Today we dropped quite a few announcements for our customers. In this blog post we will break down each point individually and go a bit more in-depth on the topics covered.
We previously performed maintenance and updates to client sites as a courtesy to our customers. The update process, however, has become complex requiring constant attention to plugins, themes and core updates. The recent critical issues in WordPress 4.7.2 and 4.7.3 required fast action on our part to make sure all sites were up to date.
WordPress 4.8 is expected to be released on June 8th despite concerns of adequate time for testing and fixes. The release candidate testing time will be roughly half that of typical releases. This means a maintenance release (or several) is expected to quickly follow.
We have also noticed that several players have entered the market who offer maintenance services. We did our research and checked them out and found that for the low price of $250 a month they will update your plugins, themes and core.
It seems like a fair deal, but we can tell you from experience – hosting and securing sites these days is not that straightforward. Applying software patches is a pretty simple process but there are typically other steps involved. After doing our research we have created our own in-house maintenance package with lots of value added benefits to entice folks. We are pleased to present SononaCare!
With all SononaCare packages you will get:
- 2 separate daily backups
- 2 full backups of your sites stored off-site
- Backups of your database every 6 hours
- WordFence Premium monitoring
- 2 malware scans
- iThemes Security
- One-click staging sites
- 24-hour response to critical updates
- Malware removal at not cost if infected/hacked
We are excited to launch our revamped web site. As some have said it lacks design but we argue that the lack of design is in itself the point of the design. The spartan look communicates our core mission: to provide quality service with no glitz and glam. We do not need a slideshow, counters or parallax to tell you that we are developers and server administrators.
Sononaco Page Builder
Under the hood we have completely ditched Visual Composer in favor of our one of our new service offerings: the Sononaco Page Builder. Sononaco Page Builder is an easy-to-use drag-and-drop page design tool to make building and managing WordPress pages simple.
PHP 7 and CentOS 7
Moving forward we are now building all new servers on PHP 7.1 which is installed on CentOS 7.3 (as of this writing). Version 5.6 of PHP has entered maintenance mode, meaning no new features will be added and critical security patches will be released on an as-needed basis. Support for PHP 5 will end January 2019.
PHP 7.1 is the latest version of the scripting language and will be actively supported with regular bug fixes and security updates until January 2019 when it will enter maintenance mode until January 2020.
For the record, all versions of PHP prior to 5.6 have reached end-of-life.
PHP 7.1, in addition to be actively supported, has also shown to be up to 200% faster than 5.6. So not only is it more secure but it also improves your application’s performance.
We are also transitioning away from CentOS 6 to CentOS 7. CentOS is the operating system we run on all of our servers. It is an open source branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. CentOS 6 support will end November 2020 where CentOS 7 support will end June 2024.
Moving to PHP 7
Moving to PHP 7 is not a simple migration. There are issues with older, outdated software using PHP 4 and 5 routines that have been completely removed from PHP 7.
We are excited to offer free SSL certificates for your site through LetsEncrypt! An SSL encrypts all data between your site and the user for added site security. Google has started giving ranking preference to sites that are SSL-encrypted, so this is another advantageous reason to use SSL’s. LetsEncrypt certificates offer the same level of encryption as commercial certificates, but that prompts the question, “then why bother with commercial certificates?”
Simply, commercial SSL certificates offer third-party validation that you are who you say you are. It’s more about trust than anything else. LetsEncrypt simply validates the domain name.
If you do not currently have an SSL on your site and wish to have one please let us know and we will arrange a time to set it up.
Web Traffic Analysis with Piwik
Piwik has emerged as a very powerful web traffic analysis and reporting tool and we are please to offer it to you as part of our standard hosting package. If you wish to have Piwik added to your site please let us know and we will install and set it up for free.
That’s all for now! Please let us know if you have any questions about the information above, or would like to discuss your web development or hosting needs.