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xcart-logo

(Originally published on 9/9/2014 – updated on 10/27/2014)

We’ve been churning out tutorials about how to integrate a Content Delivery Network into many CMS and e-commerce platforms. Next up is X-Cart. X-Cart is a powerful e-commerce platform that lets you sell your products and take payment quickly and easily. Like everything else, utilizing the power of a CDN can help X-Cart users to realize improved conversion rates, fewer shopping cart abandonments, and improved SEO rankings.

This is how to use a CDN (preferably our CDN) with your X-Cart installation.

Integrating a CDN with X-Cart assumes that you’ll use the default skin which is called “ideal_comfort.” Using another skin will require modification of the code to make it match the name of whatever skin you’re using.

This applies to X-Cart 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3:

Using your favorite text editor, open the X-Cart file “smarty.php.” This file is located within the root directory of your X-Cart installation.

Once there, locate these two lines:

$smarty->assign("ImagesDir",$xcart_web_dir.$smarty_skin_dir."/images");
$smarty->assign("SkinDir",$xcart_web_dir.$smarty_skin_dir);

Replace those two lines with the following:

// Total Server Solutions CDN Integration - XC-4.1.x,XC-4.2.x and XC-4.3.x
if ($_SERVER['HTTPS'] != 'on')
{
$smarty->assign("SkinDir","http://cdn.YOURDOMAIN.com/skin1");
$smarty->assign("ImagesDir","http://cdn.YOURDOMAIN.com/skin1/images");
}
else
{
$smarty->assign("SkinDir",$xcart_web_dir."/skin1");
$smarty->assign("ImagesDir",$xcart_web_dir."/skin1/images");
}
// END Total Server Solutions CDN Integration - XC-4.1.x,XC-4.2.x and XC-4.3.x

Next, open include/func/func.files.php with your text editor, then find this line:

global $config, $sql_tbl, $xcart_dir, $current_location;

Below this line, add the following:

// Total Server Solutions CDN Integration - XC-4.1.x,XC-4.2.x and XC-4.3.x
if (
$_SERVER['HTTPS'] != 'on'
) {
$current_location = 'http://cdn.YOURDOMAIN.com';
}
// END Total Server Solutions CDN Integration - XC-4.1.x,XC-4.2.x and XC-4.3.x

Substitute “cdn.yourdomain.com” with your specific CDN based URL. To verify that X-Cart is indeed using the CDN you specified, view the HTML source code of your site and look for that URL.

________________________________________


<br

This portion applies to versions 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6.

This section assumes that you have already setup your CDN service with us.  For more information, please see:

https://portal.my-tss.com/knowledgebase/434/How-to-set-up-CDN-services.html

If you’re going to use our CDN service with X-Cart, we have addon modules for you to use.  The modules were provided by our good friends over at cflsystems.com.  They make some pretty awesome plugins for X-Cart, you should check them out.  Onward to the instructions.

1.  To download these modules, you must login to your client portal at https://portal.my-tss.com, then go to the services section and select your CDN service.

2.  Click the download tab and download the module the corresponds to the version of X-Cart that you’re running.

3.  After you download the ZIP file and extract it on your computer, you will find two directories.  They’re named “_install” and “modules.”

4.  Upload the “modules” directory to the root of your X-Cart installation.

5.  The “_install” directory contains two files.  One is the sql file that you must run via phpMyAdmin (we can help you with this) or via the patch section of your cart.  The other file is named install.txt which contains instructions for the file changes you must make.

6.  Next, run the sql file from the “_install” directory into your database and make the necessary changes specified in the install.txt file.

7.  Enter the “Modules” section of your X-Cart control panel and activate the xCDN module.  Once it has been activated you
can enter the CDN hostname you created by following the instructions at:  https://portal.my-tss.com/knowledgebase/434/How-to-set-up-CDN-services.html

 

 


As before, be sure to check the HTML code on your site after you make this change to ensure that the CDN URL shows up.  Once that’s done, you’re good to go.

If you’ve got questions about this, we’d love to help.  Our team is highly experienced with X-Cart and can get you answers to virtually any question you can think of.  Please take a moment to get in touch.  While you’re at it, check out our CDN page to find the plan that best fits your needs.

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Magento is one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms around.  But, as with many things, speed can be compromised if your visitors need to access your store and it’s only present at a single location.  Once again, the CDN comes to the rescue!

What follows is a brief tutorial about how to integrate a CDN (preferably ours) into your Magento installation.  It’s fast, simple, and it gets results.

1.  Login to your Magento admin panel.

Magento Login

2.  Once you’re logged in as an admin, click on “System” then “Configuration.”  

Magento 2-System-Config

3.  You will now be in the System Configuration menu.  While you’re in there, click on “Web”, then “Unsecure.”  This will open up the configuration options that allow you to enter your CDN information.  Enter the URL that your CDN uses into the “Base Skin URL,” “Base Media URL,” and “Base JavaScript URL” fields and click “Save.”

Magento 3-enter-pull

That’s it!  You should now be ready to use the CDN with your Magento based e-commerce site.  To verify that you’ve got everything setup properly, you can simply view the HTML source code of your site.  Image links should be replaced with CDN URLs.

If you have any questions about getting CDN service with us, we’d love to help.  Either order directly from our site or get in touch with one of our knowledgeable technicians.  We’re always around and always ready to get the answers you need.

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Simply put, a CDN is a network that helps you deliver your content quickly, no matter where your customers are.  Social media providers, video sites, gaming sites, these are some of the types of sites that make extensive use of content delivery networks.  Their users are spread out and site owners need their content to reach their audience quickly, no matter where they’re at.  That’s where a CDN comes in.  Our CDN utilizes equipment distributed across the globe so that wherever your audience happens to be, they’re always close to your content.


CDN-TSS

A CDN Speeds Content Loading

As the amount of content required for your site to load increases, so does the load time.  If you’re not utilizing the power of a CDN to help server your content, you’re wasting time.  More importantly, you’re wasting the time of your viewers.  As load time increases, engagement decreases.  This is especially true of ecommerce transactions.  As the load times for your site or your shopping cart increase, cart abandonment and cancelled transaction rates soar.

The below shows an approximation of various site components and how load times decrease when content is served from our CDN rather from a single central server.  As you can see, there is a dramatic decrease in load time.  This leads to happier viewers, fewer abandoned carts, and more completed transactions!

 

loadtimegraph

 


No CDN?  Here’s what it looks like for your data.

If you’re not using a CDN, your viewers and customers are not getting what they want when they want it.  Let’s assume you have a customer in Oregon, USA but your data is in Atlanta, GA.

Your customer goes to your site to purchase something.  They begin viewing and then they wait…  You’ve got a complex site that is graphically intensive.  You’ve even got some video content that is loaded when a viewer looks at your site.

No-CDN

All that content takes time to load.  That’s time your customer could be spending adding products to their cart and buying.  Even though the data transfer is quick, it may not be quick enough to prevent the abandonment of a transaction.

 


A CDN is your secret weapon to improve speed & engagement!

If you’re using the a CDN your content loads MUCH faster.  Copies of your content are stored at nodes across the CDN so that where ever your viewers are, they’re close to one of our nodes, and close to your content.

The same customer is viewing your site.  This time though, you’re utilizing our CDN to help serve your data.  The same complex, content-heavy site is being passed through our CDN with data stored near your viewer.

Your viewer no longer has to connect to a server half way across the continent to get what they need.  Instead, they connect to a node that’s much closer to them.  The content they need is served quickly.

With-CDN-Map

Decreasing Load Times Increases Visitor Engagement

As your site load times decrease, the number of completed transactions, increases.  When load times decrease, engagement increases.


A good CDN has a globe-spanning footprint.

A good CDN needs to have nodes located around the world as well as across the street.  The whole goal with a CDN is to keep your content close to your viewers.  If you’re choosing a CDN, you should take into account how many nodes, and what locations are in place.  In the case of the Total Server Solutions CDN, we’ve got fully featured nodes distributed around the world.  Our goal is to keep your content where it needs to be.

Small-Global-Presence


Got questions?

If you’ve got questions about harnessing the power of our CDN to help speed up your site and keep your content flowing, get in touch!  We love to answer questions and we love building solutions to fit our customers.  Either chat with one of our technicians or contact our sales team and one of our experts will be in touch with you shortly.

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Our recent posts have centered on utilizing the power of a CDN to speed up your CMS.  This one is no different.  If you use a Drupal based site, there are tremendous speed gains to be had by leveraging the power of a Content Delivery Network, such as ours.  A CDN helps keep your content geographically close to your visitors.  It cuts down on load times and keeps your content flowing quickly while keeping your visitors happy.

If you use Drupal and want to use a CDN, this is the how to post you’ve been looking for…

1.  Login to the admin interface of your Drupal installation.  Usually located at http://domain.com/drupal/admin/

1-Admin-Page

2.  Select the Modules option from the menu at the top of your browser session.

2-Select-Modules

3.  Click “Install New Module.”

3-Install-New-Module

4.  Enter the following URL http://ftp.drupal.org/files/projects/cdn-7.x-2.6.tar.gz   into the “Install from URL” field.  Then click “Install.”  This will install the Drupal CDN module.  If you want more info about this module, please check out this page.  https://www.drupal.org/project/cdn

4-InstallFromURL

5.  Step 4 will install the CDN module.  If the module installs successfully, you will be presented with the following screen:

5-ModuleInstalled

6.  After the module is installed, you muse enable it.  To do so, go back into the “Modules” menu and scroll to the Performance and Scalability section of the page.  When there, click the box next to “CDN”  and then click “Save configuration” to enable the CDN module.

6-EnableCDNModule

7.  The next step involves configuring the CDN module which you installed.  Get back to the CDN module inside of the Modules menu.  Then click “Configure.”

7-clickConfigure

8.  Once in the configuration menu for the CDN module, you must set its status to Enabled.  You may leave the “Display Statistics” box unchecked if you wish.  After setting the status to Enabled, click “Save Configuration.”

8-Status-to-Enabled

9.  Next, click into the Details tab and make sure that “Origin Pull” is selected.  Next, in the CDN Mapping field, enter the URL to your CDN (i.e. http://cdn.domain.com) to specify what individual files or file types you wish to load into the CDN.  Using the pipe < | > character after your domain name followed by a list of file extensions separated by spaces will ensure that all files with the specified extension will be loaded into, and served from the CDN.  Then simply click “Save configuration” and you’re good to go!

9-OriginPull-FileTypes

That’s it!  Installing a CDN into Drupal is easy and straightforward.  

If you need more information on getting a CDN for your site, or if you have any questions, please contact our technical team.  We’ll be happy to help you find a solution that fits your needs.  Get in touch with us today!

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Your Joomla! site is working well.  But, you want to increase its speed and keep engagement with your visitors as high as possible.  What’s a quick, easy way to do it?  By using a CDN.  Our fully featured Content Delivery Network integrates seamlessly with Joomla!  To show you just how easy it is, we’ve created a brief tutorial to get you started.  This tutorial will show you how to install the NoNumber CDN for Joomla! extension.

1.  Login to your Joomla! Admin Panel.

JoomlaLogin - CDN

2.  Go to Extensions > Extension ManagerExtension-MGR-Select

3.  Once you’re in the Extension Manager, select Install from URL then copy this URL into the Install URL input field:  http://download.nonumber.nl/?ext=cdnforjoomla  Then click Install.

install-from-url - joomla

4.  Next click Manage from the left side of of your browser window.

manage-joomla

5.  When you get into the Extension Manager, simply enter “CDN” in the search field.  This will bring up the CDN extension you just installed.  Simply, check the box next to System – NoNumber CDN for Joomla!  And click Enable.  This will enable the extension.

enable

6.  Next, click Extension and then select Plugin Manager.  Then search for CDN and click name of the CDN plugin “System – NoNumber CDN for Joomla!”

plugin-manager

7.  The final step involves entering the CDN hostname given to you by your CDN provider.  Enter it in the CDN Domain text field, then click Save.  That’s it.  You’re good to go!

http-pull

Using the power of a CDN with your Joomla! site is a great way to increase performance.  You’ll also notice improvements in SEO.  One of the things that Google takes into account is speed, so the faster your site loads, the better.    

If you have any questions about using a CDN with your site, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our technicians.  We’re always here and we’re always ready to help!

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If you’ve got a busy WordPress based site you know that speed and responsiveness is key to keeping your visitors engaged.  More importantly, it’s key to keeping them coming back for more.  One of the best ways to do this is to leverage the power of a Content Delivery Network or CDN to help serve your content.  We’ve built a brief how-to that shows how easily you can integrate a CDN such as ours with your WordPress based site.  So, with the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get into how it’s done.

1.  Login to the admin section of your WordPress installation.  Normally, it’s located at:  http://www.yourdomain.com/wp/wp-admin/

WordPress Login - CDN

2.  Once you’ve logged into your admin interface, navigate to the Plugins page, and then click Add New.

2-WP-Plugin-Page

3.  After clicking Add New, the next step is to install the W3 Total Cache plugin.  Enter that into the search field and then click “Search Plugins.

3-InstallW3TotalCache

4.  Install the W3 Total Cache plugin by clicking “Install Now.

W3 Cache - Install Now

5.  After the plugin is installed, go back to your Plugins page and select “W3 Total Cache” from the list of available plugins and activate it.

Activate-W3 - CDN

6.  Once you’re in the W3 Total Cache plugin settings page, scroll down to the “CDN Content Delivery Network” section of the page.  Click the box to enable the CDN and set the CDN Type as “General Mirror.”

Enable CDN - W3

7.  Next, click the “Performance” page option in the WordPress dashboard to expand the options for the W3 Total Cache plugin.  This will reveal the “CDN” option.  Click that, which will take you to the CDN configuration options for the W3 plugin.  Once there, enter the CDN URL that was given to you by your CDN provider.

7-enter-CDN-hostname

8.  Save all your settings and you should be good to go.  

Integrating a CDN into your WordPress site will go a long way to improving performance and reducing content load times.  This short how-to helped show you how quick and easy it is but there are always questions and we love providing answers.  

If you have any questions about how a CDN works or how it can benefit your site, please take a moment to get in touch with our team.  We’d be happy to help configure a CDN solution to fit your needs.  While you’re at it, take a look at our CDN page for some more information about what we offer and how it can help you.

 

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If you run a website, especially an ecommerce site, you already know that HTTPS is important in keeping your transactions secure.  But, did you know that Google uses SEO as a signal inside their search algorithms to help determine rankings?

According to an article posted at Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, over the past several months, the search engine has been using the presence or absence of HTTPS (and SSL Certificates) as a signal within their search ranking algorithms.  Based on the results of these tests, it seems that Google has decided to begin using HTTPS as a low weight signal in their search rankings.

SSL/HTTPS is not weighted as heavily as high-quality content and, according to the article, it affects less than 1% of global queries at the moment.  But, over time, Google may decide to add weight to the HTTPS within their search algorithms.  If you do anything with SEO, you should know that Google makes periodic changes to the way their system works.  Over time, the use of HTTPS will more than likely start to figure in more heavily into your rankings and SEO efforts.

In the meantime, there are some basic steps to take if you’re not yet using HTTPS:

  • Determine the type of SSL Certificate you need.
  • Use SSL Certificates that utilize 2048 bit keys.
  • Start using relative URLs for resources on your site that are within the domain you’ve secured.
  • Use protocol relative URLs for other domains that you link to.
  • Make sure that HTTPS is not blocked from crawling in robots.txt
  • When possible, allow your pages to be indexed by search engines.

If you don’t yet have a SSL Certificate on your site and need some help, Total Server Solutions offers a complete range of SSL Certificates to fit every need.  

If you have questions, please get in touch, we’re here to help!

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Colocation facility provider, COLO@ (http://www.coloat.com), is proud to announce that bandwidth provider Cogent has chosen the COLO@ location in Dallas, TX to open a new POP. Dallas is one of the premier locations in which COLO@ operates colocation space, and the new Cogent POP will bolster an already diverse and robust bandwidth provider blend to customers in the Dallas market.

As a result of this new Cogent POP, COLO@ will be capable of offering even more options for connectivity between their locations throughout North America. This POP brings the available bandwidth from Cogent up to 10 Gbps of capacity. This underscores the fact that the Dallas market has seen significant growth in recent months. COLO@ wishes to stay ahead of the growth curve of their customers so that capacity is never an issue that limits growth. In addition to improving capacity for COLO@ customers, other customers in the facility in which COLO@ operates will gain access to the fast routes that Cogent provides.

Gary Simat, CEO of Total Server Solutions, parent company of COLO@ said, “The COLO@ engineering team is helping to lead the roll-out of several new Cogent POPs throughout the US. Cogent and COLO@ have a long, and far reaching relationship. Cogent trusts our leadership in this project, and we trust them. It’s a natural fit for Cogent to want to establish more presences in our facilities across North America.    They know we’re growing and they want to help us meet our goal of increasing capacity before our customers need it, while at the same time providing their own customer base with a greater range of location choice.”

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After operating within the Total Server Solutions brand for several years, the EWD Hosting website has been fully brought into the Total Server Solutions website.

EWD Hosting & Hands-On Web Hosting provided our ecommerce solutions and offered expert service in anything ecommerce.  

The same holds true, just that now the products and services are available under the TSS logo.  We’re still the best choice for ecommerce solutions including merchant accountsshopping cartsecommerce focused hosting solutions, and SSL certificates.  

Have a look at some of our new pages and you’ll see that we’ve added even more products and services to help make your experience with us the best it can be.

Hands-On Web Hosting is a brand that we have acquired within the past year who provided expert services in High Performance VPS hosting, ecommerce services, and cloud hosting.  

The fantastic technical team from Hands-On Web Hosting is already part of the Total Server Solutions family so we’ve already been busy sharing knowledge and expertise.  With both of these brands now firmly within Total Server Solutions, you’ve got access to a deep pool of talent and knowledge.

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A critical vulnerability was announced that affects SuperMicro’s baseboard management controller, more commonly known as IPMI.  This vulnerability allows attackers to gain all passwords for the controller functions in plain text.  Once passwords are determined, an attacker is able to connect to the vulnerable equipment as though he/she was sitting in front of it at a terminal.

If you are a dedicated server customer you don’t need to worry about this. We will take care of the job of upgrading the IPMI firmware for you. Be aware that your info was always safe since our IPMI is run on our internal network and this is not accessible from the outside world.

If you are a colocation customer and you utilize SuperMicro IPMI across a public internet connection, you need to secure your equipment immediately.  We have compiled a list of actions to help secure your IPMI controller:

  1. 1.  Reset all passwords in your IPMI controller
  2. 2.  Enable a firewall for all IPMI IP addresses to limit access exclusively to trusted IPs.  Better yet, move your IPMI access to a trusted, private network.
  3. 3.  Make certain that you are not utilizing your IPMI credentials anywhere else.  If you are, make sure to change login information on any other device which shares the credentials.
  4. 4.  Update your IPMI firmware to a known version that provides a fix for this vulnerability.  You can find a list of SuperMicro firmware versions here:  http://supermicro.com/support/bios/firmware0.aspx

Testing for this vulnerability is simple.  Simply do the following:

1.  Enter the following command from a shell:

telnet server.example.com 49152

2.  If a connection is established, you’ll see:

Trying 192.168.1.22...

Connected to server.example.com.

Escape character is '^]'.

3.  Enter the following command:

GET /PSBlock

4.  If you see anything like the following, your equipment is vulnerable and needs to be secured immediately:

=%}?

0adminADMIN**yourPlaintextPasswordHere**;TTroot**AnotherPassword**???%?v?i?o???DDD@??

This is an extremely critical vulnerability that must be patched as quickly as possible!  We cannot stress this fact enough!

If you need help performing any of the above listed countermeasures, please open a ticket with our technical team as soon as possible.  It’s our goal to keep your data and our network safe and secure.