Category Archives: Miscellaneous

7 ways to speed up a WordPress blog

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Hi everyone. I use WordPress to run this blog, and I love it! I think it is a great content publishing system. Having said that I must admit that if one isn’t careful WordPress can get a bit sluggish at time. No one likes to wait for a web page to load – if a site is taking too long to load, the visitor is more likely to close it and move on. This is especially true for blogs, which are meant to be seen and read. I’m not sure how many of you run your own WordPress blog, but if you do I have a few tips to share regarding how to speed up WordPress. I hope you find them useful.

1. Eliminate unnecessary plugins

Don’t use too many plugins – they will noticeably slow down your website. Imagine them as too many apps running at the same time – they will affect the overall performance of the blog. Keep the number of the plugins low – let’s say from 5 to 10, but don’t go over 20.

2. Optimize your Database

All the information for your blog posts and comments is stored in a database. So, to speed up the loading speed, you can optimize this database. There are two ways to do that – with the WP-Optimize plugin, or manually. The plugin is the easier way, but always remember point 1 of this article. If you want to do things manually, follow these instructions:

1. Inside your web hosting Control Panel, locate and open PHPMyAdmin- you can find it in the Database Manager section.
2. Once logged in the PHPMyAdmin, select your database.
3. Click “Check All” at the bottom of the page.
4. Choose “Optimize table” in the drop-down list next to it.
5. Done!

3. Cache your Database

Another way to speed up the work of your database is to cache it. This way, you will reduce the number of queries made to the database each time a user visits your blog. You can cache your database with the DB Cache Reloaded plugin.

4. Disable Post Revisions

Post Revisions exist since WordPress 2.6 and they are useful when there are several writers working on the same blog, or if you make constant changes to your blog posts. If left enabled, this feature will create multiple entries for a blog post in your database, effectively slowing it down.

5. Use a Cache Plugin

You can also create static versions of the most visited web pages. This way, you will reduce the queries made to the database. And static HTML pages load much faster. There are a lot of cache plugins, but be careful with their configuration – if they are left untended and not properly configured, they tend to use too much CPU power.

6. Optimize your images

Have your images optimized – you can use Photoshop’s “Save for Web” function, which will save the image with a good balance between size and quality. Here is a list of other image optimization tools:

Online Tools:

  • PunyPNG
  • Smush.it
  • Online Image Optimizer

Desktop Tools:

  • Shrink O’Matic
  • PNGGauntlet

7. Optimize your CSS and JavaScript files

Another way to speed up your website is to optimize the CSS and JavaScript files – this way you will reduce the size of the files and save some disk space and decrease the server load. There are several tools you can use to do that.

To compress the CSS files, you can use several tools:

  • WP CSS plugin
  • CSS Optimizer
  • CSS Compressor

To optimize your JavaScript files, use:

  • JavaScript Compressor

Attention Fellow Canadians – Stop The Meter On Your Internet Use

Dear fellow Canadians. I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the recent CRTC decision to allow big telecom companies to force usage-based internet billing (UBB) on Canadians. This decision is a major strike against market competitiveness. Basically what this allows big telecom companies such as Bell to squash their competitors by preventing them from offering consumers better internet access packages than them! Welcome to Canada folks – the land of big monopolies! The lack of competition will lead to stagnation in the internet access market, and guess what, the rest of the world will leave us behind.

The big problem here in Canada is that large major ISPs (ie Bell) are also prolific content providers so they have no real motivation to improve their internet aceess offering. They know that if you had faster internet with no download limits you would have a choice to NOT use their media products. You like to use Netflix? You like to watch a lot of YouTube videos? You’re a heavy user of VOIP products (eg Skype, etc)? Well guess what, with the new 25 GB per month bandwidth cap you’ll easily go over that and be forced to pay exorbitant rates for any overages. Even if you don’t currently use more than 25 GB a month I can almost guarantee you that given the current rate of internet progress eventually you will. Still not convinced? See the following reasons why you too should OPPOSE UBB (taken from antiubb.com ):

1) Internet in Canada is already amongst the most expensive in the world. UBB will make it even more expensive.

A high-speed internet costs between $50 and $60 per month. In the United States, UNLIMITED packages with similar speeds are offered for $29.99. We already pay too much for our internet and we are about to get Internet as it was in 2003.

2) Usage-Based Billing is a scam because it’s sold at 100x times what it costs to make

According to research, data cost maximum $0.02 per GB to transmit – and that number is getting lower and lower every year as optic fiber gets cheaper and cheaper.

Bell wants to sell it $2.00 per GB. This is an absolute scam. Would you agree to pay $700,000 for an entry-level car? Would you pay $35.00 for an apple?

3)Usage-Based Billing will kill Internet TV, cloud computing, High-Definition movie downloads and more.

Folding at home, as offered on the PS3, offer owners the chance to run a program and help science progress by modeling proteins. With UBB, this entire segment will die.

Let’s not even talk about Internet TV. Unsurprisingly, watching television using Bell’s Fibe service DOES NOT COUNT TOWARDS YOUR DOWNLOAD LIMIT, ALTHOUGH IT’S THE EXACT SAME DATA TRAVELLING ON THE SAME LINES! This is a scam, plain and simple.

Bell rents you movie for $4.99 each. Netflix offers thousands of movies for $6.99 per MONTH. However, if you factor the download costs for Netflix, it simply cannot compete – it would cost more to download a movie from Netflix than simply renting it from Bell. This is a clear anti-competitive situation.

Want to buy a game? You’ll have to buy it in store because a game can easily take 10-12 GB. Thus, if a store sells a game for $59.99 and steam sells it for $49.99, it’s actually cheaper to buy it at the store because that game will cost $20-24 to download!

Want youtube? You’ll have to live with a few hours of it per day. Want to upgrade your programs? Check your download limit first. By the way, get ready to check your limit every day.

4) The caps proposed are ridiculously low and can be reached in a single day. Many, many Canadians already break it.

25GB is an absolutely ridiculous amount. At a 7MB/s, which is a regular high-speed internet, it can be reached in 7 hours.

5) Bell is obviously trying to increase its profits. Make no mistake: UBB is a purely profit-driven incentive.

There is no network congestion and there has never been one. Bell argues that it is acting against extreme downloader – 1,000GBs and more. If that’s so, why doesn’t Bell impose a 250GB cap? Or why doesn’t Bell charges, let’s say, $0.05 per GB? More than twice the production cost.

Bell is lying every second of it. There is no network congestion. There’s one and only one reason behind UBB: profits. Bell wants to make money whether you use their television service or not. Bell wants to pay nice bonuses to their CEOs and nice dividends to their shareholders. This sounds very nice, except that’s what Bell is already doing. It does not need to kill the Internet to get it.

6) There is no network congestion.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: there is no network congestion. Even if there was one at peak hour, there is no reason why people should pay extra for downloading at 3AM. After all, nobody could argue the network is congested at 3AM. In fact, the cables are just standing there, useless. UBB doesn’t make sense.

7) Even if there ever is network congestion – which MIGHT happen – Bell should be updating their networks, not punishing people for using a good they pay for in the first place.

We don’t even have optic fiber yet. Don’t believe that crap Fibe thing from Bell, it’s not real optic fiber. Just a remember this is 2011 and the average canadian still gets the same speed from ten years ago. Oh, Comcast’s CTO said it cost $6.85 per house to double the bandwidth in a sector – but Bell doesn’t want that because people could actually use services such as Netflix, which compete with their overpriced TV services and also TV stations they own.

8) Unlimited Internet is offered in many countries in the world. Even in countries where caps are imposed, the caps are much higher, often 250GB.

In fact, Canada will be one of the first country where unlimited Internet is not offered. Are you going to let Canada behind? Thank you so much, Bell.

9) A single game can take 25GB. According to Bell, downloading this game should cost $50.

Grand Theft Auto 4 (a two-year-old game, by the game) takes 25GB to download. At $2.00 per GB, this is $50 – more than the actual cost of the game!

10) Every profession which depends on the internet is at risk.

Daytraders, researchers, consultants ALL risk a severe loss of service. Soon, they will be unable to upload critical files for fear of paying too much. The entire independent worker in Canada is at risk.

11) The “Use more, pay more” argument is worthless.

Data doesn’t cost anything to transport. Let’s take a deep breath and imagine electricity is actually produced for free. That’s right, you do not need to pay for electrical use (in real-life, electricity costs money to produce and that’s why we pay per KWh). In that case, would you pay for electrical transport? Would you pay the company everytime electricity travels to you?

That’s what UBB is: charging you every time you use a line. In fact, even if you factor the microscopic hardware cost (that is, a nod sending and receiving the data), the cost is $0.02 per Gigabyte under the worst scenario. Yet Bell and Rogers want to charge $2.00 for it – 10,000% of the actual cost.

12) Usage-Based Billing will kill the internet as we know it.

Forget youtube. A video can reach 100MB. That’s $0.20 to view. Forget working on large files over the internet. If you have to upload and download it several times… Heh. Forget high-definition. A single movie can be 4GB – that’s $8.00 to download and at this point, you’re better off renting it from Bell for $4.99.

UBB will kill the Internet as we know it. Period.

13) It’s anticompetitive and violate antitrust laws.

Bell owns a television service. An alternative is Internet TV. Bell possess the Internet. Bell acts so that Internet TV, a competitor to their television service, is no longer an option.

This violates antitrust laws. Clearly, Bell has a trust on the internet service and uses its dominant position to keep competitors such as Netflix out.

14) Bell owns large television networks (CTV, etc.) and want to make sure people will continue to a)Pay for cable television b) Watch television. Bell has little control over the internet and they are so deeply afraid of it.

Furthermore, Bell owns some television networks. To keep people paying and watching them, Bell acts so that alternatives – such as watching shows on Hulu and other websites – are impossible due to cost.

Bell makes money when you watch television – and ads – on its network.. But they don’t make money when you watch the same program on Hulu.

15) It’s a step back for all canadians.

Technology progress, it does not regress. We should be getting more as time pass, not less.

We do not get less medication year after year. Why should we get less Internet?

16) How can Bell and others decide what is a “fair” use of the Internet?

Bell decided “25GB” was a fair use of the internet. Now, how could they come to that number and what right do they have to decide FOR YOU what you should pay?

17) It opposes Net Neutrality

Bell is effectively controlling information. You want to watch a news report online? Sure, but… Do you really want to spend $0.10 for it when you can get it for $0.00 by opening the television?

This violates Net Neutrality. In fact, Bell can influence what you choose to watch and reduces the lure of competitors.

18) Bell already controls the cellphone markets and rips off customers month after month.

Everyone I know who has a plan with Bell has complaints about it. Unauthorized charges, extra options that won’t be cancelled, etc. Do you really want the same thing with your Internet?

19) You do not control your download.

Your modem sends and receive data all the time. You have no control over this. And it will soon cost you.

Programs automatically update themselves. Windows alone can download 1GB of updates in a month. That’s $2.00 just to upgrade your system!

20) In fact, the download meters are not even accurate.

When you buy gas, the amount of gas you buy is closely monitored. However, there is no such monitoring for download. You have no idea if you even used the data they charge you for.

21) It will kill independant internet providers.

Independant internet providers will no longer be able to differentiate their products from Bell. They’ll have to have a pricing structure much more similar to Bell. This, in a free market economic system, is an extremely negative element for competition.

22) UBB encourages pirating

If you have to choose between downloading a 500MB television show (and keeping it for good) from a torrent website or streaming it (and losing it after 24h) from Netflix, which one would you choose? Especially since that that television show would cost $1.00 to download?

23) UBB exists in only a handful of countries in the world

In fact, Canada will get one of the worst internet in the world. Every european and asiatic country offers unlimited internet – even Australia, which has an older network than us, offers unlimited plans.

24) It’s the only medium we control and the only “free” source of information we have

If you think about it, radio, newspaper and television are controlled by a handful of individuals.

Internet, on the other side, offers thousands of different news network – most not controlled by large corporations. It’s FREEDOM and free sources of information. If you think about it, it’s the ONLY free medium because anyone can start a website.

However, with UBB, you’ll have to choose between 1) Watching a news report on television and paying $0.00 2) Watching a news report on the Internet and paying $0.25.

25) Some canadians will keep unlimited Internet. Others won’t have this chance simply because they “chose the wrong province”. It’s totally unfair that some canadians should have unlimited internet and others not.

Can we do anything about this? YES! The first thing you can do is visit the link below and sign the petition form there:

http://openmedia.ca/meter

The second thin you can do is post the link to this petition on your Facebook account, Tweet it, or simply e-mail your friends and colleagues.

Email the link: http://stopthemeter.ca

Share it on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/45nmvcv

Tweet it: http://tinyurl.com/4nxd52y

Please help make a difference!

Cheers,

Alan