3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.

In between all of my art-related projects, I’ve been working on two other websites that’s still under wraps. I’ve discovered a lot of techniques recently (both WordPress and server-related) that should speed upload times and responsiveness of the pages being served. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to implement these tricks on this website. I’ll write about these techniques later. I can say that the upcoming article will contain a lot of useful tricks to help anyone interested in optimizing their websites. I’ll also need to update a list of the plugins I’ve since abandoned and others that I’ve recently discovered. At some point, you’ll all probably see a 503 Holding Page go up. I’ll be using the Maintenance Mode Plugin for WordPress here as the splash page while the content gets ported on over.

There’s been talk recently (this has actually been going on for years but has reached a new plateau as of recent) that Google is going to start putting an emphasis on website load speeds. In other words, the faster your website, the higher ranking you may receive. Google said in the past that this wasn’t a determination in their ranking algorithm, but that’s not to say it won’t change in the future. Last year alone, Google made over 200 tweaks to their code in order to determine a website’s position on the Internet. They also rolled out a few new items that measured website’s speeds – perhaps to answer Yahoo’s speed nanny Yslow. All this recent news seems like faster speeds at some point will become a deal-breaker for a lot of site. So speed is something that anyone who wants their website to be seen should really start considering. Besides, it’s been proven and studied that faster speeds keeps a reader’s retention longer.

One of my websites, HDRSource, needs to be on a more stable platform considering that it has a built-in storefront and all the downloads need to run more smoothly and reliably. LunarStudio is my main website – and it’s very heavy when it comes to images. It also ranks in the top 10 for over 50 Google search terms and phrases which means heavy traffic. Heavy traffic means slow speeds. There’s also this blog and three others that will also need to be ported.

While I loved my old (and current) Total Choice Hosting, they’re starting to run on some outdated technologies. Their service is technically fine for most people, but the difference in speed is noticeable if that matters to you. I think one of the main factors in their apparent crawl is their lack of support for a compression technique called gzip which is handled by the server technology. I talked with their techsearlier, and they simply will not enable it. Gzip can compress a website up to 80% – that’s serving a website almost twice as fast. The other thing is the lack of distributed hosting – this is processing a page out from multiple computers versus a single server. This also means speed and the ability to handle getting crushed if someone on national news decides to plug your website.

I’m really set on giving the website hosting service Mediatemplate a try. After talking with a few people, I’ve become impressed with their server system which uses distribution (better processing under heavy loads), overall load times, and even technical support. I’ve also been astounded by a few of the websites I’ve seen hosted with them. Mediatemplate lacks some of the pomp and convenience of the Fantastico control panel which shipped with Total Choice, but I’m sure almost all of the functionality is there  under different pages and buttons.

The cost of Mediatemplate’s service is $20/month currently and you can host up to 100 sites on their servers per account. That’s unheard of. I’ll be saving roughly $25/month in that alone by consolidating all of these sites. They will also host up to 100 gigs of website-related files – that’s perfect for the HDRSource store and means that I’ll be saving an additional $10/month for my external file hosting on 4shared and Mediafire. So there will be $35/month in savings, and a much, much speedier host to boot.

How can you go wrong with that? Well, I’m more than happy to be the proverbial guinea pig  here. They have a 30-day money back guarantee in case it turns out to be less than expected