Tags: Shifter

An update on improvements to Shifter’s Static Site Generation Process. Plus, migrating away from legacy plans

Over the last few months, we’ve been taking your feedback into account and have been busy behind the scenes making improvements and building features to help improve the experience of creating static WordPress sites with Shifter. Today, we’ll discuss a few of these improvements and features and share a few tips on how you can make the most of your Shifter site.

Significant Improvements to Site Generation Time. 

First and foremost, we’ve made improvements to our static site generation process. The time it takes to generate static sites has been significantly reduced. In our testing, we’ve seen improvements of up to double the generation speed before the update.

Let’s look at some real world numbers. To test our generation time, we generated new artifacts on three different sites.


Site A’s generation time was reduced from 12 minutes, 0 seconds to 5 minutes, 58 seconds.

Site B time decreased from 18 minutes, 45 seconds to 11 minutes 30 seconds. As you can see, depending on the site there was significant improvement, and the processing speed was doubled at the most with half the time required. Of course, if a site contains fewer than 1,000 pages, the generation process will only take a few minutes. 

As you can see from the graph, the third site we tested (site C) showed no change in generation time. Why is that? To explain, we’ll need to take a closer look at Shifter’s static site generation process.

Shifter’s generation process consists of two steps, performed in parallel.
The first step retrieves the HTML output created by WordPress and saves it to public storage, At the same time, the second step copies themes, media, and other assets, also to public storage. The total generation time will be equal to whichever step takes longer.

So, if we compare a site that uses just a few media assets to one that uses a larger amount, we see that the site with small number of media assets’ total generation time will be equal to the time it takes to perform the first step of retrieving HTML.

The time it takes to generate the second site that uses more media assets is equal to the time it takes to copy and save the media files. 

The improvements that we’ve made to our generator have mainly effect the HTML portion of the generation process. So if we look back to our examples, the reason that site C saw no change in generation time is because the generation time is still equal to the media file step. 

Using Shifter Media CDN

If you’re not seeing any improvement to your site generation time, then your site probably has a larger amount of media files and falls into the same category as site C in our example. Fortunately, there’s a solution: Shifter Media CDN. 

Shifter Media CDN is a powerful feature that was released earlier this year. It’s also an effective feature for improving your user experience. We developed Shifter CDN in order to cut down on the demands of the asset copying step of the generation process. All you need to do is turn it on and Shifter Media CDN will reduce the size of your WordPress files and reduce the time it takes to generate a new static version of your site. Shifter Media CDN is available on all paid tiers. 

Migrating from Legacy Plans

Shifter Static tiers were updated in September 2019 and plans created before this date are considered “legacy plans”. Unfortunately, Shifter Media CDN is not available on legacy plans, but if you update to a new plan, you’ll be able to access this feature and much more.

We want as many customers to take advantage of features like these as possible, so we are now offering support for switching to a new plan. During this period, we will apply a discount coupon that will discount the difference between your legacy and new plans. This offer will be valid until March 31, 2021. 

Finally

Our business relies on your success, and as we continue to grow we depend entirely on your feedback. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out, we’d love to work with you.

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