Monthly updates to server side software and website / email maintenance from NRG Digital.
We record all specific instructions our website clients request. This combines with the below development work to give our clients maximum value.
From the start of 2021 we have begun detailing all the background work we do here as a team at NRG Digital for our website clients. Below we detail the constant ongoing development we do to ensure our customers online presence is kept up to date. Or put another way there is much more to having a website built than just the initial build. Successful business people know this and they are constantly looking for new ways to innovate online.
No matter what package you are on, we are here for you on a retainer again to help with support (and development) requests such as these (below)...
We have deployed V5.0 of 'StartASite' to our new www.nrgdigitalsystems.co.uk website to beta test its performance before rolling that out to other clients.
No matter what package you are on, we are here for you on a retainer again to help with support (and development) requests such as these (below) we have received this month...
This month we are rolling out Version 5.0 of our own Content Management System 'StartASite'. One of the main benefits for our clients (on Platinum or above) is the higher Google rankings this will enable.
We are here for you on a retainer to help with support requests such as these (below) we have received this month...
Last year (in the first major change in 10 years) Google introduced what was described as a game changer in that clients could leave both positive or negative review on your Google Business account.
Google Business Account verification. And because we act as 'super admin' on your Google Workspace account we may need to help you create a support ticket and help set up the sending of your postcard from Google to your business address.
This normally comes through in 4 days and contains a code to authenticate.
However we have had a first this month for a client who actually needed us to help set up a video call in situ in the business premises with Google to authenticate the fact she was actually working from there (which was never in doubt) but could be the start of a trend. She described the experience as 'surreal' and personaly think it could be quite intrusive, however in the post covid era where many of us got used Zoom calls and the like this may in fact become the 'norm'.
Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help you set up a Google Business Account and the benefits that go with it.
Quite a lot of problems with spam emails this month. It is always an ongoing battle but this month has been particularly bad. Main issue has been whereby genuine enquiries that should go straight into inbox of clients Google Workspace accounts are being flagged as spam and clients are sometimes unaware this has happened.
As such we have been working hard to in the first instance keep an eye on this and then actioning techniques to address the issue.
We are constantly working on ways to improve the SEO of our content management system, StartASite.
Here are some to the areas we worked on on our clients behalf during January 2022.
Improve the loading times by upgrading PHP
Automatically merge the CSS & JS files, which should mean faster loading times
‘Lazy-load’ images - only load the images that you initial see and the load the rest in when you scroll
Open Graph protocol - https://ogp.me/
Correct alt & title properties
We are constantly working on ways to improve the SEO of our content management system, StartASite. Here are some to the areas we worked on on our clients behalf during December 2022.
TinyMCE is an open source CMS solution we have plugged in to StartASite. We had a TinyMCE issue and resolved this by upgrading it to latest version 5.10.1 (previously we were on 4.9.4) —> , so now we can update the images without TinyMCE breaking the HTML.
Details to follow...
As well as specific instructions our website clients have given us this month we have also carried out the following important ongoing development and maintenance.
October 13th 2021
As if to emphasise some of the previous months' posts our landlord University of Sunderland was hit by a suspected cyber attack today. This has meant with no access to internet we have had to work from home. Luckily due to Covid 19 we have put in place an infrastructure to be able to do this and support our website clients remotely. Below is form the BBC website click here for more.
Sunderland University has been hit by "extensive IT disruption" which has "all the hallmarks of a cyber-attack".
Telephone, website and IT systems are down but face-to-face teaching would continue as far as possible, it said.
The university is working with police and other agencies to find out what has happened.
"We take the security of our systems extremely seriously and will work to resolve the situation as quickly as possible," a spokesperson said.
October 5th 2021
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp major worldwide outage last night. Thankfully no outages for us here at NRG Digital. We have moved most of our clients websites to Amazon Web Services and now most of our clients emails use Google Workspace. But this is the type of thing where we will delve into this incident to analyze the technical side to learn from that in a way to protect our clients.
More maintenance needed to safeguard the integrity of enquiry forms on several of our clients websites over the weekend. Ongoing battle. Resolved (again).
Issue has just started today after changes by our hosting solution (Amazon Web Services) in that from time to time they tighten up on security filters on their side to guard against files being uploaded containing viruses. Changes made by our dev. Resolved within 2 hours.
Google have decided to change their billing system. Google Cloud and Google Workspace accounts as well as contracts have been migrated this month from Google Ireland Ltd to Google Cloud EMEA Ltd. ("Google Cloud EMEA")*. If you pay by direct debit and are a Google Ads customer, you will receive separate instructions to renew your direct debit mandate. Sorted at our end on behalf our clients. No need to do anything your side.
We have become aware of problems with spam 'breaking' enquiry forms and contact us forms this month. It's a constant battle against nefarious attempts (mainly from Russia) to bombard servers in the West with fake enquiries. It's not just us but it's right across the board. So unfortunately until we got on top of this several forms have been coming through 'garbled'. However as part of the regular maintenance we carry out each day / week and month we have hopefully restored the integrity to our clients website forms.
Again spending a lot of time again working on email functionality and studying Cyber Security this month. This will be an ongoing project over the coming months. Email stability for a lot of our clients can be as (and sometimes even more) important than their websites.
Spending a lot of time working on email functionality and studying Cyber Security this month. This will be an ongoing project over the coming months.
Spending a lot of time working on email functionality and studying the different features relating to Google WorkSpace accounts for our clients. In some cases we liaise with thrid party IT Companies to ensure your email services running smoothly.
Working our way through snags caused by the move to Amazon. On the whole things are much better now but we have noticed a few issues that need resolving including.
* Recurrence of spam email coming in through enquiries. Please bare with us we are working to resolve this. We have noticed a significant increase in this lately, we know it's annoying but we will work our way through cutting down on this. Contact us direct if you have a particular problem and need any captcha codes adding to prove your visitors are 'human'.
Saturday 8 May, 15:13
We noticed an issue with StartASite Log ins yesterday.
The logs were full, we have deleted them and reduced the logging level and reduced the retention policy. Problem is resolved now so you should be able to log in again now to update your website.
Wed, 5 May, 21:06 Server maintenance
While we were working the web server went down, it just exited without an error. Looking into the logs it was due to bots scanning for subdomains for one of our clients, their 3rd party who had setup the DNS records and had put a wildcard subdomain record. This meant you can have any subdomain (for example http://www.this.should.not.work.but.it.does.our client.co.uk/). When a new website is loaded the 1st thing the web server does is it requests a SSL certificate from Lets Encrypt, but because there was a bulk request for over 2,000 of these subdomains (www.blog, www.www.blog, www.www.www.blog, etc.) it took down our web server.
We have fixed it so it will only now request a SSL certificate if the domain is known to StartASite (in the DB)
We have updated the web server and the PHP service to automatically restart, just in case this happens again in the future.
Thursday 15th April. Amazon Move Complete! This week has seen a big 'virtual' move for us here at NRG Digital. We have now successfully moved most of our clients websites to Amazon Web Services.
Wednesday 14th April Spending all day checking through our websites that have migrated to Amazon.
Tuesday 13th April 1.28 pm All of the websites are across on to Amazon Web Services now. Any problems if you see any missing links or images etc let us know please.
Tuesday 13th April 9.25 am Day 2 of 3 of our Amazon Web Services migration. All going to plan..but if you do spot any bugs let us know.
Monday 12th April 2.30pm. We are not going anywhere its just the websites that are moving! Our clients can look forward to a more stable futureproof service after we have moved to the new host.
Should all be sorted by this Thursday (15th April) morning and we'll pick up on any ongoing work and updates we have on the go for you all!
Monday 12th April 1.40pm. All is going well with our move to Amazon. Just ironing out the odd glitch as we go.
Monday 12th April. This week sees a big move for us here at NRG Digital. We are moving most of our clients websites to Amazon Web Services. If you are one of our clients and would like to monitor the progress either here on this page or follow us on Twitter for regular updates.
Further details to follow... but work carried out includes work on our content management system StartASite. We have tweaked the line spacing issues we have had which will also help with SEO. We have also carried out some work on our Vimeo account, this is the platform where we post bespoke tutorial videos for our clients. Would you like a bespoke videos to explain anything you are unsure about? (Relating to your website or emails) Drop us an email or call us with your request.
Further details to follow... but work carried out includes
Changes to Google Analytics. We have updated our protocols to allow clients access to this feature should they require it. Further planning for our move to Amazon Web Services. Checking each of our clients sites to make sure everything is in place for the move in April '21.
Further development of our main 'go to' email client solution we combine with our websites Google Workspace. Google has recently changed this platform from Google GSuite (to Workspace). And as such we have needed to invest time in keeping up with any developments that may affect our clients email services.
Further details to follow... but work carried out includes
Forward planning for our move to Amazon Web Services. Why are we doing this? In the longer term we believe 'bigger is better'. Amazon Web Services are one of the largest providers in the world with some of the most reliable infrastructure. (And yes it's the same Amazon as the global delivery giant ran until recently by the worlds richest man Jeff Bezos). Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the cloud platform offered by Amazon.com. AWS is a frontrunner to other cloud computing platforms such as competitor Microsoft Azure. In a world of digitization and rapid changes, cloud services are center of attention everywhere. Amazon has become a leader in Cloud technologies proving that they can meet the demands of any organisations at any level. It is for this reason NRG Digital have chosen AWS to migrate our websites across to.
We intend moving all but a few of our websites to AWS in April 2021. This involves merging databases of our two existing hosting solutions into one. Benefits to the move are many but include a more efficient quicker server that will speed up website loading times and improve SEO rankings for our clients.
As PC Mag editor Wayne Rash said in a review of the best cloud providerts "In short, if you want to commit to a cloud service that's going to be here not just next year but for the next decade, then AWS is your choice."