Websites – This is how they work
Most people don’t know what is actually going on when they visit a website. They don’t care to know. But when it comes to running your own site it is important to understand the mechanics of how it works.
It starts by getting over the commonly used word “visit” a website. It is an unfortunate use of words because it masks the reality of what is really happening.
For those of us that own or manage a website, we need to be very aware of the actual process.
So what actually happens.
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. We generally mistake the complexity of what a web browser does and take it for granted.
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.
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
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
- Login into your Google account. If you use the google chrome browser you may already be logged in.
- Now access Google drive.
- At the top left of the window you will see a “+New” button. Create a new folder.
- Once created, right click on it, from the list of options select Share.
- A Dialog Box will appear. Click on Advanced.
- (Another Dialog Box Will Appear).
- Click on Change in front of Private – Only you can access.
- (Another Dialog Box Will Appear).
- Select First Option On-Public on the web and hit Save Button.
- Now your new folder is effectively a CDN folder and it can accessible without login.
- Upload your files to your new “CDN” folder.
- To use or share files out of google drive you need File ID or shareable link of each file.
- Go to each required selected file (inside the folder)and click on Share (a Dialog Box will Appear).
- Here you can see File ID & sharing link.
- Just Copy That and Use it Wherever you want.
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.