Four Resources For Nascent WordPress Ninja

Category Archives: Nexcess

Jan 7

  • Created: Jan 7, 2015 2:00 PM

Four Resources For Nascent WordPress Ninja

Nascent WordPress NinjaIn spite of the diversification of the CMS space over the last couple of years, the enormous popularity of WordPress shows no sign of waning.

It’s that popularity that makes WordPress a safe bet for anyone wanting to launch a career in web development. If you have the development chops, you can’t go far wrong investing in WordPress knowledge. Millions of small businesses build their site on WordPress every year, and many of them will hire someone with WordPress experience.

Sometimes that means nothing more than a default theme, some plugins, and ongoing maintenance. But it can also involve designing themes from scratch, writing bespoke plugins to provide unique functionality, and managing high-traffic sites deployed on multi-server clusters.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Dec 24

  • Created: Dec 24, 2014 2:00 PM

Typography Matters: Five Excellent Online Typography Resources

TypographyThe task of typography is two-fold: readability and character. A web page is a machine for transferring information to a reader; if it has poor readability, it can’t function properly. But as many designers will tell you, function isn’t everything. Form matters: it provides character and personality. Typography is a major contributor to the impression that a web page creates.

I’m a bit of a typography geek, and it continually amazes me that business websites — and frequently even publishers and bloggers — focus so little on the way information is presented on their pages. Reader attention is a valuable commodity. By ignoring typography, we waste that attention. Poor typography increases a reader’s cognitive load and decreases the amount of attention they’re willing to pay to what our words say.

It’s a shame, because, although typography is a complex art, with a few simple rules web pages can be transformed, attention can be preserved, and companies can demonstrate that attention to detail matters to them.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Dec 17

  • Created: Dec 17, 2014 2:00 PM

Why Is It So Important To Keep A WordPress Site Updated?

WordPressIf you don’t update your WordPress site, it may be vulnerable to hackers.

Updating a WordPress site is one of those tedious tasks that has to be done, but doesn’t usually confer any obvious benefit. Sometimes you’ll get a new feature, but most of the time, you hit the update button, the site prints out a few lines of uninteresting verbiage, and nothing much happens except that the number on the update menu item disappears.

Some people like to update just because they get a sense of satisfaction from seeing that number disappear: the sort of people that get mildly stressed if their email inbox shows unread messages at the end of the day. Most of us aren’t like that, and because updating WordPress brings no obvious benefit, it tends to be sidelined by more interesting tasks, like writing new content or playing Threes.

And, lets face it, WordPress asks to be updated with a frequency that is off-putting to even the most solicitous site maintainer.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Dec 3

  • Created: Dec 3, 2014 2:00 PM

Black Friday Mobile Sales Surge, Performance Suffers

Black FridayBlack Friday is the crunch point of the eCommerce calendar. It’s the day on which retailers reap the biggest rewards, but also the day on which eCommerce platforms show their true performance colors.

A number of interesting statistics came out of this year’s Black Friday rush. The first thing to note is that the eCommerce market is in rude health with year-on-year sales increasing by around 8 percent, according to figures from IBM.

Of equal interest is the ongoing shift to mobile. Mobile online shopping has been steadily increasing over recent years, and this year saw a 24 percent increase in mobile purchases, bringing the total proportion of consumers who do their online shopping on a mobile device up to 47 percent. Almost half of shoppers went mobile, which makes mobile as important as the desktop for retailers — the mobile shopping experience can no longer be an afterthought.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 19

  • Created: Nov 19, 2014 2:00 PM

WordPress Basics: How Does A Content Distribution Network Make Your Site Faster?

Content Distribution NetworkPerformance-optimized web hosting is the single most important factor in determining site speed. Without that, your site is going to be slow no matter what other optimizations you make. But although good quality web hosting is a necessary component of a low-latency site, it’s not sufficient. The fastest web hosting can’t accelerate a badly coded site with huge unoptimized images and a ton of social media widgets. A decent optimization strategy can fix all of those issues, but there’s one thing no amount of on-site optimization can improve: the round-trip time for geographically distant web clients.

Many people are under the misconception that Internet communications travel at the speed of light. Sometimes they do, but only if they’re traveling over radio waves to satellites or other wireless communication scenarios. In fibre optic cables, signals travel less quickly than the speed of light in a vacuum—the reason is complex—and in copper cables they are significantly slower.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 13

  • Created: Nov 13, 2014 2:00 PM

Redis In-Memory Caching Substantially Improves Magento eCommerce Performance

Redis In-Memory CachingWe all know that when it comes to eCommerce, faster is better. Slow web pages cause billions of dollars in lost eCommerce revenue every year. A third of eCommerce shoppers will turn to a competitor if a store provides a poor user experience because of latency. And 44 percent of users assume that a slow shopping cart means that their transaction has failed. Nexcess understands eCommerce retailers’ need for fast, consistent, and stable performance, which is why we base our performance optimized eCommerce hosting plans on Magento.

But however fast the eCommerce platform and servers and however optimized the PHP execution and database environment, there’s a limit to what can be done without caching, which is why many of our Magento plans use caching applications that include Memcached, Redis, and Varnish.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 12

  • Created: Nov 12, 2014 2:00 PM

Your Business Site Needs A Style Guide. Here’s Why.

Style GuideAlthough I would argue that the phrase “businesses should think like publishers” is overstating the case—no business should emulate Upworthy or Buzzfeed unless pageviews are their business—it’s certainly true that to make a mark on the modern web, a business has to publish content and be involved in content marketing to some degree. Blogs, guest blogs, case studies, press releases, and social media posts are all forms of publishing.

One technique that that businesses should adopt from the publishing industry is the style guide. If the phrase “style guide” brings to mind tedious classes poring over Strunk and White, you’re not alone, but that’s not quite what “style guide” means in this context. A company style guide is a set of guidelines for writers or other content creators. It outlines a company’s preferred style—the way they like things done.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 5

  • Created: Nov 5, 2014 12:30 PM

6 Essential WordPress Plugins For Professional Photographers

While there is no shortage of photo storage and sharing services around these days, if you’re a serious photographer who makes a living taking pictures, you’re going to need a web site to promote your business, interact with clients, and display your images.

Many photographers choose WordPress for their business sites. It’s a powerful content management system and it combines just the right amounts of flexibility and ease-of-use to offer users who aren’t technically inclined a straightforward platform to build their site on.

But, one of the main draws for photographers is the huge number of photography-focused plugins available for WordPress. They turn WordPress from being a great application to build any site into a site that’s perfectly suited for running a photography business.

In this article, I’m going to look at six plugins that any photographer should know about.

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Posted in: Nexcess
Oct 29

  • Created: Oct 29, 2014 10:45 AM

SSLv3 Support to be Disabled due to CVE-2014-3566 (POODLE)

We have been following the recently discovered vulnerability known by CVE-2014-3566 (popularly referred to as POODLE). This specific vulnerability has affected the SSLv3 protocol which is supported by most Nexcess servers. SSLv3 (also known as SSL 3.0), is an old and outdated Internet cryptographic protocol that was designed to ensure secure connections for various services including HTTPS. While more modern protocols such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) have generally replaced it, SSLv3 has remained available on most systems to allow fallback compatibility to older legacy software.

POODLE itself is a man-in-the-middle type of attack. This type of attack is difficult to exploit and we have seen no cases or evidence of it affecting any of our systems. Regardless, we have chosen to disable SSLv3 on all of our systems within the coming few weeks. Unfortunately, this necessary step may cause compatibility problems to users using old browsers (specifically Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP). Any clients using IE6 attempting to connect to a site with SSLv3 disabled will not be able to do so.

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Posted in: Nexcess