Covid-19, site security and speed.

Covid-19, site security and speed. 1

Covid-19, your site security and speed.

I know Covid, site security and site speed sounds like a strange combination of words for a Post title. Read on. During this period when so many things are disrupted from normal, the internet is also feeling the impact.We all know that the internet traffic has skyrocketed because more people have been stuck at home because of work closures. More people have been turning to the internet to fill those hours of boredom. 

Sadly, the opportunists, hackers and spammers have seen this as a boon for them. They have ramped up their efforts to take advantage of this situation. Covid opportunists. At the same time, the services that run to make the internet safe, are taking a heavier load also. We mostly believe all this technology is fully automated, so whats the problem? The problem is the support services that make this all possible are human beings, monitoring and maintaining these systems. Closing the cracks when they appear. They are in overload.

I see people with websites asking for help on Forums. Regular topic where people are looking for simple advice for basic problems. But I also see people terrified by sudden increases of attacks during this Covid period on their websites, trying to gain access to their admin accounts. Mostly they are aware of this increase because the security firewall on their site is reporting them. Sure, they should revisit the settings and check their firewall is set at optimal configuration. That is always good practice. Beyond that, just be vigilant and move on. This is all part of this same theme. 

I also see a lot of people chasing the quickest possible load for their website. Yes we all want that. But get the important criteria right and don’t go breaking things that were working well before.

The increased traffic the internet is experiencing, is having an effect on some infrastructure. Networks of servers are needing adjustments to smooth out the chinks. No  its not broken. Its just adjusting. Things are a little unstable at the moment as fluctuations are outside the norm.

A further word on website speed. Learn the important indicators. The scores used at the very top of the test are not about SPEED. THEY ARE ABOUT HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO SUPPOSED “BEST PRACTICE”. Check any of the big names, high traffic sites like Apple.com.

Big names like Apple
Big names like Apple

You will see they don’t get high scores. Its true. What they do get is fast load speeds and first paint. They have a lot of add-on functionality and things happening in their “0n-load” times in their Waterfall charts. But the first visual of their site loads quick. People get to see something , something to digest, well before they want to actually take an action or press a link. While they are doing this, the site completes it load in the background. The visitor is totally unaware of the full load time. First paint is everything. If you want speed! focus on time to first byte and time to first paint.

Now is probably not the right time to make major changes to your website. At least not in response to traffic, speed and the current environment. By major changes, I mean undoing all the good work you did before that actually worked. You should stay in touch with forums relative to the theme you use, the plugins you use, the host server you use. If you see a spike in issues with any of these, then research it, qualify that it is real, then take action if necessary. Alternately wait till things settle. Do some research. Plan for the future.

Settle petal, one things for sure. Tomorrow is a new day with new challenges.

For our latest posts an topics visit our main Blog here

For an archive or all our topics go here

Don’t forget to Subscribe to receive notifications for new articles and Tutorials as they appear.

Update WordPress, Themes, Plugins

Update-WordPress,-Themes,-Plugins

Update WordPress, Themes, Plugins

You do need to update WordPress , it’s Plugins and Themes. Keeping your website up to date goes a long way to ensure it works seamlessly. It helps to keep the wheels turning without unnecessary friction. 

From time to time WordPress introduces new code into the core files. These are intended to make the whole system run better. They introduce new capabilities, fix compatibility issues and fine tune security. Depending on your settings the WordPress updates will auto install or alternately appear in your dashboard for you to manually install.

In the case of major updates, you may need to manually click to install even if you have set to auto. This is just a safe guard giving you opportunity to do any housekeeping or backup first.

Just as WordPress has updates, so do your installed plugins. WordPress makes the core file updates available to developer before release to the general public. They do this to give plugin developers and authors time to test their plugins with the changed WordPress core files. They can then decide to release updates for their plugins to accommodate the WordPress changes if necessary. This is how they stay ahead of the game. So when we update WordPress on our sites, their plugins are ready to go.

While there may not be any conflicts to fix, many plugin authors may take the opportunity to release any incremental updates they were working on. It also allows for their plugin to report compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.

Let’s update WordPress 

How to use Google Drive as a CDN

Google-Drive-as-CDN

How to use Google Drive as a CDN

Don’t worry, its really not hard to use Google Drive as a CDN. You see I have broken it down to 16 steps but in truth its only half a dozen. I broke it into such small bites just to make it perfectly clear and transparent. It will only take a couple of minutes in realtime. You only have to do it once. There after you just add whatever you need to this one folder. So let’s get started

 

Google Drive as a CDN

  1. Login into your Google account. If you use the google chrome browser you may already be logged in.
  2. Now access Google drive.
  3. At the top left of the window you will see a “+New” button. Create a new folder.
  4. Once created, right click on it, from the list of options select Share.
  5. A Dialog Box will appear. Click on Advanced.drive new folder
  6. (Another Dialog Box Will Appear).
  7. Click on Change in front of Private – Only you can access.change share
  8. (Another Dialog Box Will Appear).
  9. Select First Option On-Public on the web and hit Save Button.on the web
  10. Now your new folder is effectively a CDN folder and it can accessible without login.
  11. Upload your files to your new “CDN” folder.
  12. To use or share files out of google drive you need File ID or shareable link of each file.
  13. Go to each required selected file (inside the folder)and click on Share (a Dialog Box will Appear).
  14. Here you can see File ID & sharing link.
  15. Just Copy That and Use it Wherever you want.

CDN – What is a Content Delivery Network

CDN-POST

CDN – What is a Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network is a Network of servers.

You subscribe to their CDN network

Each server in that network holds copies of your website files.

The servers are strategically spaced around the world.

Any time someone visits your Domain(website) the CDN serves files from the closest of those servers.

The Problem CDN addresses

Normally your website lives on one server somewhere in the world.
For someone living in the same city as your server, your site may load quite quickly. (but not a guarantee)
The path to your server in the same city is likely quite direct.
If your site  content is well optimized and your server reasonably efficient things should be good.

The further people get from that server, then it’s likely your site will load slower.
The path from other locations around the world may go through multiple servers.
Then through regional hubs .
And finally… they can get to your sites hosting server.
Of course the type of hosting service you use may have an impact during busy times of day.

Add to that any congestion that may be experienced anywhere along that path.
The files from your site will take longer to reach the visitors browser.

Here is where a CDN can help offer a solution.

A CDN stores copies of your website information on multiple servers around the world.
This means we could store a large percentage of that data and files on a server closer to the physical locations of our visitors.
The visitors browser will receive the required information quicker to render your website for viewing.

We do not visit a website.

visit-website

We do not visit a website.

Most people do not know what is actually  going on when they visit a website. Mostly they don’t care to know. They only know if a website is fast or slow.
In truth the the technical side has no bearing on their thoughts. They are the consumer of the experience, not the webmaster.

In this respect the commonly used word “visit” is unfortunate because it masks the reality of what is really happening.

 

We do not visit a website. (the website comes to us)

For those of us that own or manage a website, we need to be very aware of the actual process. 

So what actually happens. Read on.

In the same way that we watched a concert on TV, we did not actually go to the concert.
It came to us on our TV screen. Our TV whether cable, satellite or via antenna, picked up a “signal” that contained all the digital data to display the concert. As motion occurs, parts of the screen refresh and change.

We all use web browsers in a similar way to TV channels. Sure its a loose comparison but it works.

We download a batch of digital files. Then our  browser builds a representation of a website on our computer screen.

Our website is not a moviehouse or cinema playing our latest smash hit. It is really just a file server. There is no visual representation of our website until someone loads those files in a web browser.

There are two pieces of technology communicating with each other. The files on our hosting server, and the Web browser on someones computer.

Which brings us to our next point

What are the steps of a web page being displayed?

Scroll to top