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How to make your WordPress website faster

August 2, 2017

Are you getting the most out of your WordPress website?

WordPress is one of the most popular web applications in the world and powers nearly 80% of all websites hosted on our servers.

We love WordPress and its explosive growth has changed how we think about hosting and made us strive to create a platform that greatly improves both its performance and security.

Last year we launched our next generation platform and optimized WordPress hosting plans, where we pre-install WordPress for new customers and configure it for peak performance and security, but did you know that all Varial Hosting customers can benefit from our powerful new features?

How to make your WordPress website faster:

Regardless of what hosting plan you are subscribed to, all Varial Hosting customers can greatly improve the speed of their WordPress websites by installing this simple plugin, which will enable our server side cache.

When a visitor accesses your website, normally WordPress will use PHP and MySQL to build your site on each and every page they visit. This uses a lot of server resources and will often take a second or two to display depending on the complexity of your website.

When caching is enabled, WordPress will only use PHP and MySQL to build your website the first time a page is requested. Afterwards our server will save and deliver a prebuilt version of that page, which takes only fractions of a second to load. By enabling server side caching you can make your WordPress website load hundreds, if not thousands of times faster!

As our caching feature is built directly into our web server, it will also outperform other popular WordPress caching plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache which still rely on PHP to function.

Want to speed up your website but not sure where to begin? Simply contact our Support department and we’ll install this plugin for you free of charge!

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PHP 7.1 Now Available

July 28, 2017

For the early adopters out there, PHP 7.1 is now available across all of our servers.

PHP 7.1 builds upon the great improvements brought forward in PHP 7 and introduces several new features for developers which you can read about at:
http://php.net/manual/en/migration71.php

To change your PHP version, simply log into your cPanel and follow this guide:
https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/hosting/#changephp

Please be aware that not all web applications and plugins are compatible with PHP 7 at this time. For best compatibility we recommend using PHP 5.6.

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Celebrate Canada Day with 15.0% off Web Hosting and .CA Domain Names

June 30, 2017

We are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday with a big bowl of poutine and a sale on web hosting and .CA domain names.

Throughout the month of July we are offering a one-time 15.0% discount on .CA domain names and any of our Canadian web hosting plans when ordering using the coupon code OHCANADA.

Click here to save 15.0% on your order! Want to maximize your savings? Select a longer billing term for even more money off!

Happy Canada Day, eh!

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All Servers Now Protected by Imunify360

June 29, 2017

Earlier this month we enabled free SSL certificates for all customers to much applause and today we have another powerful new security feature to unveil to help protect your websites.

Imunify360 is an advanced firewall developed by our operating system vendor, CloudLinux.

Website attacks have become incredibly sophisticated. We used to be able to easily block brute force attacks by identifying that a visitor has submitted an incorrect password too many times in a short period. Today it is much harder to block these types of attacks as hackers no longer use a single machine but employ massive botnets of hundreds of thousands of infected computers to conduct attacks. Rather than seeing failed login attempts repeatedly coming from a single IP address, we now only see one or two login attempts before the attack switches to a different IP address. This makes it very hard to distinguish legitimate users from hackers and to prevent these attacks from reaching your website since the attacker’s IP address constantly changes every few seconds.

Imunify360 steps in by providing information on botnets and where these attacks are coming from. It uses herd immunity and artificial intelligence to detect new threats and protect all servers running the software. When one server is under attack it can alert other servers, protecting them before the threat ever reaches them.

We’ve been beta testing Imunify360 for several months and have found that our server load has been significantly reduced since we no longer have the overhead of serving websites to these bad visitors and botnets. This means your websites will even load faster as a result!

Now let’s say you’ve legitimately forgot your password and found yourself blocked by our firewall and are now unable to access your website or email. Imunify360 also helps by providing a self-service unblocking tool our customers can use to unblock their IP address without needing to contact our support department.

If you are ever presented with the above page when attempting to visit your website you can simply click the “I’m not a robot” checkbox at the bottom of the page to unblock your IP and proceed to your website.

Easy peasy!

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Varial CEO to Speak at #psewebUSASK Conference

June 19, 2017

Varial Hosting CEO Ryan Smith will be a guest speaker at #psewebUSASK as part of the conference’s social media panel.

#psewebUSASK is free, half-day conference for Canadian college and university marketers taking place at the University of Saskatchewan on Thursday, June 22nd.

Ryan will be joined by Kirsty Hack (Creative Fire) and Brianna Bergeron (Saskatchewan Polytechnic) to discuss trends in social media marketing, promotion and community engagement from their professional experience.

Free tickets to #psewebUSASK are available at:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/psewebusask-tickets-35052203083

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WordPress Cache Plugin Updated to v1.1.0

June 6, 2017

LiteSpeed Cache, the caching plugin allowing Varial Hosting customers to achieve lightning fast Wordpress performance has just been updated to version 1.1.0. This new version includes bug fixes and several new features.

Customers can update this plugin through their WordPress admins or install it by following this guide: https://varialhosting.com/support/faq/wordpress/#caching

Changelog:

v1.1.0

  • [NEW] Added a crawler – this includes configuration options and a dedicated admin page. Uses wp-cron
  • [NEW] Added integration for WPLister
  • [NEW] Added integration for Avada
  • [UPDATE] General structure of the plugin revamped
  • [UPDATE] Improved look of admin pages
  • [BUGFIX] Fix any/all wp-content path retrieval issues
  • [BUGFIX] Use realpath to clear symbolic link when determining .htaccess paths
  • [BUGFIX] Fixed a bug where upgrading multiple plugins did not trigger a purge all
  • [BUGFIX] Fixed a bug where cli import_options did not actually update the options
  • [REFACTOR] Most of the files in the code were split into more, smaller files
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Varial Celebrates 14th Anniversary with Free SSL Certificates for All Customers

June 1, 2017

Today we celebrate our 14th year in business with a gift to all of our customers.

One feature we’ve been frequently asked about this year has been HTTPS / SSL support for customer websites. While this has always been possible through the purchase of a traditional SSL certificate, which would typically set you back a hundred dollars and require a manual installation, we’re about to make enabling HTTPS a lot easier.

Today we are launching a fully automated system to install and renew free SSL certificates to all domains hosted on our servers.

If you are not familiar, a SSL certificate is what is required to enable HTTPS on your website, the protocol which makes all communication between your browser and your website encrypted. If you see the https:// in the address bar of your browser and a lock icon next to it, you are browsing a secure, encrypted website.

While SSL certificates had mainly been used by eCommere websites, the Internet is moving towards an encrypted web for better security and Google even ranks websites using HTTPS higher in their search results.

We’ve been quietly beta testing this feature for over a year so SSL certificates have already been issued for all eligible domains hosted with us.

If you’d like to make the switch to HTTPS we recommend reading our SSL Certificate FAQ for more information on how they function, potential issues to watch out for and guidelines on how to make your website code compatible with HTTPS / SSL.

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LiteSpeed Web Server Now Available to All Customers

May 24, 2017

With all of our customers now migrated to new servers we would like to showcase one of the underlying technologies of our next generation hosting platform that gives an incredible performance boost to your websites.

LiteSpeed is a highly efficient, commercial web server and replacement for the popular Apache web server used by most hosting companies.

We selected LiteSpeed for our next generation platform as it is up to 9 times faster than Apache when serving static content, 3 times faster when serving secure SSL connections and up to 50% faster when serving PHP requests. It is also one of the first web servers to support the new HTTP/2 protocol.

What’s really cool about LiteSpeed is that it includes a powerful server side cache that can supercharge your website, making it load hundreds of times faster and reach many more visitors.

In fact, benchmark tests show WordPress loading over 4000 times faster on our new platform when LiteSpeed Cache is enabled!

Varial Hosting customers can easily speed up their WordPress sites by installing this simple plugin or by purchasing one of our optimized WordPress hosting plans.

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Varial Hosting Has Gone Local

May 17, 2017

We are excited to announce that all Varial Hosting customers are now being hosted from servers physically located in our new Saskatoon data center.

When developing our next generation hosting platform it quickly became apparent that having our servers closer to home would help us scale and deploy new features faster. With websites loading thousands of times faster on our new platform we wanted all customers to reap its rewards so we spent the past year and a half carefully migrating clients to new servers and relocating equipment from Montreal to Saskatoon.

With this work completed we are thrilled to now have all of our web hosting services be provided from our hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

With this exciting news, we have also partnered with a global content delivery network allowing all customers to speed up their websites by distributing content across 100 data centers throughout the world. When enabled, international visitors will be served content from the data center closest to their location, reducing loading times for a truly global solution.

Stay tuned as we have many exciting new features to reveal in the coming weeks!

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Varial to Sponsor FUZE Conference, May 17 in Saskatoon

May 10, 2017

FUZE Conference 2017 is just one week away and we are thrilled to be the web hosting sponsor of the event for the fourth year in a row!

FUZE will be held at TCU Place in Saskatoon on Wednesday, May 17th. This year’s conference is focused on helping marketing professionals navigate economic uncertainty and a changing political landscape.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Meena Sandhu (UBC)
  • Albert Jame (zu)
  • Nykea Behiel (Vendasta)
  • Andrew Chau and Jeff Adamson (SkipTheDishes)

We hope to see you there!

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