Benefits Of Managed WordPress Hosting

WordPress is a content management system that powers 1 in 4 websites globally.  The popularity of WordPress worldwide has created an industry of WordPress experts who offer a service known as managed WordPress hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress Hosting

Put simply, managed WordPress hosting is a service that deals with all the technical aspects of your WordPress website. This can include,

  • Backups
  • Updates
  • Security
  • Speed
  • Load times
  • Responsiveness

One of the benefits of having a WordPress website is how easily you can create content for the front-end of your website. Content that can be easily updated and changed without the need for a web designer. However, like any website, there are technical aspects, such as updates and site speed, that require a level of expertise.

Managed WordPress Hosting essentially takes care of the back-end, or technical side of your website, for a fraction of the cost of hiring a website administrator.

The benefits of managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting can cover quite a wide variety of services tailored to individual needs, but there are some fundamental benefits provided by nearly all managed WordPress hosts, including,

Frequent Updates

WordPress release new updates often. Updates can contain things like fixes for newly identified bugs or new security for your website so it is essential you have the latest updates. A managed host will keep your WordPress site up to date and ensure compatibility and functionality of new updates and plug-ins with testing before installing them to your site.

Speed Optimisation

Managed WordPress hosting servers are configured specifically for WordPress helping make them fast, alongside this the latest plug-ins, content delivery networks and advances in speed optimisation are used to help keep your site load time super fast

Security

Managed WordPress hosts have very tight security layers that actively scan for malware and block hacking attacks.

Daily or Weekly back-ups

Disasters can happen. Sometimes human error can cause a loss of content or data. With managed WordPress hosting your site will be backed up weekly or sometimes daily so your content and data can be restored quickly if a loss occurs.

WordPress experts

Unlike many website host companies, a WordPress hosting company is specialised and experienced in WordPress, meaning they can solve problems faster, give advice on plug-ins that may affect performance and offer real-time expertise, rather than someone who may be reading from a support manual.

 

We hope this blog has been helpful, if you would like to learn more about WordPress you can read our blog Why We Use WordPress or if you would like to talk to us about our Managed WordPress hosting solutions you can call us on 0800 612 1098 or contact us here 

Pioneering Women In Technology – #IWD

International Women’s Day #IWD is held on the 8th of March each year. This year was marked by events across the world and across the media. Of particular note was the use of social media to discuss and show solidarity for #IWD16. With this in mind our blog this week looks some of the pioneering women in technology.

Women In Technology #IWD

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace is considered the first person to have ever written instructions for a computer programme

Born in London in 1815, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace was the daughter of renowned romantic poet Lord Byron. Ada was raised solely by her mother after her parents separation, just a few weeks after her birth. Ada was steered towards science and mathematics by her mother anxious to guide her daughter away from her father’s poetic traits.

Aged just 17 Ada met fellow mathematician and inventor, Charles Babbage (sometimes called the father of the computer). Ada went on to work with Charles who also became her mentor. Whilst working on translating an article for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, Ada went on to add her own input on how the machine could work, writing notes that ended up 3 times longer than the original article.

Interestingly Ada’s vision seems to have been further than Charles who only saw a numerical calculation application of his ‘think engine’, Ada mused that any piece of content could be translated into digital form and manipulated by a machine, including music and pictures. She wrote, the analytical engine

might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations… Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of [mathematical] expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.

At the time, Ada’s work gained very little recognition. Today her legacy to modern computer programming is well documented and in 1980 the US Department of Defence named it’s latest computer language ‘Ada’ in her honour.

Hedy Lamarr

Known mainly as an on-screen star in the 1920s, Hedy Lamarr was a key player in the invention of spread-spectrum technology.

After moving to America, Hedy along with her co-inventor George Anthiel developed a form of encryption technology designed to help the navy in World War II. Their invention received its patent in 1942 but it’s importance took several decades to realise.

Hedy Lamarr’s work on spread-spectrum technology plays a part in many modern wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. In recent years, Hedy and George have received much more recognition for their work, In 1997, 3 years before her death in 2000,

she and George Anthiel were honored with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award. And later in the same year, Lamarr became the first female recipient of the BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, a prestigious lifetime accomplishment prize for inventors that is dubbed “The Oscar™ of Inventing.”

Joan Clarke

Joan Clarke was born in 1917 and grew up in London, she won a scholarship to Cambridge where she gained a double first in mathematics. Although she was denied a full degree as these were only awarded to men until 1948.

In 1940, Joan was recruited to the Government’s Code and Cypher School and worked alongside the famous Alan Turing, celebrated codebreaker, at Bletchley Park.

Joan was the only woman who worked in Hut 8, the nerve centre of the British effort to crack German codes. She rose to be the deputy head of the hut and was its longest serving member. Joan became a lifelong friend to Alan Turing and briefly his fiancee.

Clarkes job was to break ciphers of the german submarines in real time, considered one of the most high-pressured jobs at Bletchley by Michael Smith, author of several books on The Enigma,

The messages Clarke decoded would result in some military action being taken almost immediately, Mr Smith explains.

U-boats would then either be sunk or circumnavigated, saving thousands of lives.

Joan Clarke was awarded an MBE in 1947 for her work during the second World War, but due to the secrecy that still surrounds much of the work carried out at Bletchley, the true extent of her achievements remain unknown. Joan Clark died in 1996, never having sought the spotlight. Her story was recounted in a recent film The Imitation Game, where she is played by Keira Knightley.

Radia Perlman

Radia Perlman is most famous for inventing ‘spanning-tree protocol’ (STP) and for this is sometimes referred to as the ‘mother of the internet’ – a term she dislikes. STP prevents the repetition of information and actions when a network is shared by one or more machines. (known as bridge looping.)

Radia studied at MIT and to date has registered more than 100 patents. When asked what advice she would give young engineers,

Perlman said: “Start out with finding the right problem to solve. This is a combination of “what customers are asking for”, “what customers don’t even know they want yet” and “what can be solved with something simple to understand and manage”.

We hope you enjoyed this blog. We would love to hear your feedback, you can get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter

Website Speed – You Have 3 Seconds To Load

When designing and updating a website, research shows that your website speed matters. A lot.

  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

So no matter the attractive images, engaging content and interactive features, if your website doesn’t appear in 3 seconds, then 2 in 5 of your potential customers will leave your website before it has even loaded. A slow website is costing you money.

Download speed

Writing for Forbes, Marketer Roger Dooley discusses why website speed will continue to be a key focus for website development, saying,

This isn’t some designer’s gut instinct – the “need for speed” and fluid performance has been determined by the measurement of the behavior of millions of users. There’s compelling logic, too – the only reason we tolerate less than instant performance from websites is because our first Internet experiences were slow and we still encounter sluggish sites. As the best sites get faster and faster, we’ll hold all the sites we visit to that standard.

Mobile Devices

In 2015, for the first time, internet searches on a mobile outnumbered those from a desktop. The explosion of mobile phone use as an internet browser is not slowing down, this has had a profound effect on website speed.

Mobile optimisation is now a vital part of any website. Your website must look and perform well on a mobile as well as a desktop.

If your website is data heavy it will make a mobile device download lots of scripts, information and images just to view your pages. Heavy data means a slow download. Since many mobile phone users are set data use limits by their providers. Your slow site will actually cost them money and they are likely to just abandon the site altogether.

Google

In 2010, Google announced ‘speed’ as a factor in page ranking on a Google search saying,

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there… that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings

This means if your website is slow to load then your website may not rank highly in a Google search for your product. Research has shown that 85% of people now conduct their first search for a product or service on Google or similar search engine.

There are a number of tools available to check and analyse your website speed.

Google PageSpeed  – If you enter a website address into this tool it assigns the website a score out of 100 depending on how well optimised for speed the website is.

YSlow  – Is a free tool from Yahoo that analyses the speed of your website and the suggests ways to improve it.

WebPagetest – Is a free site that tests your websites speed and gives a variety of options for advanced testing.

How can you increase your website speed?

Website hosting and technology

Your choice of website hosting provider and the technology they use can have a huge impact on your website speed. Ideally, you should look for a dedicated hosting solution so you do not have to share your server with other websites which could slow your website down.

The technology your website is built with also has an impact on your website speed. A study showed that WordPress has one of the top load times for web pages, of any content management system.

For example, here at Seal Island Media, we build all our websites with WordPress. We use dedicated IP addresses and our network now runs entirely on Solid State Drives (SSD), which are hundreds of times faster than hard disk drives. This significantly increases the speed of a site. We use servers are based in London to ensure a quick page load time for our UK based customers. These servers use a virtualization method known as Linux Containers, to ensure a website remains fast even if a large spike in traffic occurs.

Website Content

Your website content is one area that needs careful planning to avoid making your site slow. Keeping your image files small will help reduce the load time of your pages. Removing unnecessary or large widgets from your pages, like social media widgets, can also help.

 

We hope this blog has been useful. If you would like to talk to us about hosting solutions or website design you can contact us here or call us on 0800 612 1098

 

 

 

Managed WordPress Hosting Upgraded

Here at Seal Island Media we have been working behind the scenes to improve our managed WordPress Hosting.  If your site is on the Seal Island Media Network then there have been some significant changes over the last couple of months. Combined these improvements will increase your websites performance and reliability.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting

Seal Island Media’s Managed WordPress Hosting service has been designed with busy people in mind. We take care of backups, security and updates so you can concentrate on the important things in your business. Hosting on the Seal Island Media Network has been enhanced in the following ways.

UK based hosting

We have moved the network to servers based in London. Response times for UK visitors will be faster. This will benefit all our present clients.

Dedicated IP address

The network now has a dedicated IP address. We can ensure that you will not be sharing this IP address with any sites which will get the IP blacklisted. Or, if one of our clients acts in a way to get the IP blacklisted we will solve the problem and take action to prevent it from happening again. See our terms of service.

Improved memory

The network now runs entirely on Solid State Drives (SSD), which are hundreds of times faster than hard disk drives. This will increase significantly the speed of your site.

Improved handling of traffic spikes

A new virtualization method known as Linux Containers allow a bigger pool of burstable resources and make your websites faster in case of traffic spikes. So you never need fear your cat pictures going viral again.

Improved backups

There is a new backup system which makes backup creation and recovery lighter, faster and more flexible and thus reduces even further, the time for data restore when needed.

What do I need to do?

Nothing, it is all done. Enjoy.

What next?

For those of you hosting in the On-Line Activist Network, we will be upgrading your hosting over the next couple of months.

Facebook’s Safety Check Feature

Our deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by the tragic events in Paris on Friday.

Social media has had an increasing role in crisis situations across the World. Often social media is the first forum to carry news of a disaster or an unfolding emergency situation, many millions of people then take to social media to monitor an event.

Social media platforms are responding, and working on ways to help people let loved ones know if they are in the affected area and if they require help, including the Safety Check feature on Facebook.

The events in Paris on Friday are the first time the Safety Check feature has been activated for a non-natural disaster. 4 million people used the Safety Check feature in Paris and more than 380 million people received a notification to tell them someone they knew was safe. In a statement on Facebook yesterday, Alex Schultz, the Vice President of Growth at Facebook said:

We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones.

We talked with our employees on the ground, who felt that there was still a need that we could fill. So we made the decision to try something we’ve never done before: activating Safety Check for something other than a natural disaster. There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris.

Facebook Safety Check

Facebook first started development towards its Safety Check feature after the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011 which affected more than 12.5 million people. Announcing the release of the feature, Facebook said:

Our engineers in Japan took the first step toward creating a product to improve the experience of reconnecting after a disaster. They built the Disaster Message Board to make it easier to communicate with others. They launched a test of the tool a year later and the response was overwhelming.

Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organizations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.

This screen shot of the Safety Check is from the earthquake in Nepal in April this year, the feature is automatically initiated if Facebook determines you may be affected.

Facebook Safty

Facebook will determine at your location from the address or city you have listed in your profile and the city where you are using the internet, and send you a notification asking if you are safe, if you have registered your mobile phone with Facebook you will receive a text message asking if you are safe, often in disaster areas text messages can get through where other internet access may be slow or unavailable.

If Facebook has inaccurately identified your location you can check a box that says that you are ‘outside the affected area’. If you are in the affected area you can check the box to confirm that you ‘are safe’, Facebook will immediately create a news post on your profile and send a notification to each of your friends to tell them you are safe, you can also check in friends that are with you as safe.

Yesterdays statement from Facebook regarding its use of the Safety Check feature for the first time in a non-natural disaster concludes:

This activation will change our policy around Safety Check and when we activate it for other serious and tragic incidents in the future. We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help. We will learn a lot from feedback on this launch, and we’ll also continue to explore how we can help people show support for the things they care about through their Facebook profiles, which we did in the case for Paris, too.

We create products that we think will help people and we work hard to perfect the solution over time. Safety Check remains a work in progress, but one that has helped many people stay in touch with their friends and family during difficult times. We’re going to continue working to make it better and more useful.

Other social media forums have also played a role in locating loved ones and directing help in major emergencies, on Twitter the hashtag #PorteOuverte was used by residents of Paris, offering help to those in Paris and somewhere to shelter during the mayhem. More than one million tweets using the hashtag had been tweeted in 10 hours, this peaked at 6,900 tweets per minute at around 11.30pm.

It may not be of use in every circumstance, some areas of the world still have poor internet coverage, but where it is available the opportunity social media provides for connecting with loved ones and directing help in an emergency situation is invaluable.

Writing on the day the Safety Check feature was initiated for the Nepal disaster, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said:

When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.

5G And The Internet Of Things

What is the IoT?

Since the first internet connected toaster was unveiled at a conference in 1989 the tech industry has been discussing the IoT or Internet of Things.

Put simply the IoT is the connecting of billions of everyday items and devices to the internet, allowing them to talk you and each other.

Driver-less cars, fridges that can tell you are short on eggs, T-shirts that talk to your washing machine, or intelligent traffic lights that communicate city wide to flow traffic. Anything that has an ‘on and off’ switch could potentially be connected to the internet, and researchers estimate there could be up to 100 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.

Writing recently for Forbes magazine, Jacob Morgan shows how the groundwork for the internet of things has been laid

‘Broadband Internet has become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wifi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smart phone penetration is sky-rocketing.  All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.’

The problem surrounding the development of the IoT is that current broadband does not have the space or capacity to accommodate so many devices.

5G and the Internet of Things

What is 5G technology?

2G technology was suitable for making calls and sending text messages, while 3G made it possible to access the internet more effectively through your mobile phone, -currently the majority of us use mobile phones connected by 3G.

In certain areas some can now connect with 4G meaning much quicker download speeds -roughly equivalent to a super fast home broad band.

5G refers to the 5th generation of mobile network technology. There has been much talk at conferences but as yet industry standards for 5G have not been set. However there are some definitive goals and aims for 5G,

  • faster speeds
  • very low latency
  • more connections

Industry leaders Huawei have had a team working on 5G for several years now and say 5G will achieve ‘100 times the speed of the fastest 4G mobile connections.’

Currently 4G is capable of between 40ms and 60ms, which is low-latency but not enough to provide real-time response. 5G will be capable of real time response and it is estimated with 5G you will be able to download a film in under a second.

5G will be capable of running billions of devices and connections necessary to create an internet of things.

How will 5G work?

Because 5G is still largely a concept there is some ambiguity around this, the talk has mainly been centred around using the unoccupied shorter milimeter wavelengths.

Wireless broadband currently occupies the longer wavelengths but there is limited space available, by using the shorter wavelengths, 60 or 90 GHz, it is expected 5G would be able to accommodate the billions of devices connected to the IoT.

The problem with using the shorter milimeter wavelengths is that they can’t travel far and need a solid line of sight between the receiver and transmitter, it is anticipated that this will be overcome through use of lots of small antenna bases rather than the large bases covering large areas currently used.

When will 5G and the IoT arrive?

Although the development timeline for 5G has not been officially set, it is expected talks to formalise industry standards will start this year with possible beginnings of commercial roll out as soon as 2020. Indeed Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, recently announced his intention to roll out 5G into London by 2020 as part of his Infrastructure plan.

The challenge of setting global industry standards and technology for 5G, along with the required investment to set up the many small bases required for the shorter wavelengths however may mean it will be some time until it is rolled out nationally.

Whilst 5G is still largely in its conceptual stage, and the technology still a large way from reality, its clear that 5G has the potential to completely revolutionise the way we interact with wireless devices.

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