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JCH Optimize - how to make your site faster

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JCH Optimize is a plugin that’s available for Joomla!, WordPress, Magento, and Drupal and is used to optimize your site. What does optimization mean in this context? Well, to make a long story short, it automates certain actions like combining CSS and JavaScript files to get your site working faster. I use it on a Joomla! website I created and maintain, https://sabaton.pl The website uses many graphics, extensions, and custom CSS/JavaScript, so optimization is key here. Here’s a scan from Pingdom to show you its speed without JCH Optimize and caching:

While a 4.35 second load time with a 2MB home page is not the worst, it definitely can be better - and that’s where JCH Optimize comes in. Let’s see a more in-depth analysis of what’s wrong with the site:

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What’s 3rd party in my Joomla site?

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Joomla is already a feature rich system but sometimes you may need additional features that are not available in Joomla by default. To extend the capabilities of your Joomla site, you will have to install third party tools which are referred as ‘Extensions’. Extensions include plugins, components, modules, templates and languages.

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Top 3 Online Image Optimizers

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MozJPEG ImageOptim (Image Optimizer)

Every website relies on images to present visual information and provide an ideal user experience. But presenting large attractive images can compromise your website performance. Luckily there's a solution - image optimization.

Here are 3 of the best online image compression tools you can use to generate fast loading JPEG and PNG images without sacrificing image quality.

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9 Important SEO Factors

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There are many depths and levels to SEO and different tactics behind what could be considered the best-optimized site. This blog will be touching on the 9 heaviest weighed factors in SEO based off of the current SEO Periodic Table of Success and Google algorithm. We hope that this will guide you in the right direction when starting to optimize and plan your site providing you with key elements to think about when writing content.

We are going to start by covering the top 5 “On Page” SEO factors. On Page SEO is described as the factors that have an effect on your site in the natural search results. The optimization is affected by what is directly on your website, such as the coding, content, meta tags, and keywords. Next, to each listed factor below, you will see a number such as a (+3). These are there to symbolize the strength of the factors and how much they positively affect your rankings.

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Joomla! 3.6.1 update issues

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The new Joomla! 3.6.1 contains a lot of bug fixes and it is really important to update your site as soon as possible. In the newest Joomla! version, developers introduced a CSRF token check to the Joomla! Update component - which will help secure your Joomla! site.

This caused some problems to our clients who are reporting issues with upgrading their sites to the newest CMS version. In this article, we aim to ensure that your upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

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What you Need to Know About Joomla 2.5 End of Life and Upgrading to Joomla 3

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You may be aware that Joomla 2.5 has reached the end of life (EOL) stage in its release cycle. This blog contains some information about the history of the Joomla release cycle, a timeline for upgrading to Joomla 3 and links to tools you can use to help upgrade when you’re ready.

Joomla Release Cycle History

In the past, Joomla released minor and major releases, which they called short and long term releases. Joomla 2.5, for example, was a long term release, and the 1.6 and 1.7 versions were it's preceeding short term releases. When version 3 became available, Joomla adopted an improved release cycle ensuring longer support for major versions. There are no longer short term and long term releases. Instead, releases are referred to as being “supported”, “current”, “legacy” or “stable”. Learn more about the Joomla release and support cycle.

Millions of Joomla 2.5 Users

The Joomla Project will no longer release any official patches for Joomla 2.5. That being said, at the time of this post, there are currently millions of Joomla 2.5 sites on the web. This even includes a portion of the Joomla.org family of websites. For those reasons, we are confident that a patch would be created should any major issues arise in the immediate future. We would be willing to contribute to a patch which would be applied to all Joomla 2.5 sites on the CloudAccess.net Platform.

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Choosing a Joomla Template: All Things Considered

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Any aspiring web developer is familiar with the overwhelming number of template choices available in the community. Whether it be for an ecommerce, school, or nonprofit site, it’s critical to find the proper look and feel to give your visitors the best possible first impression. This blog offers some things to consider while you begin your template hunt.

Locate the right developer

Finding the perfect template is definitely going to involve some research. You'll want to make sure the template developer is reputable and has good reviews and ratings. You can start by browsing our list of recommended 3rd party template developers like Yootheme, RocketTheme, Gavickpro and more. We’ve already done some screening for you and we can vouch for the companies on our list. Another factor to consider while looking through template developers is to make sure there is some way to contact them. Check to see whether or not they have a call center or sort of support ticket system. This is very important just in case you ever find a bug or if you have a template-related issue. If you have a problem with the template you won’t want to be left in the dark and be forced to go through the search process again to find a new template.

Determine your skill level

Take into consideration your own skill level when it comes to development. Are you an experienced developer with knowledge of CSS or are you a novice? You might ask why this matters - the template should be ready to go, right? Templates do work out of the box, but this really should be one your top considerations in your search process because some templates may have little to no configuration settings in the administration area. For example, there may be no color picker or style presets, and if you don’t know CSS, you’ll have to find someone who does in case you need something changed. If you’re inexperienced with CSS, I definitely recommend making sure your template comes with a good set of backend features like a color picker, menu/module layout editors, and multiple presets to choose from. When these options are available, you can really customize a template with no knowledge of CSS.

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Joomla Extensions Explained: Types & Tips for Finding the Right Extension

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I’ve been a developer at CloudAccess.net for several years now, and you can usually find me developing custom extensions or in the back end of a site getting community-based extensions to work correctly. Our platform exists to help new Joomla and WordPress users develop their own websites, and a lot of new users have questions about the different types of extensions available. Therefore, to help new users, the purpose of this blog is to shine a little light on the difference between components, modules and plugins in Joomla (with a side note about WordPress plugins). I've also included a few tips on finding the right extension to suit your needs.

Components

A component is the largest and most extensive type of extension. Components add main functionality to a site, they are accessible on the front end through a menu item and usually appear in the center of the main content area on certain pages. Popular components include forms, shopping carts, content managers, image galleries, blogs, etc. Components work directly with the database for the site by moving information back and forth and each component has two interfaces: one for the administrator and one for the front end user. There are many components available through the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) and many times a component will also come with modules and plugins that increase functionality. When looking through the JED, components are labeled with a “C”. The screenshot below is of the Hikashop listing in the JED, a popular shopping cart component. You can see that it is a component, but also comes with modules and plugins (indicated by the “M” and the “P”).

There are several very useful core components like Smart Search, Tags and Weblinks that come with your Joomla installation. These are accessible through the “Components” menu option in the administration area.

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Diagnosing & Fixing PHP Fatal Errors

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Imagine this horrible hypothetical situation: you’re deep in development mode making changes all over your site. You’re in the zone - nothing can stop you as you move about the options as fast as humanly possible. Your site is going to be a miracle, you’re a genius, ideas keep flowing through your head and you’re going to change the world. After making several changes, installing several extensions, posting multiple articles, you refresh the page to see the changes live only to cry out in pain and anger because your site suddenly looks something like this:

Or this:

Also known as the dreaded “500 Internal Server Error”.

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Upgrading from Joomla 3.1 to 3.2 - Problems & Workarounds

Many users are excited about using Joomla 3.2 with good reason - there are so many cool new features of Joomla 3.2 to experience. When using the automatic Joomla updater in the back end of your Joomla site, many users are performing the update, but experiencing the "white screen of death" afterward.

This is a problem in the new 3.2 release, not the CloudAccess.net hosting platform, but we've discovered a workaround that can help you resolve the issue. Watch the video below or read the step-by-step instructions with screenshots below and you'll be on you're way.

If you're using Joomla 3.1, you'll see that an automatic Joomla update is available when you log into the back end of your site. Click on the "Joomla! 3.2.0 Update Now" button.

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