With the start of the new year, I've made changes to the websites I administer. The biggest change is that I've moved them from a cheap shared hosting account to a virtual private server (VPS), a middle ground between shared hosting and a fully-dedicated physical server. If you've loaded this website in the last week or so, you've probably noticed the biggest change, speed. In addition to the performance gains provided by a VPS, I'm also able to make further configuration changes to Apache (such as mod_pagespeed & mod_deflate) that has allowed for further performance gains and enabling SSL (encypted traffic between the web server).
To keep the momentum going with performance upgrades, I've also added mobile versions of this site & The Riverhouse. Whenever you visit this site in your browser, it should bounce you over to http://m.shawnconn.com/ where you'll see the same content but formatted for a smaller screen. Doing this with Drupal is a little tricky but I think it's worth it; the mobile web is only going to get bigger at this point. I don't think it's a stretch to say that for some, it will be their only Internet experience. In the mobile Internet era, having loading times between subsecond to at most a few seconds is critical.
With the new freelance job I picked up, learning all the possible optimization tricks is going to be necessary to make sure the servers keep up with demand. I've been on the lookout for more tools and information to help me in this quest. This site is worth a plug, it offers stress testing for your site. Prices & services range from free to the more enterprise class solutions.