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Litespeed Web Server – Why Apache and NGINX Are Now Obsolete

First of all, what is a web server? In plain language, a web server is a computer that stores, processes, and delivers website files to web browsers. Web servers consist of hardware and software that use Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to respond to web users’ requests made through the internet. Through this process, web servers load and deliver the requested page such as Google Search to your web browser. This browser could be Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge for example.

There are many different types of software that make a web server work. But the most common software is Apache. It runs 39% of the top one million websites in the world. Followed closely by NGINX (pronounced Engine X) at 32%, Cloudflare Server comes in third at 14%, Microsoft IIS in fourth at 8% then we have close behind at 6.5% – Litespeed. It’s that last one, but by no means least, we’ll be focusing on in this article and why we believe it won’t be long until it takes the top spot and why it matters to you.

Litespeed Web Server is highly efficient, this means websites load faster.

Litespeed Web Server, abbreviated as LSWS, is almost a newcomer to the web server ‘scene’ having been founded in 2003. Over the last 19 years, LSWS has gained a vast, perhaps even cult-like, following among web hosting companies due to its efficiency. With its streamlined ‘event-driven’ architecture, companies running LSWS could, in theory, double the maximum capacity of the websites on their servers if they switched from Apache.

Imagine if you are a web hosting company with 40 servers running Apache and each server could host 400 websites. The maximum number of websites you could host theoretically is 16,000. But then you hear about this technology called Litespeed Web Server that could double your hosting capacity to 32,000 websites… just by installing it. Wouldn’t you be tempted? The web hosts certainly were and that’s why LSWS is now the fastest growing web server technology on the planet.

litespeed lsws

Now that you know what a web server is, a few of the alternatives and what Litespeed can achieve for the hosting business. Let’s focus on how it can benefit you, the consumer. Those web hosting companies didn’t just choose Litespeed technology purely for the capacity benefits. They chose it for the performance advantages the technology offers too and let’s be honest, everyone loves a fast website so it’s an easy sell. We’re going to provide some examples of how much faster Litespeed web server is when used with the most common website platforms.

These website platforms are:

  1. WordPress

  2. Joomla

  3. Drupal

  4. Magento

 

To keep things as fair as possible, all platforms will use recommended caching technology where possible and the performance comparisons will be based on Requests per Second, or RPS. Using the RPS for this comparison is sensible because it’s a key performance indicator that accurately measures the throughput of a system. This is why it is commonly chosen to measure the performance of a web server – throughput is vitally important.

How much faster is Litespeed with WordPress?

WordPress website
In order to use Litespeed with WordPress, a plugin is required.
This is called LSCache and it’s available free of charge from the WordPress plugin directory. It takes some time to configure and isn’t as easy or as fast to get up and running as say, WPRocket. But once it’s ready to go – it can’t be beaten. Here is a direct comparison of the same WordPress website running on all three web servers.

No contest was it? Even though NGINX shares the same architecture (both event-driven) and therefore has much more in-common with Litespeed than Apache. Litespeed still blew it away by up to 12x. Apache was left in the dust, it just can’t compete and was beaten by up to 84x. If you are running a WordPress website on an Apache web server in 2022, it’s a no brainer, you need to switch to Litespeed. This doesn’t even factor in the performance gains from upgrading to HTTP/3 QUIC – Litespeed web server was the first to embrace this new technology and the following comparison was only for HTTP/2.

wordpress-performance-server

How much faster is Litespeed with Joomla?

joomla website


In order to use Litespeed with Joomla, a plugin is required.
It’s available free of charge for Joomla 3 and Joomla 4 directly from the Litespeed website. The implementation is much the same as for WordPress – it takes time. But once its ready to go, nothing else compares.

Once again we see huge gains in requests per second. Litespeed simply dominates by being able to handle up to 428x more requests per second than NGINX. Apache once again, is left behind. What’s clear is if you are running Joomla, migrating to Litespeed is well worth your time. Brands such as Roger Federer. Pro Beauty Medical Group and How Am I Going? all use Joomla powered websites.

litespeed-joomla-benchmark

How much faster is Litespeed with Drupal?

drupal website


In order to use Litespeed with Drupal, a plugin is required.
It’s available free of charge for Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 directly from Github. Installation is much the same as for WordPress and Joomla, it does take time to configure and optimise. But once it’s complete – nothing beats it.

In the example below Varnish has been used as the server caching technology of choice for NGINX and Apache. But even then, they don’t come close. Litespeed can handle up to 6x more requests than NGINX. Interestingly, Apache isn’t quite so far behind with Drupal than it is with Joomla. This is most likely due to efficiencies with the architectures integrating well together. Brands such as Tesla, UNICEF and Nokia all use Drupal powered websites.

drupal-performance-server

How much faster is Litespeed with Magento?

Magento website


In order to use Litespeed with Magento, a plugin is required.
It’s called LiteMage and it is available for Magento 1 and Magento 2 directly from Litespeed. Unfortunately it is not free and costs $2500USD per year – not exactly a bargain. But this does include support, updates and some installation advice.

Migrating your Magento website to Litespeed is definitely worthwhile though, costs aside. Up to 3x more requests per second can be handled and if you’re running a multi-million dollar online store such as the Brands Liverpool FC, Landrover or Nespresso (which are all Magento powered) – what is $2500USD to them really? Peanuts.

magento-performance-server

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we encourage all our clients to choose web servers that are powered by Litespeed Technology. Your website will load faster if you do. All of the major website platforms experience an increase in performance. From the test results above, the gain can vary anywhere between 3x and 428x in requests per second. But there are other website platforms that can benefit from Litespeed too. Laravel, PrestaShop and OpenCart can all work with and benefit from Litespeed Web Server. If you would like to implement Litespeed on your website, reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk you through it.

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Colour blindness – Why Designing For The Colour Blind Matters

There are over 300 million people around the world, right now, who are colour blind. 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women suffer with colour blindness. The most common cause is genetics, whereby the condition is inherited from a parent. However there are other causes too, you can become colour blind in later life, or as a result of an injury to your eyes or brain. In this article we are going to spread more awareness of this condition, whilst also driving change in the industry. By considering their experience on your website, you as a business and Brand have a lot to gain.
 

Approximately 200,000 people in New Zealand, right now, are color blind.

 
What most people who are trichromatic don’t realise, these are people with ‘normal vision’, is that there are many different types of colour blindness. As a result, the needs of each person impacted by it are different. Most colour blind people are able to see things as clearly as others, but they are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue light. Complete colour blindness is very rare, this is when an individual cannot see any colour at all and is known as Achromatopsia. Take a look at all the known types below:
 
types of colour blindness
 
The most common form of colour blindness is known as Red/Green colour blindness. This is when someone is unable to differentiate Reds and Greens. With a sensitivity to one colour more than the other. Less Red but more Green is called Protan colour blindness. More Red and Less Green is called Deutan colour blindness. Blue-Yellow colour blindness is less common and known as Tritan colour blindness. It makes it hard to tell the difference between blue and green and between yellow and red.
 
Something that’s really important to note here is that just because they struggle to see those specific colours, doesn’t mean they see other colours correctly. These colours feature in many others, red for example is a primary colour, so it can cause considerable impact on a persons daily life. An example of this is shown below with the aid of some tulips and a pug, put yourself in their shoes for a moment:
 

colour blind dog flowers

 

It looks like a whole different world doesn’t it? Remember, 200,000 people in New Zealand right now have this condition – it’s a lot of people. These are people who can become your customers too, loyal and love what you offer, but only if they can see your Brand and connect with it.

 
One thing is for certain, if you make the effort and consider their experience – at the very least, they’ll appreciate you for trying. This is when web design that understands their needs really matters and can make all the difference between an unhappy experience where they can’t see any buttons, navigate around or read any text. To a happy experience, whereby they navigate around your website with ease reading everything clearly as you intended. Imagine the conversion potential, and the referrals, a happy experience could bring you.
 
Our website was designed for the colour blind and features contrasting colours throughout to be more easily seen, this includes the buttons and the menu too. See our home page below with the same types of colour blindness used above as a direct comparison:
 

Normal Vision

Normal vision home page
 

Deuteranomaly Vision

Deuteranomaly vision home page

 

Protanopia Vision

Protanopia vision home page

 

Tritanopia Vision

Tritanopia vision home page
 
Everything is clearly legible and encouraging you to interact isn’t it? Even in low light conditions. Consider how this design technique could apply to your website and extend the reach of your Brand around the world.
 

Your next steps.

 
At VIEWFULE, we design websites with colour blindness in mind with all our web design packages. We do not charge extra for this service because we feel it’s the moral and ethical thing to do. But the good news is, if your website was designed elsewhere, we can review it and update it for a charge so you too can increase your Brands reach. So why not contact us for your FREE consultation and we’ll discuss through making your website and by extension, your Brand, colour blind friendly.
 
One last thing, if you would like to make a child’s Christmas extra special this year who is struggling with vision impairment, consider donating to Low Vision NZ. It’s a superb charity and they’ll really appreciate it.

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HTTP Security Headers – 5 Must Have Headers To Boost Your Website Security

HTTP security headers are a fundamental part of website security and should be of top priority to everyone who publishes anything on the internet. Once the headers have been implemented, they protect your website from the most common types of attack. These are XSS, code injection and click-jacking attacks (amongst others). The sad truth is, security headers are often overlooked in website audits and it’s a big oversight. This involves the security of your site visitors and your customers… how would you feel if the situation were reversed? It could be really damaging to your Brand if things go south. But the good news is, security headers are relatively simple to configure and will provide another layer of protection to help keep your website, and its visitors, safe.  

HTTP Security Headers make your website safer for everyone.


We encourage you to check your website free of charge right now by visiting Security Headers. They will grade your website from A+ to F. Prepare yourself, you might be in for a shock. This is a fast way of gauging how skilled your website developer is and how secure your web server and website platform is all at the same time. Why not type in your web developer or marketing agencies domain name and see how well protected they are too? For reference, here is ours:

 

Check your Website Security Headers


Here are the headers from our website, granted just an extract, but enough to see what they look like in action. Any modern web browser can reveal these by simply inspecting the page code and viewing the network information.

 

http security headers extra viewfule.com

 

So, now you’ve seen your website’ grade and where the headers live. It’s time to discover what they are, why they matter and how to add them. Here are five HTTP security headers that you should consider implementing on your website ASAP. There are many more headers, but these cover the basics. Please note, each one needs to be tailoured especially to your website and should not be copy and pasted from our examples. So we encourage you to reach out to your website developer for them to be safely implemented – or just ask us.

 

  1. HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

  2. Content Security Policy (CSP)

  3. X-Content-Type-Options

  4. X-Frame-Options

  5. Permissions-Policy

 

 

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) header tells the web browser that the entire website should only be accessed by a secure HTTPS protocol. Most websites only implement a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS which simply isn’t secure enough. It’s very easy to intercept it with what’s called a ‘man in the middle’ attack. HSTS totally prevents this and forces HTTPS every time and for every session. This ensures the connection cannot be established through an insecure HTTP connection which could be susceptible to attacks. All modern web browsers support HTTP strict transport security except for Internet Explorer and some lesser browsers so this is highly effective and widely compatible.

Here is an example of what the header looks like. You can include the max age, subdomains, and preload:

  • Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload

Content Security Policy (CSP)

A content security policy (CSP) helps prevent attacks such as Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and other code injection attacks. It achieves this by defining content sources that are ‘approved’ and by doing so, allowing the browser to load them. All modern browsers currently offer full or partial support for content security policy and it won’t impact the delivery of the content if it’s loaded on an older web browser, it will simply not execute it.

There are many directives that you can use with Content-Security-Policy. The example below allows scripts from both the current domain which is defined by ‘self’ as well as AnaTrix the VIEWFULE Analytics Suite:

  • Content-Security-Policy: script-src ‘self’ https://www.analytics.viewfule.com

 

X-Content-Type-Options

The X-Content-Type-Options header prevent the web browser from ‘sniffing’ a response away from the declared Content-Type. This helps reduce the danger of drive-by downloads and helps serve the content the way you intended. Sniffing allows the browser to figure out what the element is (an image, text, etc) and then render that element. Hackers however will try to trick the web browser into thinking that a harmful JavaScript file is actually an image (for example), allowing the browser to download the file and then subsequently execute that file.

This is bad news for a site visitor, as it can lead to a ‘drive by download attack’. This is when there is an unintentional download of malicious code to your computer or mobile device that leaves you open to a cyber-attack.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff

X-Frame-Options

The X-Frame-Options security header helps stop click-jacking attacks. Click jacking is when a site visitor is tricked into clicking on a link or button (amongst others) which doesn’t do what they believed it would. This can be used, for example, to steal login credentials or to get the user’s permission, completely without their knowledge, to install a piece of malware. Thankfully this problem is very easy to address with this security header and is compatible with all web browsers since Internet Explorer 8.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Permissions-Policy

Permissions Policy is a new header, formerly known as the Features Policy. It allows a website to control which features and APIs can be used in the browser. This is achieved by communicating whether or not features such as the Webcam, Speakers or USB access will be required as a part of the website experience (amongst others). By clearly defining these on the header, you are able to broadcast your intentions and be far more transparent with your site visitors.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • Permissions-Policy: camera=(); speaker=(); usb=();

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we take our clients website security seriously. HTTP Security headers are one tool we use to achieve this and when combined with a Premium SSL Certificate – it shows confidence and skill that you know how to keep your website secure for visitors and customers alike. Implementing them is specific to each website and impacts whether they use an online shop or make use of external sources. The web server that’s used also matters and varies depending on whether you’re using Apache, NGINX or Litespeed. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through implementing these security headers, specific to your use case, on your website.

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WordPress – Top 5 Reasons Why This CMS Dominates The World

WordPress is a Content Management System or CMS. It was never intended to become a website building tool or eCommerce platform, it was created for blogging. However, since it was released in 2003 its popularity has soared. From it’s humble beginnings as a fork of Cafelog, it now powers over 43% of all known websites on the planet. It’s a force to be reckoned with but that being said, it isn’t for everyone. Read on to learn more about WordPress and why this platform dominates the world.

 

WordPress offers control, developmental speed and value that few can rival.

 

Here are our Top 5 reasons why you should consider powering your website with WordPress:

 

  1. 100% Free

  2. SEO Friendly

  3. Customisable & Flexible

  4. Highly Scalable

  5. Community Support

 

100% Free
wordpress is open source software

WordPress is open source software (OSS), this means the original source code is made freely available. This is a game changer, there are very few platforms that can be installed and used 100% for free without ever requiring a financial commitment. WordPress is one of them and has been for almost 20 years now. Thankfully there are no plans to change this anytime soon either. For clarity sake, it is worth mentioning that web hosting providers that offer ‘Managed WordPress’ solutions, or the like, do charge. However that is because they are a host and have their operating costs to consider, these costs are not associated with WordPress itself.

As a result of making the source code freely available, there are millions of developers who have seen opportunities to create Themes and Plugins for it. Some are Free, others offer them for a fee. As of 2022, there are over 60,000 free plugins and over 9,000 free themes in the official WordPress Plugin Directory so you won’t be short of options or design inspiration.

By including these service ‘add-ons’, you are able to create a fully functional website, online store, booking engine or even a membership site – all on WordPress. For a start-up or small business, this could save thousands in upfront and ongoing costs. Leaving the only costs to consider being any chargeable Themes or Plugins required plus the costs of the Domain name(s), Web-hosting package and the skills of a Web Designer and Web Developer to help realise your vision.

 

SEO Friendly
wordpress is seo friendly search engine optimisation

A WordPress powered website can be on the front page of Google, it is 100% search engine friendly. You don’t need expensive website builders to get you on page 1 of Google or Bing. No matter what their fancy pants marketing says. WordPress can do it too and for a fraction of the time and cost. We’ll cover SEO in more detail over the course of a series of separate articles but just know – WordPress has you covered.

With only free plugins, you can assign each page and post on your website a unique meta tag, meta title, meta keyword, and meta description. In addition to generating a sitemap that self-manages. Granted, these capabilities can be expanded upon and become more powerful with some chargeable plugins. But, the free ones do a good enough job in most cases. This all matters because it allows for more precise optimisation and better ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). One plugin that can help achieve this with a lot less hassle is Yoast SEO – we would highly recommend it, the paid premium upgrade is often worth it too.

Customisable & Flexible

wordpress is customisableWhen it comes to customisability and flexibility, WordPress is legendary. Your imagination really is the only limitation with WordPress. From beautiful animation driven websites to lush image-heavy responsive designs, WordPress delivers. One of the major reasons why WordPress is loved the world over, by businesses and developers alike, is because it can be tailoured to meet just about any design requirement. And quite amazingly, it can achieve it fast too. This is all thanks to using what are called ‘page builders’. The two most popular page builders on WordPress are Elementor and WPBakery. They will help to create a unique website that will resonate well with your target audience in a matter of days. If you need any help or inspiration with them – YouTube is your friend thanks to their excellent support base. 

Some of the most successful organisations in the world, from The New York Times, to MTV News and The Walt Disney Company – all use WordPress powered websites. The framework is so flexible, modern and responsive that websites can be created very quickly and be easy to maintain too. Instead of days – think hours. This results in a website that is both cheaper to operate and faster to rectify if, and when, things go south.

Customisability really is King when it comes to websites. Platforms such as Wix and Squarespace have a long way to go in this regard with their highly restrictive and, sometimes, frustrating user interfaces (UI). This translates into a longer development time, higher costs and limited capabilities. With the ongoing monthly costs to consider too, they suddenly become very expensive options when compared to WordPress. This is probably the reason why Wix and Squarespace only power, at most, 6% of all known websites apiece. A far cry from the 43%+ that WordPress powers.

Highly Scalable

wordpress is highly scalableWith the right infrastructure, services and resources, WordPress is highly scalable. It can serve tens of thousands of logged-in users simultaneously and serve millions of page views each and every month without skipping a beat. It has the ability to process page requests immediately and can deliver lightning fast results to search queries too. As a result, WordPress is a highly scalable platform that can support almost any growing business – even multi-million dollar corporations like the ones listed above.

Two of the most powerful features of WordPress are its enterprise integration and multi-site capabilities. It has the ability, with little to no coding, to integrate with a wide variety of disparate enterprise level platforms. Including CRM systems such as Salesforce, custom data synchronization, eCommerce stores and single sign-on systems.

Multi-site is a type of WordPress installation that allows you to create, and manage, multiple websites from one single WordPress dashboard. This makes website management a breeze, making changes and updates all from just one place results in less complication and easier maintenance when you’re running lots of websites.

Community Support

wordpress vast communityWhen more than 455 million websites use the same platform, help is never too far away. There are literally tens of millions of articles and do-it-yourself guides on Google and YouTube showing you how to do things with WordPress. It’s an incredible support base and nothing else comes close.

Sourcing a Developer isn’t a chore either, there are millions of them that are ready to help resolve your issue – from design to integration and everything in between. An expert is quick to find with only a Google Search these days and you’ll be up and running in no time. Remember, no platform is perfect and WordPress is no exception. Problems happen and they often derive from updates. It’s just a matter of when, not if, things go wrong with any website platform. So it’s really important you have support on-hand when you need it and you’ll never be far away from a WordPress specialist.

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we often start our customers on WordPress. Given all our observations above, hopefully you now understand why. But in some cases platforms such as Joomla or the Laravel framework are required, amongst others. These are custom solutions to meet the needs of custom problems. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through your challenges to get you on the right platform that meets your use case and budget.

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Content Delivery Networks – Make Your Website Faster With a CDN

A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, refers to a globally distributed group of servers that work collaboratively to help make your website more reliable and load faster. The great thing is, they are affordable to suit every budget and available from many different companies each with their own fair share of advantages. The popularity of CDNs continues to grow, and with good reason. They do their job well and today the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs, including popular websites such as Amazon, Facebook and Netflix.

 

Choose a CDN to make your website Faster and more Reliable.

Here are our Top 5 reasons to partner with a CDN for your website:

  1. Faster Performance

  2. Synergistic Benefits

  3. Reliability & Redundancy

  4. Flexible Pricing

  5. Easy Integration

 

Faster Performance


fast performance cdn websites
A CDN helps by delivering web content between your web server and your visitors’ location. Once the content of your website passes through them for the first time, the CDNs servers keep a copy of the static content (CSS, Images and JavaScript files etc) and then deliver it to every visitor, allowing them to access the content much faster than if they went directly to your web server first. With servers located in almost every major city on the planet, you can rest assured your visitors won’t be far from one.

The secret to making this technology work is caching. There are many different types of caching technology employed these days from Browser based to HTTP caching as well as server-side caching technologies (we’ll explore these more on a separate article). But a CDN is different by introducing an extra layer to make things even faster. And by faster, we mean it. A WordPress website can expect to see speed increases anywhere between 50-80% when served through a CDN. Who wouldn’t want a speed boost like that?

Synergistic Benefits

synergistic benefits server content deliver network


The simple fact of the matter is web-servers, in the traditional sense, struggle to keep up with demand.
With so many requests to handle, it can be challenging for a shared web server to respond in a timely fashion. It doesn’t help that there’s no globally enforced standard to adhere to either, no rule book states a web server ‘must respond in x milliseconds‘ for example. This directly impacts your website loading speed.

One thing a CDN does really well is reduce the TTFB or ‘Time-to-First-Byte’. A slow TTFB means your web page has taken a long time (potentially several seconds) just to establish a connection with your web server and receive an initial response. Keep in mind that your visitors are likely seeing a blank white page while all of this is happening – doesn’t make a very good first impression does it? A CDN greatly reduces this as it already has ‘oven ready’ content ready to serve. Wave good bye to those blank white pages!

A CDN can reduce up to 65% of the load from your web server and distribute it more evenly across a many of their regional servers. This results in less bandwidth and resources being used. If you are on a web hosting package that’s very restrictive, with limited resources for example, this really matters and could be the difference between you needing to upgrade or change hosts entirely – that’s one big headache avoided.

Reliability & Redundancy

reliability of a cdn content delivery network


Because CDNs have such large networks, they provide excellent redundancy. We have all experienced our website going down at one time or another. Incredibly frustrating wasn’t it? It can be particularly embarrassing when a customer is the one that notices first. A CDN can help solve this problem, but granted, it does depend on what plan you are on. Some offer excellent down time protection by caching much if not all of your website, while others offer bare minimum protection. So it’s important you do your research and compare the providers and plans. 

It is true that by adding an extra step in the process, or ‘cog in the machine’ if you will, you are technically reducing your reliability. However, there is something important to consider. More servers spread around the globe are much more reliable than just one web server handling everything in one location. So a CDN actually is more reliable given the context when all said and done. 

Flexible Pricing

flexible pricing content delivery network

Pricing can vary considerably with CDN providers so shop around. There are free plans available with most CDN’s, however, we recommend avoiding them. They will provide you with bare minimum improvements to speed or redundancy which begs the question – what’s the point? If you’re going to the time, effort and expense to implement a CDN you need a plan that delivers and we know of no free options that do.

Prices generally start from $10 per month but can increase quickly. The reason for this is either size of the network, for example they open more global servers to you on higher paid tiers. Or due to bandwidth, whereby some CDN’s implement traffic control mechanisms or bandwidth limitations. Take a look at your last year of bandwidth use, your current web host can help you find this if need so reach out to them. You then have a ballpark figure of what your bandwidth use was, what the projected use is, and can then choose a suitable CDN plan around those numbers.

There are some extras we definitely recommend looking for in a provider. For example, permitting the upload of custom SSL certificates is a positive, this improves your security posture. Custom rules help tailor the CDN for your use case and thus improve compatibility. DDOS Protection and security rules really help to protect your website from hackers and illegal crawlers. Detailed analytics which can be exported in a variety of formats is really useful for reporting. Lastly, more servers around the globe which expands the network reach is definitely a plus, this directly improves website performance. Now you might not sell globally but that’s not the point, if they have servers located all around the world this provides you with even more redundancy – the more the better.

Easy Integration

fast integration of a cdn
Integrating a CDN into your website is a process, but it’s not a difficult one. If you are unsure you can always reach out to a web developer for help, but if in doubt – YouTube is your friend. The first question you need to answer is – how is my website hosted?

If it’s a cloud based solution such as with WordPress.com or even with Wix, it might already be on a CDN. Check with your provider, and whilst your doing so ask if they offer different tiered plans. Remember, avoid free CDN’s. If your website is on a traditional web hosting platform  or on a dedicated server, the process is a little more complex. You will need to update your Domain’s DNS records, specifically the Name Servers. For the sake of full disclosure, it is possible to do it via a CNAME record but we recommend against this approach – simply put, it just doesn’t work reliably from our experience so stick with the Name Server approach and you’re good to go.

Once the DNS records are updated and the CDN is fully configured (typically within 24 hours), you will be up and running and the best part is you achieved it with little to no downtime. Now is the moment to sit back, pat yourself on the back and realise you just made a great decision for the future of your website. And when your customers start commenting on how much faster your website is – you have yourself to thank.

Your next steps.

So, which CDN’s do we recommend? A good place to start is with RocketCDN, BunnyCDN or QUIC Cloud. They are all particularly good if you’re on WordPress as they include plugins that take away all the hassle by setting everything up fast. However they also work on other platforms too such as Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Laravel. With flexible integration, top notch speed, globally distributed servers and pricing plans offering great value – we gladly recommend them all. 

At VIEWFULE, we migrate customers to content delivery networks regularly. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll be glad to help!

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Web Hosting – Top 5 Tips To Find the Best Package For You

Two really important things you need to decide for your website before you even think about the website itself are the Domain and the Web-hosting. Both are essential services in order for your website to work. But here’s the thing, they are not provided equally not even close. There are thousands of hosting companies out there, all around the world, but the prices will vary greatly and so does the service offering (what you actually get for your hard-earned money!). In this article, we’re going to help you ‘see through the marketing’ to help decide which web hosting provider, and package, is most suitable for you.

Shortlist at least 3 hosts and perform detailed comparisons.

The best advice we can give right off the bat is to choose based on your needs tomorrow, not today. Choose a package that’s flexible and offers more storage, bandwidth or even more domain names than you have a need for right now. Anything can change in a month, never mind a year, so it pays to think ahead and not be restricted right from the start. It’ll cost you more to change later so gain some breathing room right from the beginning.


For most people, the ideal web hosting provider will deliver in five key ways:

  1. Support

  2. Price

  3. Guarantees

  4. Speed

  5. Freebies

Support

technical support web hosting

 

We highly recommend you choose a web host that provides technical support by Phone, Email and Live Chat. Having all three options available provides you with peace of mind so you have help available to you in the form that’s easiest for you when the need arises. It’s all well and good when a web hosting provider markets ‘support emails are replied to within 1 hour’ but if your eCommerce Website is totally down, you could be losing hundreds if not thousands of dollars in sales per hour, you need immediate help and nothing beats talking on the phone or chatting with them via live chat.

If they are based in the same country as you, reaching them for support is obviously going to be easier. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be available when you need them or even available on the package you bought. Support availability is often tied to how much you pay for the package and if you bought a cheap one, expect limited support in return. It always pays to do the research and what’s clear in 2022 for companies based in New Zealand; is that web hosting providers located in Australia, Asia and the west coast of the U.S are often available immediately when you need them due to the favourable time zones.

Price

save money price webhosting

 

Going off-shore is still the most cost-effective option for web hosting in 2022. Whether it’s a shared web hosting service, dedicated server or a cloud based solution. Choosing an on-shore web host within New Zealand can be as much as 30% more expensive for the same service offering. For most people, this negates any benefit especially once it’s all setup and working and that initial on boarding support is no longer required. There is nothing wrong with looking off-shore, just make sure you ask the questions and read the fine print prior to buying. You will not be protected under New Zealand law if you request your money-back.

Consider pre-paying yearly or longer. Paying monthly, especially when you intend to keep the package for a few years is unwise. Hosts often provide discounts or incentives to encourage you to pre-pay for longer periods. See if the Annual, Biannual or even Triennial prices result in a good saving.

Avoid getting caught up in the marketing jargon. The word ‘Unlimited’ is being used a lot these days and it’s misleading to say the least. ‘Unlimited Bandwidth’, ‘Unlimited Storage’ etc… you’ll see these terms advertised prominently and with good reason. Simply put, they work! These companies realised long ago that advertising any caps or restrictions deter shoppers so what did they do? Just re-worded them, they didn’t really change anything on the service side of things. Therefore, the old saying ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably is’ applies here. Nothing in the world of web-hosting is truly unlimited. Fair use policies apply in the vast majority of cases and in the rest it will be based on ‘access per second restrictions’. Such as transmitting anything more than 10MB per second results in you reaching a cap, for example. Make sure you ask them about these hidden caps and restrictions, some can be reluctant to reveal them and if that’s the case for you – walk away.

 

Guarantees

guarantees performance speed uptime web host

 

Look for packages with a guaranteed up time of 99.9% or above. An up time guarantee of the ‘three nines’ or 99.9%, is currently considered to be the industry standard for web hosting services and it translates to less than 0.1% of downtime in any given month. This equates to less than 45 minutes, roughly per month, that your website is inaccessible. Anything longer than that could lead to impact and your business being seen as unprofessional.

Money-Back Guarantees are common place these days in web hosting but ‘caveat emptor’, they are not created equal. Some companies offer very generous 90-Day Money Back Guarantees with minimal conditions. Others only 30-Days with lots of conditions applied. Always ask about your guarantees prior to ordering so if the time comes you do need to cancel, you know exactly what will happen when you do. If a provider is offering a free Domain name with a purchase you need to ask if you’ll lose this but often they can be negotiated and retained for a small amount. Remember to check the fine print as not every provider offers a money-back guarantee but as a general rule of thumb, if they are willing to offer a strong refund policy – they are confident in their service quality and this should reassure you.

Speed

web hosting speed performance

 

Geography matters in web-hosting and directly impacts performance. Think about it, if you have to travel all the way to New York to receive data and then travel all the back to Wellington it’s going to take time and this results in your website loading slower. Especially when compared to travelling between Auckland and Wellington, for example.

But it’s important to know there are a few quick and easy ways to mitigate this and one is to ensure you are using the latest version of PHP. As of writing, PHP 8.1 is the latest and greatest. When compared to PHP 7.4, which is still the most common version, it’s as much as 40% faster and can handle more than 50% more requests. This is a huge improvement and absolutely worth your time, so if you’re website is running 7.4 it’s time to perform that compatibility assessment and update.

Compression is another easy win and relies upon the web server and web browser supporting it. Thankfully, most do these days but they might not be using the latest one. Brotli compression is incredibly efficient at compressing your website down for the journey between the web server and the visitor and once it arrives it decompresses the content quickly and serves it. This is totally seamless and all happens behind the scenes. Gzip used to be the way to do this, but Brotli is the new king. In some cases the overall front-end decompression is up to 64% faster than gzip so ensure your web server is using this.

Content Delivery Networks, or CDNs, have really helped improve website loading speeds as they are a distributed network of servers located in almost every major city. They are often called ‘nodes’, they store small amounts of data on your website such as structure and images. When a visitor loads your website, they are directed through the node that’s closest to them and it shares what data it has. Depending on how much you pay the CDN, it can share a lot of data, perhaps even most of your websites content. Ether way, this all helps reduce the amount of data traveling over long distances from the visitor to the web server which ultimately results in a faster loading experience for your visitor. CDN’s are a topic of themselves so we’ll cover them in more detail in a separate article.

The fastest web-servers in 2022 are often powered by Litespeed technology. It’s an alternative to the legacy Apache servers (which we no longer recommend) and NGINX servers which have long been considered the fastest. Litespeed cache technology is very fast and they partner with a CDN called QUIC Cloud. When these two technologies are combined, your website can load up to 67% faster than NGINX so it’s well worth asking your next web-host if they use Litespeed technology.


Freebies

freebies free extras webhost

 

Who doesn’t love something for free?? But free doesn’t necessarily mean worthless. Especially when it could involve a free Domain Name, Free Email Accounts, Premium SSL Certificates and Dedicated IP Addresses.

We encourage all our clients to use Premium SSL Certificates, the simple reason for this is security and the guarantees they can provide. It is extremely unlikely you will be hacked if your website uses 256-bit Encryption and is protected by a GlobalSign approved SSL Certificate. Some even come with money-back guarantees to help with the recovery costs if the worst does happen. Wouldn’t you feel more at ease if you had access to $10,000 or more to help with the associated recovery costs? Premium SSL Certificates can offer you this peace of mind and in some cases could be worth their weight in gold so consider them carefully. Try to avoid the free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ SSL Certificates, they only provide the bare minimum level of protection and are not designed for high traffic eCommerce Websites.

Another thing that really helps with security, but more so with spam protection, is having a Dedicated IP Address. More often than not when you a buy a web-hosting package you will be put on a server with 50 or more others. These are called ‘Shared web-hosting’ services and are the most common form of web-hosting available. The problem with this approach is that all it takes is just one of them to be flagged as a spammer and you all could be impacted because you share the same IP Address. Ask yourself this question, is the risk worth it? Do you want your business to be flagged as a potential Spam source? We don’t believe so and recommend our clients choose Dedicated IP’s to avoid it. This provides them reassurance that the decisions made by others won’t impact them.

 

Your next steps.


At VIEWFULE, we would love to help you decide on your Web hosting package. It’s a minefield out there and we would be more than happy to provide you guidance so why not reach out for your FREE consultation?

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