How to Efficiently Upload Media (Save Bandwidth & Improve Performance)

How to Efficiently Upload Media (Save Bandwidth & Improve Performance)

This post titled “How to Efficiently Upload Media….”is a guest post from Gilad Maayan — founder and CEO of Agile SEO and a developer community advisor for SAP, NetApp, Cloudinary, Imperva, Incapsula and many innovative startups. He’s been writing about developer tools for almost 20 years and is deeply familiar with the burning topics in web development.

Go ahead and read on his tips to efficient upload all sorts of media to your WordPress website.

Digital marketers and other web professionals make frequent use of media files such as images and videos to complement a website’s text content.

To use these files, you typically need to upload them on your website, and a platform such as WordPress makes it extremely straightforward to do so.

However, what WordPress and other platforms don’t make clear is that how you upload media can have a huge impact on website performance. The prime mistake people make is uploading media files that are much larger than they need to be.

Large media files slow down page load times, which negatively impact website performance and search engine rankings.

An accumulation of large files also reduces the server bandwidth available to you.

So what can you do about it?

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This article provides five helpful tips for efficiently uploading media and improving website performance.

Compress Your Media Files

Compressing your media files can reduce their size by up to 90% in some cases. Several websites can easily compress images for you, including TinyJPG and compressor.io.

WordPress has a slew of free plugins such as Smush that work by compressing image files as you upload them, so there is no reason to not use this tip.

There are both online solutions and software that can compress videos for you, for example, Handbrake.

It’s worth noting the difference between lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression removes unnecessary file information without impacting the overall quality while lossy compression reduces the quality of the file at the benefit of much-reduced file size.

Leverage The Cloud

The cloud computing model has revolutionized the way many things are done in the world of IT. What you might not know that it is possible to host your media assets on cloud-based platforms, edit and optimize them, and serve them to users.

Cloudinary is one such example of an image and video management solution that is deployed as a cloud-based service.

Cloud media upload service often come packaged with real-time asset manipulation so that you can serve different versions of files to suit different users.

Companies with large websites and their own developers can make use of integrations with cloud-based services that allow for even more efficient media uploading.

For example, the Cloudinary service comes with a range of SDKs that allow you to upload media files to websites with some simple code in a variety of programming languages. Using the Rails media file upload integration, you can specify the file type, dimension, crop your images, and further optimize media files with the popular Ruby on Rails web application framework.

Consider a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of linked web servers. These servers store your media content and distribute them to website visitors that are located nearby.

Instead of, say, a visitor in Australia having to download your website’s images from your main web server in America, the CDN will deliver the images from an Australian city.

The benefits of using a CDN are twofold. Firstly, website performance will improve because pages will load faster for all users. Secondly, a CDN reduces the amount of bandwidth you consume on your hosting account.

Use Video Hosting Websites

Most people are familiar with websites like YouTube and Dailymotion. These video hosting websites are excellent options for serving video content to your website’s visitors efficiently.

WordPress makes it easy to upload videos and the platform automatically renders your videos for users with a basic, inbullt HTLML5 player.

However, it is not efficient to host your own videos because they can take up a lot of space. You can upload video files to YouTube and embed them on your web pages, which reduces the storage space consumed on your servers.

Become Smarter with Media Use

The simplicity with which online marketers and copywriters can use media to enhance a website’s content makes it tempting to go too far and use too many images or videos on a web page.

Each media file that has to load in a visitor’s browser leads to a separate server request. The more requests your web servers have to respond to, the slower a given page will load for users.

To improve website performance, consider becoming smarter with your use of media. Ask yourself whether every single image on the page is necessary for delivering the message you want your visitors to receive. If an image or other media file is not absolutely fundamental, get rid of it.

The most helpful types of images tend to be infographics or charts that provide more detail on a topic in an attractive way or visually represent important information.

Memes and random images can break up content and add an extras dimension, but are they really essential?

Since July 2018, speed has been a ranking factor in Google’s algorithms for both mobile and desktop devices. Marketers need to step up their efforts to improve website performance and save bandwidth when using media assets. Make sure you use these tips to deliver media files to users efficiently.

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Kinsta Review: Best Managed WordPress Hosting Today

Kinsta Review: Best Managed WordPress Hosting Today

Disclaimer: This Kinsta review is based on our actual experiences after purchasing a plan, launching a website, and actually using Kinsta. I have affiliate links in this post. Reading and clicking this means that you accept the terms and conditions.

Your website hosting choice lays the foundation for your website. You’d want your website to be built, managed, and run on a web host who is solid, reliable, fast, secure, and a dependable hosting provider.

You can’t ask for all that paying $1 (or $6?) per month for a hosting provider. Since more than 60% of websites are on WordPress (including this one), you’d probably be using WordPress already.

It’s usually rare to find good managed WordPress hosting solutions (we only know of 3 such providers), and Kinsta is one of them.

Kinsta WordPress Hosting: This is How You Should Be Hosting

In a previous blog post on Managed WordPress hosting, I wrote:

“The hosting service you choose will determine just how successful your digital marketing efforts are going to be.”

When you want to start a blog or set up a website on WordPress, you’d normally think of trying to spend as less as possible and get up and running as soon as possible”

Normally, when you look at your options for web hosting, most people only look at the price (we are all so used to it, aren’t we?) and don’t consider absolutely anything else beyond those $$$ signs.

For a moment, stop obsessing about the price. Instead, look at it this way: Your Managed WordPress hosting provider is directly responsible to just how much money your business makes.

Plus, not all WordPress hosting solutions are built the same.

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In a nutshell (we’ll get into specifics below), this is what Kinsta gets to the table:

  • The architecture: This isn’t the same as Godaddy’s with its traditional “We’ll host any site” architecture which is now also used for “Wordpress hosting”.
  • Speed: Is it fast enough or not? Recently, Kinsta did the unthinkable.  Kinsta is moving to Google Cloud’s new compute-optimized VMs. Performance gains so fast you’re going to feel them! 🚀 . The new C2 Machines over at Kinsta will give you the following:  Simply moving your sites to the new architecture is going to result in faster load times, without any work or testing required on your part. Due to the way the C2 machines work, heavier sites will see greater performance increases than those of already optimized sites. But as we saw above, even optimized sites are noticing a difference. This change doesn’t only impact the frontend of your sites. You’ll see faster load times on the backend, when working in your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Security: DDoS protection? Proactive prevention from Malware and Hacking?
  • SSL certificates: No site without SSL? Don’t even get online.
  • CDN: Making what’s fast, even faster (also helps greatly with Image rendering)
  • Staging features: You don’t want to mess with your live website, do you?
  • Migrating your site: Who wants to DIY migrate when experienced folks behind managed WordPress hosting can do it for you? The new Compute-optimized C2 Machines are now available to every customer who migrates to Kinsta. As of January 13th, 2020, all client sites have been successfully migrated to the new compute-optimized C2 instances. As Google makes them available in more regions, Kinsta is going to make them available in those regions too.
  • Uptime checks: If a site is down, it doesn’t make money. Websites on shared hosts are down, down, down some more.
  • Automated, Daily Backups (You can never be too sure. Just as my clients who had start from scratch)
  • Scalability (If your site starts to get popular and when you need more, you don’t want a way to scale up automatically).
  • Optimized Costing for Multiple WordPress or Multi-site WordPress Installs (the more WordPress installs you make, the lower it should cost you per site install — not more).

Kinsta gives you all this, and much more.

Even the WordPress managed hosting providers who you (and I) thought were awesome aren’t always up to mark.

They miss the boat somewhere. The actual experience with a web host always comes to play much after you stay hosted with them.

Say Hello to Kinsta

Kinsta is powered by The Google Cloud Platform and its 15 global data centers. Everything is interconnected over their premium tier network, designed to minimize distance and hops, resulting in fast and secure transport of your data.

Kinsta is obsessed with speed, security, and support. They feature We use state-of-the-art technology like Nginx, PHP 7, LXD containers and MariaDB to make sure your website loads fast. I mean it when I say “fast”.

They also feature complete resource isolation, automatic scalability, and high availability.

What I really like about Kinsta is their attention to detail with speed and security. Featuring active and passive measures to stop attacks and malicious intent in its tracks.

All hosting plans on Kinsta also come with continuous monitoring for uptime, DDoS attack detection, malware scanning, SSL support, hardware firewalls. Bottom line: your site is monitored and secured 24/7.

Further, Kinsta has a lot more for you when you come in (but still has everything you are used to).

Kinsta Vs cPanel Vs Plesk

 

Kinsta’s Architecture & Technology

Kinsta’s main USP is the infrastructure and the technology stack it uses on the backend to make your site perform the way it does.

Kinsta predominantly uses Nginx, PHP 7, LXD containers and MariaDB to make sure your website loads fast. Really, astonishingly fast.

Now, let’s take all that apart without getting too technical. Nginx is way faster than traditional core server applications do (and it can scale up or down as required too).

PHP 7 is the helping the entire web faster and heralds a new shift in how processor memory is consumed leading to drastic improvements in performance.

The LXD containers are, by design, more secure. LXD containers are scalable, intuitive, image-based, and feature advanced resource control, and much more.

MariaDB is next-gen database management that large companies and organizations like Google (obviously), Wikipedia, RedHat, CentOS, and others use ( now, you get to use it with Kinsta too).

Hosting With Kinsta: The Need for Speed

Thanks to the infrastructure & technology stack that Kinsta uses (and they are fanatical about keeping it that way), WordPress websites hosted on Kinsta are outrageously fast.

Want proof?

Here’s a WordPress website we designed and hosted on Kinsta. Check out the performance stats for a speed test done with Pingdom tools.

Kinsta performance test

That’s pretty darned good considering we added tons of images to the site already. If you take nothing else from this Kinsta review, just take this. Moving to Kinsta alone can help speed up your website by 200% or so.

Kinsta Hosting With Automatic Scaling

The way Kinsta’s architecture is (thanks to nginx, LXD containers, etc), scaling is a part of the design.

Instead of you having to upgrade to larger servers to handle increasing bandwidth or space, every hosting plan on Kinsta is designed to grow with each of your WordPress websites.

Active Plugin Management

Normally, you’d have to manage plugins from inside your WordPress dashboard. With Kinsta, you can actually opt-in to upload a few plugins (like Yoast SEO, for instance) right at the time of installing WordPress.

Then, each of your uploaded plugins are monitored and the information is displayed for you to see.

Kinsta plugin management

If and when there are issues with any of the plugins, or if an update is die, you’ll know soon enough.

More Benefits Of Kinsta Hosting

When you are hosting your WordPress site, the last thing you want is to deal with issues if and when they pop up. Kinsta has everything to help you (some of it when you ask, and some of it without you even asking)

Backups (and Additional Backups)

Kinsta does backup for your sites at least once every day. Should the worst happen you’ll be able to reinstate a backup of your site with the push of a button.

Kinsta does separate backups on all environments – live and staging – so your development efforts are never wasted.

Uptime Checks With Kinsta

You and I know that WordPress websites need care, maintenance, and attention. But hello? Weren’t you supposed to run your business? Who has the time to keep checking on your website, right?
Imagine this: Kinsta checks and monitors your websites every 60 seconds That translates to 1,440 checks for each of your sites every day. Go figure.

Outstanding reaction time

If you have an issue, how fast do you want to resolve it? I want resolutions yes’ day.

Traditionally, you’ll write out to customer support (or open a ticket and then wait). Not with Kinsta.

For one, their uptime checks allow Kinsta staff react to issues before they affect your site or your visitors. Kinsta is proactive in support (and not reactive).

Kinsta’s Hack Guarantee

Thanks to Kinsta’s proactive protection, they don’t just wait for shit to hit the fan and then for you to start writing to them. They keep their server software up to date, constantly monitor events network-wide, and any suspicious activity is investigated and dealt with even before you wake up to it.

Just in case your website is hacked (damn, I lost 3 websites 4 times only because I didn’t have this then), Kinsta has a guarantee that they’ll fix it with immediate priority. Kinsta’s staff has years of experience dealing with all sorts of WordPress related issues. Just saying.

Deal with Experts (not outsourced support staff)

At Kinsta, WordPress is a priority. As such, everything they learn and execute is backed by years of experience. The support staff you’ll end up talking to is experienced in troubleshooting, server maintenance, theme and plugin building and maintenance, contributing to WordPress core, and much more.

You don’t have to grab a separate membership for WPMUDEV, look for help on Fiverr, or even bother with WP Curve (If you know what I am saying?).

Just in case you are the DIY type, Kinsta keeps a record of what they’ve learned in their knowledge base to help you get things done on your own.

Superfast Response times (No waiting necessary)

kinsta support

Kinsta, at the time of writing this, has clients from all over the world which means that they’re available 24/7 no matter where you are. They get to your issue as soon as they can, giving you feedback and clear communication along the way.

The fact that they use intercom should put you at ease because their support staff — even when moving between shifts — will always be up-to-date on your issue, so you never have to repeat yourself.

Kinsta’s Dashboard, Platform, & MyKinsta

The Dashingly handsome Kinsta MyAdmin (Dashboard)

For all the years, in the beginning, there was only the plain old cPanel. Now, of all the managed WordPress hosting solutions we’ve used, I am yet to see something more beautiful, elegant, and so inviting as the Kinsta Dashboard (they call it Myadmin).

kinsta review

The best part is that it’s not just astonishingly beautiful to look at but it’s functional and uncluttered.

You get to see an overview of your sites on your dashboard including unique visits, resource usage, invoices, data transfers, and more.

To the left, you have a menu with all the necessary links to help you manage your WordPress website(s).

Some of them, you’ll probably only use when you first set up the site (such as Kinsta DNS and Migrations) and you’ll use some more frequently (such as analytics, billing, sites, and Dashboard).

Choosing your data center

While the other Managed WordPress hosting platforms that I am a huge fan of (like WPEngine and Flywheel) allow you to choose only from a restricted pool of servers (mostly located in the United States, United Kingdom, and some parts of Europe).

Kinsta works with Google Cloud Computing with about 15 data centers located around the globe.

If your WordPress website is heavily biased for a particular location, you’ll do very well to choose a data center that’s closer to that location when setting up your WordPress site.

The critical Staging Area

One of the best, most valuable, and really life-saving features that come with most modern managed WordPress hosts is the “staging” functionality. (WPengine and Flywheel also provide you with this feature).

With Kinsta, however, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how it’s done.

Go to Sites > Choose the site you want to work on > Manage

Then, use the toggle option to send a site to the “Staging Environment” and start making changes to your WordPress website.

kinsta staging

When you are done, all you have to do is to push your WordPress site back to “live Environment”.

From live to staging and back to live, it’s just one-click and really quick.

Kinsta is Developer Friendly too.

Other Fantastic Features

When you host your website with Kinsta, you get a lot more than the standard features above. For instance, you also get:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Ability to change PHP versions
  • A way to restart your PHP engine
  • Cache & response analysis
  • Error log viewer
  • Ability to manage multiple companies
  • Resource and visitor analysis
  • Activity log
  • Cloning your sites and installs
  • A redirect Manager
  • “Search and replace” feature
  • Easy way to manage DNS records, and more…

Kinsta WordPress Add-ons (If & When You Want More)

Just in case you need to, for your WordPress website, Kinsta has add-ons such as Cloudflare Railgun, Redis, Elasticsearch, Nginx reverse proxy that you could deploy.

If you need something more specific, all you have to do is to reach out to them with an email or chat with them live on their website.

Migrate your site to Kinsta (With White Glove Migration)

Do you want to migrate your WordPress site to Kinsta? You don’t even have to deal with it (because you have choices). Kinsta does Whiteglove Migrations for free

If you want to migrate to Kinsta, it’s just a matter of letting them know and they bring their “White glove Migration” to do it all for you. Moving your site to Kinsta won’t incur any downtime as their expert migration team will take care of everything for you.

They’ll assign a temporary domain to your migrated site and check everything before going live.
Migrate your site now

Conclusion

When it looks like most Managed WordPress hosting options were looking similar, Kinsta truly has fast, secure, and scalable WordPress hosting.

With its beautiful dashboard and a ton of features, it’s the best WordPress hosting you could invest in.

Even better is the fact that they have tiers of plans that make their hosting accessible to everyone — from bloggers to enterprises.

Check out Kinsta and change the way you host your WordPress website.

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How to Increase Website Speed (+12 Proven Platforms For WordPress)

How to Increase Website Speed (+12 Proven Platforms For WordPress)

Learn how to increase website speed (WordPress or others).

You owe it to your website and to your business. We all know websites are mandatory but just “any” site won’t do.

While websites need a design that converts for business goals, customers of almost all profiles and personas now live on the web — they travel, rove, and they almost developed an inane sense to use mobile first instead of the regular laptops or desktops.

In the middle of all this, it dawned on business owners, medium and large companies, and possibly everyone on the web that speed is of the essence.

Just as it was for cars and electronic gadgets, performance matters.

Bryan Gray helpfully lists out disastrous fallouts of slow-loading websites and how it affects your website performance, User experience, conversions, sales, and so much more.

Website speed not only enhances your website’s appeal but also makes it easier and faster to deliver content. Plus, there are obvious benefits with respect to search optimization. It’s time you increase your website speed.

Here are some ways on How to Increase WordPress Website Speed and tools you should be considering to make your web pages load faster:

Kinsta

Kinsta WordPress Hosting

Kinsta is a Managed WordPress Hosting platform and makes your WordPress website live on Google Cloud Platform. Built like a fort and completely secured, Kinsta is the fastest WordPress website hosting we’ve tested so far (from a user standpoint).

Kinsta provides you with completely free white-glove migrations, a dashboard view of all your WordPress sites, analytics ranging from architecture performance to how your own website is doing, staging environments, CDN, and SSL (free).

FlyWheel

Flywheel hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is one of those incredible finds credited to the popularity of wordpress itself. FlyWheel is currently the fastest (and comparatively affordable) managed wordpress hosting solutions available today. Whether you are a creative agency, design house, web development agency, a hosting provider, or even a small business or individual with a wordpress website, you should consider moving to Flywheel.

Flywheel provides you with Free Migrations, blazing fast speeds (Flywheel website itself oads at 916 milliseconds), a staging area for testing, CDN, multisite options, caching, malware protection, and free malware removal.

Read: Flywheel Hosting Review

WPEngine

WP Engine  Hosting

It’s not a CDN and but’s a web hosting platform (CDN is optional) with a huge difference: it owns data centers in the UK,Japan, and the U.S. Your WordPress install doesn’t require caching plugins, and uses its own proprietary everchache technology — all built in and managed by them. Not you.

Scoring top points when it comes to the availability of dev tools, scale, storage, speed, security, and top-notch support, WPEngine is one of the best companies to host your website at.

Amazon Web Services 

AWS hosting

Amazon Cloud Front is perhaps one of the most popular CDN services available to everyone today and it boasts of high transfer speeds, low latency, automatic device detection, geo targeting, cache behaviours, Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), HTTP cookies, Query string parameters, and a lot more.

While it might sound all that complicated, the technology works from inside the hood. For a business owner or a website owner looking for faster loading websites, all this magic just goes to work.

Cloudways

Cloudways Platform

Performance, speed, choice, control, collaboration, and expert support. Time and again, Cloudways has proved to be a fantastic platform for those who seek control and choice when it comes to high-performance sites on WordPress (along with Magento, Drupal, and Joomla). Cloudways allows you server deployment with choice (pick your choice from Linode, AWS, Google Cloud, Vultr, and Digital Ocean).

Plus, for a single account (all plans), you get multiple add-ons and features such as RackSpace add-on, CloudwaysBot, multiple projects, SSH and SFTP access, Git Integration, dedicated Staging (and live) areas for making changes to your site and more.

10Web

10web platform

If you were looking for more bang for the buck, you’d want to check out what the 10Web platform has in store for you. 10Web provides you a platform to host your WordPress website on Google Cloud Infrastructure.

With 10Web, you also get several other perks with your account such as the ability to manage several WordPress websites, over 50+ premium plugins, a website builder, direct compatibility with the Elementor Plugin, several WordPress templates to get a start with, and more.

Insapsula

Incapusla CDN

What if you have more on your “I am so concerned about this” list than just web speed? What about Internet security? Protection from DDOS attacks? Is there a way you can get a CDN that also has an equal focus on security? With Incapsula, you very well can.

Incapsula is a CDN network too but it also provides your website with features to help you to counter DDOS attacks, deploy load balancing & failover, and many other features.

All inbound traffic to your website is routed through Incapsula’s CDN which filters traffic checking for Malware, attacks, and hacking attempts. Meanwhile, your site itself is plugging into Incapsula’s CDN which accelerates your site’s performance.

MaxCDN

Max CDN

MaxCDN uses its own proprietary MaxArchitecture with MaxPops, MultiPath Network, and FastStack to power your website speeds. Some of the best features of MaxCDN are its real time reporting and analytics engines that give you instant, real-time data for you to make informed decisions from.

It allows for complete automation along with integration with their API and GitHub. With MaxCDN’s EdgeRules, you can control content delivery on your own.

The solution is built for advertising, gaming, publishing, software deployment, and more.

Cloudflare

Cloudflare

For any average website, Cloudflare is probably the easiest CDN network to hook on to. It’s quick, and the setup is instant. Websites hosted on Cloudflare load at least twice as fast while using about 60% less bandwidth and 65% fewer server requests.

Cloudflare also has tons of security features built in to protect your site. Meanwhile, the CDN network makes it easy for integration with WordPress – one of the most popular Content Management Systems in the world today – using a plugin.

Akamai

Akamai

Akamai is an established multi-service player with solutions ranging from website performance to solutions for network operators, services and support operations, media delivery solutions, and cloud networking solutions. On the content delivery front, Akamai provides IP Application acceleration, web application, acceleration, global traffic management, Fast DNS services, and dynamic site acceleration.

Although the pricing is not as straightforward as the rest of its counterparts, it’s certainly a long-standing and established vendor you can depend on for managing your website performance and security needs.

RackSpace Cloud Files

Rackspace Cloud Files

RackSpace partners with Akamai (above) and provides you with a CDN service backed by RackSpace’s famous “paranoid customer support”. Using more than 200 global edge locations around the world, your website visitors are fed with pages faster than normal. Its CDN caches your content for maximum acceleration.

Meanwhile, there are no additional charges, no contracts, and no minimum usage. Rackspace also supports SSL, CNAME, and provides Edge Purge.

CacheFly

Cache Fly

If companies like Microsoft, Bank of America, and Adobe use a particular CDN network, would you like to use it too? You can, with CacheFly. The company has a rock-solid reputation and allows you to deliver your content (including images, video, audio, CSS, and more) up to 10 times faster than any other network. You have a 100% guarantee or you can take your money back.

Of course, depending on your actual needs, you can choose from optimized and focused services such as Video delivery, Podcast delivery, website performance, software distribution, and more.

The need for speed is evident. How fast does your website load? What are you doing about it?

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Flywheel Hosting: 4 Features That Make It Stand Out

Flywheel Hosting: 4 Features That Make It Stand Out

Flywheel has been our preferred WordPress Managed Hosting solution for several years now.

The one huge benefit we get right off the bat by choosing specialty WordPress hosting solutions such as Flywheel is that our involvement with anything to do with hosting, WordPress upgrades, and managing WordPress security is absolute hands off.

Flywheel keeps me sane. I don’t have to deal with WordPress core updates, WordPress Malware, hacking attempts on our site, and worry about website uptime anymore.

In short, we just don’t have to care.

Anyone who’s spent time trying to “just get the site up please” will know how much time, effort, and resources Flywheel can save, right out of the box.

But there are more than just that basic reason why Flywheel is incredibly awesome at what it does.

Here are some of those:

Flywheel is an Honest Host

I remember how we were pushed on to the table and screwed over the last time we were hosting our sites on a regular shared hosting solution.

They’d inject vulnerable scripts inside our hosting account and send us a barrage of emails threatening us about those scripts, they’d barely keep the site up (with a ridiculous uptime for the site), and how they’d often push us to buy expensive add-ons.

Flywheel? For one, they’d never screw around with your hosting and your website. Second, they’d never push you to upgrade, pick on extra services such as adding a CDN or other services.

Even if you cross the bandwidth threshold (like traffic and bandwidth that’s allowed on your hosting plan), they’d only write to you to let you know that it’s time to upgrade. While you consider that, it’s not like they’ll slow down your site speed or wipe your website off the face of earth.

They don’t mess around. I love that.

Read the complete review on Flywheel Hosting

Get The Power of Staging

When you log into your WordPress backed and see that you have a few upgrades pending for your theme, plugins, or older themes and plugins (why do you even have those inside there?), what do you do?

Like most people, you’d just click on “upgrade” and the job’s done. It’s a habit. Right?

A month ago, when I clicked on a plugin upgrade (just as millions of us WordPress users do) and the site came crashing down. The only reason why it’s all ok now and we didn’t lose years of work on the fetchprofits blog is because of staging.

Flywheel staging lets you open doors to your own website’s replica (hosted on a staging server, and you wouldn’t even know that) that you can experiment on.

Updating plugins? Upgrading themes and plugins? Changing the design on any of your website pages? Making customization happen? Use the Staging feature of Flywheel and you’ll be thankful for it, eternally.

Flywheel Local

If your business has anything to do with building WordPress sites or designing sites for clients or if you develop multiple WordPress websites for your own business, Flywheel Local gives you the iPhone X equivalent of local WordPress build platform.

It’s a slick local WordPress development application that lets you build WordPress websites on your local computer with simple root SSH access to each individual site you’d ever build.

With Flywheel Local, you a one-click WordPress install feature, flexible local environment features, free SSL certificate that ships out with each new WordPress builds, and more.

You can develop WordPress websites locally (like on your computer), share URLs, get client feedback, make changes and edits to the site, use Local Connect to Flywheel and push your site to a local server, and manage the site from within Flywheel.

Flywheel Blueprints

WordPress developers, designers, and entrepreneurs with multiple WordPress websites usually have a set of chosen plugins and themes that they work with.

For every WordPress website they create, they’d have to individually upload these themes and plugins.

That’s a time suck and it’s a backbreaking job.

I happen to know just how tedious it can be to upload every single plugin and the themes of choice for every single WordPress website setup.

Flywheel Blueprint is a nifty feature that you get with Flywheel Hosting which enables you to create what they call as a “blueprint” — a ready-to-deploy WordPress instance with all your themes and plugins already loaded.

Uploading the same themes and plugins again and again? Say goodbye to that.

What WordPress hosting do you use? Tell me about it.

How Studiopress and WPEngine Solve Hosting Nightmares

How Studiopress and WPEngine Solve Hosting Nightmares

Over the years, I’ve always struggled with our network of websites. Fetchprofits, Rebelpreneur and Groovywebtools have been around for about 9 years now.

In that time, each of the sites (yes, including this site you are at) have been compromised, hacked, screwed with, and taken down for a total of 4 times. I can still remember the agony, pain, and a sinful amount of time I had spent just to get the sites back to normal.

I did every mistake in the book of “Royal Screw Ups You do With Your WordPress Sites” [There’s no such book. I just made it up].

Eventually, I moved this website to Flywheel and that’s where it’s been living for the last 2 years or so. It’ll continue to because it gives:

  • Super-fast hosting
  • Malware checks and prevention
  • Hacking prevention and hacker-proof hosting
  • CDN
  • Automated Daily Backups
  •  Extraordinarily good support (even if they are just available on chat)

Our clients usually choose Flywheel or WPEngine. ( Update: Wpengine now owns FlyWheel).

I don’t even think of any other options for clients (With the exception of other popular Google Cloud Computing platforms such as Kinsta & 10Web), and I usually insist that they use one of these solutions for hosting:

However, I have a wish list. I’ve always wanted to use StudioPress Themes for at least one of my sites.

When I started out many years ago, The Genesis Framework and any of the Studiopress themes were out of my focus since I only used to work as a freelance writer or blogger. I had nothing to do with themes, frameworks, or websites.

Today, as we work with clients across the digital marketing spectrum — from websites to landing pages; from blogging to social media; and from analytics to conversion rate optimization, I find myself working with websites, themes, and frameworks.

Then, came along a new avatar that Studiopress took on: Studiopress Sites.

With Studiopress and WPEngine, you get The Genesis Framework, Studiopress themes for a single price payable yearly or quarterly.

Here’s what is included with StudioPress + Wpengine:

  • The Genesis Framework
  • 35+ Mobile-Optimized Designs
  • WordPress-Specific Cloud Performance
  • No Upcharges for Bandwidth, Storage, CPUs, and RAM
  • Advanced SEO Functionality
  • Automatic WP, Plugin, and Theme Updates
  • Rock-solid Security Scanning
  • One-Click Install of Premium Plugins
  • World-Class Support, 24 x7

In short, It’s WordPress made easy and secure without sacrificing power or flexibility. Studiopress is perfect for bloggers, podcasters, and affiliate marketers, as well as those selling physical products, digital downloads, and membership programs.

Industry Standard Design Framework

Once upon a time, frameworks were all the rage. For an average business owner like you and I, however, that doesn’t mean a thing. All that we care about is that our website is up and running, it looks good, and it makes you money.

But it certainly helps if the website is based on a framework that’s rock solid. Won’t it?

The Genesis Framework already powers over 500,000 WordPress sites, and it’s the foundation of your StudioPress themes. With search engine optimized code, airtight security, instant updates, customizable widget and layout options, and a huge developer community, Genesis is the framework that makes WordPress easier, without sacrificing power or flexibility.

35+ Mobile-Optimized HTML5 Designs

I’ve always held the belief that How your website looks never matters; the only thing that matters is how well your website works for you.

Instead of losing sleep over this slide show or that or fussing over the graphics on your site (or the colors), the only thing you should be concerned about is how your website delivers. How does it perform? How much money does it make for your business?

It’d be nice if the next WordPress theme you buy takes care of the aesthetics, design, and the “oomph factor”. Studiopress sites comes with over 20 Mobile-optimized, sleek, and beautiful themes for your business.

In fact, you want sleek, professional design — without paying a fortune for it and without fearing instant obsolescence as web design evolves. Choose from a score of included turnkey “mobile optimized” HTML5 designs that provide beautiful frames for your content.

Feel free to personalize any of the included themes by tweaking the CSS, or go to a completely custom Genesis child theme.

Fast Loading Performance

Slow websites suck your websites’ (and hence the potential of your business) away. Your shared hosting can never give you the kind of speed backed by sophisticated technology stack to power your WordPress site.

When you get started with a Wpengine Plan, StudioPress is a part of the package. You can right away on an infrastructure that’s optimized specifically for peak WordPress performance.

Site speed and page load times are too important to be jammed on a box with hundreds of generic WordPress installs. More importantly, never face the experience of your site crashing just because you succeed in getting big traffic.

Zero “Hosting” Hassles

Remember the story about how all of my websites (including this one) went down one after the other? Hosting is not something you think about in your shower. If your hosting fails or if you run into trouble, however, hosting is all that’ll keep you up awake through countless nights.

Not only do you enjoy superior speed and performance with your StudioPress Site, you also avoid the hassle of self-hosted WordPress, like surprise expenses for bandwidth upcharges, storage, CPUs and RAM. Even as your WPengine website remains solid during surprise traffic spikes, you won’t pay extra for short-term success on the way to sustained higher traffic.

Rock-Solid Security

Running a business is hard as it is, and the last thing you want to worry about is about the security of your WordPress site. Because WordPress is popular, it stands out like a sore thumb with a perpetual, open invitation for hackers worldwide.

Your WordPress needs security. It needs care.

Even beyond the security features built into Genesis and the included automatic plugin and theme maintenance, there’s more to protect your StudioPress themes. Our architecture is designed to maximize security and performance — including intrusion prevention, continuous scanning and monitoring for malware, distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, and more.

Advanced SEO Functionality

Don’t chase gimmicks and tricks to manipulate your search results, because you can’t. Focus on writing good content and get linked instead.

However, it won’t hurt to keep your website primed for SEO.

The SEO features of the Genesis Framework helped make it the industry standard among WordPress users already. For StudioPress, however, you get advanced schema control, XML sitemap generation, robots.txt generation, asynchronous JavaScript loading, enhanced Open Graph output, breadcrumb title control, AMP support, and more.

Automatic Plugin and Theme Maintenance

One of the most common reasons why you get hacked in the first place is because you didn’t care to update your themes and plugins.

Most people don’t have a clue. Those who do almost always learn it the hard way.

Getting hacked is no laughing matter, and the number one way bad guys get in is through outdated themes, plugins, and old versions of WordPress. Many WordPress site owners now spend $79 or more every month to have an outside service keep things updated and safe. StudioPress technology takes care of this for you at no extra charge. Opt-out if you want!

One-Click Install of Included Plugins

Ever wondered if you could trust a theme or not? With all those plugins available, how do you know for sure that the next plugin you’ll upload won’t crash and burn your WordPress site?

Never wonder which plugins are trustworthy, thanks to your StudioPress Site’s repository of one-click solutions for the premium functionality you desire. Choose from an ever-expanding selection including WooCommerce, Design Palette Pro, AMP, Beaver Builder Lite, OptinMonster, AffiliateWP, Soliloquy Lite, Easy Digital Downloads, Restrict Content Pro, Ninja Forms, WPForms Lite, and more to come.

World-Class Support

When something happens, you need help. Never underestimate the importance of good support. All the hosting recommendations we ever provide are based mostly on the strength of a hosting providers’ support system.

WPEngine and Flywheel already take top positions when it comes to support. Studiopress is one of the very few who really provide support at that level.

StudioPress themes are truly unique, in the sense that the themes have been designed from the ground up to promote integrated ease-of-use with Wpengine while eliminating confusion and the chance that something will go wrong.

And yet, you should rest assured that if something does go off the rails, the friendly WPEngine support team is standing by 24/7 to assist you in getting back on track fast.

Most of the advantages you’d see above are absolutely important. You won’t know how important it is until you screw up, or you have the vision, or maybe you are just wise you learn from others’ mistakes.

Your WordPress website resembles your business, makes you money directly, and is responsible for your branding. It is everything your business stands for and for that reason alone, you should see what Studiopress sites can do for you.

Take a look at what Studiopress themes and WPEngine can do for your business.

FlyWheel Review: Hosting Has Just Gone WorldClass, Have You?

FlyWheel Review: Hosting Has Just Gone WorldClass, Have You?

They say that web hosting is akin to dating: it all looks awesome when it first begins but begins to turn sour as time goes by. Things start creeping up on you slowly. You’ll begin to start updating your WordPress core each time there’s an update, look for plugins that are incompatible with your freshly installed version, and despite what you do, WordPress comes packaged with all sorts of insecurities, malware, and vulnerable scripts that can completely derail your business.

Ask me, I’ve had all my sites (and those of my clients) hacked multiple times in the last few years and we didn’t even have proper backups for some of these sites.

The only saving grace was the manual backup effort we took for ourselves and a few clients and that saved the day. Also, none of the sites that were hacked were of the ecommerce variety so we didn’t have credit card details and other sensitive information stored on any of our partner servers.

We knew it was time to say goodbye to regular shared hosting. Packing your website along with another 30,000 of those other sites on a single server sounded a wee bit outdated, dangerous, and vulnerable.

Plus, having to update WordPress, the themes, and the plugins was way too much work. The sounding bell came in when our previous host started sending emails with a regularity that can shame clocks about this vulnerable script or that. That took hours of our precious billable time away from work and into firefighting.

Here’s just one email with a list of scripts I’ve had to manually erase from the account (out of the hundreds):

previoushostemail

It took almost 3-4 hours for each “erase this out of your account” email. Those were into hundred. Now, multiply and imagine what kind of time I had lost.

Change Was Knocking On The Door

It was time to change. We had two options and we picked both: Flywheel and WPEngine. Both FlyWheel and WPengine are managed WordPress hosting solutions. Both of these companies are so focused on WordPress hosting that don’t provide anything else like cPanel, free emails, unlimited whatever. They are clear about what they give for their price points. They don’t do emails and they don’t give you a cPanel.

Flywheel gives the best-in-class hosting, free migrations(as many as you need), free demo sites to speed up your workflow, CDN, multisite WordPress install, daily backups, Cache, and SSL support.

We started out with Flywheel

dashboardfly

Flywheel gets you clean, blazing fast, WordPress hosting. You start out with a dashboard such as this one and you’ll have your WordPress installs laid out neatly — each with its own dashboard showing you overall info, stats, staging areas, billing information, and more.

AddOns, Bells and Whistles

Flywheel Addons

Flywheel isn’t much into hype. They keep a low profile and their addons exist to do even more with your already fast and secure hosting. You can also opt to use for a small monthly fee:

  • CDN
  • Multi-site WordPress Installs
  • SSL Support for Your website.

Daily Backups

daily backups

Flywheel does the ridiculously “must-do” but really “boring to do” task such as backups. Without backups, you have nothing. Flywheel does nightly backups each day and if you ever need to restore a previous backup, you’d do that with a single click.

Your Stats and How FlyWheel counts Visits

flywheel stats

Flywheel takes every unique visit in a 24 hour window as a count towards your plan usage. The numbers that you see are unique IP addresses to your website. FlyWheel automatically removes IP addresses of all known bots, spammers, and hackers since you wouldn’t have to pay for these kinds of visits that don’t count.

If a user visits your site and checks out one page or even hundreds of them(within the span of 24 hours), that’s counted as one visit.

So, How does Flywheel Perform?

While I am not even sure if the DNS propagation is complete, you can literally feel the difference as you browse your own use after Flywheel migrates your site for free (takes 1-3 days, following which you’d have to point your DNS which can take another 2 days. You should account for this).

Note: Your website is still live while the migration is on. It’s only after that you’d have to work the DNS settings.

Here’s how my site fared on the previous host:

Site Speed With Previous Host

Pingdom pagespeed test

Page speed test

Site Speed With Flywheel

Page Speed Test

Now, there’s a lot of work left to do with respect to reducing http requests, working with h2 tags, and SEO in general. I guess all that’s because I don’t use a CDN right now. I think I should just pick up that addon Flywheel provides.

That’s where I stand with Flywheel right now and we already moved three clients’ websites on to their platform at the time of this writing. Maybe, after, I finally met the web host that has some serious long-term potential.