The Photium blog

Moving to new servers

Our current data center has served us well for many years now but we are pleased to announce we will soon be moving to a far more sophisticated system.

We have been using the Google cloud platform for storage for some time and are now going to be using more of their services to replace the current data center. We have considered this move very carefully and are confident that Google’s cloud services will suit our future plans for Photium very well.

Questions you may have:

Will my website be affected?
Yes, all websites we host will be migrated.

Will this affect the services you provide me?
Hopefully only in a positive way. Your website will be faster and while we have had very very minimal downtime in our 10 years + of operation, this should be further reduced with the new facilities.

What do I need to do?
If we manage your domain name for you, there is nothing you need to do. We will take care of everything for you.

If you registered your domain yourself somewhere like 1and1, 123-Reg etc. we will need to help you change the domain settings. We will be in touch nearer the time of the migration.

When will this happen?
We are aiming to start transferring websites in early June and the old servers will be decommissioned towards the end of June or July.

Will there be any downtime?
We are exhaustively planning every small detail of the move and have made similar migrations before.

However with such a large undertaking there is always the potential for unexpected problems and we therefore can’t promise there will no downtime. We will however react immediately to any problems, to ensure any interruption to normal service is kept to an absolute minimum.

Privacy policy update and GDPR

We have recently updated our privacy policy. The changes are a result of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

There are no changes to the information we store (the minimum and nothing financial, e.g. credit cards) or how we store your data (in secure facilities with appropriate access rights). We are also not changing who we share it with (no marketing companies etc., only carefully selected companies for the fulfilment of services, e.g. registering a domain name for you).

GDPR is an EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. The primary aim of GDPR is to give individuals more protection and control of their personal data. It affects how we use your information and also how you use the information of visitors to your website.

For more information, please log into your website admin area.

Stock control beta

We have a new feature everyone is welcome to try out. It allows you to set stock levels for photos (or shop items) and have these updated automatically as sales are made.

This feature will only be on the Standard and Advanced package when it is live. However, any beta testers will be able to keep the feature on their account, even if they are on the Basic or Light package.

To have stock control enabled on your account, please send in a support request. We'll then enable it and send you more information.

While you're here, please do read through other recent blog posts which cover important improvements you may not have taken advantage of, e.g.
  • Quantity discounting - Buy 2, get one half price etc.
  • Free SSL certificate, secure mode beta - Make your website more secure. Helps with search engine optimisation and buyer confidence too.
  • New PayPal sales feature improvement - Also increases shopping cart security and reliability.
  • Mobile design beta - Use this to make your website more mobile friendly. This also helps with search engine optimisation.
Lots more major improvements are being worked on behind the scenes. 2018 will see the biggest and best changes we've ever made.

A small but important change to Gallery upload preferences

A small change has been made to the Gallery upload tools, so now your last-used upload preferences (e.g. using the filenames as the titles), will be stored in our database, rather than a cookie on your computer.

We've made this change because some people were finding that after changing web browsers, or clearing cookies, they would do an upload and find their usual preferences hadn't been used.

While it should all "just work", we recommend checking your preferred upload options are selected on your next couple of uploads.

In the unlikely event you encounter any problems as a result of this change, please let us know.

Quantity based price reductions

Our Promotions feature is already quite flexible, with options to offer free postage, a % or fixed amount off the total, limiting by date, promotion code etc.

Something we didn't offer, which was much requested, is the ability to reduce the price of an item, based on the quantity ordered. This is now available to all customers on the Light and higher packages.

Sales feature improvements

We have a new shopping cart beta available to try.

It offers a number of important advances over the old system, including easier downloads for your customers and more reliable order reporting.

You can enable it via the Sales settings admin page with just a few clicks. We highly recommend you use this instead of the older system.

Improved upload tool

Because browsers like Firefox are removing support for Java, our Java upload tool is now being phased out (but will remain available for those of you that can still use it).

Our new replacement upload tool doesn't need any plugins like Java or Flash. You only need a modern browser, ideally Google Chrome.

This new tool offers the same automatic client-side resizing that made the Java upload so popular. In addition, it also allows multiple transfers at a time, to speed up uploads. Perhaps the most useful new addition, is that you can now drag and drop folders of images, with multiple levels.

E.g. Say you're uploading an event shoot, you could have a folder with several folders inside, for different sections of the event. The single folder containing all the sub folders can just be dropped on to the new upload tool. It will then upload all the photos and will create portfolios for each of the folders automatically.

Customers on the Standard and Advanced packages can still upload the original files to be backed up or sell. However the speed benefit will be lessened, as the files will be larger and take longer to upload.

We hope you will give this new tool a try and let us know if you have any issues or feedback.

Secure mode beta

We've been working on all sorts of exciting new improvements recently. One that is just being launched as a beta, is a more secure mode for your website. You can now choose to have all pages served over https, rather than the less secure http.

This is something that's becoming more and more important, as Google are favouring https sites websites in search rankings and will also start flagging up non-https sites as "Not secure" in their popular Chrome browser. It is also possible that this could encourage more sales on your website, although the shopping experience was already secured by PayPal.

There's no extra charge for this new feature and you can read more about it after logging into your website admin area.

New domain redirection options

We've added a few new options to give you more control over any domain name\s you use with your website.

The first is you can now alter the main domain used with your website, via the Account options admin page, without having to contact us and wait (a short while) for us to make the change for you.

More usefully, you can now set up additional domains to redirect to the main domain, again without having to wait for us to make the necessary changes for you.

Last of all and really the most helpful of all, you can now choose to have your username.photium.com domain redirect visitors to your www.maindomain.com address and also maindomain.com redirect to www.maindomain.com. This ensures you will have no duplicate content issues with search engines (although we do have measures in place to reduce the chance of that).

You can find all these new settings at the bottom of the Account options admin page. Of course, if you encounter any problems or have any questions, please let us know.

Responsive design changes

Some time ago, we enabled a beta option to change your website design, to make it more mobile friendly. This became particularly important as google can sometimes show websites that are less mobile friendly lower on search results.

Many of you have been using this feature for some time but we have recently added a couple of improvements. You can now have the menu items hidden for visitors until they click a single "Menu" button. This can be enabled on the Responsive beta page.

Enabling this new setting also enables support for automatic mobile resizing of Vimeo and Youtube videos, which wasn't previously provided.

Lastly, it's important to note that this responsive design beta is only a stop-gap measure for the current designs, which are due to be replaced with completely new ones.
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