FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What is ShimmerCat?
ShimmerCat is a software solution that helps e-commerce websites become faster. Much faster. It works as an add-on to your current website infrastructure. This means that you can reduce your loading times without having to change your workflow.
Do I need to change my website to use ShimmerCat?
No, generally speaking. However, some of our customers are migrating from unencrypted, plain HTTP setups, to HTTPS setups. HTTPS is required in order to have secure websites and to be able to use HTTP/2. When our customers need to migrate their application to HTTPS, we take care of it, including updating all the links in the application.
Who can use ShimmerCat?
Anyone with an e-commerce business can basically make use of ShimmerCat.
How much faster will my website load?
Our customer promise is at least a 40% faster website, but often the results are better.
How does the onboarding works?
We assign a date for the on-boarding and create a chronogram. The duration of the on-boarding depends on the platform used and the amount of issues encountered during the process, and can go from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. In any case, you will pay a fixed price for it and you will get an estimate of how long will it take. Your developer team will have direct access to a technical representative during the process, and beyond.
What is needed to install ShimmerCat?
We will only require minimal changes to your current configuration, which will remain as the main running service. We will only install extra-capacity for you, so that you get redundancy and faster loading times in the new infrastructure.
You will have your own personal contact with our expert. We’ll put routines where so you can have full insight of what is happening.
Do I need to be hosted on ShimmerCat?
If you use ShimmerCat Hosting Pod then yes, because then we have better control over the quality of service that we provide. For larger customers that have with an own large IT team, we can consider a setup on their premises.
Is this a CDN?
No. One question we get often is how ShimmerCat's capabilities compare to a CDN. Fortunately, this question is very easy to answer:
- A CDN puts a server closer to a user. By doing so, they improve the network connectivity between the user's browser and the place where some of the content he or she intends to download resides.
- ShimmerCat is just smarter about how contents are sent to a user, so that the most essential bytes that the user needs to see and start interacting with the site are received first.
In short, a CDN and ShimmerCat are very different and orthogonal; in theory you could have a CDN using ShimmerCat, and use both. Now, if you ask, given the choice of using a CDN or ShimmerCat, and only one of them, which one is better, we consider ShimmerCat better. We have some data to illustrate the point.
Why a faster website?
A growing body of evidence suggests that website speed is amongst the most important factors for your website and for your visitor satisfaction.
How does it work?
ShimmerCat for Business is developed using the award-winning web server software ShimmerCat. The reduced loading times are achieved by deploying our implementation of HTTP/2 and prioritizing correctly the assets needed to render the website. This is possible since ShimmerCat, allows for exquisitely fine-grained control of asset delivery.
How long does it take to start with ShimmerCat?
One hour of your technical time. The alternative setup should be running in six weeks. This is all the time we need from you:
- 10-15 minutes of your technical expert to get a copy of your current database, your PHP files and any media on your site. With that information we will create the alternative setup and change-propagation scripts.
- 15-25 minutes to install a process via which you can get SSL Let’s Encrypt certificates. Those certificates will be used in the alternative setup.
- 5-10 minutes to install an extension that puts alt-svc headers in some of the visitor sessions coming to the site. The extension should also ensure that we get performance data for your main site.
What do I need to provide?
- Your database. We can only ensure performance in infrastructure that we control. Additionally, we want to offer you a complete alternative setup that you can use as a backup.
- Your website PHP code. That’s because we need to run the alternative setup of your website.
- Your DNS records.
ShimmerCat vs a CDN?
ShimmerCat is a software that takes a holistic approach to serving a website, while CDNs are software + hardware dedicated to serving only certain parts of a website. Thus, comparing both things is like comparing pears to apples, yet humans can eat both pears and apples and there may be occasions where one must choose between a pear and an apple. For those occasions, here are a few points to help you:
- Both ShimmerCat and a CDN can be used to make a website faster, specially for mobile devices and in remote places.
- ShimmerCat is just software that optimizes the shape of web traffic, no need to split web hosting infrastructure in two separate things, hosting + CDN.
- CDNs cache media for as long as that media is in active use, evicting them when it is not. In practice, this means some website visitors will experience slow loading times. For relatively low traffic sites, the effects of a CDN can become negligible. In contraposition, ShimmerCat imposes no eviction policy.
- What if your current hosting is all you need to handle visitors from everywhere in the world and mobile devices? Would you like the additional expense of a CDN if you could do just fine with the hosting you pay for right now?
Comparing ShimmerCat to a CDN is not like comparing apples and pears, but more like comparing an apple to a buffet. But as there are such occasions when humans must decide between an apple and a buffet, here are a few points to consider:
- ShimmerCat includes high performance hosting. With a CDN, you are on your own to host your application.
- When you acquire ShimmerCat, one of our engineers becomes responsible for the speed in your website. Simply put, if your application has e.g. database bottlenecks, we have real humans to take a look.
- CDNs have completely elastic capacity to serve static media from your site, roughly speaking, . So, if you need to scale out, a CDN lets you focus on scaling the non-static part of the site. You still would have to scale the HTML-generating application backends. With ShimmerCat for business, scaling works for your static media and your HTML-generating application backend.
- Ease of business: while a CDN is just one service you have to pay for in order to run your site, ShimmerCat is designed to be a comprehensive package for the hosting needs of even medium-sized e-commerces.
For an overview of ShimmerCat features vs CDN, see the features comparison
If you have any questions - don't hesitate to contact us!