It has the performance benefits of VPS, but the convenience of shared hosting. Q9: The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways businesses operate. Are you running your business remotely? If yes, how has your experience been thus far? I’ve always run my business from home, so no changes for me there. Q10: Are there any challenges you are facing while serving your customers? If yes, how are you overcoming them? My biggest challenge is time. I have a large family, and also a day job besides running my business. In order to support my clients, unfortunately, it’s not a solution ResellerClub currently offers, but I actually have my shared hosting clients at a provider that offers free end-user support. They integrate their ticket system directly into mine. So, customers submit a ticket on my site and it goes straight to that provider. I would love to see a feature like this with ResellerClub. Q11: What are your learnings when it comes to your interaction with your customers while working remotely? I use an online conferencing tool to interact with my clients remotely. It allows me to easily share specific browser tabs, as well as standard webcam discussion with multiple participants. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Web Pro in Focus: Startec Web Solutions appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Women in Technology: Yvette Gonzalez

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Liquid Web’s HR Generalist on confidence, positivity, and making her voice heard. “I am there to be a confidante for our employees,” says Yvette Gonzalez, “making sure that employees know that they have a safe space.” Music has always played a big part in Yvette Gonzalez’s life. As a kid growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, music was an escape, a refuge, a way to give voice to what she was feeling. As an adult, she still turns to music when she wants to find peace or is in need of a boost in courage or determination. “My favorite lyric comes from a song by my friend’s band, Adelitas Way,” she says. “The words are, ‘If you believe in something, it might as well be you.’ It’s a song that, for me, instills great confidence.” Now, Yvette Gonzalez brings her sense of peace and confidence to Liquid Web as the company’s HR Generalist. “The way I define HR is customer service for the employee,” says Gonzalez. I am there to be a confidante for our employees. I am there to make sure that employees know that they have a safe space. My first job was in a daycare, where I learned to take care of and meet the needs of children. This has led me to learn compassion and understanding to take care of and meet the needs of adults.” Liquid Web has been Gonzalez’s entry into technology, a leap she is glad to have taken. “I was at a point in my life where I was ready to make a change and grow with a company,” she says. “I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a company that was ready to go above and beyond— not only for their customers, but also their employees.” A love of music isn’t the only thing Yvette Gonzalez has carried into her career from her youth. She has also maintained an appreciation for friendly competition. “I grew up playing all kinds of sports,” she says, “and I still feel that competitive drive in my work environment. I want to be the best HR Generalist I can be!” But alongside competition, Gonzalez loves the camaraderie of Liquid Web, including the relationships at work both with customers and within the company. “I love to work with my team,” she says, “Being able to bounce ideas off one another helps me process problems and come up with a solution. I try to project happiness to our employees. I want them to know that I’m there for them.” An unexpected bonus of the job, for Gonzalez, is the tech support. “The thing I love most is knowing I can go to anyone in the company for help with my computer,” she laughs. “The world of technology is a new environment for me. I love seeing behind the scenes of what makes a website and company work.” Gonzalez points to strong female mentors as guides for her career. “My first HR manager, Trish Nichols, taught me the compassion that it takes to be in the human resources field. And after joining Liquid Web, my current manager Misty Combs has helped me become more confident in my chosen profession.” But her greatest motivation is her nieces. “I want to show them that women are strong. I want them to know that it’s okay to go after what you want.” She wants them— and other girls— to know that it’s okay to fail. “You grow when you try and fail. This is how we learn.” She also says that confidence is key. “Not everyone is going to like you. Keep going. Keep learning.” It is her hope that following her career path in technology will inspire other young women to consider the field. “More and more women are realizing that tech is not just a man’s industry,” she says. “We are owning our space here. We are finding our voices and making ourselves heard.” The post Women in Technology: Yvette Gonzalez appeared first on Liquid Web.

Health Check Analytics and how you can use it

CloudFlare Blog -

At the end of last year, we introduced Standalone Health Checks - a service that lets you monitor the health of your origin servers and avoid the need to purchase additional third party services. The more that can be controlled from Cloudflare decreases maintenance cost, vendor management, and infrastructure complexity. This is important as it ensures you are able to scale your infrastructure seamlessly as your company grows. Today, we are introducing Standalone Health Check Analytics to help decrease your time to resolution for any potential issues. You can find Health Check Analytics in the sub-menu under the Traffic tab in your Cloudflare Dashboard.As a refresher, Standalone Health Checks is a service that monitors an IP address or hostname for your origin servers or application and notifies you in near real-time if there happens to be a problem. These Health Checks support fine-tuned configurations based on expected codes, interval, protocols, timeout and more. These configurations enable you to properly target your checks based on the unique setup of your infrastructure. An example of a Health Check can be seen below which is monitoring an origin server in a staging environment with a notification set via email.Once you set up a notification, you will be alerted when there is a change in the health of your origin server. In the example above, if your staging environment starts responding with anything other than a 200 OK response code, we will send you an email within seconds so you can take the necessary action before customers are impacted.Introducing Standalone Health Check AnalyticsOnce you get the notification email, we provide tools that help to quickly debug the possible cause of the issue with detailed logs as well as data visualizations enabling you to better understand the context around the issue. Let’s walk through a real-world scenario and see how Health Check Analytics helps decrease our time to resolution.A notification email has been sent to you letting you know that Staging is unhealthy. You log into your dashboard and go into Health Check Analytics for this particular Health Check. In the screenshot below, you can see that Staging is up 76% of the time vs 100% of the time for Production. Now that we see the graph validating the email notification that there is indeed a problem, we need to dig in further.  Below the graph you can see a breakdown of the type of errors that have taken place in both the Staging and Production addresses over the specified time period. We see there is only one error taking place, but very frequently, in the staging environment - a TCP Connection Failed error, leading to the lower availability.This starts to narrow the funnel for what the issue could be. We know that there is something wrong with either the Staging server's ability to receive connections, maybe an issue during the SYN-ACK handshake, or possibly an issue with the router being used and not an issue with the origin server at all but instead receiving a down-stream consequence. With this information, you can quickly make the necessary checks to validate your hypothesis and minimize your time to resolution. Instead of having to dig through endless logs, or try to make educated guesses at where the issue could stem from, Health Check Analytics allows you to quickly hone in on detailed areas that could be the root cause. This in turn maximizes your application reliability but more importantly, keeps trust and brand expectation with your customers.Being able to quickly understand an overview of your infrastructure is important, but sometimes being able to dig deeper into each healthcheck can be more valuable to understand what is happening at a granular level. In addition to general information like address, response-code, round trip time (RTT) and failure reason,  we are adding more features to help you understand the Health Check result(s). We have also added extra information into the event table so you can quickly understand a given problem. In the case of a Response Code Mismatch Error, we now provide the expected response code for a given Health Check along with the received code. This removes the need to go back and check the configuration that may have been setup long ago and keep focus on the problem at hand.The availability of different portions of your infrastructure is very important, but this does not provide the complete view. Performance is continuing to skyrocket in importance and value to customers. If an application is not performant, they will quickly go to a competitor without a second thought. Sometimes RTT is not enough to understand why requests have higher latency and where the root of the issue may reside. To better understand where time is spent for a given request, we are introducing the waterfall view of a request within the Event Log. With this view, you can understand the time taken for the TCP connection, time taken for the TLS handshake, and the time to first byte (TTFB) for the request. The waterfall will give you a chronological idea about time spent in different stages of the request. Time taken for establishing the initial TCP connection.(in dark blue, approx 41ms)Once the TCP connection is established, time is spent doing the TLS handshake. This is another component that takes up time for HTTPS websites. (in light blue, approx 80ms)Once the SYN-ACK handshake and connection is complete, then the time taken for the first byte to be received is also exposed. (in dark orange, approx 222ms)The total round trip time (RTT) is the time taken to load the complete page once the TLS handshake is complete. The difference between the RTT and the TTFB gives you the time spent downloading content from a page. If your page has a large amount of content, the difference between TTFB and RTT will be high. (in light orange, approx 302ms). The page load time is approximately 80 ms for the address.Using the information above lends to a number of steps that can be taken for the website owner. The delay in initial TCP connection time could be decreased by making the website available in different geo locations around the world. This could also reduce the time for TLS handshake as each round trip will be faster. Another thing that is visible is the page load time of 80ms. This might be because of the contents of the page, maybe compression can be applied on the server side to make the load time better or unnecessary content can be removed. The information in the waterfall view can also tell if an additional external library increases the time to load the website after a release.Cloudflare has over 200 edge locations around the world making it one of the largest Anycast networks on the planet. When a health check is configured, it can be run across the different regions on the Cloudflare infrastructure, enabling you to see the variation in latency around the world for specific Health Checks.Waterfall from IndiaWaterfall from Western North America‌‌Based on the new information provided from Health Check Analytics, users can definitively validate that the address performs better from Western North America compared to India due to the page load time and overall RTT.How do health checks run?To understand and decipher the logs that are found in the analytics dashboard, it is important to understand how Cloudflare runs the Health Checks. Cloudflare has data centers in more than 200 cities across 90+ countries throughout the world [more]. We don’t run health checks from every single of these data centers (that would be a lot of requests to your servers!). Instead, we let you pick between one and thirteen regions from which to run health checks [Regions].The Internet is not the same everywhere around the world. So your users may not have the same experience on your application according to where they are. Running Health Checks from different regions lets you know the health of your application from the point of view of the Cloudflare network in each of these regions.Imagine you configure a Health Check from two regions, Western North America and South East Asia, at an interval of 10 seconds. You may have been expecting to get two requests to your origin server every 10 seconds, but if you look at your server’s logs you will see that you are actually getting six. That is because we send Health Checks not just from one location in each region but three.For a health check configured from All Regions (thirteen regions) there will be 39 requests to your server per configured interval. You may wonder: ‘Why do you probe from multiple locations within a region?’ We do this to make sure the health we report represents the overall performance of your service as seen from that region. Before we report a change, we check that at least two locations agree on the status. We added a third one to make sure that the system keeps running even if there is an issue at one of our locations.ConclusionHealth Check Analytics is now live and available to all Pro, Business and Enterprise customers!  We are very excited to help decrease your time to resolution and ensure your application reliability is maximised.

Chatbot Strategy: How to Improve Your Marketing With Bots

Social Media Examiner -

Wondering if your business should start using chatbots? Looking for tips on what chatbots can do and how to set them up? To explore how to improve your marketing with bots, I interview Natasha Takahashi on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Natasha is a chat marketing expert and co-founder of School of Bots, the leading […] The post Chatbot Strategy: How to Improve Your Marketing With Bots appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

My Website is down, what next?

cPanel Blog -

It’s happened to most of us, you just launched a marketing campaign and went to check your sales and your website is a blank white screen! If it hasn’t happened to you yet, read on. Hosting outages can send you into panic mode, especially if you run an e-commerce website. The loss of potential income can send you into a frenzy and keep you on hold with your hosting company for hours at a time – to quote ...

How to import WooCommerce Products with WP All Import

Nexcess Blog -

Ready to add new products to your WooCommerce store? You can import WooCommerce products from any CSV or XML file with any file structure. Here are the steps to import any product with WP All Import: Create an import with WP All Import and select WooCommerce Products.Drag & drop the data from your import file.Choose to import new WooCommerce products, update existing ones, or both.Run the import to create products, import images, categories, etc. WP All Import is a powerful tool that allows you to import any XML, CSV, or spreadsheet into WordPress. Read on for an in-depth guide to importing WooCommerce Products, including price, stock, categories, and product image galleries.  Importing Products with WP All Import Follow along in your own testing install of WordPress: http://www.wpallimport.com/try/ Here’s the share URL for the import file used in this example: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15vSspWyfqyvtox3faDpsfHUdzGgwrxDuH8SN5BWlZCU/edit?usp=sharing. Let’s get started! Create a new WooCommerce Product Import Create a new import and choose your import file. You can either upload a file from your computer, download an import feed via URL, or you can use a file that already exists on your server.  Google Sheets is readily available, so we’ll use the share URL of our sheet in the “Download from URL” field and select “WooCommerce Products” from the drop-down: Filtering Options WP All Import has the ability to filter imported products based on pretty much any criteria. For example, only products with a sale price, products with a certain brand, or anything else. This is all done using drop-downs and pre-built rules. We don’t need to filter anything from this feed, so let’s continue. Drag & drop to import WooCommerce product data Now we need to map the data from our import file to our WooCommerce Products. The data from your import file is displayed on the right, and the import template is displayed on the left. To set up your import drag & drop your data from right to left. First, we’ll map the product name, product description, and product short description. Next, we can populate the product information inside the “WooCommerce Add-On” section. Import WooCommerce Product Prices In the “General” tab, the first thing you’ll want to do is decide which product type to import. WP All Import supports all of the built-in product types in WooCommerce: Simple Products, External/Affiliate Products, Subscriptions, Grouped Products, and Variable Products. If you’re importing Variable Products into WooCommerce, WP All Import has several different options to connect parent products and their variations. We’ll go over those options in a separate guide. First, drag in your SKU and Prices. If you do not have a SKU, WP All Import will create one for you. In this section, there are some options that give you complete control over your pricing: Click the “Adjust Prices” text to open a section where you can adjust your prices on-the-fly by a percentage or a set amount. Next to the Sale Price field, you can click “schedule” to schedule sale prices.And, you can use the options below “Adjust Prices” to attempt to automatically reformat your prices to match WooCommerce’s requirements. Import WooCommerce Product Stock In the inventory tab, you have full control over the stock settings for your imported products. You can choose to manage just the stock status, or to set the stock amount and let WP All Import set the stock status automatically. You can also decide to set a low stock threshold, whether to allow backorders, and more. These settings can be applied to all products in your import, or you can set them on a per-product basis depending on the data in your import file. WooCommerce Shipping Class Next we’ll import the weight and the dimensions of your products, as well as the shipping class. Like everything else, you can choose to apply the shipping class option to all products in this import, or you can set them individually for each product. Product Up-sells and Cross-sells In the linked products tab, you can import the up-sells and cross-sells for each product. You can match up-sells and cross-sells by SKU, ID, or Product Name. WP All Import will search for the products in your WooCommerce shop and automatically add their IDs to these fields for you. If you’re importing multiple up-sells and cross-sells you just need to separate them with commas. WooCommerce Product Attributes WP All Import has full support for Global Attributes and Custom Attributes in WooCommerce. You can choose to use these attributes for variations, and determine if they should be visible on the product page or not. For Global Attributes, WP All Import will avoid duplicates by using existing attributes when possible. If no existing attributes are found, new ones will be created for you. If you’re importing products with a different amount of attributes per-product, that’s fine – WP All Import will only import attributes that have attribute values for the products and ignore the rest. Importing WooCommerce Product Images and Galleries Next, decide how we want to import our product images. You can download images from an external host via URL, use images that already exist in the Media Library, or use existing images from your server. WP All Import has a wide range of options to cover pretty much any scenario. If your images are hosted somewhere else and your import file has URLs linking to each image, WP All Import can download those images directly into WordPress and add them to your imported posts and image galleries. You can also match your imported data to images that are already in the WordPress Media Library, or those that have been uploaded to wp-content/uploads/wpallimport/files/.  You can also choose to have WP All Import scan through the post content of each product and import images that are wrapped in <img> tags. They’ll be imported into the Media Library and their old URLs will be replaced by the new ones in the post content. In the “SEO & Advanced Options” section, you can choose to import image metadata, including the Title, Caption, Alt Text, Description, including the file name and extension. Custom Fields WP All Import can auto-detect custom fields in your products that have been added by your theme or other plugins. You can import data to these custom fields, or define new ones here in the import. WooCommerce Product Categories and Tags WP All Import offers full support for Product Categories, Product Tags and custom taxonomies in WordPress. There are a few different ways to import nested categories to WordPress. No matter the settings you choose, WP All Import will always search for and use existing categories and tags to prevent duplicates from being created. New categories and tags will be created only when no match is found. You can also use the mapping tool to translate category or tag values from your file to whatever you need them to be. That means you can convert your suppliers categories and tags to the ones on your site and avoid a bunch of redundant ones getting created in your shop. Import Settings Any time you use WP All Import to import data to your WordPress site, the settings on this page will determine exactly what’s done with the data as it’s being imported. You can create new products, delete products that you remove from your file in subsequent runs, and update existing products on subsequent runs. You can also enable the “Choose which data to update” option if you only want to update specific fields for existing products. For example, you can use these settings to limit your import to only update the prices and stock for existing products. Scheduled WooCommerce Product Imports Imports can be set to run automatically on a schedule. At the scheduled time a fresh version of your import file will be downloaded and the import will run to create, delete, and update products based on your import settings. Schedules can be created manually using cron jobs, or automatically using WP All Import’s Automatic Scheduling service. Running the Import Now it’s time to run the import. Finishing Up After the import is complete, go over and take a look at the products that have been imported. In just a few minutes we’ve imported hundreds of products, including their product images, attributes and taxonomies into our WooCommerce Shop. WP All Import is a powerful tool that allows you to import any XML, CSV, or spreadsheet into WordPress. The post How to import WooCommerce Products with WP All Import appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Understanding The Process Behind Email Delivery

InMotion Hosting Blog -

When troubleshooting email issues, it’s a good idea to re-familiarize yourself with the process behind email delivery and how your host processes email. Becoming better acquainted with how email works will help you troubleshoot issues you may have in the future. While it may seem anachronistic, email is still an important part of the Information Technology landscape. Password Issues One of the first issues that some users trip on is password authentication. Continue reading Understanding The Process Behind Email Delivery at InMotion Hosting Blog.

RocketSTEM Ignites a Love of Space and Science in the Next Generation of Explorers

DreamHost Blog -

During the 2009 recession — “I guess we can call that the small recession now,” Chase Clark quips — Clark decided he was ready for a new adventure. A longtime journalist and graphic designer, he was living in South Florida, working for a company that produced NFL game magazines. When the economy started to tank, he decided to look for a change of scenery. Clark’s first stop? Cape Canaveral. Press credentials in hand, he moved to the cape for a few months and landed a front-row seat to the last of NASA’s missions. “It was an amazing time where I was able to photograph the orbiter inside the Vehicle Assembly Building,” Clark says.” I got to walk all around the launch pad while Atlantis, the last NASA shuttle sent into space, was being prepared for launch. I even sat in the cockpit of two of the space shuttles as they were being decommissioned. Those were amazing opportunities that very, very few people have ever been allowed to have.” Clark’s close encounter with NASA’s final launches ignited a passion for all things space and space exploration. In 2012 he teamed up with a group of like-minded volunteers to launch RocketSTEM, an educational resource for students, parents, and teachers that aims to foster interest in scientific fields through the lens of space exploration. “RocketSTEM is a nonprofit educational media organization devoted to inspiring the next generation of explorers,” Clark says. “Easy enough to say, but that can be accomplished a million different ways. In our case, we focus on using the history of space exploration and the wonders of the universe as a gateway to getting students into considering following a STEM-centric career path, whether that be as an engineer, a scientist, a doctor, or an astronaut. Our website tries to offer a variety of content for varying education levels that can be utilized by teachers and homeschooling parents.” Just as the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools around the world, RocketSTEM launched a series of online educational resources — lessons, space-themed math problems, games, and more — to help keep them entertained and learning. Clark has seen a surge in web traffic and has relied on DreamHost to keep the site up and running for the past eight years. Want to Meet More Awesome Site Owners?Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest for inside scoops, expert tips, and exclusive deals.Sign Me Up Launching RocketSTEM Born at the end of the Cold War’s space race, Clark’s earliest memory is of watching a Saturn V rocket launch on his grandfather’s black-and-white television. “I was probably hooked from that point forward without even realizing it,” Clark says. “The space shuttle was an amazing beast of engineering, and I always marveled at NASA being able to launch a spacecraft into space and fly it back as a winged glider. At one point, I wanted to design an orbiting space hotel, but that dream remains unrealized to this day.” Clark’s childhood fascination with space lay dormant until he had a chance to see NASA’s shuttles and rockets up close. He was one of a handful of civilians who got to sit inside Endeavour, NASA’s next-to-last shuttle sent into space, while it was being decommissioned. “It was powered up — there were a lot of humming noises going on, and it was a surreal experience,” Clark says. “I never could have imagined that I would ever get to do that. And no one else ever will, because it is in a museum now.” Endeavour and Atlantis completed their final missions in 2011, and shortly afterward, the NASA space shuttle program was officially retired. But Clark wasn’t ready to let the excitement go. Chase Clark posing with Space Shuttle Endeavour perched atop historic Launchpad 39A in the background. “After the final landing of Atlantis, I found myself wanting to continue sharing what I had seen and learned,” Clark says. “Considering my background in journalism and graphic design, starting a space publication was a natural choice. From there, the decision to create RocketSTEM as a nonprofit educational media organization came about, and a couple dozen fellow space enthusiasts, writers, and photographers joined the cause and helped tremendously in making it a success.” Their first project was creating an online magazine, also called RocketSTEM. The first issue coincided with the 40th anniversary of Apollo 17, the last human-crewed mission to the moon (so far). Clark reached out to Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt — the most recent humans to have left their footprints on the lunar surface — for an interview. He was amazed that, amidst national tours and coverage from national media outlets, both space icons happily spent an hour apiece on the phone with him, giving exclusive interviews for the first issue of RocketSTEM. “Our first issue also included an interview with a current flight director at NASA’s Mission Control in Houston,” Clark says. “From there, we’ve been able to interview a wide variety of individuals – a radio astronomer, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, British astronaut Tim Peake, a Boeing aviation structural engineer, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Buzz Aldrin, and Apollo-era astronauts Al Worden and Ed Gibson.” To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2015, RocketSTEM published a special 184-page issue that featured the top 100 images taken by Hubble. Years later, it is still their most popular issue and gets downloaded every single day. A few years ago, each issue of the magazine became so time-intensive for Clark and the RocketSTEM volunteers that they decided to take a hiatus from creating new issues to focus on other web content. “The magazine isn’t over for good,” Clark says, just taking a break for now. “The last issue was published in 2017, but the magazine is still downloaded over 10,000 times per year.” Related: This DreamHost User Is Saving the World — One Seed at a Time Full STEM Ahead STEM — an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math — has been a buzz word for the past decade. Clark’s nonprofit jumped right into national efforts to renew interest in science education. The RocketSTEM website and magazine are full of news, photos, history, and educational material of various levels designed to be used by teachers in the classroom or by homeschooling parents. But there’s one thing you’ll never find at RocketSTEM: advertising. “We’ve never accepted offers to advertise inside the magazine,” Clark says. He also keeps the website free from advertising. “And most importantly, we have always made it available for free to read online or download as a PDF.” RocketSTEM staffers pose with Dr. Jim Green (5th from left), NASA’s Director of Planetary Science (at the time), and the MAVEN spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Alan Walters RocketSTEM was always intended to be a nonprofit endeavor, a labor of love for Clark and the volunteers who have spent hundreds of hours interviewing, researching, writing, taking pictures, and more. Clark has been told by teachers and schools that they prefer content without advertising — and he is happy to oblige. To Clark, learning about space capitalizes on humanity’s natural curiosity, and he hopes RocketSTEM can use that curiosity to foster students’ interest in other sciences. “Our biggest questions as a child are always, ‘Why?’ ‘Why is the sky blue?’ Even into adulthood, that remains. ‘Why are we here?’” Clark says. “The understanding of anything, no matter how tiny, is really just the process of learning about the universe. All of what we know is part of the universe, and our planet is only a tiny speck in a near-infinite reality of time and space. Humanity has always wanted to know what is beyond the next hill. “And reaching out into the cosmos is the ultimate journey, whether it be with a telescope, robotic probes, or boots on the Moon and Mars. Learning about the universe is, at its most basic, the path to learning more about ourselves. I think that it is hard to fathom the universe and not have it foster a desire to learn more about its workings, which requires critical thinking and a better understanding of the sciences.” Exploring the Universe — from Home Without even realizing it, Clark and his team were already preparing for a global pandemic a year before concerns about the spread of COVID-19 sent millions of children home from school. “We had decided to revamp our homepage to focus on our educational content and to make the news articles a secondary focus,” Clark says. “We also began developing more space-related word puzzles, book spotlights, and a new section of the website that we call QuizMe. It contains short 10 to 15 question quizzes, generally on a single topic. In a way, it is similar to the early viral quizzes that BuzzFeed flooded the internet with; however, ours are more educational and do not have any advertisements cluttering the screen.” The RocketSTEM team worked on these resources quietly and planned to launch their new site at once in July 2020, just before the new school year. “When the pandemic took hold in America and students were sent home for the rest of the year, we knew that we had to go ahead and launch the revamp right then,” Clark says. “Since then, we’ve been in a constant rush to keep expanding the educational offerings.” Soon after schools closed, the RocketSTEM team released all the educational content they had already created and is gradually adding more. “While what we offer cannot replace an actual teacher in a classroom full of students, we hope that our content can be a supplement to home learning,” Clark says. “Hopefully, both kids and parents will enjoy the content and be inspired to keep learning about space exploration and the universe.” Related: This DreamHost Customer Is Helping a Generation of Young Women Own Their Power Support for Tinkerers Clark doesn’t remember quite why he chose DreamHost as the online home for his nonprofit, but he’s glad he did. In the early days of RocketSTEM, he started with a simple shared hosting plan. “Our WordPress theme is pretty resource-intensive and the website contains a lot of images so we fairly quickly outgrew that. We upgraded to a VPS, and once DreamPress came out, we moved the website over to that. DreamHost handled the entire process of moving our site between the servers and everything went smoothly.” The best part about DreamPress? The staging site feature gives Clark the freedom to tinker with the back end of the website with total abandon. If something goes wrong in his tinkering, he can replace the staging site and start over without affecting the live site. “Our IT specialist especially loves that as he no longer gets calls from me telling him that I broke the website again and need him to fix it ASAP.” Meteor-Proof Website BackupsDreamPress, our managed WordPress hosting solution, makes it easy to protect and restore your site with automated and on-demand backups.Find Out More Into the Future An Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover rises into the sky. This image was captured by a remote camera set up just a few hundred feet from the base of the rocket. NASA is slated to send the Perseverance rover to Mars on July 17, 2020. Tucked in with the rover will be Ingenuity, the first-ever helicopter to be sent to another planet. Even after its eight years, RocketSTEM is still learning to adapt to changes in media and student needs. They’re working on building a social media following, planning video content, and reaching out to leaders in the space industry. Clark says an advisory committee of experts is in the works, and last year he teamed up with astronomer Alan Hale, co-discoverer of the Hale–Bopp comet, who authors a weekly series of articles about asteroids and comets. “Even as a seasoned journalist, covering NASA has been an awe-inspiring journey,” Clark says. “Through RocketSTEM, I am able to pay that privilege forward. Some of our volunteers have been able to attend their first launch or interacted with people such as Bill Nye and Al Worden. Giving others an opportunity to partake in that level of excitement is a joy all its own. That wonderment stays with them forever.” RocketSTEM is funded mostly out of Clark’s own pocket. He volunteers his time with the organization, on top of his day job as a web manager and freelance writer and designer. “I did not have any previous nonprofit experience, and that has definitely shown in the area of fundraising,” he says. “That has limited the expanse of things we can do, and there are many ideas that have remained on the chalkboard awaiting the day we have the funding and staffing. At the same time, I’m quite proud of the content we’ve produced.” As executive director and founder of RocketSTEM, Clark’s daily work has shifted from content creation to coordinating and training volunteers (they’re always looking for more help, by the way), managing the website, coordinating with NASA and other organizations, and planning RocketSTEM’s long game. Another role he found himself stepping into on this journey was that of an educator. “I’ve also come to realize that at its core, journalism is essentially a form of education. Good journalists are curious by nature and love to research a subject or talk to a person to learn more about it or them. They then strive to impart that knowledge to others via their reporting. In essence, a good journalist serves as both a student and teacher.” The post RocketSTEM Ignites a Love of Space and Science in the Next Generation of Explorers appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Project Galileo’s 6th year Anniversary: The Impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable groups on the Internet

CloudFlare Blog -

Consistent with our mission to “help build a better Internet,” Cloudflare believes that one of the most important roles for the Internet is to empower marginalized voices that may not be heard, or bring together oppressed groups of people that may otherwise find themselves isolated and alone. Six years ago, Cloudflare started Project Galileo to provide free services to vulnerable nonprofits, journalism and independent media voices online who might otherwise be in danger of being silenced by cyberattacks. Much has changed in the past couple of months as the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world while the United States faces a wave of protests addressing racial violence and inequality. These events have put further strain on vulnerable groups working in these spaces, and we have seen many organizations step up to ensure that those who are most affected by these circumstances are protected. At Cloudflare, we believe that protecting these groups from attack is essential to helping build a better Internet. We are excited to mark the 6th anniversary of the project this month, and it is a good time for us to reflect, talk to participants, and see how the Project has grown and changed over the course of the previous year. This year, the spread of COVID-19 and the global response to the pandemic has shown us new ways that Project Galileo can help. Our goal for the 6th anniversary of Project Galileo is to share updates and stories from the field from organizations that have stepped up in this time of uncertainty.Earlier this week, we published a blog post on the increase in cyberattacks on advocacy organizations fighting racism. We believe that these stories of racial injustice in the United States need to be heard and we are committed to ensuring groups working in fighting racism, promoting inclusiveness and diversity get the protections they need. While we will continue to update on those ongoing events, we want to take the time to share additional stories from heroes in Project Galileo. A year ago, we reported that we were protecting nearly 600 organizations and partnering with 28 civil society organizations to identify and provide services to politically and artistically vulnerable entities on the Internet. A single year has brought us more than a 60 percent increase in the total number of participants in the project, with more than 1,000 participants currently receiving Cloudflare’s security protections in every region of the world. We’ve also added eight new civil society partners, working in areas from promoting the arts to aiding democratic movements to protecting human rights. Since we rely on our partners to identify and approve requests from important organizations working in these areas, expertise that we simply don’t have, one of our goals in the last year was to increase our partnerships with civil society organizations to expand our protections in new geographic regions. We are constantly looking for partners around the world to identify at-risk groups to ensure they have the tools they need to stay online. Our new partners on Project Galileo are: Center for International Media Assistance & National Endowment of DemocracyDefendDefendersFreedom HouseInternational Republican InstituteOpen BriefingPEN AmericaThe Carter CenterThe Internet SocietyOne of our new partners, The Carter Center, joined the Project as a partner in September 2019. The Carter Center works in 80 countries in areas such as election monitoring, democratic institution-building, and supporting human rights defenders. With their expertise in promoting human rights, we knew they would be an important addition to help identify at-risk organizations in need of our security protections. “Project Galileo plays a crucial role in helping to safeguard election observers, human rights activists, and independent media from malicious actors that aim to silence their voices.” - Michael Baldassario, the Sr Advisor on Digital Threats to Electoral Integrity for the Carter CenterOn the anniversary, we'd like to share in this section the stories of our participants, to provide some insight of the variety and commitment of organizations trying to do good during a time of significant adversity, and how ongoing access to the power and scope of the Internet plays an essential role in doing that work.Before we talk about the general groups of websites that participate in the Project, we think it's worth taking a moment to highlight a couple of organizations that specifically work on COVID-19 relief efforts.COVID-19 Relief Efforts In the past couple months, we have seen an increase in applications for Project Galileo related to COVID-19 relief efforts from entities that have spearheaded initiatives such as symptom tracking sites, personal protective equipment donation, DIY mask creation and other related efforts. One of these groups is CoronaSafe. CoronaSafe is a guide and collection of tools built as an open-source public utility for the Kerala State government in India on how to stay safe during the pandemic. These projects include access to information available for tracking the spread of COVID-19, telemedicine options, food delivery networks, tracking hospital capacity, ambulance networks and maps of COVID-19 hotspots in the Kerala region. They joined Project Galileo in March 2020 and in two weeks they launched 20 projects in multiple languages. “We're seeing thousands of new visitors each week that are looking for information and resources about COVID-19 across our multiple domains. We’ve seen attacks trying to get to us and huge spikes in traffic since March when we launched, and Cloudflare has kept us up and running through it all.” - Bodhish Thomas, CoronaSafeIn Germany, we have seen initiatives such as Digital Waitingroom, a platform that simulates a doctor’s visit, providing information on symptoms associated with COVID-19. The platform implements interfaces to information services, health authorities, medical practices, hospitals, laboratories, databases, and other digital processes in order to handle the tasks with the least possible effort and the highest possible transparency for the patient. In the education space, Freifunk Munich joined Project Galileo in March of 2020 as it started creating an online conference system specifically for families during COVID-19. “When COVID-19 sprung up, we launched a video conferencing service for schools so that they could access online learning. Almost immediately we saw an increase in DDoS attacks that threatened to take down our whole operation.” - Annika Wickert, Freifunk Munich Education and teaching have moved online as many schools and universities race to adopt e-learning alternatives. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) warned that attackers could take advantage of COVID-19 by increasingly targeting virtual environments, including those utilized by school districts.In Australia, #BeatCovid19Now was accepted into the project in March 2020. #BeatCovid19Now is a symptom tracker led by researchers at the Centre for Global Health and Equity with help from data scientists at the Swinburne University of Technology. The tracker provides daily symptom tracking while collecting information for research purposes to help future decision-makers, health authorities, and researchers to better understand pandemics. "Our team was able to distribute our Covid-19 symptom tracker internationally and concentrate on predicting and preventing outbreaks without worrying about malicious attacks that might expose sensitive information to hackers. The integration was seamless and until I was receiving the reports I hadn't appreciated just how important it was to employ such a service." - Matthew Bailes, Professor and the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery.The website handles sensitive information, and with SSL encryption and web application firewall, they are easily able to secure this information against cyberattacks with Cloudflare. Social Welfare and Community Building OrganizationsApproximately 35% of Project Galileo participants work in social welfare and community building, education, environment/disaster relief, and global health. Since the spread of COVID-19, many of our Project Galileo participants in this space have shifted their attention to relief efforts – delivering essential personal protective equipment, emergency food distributions, and assisting front line defenders in the regions hit hardest by the virus.One of these organizations is The Water Project, which joined Project Galileo in 2017. The organization was founded in 2007 with the mission of providing reliable access to clean water and proper sanitation in communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Since April 2020, The Water Project has expanded its scope in health and hygiene work to include COVID-19 prevention training in more than 700 communities in the region.Although it may defy logic based on the nature of their work, the project needs protection against cyberattacks that seek to disrupt their operations. "Our website is where all of our donors, team members, partners, and communities come together to learn about our work, manage project data, track impact and performance, and offer support. If it doesn't work, we don't work and the communities we serve suffer.”- Peter Chasse, President and Founder of The Water ProjectDuring the pandemic, we are also supporting many organizations that work in providing emotional support through hotlines and mental health services, such as The MIX UK, who has been a member of the project since 2017. In response to the pandemic, The Mix is extending its services to phone, chat, and online helplines while also providing a series of resources available to young people with information on how to cope during the pandemic. Similarly, Samaritans, a charity working in the United Kingdom and Ireland with over 20,000 volunteers and 200 branches, recently joined Project Galileo. Samaritans provide round-the-clock emotional support and campaigns to make suicide prevention a national and local priority. In their application for Project Galileo, they requested an onboarding session for Cloudflare for Team products as all their volunteers are working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Cloudflare for Teams enables staff to continue to securely access and maintain our highly critical systems, and ensure that we can continue to provide emotional support to people in desperate need.” - Francis Bacon, Asst Director, Digital Services and Change of SamaritansDue to the spread of COVID-19, many people have had to change their daily routine while managing the fear of contracting the virus. In the eight weeks since lockdown in the UK, Samaritans has provided emotional support to more than 400,000 people with 1 in 3 people mentioning COVID-19 related anxiety, as is the common theme among many of the calls. These types of emotional support services are essential to many people’s livelihood and working to ensure that people have the tools they need to alleviate their suffering is crucial. Environmental OrganizationsApproximately 5% of Project Galileo participants are nonprofit organizations with an environmental focus. Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, for example, has been protected under Galileo since the organization's launch in 2017. Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is an environmental conservation organization with an important mission, to conserve, protect, and restore the Great Barrier Reef through public engagement and service. With only four full-time employees based in Cairns, Australia, the organization utilizes the internet to extend reach and rally thousands of people to join their mission. Cloudflare’s caching features has allowed the organization to reduce bandwidth costs, which is incredibly important for organizations working on restricted budgets, and secure their origin server from large bursts of traffic or malicious actors attempting to access the website. "Under Project Galileo, we can remain fully operational as a web-fronted organization with a small team and the budget of a local cafe.” - Som Meaden, Technologist at the Citizens of the Great Barrier ReefIndependent media and journalismNearly a quarter – 23 percent – of the organizations participating in the Project are related to journalism and independent media.  At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a significant increase in traffic to journalism and media sites under Project Galileo. National and local media sites have been crucial in providing authoritative information during the pandemic and providing efficient updates on virus mitigation efforts and community developments.The importance of securing independent media and journalism sites from cyberattacks is crucial for organizations under Project Galileo, especially during a time where accurate information is critical. “Amid the COVID-19 global health crisis, independent news outlets in many countries have reported an uptick in cyberattacks aimed at pulling them offline. These attacks are most likely coming from increasingly sophisticated authoritarian regimes that are targeting them for their factual reporting, which often exposes the government’s mishandling of the pandemic.” - Daniel O’Maley, Digital Policy Specialist at the Center of Intl Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy CIMA/NED recently joined Project Galileo as a partner and has helped identify and support these groups to ensure the free flow of information. Civil Society and NGO Civil society and non-governmental organizations make up 16% of organizations under Project Galileo. For the International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth, a global forum that brings together economists, political scientists, and experts in the field of international relations to help fight global poverty and reduce inequality in the Global South, the security of their web infrastructure is a top priority. Since the beginning, they have had more than 7.6 million downloads of their policy publications in over 179 countries. When they launched their online, member-based knowledge sharing and capacity building platform in 2019, they suffered a DDoS attack. The site was dealing with extended bouts of downtime and unreliability in a particularly sensitive time — an online training on social policies was about to be offered to dozens of participants in sub-Saharan Africa. With a rising profile, IPC-IG contacted Cloudflare to prevent attacks on its website.“In a matter of hours, IPC-IG’s website was not only protected from attacks but protected at no cost.” - Patricia Cavallari, Sr Knowledge Management Assistant at IPC-IG.Currently, through their online platform, Social Protections, an inter-agency task-force to map social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis, they are gathering resources and promoting webinars to discuss policy alternatives.Cloudflare’s Commitment to ProtectSince 2014, we have promised to protect organizations working in these spaces to ensure they are not censored or taken offline by cyberattacks. Although the world has changed dramatically,  we continue to stand by our promise to protect these organizations and ensure they have the tools they need to stay online. If you are an organization looking for protection under Project Galileo, please visit our website: cloudflare.com/galileo.

Summit/2020: Seize Your Breakthrough Moment

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As so much activity has moved online over the past few months, the digital experience and the human experience have truly overlapped.   From retail to restaurants, eCommerce has kept businesses up and running. From universities to yoga studios, online courses are now the best way to keep people engaged. Every organization, across every industry, has… The post Summit/2020: Seize Your Breakthrough Moment appeared first on WP Engine.

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