Category Archive Blogs

AvatarByJames Golding

Cloud Hosting – A Scalable Solution

If you’re thinking of having a website set up, one of the most important things you’ll need to think about is the type of hosting you’ll choose. It can be quite a hard decision, especially as there are so many choices, from shared and dedicated hosting to VPS and even managed WordPress hosting. Your choices don’t end there. For the final blog in this hosting mini-series, we’ll take a look at cloud hosting, which is a solution gaining in popularity right now, thanks to the benefits of using ‘the cloud’ across so many industries globally.

What is cloud web hosting?

Traditionally, no matter the type of hosting, your website is hosted on a single physical server. This means it is dependent on the performance of that single physical server, with a defined set of resources.

Cloud hosting is unique. Instead of a website being hosted on a single server, the website will instead use the resources of multiple servers, grouped together (or clustered, as it is sometimes referred to). To you and me, this means that your website will use the virtual resources of several different servers, to perfectly accommodate all possible aspects of the website. With this, the load your website experiences (related to the visitors to your website has at a given time) is perfectly balanced, so your visitors won’t ever experience a degradation in performance, such as a slow or crashing website. Also, your website security is taken care of and what’s more, as the resources are available virtually, you will always have the perfect number of resources needed at that time. This group of servers are likely to be found in multiple physical locations and as such, they are known as ‘the cloud’.

What are the benefits of cloud web hosting?

As we’ve seen, cloud web hosting is a relatively new type of hosting. It is based on the on-demand availability of server (or computer) resources, without needing any direct active management by the user, from data centres located in multiple physical locations, accessible through the internet. As such, it is a fantastic option in comparison to standard hosting, where your website would be based on one physical server, in one location only. Here are the main reasons why.

#1: It is highly scalable

When you’ve got a physical server (or computer) hosting your website, you essentially have a fixed set of resources allocated to your website. Whilst you can always add or remove resources, at any given time, the number of resources you have are constant. Imagine your personal computer. It has a fixed hard drive capacity, a processor and RAM memory (random-access memory, which your computer uses to store temporary files, such as when you’re running some software) etc. That’s what you have with a physical website hosting server, be it shared or dedicated hosting. Often, your website will only be using a small fraction of the resources it has been allocated.

The big difference between that and cloud hosting is that it is much more responsive. When your website has a high amount of traffic, it will automatically be allocated more resources to cope with that additional demand. Once the demand drops, those resources will be removed from your website, so you will never pay more than you need to.

Let’s imagine you’re running a website for a popular annual music festival, such as Glastonbury. For most of the year, it won’t have many visitors at all. You might have a few, just to find out information about the festival, but that’s about it. At that stage, you wouldn’t need much in the way of hosting server resources. Even basic shared hosting would be sufficient. However, when it comes to the tickets being released for sale, you know you’ll have 1000s of visitors within a few minutes. For that short period of time, you will need lots of resources, to ensure that the website doesn’t slow down or crash, and that everyone can buy their tickets. However, for the other 11+ months of the year, you don’t want to have to waste money on the higher level of resources, as you just won’t use them. That’s why cloud hosting is perfect, since in those 11+ months, you’ll only be paying for what you need, but when the tickets are released, you’ll have all the resources necessary to ensure you have no service disruption.

#2: It provides the resources you need, right when you need them

With physical hosting, such as shared or dedicated hosting, it is of course scalable. If you know you’re going to need better-performing hosting as your company grows, you can upgrade. Whilst that is useful, it isn’t instant. By that, I mean even if you know your demand is increasing quickly, you must wait for the hosting provider to allocate you more resources, which could result in a disruption to service, leaving you with some very unhappy visitors. The delay between your demand increasing and your hosting performance increasing can be a killer for the public perception of you and your website.

That’s where cloud hosting comes in. When your demand increases, your website’s hosting resources will increase instantly and seamlessly, giving your users a much better experience. They will have no clue your cloud hosting has allocated more resources to the website, yet you’ll have the peace of mind that they will always have the perfect experience. If we take the previous example of the festival website, this is akin to the cloud hosting allocating more resources to your website right when you’ve released tickets for sale and visitors are flocking to it in their 1000s, not a moment before. Once all the tickets have been sold and the demand drops off, the resources will be removed, again instantly. That’s perfect, as you’ll never have the dreaded drop in performance.

#3: You won’t waste money over-paying for services you don’t need

As we’ve seen with something like shared or dedicated hosting, you are provided with a fixed number of resources at any given time. That means you’re paying a constant amount for those resources. As a result, if you know you are going to have peaks in demand at certain times, you’ll have to pay for the resources to manage that peak demand. However, when the level of demand drops off, you’re still paying the higher amount. The cost doesn’t reduce when the demand reduces.

With cloud hosting, as we have seen, the number of resources scales up and down reactively and seamlessly. In addition to providing your users with the best experience possible, it means that you’ll save money. You’ll have to pay for the higher level of resources when the demand is high, but you will pay much less when the resources are removed, when the demand is low, which means you’ll never overpay. That’s perfect, right?

So, is cloud hosting right for you?

Many websites start off on a simple shared hosting plan, which is great when you’re not sure of the direction your website will take. After all, why would you want to spend lots of hosting, if you’re not getting many visitors? Let’s imagine your business grows in popularity, as of course we hope it does. You’ll quickly outgrow the resources your shared hosting can offer.

What do you do next? One option is to upgrade to something like dedicated hosting. That will certainly give you the resources you need, although it’ll cost a lot of money and you’ll need some technical know-how. It certainly isn’t budget friendly. That’s where cloud hosting comes in: it is much cheaper than dedicated hosting; it is responsive, so you’ll never pay for more resources than you need; you’ll avoid most of the technical challenges dedicated hosting would throw up. If you find yourself in this situation, you should almost certainly consider cloud hosting.

If you’re interested in getting cloud hosting for your website, check out this resource from WebsiteBuilderExpert. They’ve put together a comprehensive review of the best 9 cloud hosting providers. If you choose one of those, you won’t go far wrong.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ website to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best type of hosting to suit your needs and how you can upgrade it going forwards, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

A Look at Managed WordPress Hosting

In previous instalments, we’ve looked at a range of different types of hosting you could choose for your website, everything from shared hosting to dedicated hosting and VPS hosting. Each of these types of hosting is stronger in certain areas. For example, shared hosting is more economical, but dedicated hosting has far superior performance and VPS hosting is a great bridge between the two.

However, one very specific type of hosting we haven’t yet covered is managed WordPress hosting. Now, not all types of managed hosting are worth it, for one reason or another, especially when you start looking at the detail of what you’re being offered. That’s why in this post, we will take a look at what this type of hosting actually is, some common pros and cons, and whether or not it is right for you and your website.

What is managed WordPress hosting?

Unlike other types of hosting, there is no exact set definition as to what managed WordPress hosting is. The minimum you should expect from a host offering you this type of package is some extra features and benefits you wouldn’t normally see with a standard web hosting package, such as a much more user-friendly control panel, giving you easy access to performance stats for your website, amongst other things. You should also expect some sort of work done by the host to manage the server for you, such as software and hardware upgrades.

Surprisingly though, the interpretation of ‘managed’ differs from host to host. At the basic end of the scale, you are left to do all the hands-on work, such as the backups, security improvements etc, whilst being offered a good level of customer support, should you need it, beyond what you’d expect from shared hosting, although you are still likely to be sharing resources and support with others on the same server.

If we liken that basic level of managed hosting to going on holiday to stay in a hostel, where you’re sharing a dormitory (resources and support) with other guests, then the top end of the scale is a swanky 5* hotel in London, with your own personal concierge. By that, I mean you have all your own resources, the server is set up perfectly to be optimised for your website, it is maintained without you having to lift a finger and you’ve even got your own personal contact at the hosting company, who will answer any questions or queries you may have, at any time.

Now, you need to be aware that this is of course a very simplified view of things. To make things a bit clearer for you, let’s now go through some of the key pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting.

What are the advantages of managed WordPress hosting?

There are many reasons why managed WordPress hosting could be the perfect solution for you and your website, of course assuming your website is built using WordPress. Let’s take a look at some of those now, which you will commonly find are claimed by the hosting providers, alongside the most likely truth behind them.

#1: Better performance and reliability with optimised servers

On pretty much all managed WordPress hosting packages out there, the providers will claim that the servers they use are specifically optimised to host WordPress websites. It is important to realise that WordPress doesn’t need any special configurations to run. Basically, all it needs is a server that supports PHP and some sort of database, such as MySQL.

Therefore, when you see ‘specifically optimised for WordPress’, this is unlikely to be completely true. By this, I mean that whilst you can’t truly optimise something for WordPress specifically (as it can run almost anywhere) the chances are that the servers the host is using are likely to be much more modern and sophisticated than standard shared servers. They probably use very powerful processors, SSD storage (solid state, like a flash memory drive) and the latest software versions, all of which will result in better performance for your website.

#2: Better security for your website

When you’re looking for managed WordPress hosting, you’ll often see something along the lines of ‘improved security’ being advertised. Now, it is likely that these packages do actually offer you better security, but it may surprise you to know that this doesn’t really have anything to do with the hosting being advertised for WordPress specifically.

What’s more likely to be the case is that the managed platforms you would end up using are of a much higher quality overall, with a built in firewall and DDoS attack protections. What’s more, these packages will perhaps even offer you premium versions of various security plugins for free. All of these things combine to give you that higher level of security protection that you’re after, although they don’t really have anything to do with it being targeted at WordPress specifically.

#3: More intuitive user panel

Most types of hosting that you will come across gives you access to one of the industry-standard user interfaces, such as cPanel or Plesk. These are both highly sophisticated and comprehensive, offering everything you would need to effectively run your website, from the ability to manage your emails and domains, to updating software and everything in between. However, if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy, these can be a struggle.

That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. Usually, the hosting provider offering this type of hosting will provide you with their own custom user panels, giving you quick access to the features you are most likely to use. Whilst you’re not able to do anywhere near as much with them compared to something like cPanel, that’s not usually an issue. For example, let’s take a look at some interfaces from managed hosting providers. Here, you can see examples from Flywheel and Kinsta.

Flywheel WordPress managed hosting user interface
An example user interface for Flywheel’s managed WordPress hosting.
Kinsta WordPress managed hosting user interface
An example user interface for Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting.

What you can see for both of these is that the interfaces are very simple, un-cluttered and easy to navigate, which is exactly what most users will need.

#4: Everything is managed for you

With even the most basic shared hosting, all the core tasks related to running a website hosting server are already taken care of, unless you are doing something like running your own server, in which case you would be responsible for the management, although this is very rare. This means that whilst a statement along the lines of ‘server management is taken care of for you’ is likely true, this has nothing to do with it being managed hosting, so don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to have managed hosting, to have the server management taken care of for you. You would have full server management even with the most basic shared hosting.

#5: One-click staging websites

When running a website, you are more than likely, at some point, to come across a situation where you want to make some content or design updates, or even that you want to add completely new features. For this, a staging website, which is a carbon copy of your live website, hidden from the public, is essential, to ensure any of your changes work perfectly, before you make them public.

Now, with ‘non-managed’ hosting, you would likely have to create the staging website manually,

or purchase a plugin, which would allow you to do that. One of the great benefits of managed hosting is that providers usually offer what’s known as ‘one-click staging’. That’s exactly as it sounds; you click a button and a staging website is created for you. You also just have to click a button to migrate the changes to your live site, with no extra effort on your part.

I would always recommend that you use a staging website to make any big changes, unless we’re talking about updating just content, such as product prices. That way, you can be sure all of your changes are perfect and won’t break your live website. If you’re not particularly confident in creating a staging website, then managed WordPress hosting is probably the solution for you.

#6: Automated WordPress installs, updates and backups

Managed hosting packages will generally advertise that you can install WordPress, update software and set up backups at the click of a button. Now, this is almost certainly true (and therefore very helpful for you) although just be aware that even the most basic shared hosting packages can offer the same features, so don’t feel like you need to specifically have managed WordPress hosting, to give you this functionality.

#7: Bonuses and extra features

One thing that most definitely is the case for managed WordPress hosting is that you are usually offered useful additional features that you wouldn’t normally see in standard hosting, even on dedicated hosting. These offering can vary from host to host, although they’re usually pretty useful. For example, WP Engine offers you all the StudioPress themes (including the Genesis framework) and Atomic Blocks Pro.

What are the disadvantages of managed WordPress hosting?

We’ve seen many reasons why this type of hosting could be the perfect solution for you, even though some of them aren’t specific to WordPress. So that you can get a balanced understanding, let’s now take a look at some of its disadvantages.

#1: It can be very expensive

It goes without saying that this type of hosting can be very expensive. For example, simple shared hosting could cost you as little as £3/month. However, when you look at managed WordPress hosting, you’re more likely to be starting at around £15/month. Now, that’s not terrible, since you are getting more for your money and especially since VPS and dedicated hosting can cost considerably more.

Something else to remember with this type of hosting is that where standard hosting would simply cut you off when you go above your limits, here you get charged quite a lot for going over (known as ‘overages’). For example, WP Engine could charge you around £2 extra per 1000 visits. This isn’t so much of an issue if your website doesn’t have a lot of traffic, but it is something you should be aware of if you know you are going to have a lot of visitors.

#2: Email hosting isn’t included

Unfortunately, unlike standard hosting, managed WordPress hosting offers no ability to host emails on the same platform. That simply means that if you choose this type of hosting and you still want branded email addresses, you will need to pay someone else to host your emails. This could be through something like Google, 123 Reg or even HostPresto.

This isn’t so much of an issue if you have a large budget, but it is something to be aware of if you are operating on a tight budget. If so, given how useful for branding it is to have non-generic email addresses (i.e. avoiding @gmail.com) then you may be better off choosing a standard hosting package, which would include emails at no extra cost.

#3: You only get a limited number of sites

You’ll notice that most entry-level managed WordPress hosting packages only allow you to host one website. In a lot of cases, this isn’t an issue, as it isn’t often that an organisation, especially a smaller one, would need more than one website. If you find you need multiple websites but you are on a budget, this may not be the type of hosting for you, as you’ll need to pay at least £30-40/month (including VAT) for that privilege.

#4: It can be harder to change hosts

As with anything, from the packaging on your favourite products, to the team at the top of the Premier League, things change. At any point, you may decide that you want to switch your hosting provider, for whatever reason. If you’re migrating from a standard hosting package, all you need to do is migrate things over to your new host (a service which most good hosts provide).

However, things aren’t always so easy when you’re migrating from a managed WordPress hosting package. Some hosts actually modify the files in your website’s WordPress directory to suit their environments better, but then these changes don’t work with a completely different host. Let’s take WP Engine as an example. They have a full checklist of things you need to take care of before you can migrate your website. For example, there are some files you need to delete. You’ll also need to go back to a standard ‘config.php’ file. That’s just a pain, isn’t it?

Now, it is important to remember that not all managed hosting providers will be like this. Some will likely make it very simple for you to switch, a bit like switching your mobile phone provider. However, the downside is you won’t know what your experience will be like until you try and make the switch.

#5: Some plugins could be banned

If you are using a standard hosting package, anything from shared to dedicated and VPS hosting, the chances are you’ll be able to run any plugin that you want to run on your website. Managed WordPress hosting is different. Hosts offering this type of package aren’t always so understanding. For example, WP Engine, Kinsta and Pressable all have a list of plugins you cannot use. You can click on each of their names to find out exactly what those are. This isn’t a major issue if you only need to use a small number of plugins. However, if you need to have full control over the plugins you use, then you are probably better off avoiding this type of hosting.

#6: Storage can be limited

Many managed WordPress hosting packages will limit how much storage space you are allowed to use, especially in the more entry-level packages. For example, HostPresto only offers you 10GB of storage space in their basic package, for £15/month + VAT. WP Engine offer you the same, except for £24/month + VAT. In a similar way to when we looked at the advantages of managed WordPress hosting, this isn’t necessarily something that is unique to this type of hosting, as most standard hosting packages also limit your storage space. Therefore, provided you have the budget to match, I wouldn’t let this put you off getting this type of hosting, if everything else about it is perfect for you.

So, is managed WordPress hosting right for you?

Managed WordPress hosting is a fantastic option in many situations. Now that we’ve seen the key advantages and disadvantages of this type of hosting, you’re now able to decide whether or not it is right for you. Generally speaking, if you fall into one of these categories, then it would be a great choice.

  • Your website runs on WordPress
  • You’re not limited by budget
  • You want a more intuitive user interface for ease of use
  • You want to be able to easily create a staging website
  • You don’t mind, or you even prefer managing your emails separately

Clearly there are many reasons why this type of hosting would be the most suitable option. Although there are many hosting providers out there, you just need to make sure you find the right one for you and your website.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ website to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best type of hosting to suit your needs and how you can upgrade it going forwards, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

VPS Hosting: All You Need to Know

In previous instalments, we’ve looked at a couple of different types of website hosting you could choose, including shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Of course, both of those are very different, but equally as useful. In this blog, I am going to introduce you to a new type of hosting, namely VPS hosting. We’ll see some of the advantages and disadvantages of using it, as well as whether or not it would be the right choice for your website.

What is VPS hosting?

VPS hosting, or Virtual Private Server hosting, is a relatively new type of web hosting, which has started to gain popularity in recent years. A virtual private server is basically a partitioned part of a physical server. Due to the partitioning, this server has its own operating system, disk/storage space and bandwidth etc.

So, what does this actually mean? A physical server is a server/computer that is located in a data centre, the location of which will differ depending on your hosting provider. That physical server is then divided up. When each division is created, that division will act as its own virtual server. Even though the ‘virtual private’ server is part of a larger, physical server, the user of this VPS server will see only their virtual environment and therefore they can make changes to it as they wish, as if it were a dedicated server.

Since a VPS server acts as its own server, even though it is technically part of a larger physical server, it is perfect for sites which may need to use a dedicated server in the future but aren’t quite there yet. As such, you could consider it as a ‘bridge’ between shared and dedicated hosting.

What are the advantages of VPS hosting?

There are a number of strong reasons why you might want to choose VPS hosting for your website(s). Let’s take a look at some of the key ones now.

#1: It is more cost-effective than dedicated hosting

There are many situations where you may find that your website needs more than simple shared hosting. Maybe your brand is going global. Maybe you’ve got an online store with lots of products. Whatever the reason, VPS hosting will give you most of the benefits of dedicated hosting using a physical server, without the much heavier price tag. That’s perfect if you need better performance than shared hosting, but you are operating on a limited budget.

#2: It gives you more control than shared hosting

When you’re using shared hosting, you have no control over the configuration of the server on which your website is hosted. That’s fine if you aren’t particularly tech savvy, or even if you just don’t want to have that control. On the contrary, VPS hosting will give you much more control. It is likely that you will have what’s known as ‘root access’ to the server, which means you will be able to change settings and even install unique scripts and software. That’s perfect for an organisation that has specific standards, or that is just keen to experiment, to improve performance.

#3: It gives you better performance than shared hosting

Unlike with shared hosting, but in a similar manner to dedicated hosting, VPS hosting essentially means you have access to your own server, with its own resources. Not only are these resources usually of a higher standard (such as more powerful memory and solid-state SSD storage, instead of traditional HDD storage) but the user is also not sharing them with anyone. That means the user’s website will perform much better and will score much higher in tools such as GTmetrix and Pingdom. That’s very important for anyone whose website might have a lot of traffic (visitors) and whose visitors are likely to be global.

#4: It is easily scalable

A great feature of VPS hosting is that you can start off with the minimum amount of resources and you can gradually increase the resources you have, through your hosting provider. This means that you can start off on a cheaper plan if your budget is limited and as your website grows, attracting more and more visitors each day, you can add more resources, to cope with the demand. You can even downgrade if at a point where you have more resources than the minimum, you decide you don’t have enough budget or traffic to continue with those resources. That’s perfect, right?

What are the disadvantages of VPS hosting?

Although there are clearly many reasons why VPS hosting is a great option, we do of course need to consider the reasons why it might not be ideal.

#1: It is more expensive than shared hosting

As we have seen previously, shared hosting means you’re sharing resources with other users on the server, and therefore you are also sharing the costs. When you’re just starting out, or you are on a budget, that’s perfect. With VPS hosting, however, you aren’t sharing the resources with anyone. That means that although you don’t have a whole physical server, you are still footing a lot more of the bill yourself. Typically, the cheapest VPS hosting plan could be around 10x the cost of the cheapest shared hosting plan, depending on the provider. Whilst that might still be manageable for many users, it might be out of the price range of some. However, most good hosting providers will allow you to start on a shared hosting plan and then upgrade to VPS, or even dedicated hosting at the right time, so you can’t lose.

#2: There can be service issues, depending on your host

Whilst most good hosting providers will ensure you don’t have any issues with your website hosting, if a provider doesn’t take enough care, you may find that you have issues. It is possible that a provider doesn’t actually allocate the physical server’s resources properly. By this, I mean that a hosting provider could potentially over-sell resources, banking on the assumption that most users won’t use their full resource allocation, in a similar way to how a train company might over-sell tickets, leaving you stood in the aisle on a busy journey. In this scenario, if down the line a website uses resources at their peak, it could cause server issues, affecting all other websites on the server. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that your hosting provider does allocate its resources properly.

So, is VPS hosting right for you?

VPS website hosting is a fantastic bridge between shared and dedicate hosting, giving you resources and performance on a similar level to dedicated hosting, whilst being more budget friendly. Knowing this, you are now in a position to decide whether or not VPS hosting is right for you. Generally speaking, if you fall into one of these categories, then it would be a great choice.

  • You have a growing website, with lots of content and visitors/traffic
  • You run a growing company or organisation
  • You need greater security and performance guarantees for your website
  • You want some control over your server, but aren’t completely tech-savvy
  • You have a large, but not unlimited budget

Clearly there are many reasons why VPS hosting would be the most suitable option. One thing is for sure – you shouldn’t let the price put you off, especially if you need this level of hosting to help grow your business. With the right hosting provider, you can always find the package to suit your budget. Some of the most reputable hosting providers are:

Of course, there are many other hosting providers out there. You just need to make sure you find the right one for you.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ website to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best type of hosting to suit your needs and how you can upgrade it going forwards, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Dedicated Hosting: The Pros and Cons

In a previous instalment, I introduced the concept of shared hosting, which is a type of hosting in which multiple websites are hosted on a single server (or computer) bringing financial and convenience benefits to the user, whilst introducing various performance issues. In this blog, I will introduce you to the concept of dedicated website hosting as an alternative to shared hosting. We’ll see some of the advantages and disadvantages of using it, as well as whether or not it would be the right choice for your website.

What is dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting is a form of website hosting where any given physical server is used by a single customer only, unlike shared hosting, in which any given server would have multiple users, or websites. That means the user has complete control over the server and none of the resources are shared, so they are able to optimise it for their unique requirements. Of course, a good hosting provider would still provide all the technical support the user needs.

That sounds ideal, right? Clearly in a lot of instances, this will be the perfect solution. However, it won’t be in all cases. Let’s now take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of hosting, to help you decide whether or not it is right for you.

What are the advantages of dedicated hosting?

There are a number of strong reasons why you might want to choose dedicated hosting for your website(s). Let’s take a look at some of the key ones now.

#1: It offers very reliable performance

When you’re using shared hosting, your website’s performance is likely to be directly affected by that of the other websites on the same server. For example, if one of the websites suddenly has a lot of visitors, or it has been badly coded (and is therefore very resource-heavy) then the other websites’ performance would likely be impacted.

On the other hand, dedicated hosting means that there are no other users on the same server. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about any of these sorts of issues. Since you’re not sharing resources with anyone else (go on, I know we all like to be a bit selfish once in a while) you’ll get a much faster and more reliable performance. Even better, lots of dedicated servers used improved hardware, such as a solid state drive (SSD) compared to the more traditional hard drive (HDD) which would definitely help your website to load much faster. That’s excellent if you’re looking to provide your visitors with the best experience possible.

#2: It gives you complete flexibility

With shared hosting, you are unable to change any of the features to suit your needs, as they are managed by the web host and are kept consistent on the server, for all users.

However, when you have dedicated hosting, you have complete control over the server, which means you can change anything you like, such as installing new software, applications or programmes. You’re even able to make changes to the resources, any time you need. That’s perfect for companies or organisations who need to be able to constantly adapt their website in a more dynamic environment.

#3: It is safe and secure

As you know, shared hosting means you’re sharing a server with other websites. That unfortunately means that you’re also susceptible to their flaws. For example, imagine that a website you’re sharing the server with has some security vulnerabilities and that those are exploited by a hacker, or even just by some malware of some sort. Suddenly, the server could be taken down. That means your website would be down as well, even if it were perfectly secure.

On the contrary, if your website is on a dedicated server, you avoid all of those issues. You won’t be exposed to the security vulnerabilities of other websites. What’s more, you would even be able to take any additional security measures to meet your individual needs. That’s perfect since website hosting really is not a ‘one size fits all’ product.

#4: There are no visitor limits

Most providers of shared hosting services will place limits on the capabilities of your website. By that, I mean depending on the standard of packaging, they may limit certain features, such as the processing power of your hosting (the number of CPUs) or the bandwidth (linked to the number of page and resource views of your website). They may even directly limit the number of unique visitors your website can have. This is all done with some sort of fair usage policy in mind, to prevent the other websites on your server suffering as a result of yours, given that the resources are shared.

With dedicated hosting, these limits are not applied. There is no fair usage policy, since you are the only user of the server. This means you have the freedom to have a potentially unlimited number of visitors to your website. You might be limited by the hardware capabilities if you’re on, for example, a smaller dedicated server, but that’s about it. That means it’s perfect for website owners who know they’ll have a lot of visitors, such as event booking sites. Can you imagine the Glastonbury Festival website using limited shared hosting, whilst trying to take thousands of bookings every second?

What are the disadvantages of dedicated hosting?

We can see there are many reasons why dedicated hosting could be the ideal choice for hosting your website. However, it is important to understand that it isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages, so you can get a complete picture.

#1: It can be very expensive

It’s important for you to understand that server costs don’t really change much between shared and dedicated servers. The reason why dedicated hosting is so much more expensive than shared hosting (generally speaking, of course) is that the server costs are no longer being shared with anyone else.

Let’s imagine that a server costs £1000 per year to run. If there are 100 users on a shared server, they will each be paying £10 per year for their hosting in the simplest scenario. However, on a dedicated server, the sole user of that server is responsible for paying the full £1000 per year. In reality, the costs will be overall higher than this example, but it should give you a clear understanding as to why dedicated hosting is much more expensive.

The upshot of this is that despite the performance and security benefits, dedicated hosting usually isn’t suitable for small business or start-ups, who may not have the budget of a larger organisation. If you fall into that category, you should still be able to upgrade at any time though, if you find your finances allow.

#2: It is technically demanding

If you’re starting off on a shared server, you’ll realise just how little technical knowledge you actually need. That’s because the service provider will be looking after the server for you and the others, with whom you share that server.

Dedicated hosting is different. We’ve seen that it gives you much more flexibility with your server to, for example, install any unique software. The issue here is that you generally need the technical knowledge to understand how your server works, so that you can manage it effectively.

However, you usually aren’t left alone by your hosting provider. You can often purchase a management package from your hosting provider, such that they will still maintain your dedicated server for you. That, of course, comes at an additional cost. A really great hosting provider will offer 24/7 complementary technical support, so you may still be able to get the advice you need, without having to pay for a management package. They may also have a comprehensive online directory of information and tutorials, to help you on your way. Either way, whilst dedicated hosting is more complex, you shouldn’t let it put you off, since there’s always a way to get the help you need.

So, is dedicated hosting right for you?

Knowing all of this, you’re now in a position to decide whether or not dedicated hosting is right for you. Generally speaking, if you fall into one of these categories, then it would be a great choice.

  • You have an unlimited budget
  • Your website is growing, so needs to be able to handle more traffic
  • You run a large company or organisation, with lots of visitors
  • Security is a particular concern for your website
  • You need your website to have fast loading times
  • You need control over your server

Clearly, there are many reasons why dedicated hosting would be the most suitable option. One thing is for sure – you shouldn’t let the price put you off. Even within the realms of dedicated hosting, there is a range. With the right hosting provider, you can always find the package to suit your budget. Some of the most reputable hosting providers are:

Of course, there are many other hosting providers out there. You just need to make sure that you find the right one for you.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ website to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best type of hosting to suit your needs and how you can upgrade it going forwards, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Shared Hosting: The Inside Track

When you’re thinking about creating a website, you’ve got many decisions to make, from the design of it, to the content, the type of platform and everything in between. One of the other key things to think about, something you can’t avoid, is the hosting. No matter the type, size or design of the website, you need to know where it is being hosted, for the best balance between your website’s performance and your bank balance. That’s why, in this blog mini-series, I will take you through the different types of website hosting you could choose. First stop, shared hosting.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting is an entry-level type of hosting, which is capable of providing the perfect number of resources for certain websites, such as a local business, a personal website or a start-up’s website. It is one of the most popular options for new websites right now.

Before we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages, it is important for us to understand what shared hosting actually is. That’s the only way we will be able to decide whether it is the right solution for any given website. First, let’s take a look at the definition.

The Definition

Shared hosting is a specific type of web hosting, where often hundreds of websites are hosted on a single server (or computer). Each of these websites, or users, makes use of the same resources on this server, helping to keep costs low. Each user gets a section of the server to host their website and has access to the same features, such as databases, email accounts, disk space, traffic etc. The resources of the server, on which all these websites are hosted, are shared on-demand by these websites. This means that whilst the resources are not permanently used by a website, when people are visiting it, it will have access to its share of the resources.

The Metaphor

For those of you for whom the definition is still a little confusing, this metaphor may help. Imagine you’ve just landed in Crete (or anywhere else, for that matter) on an amazing package holiday. Once you’ve got your suitcases from baggage claim, you’re directed outside to a vehicle, to take you to your hotel. Instead of a taxi, you’re directed to a coach, which already has other families or groups on board. As the coach leaves the airport, it drops each group off at their respective hotels, one by one. If you were in a taxi, you would have gone straight to your hotel and it would have been much quicker. As it happens, you were on a coach, so your journey to your hotel was much slower, as you had to drop others off at their hotels first.

This is essentially what shared hosting is. Instead of a website having its own fast, dedicated server (the taxi) it is on a shared server with lots of other websites (the coach) which means the resources are shared and it is most likely slower than a dedicated option.

What are the advantages of shared hosting?

Now that we understand what shared hosting is, let’s take a look at some of its benefits, and why you may find that it is the right solution for you and your website.

#1: It is very economical

Since there are lots of websites or users hosted on a single server, the hosting company’s server costs are shared between all those users. That means that overall, even on a more expensive shared hosting package, it is still much cheaper than dedicated options. You can get shared hosting packages for as little as £30 + VAT for a year, which is fantastic for those on a budget.

#2: It is very flexible

When you are on a shared hosting plan, with most hosting providers it is very easy to upgrade (or downgrade, of course) your hosting package at any time, without and issues, which is especially important as your website grows. In fact, if you choose the right hosting provider, all migrations and upgrades will be done for you.

#3: It is easy to self-manage

With the hosting being shared, the management of it is generally not done for you. However, that’s no problem, since you are usually provided with a very easy-to-use interface to help you sort everything, very intuitively, without much effort or stress. One of the most common interfaces is the cPanel. That’s perfect if you’re not tech-savvy, or you don’t have hours to spend managing things.

#4: You’re able to host multiple websites

You’ll notice on a lot of shared hosting plans that they state a number of websites you can host with that package. That’s one of the brilliant things about shared hosting. Since a server can host multiple websites simultaneously, you can do the exact same thing with your own account. For example, if you’ve got a website for your business, but you also want to run a website for the local village hall (or anything else) then you can do that from within your account with no issues. You just need to make sure that you connect the domain for that website to your account as well.

#5: The server is professionally managed

It’s one thing managing the website yourself. It’s a whole other thing managing the server, which is a lot more technical. On shared hosting packages, you can leave the technical server management to the experts, allowing you to focus solely on your own website. That takes the stress of server management for the less tech-savvy amongst us, whilst helping to improve things like performance and uptime.

What are the disadvantages of shared hosting?

It is important to remember that whilst shared hosting does clearly have many benefits, there are of course some reasons why it may not be the best option. Here they are.

#1: Shared resources can lead to performance problems, for others

If you’re using shared hosting, it means you’re sharing resources with other users. Under normal usage, this isn’t an issue. However, if for any reason your website starts to get a high amount of traffic, especially in a short amount of time, this will almost certainly impact the performance of someone else’s website. The reverse is also true. It might not even be down to traffic. For instance, if someone has a poorly coded website on the server, which becomes a drain on resources, you’ll almost certainly be affected. Most good hosting providers have shared servers with a much higher physical capacity than required and a fair usage policy, to try and prevent this. Even so, shared hosting is always vulnerable to these issues.

#2: Traffic can be limited

Most shared hosting packages from good providers will have a limit on the number of visitors you can have to your website, to be fair to all users on the server, preventing them from having issues caused by your website, and vice versa. One aspect of this is bandwidth, which is the amount of data that can be transferred to visitors by the server in a year. Whilst a lot of packages state ‘unlimited bandwidth’ what they really mean is that their packages are subjected to a fair use policy, so if your website has too many visitors, it will be restricted.

The other aspect is the hosting CPU. Each visit to your website (i.e., each time a page is requested) a certain amount of processing power is required. With a shared package, you’re generally limited as to the number of CPUs you can use, which means you are limited as to how many users can visit your website at any one time. If the number of visitors to your website exceeds the processing capacity available, your website will be temporarily ‘down’, until the demand has fallen.

#3: You don’t get as much disk space

In this case, by disk space, we are talking about the amount of ‘hard drive’ space, in Gigabytes (or GB) allocated to your website, a bit like the storage space on your computer. Shared hosting packages generally limit quite strictly how much space you are able to use. Whilst this isn’t so much of an issue for small websites, it can become a big issue for websites as they grow, or when email accounts exist. If your website on a shared host exceeds the amount of space it has been allocated, then you will no longer be able to make changes, or receive emails, until such time as you either upgrade your hosting (to give you more storage space) or you delete something, to free up space within your existing allocation.

#4: The server uptime can be an issue

We have already seen how just one website on a shared server can potentially cause issues for the other websites on the same server, in relation to performance. The same goes for things like vulnerabilities, and other issues. For example, if one website has a security vulnerability that is exploited (sadly no website is invulnerable these days) it could then have the potential to affect the server, possibly even taking it down for a short while. Any other website on the server would be affected, even if it did not have the issue itself. With most good hosting providers, this is not much of an issue, since they guarantee uptimes of at least 99%, backed up by good security and backup servers, amongst other things.

#5: It’s not as customisable

There are many circumstances in which you might want to have specific, or unique software installed on your server. This could be something as simple as a different type of database. The database software most commonly installed on shared servers is known as MySQL. You may, however, want to use a different type of database, such as PostgreSQL or even MariaDB. Whatever the software, you simply cannot customise it if you are using shared hosting, as the hosting provider will always keep things consistent, for all users on the server. In this instance, you would need to upgrade your hosting to a dedicated version.

So, is shared hosting right for you?

Knowing all of this, you’re now in a position to decide whether or not shared hosting is right for you. Generally, if you fall into one of these categories, it would be a great choice.

  • You are operating on a strict budget
  • You are running a small business, or start up
  • Your website is for a small business, or something simple for friends or family
  • You have little experience with web hosting or are not tech-savvy
  • You are just experimenting with web design and coding
  • You don’t require access to extensive programming features

When you’re starting out, it is very hard to predict just how busy your website will be, but one thing is for sure – until people start to hear about your website, it probably won’t have many visitors. That’s why shared hosting could be the perfect option. Even though the performance might not be great, it is perfect for the tight budget you might typically have when starting a business and it is very flexible, so you can upgrade very easily, once you are aware of your requirements, or as your business expands.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ website to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best type of hosting to suit your needs and how you can upgrade it going forwards, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Getting the Copyright Right

More often than not, when you visit a website, you’ll see that there’s a copyright notice in the footer. The purpose of that is to inform visitors that the content of the website is protected by copyright and that if anyone wants to use it, they must first seek the owner’s permission.

Some people actually believe that if they do not see a copyright symbol on the website, anywhere, then the content isn’t protected by copyright law, meaning they can use what they want without permission. Well, that’s wrong, according to the world’s leading copyright convention, the Berne Copyright Treaty (a treaty to which 92% of all countries, 179 at the time of writing, are signatories, including the UK, United States, Canada and New Zealand). This treaty suggests that a copyright notice is not mandatory and that even if you opt not to include one on your website, your content is still fully protected.

In this blog, we’ll discuss why it is still advisable to include the copyright symbol on your website, how you should use the copyright symbol to create a notice (including where to place it) and finally which year you should include within the notice. Happy reading!

Why should I use a copyright notice, if it isn’t mandatory?

As we’ve seen, for any country signed up to the Berne treaty, you don’t need to include a copyright symbol or notice anywhere on your website. However, even though it isn’t mandatory, it still does act to remind visitors to your website that the content is copyright-protected and that you are the owner. Therefore, they will know that they must seek your permission to use your content.

In Berne treaty countries, where the symbol is not mandatory, there are further great incentives to including the symbol. A few examples of these are:

  • The notice serves to educate, or remind, your visitors that they must respect the copyright that exists in your work and that they shouldn’t make any attempt to copy it without your permission.
  • In the United States, including the symbol (with or without a full copyright notice) prevents anyone who has ‘stolen’ your content from using the defence that they did not know it was protected by copyright.
  • In Canada, the inclusion of the symbol on your website can be used as evidence in court that the person who supposedly violated your copyright should have known that it existed.

In reality, more countries within the treaty make use of a similar logic, which means in general that you’re always better off including the symbol (and potentially a notice as well) on your website, unless you designed your website specifically to contain only content that was intended for people to use freely, a bit like Wikipedia. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

How should I use the copyright symbol on my website?

Having seen why including a copyright symbol (or a full copyright notice) on your website is very useful, let’s now take a look at how we can use the symbol to create the perfect copyright notice, to deter any potential violators. Take a look at the image below, which is of the copyright notice for my website.

Digital Lychee Website Copyright Notice

As you may have seen, there are three key elements to any complete copyright notice, plus a fourth ‘optional’ one. These key elements include:

  • The copyright symbol ©. This can be replaced with the word ‘copyright’ or an abbreviation, such as ‘copr’. It just needs to be present in one form or another.
  • The year(s) for which the copyright is applicable. Mine includes a date range as you’ll see. We’ll cover why that can be useful in a bit.
  • The name of the copyright owner. This isn’t always the content creator. For example, if you work for a company, then it might be that company who owns the copyright, even though you created the content.

You can also include the statement ‘all rights reserved’ after the notice although this doesn’t alter the validity of your copyright statement. There’s no particular order in which you need to include these items within the notice either. For example, whilst my notice is displayed like so:

© 2019 – 2021 Digital Lychee

I could just as easily have written it as:

© Digital Lychee 2019 – 2021

And it would be equally as valid. Once you have created the copyright notice, you need to know where to place it. Ideally, you want it to be somewhere prominent, where it will easily alert any visitor that your content is protected. This could be on the home page, as it is the page most likely to be visited first, or a special ‘Copyright’ page.

However, I would recommend that you include the notice in a prominent position that is consistent across all pages of your website, so that any potential violators can’t claim they only took content from a part of the website that was ‘not protected’. That position is the website footer. Prominent and consistent across all pages, it’s the perfect place to put the notice, to be noticed (see what I did there…?) by all of your visitors.

Which years should I include in my copyright notice?

Generally, as a minimum, you only need to include one year within your website’s copyright notice. That year is the year of first publication of your website and its content (i.e., the first year in which it became freely accessible to the public. For example, if you started building the website in 2018, but didn’t publish it publicly until 2019, you would use the year 2019.

Presumably, to keep your website fresh with new and exciting content, to attract new visitors, you will constantly be upgrading and adding new content. If that is the case, it is good practice to include the date range, which would look like this:

© Year of first/oldest published element – Year of most recent published element

In my case, as you have seen that is 2019 – 2021. Now, the date range is not absolutely necessary, even with regularly updated content. Provided the date of the oldest published element is present, that will suffice. However, including the date range, to accommodate new content will remove any confusion for your visitors, as to whether or not content published outside of the stated year is still copyrighted. After all, that’s what you’re after, right?

So, what’s the upshot?

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you include a copyright notice on your website. If you only have content specifically designed to be shared by everyone, including an online encyclopaedia or free learning resources, then you can choose not to include one.

However, I would always recommend that one be included, placed in a prominent area (such as the footer) no matter what the content is. It means your visitors would always require your permission to use any content you publish and wouldn’t be able to make money off it. To that end, you may want to include a statement on your website, perhaps on the contact page or in the footer, informing your visitors that they can get in touch with you for permission to use your content.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ websites to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best format for your copyright notice, as well as the best location, for maximum effectiveness. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Adding Videos to Your Website

I’m sure that by now, you’ve come across websites on which you can view videos, not just on YouTube, but plenty of others as well. For example, a band’s website might show you clips from their concerts. A plumbing website could have lots tutorials about how to do basic things around the home. A charity’s website could have videos showing you how they use your donations to benefit others. Whatever the purpose of the website, videos are a fantastic way to grab viewers’ attention, with interesting and exciting content, prompting them to get in touch.

There are, of course, different ways you can include videos on your website, including uploading them to your website (or self-hosting) and embedding them from elsewhere. It is quite common for people to do the former, uploading videos to their website. However, I really would not recommend doing that. That’s why, in this blog, we will find out more about these methods, we will cover why that’s a bad idea and why instead you should embed them from elsewhere. Happy reading!

Self-Hosted vs Embedded Videos

By now, we know there are two ways for you to include videos in your website, for your viewers. The first is self-hosting and the second is embedding. Here is a quick summary of how each works.

Self-Hosted Videos

This is a very simple way of adding videos to your website. Whether your website uses WordPress, Squarespace or any other platform, it simply involves uploading the video to the same server (computer) that hosts your website. You would do this in much the same way as you would upload images to your website, or PDF documents.

Embedded Videos

Embedding a video on your website is a little more of an ‘involved’ process. First, you must upload your video to a video hosting service. This could be anything from YouTube, to Vimeo, Dailymotion and Wistia. It’s important to note at this point that certain website platforms only provide support for embedding videos from specific video hosting platforms. If in doubt, you should always use YouTube, as that is the most common. It is possible to make your videos ‘private’ so nobody can see them on the platform and they can only be viewed on your website.

The YouTube website homepage on a laptop, with the logo overlaid on top

Next, you need to copy the web address (URL) through which you access the video on the platform and paste it into your website. With WordPress, this can be as simple as pasting the link on your website, wherever you want the video to appear. With a platform such as Squarespace, you may need to add a video block first, although copying in the web address is exactly the same.

Why You Should Avoid Self-Hosted Videos

As I have mentioned, self-hosted videos are particularly simple to achieve. However, they are generally a bad idea. Here are 7 key reasons why you should avoid them.

#1: Your videos won’t be as popular

One of the major benefits of hosting your videos on a hosting platform, such as YouTube or Vimeo, is their popularity. Taking YouTube itself, the platform has over 2 billion logged in users each month. That’s an incredible amount and it doesn’t even take into account users who aren’t logged in. It’s often the first port of call for people who want to find videos on a topic. It means also that people will be more likely to find your video, and of course your website. They’ll even be able to share it more often, through its excellent social media sharing capabilities.

If you choose to self-host your videos, or of course if you choose to keep your video ‘private’ on these platforms, you are essentially missing out on all of those fantastic features. That’s obviously less favourable, especially if you want your videos to have a wide reach.

#2: Video quality can be inconsistent, at best

If you choose to upload the video files to your website, one thing you’ll likely notice is that your video doesn’t necessarily look consistent across browsers. That’s because each browser has its own way of handling video playback. That means that the same video might look great in one browser, yet not as good in another.

As well as that, you’ll of course have to make sure that your video file is in the correct format, to upload to your website. Depending on the app or programme you use to convert your video into the correct format, you may find the conversion quality varies. There’s a saying – you get what you pay for. If you’re using a free programme to do the conversion, as most people would, the chances are that the output video quality won’t be as good as a more sophisticated programme.

All these issues would be negated simply by hosting your video through a platform like YouTube and embedding it on your website. That way, anyone who views the video on your website will be streaming it and the video quality will likely be consistent across all platforms/devices. That’s exactly what you’re after, presumably.

#3: They can often be slow-loading, or constantly freezing

If you were to upload a video for your website to the same host, you’re more than likely to find that it doesn’t play correctly, if at all. That’s down to the hosting package you have. Those with high or even unlimited budgets can easily afford to pay for the best hosting packages, which wouldn’t have a problem with hosting a few small videos.

However, most hosting, especially for smaller websites, is done on a budget. That means either the server the website is hosted on is slow, or there is limited bandwidth, or both (of course). Either way, this will result in any self-hosted videos being slow to load, or constantly buffering, which is exactly what you want to avoid. The harder it is for your visitors to view your videos, the more they will lose patience and therefore the more likely they are to leave your website, never to return.

This can all be resolved by simply embedding your videos on your website. That way, viewers are only streaming the video through your site, so performance will be consistently better. Of course, if your viewers have a poor internet connection, they will still have performance issues. However, you will at least know that those issues are not down to you and your website.

#4: You’ll have to upload multiple files for each video

Sadly, uploading a video to your website isn’t as simple as uploading one file and you’re done. There are many different standard video resolutions in existence right now, which include 480p, 720p, 1080p and 1440p. There are of course others as well. Different devices will be capable of viewing different resolutions. For example, a desktop computer with a good internet connection would be better off with a higher resolution, such as 1080p or 1440p. However, a small mobile device would require a version with a lower resolution, such as 420p. On top of this, certain browsers can sometimes require different video formats, although if your video is in an .mp4 format, you shouldn’t have any issues.

When you’re self-hosting a video, unless you’re using a plugin or platform capable of modifying the resolution dependent on the viewer’s device, which of course does exist, you’ll have to upload all resolution variations. You’ll also have to programme your website to recognise which version of the video it needs to show, which is unnecessarily complicated. It is possible to remove that complication by using a video player, but you still have to tell the player where to find the different video formats. In addition, the more plugins/software you have installed on your website, the slower it can be.

Embedding your videos is a much better option, since the video hosting platforms are very sophisticated. They’re capable of handling all of this, without any additional effort on your part. Your visitors will always get the best possible experience, which is exactly what you want, right?

#5: You’ve got to work harder to prevent piracy

In some cases, when you’re uploading videos to your website, you won’t mind at all if they are copied or downloaded. However, it is more likely that you will want to prevent your videos from being illegally re-distributed or ‘pirated’, especially if you are trying to make money from them.

If you are self-hosting the videos, you will have to do extra work to prevent this from happening, since a video that has simply been uploaded to your site won’t be protected by default.

However, embedding your videos on your website, from a dedicated video hosting platform can take care of this for you. If you choose, you can have your videos set to ‘private’ so that only those with the link can see them. Then, the only place the video will be found is embedded on your website, but since it is only embedded, it would be safe from illegal copying. Even if you choose to keep your videos public, due to the sophistication of the platforms, they will still be safe. After all, that’s what you want, right?

#6: They often exceed file size limits and storage space

Have you ever tried to upload a file, say on a contact form or to a forum, and it has told you there is a maximum file size you can upload? Or, if you use a (free) file storage solution like Drobox or Google Drive, have you ever been told you’ve got to upgrade, as you have run out of space?

If not, then you’re lucky! This does happen very often and it is exactly what you’re likely to face if you are self-hosting the videos. Most of the time, both your website platform (such as WordPress or Squarespace) and your hosting provider will impose a limit as to the maximum size of any given file that can be uploaded, as well as the maximum total storage space you are able to have. When you consider that in some instances your host might only let you have as little as 1GB total storage space, and a typical 30 second video could take up anywhere between 1MB to 30MB storage space, depending on its format and resolution, you’ll see how quickly you can run out of space with self-hosted videos.

That’s why embedding your videos from a dedicated video host like YouTube is the perfect solution. You aren’t limited by file upload size and total storage size. That means you don’t have to make compromises on the videos you want to offer to your visitors and even if you were to upload thousands of one-hour videos, they wouldn’t take up any space on your website. It’s the ideal solution, right?

#7: They use up your server bandwidth

In-case you are not familiar with the concept, bandwidth is essentially the amount of data that your website can transfer to your visitors, in a given time period. Imagine your website is like a PDF document. Whenever a user tries to load the website from their browser, that file is sent from the host to their browser, a bit like attaching a file to an email. The file, of course, has a data size. Every time a user is sent that file, that’s more data that is added to the total sent from your hosting account. It’s that tally of data that counts towards your bandwidth, which is essentially the maximum amount of data that can transferred before the host will block more users from being sent the file, before the renewal period. With a lot of hosts, this time period is annual. You tend to find that it is sold by Gigabytes (GB).

Sometimes a website host will specify a maximum bandwidth for your website, For example, one terabyte (1 TB, or 1000 GB) each year. Let’s say that you have a large, high quality video that requires 1GB of data to be transferred every time the video is viewed. That means you will only be allowed 1000 views of your video, before you exceed your bandwidth. That’s even assuming that your website pages themselves don’t take up any bandwidth, which will never be the case. Clearly, that is not the best solution, since you’ll want your website to be visited throughout the year and you’ll want your video to be viewed more than 1000 times in that year.

Now, you might have seen that some hosts say that you have ‘unlimited’ bandwidth included in your package. Let’s be clear, there is no such thing as truly unlimited bandwidth. If that’s what your package says, your host is basically assuming that you have a small website and under normal circumstances, your website will never use the available bandwidth. Your website would still be subjected to some sort of ‘fair use’ policy, especially on shared servers. If you start uploading lots of videos to your website, you are going to find that your website is penalised at some point, in terms of performance, or even basic access. That’s something you would want to avoid, right?

That’s why embedding your videos is the perfect solution. Whenever someone views them, they are being streamed from a platform that is completely independent of your website, so your website bandwidth will not be exhausted by them. You’ll likely never have any performance penalties for the duration of your hosting package and your visitors will always have access to your website. What’s not to like?

So, what’s the upshot?

Ultimately, it is your choice how you handle the videos on your website, if they are something you are thinking of including. However, behind all the decisions you make for your website, you must consider the performance and the visitor experience, if you want to attract more visitors. After all, that’s what you build it for, right?

Even though you may get away with self-hosting videos if they’re very small and you only have one or two, my recommendation would always be to host them on a separate platform, like YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion, and then embed them in your website. The simplicity, security and performance benefits this will bring will pay dividends in the long run.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ websites to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the best way forward to handle any videos that you may want to include on your website. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Making Your Website More Accessible

As a website owner, you will want to make sure that your website is as accessible to as many people as possible. In previous blog posts, we have covered quite a number of ways in which you can do that, from search engine optimisation, to TLDs, social media links and everything in between.

In reality, this isn’t enough. Accessibility isn’t just about your website being found and loaded. Globally, there are millions of users who have conditions affecting their ability to use many websites. To make yours a truly accessible and successful website, you will need to take this into account. That is why, in this instalment, we will look at the sorts of issues that could prevent someone using your website and some ways you can sort this. Let’s get started!

Why should you go the extra mile to make your website accessible?

Website accessibility isn’t just about making sure it loads in a viewer’s web browser. It goes far beyond that. The reality is that there are millions of users across the world who have a range of special needs or impairments making it difficult for them, or in some cases impossible, to access a website. These could be anything from visual and hearing impairments, to cognitive disabilities (such as dyslexia) or motor skills/physical disabilities, which could mean a user might struggle to do basic things, like clicking a mouse. To get round these issues, many users will use a range of assistive technologies, including:

These technologies, which are becoming more sophisticated with every year that passes, are enabling millions more to browse websites. Making your website more accessible will allow you to expand your potential audience and attract many more visitors. After all, that’s what you want to happen when you set up a website, right?

Read on to discover some suggestions as to how you might make your website more accessible to users with disabilities, impairments, or special needs.

How can you make your website more accessible?

We’ve seen why it is important to make your website more accessible. Now, let’s look at how. Here, I have put together a list of ten different ideas, which you should find useful to increase your website’s accessibility. In reality there are many more things you can do, but if you follow these, you’re off to a great start. Happy reading!

#1: Ensure your website is keyboard friendly

Although you may not realise it, many assistive technologies rely on the use of the keyboard only, to help the user navigate. That’s why this step is incredibly important. It should be possible for any user to navigate through your website without ever touching the mouse. The most common way of doing this is through the Tab key. Take a look at the image below.

Using the 'tab' keyboard button to navigate a website, with 'keyboard focus'

You’ll see that in my website footer, one item is currently ‘in focus’ and that is the link to my Portfolio page. When a user navigates with the tab button, each time it is clicked, the browser will switch its focus to the next clickable link (or button, form etc.). Once in focus, the user simply has to click ‘Enter’ to use that link.

This is a very easy accessibility feature to test, although it is also very easy to forget! If. When you’re ‘tabbing’ through your website and some links or important features don’t become in focus, you’ll need to sort that. If you need any advice with this, WebAIM has put together a very handy guide for keyboard-accessible website design.

#2: Ensure your website content is easily accessible

Most screen readers used by visually impaired visitors will only read the website in its initially loaded state. That’s fine if your website only has static content. However, if your website has some dynamic content, which is any content that can change without needing to reload a page, such as a slider or carousel, this can be a bit of an issue.

The best way to ensure that your website is accessible, even with dynamic content, is to use ARIA landmarks, which are specific tags you add into the code of your website for each section, to give it a clear definition to any screen reader. For example, you could set a slider to be a ‘live region’, which would essentially tell the software that this content does change, allowing it to interpret all variations of the content, as it changes. If you are using WordPress for your website, their accessibility team has put together an ARIA landmarks guide specifically for the platform, which you can view here.

#3: Add ALT text to all your images

Put simply, alt text is a short description (usually 125 characters or fewer) given to any image on a website, that is displayed by a browser if the image cannot be displayed, for whatever reason. If you include this for your website’s images, a screen reader will then be able to interpret those images and describe them to a visually impaired user. As a rather valuable side bonus, adding ALT text to your images will improve your website’s SEO performance, as you’re giving search engines more information about your content. Provided your ALT text includes useful keywords, without them being over-used, you’ll find this does help your search performance.

Different platforms will allow you to add ALT text to your images in different ways, including WordPress, Squarespace, or Joomla. Whichever platform you are using, make sure you add ALT text to your images, to improve its accessibility and to boost your search engine performance.

#4: Choose the right colour scheme

In a previous instalment, I talked you through choosing the right colour scheme for your website. There is one key area we need to focus on here: contrast. You simply need to ensure that there is enough contrast between your text and background colouring, so  that it can be read by anyone, including those who are colour blind. Typically, you will have a very light background with dark-coloured text. White and grey/black are very common, but you don’t have to stick to just that. Take a look at this image, which comes from a Lifewire article on colour contrast.

A chart showing colour contrast ranges between foreground text and background colours
Lifewire / Jeremy Girard

The general rule of thumb is to ensure that you use a lighter background colour and darker text. However, if you choose to use a different background colour, you can see quite clearly which colours should be paired together and which shouldn’t, for greater accessibility.

#5: Use headers to properly structure your content

Structuring your website with clear header and paragraph text has multiple benefits. For the average visitor, it just helps them to understand what is going on a bit more, helping them to digest the content and improving the flow. It will also help the screen readers of your more visually impaired users to interpret your website much more easily.

The basic idea is that the largest (H1) header size should be used for the title only and all subsequent headers should be smaller, according to whether they are sub-sections (H2), sub-sections of those sub-sections (H3) and so on. Here’s a fantastic article from Nomensa which goes into a lot more detail about this.

#6: Design any forms for accessibility

Depending on the purpose of your website, you may or may not actually have a form. For example, if it is purely information-based, such as an encyclopaedia, then you may not have one. However, if you are running a business, organisation, charity or anything like that, you’ll almost certainly have one, to allow people to get in touch with you.

To make your forms accessible, there are only two key things you need to do. The first is to ensure all fields in your form have a title, or description, such as ‘Name’, ‘Subject’ or ‘Message’. The second is to ensure that there are some instructions supporting the contact form, to make it clearer what needs to be done and where.

If you manage to do all of these things on your website forms, then that would be sufficient to ensure they are accessible to all your visitors.

#7: Avoid tables, except for tabulated data

Tables are great, aren’t they? Not only can you use them to eat your dinner (sorry, I had to do that!) but you can also use them to display information on your website, such as a price list or other data. They are really handy. The only problem is, they are very confusing to screen readers.

That’s why you should limit when you use tables on your website. For example, you should use them for tabulated data, like prices, but nothing else, including lists. If you do need to use a table on your website, you should ensure that your labelling is as clear as possible. If you need to build a particularly complex table for your website, that’s okay, provided you have followed the advice set out by W3, here.

#8: Enable resizable text

For users who are visually impaired, they may often want to enlarge the text on your website, helping them to read things better, a bit like those landline phones or keyboards with particularly large numbers and letters. You should always ensure that this is possible on your website. An easy way to do this is to ensure your website font size it set using a relative unit, rather than pixels. Here’s a guide from WebAIM, which explains this in more detail. This means that you shouldn’t suffer any loss of clarity of your text, if someone zooms in, to help them read better.

The WordPress platform provides other ways to do this, through plugins. For example, take a look at the image below, which is a screenshot taken from a website I recently completed for a client.

Demonstrating the UserWay WordPress accessibility plugin, to increase text size

You can see that the widget, in this case UserWay, has allowed me to increase the size of all text elements on the web page, to make them much more readable. The plugin also allows the user to do many more things, including increasing contrast, increasing text spacing and making it more dyslexia friendly.

#9: Avoid media that plays automatically

Don’t you find it annoying when you’re scrolling through a website, or even your Facebook feed, when things like videos just start playing automatically? Well, you’re not alone. Globally, people find that frustrating.

When you are a fully able-bodied user, it’s fairly easy to just stop the video playing. However, for those reliant on-screen readers or similar technologies, then this is no simple task. Even if a user is able to switch it off, it is very possible that the automatic playing, sometimes when the video isn’t even in view, could frighten or confuse a viewer.

The answer to this is very simple: avoid all automatically playing media.

#10: Design all your content to be accessible

Up to this point, we have looked at lots of things we can do to the style or functionality of the website, to make it more accessible, but what about something even more fundamental – the content?

Well, it is fairly simple to ensure that your content itself is accessible. For example, whenever you have an acronym, make sure it is spelt out it full. Also, ensure no two links or buttons share the same title, to avoid confusion. There are many more things I could suggest, to help you improve your website content’s accessibility. However, I am sure you get the gist.

The upshot

The accessibility of your website is very important, yet it is overlooked far too often when it comes to website design. Since there are millions of users across the world who need to use special technologies to help them view websites, you need to make sure yours works for them.

You can do this by many different means, including adding ALT text to your images, choosing the right colour scheme and using headers to properly structure your content. Whether you choose to do all of these or only some (or none of course) the most important message I can leave you with is that you must always keep your audience in mind. If you target audience is likely to be made up of those who would be using assistive technologies, then making your website accessible is a must and not just a nice extra feature.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that I tailor all my clients’ websites to suit their individual needs. In your initial consultation (free and no obligation, of course) we will discuss your needs in full and I can advise you on the steps you should take to make your website accessible, if necessary. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

Do You Need a Sticky Header?

If you’re not familiar with the term, a sticky header, which is also known as a fixed header, is a navigation bar/header that is ‘stuck’ to the top of the browser window, as a user scrolls down the page.

You’ll find a sticky header on many websites these days. In fact, you may have noticed that my own website has a sticky header, which you can see in action in the screenshot below. Many web designers tend to use them as an easy way to improve the user’s navigation experience, especially as it can be done very simply, with just a little bit of CSS code, or even just a click of a button, if you’re using a theme-based website, or a website builder, like Squarespace.

The Digital Lychee portfolio page, scrolled part way down, showing the sticky header in action

However, in spite of their popularity, you don’t always need to include a sticky header on your website. In this instalment, I’ll help you decide if it is right for you, by looking at the pros and cons of using one, as well as some recommended usage solutions.

The pros and cons

Whilst sticky headers are very popular, there are reasons for and against using one, which you should consider when designing your website, rather than just implementing it without thinking. Let’s take a look at some of those pros and cons now.

The pros:

#1: They save time

Without a sticky header, if a user happened to be on a page of your website which had a lot of content and they decided to switch pages, they would have to scroll all the way back up to the top, to find the navigation bar. A sticky header would always be in view, so they would not have to scroll back to the top, to move to a different page. This would allow them to move around your site much quicker. In fact, according to a Smashing Magazine study, sticky headers are 22% quicker to navigate and for a quick 5-minute view to a website, could shave up to 36 seconds off that visit.

#2: They make navigation more intuitive

When you have a user visiting your website, you want to make sure they stay for as long as possible. A key way to do that is to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate around your website. If they have to work hard to find the information they want, they’ll go elsewhere and you likely won’t see them again – not what you want to happen. If your navigation bar is always there, in a sticky format, they’ll find it easy to get where they want to go, without having to scroll, and will therefore stay longer. That’s especially important on mobile devices, where the content width is much narrower and therefore the pages are by default much longer.

#3: They help reinforce your branding

For any organisation, from the small sole traders and charities to the large global companies, branding is very important. It’s how the public identifies you and what dictates if you stick in their memories. On any website you’ve ever visited, the chances are that you’ve seen the logo inside a navigation bar, whether it is to the left of the menu items, to the right, above or below. That is really important for your branding. However, if the navigation bar disappears when the user scrolls down the page, you’re losing any benefit of having the logo there. That’s why a sticky navigation bar is very useful. No matter where your visitor is on any given page, the navigation bar will always be there and by default, so will your logo. That really does help to reinforce your branding.

The cons:

#1: They take up space

By virtue of the fact that they are sticking to the top of the screen, whenever your visitors scroll and on any device, they will reduce the amount of space available for the content you have very carefully designed. If the sticky header is poorly designed, such that it does not compress at all when scrolling begins, you may find you are causing your visitors to scroll even more than they would have done without it. That’s obviously bad for user friendliness, in the same way as pop-up adverts.

#2: They can distract users from your content

Ultimately, you will have created a website for any number of reasons, from information sharing and service advertising to online gaming and anything in between. Whatever the reason, it’s the content that you want your visitors to pay attention to and not the way the navigation bar behaves. When you make a navigation bar sticky, as you’ve guessed, it’s always there. Therefore, unsurprisingly, it is a permanent distraction for your users, from the content you are trying to get them to focus on. Depending on the type of website, you may find you are better off without a sticky header.

#3: They can make your website load slower

A standard navigation bar involves very little computational effort, as it is just a static part of your website’s pages, as with all your intended content. Sticky navigation headers involve a small amount of extra code to control the behaviour, from just keeping them fixed to the top of the page, to controlling their height and any animation effects. Designing the sticky header properly can limit the loading delays caused by this extra code but either way, a delay is a delay. It can have an effect on performance and therefore, how long you keep your visitors on your website.

So, is a sticky header necessary?

Well, the answer is, there isn’t a simple answer. We’ve seen the pros and cons of having a sticky header but ultimately, whether you should use one or not largely depends on the type of website that you are creating.

If your website is designed to be particularly informative, with a lot of content, then you may benefit from having a sticky header. This could be the case if, for example, you are creating a health and lifestyle type website, an online magazine, or you are trying to advertise and provide information on your products. In situations such as these, it is important that your visitors know exactly where they are and can easily navigate to where they want to go. Sticky headers are perfect for that. In addition, if you can guarantee that there are a few key features or areas of your website that users will make use of regularly, then you may want to keep them visible and easily reachable with a sticky header, as is the case with the Facebook sticky header below.

The Facebook sticky header, showing the benefit with commonly-used functions or tabs

On the other hand, if your website is designed to be interactive, such as with games or videos, where users will likely spend lots of time on a particular page and wouldn’t want to be distracted, you’re better off avoiding a sticky header, as you’ll want the viewing window to be as large as possible, with as few distractions as possible. It is still very important to emphasise, however, that these are merely guidelines. The decision as to whether or not to use a sticky header is ultimately down to the specific nature of the website, as well as the preference of the designer/owner.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

For all my prospective clients, I offer a free one-hour, no obligation consultation, where we will discuss your website, from its purpose to design features. In that consultation, we can go through the pros and cons of sticky headers, in relation to your unique website, before coming to a decision as to whether or not one will be implemented. If you are interested in having a new website built, or a current one upgraded, then you are in the right place. I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.

AvatarByJames Golding

SPAM: The Final Frontier

In a previous instalment, we looked at the different types of SPAM that your website could fall victim to, from comment SPAM to email SPAM and everything in between. We even covered different ways of helping to prevent it, which included using Google ReCAPTCHA on your contact forms and installing an anti-SPAM plugin. Now, whilst those are very useful tools, you may find yourself in the situation where you are still receiving SPAM emails. That’s obviously something you’ll want to avoid, which is why in this blog, we will look at some key ways to identify these SPAM emails (if you’re not too familiar), why you’re still receiving them and what you can do to prevent them.

How to identify SPAM emails

You may find that some of these emails are automatically caught by your email client and are either added straight to the Junk folder or are at least marked as SPAM. This often doesn’t happen, so it is important to know what to look for, to prevent you from accidentally replaying to these emails, or clicking on any links they contain. Take a look at this email below that I received.

Example of an unsolicited SPAM email, advertising app design services

Here are quite a few things wrong with this email, which will give you an important indication that the email is SPAM and should be deleted quickly.

#1: The email is entirely unsolicited

SPAM emails will always be sent out of the blue. Essentially, you never asked for them, but you got them anyway. I’m not actually sure I could imagine a credible scenario where someone would ask to be spammed. They usually advertise services or products, of which you have no interest. In this case, the spammer is advertising app design services, but it could just as easily be web design services, guest blogging, sunglasses or anything in between.

#2: The email is not addressed to you, or anyone else you know

Here, you can see the email is addressed generically and doesn’t use yours or your business’ name. In this example, the emailer just says ‘hi’ to start with.

#3: There are (multiple) naming discrepancies

In the image, you can see there are discrepancies with the supposed name of the sender and the email address. In this case, the sender is supposedly called ‘Jason Wells’, but the email address has the name ‘Andrew Loniem’ and the name that appears in the sender area is ‘Lisa Wloch’, none of which are consistent.

#4: The email address is personal

You can see that the sender’s email address isn’t a company-branded one. In this case, as is often the case, it appears to be a personal email address. When you’re advertising your services as a business, claiming you have done lots of apps for people, wouldn’t you want to have a branded, traceable email address, to show off to potential clients?

#5: The company or brand information is absent

There is no mention in the email text of the sender’s company or brand name. A reputable agency, as they claim to be, would want to advertise this to potential clients, who could then go and take a look at their portfolio and testimonials etc.

#6: The email isn’t well written

Anyone who knows branding and marketing knows that first impressions are extremely important. If this email is the first contact you have with that company, they should want it to be perfectly written, to give off a good first impression. Here, the grammar, punctuation and spelling are all exceptionally poor. Now, people of course do have different standards when it comes to grammar, so this isn’t necessarily an indicator of SPAM. In addition, if English isn’t the person’s first language, you can make an exception. However, if a company is advertising their amazing services (in this case app design services) then you would expect to see a good command of the language. If not, you can rightly assume that their product, if they even do have a product, is of low quality and is riddled with errors.

#7: (Lots of) clickable links in the email

Now, this example doesn’t have clickable links, which is a positive thing. However, you will often see many of these in an email. These unsolicited emails tend to include them, in the hope that people will click on the links. In the best case, these links are just there to direct more traffic to the sender’s websites. In the worst case, these links would cause malware to be downloaded, or the user’s details to be stolen. The more genuine emails wouldn’t send you any links unless they knew you were open to receiving them.

You may find that an email you receive has all of these. You may find that it only has one or two. The main message is, don’t interact with them. If you’re not sure, it is best to just get rid of the email. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Now, let’s take a look at why you are receiving these emails, even after you have installed anti-SPAM services.

Why are they still getting through?

Any sophisticated anti-SPAM software will be able to block SPAM information being sent through a contact form, SPAM comments on blog posts, non-human visitors to your website and more. However, SPAM attacks are constantly evolving and you may be finding that despite your best efforts, you are still receiving these unsolicited emails. If you are, there’s a key reason why.

There’s an all-too-common practice called ‘email address harvesting’, which is essentially where harvesting bots (special pieces of software) scan websites, looking for email addresses present on websites. Once they’re found, they are extracted (harvested) and stored in various lists. Spammers can then purchase these lists in order to send everyone on the list their SPAM emails. That’s one of the reasons why these emails often are addressed generically, since the spammer only has your email address.

Now, it is possible that your email address has been extracted from an account you signed up for, although this isn’t anything you can sort. It would be down to the security of the website you’re subscribed to. However, more often than not, you’ve innocently put your email address on your contact page, in your website’s footer, or even in a header bar. This is fantastic for user friendliness, since some people would prefer to send you an email directly, rather than using your contact form. It is unfortunately most likely to be the reason why you are receiving SPAM emails.

There could, of course, be other reasons why you are receiving these emails, such as posting your email address on forums, online articles, or anything in between, although this is a very common reason, linked to your own website. Let’s now take a look at how you can stop it from happening.

How can I do more to prevent SPAM emails through my website?

As we have seen, you could be receiving SPAM emails due to email harvesting. When you post your email address on a website, it could easily happen. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to effectively mask your email address. Now, I know what you may be thinking – you don’t want to do this, since you need your visitors to actually see your email address, so they can get in touch with you. Well, don’t worry. Masking your emails doesn’t mean making them invisible, or illegible to the human eye. It is actually to do with the website code, but not the visual result.

The easiest way to mask your email addresses, if you’re using WordPress, is through an email encoder plugin. Once installed and activated, this plugin would do the rest, without you having to lift a finger. A few of the best ones are:

These plugins do something very simple. They look through all of your web pages for any email links and then mask them from any email harvester. Take a look at the examples below, to get an idea of how they work.

Email address before and after being encoded on a website, to prevent email SPAM

The first example is what your email address will look like inside a website’s code, if you have made it clickable and it is not encoded. When you click on a ‘mailto’ link, it essentially just opens up the default email programme you’re using. This makes it an easy target for any email harvester.

The second example is what your email address looks like, once it has been encoded. Whilst the email link is still perfectly usable, as it was before, the ‘mailto’ link is no longer there. That means your email address cannot be harvested like it used to, successfully closing off another avenue to you falling victim to email SPAM. Of course, different plugins will work slightly differently, but the outcome is the same.

The upshot

We know that there are many reasons why you might fall victim to SPAM. One of those is through the email address(es) you have on your website, to help your visitors to get in touch with you, which means your emails could be harvested and sold to spammers.

You need to prevent this from happening. Of course, the simplest way would be to not post your email addresses on your website. You could also add your email addresses to your website as images. However, you shouldn’t do that. It is terrible for the user experience, since people want to be able to click on an email link, or at least copy it. They can do neither when you have an image there instead.

That’s why you should use an email encoder plugin, to mask the email addresses you have on your website, to prevent them being harvested and sold to spammers. The examples provided in this blog work on the WordPress platform. Although different website platforms work slightly differently, they should all have similar same functionality. Of course, there’s nothing to stop a human visiting your website, clicking on an email link and sending you an unsolicited email. However, in conjunction with an anti-SPAM plugin, you’re now giving yourself the best chance of preventing SPAM.

How will Digital Lychee help you?

At Digital Lychee, I make sure that all my clients have the perfect website for their needs. Whether you are looking for a brand new website or just help upgrading your current website, I will help you create a great-looking, functional and ultimately secure website, that prevents as much SPAM as is possible. If you are interested in my services, or you want to find out more about my blog, I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.