Before and After CloudFlare

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I moved one of our sites DNS to CloudFlare in the middle of September 2014, the spam comments dropped from around 630,000 per month to just over 10,000. The drop is mainly down to the way that CloudFlare blocks known spammers at the DNS level so that they don’t reach the site.

I primarily moved to CloudFlare because of the number of automated attacks the site was constantly under however the drop in spam has been a welcome benefit.

Great Service from a Local Web Hosting Provider

Switchweb, a website hosting company which is based in Shropshire – offers professional, reliable and affordable website hosting solutions – which are perfect for companies of any size, across the UK.

To kickstart the new year, Switchweb are offering superb value hosting packages – which start at just £19 a year!

The hosting is a fantastic option for any businesses who are launching in 2015 and need a low-cost yet quality answer to their hosting requirements.

Pete White of Switchweb, says “There are so many hosting companies and offers out there across the internet, that it can often be quite difficult for users to find a reliable company, in an efficient and cost-effective way; that’s the gap which Switchweb aims to address!”

Switchweb has a proven track record of success, having started in 2003.

For more information on the hosting that’s available, visit www.switchweb.co.uk

Web Developer Job Position

The Web Orchard are looking to hire a PHP Developer for their office in Shrewsbury. The role will involve supporting our growing client base and developing in Drupal & WordPress.

As a web developer, you will be responsible for all aspects of front-end & backend web development within a team and will have much to contribute in shaping the way our digital offering goes forward.

You will be expected to attend meetings with stakeholders, write technical specifications, develop and action best practice processes e.g. QAT, liaise with other IT specialists and sales teams to provide the best digital solutions for clients and the business.

Working closely with clients, talented in-house designers and multimedia specialists we have a collaborative approach to projects and you will be part of a highly motivated and focused team working together to see projects through to delivery, on time and within budget.

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. Develop new sites using WordPress, Drupal and other common systems
  2. Maintain existing sites
  3. Liaise and interface with clients & stakeholders
  4. Document technical and functional specifications
  5. Provide technical consultancy services to stakeholders
  6. Ensure that we meet commercial ‘go-live’ deadlines
  7. Mentor to junior developers
  8. Other ad-hoc duties as required

Preferred Job Skills and Attributes

  • Experience of OOP with PHP and MySQL on Unix-like platforms.
  • Standards compliant HTML, HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript (jQuery) and XML.
  • Experience in building themes, plugins etc. for WordPress and Drupal
  • Confident building user interfaces from PSD files and wireframes for functional specification.
  • You will be expected to generate technical solutions to creative challenges on a daily basis.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. You will be expected to liaise and interface with internal clients directly, write technical specifications, advise senior management on technical issues, and liaise with senior Systems Administrators on a regular basis.

Salary – £17k – £19k subject to experience

To apply please send a CV to [email protected]

2014’s Side Projects

2014 has been a good year for my side projects, I’ve not started anything new but have spent time to refine my existing ones.

Love Shrewsbury

The Love Shrewsbury site has been the most time consuming side project over the past twelve months however its also been the most rewarding. The site has reached over 100,000 people and has been expanded to include local offers. I have developments in the new year for an expanded what’s on section and possibly a directory. The April Fool’s post was particularly successful with 10,000 hits over 2 days.

Switchweb

Switchweb continues to provide the infrastructure for many of my other activities though new hosting sales have been slow in 2014. I’m hoping to rectify this in the coming months, pushing the relaunched site with a series of press releases.

ShropGeek

We ran our second (R)Evolution conference in September, the full day web event was another big success and I’m looking forward to planning events for 2015.

ImAFish

ImAFish continues to attract sponsored posts and advertising and has been a consistent money maker in 2014.

Photography

I’ve done a lot less landscape photography in the past year, though I got some nice photos in Scotland. It turns out I have a very photogenic son and if you ask any of my Instagram or Facebook followers you will know I take a look of photos of him!

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported my side projects in the past year, I’m looking forward to 2015.

Love Shrewsbury Website Partners with New Local App

The team behind the popular Love Shrewsbury website are pleased to announce today, that they have formed an exciting partnership with Shrewsbury’s latest and unique app – infoBeetle.

Launched this summer, infoBeetle’s aim is to provide a definitive guide to Shrewsbury and the surrounding area. The special app lists local events, pubs, restaurants, tourist attractions, businesses and of most interest to users – exclusive offers which can be redeemed by displaying the app to retailers.

Love Shrewsbury is a successful website which offers dedicated and varied news content on Shrewsbury – and as such, developing a link with the infoBeetle app couldn’t be more appropriate.

Speaking of the partnership, Pete White of Love Shrewsbury says “Through our new collaboration with infoBeetle, we will be displaying their offers and news items, on the Love Shrewsbury website. It’s a great way of delivering even more fresh and interesting content to our site visitors – people that really do, love Shrewsbury!” He added “We are always keen to ensure that we are at the forefront of what’s happening in the town – and the infoBeetle app is a positive addition to Shrewsbury’s technology scene.”

The infoBeetle app is available from the App store – as well as the Android App store too. For further information visit www.infobeetle.co.uk – for local news and events in Shrewsbury, visit www.loveshrewsbury.com 

ShropGeek (R)Evolution Conference 2014

This years ShropGeek (R)Evolution conference has been another huge success. Held on the 26th September at the Shrewsbury Conference Centre the event covered a range of technology related topics from security to content strategy to user experience.

Guest speakers travelled from around the country representing organisations including Facebook, the Guardian and Buffer. Around 130 people attended with a good mixure of local and national businesses.

ShropGeek meet monthly in the Alb, Shrewsbury and consist of technology enthusiasts and web professionals.

See the complete gallery on Flickr.

Councillors Approve New Website

Interacting with Shrewsbury Town Council will soon be quicker and easier after councillors approved plans for a new website.

At a meeting of the Finance & General Purposes committee on Monday [4 AUG] members appointed Shrewsbury based company, The Web Orchard, to re-design the existing site following a robust selection process.

The brief was to make the existing website simpler to use, and more responsive, ensuring that visitors will be able to find what they are looking for within a few clicks.

The new site will be built using responsive technology to recognise which type of device people are using and adjust accordingly.

The design of the previous website, which is five years old, was found to be outdated and difficult to navigate, particularly on mobile and tablet devices. The new design will remove some large blocks of text and replace these with clear icons guiding users to the pages they need.

Work on the new website, which will sit on the existing platform at www.shrewsburytowncouncil.gov.uk, is already underway, with a prototype due to be presented to councillors in October.

Councillor Alan Mosley said:  “Soon after taking over the leadership of the Council we recognised that our website was outdated and, as part of our revised Communications Strategy, we resolved to change it to something more fit for purpose.  We want a website that will allow the Council to get closer to its residents, one that is more open and accessible and user friendly for all types of devices.

“The re-designed site will be attractive and informative, while giving opportunities for feedback and consultation with residents.  We want the new website to link with all our partners as we work together at putting Shrewsbury first.”

Pete White, director at The Web Orchard added: “We’re delighted to be selected to re-build the Shrewsbury Town Council website and are already busy working on the project. There are some interesting challenges that we are looking forward to tackling.”

Town web-firm to sponsor ShropGeek (R)Evolution Conference

Shrewsbury based website developers The Web Orchard are pleased to announce today, their Platinum level sponsorship of the fifth annual ShropGeek (R)Evolution Conference – which is taking place this September.

The exciting and lively ShropGeek (R)Evolution Conference will see more than 200 people from all over the web-world, join together for a very unique full-day web conference in Shropshire’s stunning county town. Entrepreneurs and business professionals will combine their varied backgrounds and internet experiences, to share what makes things faster, stronger and better when it comes to anything world wide web!

2014 will mark the conference’s fifth year of successful operation – and it will be the first year that The Web Orchard have pledged Platinum sponsorship.

Speaking of the support which The Web Orchard will be providing this year, Pete White said “We may be a rural county and away from the busy life of the cities, but Shropshire has just as much to offer in terms of web and commercial opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. There are so many people here in Shropshire that are making real successes of the web, for example full-time Bloggers right through to substantial companies – and the ShropGeek conference aims to celebrate these achievements, as well as provide professional development for those who attend.”

The ShropGeek (R)Evolution conference is being held at Shrewsbury’s Conference Centre and is taking place on Friday 26th September 2014. The special event is delivered and organised by national industry-recognised experts – and the primary aim is to support the UK’s digital community. Shropshire people with a passion and interest for the web, are encouraged to consider attending this year.

Platinum sponsors, The Web Orchard, have recently completed new websites for clients including Shropshire Fire and Rescue and Telford Shopping Centre. They are a Drupal specialist and Pete White is also a professional blogger, as well as Editor of the popular Love Shrewsbury website. For further information on the ShropGeek conference, visit: http://2014.shropgeek-revolution.co.uk

Switchweb Web Hosting’s Great New Packages

  • Packages from only £19 per year
  • Celebrating 11th year selling web hosting
  • Enterprise package now with unlimited storage and bandwidth
  • Comes with one-click installation of common web apps including WordPress & Drupal

A Shropshire web host has relaunched this week with three new packages in its low cost PHP/MYSQL hosting range. The Entry Cloud package comes with 500mb storage and 1gb of monthly bandwidth for only £19 per year. The £29/year Business Cloud package comes with 5gb of storage and 10gb of monthly bandwidth whilst the Enterprise Cloud package comes with unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for only £39/year.

Any of the packages are ideal for many of the popular web apps such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and phpBB. With Switchweb’s easy to use control panel any of the above can be installed just with one-click through the web browser or smartphone.

All hosting accounts come with unlimited email accounts, auto-responders, forwarders and mailing lists as well as essential junk mail filters and webmail access.

Switchweb have invested heavily in their cloud technology with 24×7 network and hardware monitoring and servers are custom built by industry-leading experts using high quality Dell and Intel hardware.

Formed in 2003, Switchweb Web Hosting have eleven proven years in delivering reliable, fast, feature rich hosting that is essential to businesses and organisations.

We invite you to visit the new Switchweb web site http://switchweb.co.uk/ and check out our packages and features. If you have any questions our friendly support are always on hand to assist.

Iraq Business News is Web Company’s Latest Venture

The Web Orchard a Shropshire based web-development company has announced today a joint venture with the purchase of an international news website.

The Iraq Business News website originally launched in February 2010 has grown to become the leading news service for all who are interested in the business development in Iraq. Offering a unique and in-depth perspective, the website aims to highlight Iraq and the modern economy which is being brought into place.

Iraq Business News and its sister site Libya Business News give site visitors a wide variety of informative news coverage – receiving approximately 300,000 page visits per month, demonstrating the demand and interest in their respective countries for new economic opportunities in the commercial sector.

Speaking of the recent acquisition in part of the company, Pete White of The Web Orchard said “We have been managing the website for a number of years and knew what a fantastic opportunity it was to become part of the current team. We can really bring our expertise to the site starting with a content delivery network that serves the site to viewers from their most geographically local server. This will speed up access and better serve the ever growing readership. It is always positive when we are able to make our expertise known internationally – and we are looking forward to seeing the Iraq Business News website evolve in the future.”

The Web Orchard brings Iraq Business News into their increasingly diverse portfolio of sites which also includes the Love Shrewsbury website.

Visit www.iraq-businessnews.com or www.libya-businessnews.com to see the websites for yourself.

For further information on other projects which The Web Orchard have been working on recently, take a look at http://www.theweborchard.com/