I would like to provide you with information on changes that have been implemented already on Ghacks, or are upcoming in April 2017.
I first thought about publishing this article on April 1, 2017, but the April Fool's epidemic made me re-consider that quickly.
Note that the schedule may change depending on how things progress in April. If things go well, Ghacks will use HTTPS exclusively and the new theme on top of that.
We have enabled Cloudflare yesterday on the site. Cloudflare acts as a proxy more or less with the aim to block bad traffic to the site without affecting the good (your) traffic.
If you are a regular here on Ghacks you may have noticed already that the server has been acting up a bit in the past weeks. Site went down a couple of times, and sometimes it was slow like a snail instead. This was caused mostly by bad traffic that was hammering the site with requests.
My hope is that by using Cloudflare we are putting an end to this. Result should be a faster, more responsive site. Cloudflare does offer additional features. We will save quite a bit of bandwidth by using the service, and site responsiveness should have improved as well for you (time to first byte, first render).
It is likely that some of you may experience false positives. Cloudflare may ask you to verify that you are human before you may access the site. I hope that this is not the case at all, or very, very limited. If you run into problems regularly, let me know please.
HTTPS is enabled on Ghacks, but it is not the default. We ran tests for the last couple of weeks offering both options to visitors.
If you load the default site, you will get mixed content warnings currently because of the newsletter signup form. Without it, all content should load fine and there should not be any mixed content warnings anymore.
I see the benefits of HTTPS, especially when things like HTTP2 are used as well, as it will speed up the site. Expect HTTPS to be enabled exclusively on the site soon.
Work continues on the new theme. We asked you to test it some time ago and report your findings, and are currently in the process of optimizing the theme and changing some of the things that you did not like.
The number one issue was that the thumbnails looked cut off. While that was by design, it caused so much confusion that we will make a change there to avoid that from happening.
Tip: you can test the theme by adding ?theme=ghacks to the URL, e.g. https://www.ghacks.net/?theme=ghacks. Note that the theme works only on the single page then. Any link you follow opens the site using the regular theme.
I hope that the changes won't have a negative effect on your experience, or the site's standing (SEO, reputation). It is hard to predict; while you can use all best practices and such, there is always the chance that things go wrong.
Best case scenario would be that you don't notice any issues, and that the site itself benefits from it as well (faster, better search engine visibility).
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.