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.
If you build websites using Joomla, head over to a special online event marking the release of Joomla 4, held by the Joomla User Group, JoomlaLondon
This event includes involvment from the Release leads from 4.0, 4,1 as well as appearances by key figures from Joomla 3 and 5! If that wasn’t enough, Robert Deutz, President of Joomla! will also be attending.
The evening will start at 19:00 UTC. That’s 19:00 GMT for those in the UK.
The Austrian Data Protection Authority (“Datenschutzbehörde” or “DSB” or “DPA”) has ruled that Austrian website providers using Google Analytics are in violation of the GDPR.
This ruling stems from a decision made in 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that stated that cloud services hosted in the US are incapable of complying with the GDPR and EU privacy laws. The decision was made because of the US surveillance laws requiring US providers (like Google or Facebook) to provide personal data to US authorities.
The 2020 ruling, known as “Schrems II”, marked the ending of the Privacy Shield, a framework that allowed for EU data to be transferred to US companies that became certified.
About the Austrian DPA’s Model Case
In this specific case, noyb (the European Center for Digital Rights) found that IP addresses (which are classified as personal data by the GDPR) and other identifiers were sent to the US in cookie data as a result of the organisation using Google Analytics.
This model case led to the DPA’s decision to rule that Austrian website providers using Google Analytics are in violation of GDPR. It is believed that other EU Member States will soon follow in this decision as well.
“We expect similar decisions to now drop gradually in most EU member states. We have filed 101 complaints in almost all Member States and the authorities coordinated the response. A similar decision was also issued by the European Data Protection Supervisor last week.”
What does this mean if you are using Google Analytics?
If there is one thing to learn from this case, it is that ignoring these court rulings and continuing to use Google Analytics is not a viable option.
If you are operating a website in Austria, or your website services Austrian citizens, you should remove Google Analytics from your website immediately.
For businesses in other EU Member States, it is also highly recommended that you take action before noyb and local data protection authorities start targeting more businesses.
Statistics always need a bit of unpicking and you’ll see that two exclusions are made –
Does domain pricing have an impact?
Certainly domain pricing the UK and Netherlands for their own country domain name, .uk and .nl is low compared to many countries, but Switzerland (.ch) pricing is comparable to what you pay for a .com or .org domain. However the statistics collected include all “flavours” of domain extension (we think), so the graph is really a good overview of domain name usage as a whole and pricing should not make too much of a difference.
What does the future hold?
An annual survey from Afnic, shows the number of domain names registered and held continues to grow year by year.
The global domain name market accounted for approximately 349 million domain names at the end of December 2020, up 1.3% compared to the 4.7% in 2019, broken down between:
155 million .com and 32 million other Legacy TLD (.net, .org, .biz, etc.)
130 million ccTLDs (country TLDs, corresponding to a territory or country like the .fr domain)
32 million new TLDs or nTLDs (geoTLD, brand TLDs and community TLDs and generic TLDs created after 2012).
Undoubtedly domain name usage will continue to grow as more businesses and individuals launch websites and email for themselves. 2020Media can help you with your search for the perfect domain, just contact us at www.2020media.com/contact.