(Disclaimer: JBN uses Strattic’s services.)
Strattic is an Israeli startup that offers services for users of the popular open source web developing program WordPress. And the company is expanding, acquiring fellow startup WP2Static in February.
Strattic was founded in 2018 by CEO Miriam Schwab and COO Josh Lawrence. A mother with a large family who is originally from Toronto, Miriam came to Israel after finishing school. She studied English in college and had no formal training in computers. Bur Miriam is an autodidact who trained herself in coding.
Miriam went on to have 12 years of experience in the field, including building WordPress sites, when she realized that WordPress comes with so many drawbacks, along with all of its benefits. So she grasped that there was a need for a service that protects and improves websites that use WordPress.
If you haven’t heard of WordPress yet, you should. Currently, about 43% of the web is built on WordPress. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined. But why is that? Well, it’s because WordPress is simple, Open Source and easy to use.
First released in 2003, WordPress was originally created as a blog-publishing system. However, it now supports all manner of web content types including more traditional mailing lists and forums, media galleries, membership sites, learning management systems (LMS) and online stores.
Back in the dark ages of the internet, when websites were still something new and magical, it took a well trained professional who learned all of that coding and high tech computer language stuff to build a website, upload, or change any of its content, and to maintain it in general. So most people – small business owners and so forth – needed to hire outside help to handle their websites.
But with WordPress, a user just needs to pay for the basics of web hosting and whatever extra add-ons that they might want. Otherwise, the interface is simple and users merely need to copy and paste text or upload photos to their blogs or business sites. And as with apps for your mobile device, there are thousands of free plugins available for users to install in their WordPress sites, as well as “premium” plugins that users can buy to get additional features beyond what WordPress offers.
However, being that WordPess is open source, and that it is used by so many people around the world (including novices who know little about programming), it is a natural target for hackers and spyware. Some hackers just like to be malicious and have no other agenda than to disrupt and to vandalize other people’s hard work. Some use spyware to steal whatever private information they can get, like the personal and financial data of a business’s customers or some sort of proprietary information.
Then there are the ransomware attacks. This is when a hacker takes over a system or a device and demands a ransom in exchange for returning the system to its owner, or just not to release private information publicly.
This is why WordPress is not something that most governments or major businesses would use. They ordinarily go to the investment of either having their own in-house cyber security teams or hiring an outside firm. But most WordPress users do not have that option and so this is where a company like Strattic comes in to the picture.
Security from cyber threats is possibly the most important of the many features that Strattic offers.
“We bring the best of both worlds,” Miriam tells Jewish Business News. “We combine WordPress with static services that make your website work faster, while also providing added security.”
“Static” refers to a site that is comprised solely of static, pre-rendered files that are delivered to visitors instantly and securely.
Miriam also explained one of the reasons that WordPress websites might freeze or crash frequently. “It actually builds the web pages on the fly, as they are written.” So Strattic generates a static replica of the site which is the version of the site people visit. It looks and acts the same as the original WordPress site, but it doesn’t have the underlying processing server that can cause issues.
Another issue is where exactly a user’s servers are located. Most clients of web hosting services don’t know that a company can use servers just about anywhere in the world. And while the Internet is connected all over, it generally does not matter where a server is. But if a server is far away from site visitors, it will take longer for them to be able to see the page and its content. This creates a poor user experience, and can negatively impact metrics like bounce rate and conversion rates.
Miriam Schwab explained that Strattic deals with this problem by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) with servers located all over the world. “Not only will your site be fast because every page is pre-rendered,” she said, “it will be fast everywhere since users will access versions of the site from the edge locations closest to them.”
According to Strattic, customers can continue to use WordPress as usual, with the end result being the “most advanced version of their website possible – no downtime, no maintenance and literally getting faster as traffic increases.”
Two years ago, just before the first Covid shutdowns, Strattic raised $6.5 million in a seed round led by SignalFire and TenOneTen Ventures, with participation from Accel, Automattic, Seneca VC, Eric Ries and Village Global VC. At the same time the company also brought in Zeev Suraski, who co-created PHP 3 and the Zend Engine that’s at the core of PHP 4, as its CTO.
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic the team started working remotely. And now Strattic continues to do so, forgoing the use of a traditional office space. But that’s fine. Just as how hackers can work from anywhere that they can access the internet, so too can the people who protect businesses from all of the cyber security threats that are out there. That’s the beauty of high tech: with modern telecommunications the programmers and all of the rest can be in opposite ends of the world, and still work as a team.