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We’ve been hearing about it all over the Internet. The cloud makes sites run faster than a speeding bullet and that includes those running WordPress. Below are 2 Cloud Powered technologies I’m excited about.
The first is my favorite hosting server Bluehost.
Pheeew! I’m glad I had everything moved over to Bluehost when Godaddy got slammed by Anonymous the other day and millions of sites went down. Some of my clients, who host their sites over there, were not very happy about it. But get this! Bluehost just announced its offering a free service called Cloudflare to speed up its client’s sites. Cloudflare also has a premium monthly package if you need extra speed and want traffic stats. I activated it on all my personal sites using the FREE version and WHOA! It made a huge difference in how fast they loaded.
Here is an explanation of what Cloudflare is directly from the Cloudflare website:
CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
CloudFlare’s system gets faster and smarter as our community of users grows larger. We have designed the system to scale with our goal in mind: helping power and protect the entire Internet.
Optimized Hosting Partners of Cloudflare include:
Bluehost, Vexxhost, Media Temple, Dream Host, Host Papa, Site 5, A2 Hosting
There’s a long list of Cloudflare’s Certified Hosting Partners that can be seen if you click HERE
If you have a website that is one of the Optimized Hosting Partners above and get an email to activate Cloudflare, I would recommend going for it!
Another Cloud Tool to use on your WordPress site is the Jetpack Plugin.
Jetpack gets automatically installed on some one click WordPress installations, including the Simple Scripts installation on Bluehost. At first I wasn’t quite sure if Jetpack was a good idea or not. I had tried it but eventually decided to delete it. Recently, I gave it another try and now I love it! (It’s evolved since I first tried it)
In order to use Jetpack, you must go to WordPress.com and register for a username and password. This is a little confusing to some people because self hosted WordPress sites use the WordPress.org platform. There’s is a big difference between the .com and the .org. Jetpack was originally designed to be used on WordPress.com and is now available for WordPress.org sites. You still need to be registered with the .com, however.
Jetpack is a very cool plugin, because it replaces several other plugins that you may already have installed. The fewer plugins you have, the faster your site will generally run. Since Jetpack uses Cloud technology, its features load faster. Jetpack comes with several great functions including:
- Share Buttons, (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Print, Email, Linked In, Stumbleupon, and Tumblr) Unless you have a geeky audience, you only need the main ones (FB, Twitter, G+ and maybe Linked In. If your site hosts lots of images, then Pinterest.
- Site Traffic Stats
- Comments (if you want to override WordPress comments)
- It will handle subscriptions to your blog
- Spelling and Grammar Checks
- Gravatar Hovercards (if someone hovers over a thumbnail image of you or anyone that comments who has an account with GRAVATAR.COM, viewers will see their profile. Tip: Get an account with Gravatar and associate your profile image with your email addresses.
- An EXCELLENT contact form that’s easy to configure.
- Shortlinks: (a short url address for your posts and pages that make it easier to share with others)
- It will automatically embed videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and Slideshare (all you do is insert the url (website address) into the post.
- Extra sidebar widgets (such as images, Twitter Stream or a Facebook Like Box.
- Enhanced distribution (share your posts and comments to search engines and other services in real time)
Using Jetpack, you don’t need additional plugins for share buttons, contact form, twitter, facebook, a link shortener, etc., and there are more features coming soon. The only paid feature is a backup solution for your site called VaultPress, and that’s optional. (There are many other solutions for backup that are free and paid)
The only thing that stops bloggers from using Jetpack is simply going over to the WordPress.com site and registering for a username and password. Once you authorize the use of it with WordPress.com in the Jetpack settings you’re ready to go.
One thing to be aware of with Jetpack
If you de-activate the Jetpack plugin, and then re-activate it, it will ask you to re-authorize it. If you don’t re-authorize, your features will not be turned on. I found this out after going a couple days without my contact forms showing up until I noticed they were missing.
So speed up your site using Cloudflare if you use Bluehost or another Optimized Cloudflare Partner and consider using the Jetpack Plugin. Then, your site will rock and roll!
If you’re on a server that isn’t a Cloudflare partner, you may want to consider moving it to a server that is, such as Bluehost. Bluehost is located in Utah, so there’s not too much danger of a hurricane, tornado, earthquake,or even Anonymous to take out your site. I’m just saying . . .