The Photium blog

Payments by Stripe

Rather than just relying on PayPal, there is now a beta feature to accept payments through Stripe.com as well. If you haven’t heard of Stripe before, they operate a similar (although many would say superior) service to PayPal. We’ve used them for a number of years ourselves and are confident in providing them as an extra payment processing option.

Customers do not have to sign up to pay you through Stripe and their debit / credit card is processed securely through Stripe’s advanced systems.

As usual, no commission is charged by Photium and there’s just a small fee to pay to Stripe for each payment received, with no monthly charges.

If you are on the Standard or Advanced package and are interested in trying the beta, please let us know and we will send you more information.

Server move completion

We’re pleased to announce that the server move has now completed and 90% of websites have been operational on the new servers since the end of June.

If you see a message about your domain name, after logging into your website admin area, please let us know so we can help with the changes, or remove the message.

There were minimal problems during the transfer. For a short period, for a small number of websites, portfolio group pages didn’t load but the gallery images and main portfolio pages worked as normal. Otherwise the transfer went as planned and was achieved with zero downtime.

You may not often think about the servers your website runs on but they are of the utmost importance to us. In the last 10 years+ Photium has been operating, we’ve always set the highest possible standards for reliability and speed, where others have cut corners.

Moving into Google’s data centers will help us maintain these high standards for the next 10 years and you and visitors to your website will see the benefits.

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.

Older blog posts are archived in the Photium blog admin section
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