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Introducing the Hostdedi Product Life Cycle

Introducing the Hostdedi Product Life Cycle

Introducing the Hostdedi Product Life cycleWe’re proud to introduce a new approach to product releases, one that offers improved transparency and provides merchants and developers with increased peace of mind concerning the products and services we offer.

Our new product life cycle incorporates three main release stages and a retirement protocol. Each of these stages provides different levels of support, production readiness, and availability. Continue reading for more information and information on when a product is eligible for retirement.

Public Beta

The public beta is the first stage of the product life cycle. It is an early release of a product that may or may not become widely available at a later date. The public beta allows clients to provide feedback and for us to anticipate further product requirements before it becomes more widely available.

Because the public beta is an early release, we will only offer limited support. Our support team will try to help as much as they can, but limited experience with new products means it will not officially be offered.

Due to a lack of official support, these products will be available for free during the public beta period. This will change once products advance to the next stage: limited availability. We will notify all users before this happens.

We do not recommend public beta releases for use on production sites. They are primarily designed for testing and experimentation. There is a change that there will be bugs and unforeseen issues with public beta products, and it is possible that sudden changes will be made on the platform.

Limited Availability

Once we feel that a product has been suitably tested and is ready for a wider release, we will push it to stage 2: limited availability. During this release, specific user groups or regions will have access to the product/feature.

Limited availability releases will be ready for production workloads, but this is not guaranteed. This means that our SLA will apply in some cases, but will not be backed by credit issuance.

All limited availability releases will come with full support. That means that pricing will also be rolled out.

Once a product reaches the limited availability stage of its life cycle, the retirement protocol (as outlined below) will be applied. This means that we will not retire the product unless we can offer a suitable replacement. We will also be fully transparent about any upcoming changes to the product.

Public Availability

Once a product has reached the public availability stage of its life cycle, it will become available to all Hostdedi clients. This stage is a fully stable release that offers a production-ready product, with full SLA support and a standardized pricing model.

The Retirement Protocol

The retirement protocol applies to all products in either the limited availability or public availability stages of their life cycle. At these stages, we will only retire a product when we believe we are able to provide our clients with an alternate product that offers better value.

Because we understand that retiring a product can have a large impact on your site, we provide the following:

Reasonable Advance Notice

For minor changes, we will provide at least 1 months’ notice. In the case of major changes that will have a larger impact on client sites, we will provide at least 6 months’ notice.

Effective Alternatives

We will try our hardest to ensure that an alternative product is available for those impacted by one being retired. This may include a product or service offered by Hostdedi, or one provided by a reputable third party.

100% Support Until the Retirement Date

During the retirement process, we will not dial down support for products. This means that up until the last minute of a product’s availability, our support team will actively help you to get the results you need.

Note: that there are extenuating circumstances where we may have to accelerate the retirement protocol. This may be due to security issues or decisions made by third parties.

Summary of the Hostdedi Product Life Cycle

For more information on the Hostdedi product life cycle, please visit the knowledge library.


About the Author

Ryan “Master of the Web” Belisle

Ryan has worked with the internet and technology for around a decade. He currently works at Hostdedi helping to make the Product, WebDev, and Support teams awesome. Awesome technology and awesome people go hand-in-hand in building amazing things.

When he’s not working with the brilliant Hostdedi team, you can generally find him at a rock concert, behind his piano, or practicing mixed martial arts… or you can just find him on Twitter: @_ryebell


 

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What is Data Center Operations?

What is Data Center Operations?

What is Data Center Operations?Be it Magento, WordPress, CraftCMS, or anything in between, your application needs reliability. It is our job in Data Center Operations (DCO) to make that a reality. The DCO team works around the clock to ensure our data centers and your websites remain online.

 

 

What is Data Center Operations?

The DCO team deals with infrastructure, security, power and cooling, and management. We build out and maintain server racks, monitor building security during non-business hours, actively monitor power and cooling systems to ensure they stay online, and perform maintenance on the servers that host your website.

The Equipment We Use

In DCO, we pay close attention to the status of every piece of equipment; from the Dell PowerEdge servers powering the thousands of websites we host, to the HVAC equipment cooling the data center. We’re able to keep track of everything with the help of our monitoring systems. These systems actively watch a large array of sensors, which alert us to potential or active issues as soon as they appear. Upon receiving an alert, the DCO team immediately takes action to resolve these issues.

In our servers, we also utilize a technology known as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). RAID helps us ensure that our clients’ data remains safe and intact. RAID allows us to replace faulty hard disk and solid state drives without any noticeable impact to our clients. For the most part, our clients will never even know anything has changed with their environment following a replacement.

Minimizing Downtime

While many of the issues we see are simple to resolve, others require careful planning and execution to avoid major website outages. Our monitoring systems help by providing early notification of problems. In most cases, we are able to reach out to clients to schedule downtime as a result. This allows for your website to be taken offline at a time that is least impacting to you while resolving the issues that could cause bigger problems in the future.

However, downtime can sometimes strike without warning. That’s why we keep a sufficient stock of equipment on hand to complete replacements as needed, ensuring that no client is left offline for an extended period of time.

Minimizing downtime at your data center

We are able to immediately act on issues thanks to our monitoring systems, but we still ensure that each server is backed up to an off-site location on a daily basis. As a wise person once said:

It is better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.

In the event our team needs to utilize these backups to restore a server to service after a catastrophic failure, we have the ability to bring a server back from the dead in a matter of hours.

Most of what we do goes unnoticed, but the DCO team plays a pivotal role in ensuring your websites remain online and stable for visitors. Without the hardware that we maintain, we would be unable to run the necessary software to ensure that your website provides the best experience possible to your visitors.

Blog Post Summary


About the Authors

Nathan is a Data Center Technician with the DCO team at Hostdedi. He enjoys working with clients to help give them the right hardware needed for the best website experience possible. He also enjoys traveling and is an avid fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes.


 

Alan Cutshall is a Tier 2 Data Center Operations Technician at Hostdedi. He currently attends Western Governors University in pursuit of a Bachelors of Science in Network Operations and Security. Computers have been a life-long fascination of his. Throughout his time with Hostdedi, he’s been provided with countless opportunities to deploy, configure, and troubleshoot some of the latest and greatest hardware the market has to offer. The opportunities he’s been afforded have not only furthered his fascination with computers, but also taught him things he’s been able to translate to both his studies and his hobby equipment back at home.


 

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How Will WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg Editor Affect My Site?

How Will WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg Editor Affect My Site?

How Will WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg Editor Affect My SiteWordPress has changed forever, and we’d like to say those changes are for the better. For many they are, for others, they have come with a lot of uncertainty. Mainly, how will WordPress 5.0 affect your website, and is the Gutenberg editor going to cause problems?

We’re not in the business of fear-mongering, so we want to reassure you that your website is almost certainly going to be fine. However, we’re also realists, and we know that site issues can spring up out of seemingly nowhere. This is why we always recommend making changes to a dev site before making them to your production site. With WordPress 5.0 being such a radical departure from the CMS’s previous iterations, if you were ever going to test a site update, now is the time.

This article will cover what WordPress 5.0 is, what it’s going to mean for your site and you, and how to make sure that everything is working perfectly the day you go live.

This is the Gutenberg Icon

What is WordPress 5 and the Gutenberg Editor?

Editing in WordPress, while relatively easy, has always had its downsides. Unique placement and sizing of page elements were awkward and for users that didn’t have advanced development knowledge, the answer was always been to install a plugin. The problem with this is that too many plugins can slow your site to a crawl and make user experience terrible.

WordPress 5 addresses this issue by providing much more “out of the box” functionality. The new Gutenberg editor offers users an interface that’s much more “you see what you get” than the classic WYSIWYG editor.

With this added functionality, some of the core features of WordPress have had to change. This has caused many site owners to ask whether WordPress 5 will break their site. We’re here to reassure you that it won’t as long as you take some simple precautions beforehand.

What’s Going to Change?

Your site itself won’t change too much with the new editor. That being said, there are going to be some changes to the way that you WordPress. Most of those changes are going to take place during editing.

You’re Going to Develop a New Workflow

It doesn’t matter how you make changes to your site, you are going to have to adjust to a new WordPress workflow.

At WordCamp US 2018, Matt Mullenweg talked about how previous versions of WordPress were not entirely compatible with Word. Copying content would often result in strange irregularities and problems in formatting. One of the goals Gutenberg has managed to achieve is the ability to copy and paste content while maintaining formatting. For WordPress users that don’t access the coding portion of the editor, this is huge.

The Editing Experience For Contributors Will Be Easier

If you have someone, or a group of people, that contribute to your blog periodically, the editing experience is going to get a lot easier for them.

The new Gutenberg editor interface is clean and easy to navigate. Functionality is quickly picked up, and how to access a certain set of features is easily applied to finding others.

Other tools that will make a new contributor’s experience easier include:

  • Drag and drop building through “blocks”
  • Preformatted “blocks” for different types of content (image, paragraph, header, etc)
  • Individual block formatting for placement and style
  • Simplified but powerful option menus

The types of Gutenberg Blocks

You’re Going to Use Fewer Plugins

… and this is a good thing. Too many plugins spoil the broth (or website), by increasing page load times and reducing the quality of user experience.

By offering a lot of advanced functionality through the Gutenberg editor itself, a number of features that basic users previously had to rely on plugins for are now included as standard.

The Current State of WordPress 5.0

Gutenberg has already had over 1.2 million active installs, with 86k posts being written and published daily. The fact that there are that many people already actively participating should put your mind at rest.

Of course, like any updated and changed piece of software, bugs do still exist. The main worry for many site owners and WordPress developers is how the new update will interact with plugins and themes.

WordPress 5.0, Themes, and Plugins

While many theme and plugin creators have spent time updating and ensuring compatibility with WordPress 5.0, there are still some that have not been updated – and possibly will not.

If you’re using a plugin that hasn’t been updated in several years and is still only technically compatible with WordPress 4.1, then you may have a problem. Luckily, the Gutenberg editor has added a lot of functionality to the default editing experience – potentially making your dated plugin redundant.

WordPress 5.0 and Page Builders

Another area of worry for many WordPress developers is how page builders will interact with the update. So far, we haven’t seen any issues. For the most part, because page builders are avoiding the Gutenberg editor entirely, pages created with page builders should remain stable.

Does this mean you shouldn’t test your site with 5.0 before you go live? Probably not.

How to Prepare Your Site for WordPress 5

Getting ready for the WordPress 5 update is simple… if you’re prepared.

The first step is spinning up a development environment to test how the update will affect your site. In the few cases that something is different, it’s probably not going to be sitewide, so testing each page for functionality and content is important.

If you’re hosting with Hostdedi, spinning up a dev site is simple, and can be done through your client portal. Start by going to Services -> Cloud Accounts, then find your WordPress environment in your list of services. Click the dropdown and select Add Development Account.  After a short series of steps, your dev site will instantly go live, complete with its own domain.

Spin up a dev site to test wordpress 5

Once you’ve spun up a test environment, you can then update WordPress through your Admin Panel. You can either select the small callout along the top or the huge callout just underneath the dashboard title.

Update to WordPress 5 through the admin panel example

What and How to Test

Testing your development site is similar to testing a site migration. In fact, we recommend following similar steps. This includes five primary different checks:

  • Content Presence
  • Content rendering
  • Loading behavior
  • Site links
  • Load times

While you’re testing the site, you’re also going to want to keep an eye on how plugins and theme elements react to the changes. This is largely going to be covered under content presence and loading behavior. You may find that something has loaded incorrectly, or behaves in a strange way. Identifying these problems is easy. Identifying load time issues is not.

Identifying Performance Issues

It’s important during any site change, to check whether performance has taken a hit. We don’t need to reiterate how much of an effect on conversion and bounce rate a slow site can have.

Luckily, checking site speed is easy, and can be done through Lighthouse. To check site speed with Google Lighthouse, you can follow our guide to auditing WordPress site performance.

The Bottom Line: Will WordPress 5 Break My Site?

The short answer is: probably not, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Gutenberg and WordPress 5 have already been adopted by so many people, with a comparatively small number of problems, that it’s unlikely you’re going to experience issues that haven’t been created by another user at some point.

Yet as per Murphy’s law, if you give something a chance to go wrong, it probably will do. Start off on the right foot with WordPress 5.0 and spin up a dev site.

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What Does PHP 5.6’s End-of-Life Mean For WordPress Users?

What Does PHP 5.6’s End-of-Life Mean For WordPress Users?

PHP 5.6 is the most widely used minor version of a programming language on the web. The PHP language is used on 79% of websites where the server-side language is known. PHP 5 is used on 58% of the web, and PHP 5.6 is used on around a quarter of all websites. It would not be an exaggeration to say there are millions of websites running PHP 5.6 — and also millions using older versions of PHP.

The statistics for WordPress are in the same ballpark: 35% of WordPress sites run on PHP 5.6. For a four-year-old piece of software, PHP 5.6 remains remarkably successful. It is also unsupported, receiving neither bug fixes nor security updates.

By the end of December 2018, PHP 5.6 hadn’t been actively supported for two years, during which time it received no bug-fix releases. Its official end of life was reached as 2018 came to a close, and, going forward, it will no longer be updated for critical security issues either.

PHP 5.6 and WordPress

WordPress recommends that hosting providers support PHP 7.3, which is the most recent version. At the time of writing, modern versions of WordPress will run on much older PHP versions, back to PHP 5.2.4, but, as WordPress’ developers make clear, using an older version may expose your site to security vulnerabilities. When WordPress 5.1 is released later this year, PHP 5.6 will become the minimum supported version, and sites using older versions may begin to experience compatibility problems. There are tentative plans to make PHP 7 the minimum supported version as early as the end of 2019, but given the huge install base for WordPress on PHP 5.6, it’s uncertain that this will actually happen.

Your site will continue to work. Although PHP 5.6 is no longer supported, WordPress sites that use it will continue to work for the foreseeable future. WordPress’ developers prefer site owners to use up-to-date versions, but they ensure that WordPress is compatible with older versions. However, it’s not guaranteed that WordPress will remain compatible with older versions forever or that developers will continue to support old versions for as long as they have.

Using older versions is a security risk. If a critical vulnerability is discovered in PHP 5.6, it won’t be fixed. It’s impossible to say how much of a risk this poses because no one knows if there are any critical security vulnerabilities in PHP 5.6. Over the last couple of years, numerous denial of service vulnerabilities were discovered and patched in PHP 5.6, but few critical remote code execution or privilege escalation vulnerabilities. After four years, the risk of show-stopping vulnerabilities is not high, but it is not zero.

New WordPress sites should use supported versions of PHP. There is no good reason to launch a new WordPress site on an unsupported version of PHP. Hosting providers that use outdated versions for new sites are negligent, knowingly put their clients at risk. Responsible hosting providers regularly upgrade PHP across their hosting platforms. Hostdedi offers the most recent supported version for new WordPress hosting accounts, although we continue to support older versions for clients who need them.

In summary, while there is no need to panic, hosting clients with sites based on PHP 5.6 should consider upgrading to a more recent version because there is a non-negligible security risk when using older versions of PHP.

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Using WordPress Logs To Understand Activity On Your Site

Using WordPress Logs To Understand Activity On Your Site

Using WordPress Logs To Understand Activity On Your SiteWordPress has a fairly simple interface, but there is a lot happening beneath the surface that you don’t see. Every page load and configuration change may trigger dozens of functions which, in turn, may trigger dozens more. Most of the time, the activity is hidden and that’s a good thing: you don’t need to know everything your WordPress site does behind the scenes.

But sometimes it’s useful to move the curtain aside and see what’s really happening. WordPress can communicate with you in various ways: it can send you emails, it can display notifications, but today we’re going to look at logs.

A log is a list of events, usually displayed in the order in which they occurred. Logs often include errors, but they might also include the day-to-day activities of your site.

Logs are useful for figuring out what is happening when it isn’t obvious from the interface. For example, you might install and configure a plugin so that a widget is displayed on the home page. If the widget doesn’t appear, you can look at log files for clues about what went wrong.

  Low activity may be due to slow site speed. Here are some simple optimizations to speed up your website

The WordPress Error Log

WordPress doesn’t produce a log of errors unless you ask it to. There are a couple of ways to get WordPress to generate an error log. We’ll look at doing it manually first.

In the root of your WordPress installation is a file called wp-config.php. It includes variable definitions and other code for configuring WordPress. You can edit this file by SSHing into your WordPress hosting account or by using an FTP client like Filezilla.

To turn on the error log, look for code that says:

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false );

 

Change it to the following:

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );

 

This turns on debugging, but you also need to add another line so that WordPress sends errors to a log:

define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

 

Make sure that there is only one occurrence of the WP_DEBUG and WP_DEBUG_LOG  definitions in wp-config.php.

Now, if you look in your WordPress installation’s /wp-content directory, you will find a file called debug.log that contains errors and other useful information. As you carry out actions on your site, any errors generated by the site’s code are added to the log.

When you have finished using the log, it’s a good idea to turn off log generation by returning wp-config.php to its default state.

An easier option

If editing the wp-config.php file manually and viewing logs over Filezilla doesn’t sound like fun, you can use a plugin to toggle logging and view the log. WP Log Viewer allows you to turn logging on and off, and provides useful tools for downloading and viewing the error log.

  Get started with the new Gutenberg editor here

Comprehensive Logging

The error log doesn’t tell you everything that happens on your site. If you’re interested in logging comprehensive information about what your site is doing and what users are doing on your site, you need a plugin such as WP Security Audit Log.

WP Security Audit Log logs a huge range of information, including changes to posts and pages, user accounts, settings, the database, and more.

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Moving Your Site To The Cloud

A Step-By-Step Guide To Moving Your Site To The Cloud

Guide To Moving Your Site To The CloudIf you have followed the advice outlined in the previous articles in this series on cloud migration, you are well-prepared to migrate your site to cloud hosting. The information you need has been gathered and is easily accessible. You have informed those who will be affected by the migration. You have chosen a cloud platform and selected an appropriate cloud instance. Now it’s time to put your cloud migration plan into action.

Preparing for the Migration

In the days before the site is to be migrated, it is a good idea to establish a performance and functionality baseline that can be used as a point of comparison after the migration.

Run performance tests on key pages. Google Lighthouse and Pingdom Tools provide comprehensive performance metrics.

Use a web crawling tool to check for broken links (404 errors) and other crawl issues on your site. You could use an application-specific tool such as WordPress’ Broken Link Checker or a specialist tool such as Screaming Frog. It’s a good idea to fix crawl and link issues before migrating so you can tell if the migration itself caused any problems.

Gather a list of redirects implemented on the current site via its .htaccess file or within the application itself. These may need to be checked after migration.

Stepping Through a Cloud Migration

The migration process may be slightly different, depending on the application that is being migrated, but the basic process looks like this:

  • Create an appropriate cloud hosting instance on the new platform.
  • Install the application on the cloud hosting account. You can choose to have the application installed as part of the set-up process on the Hostdedi Cloud.
  • Copy the site’s files and database from the current site to the application running on the cloud platform.
  • Edit DNS records so that they point to the IP address of the cloud platform.

Hostdedi Cloud instances capable of supporting up to 75 concurrent users can be deployed in minutes. Larger dedicated cloud instances will take up to three hours to deploy, so you may want to set-up your cloud instance in advance of migration day.

Test The New Site Before Changing DNS Records

You should ensure that the cloud migration is successful before changing DNS records or the site’s authoritative domain name servers. Carry out the same performance, crawl, and redirection testing as before. There should be no significant regressions.

You may notice worse performance on the new site during initial testing because its caches have not been warmed. This is nothing to worry about, and performance will improve as the caches are filled. On a live site, much of the data is served from caches or a CDN. The newly installed site is generating pages from scratch.

After Migration to the Cloud

Once the cloud migration is complete, you may have to wait up to 24 hours before visitors are reliably directed to the site running on the new platform.

DNS records take time to propagate through the global DNS system. It is likely to take less than 24 hours, but it is best to wait a few hours at least for propagation to complete before concluding that there is a problem.

Once DNS records have propagated, the new site is live. Over the next several days keep a close eye on performance, search traffic referrals, and other site metrics. Once you are confident that the cloud migration was successful, you are safe to delete the site from its original hosting platform and close your account with the provider.

In the next and final article, we summarize the information from this series into a handy cloud migration checklist that you can use to track migration planning, implementation, and testing.

  Download our free guide to Cloud Migration here 

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Introducing the Hostdedi Referral Partner

Introducing the Hostdedi Referral Partner

Hostdedi Referral Partner ProgramPartners have long been a staple in the Hostdedi ecosystem, and a crucial player in our mission to bring the promise of hosting technology to online businesses. But until recently, something was missing.

Today, we’re introducing a new partner level designed to bridge the space between our existing levels of Agency and Affiliate. We’re calling this the Referral Partner.

The Referral Partner level offers $200.00 for every cloud hosting referral and an initial deposit of $100.00 just for signing up.

Introducing the Referral Partner

Every year, we strive to provide a better hosting solution to as many online businesses as possible.

We realized that a middle-tier partner level was an important addition when multiple agencies and freelancers inquired about partnering at events but didn’t feel our current partner programs were the right fit for them.

We immediately set to work creating a competitive mid-level tier for those that felt left out. We settled on a program that featured a mix of value, features, and simplicity.

Spearheading the partner initiative was Jerry Eadeh, who stated that:

We analyzed various affiliate and partner programs belonging to many service providers similar to Hostdedi. We found many of the programs fell short of developing a simple program that didn’t include complex stipulations and exclusionary circumstances.

It was important to us to develop a competitive program that both rewards agencies for their referral activity and focuses on creating great relationships. We’re seeking agencies invested in building a collaborative partnership for us to align our efforts from support through to site maintenance and live launch deployment.”

A Renewed Commitment to Startup Agencies

Hosting is an essential foundation for any new website, but it’s often the last item to be discussed with a client.

The Referral Partner level comes with a renewed commitment to supporting startup agencies and freelancers looking to provide clients with a better hosting solution.

Joining the Hostdedi partner program means more than just earning a commision. We make conversations regarding hosting simple, with optimized environments, secure infrastructure, and 24/7/365 U.S. based support being only some of the benefits our partners and their clients enjoy.

How Can You Become a Referral Partner?

Becoming a Referral Partner is simple. You can contact our staff for more information about the Referral Partner program by email at [email protected].

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The Official Cloud Migration Checklist

The Official Cloud Migration Checklist

The Official Cloud Migration ChecklistEarlier in this series on cloud migration, I compared migrating a website to moving to a new house. It may be stressful, but how stressful depends on how well prepared you are. This, the final article of the series, is a comprehensive cloud migration checklist. Follow this list, and you will have a stress-free cloud migration.

Cloud Migration Preparations

  • Verify that you have access to the following information.
    • SSH or FTP usernames and passwords for the site’s current hosting.
    • Hosting control panel usernames and passwords.
    • Usernames and passwords for services such as the CDN and analytics.
    • DNS service provider information: That may include a DNS registrar and a DNS hosting provider.
    • If you are migrating DNS hosting at the same time, you will need to take note of the new DNS host’s name servers.
  • Inform all stakeholders of the cloud migration plan in advance. Give them time to respond.

Pre-Migration Testing

  • Create a list of your site’s top-performing pages.
  • Run performance tests on the top-performing pages using a service such as Google’s Lighthouse or Pingdom Tools to establish a performance baseline.
  • Check for broken links (404 errors) and other crawl errors.

Cloud Migration Day

  • Create a suitable cloud instance on the target platform.
  • Install the relevant CMS or eCommerce store application on the cloud instance. The Hostdedi Cloud can automatically install your chosen application in a secure, optimized hosting environment.
  • Create a copy of your site’s files and database. You can use application-specific backup tools or create the copy manually over SSH / FTP.
  • Import the database and files into the new application.

The Hostdedi team is happy to handle the migration of the site’s files and database for free. Ask our support team about free cloud migration.

Post-Migration Testing

Tests should be run again after the site is copied but before DNS records are changed.

  • Verify that the top-performing pages and a random sample of other pages are reachable on the new cloud-hosted site.
  • Re-run performance tests.
  • Re-run crawl tests: look for 404 and other errors.

Edit DNS Records

  • If you are migrating your domain’s DNS hosting to the new cloud platform, log in to your domain registrar’s dashboard and add the cloud platform’s name servers.
  • Otherwise, log in to your DNS hosting provider’s control panel and edit the domain’s DNS records to match those supplied by the new cloud hosting provider.
  • Wait for the DNS records to propagate – this could take up to 24 hours, but will probably be faster.
  • You will now begin to receive traffic at your new cloud-hosted website!

After the domain records have propagated, re-run performance and crawl tests to make sure the site is working as expected. You should also carry out any necessary reconfiguration of your content distribution network and test embedded analytics tools like Google Analytics to ensure that they function as expected.

Post-Migration Cleanup

Once you are satisfied that the migration is a complete success, you can delete the old version of the site and close the legacy hosting account.

Congratulations on a successful cloud migration!

  Download our free guide to Cloud Migration here

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5 WordPress Plugins for Increasing Conversions

5 WordPress Plugins for Increasing Conversions

WordPress Plugins for Increasing ConversionsStaring down the WordPress plugins page, you find yourself asking which plugins are right for your site. You want more conversions, and you have a basic idea of what that entails, but you don’t know how that translates into what visitors should see on the page. Here are 5 WordPress plugins that can figure that out for you.

You’ve decided on a WordPress site, and for good reason. Over 25% of the top 10 million sites use WordPress because it’s easy to use, the interface is intuitive, and best of all, it’s open source. Now all you need is a way to increase conversions.

Set your site apart from the competition with WordPress plugins designed to increase conversions. All while still giving you the freedom to create, share, and realize the potential of your site. Here are five plugins we think fit the bill.

  Make WordPress even easier with Hostdedi. Learn More.

1. OptinMonster

OptimMonster homepage for optimizing WordPress conversionsOptinMonster is a highly recommended plugin for increasing WordPress conversions and a great tool for both beginner and intermediate WordPress developers.

It works by allowing you to serve visitors to your website with opt-in forms for joining an email subscriber list or to become part of a specific campaign.

Currently, the plugin is live on 276,000 websites, with a lot of conversion success stories – just Google it.

A great plugin if you’re looking for:

  • An easy to use form builder
  • Integration with other marketing services
  • Advanced page level targeting
  • Behavior personalization
  • Easy A/B testing
  • Detailed conversion analytics

2. WordPress Calls to Action

WordPress Calls to Action for ConversionsWe’re not huge fans of screens littered with ads for our own content. Like most visitors, we want more space dedicated to high-quality, easy-to-read content (and some white space). Which is why when it comes to calls to action, we like this conversion boosting plugin the most.

WordPress Calls to Action will help you to place conversion boosting CTAs in your text (not along the top or in an annoying pop-up box). You can design these CTAs to look and feel exactly like the rest of your site, so they won’t stand out and interfere with your otherwise perfected user experience. A great WordPress plugin and one we highly recommend.

A great plugin if you’re looking for:

  • Convincing CTAs throughout your site
  • CTAs that don’t interfere with the user experience
  • WordPress conversion boosting in an unobtrusive way

3. WordPress Local SEO

WordPress Local SEO helps with site SEO for Omnichannel businessesThere are A LOT of SEO plugins out there for boosting conversions. After all, increasing conversions sometimes means just attracting more people to your site through. Optimized organic search presence through improving SEO is one of the best ways to do that.

So instead of focusing on SEO in general, we’re recommending a plugin for boosting local SEO – something often left out of SEO considerations for small and medium businesses.

This is especially important if you’re a small, omnichannel business looking to make sales both online and instore. This plugin will help you to have a consistent presence across the web so locals can find you.

A great plugin if you:

  • Are an omnichannel store looking to make sales online and instore
  • Want local customers to find you
  • Understand the basics of SEO but need to take it a step further

4. TweetDis  

TweetDis is great for Social Media And WordPress Conversions IncreasesIf you’re in an industry where thought leadership can boost conversions (most industries), then adding a little quotable Twitter magic to your blog posts can go a long way.

It’s no secret that, while with some themes they are pretty, WordPress quotes have no pragmatic use – other than to make something stand out on the page.

TweetDis takes that lack of functionality and expands on it with shiny quotes that are also directly sharable to Twitter. All that’s left for you to do is create tweetable content.

A great plugin if you:

  • Have an active social presence
  • Create great, tweetable content snippets
  • Are in an industry where being a thought leader is key

5. Nello AB Testing

Nello AB Testing results give clear insightsA/B testing is a vital tool in every marketer’s toolbox, regardless of whether they’re working with a WordPress site or not. To finish up our list of 5 WordPress plugins for increasing conversions, we’re going with our favorite A/B testing plugin yet: Nello AB testing.

The reason we like this plugin is that it lets you test practically anything and do so easily. That includes headlines, widgets, post types, themes, menus, entire blog posts, and more.

A great plugin if:

  • You want to start AB testing site elements
  • You’re looking for an easy way to implement and track differences in tests

Optimize Your WordPress Site

It takes more than just plugins to fully optimize a WordPress website. Plugins will help you to increase conversions, but there are other steps to make it into the top 10 million websites on the internet. Another great method for optimizing conversions is to optimize page speed. Check out our guide on how to improve page speed (and so conversions) with simple optimizations anyone can make.

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Building A Cloud Migration Plan

Building A Cloud Migration Plan

Building A Cloud Migration PlanEvery cloud migration starts with a plan, and every plan starts with information gathering. A website is composed of many parts that work together. Migrating to the Hostdedi Cloud is easier than many cloud migrations because we handle the setup of the server, software stack, and application for you. That gets you a long way towards a successful migration, but it will go more smoothly if you have the necessary information at your fingertips.

Assess Your Site’s Resource Requirements

Cloud hosting is sold in resource tiers. It’s easy to move between tiers, but you should be aware of the resources your site consumes and choose a suitable cloud plan for the initial migration.

The Hostdedi Cloud indicates how many concurrent users each plan supports, so it’s easy to figure out which is appropriate for your site or store.

Gather the Relevant Information

Compile a list of services your site depends on and the associated authentication credentials.

You are likely to need the following information:

  • Login details of your current hosting provider’s control panel.
  • SSH or FTP passwords for the hosting account you intend to migrate from.
  • Login details for services you use on your site, such as Google Analytics.
  • The name of your domain registrar and login details for the registrar’s control panel. This is important if you are also migrating DNS hosting. You may need to change the authoritative domain name servers for the site’s domain.
  • If you use a third-party DNS hosting provider, you need the details of that account to change the DNS records to point to the destination cloud hosting.
  • If your site uses a third-party CDN to distribute static assets, you may need login credentials to make changes to the CDN configuration.

It is important to have these details ready before attempting a cloud migration. It would be unfortunate if the migration goes well, but DNS or CDN problems cause availability issues.

Install Backup Software on Your Application

The core of your site is composed of two main components: its files and its database. Once the application – WordPress, for example – has been installed on the cloud hosting account, the migration involves copying the files to the new cloud instance and the data to a database running on that instance.

Backup software is useful in two ways: it allows you to create a copy of the site in case something goes wrong, and the same files and data can be copied to the new cloud instance.

Most web applications provide plugins or extensions that can copy the data from the old installation to the new installation for you. If you would prefer to let us handle this part of the migration process, contact Hostdedi support for more information about our free migration service.

Pick A Day

Once you have gathered the necessary information, it’s time to choose a migration date. With proper planning, there will be little downtime, but it is better to choose a day that you don’t expect the site to be especially busy.

  Download our free guide to Cloud Migration here

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