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This is part one of a multi-part series on the tech & hardware that makes RTD tick, rolling out over the course of 2019.

We are proud to begin the process of bringing our large portfolio of websites to an all-Ohio datacenter located in Medina, Ohio!

It’s no secret that we like to keep things both high-quality and local, sticking within our beautiful home state whenever possible. We have long shared our Ohio pride through our sister company Ohio is Home, and we use locally-sourced southeastern Ohio hardwoods for most of our woodworking and laser projects.

Now, we couldn’t be happier to work with our friends at LightSpeed on this long-planned change, which will increase the speed, reliability, and scalability of our managed hosting service. (Managed hosting service available to web design/development clients only)

As of January 2019, only the Red Tail website (this one!) and some upcoming client websites are live on the new server. Over the next month or so we will move all of our clients over.

And now the technical part.

We love to write blog posts about our latest projects, sightings in the news, or the incredible achievements of our friends and clients, and we plan to keep those up.

But from time to time, it might be fun to look at the other side of what Red Tail Design Company does, and that is the nitty-gritty of building/maintaining a network of over fifty websites.

This part of our company could easily swallow up endless amounts of time and money, yet actually gets faster and easier to maintain over time, while increasing the amount of websites. How? Read on to learn about how our new server in Medina, Ohio is setup for maximum speed, efficiency, and quality!

Links below will take you to external pages for information on the specs, software, and plugins.

The specs

Our (virtualized) hardware is of course scalable for future needs, but here is where things stand at this moment in time:

The server software

After testing many different setups over the last few years, we have settled on an Nginx with Apache reverse-proxy setup (similar but not identical to this one) as the fastest, most secure, and most flexible option for our network of sites.

Nginx serves static files and SSL certificates, while Apache takes over for PHP (and allows for the use of .htaccess files). The major software list looks something like this (versions current at time of writing, kept up to date with latest releases):

The website software & scripts

A vast majority of the sites that we design and develop for our clients are fully custom WordPress themes, built specifically for the client’s needs. As such, we’ve always run many WordPress installs (on many separate virtual hosts) on our Linode-powered servers. Moving forward on our new server (codenamed Naboo), we have finally made the move over to WordPress Multisite (formerly WPMU), and so far the results have been everything we had hoped for and more! Here’s a more thorough list with links on what we’re using:

Other WordPress plugins we commonly use & recommend

Why it all matters

Using all of the things mentioned above, our many years of experience, and an actionable plan developed with our clients for each project, we are able to deliver fully custom-tailored websites, built using WordPress for maximum ease of use for our clients to update their sites on their own.

Red Tail is able to offer a one-time cost website, built specifically for each client, at a price-point typically only seen by those who take pre-built templates and edit them.

We take speed and security very seriously, so all sites are protected by Wordfence Premium for as long as they host with us, and are delivered from a datacenter where we have one degree of separation from the technicians and staff on-site in Medina, Ohio. We utilize Google’s fantastic Analytics and reCaptcha tools for added insights about traffic, campaigns, spam, and more.

You made it this far, here’s our Assistant SysAdmin Midnight Moon, working hard

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