Promising Quantum Computing Algorithms May Soon Solve Unsolvable Problems

Lost to some extent in all the timely buzz and hubbub these days about 5G, Edge Computing and the like is the ongoing realization of quantum computing being put to work for the benefit of humanity. And considering what’s gone on so far in 2020, we could certainly use as much benefit as we can get right about now. We can go ahead and assume that most of you who’d be reading this blog have enough industry wherewithal to know what quantum computing is, but in case that’s not you we’ll go over that briefly before we proceed.

And proceed to what? Well, it would appear that quantum computing is going to be making a whole host of ‘beyond our abilities’ largest scale computing stumbling blocks much less of stumbling blocks for countries and societies that are trying to get the very most of out of technological advances to make life better for all of us. We’re like any Canadian web hosting provider here at 4GoodHosting in that we can relate to just how big a deal this can be.

But we promised a brief intro to quantum computing –

What is Quantum Computing?

Why don’t we go with old faithful and take a definition directly from Wikipedia – Quantum computing is the use of quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. By superpositioning Quantum bits, computer scientists are able to encode multiple values at the same time. For the last 40+ years they’ve only been able encode single values one by one, and this has hampered the speed with which certain equations can be put into use.

That’s a very brief and perfunctory look at it, but it will suffice for now.

To add a little more though, what computer scientists are looking to quantum computing to do is provide answers to the effective ways certain inapplicable solutions or equations can become applicable. Another relevant term here is constructive quantum interference, which is where quantum computers amplify certain signals over others to provide clues to as to finding these answers.

It’s been suggested that quantum computers may well have the ability to counter climate change, provide a cure for cancer, and provide solutions to civic and global issues of all sorts. While that’s wishful thinking and possible, it really remains to be seen whether or not those are realistic expectations.

The Promising Algorithms

Some of you many not even be aware of it, but it’s probably at least once or twice a day that you’re thwarted in your attempt to do something based on the failings of the device you’re asking to do it. Nine times out of 10 that has less to do with the device itself and more to do with the framework it’s working with. For example, in reference to the first algorithm we’re going to look at below – imagine being asked to find a listing in an unordered list that that’s not regulated from top to bottom by some sort of criteria. No alphabetical means of reference, no numerical – no nothing.

  1. Grover’s algorithm

That would be quite a task unless the list was only a short one of say 50 or less entries. Imagine it being a thousand plus entries, and you’re expected to find that one listing in less than a minute. Those are the types of demands that will be put on quantum computers if they’re to be trusted with very important tasks like – for example – the ‘smart’ traffic lights that are supposedly not far away and sound oh so good for everyone who hates how horrific traffic is in major cities.

Ok, enough about that and onto Grover’s algorithm.

We wish we could make a legit reference to Sesame Street here, but afraid not. This one is named after the man who developed it in 1196. What it does is finds the inverse of a function in O(√N) steps, and it can also be used to search an unordered list. It provides a quadratic speedup over classical methods, which need O(N) steps.

A lot of tech speak there for sure, but that’s the nature of what’s being discussed here.

Other applications include estimating the mean and median of a set of numbers, solving the collision problem, and reverse-engineering cryptographic hash functions. Because of the cryptographic application, researchers may recommend that the doubling of symmetric key lengths to protect against future quantum attacks.

  1. Shor’s algorithm

This one is also named after the creator, and what it does is it finds the prime factors of an integer. It runs in polynomial time in log(N), and that makes it so much speedier than any standard number field sieve. Public-key cryptography schemes, such as RSA, are not so isolated if there are quantum computers with a sufficient number of qubits and building based on Shor’s algorithm makes that more of a possibility.

However, whether quantum computers ever become big and reliable enough to run Shor’s algorithm successfully against the sort of large integers used in RSA encryption remains to be seen. If they do, then there would be some fallout in any industry relying on crypto-encryption like banking as it would put those powers in the hands of those who’d use it for illicit aims too.

Much of this has been put to trial with the Quantum Learning Machine, which behaves as though it has 30 to 40 qubits. The hardware/software package includes a quantum assembly programming language and a Python-based high-level hybrid language. A few national labs and technical universities are using it, and it’s been quite a success at giving looks into how this all might work.

Google, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM All in on This

Google AI is focusing its research on superconducting qubits with chip-based scalable architecture targeting two-qubit gate error to build a framework capable of implementing a quantum neural network on near-term processors, and on quantum supremacy. Two years ago there was a whole lot of fanfare around it’s introduction of the Bristlecone superconducting chip, and it’s likely we haven’t the last of it.

IBM has given us its Q systems, and is offering three ways to access its quantum computers and quantum simulators, and late last year (2019) they debuted an new generation of IBM Q system sporting a full 53 qubits at the IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York.

Intel’s contribution to all of this is has been Tangle Lake, a superconducting quantum processor that incorporates 49 qubits in a package that is capable of scaling upward from 17 qubits in its predecessor.

And of course, Microsoft is in on the action too, as they’ve been researching the development and application of quantum computing since before the turn on the last century. Between their Q# programming language and their QDK kit, it’s not long before quantum computers will be available as co-processors in the Azure cloud.

And if you’re wondering, here’s 10 areas where Quantum Computing may be making life better for humans:

  • Cybersecurity
  • More accurate and practical AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Weather Forecasting and Mitigating Climate Change
  • Drug Development
  • Financial Modeling
  • Better Batteries
  • Cleaner Fertilization
  • Traffic Optimization
  • Solar Capture
  • Electronic Materials Discovery

It’s all genuinely quite exciting, so we don’t know about you but we’ll be keeping an eye on all this in a big way.

Tips for Making Siri More Useful When Working From Home

In the middle of march when all the international craziness of COVID started it’s very likely that most of the people who then started working from home didn’t expect that arrangement to last long. But here we are nearly 6 months later and a good many of those folks are still working from home. The truth is that those of us who have professions that allow us to be working remotely are fortunate to be able to do so, and then of course it’s a good time to say how important many people who haven’t been able to have been to the continuing of a functioning society and economy.

One of the things that us here at 4Goodhosting have as a Canadian web hosting provider is that many of the people who choose us to host their websites will be among those who haven’t seen the office in many months. Now we’ll go ahead and assume you’re fairly good with adapting and finding new ways to maintain your productivity and satisfaction with new working arrangements, but surely you’re open to any suggestion that makes any aspect of that better.

We’re living in the digital world, and among the many technological advances that have come with that is the virtual assistant. Whether yours is named Siri or Alexa is dependent on whether you’re an iOS or Android person, and whatever preference you have is fine as both are pretty darn good in the big picture of things.

Today though what we’re going to do is deliver for iOS users who like to get the most with workday productivity via their iPhones, iPads, or Macs, and so here are a number of ways you can get more out of Siri as you go about that workday. It’s a good topic because if you’re an iOS device owner who still hasn’t figured out everything your super device is capable of, well – join the club!

Opening Apps

Couldn’t be any easier to open any application on any Apple platform that supports Siri. All you need to do is ask her to ‘Open [app name].’ It is that simple.

Send Messages, Texts or Emails

It’s possible to ask Siri to send an email to a named person, provided they are listed among your contacts. All that’s required is to say ‘Send an email to [person] saying – add your message – “ Texts can be sent too. Just say, ‘Send a text….’

It’s also possible to send short messages the same way; just replace the word ‘email’ with ‘message.’ Siri will inform you if you have new emails and read the name and subject line for you too if preferred, but we’ve read that many people find that takes more time than finding this information manually.

The last thing is that if you’ve paired your Mac with your iPhone, you can also get Siri to make a call via your Mac.

Identify a Caller

Siri is also capable of telling you who is calling if they are included within your iPhone’s Contacts. Again, super simple – Set this up in Settings>Phone>Announce Calls.

FaceTime Calling or Scheduling Zoom Meetings

Tell Siri to start a FaceTime call with (name of the person). You can also request that Siri ‘schedule a Zoom meeting on Friday at 3pm with [name].’

Take a Note

It’s true that many people don’t make much use of Notes, but if you do then Siri will let you open and create a new Note. All that’s needed is to say ‘Create a note that says….’ Some people find this to be a very useful tool when trying to stay focused on work with one application while making a note of an idea or something you’ve remembered quickly and easily.

Organize Meetings

You can ‘Add a meeting’ on a dedicated day or schedule a meeting for a certain date and time and in the same instruction tell Siri to inform contacts about the proposed meeting. Simple say ‘Add a meeting Tuesday at 4 and tell [name] and [name].’ As long as the named parties are in your Contacts, Siri will proceed to message them and inform of the meeting.

Manage Meetings

Take advantage of Siri’s meeting management tools to stay on top of your day-to-day, asking questions like ‘When is my next meeting?’ or ‘When is my meeting next Monday?’ Provided the information has been entered into your device’s calendar, Siri will happily let you know.

Siri can also help you reschedule a meeting. Just say ‘Move my 11AM meeting to 12.30PM’ for example.

Getting Correct Times

Some professionals hold meetings across time zones, and Siri has the entirety of international time zones and the correct time in every place on earth ready to go. Want to know the time in Moscow? Ask Siri. How about Samoa? Siri knows that too. You can quickly and easily find out what the time is anywhere by asking Siri ‘what time is it in [location]?’ and Siri will have that for you in seconds.

Siri can also convert currency, figure out %s and complete almost any calculation for you.

Remembering Passwords

If you’re like us and have a devil of a time remembering passwords on your own then the way Siri can take care of that for you is pretty darn great. You can open System Preferences/Settings just by asking Siri to do this for you. You can also ask Siri to access your passwords by saying, for example, ‘Hey Siri, show my enterprise VPN password.’ You’ll need to authorize that it is you asking of course (good thing), but after that you’ll be presented with what you need.

Dictations

With any app on an iPhone or iPad, you can have Siri write out what you’re saying by just tapping the microphone icon on your keyboard and asking Siri to dictate for you.

Siri’s Talents for Mac

Siri is capable of opening Mission Control, searching for stuff on your Mac, opening named items, opening System Preferences, or showing you specified documents and images. Plus she can provide you with useful system information, like how much memory you’ve got to work with on the device. Ask pretty much anything related to your MacBook or iMac and ye shall receive.

5G Download Speed in Canada Is 2nd Best in World

We’ve all heard so much fanfare, excitement, and anticipation about the arrival of 5G network technology and what we can expect once it’s the new normal. There’s been some trepidation about it too, and most notably in who we’ll allow to build the 5G network in Canada. We’re going to steer well clear of that topic of discussion, but what we will do is have a look at a recent survey that found that 5G downloads in Canada are fairly darn speedy in comparison to elsewhere.

Here at 4GoodHosting, that’s going to be quite promising for any good Canadian web hosting provider that has a fairly inherent understanding of all the potential that’s going to come with 5G and how pleasing it’s going to be to enjoy it with open-throttle operating speeds. However, the one thing that’s likely the most promising is probably the one aspect people are least enthusiastic about – the IoT (Internet of Things for anyone not familiar with the acronym)

So back to the topic, what went into this determination, and what does all this suggest in the big picture once the rollout of 5G Networks is complete?

All About the Signal

We’ve been told all sorts of what 5G wireless technology may become, but not what it is exactly. Unless you’re a mega tech-savvy person, there might a need to start from the start. 5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, and it’s promising to offer connections that are much, much faster and reliable than what was offered with previous mobile technology.

You may not be familiar with what 1 Full gigabyte of download speeds entails, but trust us when we say it’s fast and a LOT faster than what most of us have enjoyed as a standard on 4G. And the good news being that 1Gbps (or darn close to it) speeds are set to become the new standard.

Provided, that is, that you’re running on a good strong signal.

What a 5G network is able to offer will depend in large part on what signal your 5G is running on, and there are three categories of signal bands. You’ll be working with either high-band, mid-band, or low-band signal bands. And before you jump to conclusions about low-band signal bands, you might want to know that they’re better for penetrating walls, which makes them a better choice for condos, basement suites and the like.

Considering how many Canadians in major metro areas live in these type of homes that’s going to be a good thing. We can imagine the sale of Wi-Fi expanders to people who get home to find they do little if anything is going to go down considerably.

Mid-band works is ideal for connectivity in the city, but not in the country. High-band is impressively fast, but it can be unreliable and especially when you’re indoors and have other local factors that are also affecting the signal.

And even while 5G technology is being trumpeted in the most favourable of lights pretty much all over the place, the technology does have its detractors. An entry in the Scientific American journal last year highlighted how more than 240 scientists signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal and expressed their concern about nonionizing radiation attributable to 5G.

5G will use millimeter waves plus microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies from 2G all the way through the current 4G. The issue with 5G in this way is that it will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 metres or so, and that’s going to ramp up radiation in a big way. 5G also employs new technologies which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures.

The most well known of these are active antennas capable of beam-forming phased arrays, and massive multiple inputs and outputs, or MIMO as they’re called.

While that’s a very legit concern, however, the old expression ‘you can’t stop progress’ probably really applies here. The potential for good (at least in as far as determining that by what people want) outweighs the potential for bad – at least in the court of public opinion.

Pretty Darn Speedy

Alright, enough about relevant related and background information. People who read the title almost certainly want to know more about Canada coming in second for 5G network speeds.

It’s true, as a company that tests the performance of mobile networks recently analyzed users’ real-world 5G experiences in 10+ different countries to determine who’s enjoying the best 5G network speeds.

Taken into evaluation were users’ average 5G and 4G download speeds measured through various mobile operators, while also weighing time spent on connecting to each generation of wireless technology.

So we’ve already established Canada having the Second fastest 5G network speeds on the planet, but by this point you’re probably thinking when are they going to say who got top spot?

Any guesses?

KSA #1

We’re going to go ahead an imagine none of you envisioned the correct answer being Saudi Arabia here, but it’s true. Right there smack dab in the Middle of the Middle East they were enjoying 144.5Mbps (mega bits per second). Even if that’s the furthest thing from being within your comprehension abilities, trust us when we say that’s pretty much screaming fast.

And with Canada coming second, the truth is that we came in a distant second. Canada did come second with 90.4Mbps, but the different but that’s a difference of nearly 55Mbps and that pretty much makes it qualify as a distant second.

Now we DO imagine that a lot of you would have guessed South Korea based on the fact it’s regarded as the most wired country in the World AND they have the highest adoption rates for 5G networks so far. They did come in the top 5, but what’s also surprising is that the country that came in with the worst score (32.6Mbps) wasn’t a developing country or anything of the like.

It was the UK!

However, the study did find that if they were only examining 5G speeds rather than both 5G and 4G, South Korea moved ahead into second place at 312.7 Mbps and the Saudis retained the top spot with 414.2 Mbps. We Canadians slid back to 5th spot at 178.1 Mbps, trailing Australia (215.7 Mbps) and Taiwan (210.2 Mbps).

And to continue with our trend of surprises here, it was actually the USA that came dead last when looking at 5G speeds exclusively. 50.9 Mbps.

Keep in mind though that these less-than-impressive 5G download speeds in the U.S. are due to a combination of the limited amount of new mid-band 5G spectrum that is available and the continuing popularity of low-band spectrum and its excellent availability and reach but lower average speeds than the 3.5GHz mid-band spectrum used as the main 5G band in every country outside of the U.S.

6 Best Practices for Quickly Scaling Apps to Meet Demand

It’s been said that you can never predict what the future hold, and in the same way you also can’t predict what the future will hold for you. And perhaps we can also agree that you’re going to be equally uncertain as to what the future will demand of you. It’s likely that there’s no better sphere for this reality to be put on display than the digital one, and one corner of that world where it’s ever so true it with applications.

Some apps make quite a splash upon introduction, while others sink like a stone. The majority of them fall somewhere in between, but for those that splash it’s not uncommon to see the demand for your app exceed even your expectations. That’s the rosy part of it all, and the app developer will be just basking in their success and relishing the demand.

When the demand is more related to what the app’s users – particularly if they’re paying ones – expect of it, however, that’s when the receptiveness is often mixed with some degree of ‘how am I going to go accommodate these demands?’

Now here at 4GoodHosting we’re well established as quality Canadian web hosting provider, but we’re the furthest thing from web app developers and that’s probably a good thing considering our expertise is in what we do and a developer’s expertise is in what they do. That’s as it should be, but one thing we do know is that everyone is going to be all ears when it comes to learning what they can do better to be better at what they do.

Which leads us to today’s topic – what are the best ways for scaling apps rapidly when a developer simply doesn’t have the time he or she’d like to accommodate demand that expects expanded capabilities now.

We’ll preface here by saying we’ve taken this entirely from SMES (subject matter experts if you’re not familiar with the acronym) who are on top of everything related to the world of app development, but we can say it checks out as legitimately good information.

Pandemic Spiking Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic continues on, and many companies in e-commerce, logistics, online learning, food delivery, online business collaboration, and other sectors are seeing big time spikes in demand for their products and services. Many of these companies are seeing evolving usage patterns caused by shelter-in-place and lockdown orders creating surges in business and specifically in demand for their products.

These surges have pushed many an application to its limits, and what that’s often doing is potentially resulting in frustrating outages and delays for customers. So how do you best and most effectively accommodate application loads?

What’s needed is the best, quickest, and most cost-effective way to increase the performance and scalability of applications as a means of offering a satisfactory customer experience, but not assuming excessive costs in doing so.

Here are 6 of the best ways to do that:

Tip 1: Understand the full challenge

Addressing only part of the problem is almost certainly not going to be sufficient to remedy these new shortcomings. Be sure to consider all of the following.

  • Technical issues– Application performance under load (and how end users experience it) is determined by the interplay between latency and concurrency. Latency is the time required for a specific operation, or more simply how long it takes for a website to respond to a user request.
  • Concurrency – the number of simultaneous requests a system can handle is its concurrency. When concurrency is not scalable, a significant increase in demand can cause an increase in latency because the system is unable to respond to all requests as quickly as they are received. A poor customer experience is what’s usually the outcome here, as response times increase exponentially and look bad on your app. So while ensuring low latency for a single request may be essential, it may not solve the challenge created by surging concurrency on its own and you need to be aware of this and make the right moves to counter.

It’s imperative that you find a way to scale the number of concurrent users while simultaneously maintaining the required response time. It’s equally true that applications must be able to scale seamlessly across hybrid environments, and often ones that span multiple cloud providers and on-premises servers.

  • Timing– Fully grown strategies take years to implement, like when you’re rebuilding an application from scratch, and they aren’t helpful for addressing immediate needs. The solution you adopt should enable you to begin scaling in weeks or months.
  • Cost– Budget restrictions are a reality for nearly every team dealing with these issues, so a strategy that minimizes upfront investments and minimizes increased operational costs is going to be immeasurably beneficial and it’s something you need to have in place before you get into the nitty gritty of what you expanded scaling is going to involve.

Tip 2: Planning both short and long term

So even as you’re smack dab in the middle of addressing the challenge of increasing concurrency while keeping latency in check, it’s never a good idea to rush into a short-term fix that may lead to a dead end due to the haste with which it was incorporated. If a complete redesign of the application isn’t planned or feasible, then you should adopt a strategy that will enable the existing infrastructure to scale to whatever extent it’s needed.

Tip 3: Choose the right technology

The proven consensus for the most cost-effective way to rapidly scale up system concurrency is with Open source in-memory computing solutions that can still maintain or even improve latency. Apache Ignite, for example, is a distributed in-memory computing solution which is deployed on a cluster of commodity servers. It consolidates CPUs and RAM of the cluster and distributes data and compute to the individual nodes. Whether deployed on-premises or in a public or private cloud or hybrid environment, Ignite can be deployed as an in-memory data grid (IMDG) stuffed between existing application and data layers and requiring no major modifications to either component. Ignite also supports ANSI-99 SQL and ACID transactions.

Relevant data from the database is cached in the RAM of this newfound cluster when an Apache Ignite in-memory data grid is in place. It is then available for processing that’s free of the delays caused by normal reads and writes to a disk-based data store. The Ignite IMDG uses a MapReduce approach and runs application code on the cluster nodes to execute massively parallel processing (MPP) across the cluster with minimal data movement across the network. Between in-memory data caching, sending computes to the cluster nodes, and MPP dramatically increases concurrency and reduces latency, you get an up to 1000 times increase in application performance compared to applications built on a disk-based database.

By adding new nodes the distributed architecture of Ignite makes it possible to increase the compute power and RAM of the cluster, and it’s also now able to automatically detect the additional nodes and redistributes data across all nodes in the cluster. This means optimal use of the combined CPU and RAM and you also now have massive scalability to support rapid growth.

We only have so much space to work with here, but a Digital Integration Hub (DIH) and Hybrid transactional/analytical processing (HTAP) get honourable mentions here as other really smart choices for scaling up apps. Look into them too.

Tip 4: Open Source Stacks – Consider Them

You need to identify which other proven open-source solutions make the grade for allowing you to create a cost-effective, rapidly scalable infrastructure, and here are 3 of the best:

Apache Kafka or Apache Flink for building real-time data pipelines for delivering data from streaming sources, such as stock quotes or IoT devices, into the Apache Ignite in-memory data grid.

Kubernetes for automating the deployment and management of applications previously containerized in Docker or other container solutions. Putting applications in containers and automating the management of them is becoming a norm for successfully building real-time, end-to-end business processes in our newdistributed, hybrid, multi-cloud world.

Apache Spark for taking large amounts of date and processing and analyzing it efficiently. Spark takes advantage of the Ignite in-memory computing platform to more effectively train machine learning models using the huge amounts of data being ingested via a Kafka or Flink streaming pipeline.

Tip 5: Build, Deploy, and Maintain Correctly

The need to deploy these solutions in an accelerated timeframe is clear, and the consequences of delays being very serious is usually a standard scenario too. For both reason it is necessary to make a realistic assessment of the in-house resources that are available for the project. If you and your team are lacking in either regard then you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with 3rd-party experts. You can easily obtain support for all these open source solutions on a contract basis, making it possible to gain the required expertise without the cost and time required to expand your in-house team.

Tip 6: Keep Learning More

There are plenty of online resources available to help you get up to speed on the potential of these technologies and garner strategies that fit your organization and what is being demanded of you. Start by exploring whether your goal is to ensure an optimal customer experience in the face of surging business activity, or whether it’s to start planning for growth in a (hopefully) coming economic recovery. And determine whether or not either aim is going to involve an open source infrastructure stack powered by in-memory computing being your cost-effective path to combining unprecedented speed with scalability that’s both not limited by constraints and can be rolled out without taxing you and your people too much.

COVID Lockdowns Putting Strain on Broadband Infrastructure Around the Globe

Safe to say there won’t be anyone who’s even slightly enamoured with all the different fallouts from the Global Pandemic, and if your discontent is particularly strong then you had best buckle down as projections of the 2nd wave arriving imminently are looking to be pretty darn accurate (at least here in Vancouver where the general disregard to protocols is pretty much absolute in public). One wrinkle in all of this – albeit a pretty big wrinkle – is we’re leaning on the World Wide Web more heavily than ever before it seems.

This was especially in the early spring when the stay-at-home messaging was still being well received, and people were either online working or keeping themselves entertained indoors. Since then the nature of demand has shifted, but we’re not sufficiently in the know regarding all of this to say exactly how it’s all worked. But the long and short of it is that collectively we’re putting demand strains on Broadband infrastructure like never before, and in a lot of ways it’s buckling under the weight of these demands.

We’re like any quality Canadian web hosting provider here at 4GoodHosting in that we’re likely more up front when it comes to having this be readily apparent. We know from extensive 2nd hand experience how much people get up in arms over the struggles that come with a lack of bandwidth and the nature of what we do (and know accordingly) makes us all to aware of how big a problem this has the potential to become. Particularly with the imminently ubiquitous nature of 5G network use around the globe.

All this said, let’s use today’s blog to have a more detailed look at this ‘constriction’ and the significance of it.

Only So Much Width to the Tube

Not the most natural of analogies for this phenomenon, but bear with us. So there’s been a map recently created in Australia, and while we’re not able to show the map due to copyright restrictions it’s quite telling. Its been referred to as a ‘global internet pressure’ map and what it does is show the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic is putting constrictions on internet services around the world.

Now as you might guess, the #1 cause of such bandwidth-intense activity is high definition (HD) video streaming and online gaming, and it’s true these are among the leading causes of contribution to the congestion. No matter how you might it wish it were otherwise, more and more people either working from home or lounging at home means much more in the way of big bandwidth appetites.

So here’s where we get our tube analogy from. The workings of this is not that much functionally different from a very large group of overweight children trying to make their way through a crowded subway tunnel. The streaming video or video upload during teleconferencing is made up of packets of information that can be far from small depending on what’s contained within them. When too many of these packets are trying to make their way down copper and fiber-optic cables across vast distances it’s inevitable that some aren’t going to arrive when they’re expected to.

Internet Use Through Lockdowns

Researchers have been looking at how each nation’s internet was performing from the time people started to stay at home and use it for both work and home-based entertainment through until now. Also tracked were changes in internet latency that emerged between March 12 to 13, which coincided with several countries — including France, Spain and Italy — beginning enforcement of government-imposed lockdowns aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

There was a point made to differentiate between the first days of the lockdown period and the baseline period in early February, and then finding a median starting point for legit internet pressure, where marked latency or speed, issues started to affect millions of internet users across certain regions. They then made a point to look at those a collective whole, but that information is more subjective to readers who’ll have a look at the map.

The long and short of it is this – current Internet bandwidth infrastructure is sufficient only at the very best of times, and even without a global pandemic we’re very likely nearing the end of the realistic and practical working life of the existing infrastructure as it is. Without major investments in upgrades all the ‘progress’ we’ve prided ourselves in being able to offer one another is about to hit some serious snags.

3 – 7% – Much Bigger Numbers in Reality

The values for increased usage may seem relatively small – like the 3 to 7 percent that is fairly standard for many specific regions indicated – but it’s actually quite a jump that is far from normal and it’s a difference that indicates that many users are quite likely experiencing bandwidth congestion.

What has been seen in his is the highest levels of pressure on internet networks is in countries like Italy, Spain, Sweden, Iran and Malaysia. That’s not to suggest residents in other countries aren’t experiencing the same difficulties, it’s just that they’re not on the leaderboard yet.

Now, yes there’s been all sorts of jokes about fully grown men spending long stretches of days playing online games. As funny and somewhat pathetically accurate as the truth of that might be, it’s not just men playing a whole lot of online games and eating up plenty of bandwidth while they slay dragons or whatever it is they do.

However, it turns out that entertainment streaming is a whole lot more gluttonously consumptive when it available bandwidth. Verizon reporting a 75 percent increase in gaming traffic during peak hours is among many different stats and observed behaviours that bear this out.

The More To It

It might then seem to be a legit default conclusion that gaming is the primary source of the increase in internet use. However, that’s not entirely true. The overall bandwidth used by the medium pales in comparison to that of others and a study comparing how much bandwidth gaming consumed compared to online video streaming services found that gamers consumed an average of only 300 megabytes per hour.

In comparison, HD content streamers consumed 3,000 megabytes per hour, and that jumped up to 7K per hour when it’s 4K video. While it’s true streaming companies are trying to limit bandwidth use, there’s really only so much that can be done in that regard and who’s going to give up Netflix n’ Chill, right?

There are some helpful efforts being made though. A number of video streaming companies are now implementing measures to decrease their bandwidth use. Streaming giant Netflix recently stated that they would work to reduce traffic on networks by around 25%.

Baby steps, but progress needs to start somewhere if collectively we’re going to have the infrastructure in place to handle our ever-growing insatiable thirst for Internet-based whatever-it-is we can’t go without at any given time.

If you’d like to see this map, you can click here.

Steering Clear of New-Found Risks Related to Adware

There are a lot of people who’ve decried the way the Internet has gone from being a genuine open-source information and content resource to by and large a massive, seething marketing tool. That’s a fair enough complaint, but if you’re making it you had better by an average joe and not someone with business (or income) interests in it serving that purpose. Truth is it was going to happen one way or another anyways, and so we’re all well advised to get used to it.

The explosion of advertising that has come with that and assaulted your screen at every opportunity is something you need to tolerate, but with it has come the concurrent explosion of adware that can do all sorts of nefarious things to your web-browsing devices without you being aware of it. These web security threats tend not to rest on their laurels, and these days we’re seeing the threats related to Adware morphing into different and more sneaky forms.

Now of course here at 4GoodHosting, our being a premier Canadian web hosting provider has us fairly front and center for watching all of this transpire in the same way it would be for anyone working in the industry. All of this does beg the question what exactly are the interests of those who put time and effort into building and deploying this adware, but that’s a whole different discussion.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand – There are both emerging and expanding problems related to Adware these days, and keeping yourself insulated from them requires more than it used to. So let’s have a look at all of that today and hopefully put you more in the know about what you need to do to stay safe from them.

Adware – What is It Exactly?

Adware is lurking-in-the-background software that works to display ads on computers and mobile devices. At times it’s referred to as an adware virus or a potentially unwanted program (PUP) and nearly all the time they’re installed without a user okaying any such ad. Adware is quite the troublemaker – it interferes with browsing experiences, displays excessive amounts of unwelcome pop-ups, banners, text link ads, and even sometimes auto-plays video commercials that have absolutely no business being wherever it is you are on the Web

And to what aim you ask? Well, the goal of any adware is income generation for its creator by displaying all those excessive ads. With that basic understanding I place, we can now look at different types of adware. There are two main types, and they’re differentiated based on their ‘penetration’ method:

With Type 1, the adware infiltrates the device by the means of freeware, while Type 2 breaks in via exposure to infected websites. The reason this sketchy behaviour occurs is because the developers want to fund the development and distribution of these free programs by monetize them with adding ‘additional’ programs to the installation files. The type of adware that usually comes hidden in free software usually isn’t the malicious type, but it sure can be annoying.

Not the Same as Spyware

Adware should not be confused with spyware. For starters, Spyware represents a separate program but it still gets downloaded without user knowledge. Spyware tracks user’s browsing actions on the Internet to display targeted advertisements and with this comes collection of different information about users exposed to it.

Infected website adware is often associated with web browser hijacking when users visit an infected website loaded with malicious scripts that promote unauthorized adware installation. Once an infected user browses those sites they are actively shown ads on an ongoing basis. They might think this is just the ‘way it is’ but in reality the ads are being shown as a result of the adware activity that was installed on the device.

Adware Red Flags

It’s good to be in the know about signs that may indicate your web browsing device has been infected with adware. Here’s some of the more common ones:

Below are several signs that indicate adware is installed:

  • A web browser’s home page has been changed without user’s permission
  • Advertisements appear where they ordinarily would not
  • Websites start redirecting you to unanticipated pages
  • Web page layouts are displayed in a different way each time users visit the web page
  • Web browsers are inexplicably slow and may also malfunction
  • Unwanted programs being installed automatically
  • New plugins, toolbars, or extensions appear without user consent
  • PC resource consumption (CPU usage for example) is unsteady and jumps without any reasonable explanation

The Extent of Risk from Adware

It is true that most adware pieces are more of an annoyance than a legit danger. Annoying activities include text ads, banners, and pop-ups that appear inside the browser window while users dig for information. You may also have random pages or bookmarks open unexpectedly or see strange malfunctions occurring with the device.

But there also more serious and legit threat issues when adware collects the user’s data. This usually involves the developer trying to sell the user’s ad profile along with browsing history and included IP address, performed searches, and visited websites. As you imagine, no good is going to come of that.

Preventing Adware from Infecting Devices

The best and most direct way to prevent adware is to exercise caution when visiting web sites that look suspicious. Be wary of downloading free software and download all programs only from trusted sources. While downloading freeware, the installation wizard may display small pre-checked checkboxes that indicate your agreeing to installation of additional ‘bundled’ software.

Another good general suggestion is to not click any ads, alerts, or notifications when browsing the Internet. The old ‘Your PC is infected with serious viruses, and this n antivirus scan is strongly recommended’ is a classic ploy here. A lot of people fall victim to this cunning deception and then install adware without any idea that’s what they’ve done.

Also ensure that your operating system and other software are regularly updated. Non-updated software is vulnerable to many types of hacker attacks with malware exploiting their security holes.

Certain security settings available on Windows, Apple, and other devices can be enabled to protect users from inadvertently downloading adware. Configuring a web browser to block all pop-ups is a good start. It is also particularly important to carefully check each file that gets download from the Internet and the best (see not free) antiviruses will also provide real-time web protection.

Removing Adware

Unless you’re a webmaster wizard or anything else of the sort, the recommendation here is going to be to use special antimalware solutions like Malwarebytes to get rid of Adware that’s taken up residence inside your device. And then be much more wary of these threats in the future and be smarter about what you can do to avoid exposure to them.

Getting to Know the Next Big aaS – Container As a Service

If you’re a layperson like most and haven’t heard of Kubernetes, or container orchestration systems in the bigger picture of things, then your unawareness is excusable. If you’re a web developer and you haven’t heard of either, however, you almost certainly have been living under a rock as the expression goes. These days the digital world is doing everything on the grandest of scales, and with that size of operations comes the need to be able to consolidate and store data and everything else that makes that world tick as much as it needs to tick.

Now even most of the most ordinary of you will have heard of SaaS – Software as a service – and it’s likely a good many are even taking advantage of it at this very time. One of the most common instances is how, for example, you’re paying a monthly fee to enjoy the Microsoft Office suite on your desktop or notebook rather than having had to fork over big bucks all at once for a box containing a disk and a need for you to install the software. The SaaS train continues to pick up speed, and truth be told that’s a good thing – no one needs excess packaging OR having to spend time installing anything if there’s a legitimate alternative to it.

With SaaS, there is – and here at 4GoodHosting we’re not unlike any other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we ourselves are benefitting from all these ‘aaS’ developments too and it’s something we’re almost certainly just seeing the tip of the iceberg of when it comes to how much of what we previously ‘bought’ hard copies of is not available as a service provided through the web.

CaaS – containers as a services – is just the latest and shiniest offering in this regard. So what’s it all about, and how is it going to be relevant for who? Let’s get into that here today.

Brief Background

Global enterprises are more and more eager to make use of containers, with 65 percent of organizations stating they use Docker containers, and 58 percent using the Kubernetes orchestration system in some way or another according to a recent report.

However, as appealing and mega functional as they are, the primary challenges for new converts is with lack of resources and insufficient expertise with using containers to build and maintain applications. This is the primary reason why containers-as-a-service (CaaS) offerings are being very welcome conveniences as soon as they’re made available.

Containers-as-a-Service Defined

When cloud vendors provide a hosted container orchestration engine — typically based on the super-popular Kubernetes open source project, which originated at Google — the appeal of a CaaS option to go along with is in the ability to deploy and run containers, manage clusters, automate scaling and failure management, and allow easier maintenance of the common infrastructure layer. Governance and security is included in this.

The entirety of networking, load balancing, monitoring, logging, authentication, security, autoscaling, and all continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) functions are handled by the CaaS platform, making it an excellent task consolidator and handler.

CaaS allows individuals to take the benefits of their cloud infrastructure and best leverage them, while helping to avoid any vendor lock-in common with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) — that might come along with them. The containers are very portable across various environments, and this makes them even more versatile and multi functional.

For most it will be helpful to know the difference between a CaaS and running on classic infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). In large part it comes down to whether the organization has the resources and skills to implement and manage a specific container orchestration layer itself, or perhaps leaving that to a cloud provider would be a better choice. That will often depend on whether your container environment must span multiple clouds and/or on-prem environments. CaaS platforms that can be deployed either on-prem or in the cloud are offered by a number of vendors these days.

To summarize, the big benefit is in you either managing things at the infrastructure level and set up the orchestrator yourself, or using a container platform that handles the underlying infrastructure and puts in place a pre-installed orchestrator that is ready for you to deploy and scale your containers.

CaaS Benefits

Running containers on CaaS is very much like running your virtual machines on IaaS. Speed of deployment and ease of use are the primary benefits, along with the simplicity of the pay-as-you-go cloud model and the ability for vendor lock-in we mentioned previously.

Leaving your container infrastructure to a cloud vendor means you can get up and running without investing in your own hardware and no need to build or run your own container orchestration system(s). In addition, by containerizing applications you’re able to migrate applications into different environments or vendor ecosystems more easily, giving greater flexibility and scaleability options.

Cost efficiencies are definitely a part of the appeal too, as containers are better equipped to scale horizontally as demand dictates and make it so that organizations pay only for the cloud resources they use. Containers are also nowhere near as heavy as VMs, meaning they’re less resource intensive, which usually means better speeds and general operating costs reductions.

Another benefit comes with consistency of instrumentation and logging, as isolating individual services in containers can allow for more effective log aggregation and centralized monitoring through the popular sidecar deployment model.

After a long string of pluses, we do have to share one minus. Migrating traditional apps to containers is a hurdle for some who are interested in making the switch. It’s common to have to break down monolithic applications into microservices when migrating to containers, and for larger, older organizations that can sometimes be too drastic a change to be expected of them all at once.

Google’s Revamped Gmail Looking To Be More Competitive with Microsoft Teams

Real-time messaging, video chatting, and just-like-that file sharing have become everyday norms in the digital world now, and it’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone who doesn’t take advantage of what these technological advances have made available to use these days. Venturing into this space isn’t without risk of venture capitalists-slash-software developers these days, as Zoom’s recent fall from grace regarding the ‘zoom bombing’ incidents have made clear. The demand for these conveniences – especially in the workplace – mean that all the big players need to be onboard to at least some extent.

Now if there’s one thing we know about Google it’s that they’re not hesitant to throw their weight around and they’ll be onboard of anything to whichever extent they’re inclined. Which likely explains why they’re making strategic moves to counter their #1 rival at the top of the digital kingdom when it comes to these kinds of flash communication and sharing means. Microsoft’s Teams has made meteoric gains over the last little while (and in large part at the expense of Zoom if we’re to call it like it is), so it makes sense that Google is going to get their elbows up a bit.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we can relate to the growing ubiquitous nature of these apps and digital conveniences and like any other quality Canadian web hosting provider we’re the same types of enthusiasts for them that the rest of you all are. Time during the workday is an invaluable resource, and these ones make it so that many of us are working much more effectively and on-point with co-workers. Productivity is a great thing.

So let’s now get into what we’re talking about here today, how Gmail is being revamped to expand its already-significant sphere of influence over people in the world of digital communications.

Big Hub Getting Bigger

So here we are these past two weeks with Google having unveiled a revamped Gmail that will serve as an even bigger hub for collaboration and providing quick access to video, chat and shared files available directly from the email client. Not only is this being done in direct competition with Microsoft Teams but it is also being done to solidify its position against newcomers that might fancy a slice of the pie.

Google began by integrating its various G Suite apps with Gmail, and that involved the Meet video and Chat team messaging applications being slowly but deliberately integrated into the email client. Word in the industry is that Google has had this play in mind for a long time and sees Gmail as the most logical home base for this strategic collaboration.

A new Gmail app unveiled at the company’s Cloud Next event on Wednesday underscored Google’s intention to connect its various tools even more tightly.

The most noteworthy of what we can expect here is an updated mobile app with quick access to Mail, Chat, Rooms and Meet functionality via four buttons on the bottom menu bar. In these ‘rooms’ users will be able to jump straight into a group chat, for example.

Easier Leaps

Google is also aiming to make it much simpler to switch between apps in the browser-based version of Gmail, like jumping from a text chat to a video call or flipping a conversation from an email into a chat room without missing a beat. The belief is that the primary reason this will appeal to users is because it will reduce distractions. This then allows the participants to be having their conversations in the most appropriate channels more naturally, and that could be for real-time conversations, face-to-face video, or email for asynchronous messaging.

This is also being lauded as having the potential to boost productivity in a big way, and find us a department manager anywhere on earth who won’t really like the sound of that. This revamped Gmail and its functionalities will include ‘side-by-side’ document editing that lets team members work together on a document within Gmail.

You’ll also have access to Google Docs and Sheets from within a single app, and that functionality is probably fairly intentional with the way it mirrors Microsoft’s focus with Teams and having it act as a portal to its Office apps.

On the Menu

Here’s what else is going to be unveiled with the new Gmail:

  • Expanded Gmail search that can oversee Chat conversations quickly and effectively, with the idea of making it easier to locate information on a specific project, regardless of where that information is located or where the discussion of it got its start.
  • Do not disturb and out-of-office warnings able to be set up across the various apps, along with suggestions and nudges that can aid with prioritizing information.
  • New features like the freedom to jump into a video meeting from a shared document with picture-in-picture video that lets you still reference the document directly while you’re meeting to discuss it

If you’d like some visuals to go along with your enticement package, the new Gmail is currently available as a preview, and the word on the street is that Google will be expanding access to G Suite customers nearly imminently here.

Search on Steroids

Most people can relate to having the search function in their email client coming up really short, especially after manually digging over however long a period of time reveals the email / information you were looking for all along. So the good news here is that this revamping is also going to include an expanded Gmail search will cover Chat conversations, making it easier to locate information on any specific project and get right down to utilizing it without delay.

By fixing Gmail as the focal point of its collaboration strategy, Google is definitely playing to its existing strengths. Especially as it is competing with other collaboration vendors offering a suite of apps, and many of them have already made their initial inroads in this regard.

What Google has going for it that counters any such leads is the fact they are the de-facto number one Internet giant, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be the preferred central hub for productivity within G Suite in very short order once G suite apps are strengthened in as far as their ability to work together with massively increased functionality.

No need to necessarily be watching for this, as it’s likely going to be impossible to miss even if you’re not paying even an ounce of attention but you spend any portion of your workday on a computer or mobile device. As the expression goes, ‘you can’t stop progress.’

3 Tips for Applying Agile to Data Science and Data Ops

It’s plain for all to see that nearly everything is becoming increasingly data driven these days, and the explosive emergence of the IoT has fuelled a lot of that. Every effort made to harness data and either implement it or make decisions based on it is in the interests of competitive advantages, and for as long as we live in a capitalist society where only certain birds get worms that’s going to be the driving force behind much of what goes on in the digital world.

Visualizations, analytics, and the ‘biggie’ – machine learning – are among other aspects of big data that are demanding more attention and more budgetary investment allowances that ever before. Machine learning in particular is kind of like an unexplored continent and it 1620 rather than 2020. Most of you who’ll be reading this blog won’t need us to go into the how’s and why’s of that, so we’ll just continue with where we’re going with all of this in today’s blog.

Here at 4GoodHosting, it probably goes without saying that we’re very front and center in as far as the audience for all these developments are concerned. While anything regarding big data isn’t immediately relevant for us, it certainly is in a roundabout way and that’s very likely true for any good Canadian web hosting provider in Canada. The changes has been revolutionary and continue to be so, and so let’s get to today’s topic.

While we are not shot callers or developers, we know that some of you are and as such here are 3 solid tips for applying agile to data science and data ops.

All About Agile Methodologies

Nowadays you’ll be hard pressed to find even one organization that isn’t trying to become more data-driven. The aim of course is to leverage data visualizations, analytics, and machine learning for advantages over competitors. Strong data ops programs are essential for providing actionable insights through analytics requires and the same goes for a proactive data governance program to address data quality, privacy, policies, and security.

The 3 components and their realities that should be shaping aligned stakeholder priorities are delivery of data ops, analytics, and governance. Being able to implement multiple technologies and amass the right people with the right skills at the right time are going to become as-expected aspects of any interest group that’s working towards this.

Further, agile methodologies can form the working process to help multidisciplinary teams prioritize, plan, and successfully deliver incremental business value. The benefits of having these methodologies in place can also extend to capturing and processing feedback from customers, stakeholders, and end-users. This volunteered data usually has great value for promoting data visualization improvements, machine learning model recalibrations, data quality increases, and data governance compliance.

We’ll conclude this preface to the 3 tips by saying agile data science teams should be multidisciplinary, meaning a collection of e data ops engineers, data modelers, database developers, data governance specialists, data scientists, citizen data scientists, data stewards, statisticians, and machine learning experts should be the norm – whatever that takes on your end . Of course you’ll be determining that actual makeup on the scope of work and the complexity of data and analytics required.

Right then, on to our 3 for applying agile to data science and data ops:

  1. Developing and Upgrading Analytics, Dashboards, and Data Visualizations

Data science teams are nowadays best utilized when they’re conceiving dashboards to help end-users answer questions.

But the key here is in taking a very deep and equivocal look at agile user stories, and each should be looked at through 3 different lenses:

  • Who are the end-users?
  • What problem do they want addressed?
  • What makes the problem important?

Answers to these questions can then be the basis for writing agile user stories that deliver analytics, dashboards, or data visualizations. You may also want to make efforts to determine who intends to be using the dashboard and what answers they will be looking for. This process is made easier when stakeholders and end-users provide hypotheses indicating how they intend to take results and make them actionable.

  1. Develop / Upgrade Machine Learning Models

Segmenting and tagging data, feature extraction and making sure data sets are run through selectively and strategically chosen algorithms and configurations needs to be an integral part of the process of developing analytical and machine learning models. Also increasingly common is having agile data science teams taking records of agile user stories for prepping data for use in model development.

From there, separate stories for each experiment are logged and then cross-referenced for patterns across them or additional insights determined from seeing them side by side.

The transparency helps teams review the results from experiments, decide on successive priorities, and discuss whether current approaches are still to be seen as conducive to beneficial results. You need to take a very hard look in regard to the last part of that, and be willing to move in entirely different directions if need be. Being fixed in your ways here or partial to any approach has the ability to sabotage your interests in a big way.

  1. Discovering, Integrating, and Cleansing Data Sources

Ideally geared agile data science teams will be seeking out new data sources to integrate and enrich their strategic data warehouses and data expanses. Let’s consider data siloed in SaaS tools used by marketing departments for reaching prospects or communicating with customers as an excellent example. Other data sources might provide additional perspectives around supply chains, customer demographics, or environmental contexts that impact purchasing decisions.

Other smart choices are agile backlogs with story cards to research new data sources, validating sample data sets, and integrating prioritized ones into primary data repositories. Further considerations may be automating the data integration, implementing data validation and quality rules, and linking data with master data sources.

Lastly, data science teams should also capture and prioritize data debt. To date many data entry forms and tools did not have sufficient data validation, and integrated data sources did not have cleansing rules or exception handling. Refer to this as keeping a clean house if you will, but it is something that’s a good idea even if it’s not something that’s ever going to take priority.

Between all of this you should be able to improve data quality and deliver tools for leveraging analytics in decision making, products, and services.

A Reminder on Webhosting and Its Relation to SEO

We realize it’s not the first time we’ve decided to go over the subject, but it has been a while since we took the opportunity to point how much of a factor your web hosting will have for your website’s search engine rankings. While it’s true that there are a good many other factors that are more relevant in that equation, anyone who’s new to the digital world with their website should be aware that going with the most inexpensive option for web hosting may negatively affect the visibility of your new found site.

Now we will add quickly before going on further here that we are not the only good Canadian web hosting provider, and there are a number of others who can offer you equally reliable and competitively priced web hosting. That said, there are a number of advantages we do provide for our customers that should give us something of an edge but we’ll leave that for another discussion. What we’re going to share with you here today regarding the relationship between web hosting and SEO is going to apply no matter which Canadian web hosting provider you choose.

The Very Real Connection

SEO involves a lot more than just keyword optimization and link building. There’s a long list of things webmasters can do to promote major jumps with where the site ranks in SERPS (search engine result pages). In this regard what you may be getting as a package and at the same price points from one web hosting provider may well not have the same benefits in this regard.

So what do you do? Well, you start by being in the know about how all this stuff, so let’s get to it. The first thing you do is by establishing your objectives – namely, what you’re hoping to gain from all the efforts you’ve put into taking yourself online.

Defining Objectives First

For most people, the reason they’ve built a website and taken it online is to either increase online sales, increase customer interaction with the business (online or otherwise), or to simply increase traffic to the site itself. No matter what your main priority is, one of the primary understandings anyone will have is the page-load speeds play a big part in how your website is evaluated by search engines like Google and the like.

Now if you’re thinking it’s a simple as faster is better, you’re at least partially correct.Bottom of Form While it’s absolutely true that your website should load quickly, page load speed is only one small part of the equation. There’s going to be any number of providers who can promise you quality page speeds and especially when you’re purchasing a more expensive web hosting package. And quite often those promises are legit.

Make sure they are, because quite often your experience with page load speeds on say, your desktop, may be very different than what another person visiting on a mobile device might experience. Try it and see, and have your friends or family do the same and report. Do they see what they wanted? Did the right stuff load quickly? Your website’s visitors should see your site’s core content quickly. Some of the ancillary content can take longer to load, and if so that’s okay.

Indicator Number One

What this is referred to is First Meaningful Paint, and it’s a measurement (albeit a subjective one) of how your site keeps visitors happy and retains them. What this means is that while your actual page-load process may be three seconds long, visitors may see all of your meaningful content in just a little more than a second.

It’s nearly always true that some elements that take longer to load are not essential to the immediate visitor experience. Facebook pixel loads are a really good example.

Where all of this goes next is in preventing those visitors from becoming part of your bounce-rate stats. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who leave within a certain (short) period of time after entering it. And yes, page load speeds are far and away the primary cause of that.

Should Google see that users are making their way into a page and then coming back out within a certain amount of time, that becomes a signal that the website didn’t deliver in the way the visitor was expecting it would. Having a slow website or irrelevant content is going to be problematic, and while web hosting may have nothing to do with the second part of that it definitely can have much to do with the first part of it.

Uptime – Related to the Right Host

Another majorly important aspect of providing a premium user experience is uptime. Any time Google or a user requests access to your site but has it constantly timing out or the server’s unable to return a result for it then your SEO is going to be taking a hit. Ensuring 100 percent uptime – or as close to it as is possible – is integrally important for providing a user experience for an average visitor that they’ll deem to be acceptable.

There are also a pair of load-time factors that Google uses to measure your site. Not surprisingly, both of them can be affected by your web host. The first of these is DNS lookup. When it takes longer for your host to complete DNS lookup, it takes a correspondingly longer time for your host to begin loading your page.

Long look up times aren’t conducive to high SERP rankings, and neither is the same for number 2 – delayed page load times. Find yourself with a host that uses a slow server and you’ll be ideally situated for a SERP ranking slide. The general guideline here is anything longer than 100 milliseconds to load the first bite is the beginning of unacceptable territory.

The time it takes the server to answer a browser’s request should ideally be no more than 50 milliseconds, and most hosts with quality servers will be answering even more speedily than that.

Solid SEO Strategy Choices

Here’s four approaches you can use to improve your site’s SEO

  1. Have Clean Code

Even the most solid of web hosts won’t be able to remedy the damage done by a website that has poorly written code slowing down load times and making the user experience unsatisfactory. Code be kept light and clean, and if you don’t know what that means then you’re clearly not the one writing it. Extra CSS, JavaScript, and files that aren’t necessary for site loading purposes don’t belong in your code. Another good idea is to make sure your code is W3C compliant by using a markup validation service.

  1. Keep Your Site Secure.

Site hacking is more of a problem these days than it has ever been before, and having hackers maliciously adding links to a site without permission or anyone even being aware of them is a real potential problem now. If Google sees a website with these irrelevant links they’ll proceed to penalize the site and decrease the page’s rankings for it. You’ll have to work to proactively keep these bad links away or choose a hosting provider that can help you keep them at bay.

  1. Measure Site Load times and Time to First Byte

There are a few free tool like Tools.pingdom.com, among others, where you can determine how long your site really takes to load and communicate with browsers. Even testing from different regions is possible. GTMetrix and Yslow may be better choices if you’re using Google Chrome. Do some digging on this, there’s plenty of good information to be found with a simple search.

  1. Take a Look at Managed Hosting

One the biggest overall benefits that comes with managed hosting is making the user’s site experience that much easier. It addresses a lot of the issues website owners commonly have, and managed hosting makes it so that you are paying someone else to worry about the SEO-critical aspects of your site so you can focus on other things – and ideally creating great content.

This can also mean you’re more ready for anything unforeseen, like traffic spikes or hacker-related activities. Managed web hosting can be worth the increase in price, and especially given how important website performance is in relation to SEO.

Take Advantage of Available SEO Tools

We’re among the many reputable web host providers in Canada that also offer tools that can fast-track SEO optimization of your website. They’ll start by scanning the content on your website and then comparing the information gathered against the SEO influencing aspects of your website before giving it a score. You’ll then have strategies suggested to help you increase your ranking on the popular search engines.

Some of the better and further reaching ones will also analyze the structure of your website and whether or not it’s presented in a form that can be understood by the popular search engines. You might also have tools that’ll check whether important characteristics of your post such as titles and meta description can be read clearly by search engines.