Since we launched our integration with Cloudflare in 2012 we have seen thousands of our customers benefit from its CDN and the site security functionalities. Today we are happy to announce two improvements in the Cloudflare packages we provide. First, the SSL is now supported in the free plan of the service. Second, we have included a very cool security feature - the Cloudflare Web Application Firewall, in our Plus plan.
2016 was the most successful in the history of SiteGround. We kept growing in terms of clients and employees and we worked on many new projects that improved further the quality of our service. One of the key factors for our success is the relationship with our affiliate partners. During the past year we welcomed 63% more affiliates and witnessed a 60% increase in the number of the affiliate sales. We have distributed nearly $6 millions in commissions.
2016 marked another great year for us – our 12th in the hosting business. We kept growing our team, became a distributed company, upgraded our platform for even more security and stability and did a bunch of other great things! We gathered it all in our annual recap to share our moments of hard work, achievement and joy with all of you. Join us in celebrating our milestones of 2016!
Last year we made a big step towards making the SSL certificates more widely used. We backed financially the super cool open SSL project Let’s Encrypt and we provided an easy cPanel interface, from where all our users can issue free Let’s Encrypt certificates with a single click. This has resulted in more than 40 thousand new SSL installations on our servers. However, there is still a long way to go before we see HTTPS protocol completely replace the insecure HTTP. Now, in the very beginning of 2017 we are happy to announce that we have taken the next big step in this direction -- we have started to automatically issue Let's Encrypt certificates for every domain that is hosted on our shared servers.
At the end of 2016 we ran our traditional client survey to take a snapshot of the current profile of our users and to measure their satisfaction levels with our service. When we received the first results we were quite excited, but at the same time we opened them with little fear. After all, we doubled our client base in 2016 and we were eager to see if we have managed to keep the high satisfaction rates of the previous years.
Last December we were among the first hosting companies to make PHP 7.0 available on our entire infrastructure. Thanks to our system which allows multiple PHPs to be used on one server, anyone could have switched to PHP 7.0 since its zero-day release, while we still kept an older and well-tested PHP version as the global default setting. Now, an year later we believe it's time for the next step - setting PHP 7.0 as default for all new accounts.
We are thrilled to announce that one more time SiteGround has made the latest PHP version (PHP 7.1) available on most of its servers just minutes after it was officially released. PHP 7.1 comes with exciting new features for developers. However, it also introduces backward incompatible changes and migrations from 7.0 to 7.1 should be performed with great caution.
Black Friday is a date, highly anticipated by marketeers and store owners across the entire world. What started as a purely American tradition is now a global event. On this day stores give their greatest discounts and a lot of people are anticipating it to get the item or service they've been looking forward to for months. Usually on Black Friday online stores get a huge traffic peak and multiply their sales. However, you have to make sure that both your website application (e.g. WordPress) and hosting environment are prepared for this traffic surge. Otherwise you risk turning a great sales day into a disaster. Read on to get more information on how to prepare your online store for the upcoming Black Friday and get the most out of it!