Web Development Articles

Understanding, Analyzing & Reducing Latency

Published on February 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm by iWeb Technologies in: Web Hosting Articles

In a previous post that explored where to locate your servers, one of the most important considerations was the latency (delay) between your servers and your principal markets. For a given website or application, this is most greatly influenced by the geographic distance and the quality of networking between your servers and your users.

It’s important to note that optimizing your websites and applications themselves has an enormous effect on the latency experienced by the user. However hosting infrastructure decisions and server configuration can also dramatically reduce latency without the need to compromise website design or application features.

Following the launch of our new data center locations, and with CDN on the way, this blog post looks at what causes latency, whether you should invest in reducing it, and what you can do today to reduce server latency and speed up content delivery.

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Customer Case: Kathryn Presner, Zoonini Web Services

Published on February 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm by heri in: Customer Cases, iWeb Articles

Today’s feature is about Kathryn Presner, who owns a web design consultancy firm called Zoonini Web Services. You can meet Kathryn on Twitter; you can also get her monthly newsletter, which is how I discovered what she was doing in the web design and web development industry in Montreal, Canada. Kathryn Presner has had a dedicated server at iweb for the past 4 years, and using it to offer website solutions to her customers.

zoonini web services Can you present yourself? What’s your background, and how did you become a web designer?

I’m Kathryn Presner, founder of Zoonini Web Services . My background is in film and television production, but I found the field extremely stressful and never really found my passion in that industry. When I first discovered the Web around 1994, I was fascinated with its potential. Designing and building sites offered a challenging way to use both the creative and logical parts of my brain, and I found it very satisfying. By late 90s I was designing Web sites professionally.

Can you tell us more about Zoonini? What kind of services are you offering, and what kind of companies (or individuals) are you providing services for?

I specialize in one-of-a-kind, custom-designed sites for small-to-medium-sized businesses and organizations. I have clients all over Canada and the US, in areas as diverse as business coaching, professional organizing, arts education, and even pest control! One of the things I take pride in is always keeping the “big picture” in mind: crafting sites that are pleasing to the eye, but also serve the visitor well by providing the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. I also partner with two trusted colleagues to offer complementary services: A.C. Riley Communications for organic search-engine optimization and Cresedo Tec for custom database-driven applications.

About web hosting, how do you present this service to your customer?

I always ask potential clients if they’ll need hosting. Very often, their answer is “What’s a host?” – so right from the start I need to educate most folks about what Web hosting is, and what I can offer. I try to explain in a non-jargony way that the host is simply the computer where your site “lives.” Easy-to-understand metaphors often help, so for example, I might say that your site is like a book, and that book lives in a reference library (the host), where people can come and look at the book (the public viewing the site). I explain that by having me provide their hosting, it’s one less company for them to have to deal with, and that since I only provide hosting to my own clients, and not the general public, I can provide stable hosting on a server that hosts many fewer other sites than a regular commercial host may have.

What product and services do you use at iWeb? What made you choose iWeb? How has been your experience so far?

Gabrielle Zacek of Cresedo Tec and I have shared an iWeb dedicated server for our clients since early 2005. We upgraded to a more powerful NOW III+ server last year. We choose iWeb because we’d met Yves Lafond at an IT tech show at the Palais des Congrès. He seemed very genuine and “un-salesy” and invited us to come visit the data centre, even though we weren’t sure we were ready for a dedicated server. He was very supportive and reassured us that with our skills we could handle it, and whatever we couldn’t handle ourselves, iWeb support could assist us. We chose a server with cPanel/WHM, which definitely had a learning curve to it (not the most intuitive interface in the world, even though we’d used it before!) but which, for us, was preferable to solely relying on the command-line. Fortunately, Gabrielle comes from a physics background and knows her way around a Linux command or two. Our biggest hiccup with iWeb so far has been with some hardware issues on our new server; it was very hard to identify the source. Fortunately, the techs eventually found the major culprit: the motherboard itself! Our account manager Patrick Hanley was invaluable in helping us get to the root of the problem. During that time, we decided to opt for the Level 5 Managed support package, which relieves a lot of the stress of making sure our server is up 24/7. For us, it’s been worth it.

In addition to our main server, I also have a smaller dedicated server for one client who hosts several Flash movies there.

What kind of product/service would you want to be offered or improved at iWeb? Finally, would you recommend iWeb Technologies to friends or contacts?

From my perspective as a client over the last four years, the biggest thing that can be improved even further at iWeb is the flow of information on the tech support end. One gets the feeling often that information is not being passed along smoothly from one tech support person to another, which results in having to re-explain things. Also, I definitely get the sense that there is a really varying level of expertise – and communication skills – among tech support staff. We get some great and clear answers to our tech queries – other times, the responses are not as helpful.

I would definitely recommend iWeb to anyone looking for a dedicated server.

Installing Wordpress on its birthday

Published on May 27, 2008 at 1:12 pm by iWeb-Olivier in: Web Development Articles

wordpressBlogs are a huge part of what constitutes today’s web. Their growth is exponential, and content publishing systems for blogs are constantly improving. It is the case of Wordpress, one of the most popular of those softwares. Wordpress (which powers this blog, by the way), provide tools to easily manage a blog.

Today is Wordpress fifth anniversary.

Recently, Automattic published Wordpress’ 2.5 version which brings many changes such as a brand new design for its dashboard. The new version allows, among other things :

- Multi-file upload with progress bar;
- Tag management;
- Password strength meter;
- Few-click plugin upgrades;
- Built-in galleries.

Installing Wordpress on iWeb?s servers is pretty easy, and many options are available. Wordpress requires a hosting plan including Apache and PHP and a MySQL database. It is therefore possible to use it on all iWeb?s servers under Linux

Shared hosting : Shared hosting customers that benefit from Panelbox can use the ?instant presence? to install Wordpress in one click. Just visit the ?Software? section and choose ?Fantastico? to access the installation menu. For others, simply upload to your server Wordpress’ files through FTP protocol and follow the installation instructions provided by Wordpress.

Dedicated hosting : If your dedicated server uses a control panel like Plesk or cPanel where Fantastico is installed, you can also install Wordpress in one click. Otherwise, you can always follow Wordpress’ instructions on their website.

Usually, in order to operate a simple blog, a shared hosting environment is enough. However, the popularity of some bloggers is so huge that their sites receive many thousands visitors a day. Many of the top bloggers are using Wordpress as their blogging platform. What about you ?

Drupal 6 and the server you need

Published on May 8, 2008 at 2:20 pm by iWeb-Olivier in: Web Development Articles

drupal hostingThere are many content management systems which allow, when installed on a server, to easily and quickly publish Web content of any kind. Among those CMS, Drupal is certainly one of the most popular because it’s open source, and because it can count on a very active developers community.

Drupal offers several modules that let you create blogs, forums, polls, wikis, and collaborative books.

Last february, Drupal released its sixth version which includes many new features such as a new easy installation process, languages selection, signing up using OpenID, update notification, and improved speed and security of the system.

Installing Drupal on iWeb’s servers is pretty easy,and many options are available. Drupal requires a hosting plan including Apache or IIS, PHP and MySQL database or PostgreSQL. It is therefore possible to use it on all iWeb’s servers.

Shared hosting : Shared hosting customers that benefit from Panelbox can use the “instant presence” to install Drupal in one-click. Just visit the “Software” section and choose “Fantastico” to access the installation menu. For others, simply upload to your server Drupal’s files through FTP protocol and follow the installation instructions provided by Drupal.

Dedicated hosting : If your dedicated server uses a control panel like Plesk or cPanel where Fantastico is installed, you can also install Drupal in one-click. Fantastico allows to install many other softwares in one-click. Otherwise, you can always follow Drupal’s instructions on their website.

The choice between shared or dedicated hosting to manage a website running Drupal depends mainly on the number of visitors planned on your site, as well as the type of content therein. If you expect to receive several thousand visits per month or you intend to publish video content, a dedicated server could be needed.

Drupal is a very powerful software that runs many famous sites. It’s the case with NowPublic, a Canadian citizen journalism Web site, Linux Journal, Rue89 a French media, The Onion a satirical American site, and Ubuntu website the popular Linux distribution. Who knows, maybe you are at a few clicks from a potential site of success …

iWeb at User Experience 2007 conference

Published on December 11, 2007 at 3:38 pm by iWeb-Olivier in: Web Development Articles, iWeb Articles

Las VegasThe “User Experience 2007” conference was held last week in Las Vegas. For the occasion, some members of iWeb’s development team were there with the objective of perfecting their knowledgeof web design and usability standards.

Even if some developers were surprised by the legal age needed to drink and gamble, everyone had the chance to appreciate Las Vegas’ many ways of siphoning their money.

Many concepts learned at the conference will be used by iWeb’s coders, such as some good practices in user testing, creating templates, and in pattern design. We will use this new knowledge to ensure that the forthcoming new elements on our site will be even more effective in terms of accessibilty and design.

Photograph : fadedpictures (Flickr)