New Company Site Launch for Shift8 Web

Hello! We are excited to announce that we have created a brand new website for ourselves! Sometimes its difficult to focus on ourselves when we are so often focused on our clients. With new and exciting projects on the horizon, we thought we would take the opportunity to chip away and eventually launch a new website for ourselves. While previous site was on the Drupal CMS, we decided it would be nice to migrate back to our old friend, WordPress. Though our site may seem kind of simple, there’s a few interesting things that we did that we wanted to share. Mobile Detection with jQuery Why does anyone ever need to detect for mobile devices anymore? Don’t we just use media queries? Well, yes that is the best practice answer. But throw in multiple layers of caching like Memcache, Page caching, Object caching and Varnish caching and you will soon […]

Load testing your web application

Hello! These days with so many (buzzword) cloud services, the standard vanilla LAMP stack is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Or at least more obfuscated / confusing. Its important when building your web application to consider things like analytics, metrics, reporting, capacity planning and scaling. You need to be able to scale your web application outwards, but you also need to be able to have a methodical system in place through which you can identify the weak points or bottlenecks in your stack. Identifying the bottlenecks are important because they help you determine what your “ceiling” for the maximum number of requests your web stack can handle before it buckles under the load. Typically these types of bottlenecks appear in the classic or common end points within a standard web stack : web and database services. Identifying bottlenecks With apache or nginx , there are many tools available […]

Varnish, session cookies and WordPress

Hello! Caching is invariably the wave of the future. We have worked with many different caching technologies to leverage a website to be able to handle more traffic as well as offering a low cost vector to scale a website without investing in expensive hardware. We occasionally offer web hosting through our own web hosting infrastructure, but also leverage separate web hosting companies to provide streamlined web hosting services for our WordPress clients. One web host in particular, that we will not name, recently implemented a shared caching system leveraging Varnish (https://www.varnish-cache.org/) in front of their shared WordPress customers. This was a great way to accelerate the speed of websites, we thought. We recently ran into a very tricky problem that required a bit of troubleshooting on our part before discovering that Varnish was actually interfering with WordPress’ contact, registration (and potentially other) forms. We saw that on one registration […]