And we’re back online!

After a few days under construction and a few more offline completely, ethanmc.com, now ethancochran.com is back online! Now sporting a new look, streamlined software, CloudFlare protection, and an encrypted SSL connection among many other new features and changes. The website is faster, more secure, and in my opinion, better looking than ever before.

 

New Design

Ok, so a full redesign wasn’t exactly “necessary”… but I was getting bored with the last one to be honest. While the landing page looked good, the blog page was ok at best, and the two didn’t quite mesh together. The new design however is focused on user experience first; web page continuity is improved, so going from the landing page to blog posts doesn’t feel like a different website altogether. The new theme is also more focused on loading speed, readability, and usability rather than flashy transitions and scripts.

 

Security Upgrades

One of the main focuses of this web-construction project was to increase the security of the site. While I hadn’t had any problems in the past, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. With that in mind, I added a TLS certificate for encrypted browsing. This is especially great for login pages and payment portals, but will still be enforced on all other pages by default. If you’re not familiar with TLS, it’s essentially an extra security measure that can help prevent MITM attacks by verifying the page you’re loading is coming from where it’s meant to. You can see why this is a useful feature to have on any modern website.

In addition, the site is now running on CloudFlare’s DDoS mitigation system for increased stability. CloudFlare prevents my site from going down under artificially high traffic volume and/or server requests made by botnets and the like, typically called DoS or DDoS attacks. While these are rare to encounter as a small site with no radical views, they can be absolutely devastating if not managed.

Many other behind-the-scenes security tweaks have been made as well. I’ve also added a few boiler-plate legal documents, which can be found on the credits page.

 

Better Software

Finally, another major focus of the project was to improve site performance in general. The most significant way this was achieved was by switching to a new web-host, that offered improved servers as well as more up to date server software. I’ve also added new caching and minifying software that should help reduce bandwidth and increase load times further. With all the improvements listed above, I was able to reduce average website load time from 2100 – 3300ms down to a steady 1200ms (a little over 1 second).

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