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CDN in a nutshell, or: how a Content Delivery Network helps you (in more ways than you think!)

If you’ve never heard of a CDN or you’re not sure exactly what it is, CDN is an acronym for Content Delivery Network. What a Content Delivery Network does, in very basic terms, is serve your site files from multiple data centers all over the world so that your visitors download files from a server near them and experience faster page loads. As a bonus, you get to experience reduced bandwidth use due to your content being cached at the various locations on the network.

How does it work? You change your domain’s name servers to point to the CDN, which then handles the requests for your site. When a request comes in to the CDN, here’s what it does:

  1. Determines the location of the visitor and the data center location nearest to that location.
  2. Pulls the requested files from your central repository (which in this case would be your Winhost server) to that data center near your visitor and serves the files to the visitor from that local server.
  3. Requested files are cached on the local servers for a period of time, so that the next time they are requested from that location they will load from the local server for visitors in that region.
  4. Visitor interacts with the local server until a new file is requested, at which point the CDN goes back to step 2 and repeats.

That makes for a better visitor experience, since visitors are getting files from a local server. And it saves bandwidth on your Winhost account, since the files don’t have to come from the Winhost servers every time they are requested.

There are a lot of CDNs these days, and their setups vary in levels of difficulty. We’re offering a CDN that’s really easy to set up, and if you already have a SiteLock security plan for your site (and you really should, but that’s a separate article), you can add the basic CDN for free.

If you’re thinking that sounds great, but your site doesn’t contain much static content, SiteLock TrueShield CDN can also serve dynamic content from more than 25 data centers around the world via its Dynamic Content Caching system. It’s all completely automatic, but you have control over the cache and can purge files any time you need to, for instance when you update or change content on your site.

On average, sites using the SiteLock TrueShield CDN load 50% faster and use 40-70% less bandwidth.

The TrueShield CDN can also handle end to end encypted SSL (https) requests, and perfoms advanced CDN optimizing techniques, including content minification, image compression, session reuse optimization, “on the fly” file compression, TCP optimization & connection pre-pooling and progressive image rendering.

Not only speed, but protection from the bad guys too

The TrueShield CDN isn’t only about speed, it also offers a layer of protection for your web applications. Does your site use WordPress? If so, you probably know that WordPress is a common target for exploits, and if someone gets into your WordPress installation, the cleanup can be a nightmare, not to mention the probable damage to your site and your reputation.

The SiteLock TrueShield CDN protects you against many web-based exploits with a Web Application Firewall, which blocks malicious bots from accessing your site, and depending on the plan you use, can protect your site against many SQL injections and cross site scripting. Whether your site uses a third party application that runs on a database or works with a database you designed and built, the Web Application Firewall can help keep you safe.

I know this sounds like a commercial for SiteLock, but we’re big fans of their service, and we’re able to offer you some really cool and useful tools through them. We see the damaging effects of website exploits every day, and as I mentioned, cleaning up after them is no fun. It’s either going to cost you time or money – sometimes both. So prevention, as they say, is the best medicine.

Another Round of Updates

announcementsHere are the latest versions of the applications available through our App Installer tool:

Windows 2003 is dead. It’s time to move on.

insidewinhostOn July 14, 2015, Microsoft ended their support of Windows 2003. That means they won’t be issuing any more security patches or updates.

If your website is still hosted on a Windows 2003 server, it’s time to move away from that unsupported technology, and Winhost is here as a Windows hosting option for you.

Winhost has never offered hosting on Windows 2003 servers, so we have no legacy O/S servers to contend with. We support all the modern Windows Stack including ASP.NET and SQL database, but we also continue to support legacy technologies like Classic ASP and Access databases.

It’s the best of both worlds, so come and enjoy it.

Late Summer Updates


The latest versions of the following applications are now available through our App Installer tool:

Automatically back up your SQL databases to the cloud


Our SiteBackup service can now automatically back up your MS SQL databases to the cloud. You’ve always had the ability to back up site files and MySQL databases, but we’re excited to add the ability to back up MS SQL databases.

You can order SiteBackup in Control Panel.

SiteBackup is inexpensive (starting at only $2.95 per month for 10 GB of space!) and easy to use. You choose how often you want to back up and how long to retain the backups. Set it and forget it, your backups will be reliably and safely kept in secure cloud storage outside of the Winhost network.


We have also added Blacklist Monitoring

If your site is ever compromised, Google will flag it and our Blacklist Monitoring service will alert you and stop your site and database backups (to prevent making a backup of compromised files).

If you run third-party applications on your site, Blacklist Monitoring is a valuable tool to help you recover from common compromises. Even if you wrote all of the code on your site, Blacklist Monitoring is a great tool to have at your disposal. Even better, Blacklist Monitoring is available as part of the SiteBackup service at no extra charge.


We’re really excited about these new additions to SiteBackup because we believe they are going to make your life easier. Let us know if you have any questions about SiteBackup or anything else.

Things to note: SQL backup is available for SQL 2012 and later databases, and it only works for SQL databases that are on Winhost servers. Each backup is a full backup, not incremental. Blacklist Monitoring is only available for sites that are being backed up by the SiteBackup service. Read our Knowledge Base article for instructions on using SQL database backup and Blacklist Monitoring.

Spring Updates


The latest versions of the following applications are now available through our App Installer tool:

Take full control of your site backups right now


What if you could have instant access to backed up site files and databases, and the ability to set your own backup schedule?

If you have ever mistakenly deleted or overwritten an important website file, and suddenly realized that you’re without a backup, you know it’s not a good feeling.

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have your website hacked or compromised, you know it can be next to impossible to tell which files have been changed or added. If you didn’t have a “clean” backup, you probably had a tough (or expensive) time getting things right.

With our new SiteBackup service you never have to be caught unprepared again.


SiteBackup performs automated backups of your website files and retains up to 30 versions stored securely off-site. If you accidentally delete or overwrite a file, you can restore the backup instantly with one click. You can find more details about SiteBackup on the Winhost website.

SiteBackup is available in three sizes:

10 GB storage: $2.95 a month
30 GB storage: $6.95 a month
60 GB storage: $12.95 a month

SiteBackup is not an extension of our own internal daily backups. It’s a completely new system that performs backups on your schedule and stores them at a secure data center outside of the Winhost network. So your working sites, databases, email, etc. are in one data center, and your backups are in another. Geographic separation for maximum safety and security.

Want even more good news? When you order SiteBackup you can use it for as many websites as you’d like! Backup multiple websites under a single account.

SiteBackup is ready and available for you right now. And if we do say so ourselves, it’s pretty cool.


Holiday Updates


Here’s our latest round of App Installer updates: