Migrating Magento Go To Magento Community

If you are a Magento GO customer, you probably already know that Magento Go will be shutting down on Feb. 1st, 2015.  Many inquiries have come in asking about the different options that are available.  Questions like: “Should we switch to Magento Community Edition?”  Let’s review the options that are available.

“Should we continue using Magento?”
Magento Community Edition is open source software used to power your online store and can be downloaded for free. Developers can modify the core code and add features and functionality by installing extensions from the Magento Connect marketplace.  The customization and optimizations are almost without limits.

For users already familiar with Magento Go, the transition to Magento Community will be easier than changing platforms altogether.  With Magento CE, you will continue to enjoy the benefits of direct integration with eBay, which can potentially be a bit challenging on other platforms.

FREE EXTENSIONS & THEMES
Another reason that you will want to consider Magento Community is because you have access to Magento Connect – where you have free and premium extensions and themes at your fingertips.

HOW DO I SWITCH TO MAGENTO CE?
You will have to start out by choosing a new hosting provider.  You will be faced with making an important decision that will affect the entire future of your Magento Store.  “Do I go with a cheap hosting plan with no Magento optimization or support, or do I go with a very costly managed plan with all the bells & whistles?  The answer to this question is neither.

THE CHEAP PLANS
Spend your money wisely.  The cheap plans out there will have you wishing you never made the change to Magento CE.  You will experience slow page load times, unreliable support, and no one will be able to tend to your requests in a timely manner.  Based on our research, any plan under $19 / mo. will have you pulling your hair out.  I’ll get into the details within the next few paragraphs.

THE EXPENSIVE PLANS
Some hosting providers will claim that they are Magento experts and charge you an arm and a leg for hosting.  Some sites we’ve researched even have the stones to charge hundreds of dollars per month for “BASIC” Magento hosting.  Some sites will even advertise dedicated servers; when in fact, they are shared.  Don’t be fooled.  Depending on your site’s size and traffic pattern, you may not need the KING KONG package and you certainly don’t deserve to be lied to.

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
You’ve probably researched enough of this online by now, so I’ll spare you from the long paraghaphs of research and get to the facts in bullet points.  You’re welcome.

1.  Make sure your hosting Magento on SSD.
2.  Get real 24/7/365 support.  Do this by asking for a free trial account and test them.
3.  Ask your host to migrate Magento GO to CE for you and ask them how long it will take.  (This should be a dead give-away)
4.  If your host is charging you for bandwidth or SKU count, run the other direction.
5.  Find out if the host will provide you with a Dedicated Magento Specialist.
6.  Will your plan be scalable? (What will happen once your store hits the big leagues?)
(Or what should you do during your “off-season”)
7.  Does your hosting plan come with an SSL certificate?  If not, you will pay more.
8.  Contracts?  Why do these companies want your money upfront?  Some of them will even charge you your 1st month payment and once they have your credit card on file, they will send you a confusing email and charge you for the whole year the following month)
9.  Are daily back ups included?
10.  Is your host PCI compliant?

THE CHANGE OVER
After you have decided on the hosting provider, you will have to install Magento CE on your server.  The next step will be to export your Magento GO files and import them to your new Magento CE installation.  One thing to be aware of:  Depending on how customized your Magento GO shop is, you may not be able to migrate the exact look and feel of the site.  You will, however, have the ability to customize your Magento shop after the migration to CE almost without any limits.

NEXT STEPS
eBoundHost has made the transition 100% pain free.  We will take care of the migration for any Magento GO customer at no additional cost.  Visit our Magento GO Migration Center to take advantage of our peace-of-mind special which includes 6 months of free hosting, optimizations and a whole list of give-aways to make your transition feel like it never happened.

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Magento Go Shutting Down – eBoundHost Offers Free Hosting

Magento Go is shutting down on February 1st, 2015.  In order to help Magento Go customers, eBoundHost is offering a special migration deal.  We are offering 6 months of service for free along with free migration, 24/7 support and free Magento optimization consultation.*

We understand that the migration process can be a bit overwhelming, so we are here to make it as easy as possible to move your store.  To help keep your costs down we are also providing a free SSL certificate along with free nightly back ups and a free Google Apps account.

To get started with your migration, please contact our Magento Success Team at 888-554-9990 or chat with us online to take advantage of this special offer.

magentogotoeboundhost

*1 hour of Magento optimization consultation is included for new customers.  6 months of free hosting is applied as a credit with a one year subscription.  Google Apps account is free for 30 days.

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Magento Site 4X Faster Load Time & 72X Faster Time To 1st Byte – ShopLava.com Case Study

More Comparison Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkc5PO2GOmu7ufo60tMmoGQ

Compare Your Magento Site:
http://magento1.eboundhost.com/magento-performance-comparison/

Free Trial:
http://eboundhost.com/magento-cloud-hosting/#compare

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Magento Site 2.7X Faster & TTFB 24X Faster – Brick-anew.com Case Study

Brick-anew.com is an example of a website that was hosted by a company that specializes in Magento and claims to offer optimized solutions.  The slow speed concern was brought to our attention through the chat feature on our website.  Brick-anew.com was brought back on the right track after going through a hosting transformation.  Let’s examine the steps our team took to optimize this server so that we can fully understand how we achieved great speed results for www.brick-anew.com.

STEP 1 – WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DIAGNOSIS
The site was running at a slower speed from a general perspective and we knew that some further scope for speed improvement was left open for us based on our technical perspective.  The site was diagnosed and analyzed to find out the limiting factors which were slowing down the websites performance.

Lets look at just 3 speed reports prior to the migration to an eBoundHost Magento Optimized Dedicated Server:

1.  Home Page - Old Host                      Load Time: 6.015s    Time To 1st Byte: 3.067s

before2
2.  Fireplace Doors Page - Old Host    Load Time: 5.407s    Time To 1st Byte: 2.271s

before1
3.  Brick Paint Page - Old Host            Load Time: 6.008s   Time To 1st Byte: 2.245s

before3

Initial Testing
We offered to benchmark the store on our platform prior to making any changes to the current site.  What this means is that we created a mirror copy of brick-anew.com and placed it on our server so that we could compare the 2 sites side by side.  Here are the initial results.  The test site loaded in only 3.8 seconds.

What eBoundHost Provided
We provided Brick-anew.com with a dedicated server, using hardware RAID-1 drives (SSD), 16 GB of RAM, and a top end Intel Quad Core e31230 v2@3.3GHz CPU.  RAID-1 was used for superior I/O (disk) performance, 16 GB of RAM was used for proper caching (MySQL).

The results were great, but as a group we decided to add Varnish & NginX to the equation and do some more optimizing.  The load times went down even further:

1.  Home Page, Optimized –                    Load Time: 2.222s    Time To 1st Byte: 0.125s


2.  Fireplace Doors Page, Optimized – Load Time: 2.542s    Time To 1st Byte: 0.139s


3.  Brick Paint Page, Optimized –          Load Time: 2.938s    Time To 1st Byte: 0.180s

 

CONCLUSION:
Thanks to properly configured Varnish cache, Nginx, and image optimizations www.brick-anew.com is now in the top 1% of fastest sites on the web.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.55.28 AM

WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DETAILS
Website                                                               – Brick-anew.com
Original Web Host Server                               – Undisclosed For Privacy
Magento Optimized Host                                - eBoundHost
Site Speed Optimizer                                       – Jarett E.
Editor & Magento Success Manager              - Tom P.

 

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Magento Page Load Time Improvement Case Study – omgbuyit.com

The Problem
Omgbuyit.com is an example of a website that was hosted by a company that specializes in Magento and claims to offer optimized solutions.  Omgbuyit would routinely see page load times that exceeded 14+ seconds.  The store has over 100,000 SKUs and concerns about using up too much RAM on the shared environments came to light.  Of course this lead to the ultimate question:  How many visitors were bouncing out of the site because it took too long to load?

Initial Testing
We offered to benchmark the store on our platform prior to making any changes to the current site.  What this means is that we created a mirror copy of Omgbuyit.com and placed it on our server so that we could compare the 2 sites side by side.  Here are the initial results:

 

What eBoundHost Provided
We provided Omgbuyit with a dedicated server, using hardware RAID-1 all SSD drives, 32 GB of RAM, and a top end Intel Quad Core e31230 v2@3.3GHz CPU.  RAID-1 all SSD was used for superior I/O (disk) performance, 32 GB of RAM was used for proper caching (MySQL).

The Results
We were able to reduce their page load times from 14+ seconds to under 7 seconds with proper use of caching and optimizations.  Time to 1st byte was reduced from 7.797 seconds to 0.399 seconds.

Here is a screenshot showing the old hosting 14+ second load time:


 

Here are the results after once hosted with us:

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 3.25.26 PM

 

CONCLUSION

Optimizing this case study website was not as easy as it looks like from the report above.
eBoundHost has done some super-tweaking to achieve high speed performance levels.

Using a Magento Optimized host like eBoundHost offers much more configuration and tweaking  flexibility to gain more speed on any Magento site.

Omgbuyit.com got their website page time to 1st byte reduced from 7.797s to 0.399s, which is almost 20 times faster.  The fully loaded website time was also reduced by 54% from: 14.046s to 6.471s.

WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DETAILS
Website                                                               – Omgbuyit.com
Original Web Host Server                               – Undisclosed For Privacy
Magento Optimized Host                                - eBoundHost
Site Speed Optimizer                                       – Jarett E.
Editor & Magento Success Manager              - Tom P.

 

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A Proud Community Partner – Foundation Fighting Blindness

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 4.28.54 PM

Over 10 Million Americans are affected by blinding retinal diseases.  The Foundation Fighting Blindness is working to find treatments and cures for these devastating diseases.  eBoundHost is proud to be part of this event.

Date: June 8, 2014
Location: Busse Woods, Grove #5
Elk Grove Village, IL.
click here for directions
Registration:  9:00 a.m.
Walk Start:  10:30 a.m.
Walk Chairs: Mark Falejczyk & Amy Hayes
Youth Chairs:  Nathan Hayes & Grace Nash
Family Chair:  Pat Archer
Medical Chair:  Dr. Ruth Williams
Wheaton Eye Clinic
Media Chair:  Maria Sellers
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Site Speed Jackpot – 500 eCommerce Sites Tested

500 eCommerce Sites Tested?
We came across an interesting post written by Ian Lurie, the Chairman and Principal Consultant at PI PORTENT.  Ian took the time to perform tests on 500 eCommerce sites.
What he discovered will open up your eyes to how much money you could be leaving on the table if you don’t pay attention to your performance metrics.

Opportunity
Like Ian, we preach about the benefits of having a faster site every day.  In fact, everywhere you look there are ads pitching the benefits of having a faster loading site.
It’s like you can’t get away from it, yet not many site owners / admins are doing anything about it.  What does that mean for you?  OPPORTUNITY.

What They Found

Over 50% of eCommerce sites tested had an average load time of 5+ seconds.

The biggest and easiest value jump is getting your site load time from 8 seconds down to 5 seconds as you will see in Ian’s graph.  The biggest revenue jump happens when you get your site to drop down to a 1 second load time from 2 seconds, but going from 8 to 5 seconds is easier and generates an 18% value/page view increase.

Software Adjustments
If you’re into the development side of maintaining your website, Ian goes into much more detail on minifying code, javascript timing, ETags, expired headers and image compression.  It will be worth your time to check out his post.

 Hardware Adjustments
We have performed a series of our own case studies and want to leave you with 6 observations:

1. Most developers / site owners realize that they can increase revenue by simply speeding up their page load times.

2. They run a series of speed tests through Google Insights or Webpagespeedtest and gather data.

3. They obtain detailed reports that show them how they can improve their page load times.

4. They focus their attention very heavily on coding / design while sometimes overlooking the performance of their server.

5. Those that understand their server plays a significant role in site speed start researching hosting platforms.

6. But they are hesitant to make a change with their hosting platform because they believe it is a monumental task, or they just don’t know who to trust.

Easy & Painless Solution
We took all of these variables into consideration while searching for an easy solution to take away the pain, so we created a live Magento hosting comparison tool. We have given these concerned individuals the opportunity to compare their current Magento site to a live mirror copy of itself on an optimized platform for free, just to take the fear factor away and show them what can happen when they get a tailored hosting plan that complements their specific site.

 

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Let Your Magento Site Take A Free Test Drive (A Really Fast One)

Recently eBoundHost introduced a new Magento performance testing tool that allows you to compare your Magento site to a live mirror copy of itself  on the FASTEST SSD optimized platform available.  Here is an example of a recent comparison test that was performed for DivineOptics.com.  As you will see, this Magento site loaded up 2.2X faster on our optimized platform.

DivineOptics Side-By-Side Results

To take a free 7 day test drive with your Magento site, use this link:
http://magento1.eboundhost.com/magento-performance-comparison/

Be careful, don’t drive too fast.

magentocar4

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Magento Site Speed Case Study & Success Story – YunesSwathe.com

YunesSwathe.com is an example of a website that was hosted on a Non-Magento Optimized Platform.  The slow speed concern was brought to our attention via the Speed Test Request form on our website.  YunesSwathe.com was brought back on the right track after going through a hosting transformation.  Let’s take a detailed walk-through to understand what was done to optimize this Magento site for speed.

STEP 1 – WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DIAGNOSIS
The site was running at a slower speed from a general perspective and we knew that some further scope for speed improvement was left open for us based on our technical perspective.  The site was diagnosed and analyzed to find out the limiting factors which were slowing down the websites performance.

Lets look at the speed report prior to the migration to the eBoundHost Magento Optimized Cloud Platform:

First Byte Time – F
Keep-alive enabled – A
Compress Transfer – A
Compress Images – D
Progressive JPEGs -F
Cache static content -A
Effective use of CDN – X

As we can see here, this is a standard shared hosting server that is set up to cater to most php/mysql CMS (i.e. WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc…) Kudos for setting keep alive to enabled and caching static content.  Of course it’s not enough to get the demanding Magento platform to load at a reasonable speed. That’s why we see a horrendous  2300ms TTFB here.

STEP 2 – TRANSFER WEBSITE TO MAGENTO OPTIMIZED PLATFORM
Through assisted migration, Yunesswathe.com was moved from a standard web-hosting platform to our Magento Optimized Cloud platform.

STEP 3 – LAUNCHING ON A PRE-CONFIGURED PLATFORM
Once website functionality and performance were carefully verified, A records were pointed and the site seamlessly switched over.  A new beginning for Yunesswathe.com.

RESULTS:
Let’s look at the new report after migration:


FACTOR                          BEFORE CHANGE
          AFTER CHANGE            RESULT
First Byte Time                                F                                             A      GREATLY Improved
Keep-alive enabled                          A                                             A                              Neutral
Compress Transfer                          A                                             A                              Neutral
Compress Images                            D                                             F                           Needs Work
Progressive JPEGs                          F                                              F                              Neutral
Cache static content                        A                                              A                              Neutral
Effective use of CDN                       X                                              X                              Neutral

We have achieved substantial improvement in time to 1st byte and page load times.  CDN was not chosen by YunesSwathe.com’s Admin for this particular situation due to the geographical location of their target market.  Now the next step was to make sure that the developers for YunesSwathe.com were aware that they have the option to optimize their images for better performance.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 4.22.37 PM


CONCLUSION

Optimizing this case study website was not as easy as it looks like from the report above.
eBoundHost has done some super-tweaking to achieve high speed performance levels.

Using a Magento Optimized host like eBoundHost offers much more configuration and tweaking  flexibility to gain more speed on any Magento site.

YunesSwathe.com got their website page time to 1st byte reduced from 2.229s to 0.161s, which is almost 14 times faster.  The fully loaded website time was also reduced by 57% from: 10.298s to 4.448s.

WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DETAILS
Website                                                               – YunesSwathe.com
Original Web Host Server                               – Undisclosed For Privacy
Magento Optimized Host                                - eBoundHost
Site Speed Optimizer                                       – Jerry T.
Editor & Magento Success Manager              - Tom P.

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eBoundHost Introduces The Standard For Magento Performance Tools

eBoundhost launches the Industry’s newest Magento performance tool.  This tool invites any Magento developer or customer to create a live mirror copy of their Magento site and review it’s performance on a highly optimized SSD cloud hosting platform for free.

http://magento1.eboundhost.com/magento-performance-comparison/

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Heartbleed bug (OpenSSL) patched on eBoundHost Systems – CVE-2014-0160

All eBoundHost managed systems vulnerable to (Heartbleed) were patched. This security vulnerability is widespread with multiple operating systems globally and not an eBoundHost-specific issue.  OpenSSL was upgraded seamlessly.  Here is the link for the official Heartbleed website for more details:  http://heartbleed.com/

magentoheartbleed

The online Heartbleed testers such as http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/ simply connect to the server and see if the heartbeat feature is enabled.  Some online checkers will still show systems as vulnerable because they can’t tell if you are running the patched version or not since there is no known PoC to test against.

View Magento Optimized Cloud Hosting Plans

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Magento Site Speed Case Study & Success Story

Magento Website Speed Optimization Case Study – nursejamie.com

nursejamiesite

Nursejamie.com was an example of a website that was hosted on a Non-Magento Optimized Platform.  The slow speed concern was brought to our attention via the Speed Test Request form on our website.  Nursejamie.com was brought back on the right track after going through a hosting transformation.  Let’s take a detailed walk-through to understand what was done to optimize this Magento site for speed.

STEP 1 – WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DIAGNOSIS
The site was already running at a good speed from a general perspective, but we knew that some further scope for speed improvement was left open for us based on our technical perspective.  The site was diagnosed and analyzed to find out the limiting factors which were slowing down the websites performance.

Lets look at the speed report:

nursejamiebefore1First Byte Time – F
Keep-alive enabled – A
Compress Transfer – F
Compress Images – F
Progressive JPEGs -F
Cache static content -F
Effective use of CDN – Y

STEP 2 – TRANSFER WEBSITE TO MAGENTO OPTIMIZED PLATFORM
Through assisted migration, Nursejamie.com was moved from a standard web-hosting platform to our Magento Optimized Cloud platform.

STEP 3 – LAUNCHING ON A PRE-CONFIGURED PLATFORM
Once website functionality and performance were carefully verified, A records were pointed and the site seamlessly switched over.  A new beginning for Nursejamie.com.  No hiccups, just pure improvement.

RESULTS:
We checked the websites speed once again.

FACTOR                          BEFORE CHANGE          AFTER CHANGE            RESULT
First Byte Time                                F                                             B                            Improved
Keep-alive enabled                          A                                             A                              Neutral
Compress Transfer                          F                                             A                            Improved
Compress Images                             F                                             F                              Neutral
Progressive JPEGs                          F                                              F                              Neutral
Cache static content                        F                                              A                            Improved
Effective use of CDN                       Y                                              X                              Neutral

We have achieved substantial improvement in time to 1st byte, compress transfer and cache static content.  CDN was not chosen by Nursejamie.com’s Admin for this particular situation due to the geographical location of their target market.  Now the next step was to make sure that the developers for Nursejamie.com were aware that they have the option to optimize their images for better performance.

nursejamieafter1

eboundhosttest2


CONCLUSION

Optimizing this case study website was not as easy as it looks like from the report above.
eBoundHost has done some super-tweaking to achieve high speed performance levels.

Using a Magento Optimized host like eBoundHost offers much more configuration and tweaking  flexibility to gain more speed on any Magento site.

Nursejamie.com got their website page time to 1st byte reduced from 0.867s to 0.337s, an average of 62% improvement on a relative performance scale.  The fully loaded website time was also reduced from  5.100s to 2.233s, an improvement of 56%.

WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION CASE STUDY DETAILS
Website                                                               – Nursejamie.com
Original Web Host Server                               – Undisclosed For Privacy
Magento Optimized Host                                - eBoundHost
Site Speed Optimizer                                       – Denis Z.
Editor & Magento Success Manager              - Tom P.

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How Load Time Affects Your Website And Bottom Line

We’ve been noticing that many internet users are becoming more and more impatient when it comes to finding what they want online in a timely manner.  Remember the sound that your 14.4k modem made back in the day and how long it used to take you just to connect to the web?  Think about how far we’ve come since then.  The new reality now is that the average person has a device in their pocket that has more power than a state of the art computer from 1997.  I remember having to wait about 5 seconds for a picture to appear online; but at the time it was perfectly acceptable.  Think about what you would do if your smartphone took 5 seconds to load a picture now….  Not a fun thought.  You wouldn’t go to McDonalds and order a BigMac just to wait 20 minutes to get it, would you?  Absolutely not.  And neither would 90% of the population…

shutterstock_58335922So, why is it so important to understand the average consumer browsing the web today?  Well, if you’re a business owner, the lack of that knowledge can hurt your bottom line.  Every second counts.  Long loading time is a major reason why some people abandon websites.  The longer it takes a website to load, the more likely the consumer will leave and go to a different website.  Even if you have the best product, the best service and the best price…. does it really matter?  No.  Not if the the end user decides your information takes way too long to show up on their screen.  Think about it.  Your online presence may be your 1st impression to that customer, and we all know how important that 1st impression is.

shutterstock_162886037

Lets put our “Store Owner Shoes” on for a moment.  You own a large “Green Widget” company.  On average, your “Green Widget” eCommerce site generates $10,000 in revenue per day.  If I told you that I could add an extra $20,000 to your top line every month without any dramatic changes, would you split the difference with me?  Would you give me $5,000 per month for those results?  What would you do?  What if I told you that it will not cost you a penny?  You would jump for joy!  Lets talk about how this is happening to many businesses all over.  I’ll share the secret with you and break down the math.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 2.53.08 PM

About half of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.  Your “Green Widget” site takes 4 seconds to load.  How many customers do you think you lost before they even gave you a chance?  Decreasing the load time of your site by even 1 second will generate an extra $20,000 per month in sales.  There.  I just gave you the secret.  No boring SEO book to read, no advertising seminars to attend, no expensive consultants to hire….none of that.  Don’t you love me now?

So how can we decrease the load time of a Magento eCommerce Storefront?  The answer is simple.  Choose your host provider carefully.  You can spend hours researching different companies online.  But what exactly should you be looking for?  If you are serious about your online store and want to minimize risk while increasing your site speed, here’s a list of questions that you should be grilling your host with:

1.  How many other domains will I be sharing a server with?
2.  Is the SSL Certificate included?
3.  Is your host / data center PCI compliant?
4.  Is your hosting provider offering SSD (solid state drive) technology throughout the entire platform? (no spinning disks)
5.  So you are running an open source eCommerce platform. Is your host on top of its security vulnerabilities?
6.  What is your current time to 1st byte?
7.  Does your current host specialize in Magento specific solutions & is migration free?
8.  How long will it take you to get an accurate & competitive quote while researching?
(Without picking up the phone and potentially running into sales pressure.)
9.  Does your host offer 24/7 support?
10. Will they answer your phone call in under 10 seconds or do you have to go through a long automated process? VERY IMPORTANT!
11.  What do those online reviews look like?

Lastly, remember the RULE OF 7.  This is an important number that should embed itself into your mind instantly.  The RULE OF 7 explained – A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in eCommerce conversions.

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A Great Cyber Monday Domain Deal from eBoundHost.com!


FREE DOMAIN

What makes this deal so great? Because it’s completely free. That’s right, not 50%, 60% or even 90% off. The domain name registration is completely and totally free for one year.  Just pick a .com, .net. .org (or almost any other TLD) domain, use this coupon: FDCMD2013 and register it at a 100% discount. Nothing to lose, a free domain to gain!  If you choose not to keep it registered past the first year, we won’t hold it against you.

http://eboundhost.com/domains

This deal is available 12/2/2013 thought 12/9/2013. Hurry!

COUPON CODE : FDCMD2013

*UPDATE (12/05/2013):  The coupon is no longer available as all the slots were filled faster than anticipated!

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Relief effort for tornado victims in Washington, Illinois

Days after the colossal tragedy in the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan caused deaths of upwards of ten thousand people, the midwestern part of the United States was hit by powerful tornados.

Just 151 miles away from the eBoundHost.com home base near Chicago, Illinois, a massive tornado touched down in the city of Washington.

The images of devastation and news of loss of life are so completely overwhelming that it’s amazing how anyone survived. A good portion of the city has been reduced to rubble, houses, businesses, stores, hospitals, schools are simply gone. People who planned their lives and retirements, and worked hard to build and to save, are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

The realization sinks in that this could have been us, any of us.

Most importantly it’s time to help our neighbors with the very basic needs in life like clean water, food and shelter. We are entering the coldest part of the year where temperatures are dropping to below freezing and these people need help today, right now.

Please join us in doing what you can. Volunteer your time or help by donating funds to the relief fund. More information can be found here:

http://ci.washington.il.us/

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Hurricane Yolanda/Haiyan in Philippines

typhoon.yolanda.haiyan

Our hearts go out to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in the Philippines.   We are extremely saddened by the loss of life and hope that the  survivors find comfort in the world community joined together to rebuild what was destroyed.  eBoundHost.com is donating to the relief fund  organized here:

http://www.itmatters.com/typhoon-yolanda/

100% of donations collected go directly to the victims. Wecall on everyone who can to join us.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9s3PmasGVnw9Yl58aAuwiQ/videos

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Faster hosting == more conversions and better SEO

Sophisticated clients love to chat with us about search engine optimization (SEO), keyword placement, guest blogging, pay per click (PPC) and other techniques to increase the traffic to their websites and ultimately add to their bottom line.  They spend hours each month tracking changes in traffic patterns and spend thousands of dollars on advertising. They optimize the smallest details and change landing pages to rework traffic flow. But often, their results plateau and they don’t know where to look for the next step.

An important factor for search engine rank is site speed.  Search engines pay close attention to the speed of your website, because faster websites operated by more sophisticated webmasters are typically more important.   In fact the search engines consider it so important they give you tools to measure and help make your site faster:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/

More importantly, faster websites convert better. People don’t like to wait, even if the difference is barely perceptible.  You’re competing  against the likes of Amazon who has an unlimited budget and teams of experts watching for slowdowns.  A 2-4 second lag on each page, makes your business look like it’s being run by amateurs.  Often, repeat business is based on a “feeling” rather than actual product quality.  So you want customers who are just as impressed by the speed of your website as the quality of your product and customer service.

Getting rid of perceptible slowdowns is so important that even your iPhone or Android have built-in transitions such as swiping, sliding, zooming effects, spinning circles and “loading” progress bars. This eye candy is not just pretty, it’s there to help pass the time between launching applications.

Smart websites are built the same way, everything is optimized to reduce perceptible wait time and help remove any obstacles from the visitor to complete their purchase.  By the way, perceptible and actual load times are not the same thing.  It’s possible to have your pages start to render in the browser before the entire content has been downloaded from the server.

Website speed typically has more to do with the structure of the website rather then the size of pages or images. For instance, a page that consists of large blocking files which must be downloaded before the website starts to render, is going to be perceptually slower than one which places the blockers farther down the chain. The first option is to rearrange these files to load only when needed and move all external includes as far down the chain as possible. Google Analytics, for instance, should be loaded at the very bottom of the page, below all static content such as images.

However, this is not always an option because most websites today use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Magento, which come with a prebuilt structure that cannot be rearranged. Additionally, plugins and themes for these systems have dependencies that require a certain structure.

But there are other easy things that can be done to dramatically improve the speed of delivery.

slow website

Original, pre-optimization

In the above example, each line item is an individual file. This is the breakdown of how long it takes to download each file. We are mostly interested in the top 10 entries’ blue area. As you can see the very first files are javascript (navigation) and css (design). These are large text files which block rendering and collectively soak up a full second of customer’s time.

The lowest hanging fruit in this case is to compress large text files in flight between the server and the visitor’s browser. Text files such as .js and .css, compress easily and are the biggest bang for your buck. Such a file may range between 50 and 500 KB but will compress 50-80%. When taken in aggregate for all your css, js and html/php files, it’s a very significant time savings.  Today’s servers have such an overabundance of hardware resources that the additional strain on CPU and RAM is not noticeable.  The trick is that it takes less time for the server to compress, transfer and have your browser decompress, than to simply transfer an uncompressed file.  Besides, this functionality has been built into browsers for a long time and it’s silly not to take advantage of it.

While the server and browser already support this functionality, it typically needs to be enabled explicitly on the server.  However, this needs to be done the correct way or it can backfire. Trying to compress the wrong type of file has serious penalties, so be careful.

Fast website optimization

Optimized, much much faster

This is the same website after server side optimizations have been applied. Notice how the blue portion of the top 10 lines have disappeared completely or have become significantly smaller.

Furthermore, the rest of the website files are downloaded much sooner and the website takes only 1.5 seconds to begin rendering instead of 2.6 seconds which is nearly twice as fast.

The takeaway here is the extreme reduction in transfer time is easily accomplished even without structural changes to the website.  It only has to be done once and now we can sit back and enjoy happier visitors and some very impressed search engines.

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Denial of Service: 07/31/2013

This afternoon we experienced a massive distributed denial of service attack against the eBoundHost network.

Although we have been working to mitigate a DDoS starting at Noon CST (GMT -6) without customer impact, the attack escalated and began to impact customers at 1 PM CST. The attack was fully resolved at 1:52 PM CST.

Typically these events are handled seamlessly in the background without impacting our end users. However, the scale of this event was unprecedented and the skill of the attackers was considerable. Our network engineers were able to resolve this problem and have the impacted network segments back online within 55 minutes.

As always, we will use this incident as a learning opportunity to see how to adapt to the evolving attack vectors and protect our customers from downtime in the future.

If you have questions about any aspects of this attack, please reach out to our support team. We are here for you.

Regards,

Artur
eBoundHost

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Godaddy’s Outage

On 9/10/2012 Godaddy, the popular web hosting, and domain registrar became victim to online hacking or Denial of Service attack (DoS). The number of impacted websites was reported to be in the millions. It was without a doubt a difficult day for many of the small businesses hosted on Godaddy.

The infamous hacker group “Anonymous” claimed responsibility, but at this time it is unclear if it was a DoS, hack, or technical failure. Reasons for this attack on Godaddy at the moment are also unclear.

We would like to express our heartfelt sympathies for anyone who has fallen victim to these attacks. Many don’t consider the impact on everyday people, even though Godaddy was the one targeted.  The real casualties of this attack were as always, hardworking small business people who had no idea about Anonymous or their crusade.

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Thunderbirds Last Flight

Earlier this week, the Mozilla Foundation put out an announcement that distills to this:

To be more specific, Mozilla will no longer focus on developing innovations for Thunderbird but will keep it safe and stable … Mozilla will also provide all the infrastructure required for new, community-developed features to be integrated in upcoming Thunderbird releases.

In a nutshell, they are announcing the retirement of Thunderbird. Citing the reason of the project not being their “top priority,” which, in plain English means they lost the war to Gmail & Co on the mail side and they are going to focus like a laser so the same thing won’t happen on the browser. As of June 2012, Firefox holds 30% less market share than Google Chrome and is losing ground quickly.

Contrary to popular belief, open source software is just as expensive to develop as any commercial product, but the costs come in different ways. The same, professional high quality programmers, spend weeks and months contributing their code to a versioning repository where it’s reviewed, QA’d and then released. This is the same intense and expensive process as followed by Microsoft, Google, Apple and any other large development house. Sometimes these coders are working for a corporation with their full time being devoted to a single project, sometimes they are working out of their basement as unpaid volunteers. The Mozilla Foundation is no longer participating in this effort which means the open source world just lost an important ally. Thunderbird has been under the Mozilla umbrella since inception and it’s not likely that the OSS community will keep it going. Of course bug fixes and security patches will be available for some time but the writing on the wall is clear.

Which is pretty sad for users like us who are not using gmail or webmail interface and require a fast and flexible IMAP application to plow through a 10GB mailbox at local application speed, keyboard shortcuts and unrivaled ease of use.

However, time moves on and we need to look ahead. The IT landscape is littered with the remains of indispensable applications like ACT!, Eudora, Google Wave and others that had a sizable following at one time.

We’re currently considering other options like Mac Mail and Outlook Express to recommend to our customers, and we’d love to hear what you’re using.

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