Our Client Area and Site Tools Turn Two!
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Exactly 2 years ago we launched our new Client area and Site Tools. It was a huge moment for us not only because it completed a 2.5-year long software development cycle, but also because it set our hopes high on the infinite opportunities for service enhancements that opened ahead. To celebrate the anniversary of our new tools, we decided to recap which of those opportunities we turned into reality and what were the reactions and impact from all those improvements altogether. Oh, we’ve decided it’s time to stop calling them “New” Client Area & “New” Site Tools since any software that has successfully crossed the two-year and 5000 bug fixes and feature requests mark is officially proven and tried-and-true into maturity.
Revamping Our Technical Setup For a Faster & More Redundant Service
Once we completed the development cycle and perfected our migration scripts to transfer all existing accounts from the old to the new server setup and interfaces, our DevOps resources got fully directed into platform improvements. The three major and most essential projects that we completed, which were possible thanks to our new Site Tools server infrastructure, were focused on the key components of our service: PHP, MySQL, and DNS services. No website could run on any server without these 3 (and the actual web server software of course), so they lay the grounds of how your website will perform even before you have selected an application or put it live.
UltraFast PHP for Up To 30% Faster Page Loading
Running a PHP service is not a challenge. Many webmasters do it on their home machines. But if you want a fast, stable, and secure PHP, while supporting Apache and the variety of .htaccess rules defined by a multitude of users and apps which run on a large platform like ours, things get complicated. After several iterations, our DevOps managed to overcome the biggest “speed over security” challenge and delivered an amazingly fast PHP with our Web Application Firewall and account isolation integrated, getting better performance results without compromising on security. You can read the full post about our Ultrafast PHP here.
Faster MySQL Setup, Faster Sites
Since we had started on the essentials, it was only natural that we reevaluated how the MySQL worked after the PHP had been optimized. MySQL is especially important for the performance of websites with large data bases, which are usually e-commerce sites, quite widespread on our servers. The new MySQL setup that we crafted allows for a considerably higher number of parallel requests to be processed simultaneously. This affects the effective handling of heavy MySQL queries and leads to a significant drop in the number of slow queries on our infrastructure.
Centralizing the DNS Service
Next on the list was reworking our DNS (domain name system) service. The DNS essentially translates domain names into IP addresses, so people can actually open a particular website. In order to make this process faster, more secure and reliable we just introduced our new centralized DNS service which operates in 5 geo locations and on multiple instances. Webmasters will witness faster domain resolving, enhanced resilience and availability of the DNS service, better protection against DDoS attacks and simplified DNS management among other advantages. All this translates into faster websites with added safety and ease of management.
Collaboration & Reselling Made Easy On Our Platform
One of the main reasons we were not happy with cPanel was that it was blocking us from creating our own Access control system the way we believed it should be. One of the things that we launched together with the new Site Tools and Client Area was a new user role – the “Collaborator”, already available on all our plans. This user role made it possible for our clients to invite their designers, developers, and friends to collaborate on their sites without sharing logins and creating any security risks.
Over time we also made it possible to add a “Client role” to our GoGeek and Cloud plans together with the option to create custom hosting packages on our Cloud plans, especially useful for people building websites for their clients. The Client role is a more sophisticated way of controlling the access you grant to your clients by defining which parts of the Site Tools they can access.
Improved Web Accessibility
Our team also put significant effort into integrating features that make our service easier to use for everyone, including people with different levels of motor or visual disabilities. Our Site Tools came with a high-contrast theme, screen reader support and keyboard handling, and eventually Easy read font which is designed to improve readability for users with symptoms of dyslexia, but can be used by anyone who prefers it and finds it easier to read.
New useful tools and features in Site Tools
Of course new and useful tools kept coming….
Multisite SFTP Key for Easy Multiple Site Management
More recently we introduced the option for Multisite SFTP access with a single SSH key which empowers users to easily and safely manage multiple sites. The Multisite SFTP access can be used for all the sites our clients own or have been added as a collaborator in a single Client Profile. This option provides multisite owners with the convenience and security to manage more than one site.
Search and Replace Tool for Easy WordPress Management
Our team introduced a WordPress Search and Replace advanced tool designed to enable WordPress admins and developers to replace all occurrences of a certain string within their WordPress code in a single click.
Enhanced Webmail App
We released an updated Webmail application with improved look and feel. The app enables our clients to provide their users with access to all relevant email tools they need to manage their individual email accounts, such as changing their passwords or configuring autoresponders, folders, and forwarders.
HTML in Autoresponders
SiteGround users are now also able to set up autoresponder content to be sent as HTML. They can choose whether their autoresponder email is sent as plain text (default) or HTML. This option is available for all themes and resolutions in both the Autoresponders tool in Site Tools and in Webmail.
We are proud that we introduced the Client Area and Site Tools and all the enhancements backed up by amazing test results, but what makes us really motivated is the feedback we receive from our clients. Thanks for your continued support, and your business – together, we hope we continue to raise the standard of web hosting services!