Performance improvements

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ve made a couple of changes recently, which should result in a somewhat faster performance of this site.

Firstly, before the last weekend, I’ve moved all my DNS hosting to Amazon Route 53 service.  This should result in faster DNS queries all around the globe and minimize the potential downtimes.

Secondly, I’ve installed and configured the JS & CSS Optimizer WordPress plugin, which now results in much fewer HTTP requests needed to load the page, as well as fewer bytes to be transferred around.   I’m still tweaking the settings for this one to see how much I can squeeze out of it, but I already see an improvement.

As always, if you see any issues, please let me know.

WordPress plugin : Google XML Sitemaps 4.0 significant changes

One of the most popular WordPress plugins – Google XML Sitemap – has recently been upgrade to version 4.0, with some significant changes.  Here is the quote from the changelog:

New in Version 4.0 (2014-03-30):

  • No static files anymore, sitemap is created on the fly!
  • Sitemap is split-up into sub-sitemaps by month, allowing up to 50.000 posts per month!
  • Support for custom post types and custom taxonomis!
  • 100% Multisite compatible, including by-blog and network activation.
  • Reduced server resource usage due to less content per request.
  • New API allows other plugins to add their own, separate sitemaps.
  • Note: PHP 5.1 and WordPress 3.3 is required! The plugin will not work with lower versions!
  • Note: This version will try to rename your old sitemap files to *-old.xml. If that doesn’t work, please delete them manually since no static files are needed anymore!

Jetpack is now available on GitHub

I can’t think of a way to put it better than WordPress Tavern did:

The Jetpack plugin code is now available on github and the team welcomes your pull requests. With the addition of Jetpack, Automattic now has 106 public repositories on github. That’s a lot of shared code!

Read the rest of the article for instructions on how to contribute.

Monitor your WordPress site’s uptime with Jetpack Monitor

The latest version of Jetpack for WordPress plugin – which packs together several most used plugins and makes sure they all work nicely together – brings in a new one: Jetpack Monitor.  Here is a straight forward description from the plugin site:

Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected.

Once activated, one of our servers will start checking your site every five minutes.  If it looks like something’s gone awry, we’ll fire off an email notification to the WordPress.com account that Jetpack is connected under.

I think this is brilliant.  Every single WordPress site owner I know has at least once looked around for a simple monitoring service that would let him know when the site goes down.  There are a few of those around, but all of them are a bit of a hassle to setup – you’ll need to know the terminology and at least have an idea about systems monitoring.  With Jetpack Monitor all that is not needed anymore.  Simply click the ‘Activate‘ button in the Jetpack settings and you are all done.  Beautiful!