TMDHosting partners TomatoCart

We are glad to announce that we have recently established a long term relationship with one of the most promising, perspective and probably award winning shopping carts on the market — TomatoCart.

TomatoCart is a new generation shopping cart, which is already on the market of the Open Source technology for one year now. Thanks to its developers’ and community efforts, it has become a very stable, innovative and, as they define it, a “new generation” shopping cart.

Most probably, every single new product defines itself as innovative, stable and unique; however the cases in which it really that astonishing are quite rare and exceptional. Luckily TomatoCart is one of these exceptions and this is one of the reasons to be nominated in the 2010 Open Source Applications awards, in the categories “Most Promising Open Source Project” and “Open Source E-Commerce Applications”.

One of the features, which make TomatoCart really innovative, is the whole new way of managing your store. TomatoCart provides “desktop-alike” environment, which is way more intuitive and convenient for both newcomers in the online business and people managing stores since the beginning of the .com boom. In the spirit of the “desktop-alike” environment, you are provided a powerful and fully featured email client in the backend, so you can stay focused on both your store and email in the same time.

Another of the great features that make TomatoCart is the powerful and, in the same time, lightweight framework the application is running onto. This guarantees better speed of your website, which always results in better load times and experience for your visitors.

The dynamic times we are living into require day-to-day decisions based on research and how would you better research your visitors than by analyzing their behavior on your website? TomatoCart team thought of that, too and integrated Piwik, which is an open source alternative of Google Analytics. You are able to analyze your visitors with couple of mouse clicks, without having to expose your data to third parties.

Before you proceed, you should be aware that there is no technical or designer knowledge required to run your store – TomatCart made it quite easy, meaning you can edit pages in real time using their content management system and file manager. Each product page you create is being automatically assessed by the built-in Search Engine Optimizer, which generates keyword-rich URLs and meta information.

Of course, if you have reached this line, you should have already be aware that our TomatoCart hosting package is fully compatible and ready-to-go online with few clicks.

TomatoCart is also very open to the market, meaning that they are focused to become a worldwide open-source shopping software vendor. They are proving their intentions by preparing more than 56 translations. You can find the TomatoCart translations here.

The translations, as you most probably suspect already are not commercial — they are being performed by the great TomatoCart community.

In order to get you better acquainted with the TomatoCart project, we have prepared a lot of great stuff, which we will be releasing in the upcoming month. The first portion of it is a great comparison overview between “the old generation” and “the new one” (which TomatoCart already proves to be).

You can find a great comparison in various subjects between:

Stay tuned for more on that subject. A lot of great stuff to follow ;-)

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TomatoCart V1.1 vs. osCommerce V3.0

Preface:

OsCommerce is the first and greatest open source ecommerce project developed by a group of freelancers. No one could deny the positive influence it has made on modern life. On the other hand, as a separate project branched from osCommerce, TomatoCart, backed by a specialized company, inherits the highlights of osCommerce, and create new ideas at the same time. So TomatoCart is standing on the shoulders of the giant.

This article is written for those who are not familiar with TomatoCart or those who can’t make a decision when facing the two eCommerce solutions. Focusing on functionality comparison, the content of the article is objective with no discrimination.

Essentials:

Both carts are quick to install and easy to learn. The requirements of two carts indicate low cost on hosting. However, different from web 1.0 technology based ZenCart, TomatoCart applies the modern web 2.0 technology such as RIA (Rich Internet Application), Ajax, which provides a familiar windows operation environment and boosts the operation efficiency. If you want to migrate from osCommerce, there’s a ready osCommerce Migration Tool (Download?) and you need no worry about learning curve.

Admin panel of TomatoCart

Site Management:

Site management, generally speaking, should include all the basic tools to organize your sites and it decides the performance of your sites and the flexibility of your site settings. In addition to all the contents of site management of osCommerce, TomatoCart has created its unique tools such as department management, which allow customers to choose the department they’d like to contact.

CMS:

CMS, simplifying your publication of web content, is a special and indispensable part of shopping cart software. If you wanna make your site attractive, impressive and distinctive, you should turn to help of CMS. Ranging from simple article to indicative video, high-end CMS is capable of doing nearly anything you comes up with. But it doesn’t absolutely indicate the more, the better. It’s up to your demand. Never be too greedy, which always run counters to your desire. By comparison, it seems TomatoCart take advantage over osCommerce in CMS. Of course, it is not too difficult for you to find some add-ons to implement the CMS of osCommerce. Internet is full of free and paid resources.

Catalog Management:

As a proverb says, effort doubled, result halved. I do believe a clear catalog layout makes your work simple! Let’s take a careful look at this part.

Product Management:

TomatoCart is featured with a sleek experience of adding new products. Compared with TomatoCart, osCommerce’s product management seems a little simpler with little functionality. However it may affect the sales to some extent. Say zoom image will increase sales since it enables the detail magnification and clear look at the product.

Customer Management:

How to manage your customers? Treat them all the same? Definitely not! Different treatment is needed here to boost your online sales. For example, you can divide them into several customer groups and give them different discounts according to their order records. In a word, a perfect customer management is also a powerful marketing tool.

Order Management:

Sometimes, orders will be taken by phone, which requires the shopping cart system with a manual order-adding functionality. Sometimes, customers may return a product. And sometimes… There are a lot of exceptions you have to take into consideration. Let’s see whether your shopping cart software has thought of the exceptions in advance!

Promotional Tools and SEO:

Nowadays, Marketing is considered as a key to popularity and success. Without exception, it is also a significant part of shopping cart software. Built-in promotional tools not only cut down on the cost but also boost your revenue. Aside from promotional tools, SEO brings you a good result when customers are searching store or product via search engines.

Checkout:

Checkout determines the sales conversion. Customers will be bothered by complex check out processes and limited choices.

Payment Gateways:

People all around the world definitely have different favored payment methods. What if they can’t find the gateway they are looking for or there is no other alternative payment gateway? What a frustrating shopping experience! Consequently, multiple choices of payment methods should be prepared to satisfy all kinds of need.

Furthermore, you can check the frequently updated list of TomatoCart’s supported payment gateways here.

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Lightning fast hosting service. Period!

When we have discovered and adopted nginx in the late autumn of 2009, we thought we have reached the maximum speed one can squeeze from a single server in terms of website loading speed (without being in a cluster or into a load balanced pair).

Driven by the nearly insane will to make our service faster and faster, we have researched and implemented memcached shortly after nginx became our favorite web serving tool. So far – so good. Combining these lovely two gave us more than 30% improvement on dynamic and more than 50% in static content pages load times.

This is quite good, but in demanding industry like the Internet and, specifically, the web hosting, being good is just not enough. You either provide the best or you do not count in. We have been successfully providing nginx and memcached on our dedicated and virtual private servers since then, however cPanel specific trammels prevented us from implementing it on our shared machines.

We put plenty of time in tests and modifications, but still nginx was not able to perform as we needed. Even with integration scripts that were generously contributed by cPanel forum’s member blargman, things were not as smooth as we wanted. Integration was a great success but, we admit, it required a plenty of modifications from our system administrators to fit in our work-flow scenario, but still we had to cope with couple of compromises, which is not exactly our best.

The search for a fast, secure, scalable and, in the same time, compatible with cPanel web serving tool is something, which is nearly a mission impossible, gave positive results in early spring 2010. It, in fact, was out there for long period of time, though it was not as stable as we needed it to be.

The first time when our System administrators did public demonstration in one of our offices of how LiteSpeed loads pages as opposed to Apache and nginx, we were unable to blink even once in a page load. Seriously, it was lightning fast. The first doubts came from the Technical support team, which is taught never to believe a single occurrence of an instance, until they see it scaled. Especially when the occurrence is in local environment, especially in our tech lab. They were demanding to see this in production and so it is.

When the system administrators and technical support first converted a server from Apache to LiteSpeed, the first three things that were easy to notice were:

- Average system load quickly dropped with between 60 and 70%
- Heavy websites (meaning Magentos with thousands of products, for example) started loading with between 40 and 50% faster.
- Static websites started loading within a half a blink of an eye.

After a few days of monitoring, slight peaks were noticed only during the time when daily backups are being taken. Websites’ whose traffic was suffering the “Digg effect” were no longer a problem, but the opposite — LiteSpeed handled them and their traffic in a manner that Apache was never able to.

Where Apache was not able to gear up and utilize the server’s memory and put it in speed effect, LiteSpeed was. Where Apache was incapable of building its own dynamic storage cache, LiteSpeed was. Where Apache had problems with KeepAlive and other dummy, non-mature code stuff, LiteSpeed had not.

Now, here is how LiteSpeed performs, as opposed to couple of other servers, including Apache:

A test conducted with a small, static file without KeepAlive:

Respectively, a test with a small, static file, but with KeepAlive enabled:

For more thorough benchmarking results, you can check up with the LiteSpeed tech labs here.

In both graphics above, hopefully, you are noticing the orange line, which raises high above the others, right? Well, this is LiteSpeed 2.1 Enterprise with dual client setup. The web serving agent, which TMDHosting officially uses as of today. We have officially ended our trial on LiteSpeed and are launching it officially, couple of minutes after you complete reading this post.

Some of our highest peaking and latest production servers are already converted, the rest are already scheduled for this and the upcoming weekend.

As of today, we dare say that we do provide lightning speed hosting services!

More to come out from the labs in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for the news.

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Magento hosting with free private SSL certificate

Security is a key aspect in e-commerce and as we fully understand this, we are making consecutive steps in improving the environment in which we are providing hosting services to our Customers.

Starting today, our Magento hosting package is equipped with an SSL certificate, which is issued for the domain name of the account. No more shared SSL certificates for your store and no more compromises with security.

Along with the free domain registration, free installation of Magento and Magento Mall, the free templates and extensions installation, we are now providing something, which is a real innovation in the web hosting industry — a free and private SSL certificate for each Magento hosting package.

Given the above for completely free, you have the full set of features to get your online business started easily, while cutting costs in the same time, improving the environment your store will be running into. Last, but not least — you have the time to focus yourself on managing your business and leave the technical management in our Magento professionals’ hands.

Do not waste your time — get started with Magento hosting now and proceed to building your online store with enhanced security!

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TMDHosting now provides Ray Media Server on shared hosting plans

As of today, we are glad to announce that Ray Media Server (or Ray Multimedia Server, if you prefer), known better with its abbreviation — RMS, is now fully available to all our shared hosting Customers.

The RED5 based, Java operated and Flash communication server driven utility will greatly help your Dolphin hosted social network to become very rich in terms of communication, digital content and entertainment.

Having RMS allows your visitors to run video chats with sound in real time, as well as to share files as the conversation goes on. They can also have Facebook-like chat, handy docked in a floating toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Your visitors will also be able to expand their comments behavior by leaving real time processed video comments with sound, as well as upload and share their favorite video clips, photos and music files.

In addition, you can benefit from the tons of Dolphin extensions, which use RMS to create a rich, content and multimedia driven community.

Stay tuned for the next set of great features, which we are about to release!

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