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Improved backup, deletion and downloads

We host millions of photos and backing them up takes time and has always been processor intensive. Occasionally these backups (which we do multiple times a day and to multiple locations) were causing slower than desired performance. We've recently completely rewritten how the backup systems operate and there is now no impact on other services.

We're also making some major changes to how we host files that will further improve peformance and the first stage of this change has meant deletions of portfolios and photos are now more or less instant. Whereas before a portfolio with thousands of photos may have taken minutes to delete, it will now just take a few seconds.

We are now also able to undo accidental deletions (via a support request), if we are notified within 14 days of the deletion occcuring.

Another related change made recently is that if you've uploaded the original high resolution files to a portfolio and need to download them, e.g. your local hard drive failed, you can now download them as a single zip, rather than having to download each individually. This option is available via the admin page for editing portfolios.

New email options

Previously, your Photium account would only have one email address associated with it (where notifications of new orders, gallery comments, renewal reminders, support replies etc. would go).

You can now enter multiple email addresses and also specify different email addresses that should be contacted by us for renewal reminders and support replies. This will be useful if you share the administration of your website or if someone else is responsible for managing the renewal of your website for you.

Even if no-one else is managing your website for you, we recommend adding more than one email addresses for the renewal reminders etc., in case we have problems reaching you on your main email address and to ensure your website doesn't expire by mistake.

The new options are available via the Account options admin page.

New file servers

This morning around 6am we brought two new file servers online. The transition between servers went to plan and minimal downtime of only a few seconds occurred. We have also optimised various elements of the new servers, which together with the improved hardware will mean websites load even faster.

Although there shouldn’t be any issues as a result of the server changes, if you do spot anything, please let us know.

Photo download changes

It is now possible to track how many free photo downloads have been made by visitors to your photos, if you have enabled this feature (Standard and Advanced packages only). You can view a total downloads summary on the Downloads tab when editing a portfolio, or you can view individual photo download figures via the main Statistics admin page.

If you are using the download sales features (Also Standard and Advanced packages only), it is now possible to set the maximum number of times a photo can be downloaded once purchased and also how long the emailed download links will last for. These two settings can be changed via the Downloads tab of the Photo sales admin page.

Custom maintenance message

The feature for closing your website for maintenance has been updated. Rather than being stuck with the previous default message, you can now set your own notice to visitors, explaining why the website is temporarily unavailable.

This can be set up in the same Account options admin section where you enable the maintenance mode.

Server performance upgrades

We have completed the first phase of some performance and stability upgrades to our primary servers. This was completed without downtime but did temporarily affect the recording of page views in the Statistics admin section. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.

A second phase of performance upgrades will be completed soon and these changes will not affect page view data.

Enhancements to Promotions & Postage

Promotions you apply to a portfolio that contains sub-portfolios will now filter down and apply to the sub-portfolios too. This fixes the old problem that customers couldn't benefit from a promotion if ordering from two separate but related portfolios.

Additionally, when creating a promotion you can select for it to only work for Gallery photo orders or only for Shop item orders, useful if you are using both sections for sales but only want a promotion to apply to one.

Lastly, a new option has been added to the Postage settings admin section, allowing you to specify whether postage charges should be applied once per print or for every print of a photo purchased.

Easier adding of HTML code

One of the things we are contacted most about is problems adding Javascript / HTML code from services like Google+, Twitter and Facebook and it not working as expected. To help remedy this, a new system has been implemented to replace the old method of adding [htmlbr] as the first thing in the text box (which was not always reliable but will continue to work so you don't have to go through old pages).

For the new system, all you need to do is wrap the code you are inserting in two [code][/code] tags.


Some code for a Twitter feed would go here

Shop item options and improvements

When adding or editing items in the "Other items for sale" admin section, you can now set up options for an item. E.g. an item may be available in different colours or sizes and you can set a price and image for each option.

We've also improved the customer user experience when purchasing items from this section to help improve conversion rates.
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