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Website Security and Maintenance

What is Your Slow Loading Home Page Costing You?

Google studies everything that may impact their earnings.  Among other things, they have discovered that increasing page-load time by 1/2 second causes a 20% traffic loss.

Yahoo’s research has found that a 1/25 second increase in page-load time causes a 5-9% full-page traffic loss–that is, visitors bounce off the page before it is fully loaded.

Amazon.com found that a 1/10 second page-load time increase caused a 1% sales loss.

Clearly your site’s speed is of paramount importance in maximizing the effectiveness of your site and your bottom line. In fact Google has indicated that load speed is a factor in their indexing algorithms. So a slow site may lose significant position in searches.

One of the actions we at Silk Shorts, Inc take with client sites that we maintain is to look for ways to reduce page-load times. This can include compressing graphics or distributing code items on the page to reduce their impact on load time.

Sites created on WordPress are extremely vulnerable to slow loading since they are database driven and have to create each page from scratch when it is called up. In order to reduce that delay, we equip our WordPress sites with a caching program that can reduce the inherent delay to less than one second.

What Happens When Hackers Take Down Your Company Site?

On January 23, 2013 an article in the Washington Post and other newspapers cited a Pentagon move to ‘beef up’ the Cyber Security Force. One reason was a cyber attack during the summer that took out over 30,000 computers in Saudi Arabia. That wasn’t the beginning of the problem and certainly not the end. Recent even more serious hacking events have emphasized this.

We have seen a huge increase in websites being hacked and even well-established hosting companies having their servers taken down in attacks. We believe that with all this going on we are all vulnerable to ‘collateral damage’ in the cyber-war going on. In our maintenance programs, we are using well backed up systems to protect our clients and ourselves from extended downtime and the expense of losing business, or even having to recreate a destroyed website.

Put some serious consideration into what your potential loss would be if your site were taken down or destroyed and off line for several days or even weeks.

After spending hundreds of hours creating our company website the last thing we want is to lose it to hacking, equipment failure or other unexpected cyber disasters. Events of the last few years have made it clear that if we don’t take precautions, that can happen all too easily.

In 2013 we had to recover from a massive hacking attack against our own host that corrupted several sites including our own company site. Repair and recovery was expensive and time consuming. As a result we’ve taken steps to reduce the vulnerability of our site and our clients’ sites, and we have a backup protocol that means minimal loss of uptime and/or recovery work in worst case scenarios.

The maintenance program that we use ourselves is what we now offer our clients. It is not a guarantee that there will never be problems but, in our judgment, this is the best possible combination of services to combat losses from online problems.

Choice of Hosting Company and Plan

The first element of our maintenance strategy is to carefully choose a host by its reputation with other webmasters, its own backup strategy, and its support performance.

The second element is to have an account with a second reputable hosting company to which we can rapidly move sites should a worst case scenario occur.

Backup, Backup, Backup!

Our hosting company must have a backup service that will allow us to request a site be restored from a backup within minutes if it is hacked or otherwise corrupted. It must also be capable of restoring the site quickly in case of a major hardware failure.

Another element of this backup strategy is that we regularly create a backup file that is independent of the host company and store it in a different online location. This includes not only the template files, but all of the database, script, CSS, and other files and content necessary to create a perfect clone of the original site. With this independent backup, we can quickly recreate a site on a completely different host if necessary. We think it is very unlikely for this to be necessary, but consider the extra effort very worthwhile insurance.

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