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      Modern Game Server Infrastructure in the Cloud

      How to Join

      This Tech Talk is free and open to everyone. Register for your preferred time to get a link to join the live event.

      Time zones Date RSVP
      Americas & EMEA Thursday, August 6, 2020 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. ET
      Asia Pacific Friday, August 7, 2020, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. IST

      If you can’t join us live, the video recording will be published here as soon as it’s available.

      About the Talk

      Building large-scale infrastructure for a multiplayer game is not an easy feat. Game servers are stateful applications with long-lived connections to its clients, the opposite of what modern highly scalable server applications tend to be, so most of the tools and techniques used for deploying and maintaining these services on the cloud are not useful.

      Diego Rocha, Software Engineering Manager at Playkids, will discuss how a small team at PlayKids, an educational games platform, leveraged DigitalOcean, Kubernetes, and Agones to build PlayKids’ infrastructure to reliably serve millions of players. The presented solution enables multi-data center deployments and game server updates without disrupting game sessions, all at a low cost and requiring almost no maintenance.

      What You’ll Learn

      • How to deploy and scale large-scale game servers in the cloud to boost development productivity, reduce maintenance, and improve your game’s quality and resilience.
      • How to decrease the high cost of network-intensive multiplayer games through infrastructure optimization using DigitalOcean.

      This Talk is Designed For

      • Multiplayer game developers on small teams
      • Backend developers interested in scalability
      • Anyone who wants to learn how to host applications that are stateful, network-intensive, and/or have sticky connections.


      • Basic understanding of the value and difficulties of deploying large-scale game servers.
      • Moderate familiarity with cloud technologies.

      About the Presenters

      Diego Rocha leads a team of backend engineers at PlayKids. Although he considers himself a generalist, he’s been building critical large-scale distributed systems for more than 7 years. As a computer scientist, he thrives in applying theory and research to build solutions that are both elegant and efficient.

      Fabian Barajas joined DigitalOcean in 2015 as a Customer Success Engineer and became a Solutions Engineer in early 2017. He is an LPIC-1 and SUSE Certified Linux Administrator, and holds a number of certifications, including ComTIA Linux+ and A+.

      Diego and Fabian will be answering questions live during both sessions.

      To join the live Tech Talk, register here for the session of your choice.

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      Want to Build a Website in 2020? Here’s Your Game Plan

      Feeling committed to making this year better than the last? You’ve probably got your personal goals all set for the new year: read more books, call your mom, eat less pizza, walk off that holiday pie.

      How’s this for a New Year’s Resolution: Build a successful website from the ground up. Sounds like a lofty goal, but trust us, kid — you’ve got the makings of a champion.

      via GIPHY

      Building an online presence is like running a marathon. Those exhausting 26.2 miles require long-time endurance built over months of training. Marathoners train one step at a time and complete one mile at a time.

      This guide is your training plan. 

      As your trusty web host and coach, we’re here to keep you on track as you build, grow, secure, and promote your new site. We’ve broken this website workout plan into goals and tasks to complete each quarter throughout 2020, but feel free to work at your own pace. You do the sweating, and we’ll be right beside you with step-by-step instructions, water cups, and cheese-tastic motivational signs.

      1. Build Your Website 
      2. Grow Your Website
      3. Secure Your Website
      4. Promote Your Website

      Sound good? Then tie up your Nikes, pull on your gym shorts, and let’s get to work.

      First Quarter: Build Your Website

      Step 1: Decide on Your Mission

      Ready to race right off the starting block into building your website? We love the enthusiasm. But before even reaching the starting line, you need to get in some warm-ups and conditioning to establish a solid foundation. Every good website begins with a thoughtful plan. Open a fresh new digital doc (or grab a pen and paper if you’d prefer to go old school) and complete the following exercises.

      Find Your Purpose

      Why do you want a website in the first place? What do you hope it will accomplish? Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this website?”

      The possibilities are endless — but you need to spell out what you want and who your target audience is. Write down what you decide; you’ll use this purpose to guide everything else you do this year.

      Set Goals

      Time to dive deeper into the reflecting and set some specific goals for your website. Grab your pen (or ready your typing fingers) and, below your website’s purpose, jot down a few goals. There are lots of options.

      • Site revenue
      • Site Traffic
      • More customers in your physical store
      • More followers on social media platforms
      • Number of business contacts or leads from your site

      These goals should accomplish your website’s purpose and drive the rest of your plans.

      Don’t lose sight of your finish line — and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals over the coming months.

      Outline Your Content

      You probably shouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe. Likewise, you can’t build your website until you know what components you need to make it a success. So go ahead and outline your content to make sure you hit your goals. Consider these components:

      • Start with your website’s menu. What should its offerings include? And in what order? Rank what’s most important to you — and your goals — at the top.
      • Do you want to include a blog? This will be helpful for search engine optimization (SEO) — more on that in a minute — encourage engagement and community, build your reputation,  and establish you as an expert. If the blog is the cornerstone of your site, take some time to outline (or, for overachievers, write) your first few posts and plan some topics you might write about over the next year.
      • The “About Me” page is your place to tell your story and describe your business. Don’t skip out on this chance to connect with your customers.
      • Do you need a spot to describe the products or services you’re selling, either online or in your physical store? If your objective is to drum up business directly from the web page, this is essential. Think about categories and subcategories of products, and consider how you might describe or sell them to your website visitors.
      • What is included on the homepage? Your contact information? Maybe, although that could easily be its own page. A memorable photo? Definitely. Another homepage must-have? A call to action (CTA). Your CTA should invite visitors to do something: check out your offerings, sign up for your newsletter, or delve into your blog.

      Step 2: Choose a Domain and Platform

      Ready. Get set. We are inching closer to launching your website, but before we can get going, it first needs a name and a place to live.

      Pick a Domain Name

      Basically, a domain is what you type into the bar at the top of your browser to point to a specific website. For example, to find us a DreamHost, you type in A domain consists of two parts:

      1. The top-level domain (TLD) — In, the “.com” part is our TLD. The more common TLDs include .com, .net, .org, .info. You can even choose something jazzier, like one of the new TLDs: .party, .site, .pizza, .limo, .store, and more. At least for now, though, .com is still the most common TLD.
      2. The second-level domain (SLD) — In our domain name, that’s “dreamhost.” This is the keyword that will serve as the address for your website. Make sure it is specific, descriptive, and memorable so that customers can easily find and remember it.

      Jot down a dream domain and see if it is available for purchase. If you can’t find (or afford) your first-choice domain name, we’ll help you find other great options.

      Pick a Hosting Plan

      If your domain name is your website’s address, hosting is the physical space (spoiler: a server) where your website lives. The hosting plan you choose for your website will impact many things — like how fast your site loads and what kind of maintenance you have to do.

      DreamHost offers several great options to cover a variety of web hosting needs (not that we are biased about this at all, ahem).

      For beginners, we recommend shared hosting. It is affordable, fast, and meets the needs of any basic website (and includes a free domain registration!). You can always upgrade as your website grows.

      Shared Hosting That Powers Your Purpose

      We make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      Choose a Platform

      To build your website, you’ll need to pick a platform — and there’s no content management system (CMS) better, in our opinion, than WordPress. And 75 million websites agree with us. Like any powerful tool, there is a learning curve to WordPress, but the open-source software is free to use and pretty beginner-friendly.

      Step 3: Design and Launch

      OK — with a set of goals, a content outline, a domain, web hosting, and a platform picked for your new website, it is finally time to get building!

      Build Your WordPress Website

      Head over to DreamHost’s WordPress hosting page, pick the plan that’s right for you, install WordPress, configure your settings, and start building your website. Pull out the list of goals and content outline you made in step one, and use it to guide you in choosing a theme that matches your brand.

      Learn About Web Design Trends and Best Practices

      No, you don’t need to become an expert overnight. And never fear: those WordPress themes we just mentioned are beautiful and will save you from major design blunders. But here are a few basic pointers to keep in mind as you get started in designing your site.

        1. Keep things quick and straightforward — From homepage copy to navigation options, think short and sweet.
        2. Don’t fear the blank space — Don’t feel the need to fill every nook and cranny; elegant emptiness can go a long way.
        3. Keep your menu front and center — Keep it easy to find or risk losing visitors.
        4. Mind your typographyWhat you say matters as much as how you say it — and what it looks like.
        5. Pick a color scheme that matches your brand — Color communicates, so pick ones that fit the ethos of your website.
        6. Make it accessible — Expand your audience by making sure your website is usable by everyone, including individuals with disabilities.
        7. Use templates — When you sign up for a DreamHost plan, you’ll have the option to include WP Website Builder with your account. This tool makes it easy to use customizable and professional templates to design a beautiful, fully functional WordPress website. To prove just how versatile this tool is, we put together a tutorial series that demonstrates how you can use WP Website Builder templates to start fitness blogs, food blogs, photography blogs, real estate websites, and restaurant sites (to name a few)!

      If you lack the skills (or time to learn the skills) to design a website — and have some wiggle room in your budget — consider hiring a professional designer to help you customize your site’s look.


      Go ahead. Send your website out into the world. Take a quick victory lap — you’ve earned it! But don’t lose your momentum; the work has only started.

      Second Quarter: Grow Your Website

      So now you have a website. Yay!

      Time to beef it up with some strength training. That’s right. Once your site is up and running, turn your attention to attracting more visitors and bringing in some income.

      Step 4: Monetize Your Site

      Ready to bring in the big bucks with a blog or online store? Let’s get you set up.

      • Review your offerings — Take a look at the products and services you are selling. Is there anything else you can add, especially to entice back past customers? Have you thought about adding an online course or premium for-pay content to your blog?
      • Add some ads — Include a bit of subtle, tasteful advertising on your WordPress blog to bring in some additional revenue.

      • Affiliate marketing — Incorporating affiliate links on your blog or website is another way to add to your revenue stream. Basically, you’ll promote another brand’s product and provide links to their site. If your readers click and make a purchase, you’ll get a cut of the sale in thanks for your referral.
      • Investigate e-commerce solutions — How are you planning to sell and accept payment on your website? You’ll need to get that squared away before promoting your online store. If you’re using WordPress, we recommend Woocommerce (so much so, that we’ve even got hosting just for Woocommerce users). Study up on the world of e-commerce and pick an online payment gateway (watch out for sneaky transaction fees).

      Step 5: Adopt SEO Best Practices

      Once your site is built and prepped to be monetized, you are ready to reel in the traffic with SEO.

      SEO is a group of strategies website owners can (and should!) use to appear closer to the top of the results on search engines.

      Think about it: when you search for something on Google, you probably only scan the first few entries before clicking — and so will your clients. Since Google bases its results ranking on a variety of factors, it’s essential to do the following:

      • Brainstorm keywords relevant to your site — What search phrases do you think (or hope) would most likely lead readers to your website? Use Google’s Keyword Planner to research and discover new keywords.
      • Optimize your blog posts — Plan content around these keywords and make sure to use them in your posts and headings — but be careful and creative with your placement to avoid creating content that sounds forced. If you need help getting started, check out these SEO tools.
      • Keep it fresh — Regular updates and new content will give you a search-ranking boost. But don’t be afraid to freshen up and repurpose old content.
      • Create a sitemap — Sitemaps, which are basically a hierarchical list of all the pages and content on your site, help Google’s search engine crawlers see and connect the pages on your site, making it easier to present relevant information in search results.

      Step 6: Take Care of the Details

      Now that your site has been up and running for a while, it’s time for some spring cleaning. Let’s make sure your website is up to par and easy to access for all your potential customers.

      Clean and Polish

      Start with a few routine upkeep tasks, and set reminders to do them again in another six months:

      • Check for broken links.
      • Review and edit website copy and high-traffic blog posts.
      • Update contact information and your “About Me” section.
      • Test functionality of forms and checkout.
      • Think about your user experience. How can you make it better?
      • Review your hosting plan — are you ready for an upgrade?

      Go Mobile

      Take a look at how your site looks on the small screen. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile — that is, if it doesn’t look as good and load as fast on mobile devices as it does on a computer — you’re missing out. Responsive design matters in 2020.

      Many potential customers use phones or tablets in place of a home computer, and some shop on the go. Plus, your Google search rankings could hurt if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. Pull your website up on your smartphone, and make any necessary changes.

      Review Your Traffic

      If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics onto your WordPress website. Google Analytics is a plugin that tracks and analyzes key data about your website, including:

      • Page views — At a glance, this stat will reveal your most popular pages and posts in the past day, month, and year.
      • Unique visitors — Using IP addresses, Google Analytics will track how many unique visitors your site attracts.
      • Bounce rate — Sometimes visitors will click away from your site after viewing only one page; this stat will let you know how often that dreaded “bounce” happens.
      • Session duration — When someone visits your site, how long do they stick around? Check this number for the answer.
      • Traffic source — You might suddenly see an increase in traffic to a particular page, and Google Analytics will help you pinpoint what link is sending the visitors.

      Studying these statistics will help you find changes to make to draw more visitors and encourage them to stay longer (and hopefully make a purchase).

      Third Quarter: Secure Your Website

      Time to work on endurance: You want your website to stick around for the long haul. Now it’s time to beef up your security practices and protect your data.

      Step 7: Tighten Website Security

      When it comes to security, you can rest easy at night: you’re already on the right track to keeping your information and customer’s data safe with WordPress and DreamHost. But there are a few additional steps you can take to tighten up security.

      • Switch to HTTPS — The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure,” and it is (surprise) the more secure version of HTTP, encrypting your data as it is transferred from your website to a user’s browser. Add that all-important “S” by getting an SSL/TLS certificate (offered for free with all DreamHost hosting plans).
      • Enable a firewall — You probably have a firewall on your computer, protecting you from unwanted attacks. And, if you’re one of our customers, lucky you: DreamHost includes a built-in Web Application Firewall (WAF) to offer your website similar protection.
      • Use two-factor authentication — This will require you to sign in to your site with a code that’s first sent to your mobile phone. While it can be a bit of a hassle on your end, this step goes a long way in keeping your site secure. Use a WordPress plugin like Two-Factor Authentication.
      • Add an SSL security certificate — At DreamHost, we want you and your website’s users to feel confident about their data and financial transactions. We also want you to be able to focus on building your website’s following — that’s why we offer SSL/TLS certificates free with all of our hosting plans!
      • Backup your site — Hackers gonna hack. Even with all your efforts to secure your site, security breaches and other disasters are still a possibility. So make sure to regularly backup your website. That way, if the unthinkable happens, you won’t lose all of your digital property.
      • Scan for malware — Hackers can really mess things up for your website by installing malware, which can mess with the code and steal secure data. Scan your site regularly to make sure it’s clean. DreamHost customers can sign up for DreamShield, an add-on that will automatically scan your site for malware.
      • Pick a strong password — Don’t make it easy for just anyone to walk into your digital front door; choose a password that is long, uncommon, and used only for your website.

      Step 8: Speed Things Up

      Nothing is more of a drag than a sluggish website. Keep your website up to speed by:

      • Installing a caching plugin for faster load times — The “cache” is where your computer stores recently used information, such as the files of a recently visited website. A caching WordPress plugin pulls data from the local cache instead of reloading it fully every time, thus speeding things up.
      • Optimizing your images — High-res photos can take an extra-long hot second to load, but there’s no need to sacrifice quality.
      • Testing your speed — Even if it seems like your page is loading normally, get in the habit of regularly testing your speed. Simply type your URL into Google’s PageSpeed insights for a quick analysis and tips to get a faster score.

      Step 9: Prepare for Trolls

      By the time you’ve reached this step, you’ve probably got fans. But as your site builds a community, it will also attract some of the slimier creatures lurking in the anonymity of the web: spammers, trolls, and cruel commentators. Keep these thoughts in mind as you deal with the underbelly of the web:

      • Don’t feed the trolls — This is rule No. 1 when it comes to trolls. Don’t engage; it will just feed the fire.
      • Understand the difference between trolling and disagreement — Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll; usually, they are legitimate readers with a different viewpoint. Feel free to defend yourself and your arguments, and be open to changing your mind — and reminding aggressive commenters to play nice.
      • Establish a commenting policy — Spell out for your readers how you expect them to behave, what the consequences are for violations, and make clear that trolls are not invited to the party.
      • Block or delete — If a trolling post gets too out of hand, don’t be afraid to step in and shut it down.

      Fourth Quarter: Promote Your Website

      Congratulations! You’re officially three-quarters of the way through this marathon [splashes water on face]. Don’t lose that momentum; continue strong and steady to the finish line. Think of all the orange slices awaiting you. To get there, your next task is promotion.

      Step 10: Advertise

      You’ve got a great thing going, and it’s time to tell the world. Advertising, even for the beginner website owner, is a no-brainer that can be simple, effective, and affordable. Try your hand at two basic types of targeted advertising:

      Pay-Per-Click Advertising

      A good SEO strategy will organically move you to the top of the search results. With Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, you’ll take matters more into your own hands by paying to land atop the search engine result pages (SERPs). The best part? You only have to pay for premium placement if someone clicks on your link. You choose the keywords you want to bring up your ad, and you can set and limit your own budget.

      Social Media Advertising

      Facebook is a well-oiled, data-collecting machine, and you can use its power to target advertising directly to your ideal audience. You can create a Facebook ad that reaches users based on specific info such as age, gender, interests, etc. As with Google Adwords, you’ll set a budget and pay for clicks. Get on Instagram and leverage your feed and stories for some great free advertising for your brand. Follow this guide to narrow down which social media platform you should use for your business.

      Step 11: Market with Email

      Email is one of the best tools your e-commerce site has for finding new customers, bringing back previous ones, and maintaining relationships.

      Learn the Basics

      Study up on email marketing, a tried-and-true marketing method that involves collecting email addresses as a way to share content and build relationships with current and potential customers.

      Collect Email Addresses

      You can’t send any mail if you don’t know where it’s going. But don’t be spammy and shady about it; create opt-in forms directly on your site inviting visitors to subscribe. Try offering something in exchange for an email address, such as a discount off a first purchase or access to a free ebook.

      Create an Email Newsletter

      Email newsletters remain one of the best ways to connect with your customers, so create one and make it the center of your email marketing strategy. Use it as a way to showcase your voice and your brand, share news and upcoming events for your business, and introduce new products (but don’t be too pushy). Send it out regularly, loaded with fresh content, and then solicit feedback.

      Be Awesome on the Internet

      Join our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!

      Bring Your Customers Back

      Beyond a newsletter, what other types of emails will engage your customers? Always send purchase receipts and make sure to welcome new subscribers. Consider reaching out to past customers to announce sales, share discounts, and invite them back to the fold.

      Step 12: Get Creative

      Now that you’ve covered your bases with advertising and email marketing, dig deeper and get a little creative in extending your website’s reach. Try out these promotion ideas:

      You’ve made it to the finish line! You’ve worked hard, and your website is certainly one to be proud of. Now, hit the showers, champ.

      And if you haven’t launched your site yet, we’re here for you. Start off on the right foot with DreamHost’s shared hosting plan. It’s the most affordable way to make all your website dreams come true — seriously, plans start at just $2.59/month — without sacrificing quality and performance. Create your website today!

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      The No. 1 Reason Gamers Will Quit Playing an Online Multiplayer Game

      What’s the No. 1 reason gamers will quit playing an online multiplayer game?

      To find out, INAP surveyed more than 200 gamers and game developers attending GDC 2019, held last month in San Francisco, finding that the two groups don’t exactly see eye to eye. Here’s what we learned about that and more.

      Low Lag Vs. Solid Gameplay: Which Matters More?

      Among gamers, the top three most common reasons for quitting an online game are high latency/lag (52 percent), followed by bad game mechanics/poor gameplay (43 percent) and poor matchmaking/not enough players (34 percent).

      Yet a majority of game developers we surveyed believe that the most common reason gamers would quit playing is bad game mechanics/poor gameplay (56 percent), trailed by high lag/latency (48 percent) and poor matchmaking/not enough players (46 percent).

      Put another way, developers overestimated the importance of gameplay and mechanics to their audience by 13 percentage points.

      One possible explanation: Though developers are well aware of the impact high latency/lag has on online multiplayer experiences, they are compelled by other factors to focus more on gameplay design, given limited time and resources or the reality of business-driven decisions. The disconnect might also be a factor of the development process or the division of labor, with engineering for online play not being fully integrated with creative design.

      What’s clear, however, is that there are risks for developers and studios who underestimate how important a smooth online experience is to gamers.

      In fact, low latency is so crucial to online gamers that more than seven in 10 (72 percent) will play a laggy game for less than 10 minutes before quitting. And nearly three in 10 say what matters most about an online game is having a seamless gaming experience without lag.

      It’s obvious that games can’t be great without excellent gameplay, but if a poor online experience means the vast majority of gamers won’t even play for 10 minutes, then those efforts will go to waste.

      The Future of Online Gaming

      At the same time, our survey found that developers certainly acknowledge the importance of a good network to high-quality online gaming experiences. Their predictions about the future of online gaming support that.

      We asked them what they think the biggest change to online gaming in the next five years will be: Nearly three in 10 (29 percent) believe that gaming will go the same route that Netflix did—100 percent online and available at a moment’s notice.

      The same amount (30 percent) also believe that the online-based gaming experience will be more expansive and immersive.

      These predictions only highlight further the importance of having the technical capabilities to ensure a smooth gaming experience built on a foundation of solid game mechanics, at any time—and able to be experienced unhindered by high latency or lag.

      The Challenge of Game Development

      Gamers and game developers are equally invested in high-quality gaming experiences. But when it comes to what defines those experiences, they don’t exactly agree. The challenge for developers is to focus on their markers of success—fun concepts, solid game mechanics and compelling gameplay—without letting what matters most to online gamers—low latency/lag—fall by the wayside.

      Interested in learning more about INAP Bare Metal?

      CHAT NOW

      Survey Note: The survey was conducted among ~200 developers and gamers attending the Game Developers Conference 2019, between March 20-22. Data does not reflect a representative sample.

      Nick Chang

      Nick Chang is the Editor of INAP’s blog and a Content Specialist on the marketing team. READ MORE

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