August 15 2022

WordPress hostings are not all the same.

Let's see the case of this newspaper that has decided to change supplier by switching to a failed hosting.

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As we wrote earlier in this article citing a case from a former client, not all hosting are the same.

Very rarely it happens to see customers leave, however it happens, albeit infrequently, that ignorant customers (in the most etymological sense of the term, i.e. they ignore, i.e. they do not know) are recommended by people (even more ignorant) who, enjoying full confidence, recommend solutions on the basis of instinct or the good impression of a salesperson on duty, without worrying at all about the validity of the proposed solution and the validity of the company they will rely on.

As long as it's okay, and you make the right choice, being an idiot isn't a big deal, in fact it can be mistaken for a virtue. But when you make the wrong choice, idiocy has a cost to a lot of people that the idiot as such does not even have the knowledge of the facts.

While this might not be a problem for a local shop window site, it could be deleterious and decree the entrepreneurial bankruptcy of a newspaper which lives according to that now usual business model based on advertising revenues which are directly proportional to the number of visits.

A very clear concept should always be remembered, today being online actually means competing with other realities (in this case, tested online) regarding the contents and the goodness of them, as well as determining factors such as the user experience that today more than ever becomes a ranking factor and no longer a mere vanity metrics end in itself.

The user experience is now being evaluated by Google through the data Core Web Vitals CRUX type and not just Labs.

In short, it means that each browser based on the Chromium engine, or the engine developed by Google on which Chrome is based, will send data to Google for each page viewed in which the called technical parameters will be indicated Core Web Vitals, and among these also the page loading time.

It goes without saying that if a site is slow, visitors using Chrome will give Google these ratings and Google will understand that the site is slow.

At that point Google will have to decide whether to continue showing that content and that site, or whether to decide to prefer and position first, another competitor site that reports the same news but is much faster. Obviously the answer is obvious and the question rhetorical, because Google is interested in offering satisfactory user experiences and therefore the slower the site, the more likely it is (let's say certain) that the newspaper will lose traffic in an important way and therefore also visits, less banner impressions, less remuneration from advertising circuits and less monetization.

An unsustainable business model is that of online publishing below break even.

We must start from a fundamental concept in the world of online publishing, writing content has a cost, an editorial office has a cost (which is why many prefer to delegate remuneration to a single piece), and writing more articles a day is equivalent to buying more folders per day. game of bingo or tombola if you prefer.

Anyone who has to do with many online newspapers and blogs (we manage approximately a hundred of them), knows that not all articles produce the same traffic, for several factors:

  1. There are sites that deal with the topic better and are rewarded on the SERP
  2. There are sites that go viral first because they are relaunched by prominent people such as a politician (and this gives Google the check to keep it viral)
  3. There are sites that arrive before us, so for a few hours a small blog of some private blogger who writes a piece a week, will be ahead of nationally important newspapers.
  4. There are topics that are simply not of interest and therefore maybe we position ourselves first for whole days but we do 1000 visits a day.

From here it is easy to understand that an online magazine has to publish many pieces to find those two or three that are strong and allow not only to offset the costs of the other pieces that have not had enough readings to break even, but to produce a profit such as to cover the living costs of entrepreneurial activity as well as produce a more or less conspicuous profit for the publisher who remains in fact an entrepreneur.

Obviously, it is also necessary to evaluate the remuneration and the business model to be developed, each with its pros and cons, and very often a mix of the three main ones.

  1. Remuneration through Google AdSense Advertising Circuits : Normally it has a low RPM (Revenue per thousand), but it does not impact heavily with the user experience, limiting itself to loading display advertising banners and allows you to be quite calm according to the logic few but good and for a long time.
  2. Remuneration through advertising circuits alternative to Google AdSense : They tend to pay more and sometimes much more than Google Adsense, but in some cases some dealerships tend to be very intrusive, risking giving a bad user experience and seriously endangering long-term sustainability.
  3. The sale of Guest post : this is a rather profitable activity based on the authority of your site in which the writing of a piece can be sold for 50 - 100 euros and consists in fact in creating an advertorial with a follow exit link towards the client's site who pays to get a link from the site and then "push" the ranking. It goes without saying that a newspaper will never be able to live on guest posts, if not dosing them in a very parsimonious way within the editorial line. Moreover, Google does not like at all that a site starts to have many outgoing links, especially if they follow. It is not stupid and easily understands the reason and cause of outgoing links to sites that are just born and / or with a very low pagerank.
  4. Direct sale of banners without intermediaries : the classic example in which the newspaper that talks about Sardinia decides to sell advertising space to the car rental company to tourists visiting Sardinia. In this case, the banner is sold in what is a specific bargaining and which can significantly affect and bust the logic of the market. Let's assume that that banner in the Top Header position in the summer season is worth 1000 euros per month, compared to the winter season which is worth 200.

Regardless of how you want to think about it and mix the many options above, the goal does not change, to have a difference between turnover and costs that generates a profit. As long as the balance is strongly positive, positive, or slightly negative (for a short period), the publisher can push with the editorial line and its editorial staff and write many articles of which some will go negative, some will break even, others will go strong.

What happens when your site is slow and Google penalizes you or doesn't reward you?

When Google penalizes you or does not reward you, perhaps by not placing your articles in Google News, and by not making you appear on Discovery, or perhaps by making you appear on both, but less frequently and for fewer articles, it happens that the newspaper will begin to make fewer visits. . Let's say for example, one third less. That third less is not remunerated by Google (or by the alternative advertising circuit mentioned above) and therefore the publisher decides instead to publish 90 articles a day, to publish 60 to limit costs and always have a profit in relation to costs. .

It then happens in doing so, that in those 30 missing articles, perhaps the article on the candidacy of the former mayor councilor or the piece that talks about the worms found in a well-known pasta brand that would have been the trend of the moment and alone would have produced perhaps 250 thousand visits that at the “standard” cost of two euros for every 1000 impressions, would have brought in an amount of 500 euros.

If we consider that the average price of an online article is 5 euros, it means that those 500 euros would have given us the opportunity to write another 10 articles, of which maybe another 2 would have gone viral, bringing us another half a million visits, and allowing us to have earnings enough to set aside a portion of the income and reinvest the rest for writing new articles or other satellite activities such as positioning banners more effectively, hiring faster servers, SEO consultancy, PageSpeed ​​experts, and situations that if well structured lead the company to grow in traffic, value and RPM.

In short, if you do not have visibility, and your site does not make hundreds of thousands of visits a day, you will not have the resources to maintain an editorial office and pay the columnists, up to the point that dismissal after dismissal, you will be left alone to write articles on tested before you realize that in fact the game is not worth the candle and you have now stopped that "perpetual motion" made up of articles, visits, monetization, articles, visits, monetization, articles, visits monetization, in a slow continuous crescendo.

The specific case obviously censored.

For obvious reasons we cannot name and mention because there is always a professional approach even with the most itchy situations that we would really like to tell you in every single aspect, however it is sufficient to think that after two years and 3 months of WordPress hosting service offered to a newspaper journalistic, the publisher inspired by a personally run company that claims to advertise (in the customer portfolio there are no prominent names or admirable case studies) online and beyond, decides to change hosting provider.

There is. It is normal, lawful and correct to try to do better what up until then was done very well, considering, however, without too much modesty, but not without too much sensationalism that all the technical specifications of a server-side software stack, still allow us to serving customers like this you see with these numbers and this caliber, AMP traffic plus normal traffic, 85 million page views per month.

So it is easy to assume and understand that the new WordPress Hosting provider will certainly be better than ours and will certainly do better than us.

Therefore, we waited for the site to be migrated to first of all draw assessments, according to the "measure to decide" perspective, and subsequently also draw conclusions.

We therefore waited for the DNS switch to immediately notice by browsing it by normal users with the browser as any visitor would do that the site was extremely slow. A waiting time of several seconds before sending the resources and a user experience that was annoying and unnerving right from the start.

The same experience that became impossible with biblical waiting times if done by clicking on a link from Facebook.

We therefore assessed that the site was trivially loaded on a server with Plesk and which did not support many of the technical and technological features that distinguish our performance-oriented WordPress hosting service.

We therefore evaluated the navigation speed with Pingdom and compared in an honest differential analysis to the data in our possession measured with Pingdom of which we report below the obviously censored screenshots.

 

Site migrated Pingdom comparison before after

How can we see the site that previously opened in 1,02 seconds now takes 7,25 seconds. For correctness and transparency, although only one screenshot is reported, it must be said that while our hosting opened the site on multiple tests in a range of time ranging from 950ms up to 1,3 seconds, the new provider had a minimum value of 3,5 , 13 seconds up to a maximum value of 4, with an average frequency of no less than XNUMX seconds.

Let's also say that it is correct and peaceful to say without considering the worst cases, that at best the new supplier is FOUR TIMES LOWER than us.

There are those who argue that a home page, or rather a web page that weighs 5,5 megs, is an absolutely inadequate weight for a website and we can not help but agree with this observation, however it is good to focus on the fact that a regardless of the weight that did not change in the migration, remaining between 5.6 and 5.7 megabytes of total weight, the site previously loaded well SEVEN TIMES faster.

We are not talking about 10% or 20% more, values ​​that already justify the transition to a better and more competent supplier, but we are talking about a worsening of 700%.

We spoke to the technical contact to raise the issue.

We spoke by phone with the technical contact (plus looking through the Outlook correspondence, he was already a contact of ours since 2020) "the guy who deals with advertising" to talk about other opportunities for collaboration and we ended up talking about the bad job that was been done in terms of speed in switching to the new supplier, with a TTFB very high and an opening time of the site that even at 0:23 am of August (in which the server should be unloaded with no one connected) returns a 4,2 seconds SHAMEY TTFB to say the least.

A truly embarrassing value if measured with that of another customer of ours "Ilcorrieredellacitta.com" who mounts the exact same theme and has a TTFB of 0,169 seconds or 24,8 times lower, that is 24,8 times BETTER.

[root @ mail ~] # time curl -I https://www.laCENSURATO.it HTTP / 1.1 200 OK Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2022 22:22:58 GMT Content-Type: text / html; charset = UTF-8 Connection: keep-alive link: ; rel = shortlink vary: Accept-Encoding x-cache-status: MISS x-powered-by: PleskLin CF-Cache-Status: DYNAMIC Expect-CT: max-age = 604800, report-uri = "https: // report- uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct "Report-To: {" endpoints ": [{" url ":" https: \ / \ / a.nel.cloudflare.com \ / report \ / v3?s=523ix60ANRh931Z7AmsEGyyptL%2BkA2kmPbqgbjFRK%2BbJymfkn8EPXn 9kdJESMDxx1xcNO%2Br1VXG4TBP45rPN6Ti1zMwPuP01yMnAL9a%2FcRGLwXoDFridRIT%2BO8Go0347CjaxAuqc0tpAXCc%3D"}],"group":"cf-nel","max_age":604800} NEL: {"success_fraction":0,"report_to" : "cf-nel", "max_age": 604800} Server: cloudflare CF-RAY: 73ad17865d3ec2ac-VIE alt-svc: h3 = ": 443"; but = 86400, h3-29 = ": 443"; ma = 86400 real 0m4.269s user 0m0.037s sys 0m0.025s
[root @ mail ~] # time curl -I https://www.ilcorrieredellacitta.com HTTP / 1.1 200 OK Server: nginx Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2022 22:25:09 GMT Content-Type: text / html; charset = UTF-8 Connection: keep-alive Vary: Accept-Encoding Link: ; rel = "https://api.w.org/" Link: ; rel = "alternate"; type = "application / json" Link: ; rel = shortlink Last-Modified: Sun, 2 Aug 5 14:2022:22 GMT X-Cacheable: YES X-Varnish: 02 14 Age: 980407952 Via: 980393209 varnish X-Server: Managedserver.it Hosting X-Cache: HIT X -Hosting-By: managedserver.it - ​​Performance Managed Hosting real 1375m1.1s user 0m0.169s sys 0m0.040s

The fact is that having contacted him mentioning the problem and invited to check the speed values, he preferred to liquidate us by saying that it had taken 40 days to plan the migration, (I stress FORTY DAYS), and was in a hurry to go on vacation and didn't want to do the migration again to get back to the server where it was before.

To the communication of the upcoming SEO problems that would have occurred shortly after for the reasons listed above relating to Core Web Vitals and the speed of the website, invites us to address our "complaints" and directions to the publisher. The answer is obviously rather obvious and is the one that we cannot turn to the publisher as he is ignorant in the etymological sense of the term, that is an individual unable to deal with virtuosity on a technical level such as TTFB, Early Data, TCP BBR and various acronyms. which are complex to argue even among competent systems engineers.

This character who continues in the phone call defining himself as a salesman and not a technician, thinks well in order to discredit us that it is appropriate to contact the publisher to communicate that we have given him the ignorant decontextualizing him from the context and letting it be understood as a gratuitous insult, rather than a peaceful objective evaluation of the competences of the same.

The publisher learned of what was communicated as an insult, communicates to third parties in common that our company is insulting him, and of course the service reseller calls to find out what was happening since the publisher communicated to him. that we were insulting him when in fact none of our company spoke to the publisher at all, but only with his trusted contact (the advertising handyman who also wants to understand technology).

Obviously we contact the publisher, first of all to apologize for the misunderstanding and obviously to explain the context referring to the uselessness of talking about technicalities with a non-technical as we have done above.

We find a prejudiced, annoying person who in fact liquidates us in 10 seconds on the phone, not giving us even 1 minute to initiate a harmonious and peaceful speech that would have shed light on the story and had warned him of the nefarious and looming effects of this wicked choice, namely that of choosing a supplier who has transformed a fast site into an absolutely inadequate site to manage an online newspaper.

Obviously, I understand the problems of the publisher, as well as the singular story that professionally speaking from 2005 to today has no equal, one wonders if the publisher or his trusted person has the competence to understand at least spannometrically what the consequences may be that should be obvious even to any non-technical person, when you start with "the site is now SEVEN times slower".

In this regard we asked professional figures who populate Facebook groups such as Facts of SeoZoom, Web Developers Italia and the like, asking, by posting the screenshot of the pingdom test above in the differential analysis before and after, what could be the consequences of this slowness. Someone also wanted to hazard a guess as to what the causes may be, and this superpartes approach serves once again to understand and demonstrate how many improvised companies still operate out there without having the customer's business at heart, and the editorial staff who will soon be fired because the newspaper will no longer monetize sufficiently.

 

It was obviously easy to understand what the answers given by professionals were, for a professional, but it is good once again to have and show superpartes confirmations to show that we do not invent anything we approach them through lies as some Hosting companies do that do not have the decency and the moral ethics of not taking a customer if they fail to add value and improve a starting situation.

There are hosting companies out there (unfortunately) that have no respect for the customer and have no problem making entire businesses fail in order to sell one more server.

The most disconcerting thing of the whole story in this triptych of ignorant people is that no one seems to care about the fate of the newspaper, nor the publisher, a haughty character to understand that perhaps they are not doing their interest, nor the trusted character ( aka commercial advertising) that seems to have only an exclusive rush to go on vacation and not care about the damage done to which it is not remedying, nor the new hosting provider who is well disinterested in restoring or at least improving those values ​​shown above that suggest carelessness and absolute incompetence.

I am only very sorry for the editorial staff, the columnists and all those who will suffer the consequences of this bunch of improvised people who play at being entrepreneurs without any knowledge of the facts and even rejecting suggestions and warnings about what will happen if the current situation continues to persist.

Do you have doubts? Not sure where to start? Contact us


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