PHP 7 Now Available on the Cloud

PHP 7 Now Available on the Cloud

Wooh where’s PHP 6?

First things first – where’s PHP 6? Whilst PHP 6 was originally planned and being developed, due to the time taken to implement some of the bigger changes at the very core of the language, new features planned for version 6 were instead added to releases in version 5. Eventually it was decided that, since most of the features planned for 6 had now been added to the language, that they’d jump straight to version 7 instead.
New PHP 7 Features

PHP 7 has a lot of new features that I can’t cover in depth but, I’ve pulled out some of the more exciting new features:

Improved performance: As part of the update, large parts of the PHP interpreter have been rewritten to improve the speed at which PHP executes code. This is achieved by reducing the number of CPU cycles required. The changes have resulted in improvements on real world tests from anywhere between 25% all the way up to 70%. All this without changing a single line of code of the applications.

The “Spaceship” operator: Also known as a combine comparison operator, the <=> operator allows you to compare two different expressions and return whether the expression you’re checking is smaller, equal to or greater than what you’re checking it against.

Scalar and return type declarations: It is now possible to explicitly specify what sort data types a custom function will accept and return. You can also set the strictness of these declarations which will tell PHP whether to try and convert data types or throw exceptions.

Null coalesce operator: An improvement on the existing ternary operator which allows you to directly compare whether the item you’re checking. Previously if you wanted to see if a variable was set and take action accordingly you’d need to combine the ? operator with the isset function. The new ?? operator lets you do this without needing to call another function.

Filter unserialized data: The unserialize function, used to take serialized arrays and convert them back into standard arrays, now has the ability to apply filters to the data being converted. This means it is now easier to handle the unserializing of data, especially from untrusted sources, in a much safer way and reduce the risk of code injection.

Whilst PHP 7 makes a lot of changes, it is largely designed to be backwards compatible. Therfore it should be possible to upgrade without any issues however, we highly recommend that you check the compatibility of your scripts before making the upgrade.
Using PHP 7 on your Cloud account

Our Cloud Web Hosting allows you to run different PHP version on a per site basis. You can update your site to use PHP 7 from wihtin your control panel in just a few clicks. To change your PHP version between 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and PHP 7 follow these steps:

Step 1. Log in to your control panel.

Step 2. Ensure you are managing the website you would like to update. Locate the ‘Advance Management Tools’ section and click the ‘PHP Version’ icon.


Common Web Design Errors That Are Cluttering Your Site

Common Web Design Errors That Are Cluttering Your Site

Going overboard with typefaces

Web fonts can drastically improve the visual characteristics of your website and in many cases improve user engagement. Thanks to services such as Google Fonts, Font Squirrel and Adobe’s Typekit, it’s easier than ever before to add custom fonts to your website. However, common overuse can leave designs cluttered and distract from the important stuff – and nobody wants that.

It’s not just the aesthetics and readability which suffer from excessive typeface use; for each font variant that’s not available locally (weight, style etc) the browser has to make an additional resource request and download the font from a server. This can result in slower page load speeds, if loaded synchronously, as well as a lag in the correct display of your typefaces. This slower perceived load time can disengage your users and cause them to leave – so be cautious and use web fonts sparingly.

As a rule of thumb, aim to use no more than three different typefaces in your design – remember, less is more. Some designers argue this is still too many, but either way bear in mind the effect your choice can have and attempt to limit the number of fonts you incorporate into your design.
Not making use of a grid framework

Website layouts which are structured, consistent and organised are often quicker to develop, simpler to maintain and more aesthetically pleasing on the eye. Tools like the 960 Grid System or Skeleton are simple yet effective frameworks which have been built from scratch for designers to use as the backbone of their site.

Based on the concept of rows and columns, a grid framework is extremely useful for dividing up the page, spacing content and ensuring fluidity with consistent breakpoints when building a responsive website. There is no one fits all solution, so it’s worth researching and playing with each grid to see which is best for you. With browser support improving, you may also want to consider new layout solutions such as flexbox, which provides greater control when it comes to directional flow and content ordering.
Forgetting whitespace is your friend

The importance of whitespace in your design shouldn’t be underestimated. By introducing whitespace between and around elements you’ll significantly improve the readability and focus of your site. Users don’t read, they scan, and if used effectively whitespace can guide users attention, helping you to prioritise and emphasise key messages and actions. Whitespace has other benefits too. It shouts elegance, sophistication and simplicity, and using it throughout every aspect of your design can help successfully portray your brand.
Overlooking readability

Some sites, depending on purpose and complexity need a lot of text. While the length and detail of the information needed is completely contextual, the importance lies in how that text is displayed. Research by the Nielsen Norman group, suggests that readers read casually, skimming over text – reading focal words and sentences here and there to gain an overall idea of the content. There are a couple of tactics you can use to facilitate this reading pattern and ensure your content is being digested.

When it comes to readability, bear in mind the optimal number of characters per line. Aim for somewhere between 45/70 characters (including whitespace and punctuation.) And, for large blocks of text break it up with subheadings, bullet points or numbers.
Not investing time into selecting a colour palette

A poorly selected colour palette isn’t for the faint hearted. It can be an eyesore, look amateur, and in an instance spark an undesired reaction from your visitors. Despite this, many overlook the significance of the colours they chose for their site. It’s more than just choosing colours that you like and that go, a key part of colour selection is choosing a colour that enhance your branding, business and helps evoke the emotions you want from visitors.

After researching the colour psychology of your primary colour, it boils down to devising a complementary palette and using it correctly. There are hundreds of free online tools to help you devise a complimentary colour palette, we recommend As for using your colours correctly, follow basic design rules – make sure there’s a sufficient contrast between your background and text colour and use strong colours to draw attention to certain areas of your site.

My Ultimate Guide on How to Start a Blog

My Ultimate Guide on How to Start a Blog

Blogging still excites me so much and I absolutely love that I can roll out of bed and work from my couch or the local cafe instead of stressing out in an office.

This massive article came about because I wanted to show new bloggers how I did it – all the steps to in one place that can be accessed for free for the rest of time.

Hopefully one day you’ll be dominating your niche and making a good income from home. It might even change your life!

Let’s get started shall we?

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How I Sold a Blog for 20,000 in 9 Months

How I Sold a Blog for 20,000 in 9 Months

How I Sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 Months

So you want to sell a blog? In my first year of University I sold my blog for almost $20,000 after only eight months work.

It was then that I realized that making money online was something I really wanted to give a shot. Since that time I have sold several other blogs for similar price tags.

In this post I am going to show you what I did in those eight months and how you can create a blog that someone might just want to pay big money for.

I am going to divide this post into three sections:

  • The pre-blogging stage
  • Building a blog worth some money
  • Selling your blog
  • Nothing in this post is particularly insightful or new, if you know where to look. What I wanted to do though was write a post that lays out the whole process so that everything is in one place and you can continue to come back and reference it as you move forward