The UK is preparing for a huge technological change. By the end of 2025, the historic analogue network, used to make most phone calls from our landlines and also used for broadband, will have reached the end of its life. And a new digital phone network is taking its place.
The new network will provide a future proof, more reliable and dependable broadband service that will support the UK for decades to come.
The upgrade to a digital line supports the next generation of voice calls – higher quality, fewer faults and less maintenance, as well as being better for the environment. Landlines are going digital across the UK.
This means voice calls will soon be over a digital line – in the same way broadband works.
This change will affect almost everything that currently plugs into an analogue telephone wall socket. This includes any equipment that may be provided to clients and customers, or equipment they purchase to utilise the services on offer.
To manage this, 2020Media will no longer offer analogue phone lines after 31st August 2023. This also affects services over analogue phone lines such as ADSL.
Instead, 2020Media will offer a new product called “SoGEA” which is equivalent to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). This offers high speed internet without the seperate cost of a phone line.
Telephony service will move to a Voice over IP solution, commonly known as VOIP.
On 24th April 2023, a team of technical staff from 2020Media attended an Enterprise and IPv6 Workshop organised by the UK IPv6 Council at the Morgan Stanley Conference Centre in London. The workshop was aimed at helping enterprises understand and adopt IPv6, the latest version of the Internet Protocol that offers many benefits over the current IPv4.
The workshop featured a series of talks from experts and practitioners who shared their insights and experiences on various aspects of IPv6, such as address planning, security, applications, cloud, Kubernetes, IoT and case studies. The 2020Media team learned about the latest news on IPv6 adoption and technical challenges, as well as best practices and tips for a successful transition.
The workshop also provided an opportunity for networking and knowledge exchange with other attendees from different sectors and backgrounds who are interested in or working on IPv6 deployment. The 2020Media team enjoyed the lively discussions and interactions with the speakers and peers, and gained valuable feedback and suggestions for their own IPv6 projects.
The 2020Media team would like to thank the UK IPv6 Council for organising this informative and engaging workshop, and Morgan Stanley for hosting it at their impressive venue. The team is looking forward to applying what they learned at the workshop to their own work and contributing to the IPv6 community in the UK.
The governing body for international domain names, ICANN, has produced a report outlining two options for releasing brand new extensions.
The last “round” had been completed way back in 2012, leading among other things to the creation of community-based extensions like “.london”, “.scot”, “.store” or “.sport”. There are approximate 30 million of this type of domain now registered, which is still a relatively small number compared to the over 150 million .com domains and 130 million country code domains in use today.
Option 1 is to proceed in the same way as before, but incorporating all the new requirements. This would require ICANN to spend £100 million upfront in order to open a single application window after five years. At that point, around 2028, each application would cost £200,000. The first resulting internet extensions would likely go live sometime in 2029 or 2030.
Option 2 is to proceed in smaller stages, called “cycles”. Instead of conducting a single application window, the plan is a program split into 4 (or possibly more) annual cycles, each with its own application window. This drastically reduces the risk and complexity for all parties involved. With Option 2, the first application window might be announced as early as 2024. The cost of an application would be £180,000 here, but it’s possible that it could be lowered for subsequent cycles.
ICANN’s presentation, transcript, and audio and video recordings are available here.
2020Media has been supporting WordPress website hosting for many years now, but we are always looking for ways to improve the service. We’ve recently added a component we think is making a noticeable impact on website performance and this blog post is to share some details about this.
Caching – what is it
By default, each time a page on your WordPress website is accessed by a visitor, the content is generated dynamically with lots going on in the background, including multiple database queries and code executions.
A caching plugin will create a static version of your content, removing many of the steps that take place when a page is generated dynamically. The result of this is faster loading times and happier visitors.
Some things should not be cached however – for example a shopping cart. You would not want someone else’s shopping basket replacing yours. Or if you have a members area, each member’s details must remain private. So any solutions must ensure that personalised content is not cached.
Simply put, caching speeds up your website. When it comes to page speed and loading times, an improvement of just a single second can have huge implications for your bottom line. For example, back in 2012, Amazon estimated that if their website loaded just one second slower it would cost them $1.6 billion in sales; and this number has surely only increased since then.
You’re probably not operating quite on Amazon’s scale, but slow loading times are still costly. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of your visitors will lose patience and leave your site if your pages take more than three seconds to load. A single second of delay can reduce your conversions by 7%.
Furthermore, Google uses page speed as a factor when determining where to rank your content in its search engine results pages. So, if you want greater search engine visibility and more traffic from sites like Google, you need to speed up your website.
No matter the purpose of your website – whether it’s to promote products and services or simply build an audience – higher bounce rates, reduced conversion rates, and decreased search engine rankings hurt.
Caching for WordPress
There are dozens of caching plugins built for WordPress, along with a number of technical solutions that operate outside of WordPress – for example at the server level, or at the network level.
2020Media wants the best possible result, so we offer a combination of all these to our customers.
Network Level: We include Cloudflare CDN (free and paid plan levels) to offer caching of static content
Server Level: We setup and maintain PHP and MySQL (database) applications to include caching of compiled code and database queries
WordPress Level: We install and monitor WordPress caching plugins to generate static pages which can be served to users with the lowest possible latency.
Caching Plugins We Use
We use two caching plugins currently. These offer a good balance between performance, cost and what we would call “hassle factor”
WP-Rocket consistently outperforms all other WordPress caching plugins.
The downside is that is a paid plugin – and does not have a free version to get the basics.
Aside: This is unusual as most WordPress plugins that have a “Pro” or paid version usually offer a free version of some kind, with various features missing or crippled. That WP-Rocket does not do this, for us speaks of their confidence in their product – they simply don’t need to offer temptations and nagging screens to get people to buy in – their product is so effective it speaks for itself.
Even so, the price of the plugin for a single site is not that high – no more than most other paid WordPress add-ons, so we think it offers excellent value for money.
Cachify is a free WordPress plugin that does caching and nothing else. Although Cachify has been around for many years, it has a small install base compared to other caching plugins in the WordPress. However we find it’s simplicity is it’s strength. Performance-wise it stacks up comparably with other WordPress plugins – see graph above and these:
So what makes Cachify stand out amongst other plugins with comparable performance. Simply put it’s the ethos and practice of the plugin developer. As they say on their site:
Cachify does not offer the functionality of some industry-specific plug-ins. However the caching plugin does the job perfectly and very reliably. And this with very minimal resources and manageable code. This makes it clear and fast.
This is exactly what we need and nothing more, for the majority of websites hosted at 2020Media.com. There are no “paid”, “pro”, “enterprise” versions of this plugin – you get 100% of the features included.
We’re always looking for ways to make our WordPress Hosting continue to stand out – not just exceptional customer service, UK datacentres and great value for money, but to make the websites we host the best they possible can be.
We find caching dynamic websites by default improves performance and this translates into improved sales, leads, conversions and page rankings for our customers.