Archive for the ‘WordPress Tips’ Category
As a followup to my previous article, 5 Powerful Drag & Drop Page & Layout Builder Plugins for WordPress, in which I discussed how non-developers could easily customize their WordPress blogs with easy to use drag and drop plugins, I’ve decided to delve just a little bit deeper into WordPress CSS customization. This will assist any WordPress blogger, and any other website owner for that matter, to achieve mastery overtime of basic web design.
There comes a time in every webmaster’s work when a little tweak here and there becomes necessary to make your site look and feel just the way you want it. Coding can be a bit daunting for beginners, especially if you’re new to WordPress. However, here are some fool proof methods for customizing your site’s design. Read More
As a WordPress developer, I love to geek out when building client sites. Finding excuses to use shortcodes, leveraging page templates & custom fields to standardize design and imagining better data structure with custom post types are part of my daily joys.
My clients however couldn’t care less. In fact, most of them don’t even understand what I did to create the customized admin interface that they assume to be “standard WordPress” anyway. All they want is something that works well and is easy to use.
That’s good news for WordPress, which a great CMS solution: all about making things work, keeping content organized and providing edit tools that are intuitive. Read More
When people know that they can get something for free that will benefit them as a website owner, they are all over it. For instance, the availability of free web hosting is something that a lot of people would most definitely take advantage of, especially those who are just starting out with creating a new website.
However, as many people know, when something is free, it does not mean that it is the best option to go with. Free can mean that there are some things that are comprised like the best features or the best tools that are available to be used. When there is something available for free like the use of free web hosting, people are going to have questions that they want answered before they decide to go with the free hosting. They have an understanding that just because it is free that there are some things that they will possibly have to go without since they are not paying for it. In other words, free can go hand-in-hand with cheap.
There are plenty of questions that a website owner might want to ask. Many of the questions that you will read more about are common questions that people have before they decide to dive into the free web hosting. Read More
As a guy who does a lot of writing, I’m constantly aware of my predilection for procrastination (and alliteration). If I can put off writing something, I will. It’s not because I don’t love writing; it’s just that putting a dent into a blank page can be a significant psychological barrier (can a nonexistent dent be a barrier?) I’ve never written a novel, but if I were to venture into the higher literary realms and give it a go, I know I’d need a lot of encouragement and support.
In part, that’s what the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is about. A community gathers in November with the aim of supporting each other through the process of banging out 50,000 words. It’s a great idea, and if you throw in a bit of WordPress magic, it can be even better. Read More
Less than a decade ago the cost of a new website was several thousands of dollars and the process would easily take a couple of months. Today, however, the least experienced user can be up and running with a functional website in a couple of hours and an investment of less than $50. This dramatic transformation of the market is largely the result of a new approach to website building and the availability of such things as CMS website building tools.
At the forefront of this revolution in website creation is the WordPress community. An entire mini-industry exists because of this powerful and popular method of constructing and maintaining websites of all types and configurations. The basic WordPress framework is at the heart of millions of existing sites and thousands are added daily. Read More
Got a slow website? I know how frustrating it can be to open your website only to wait 3 minutes until it fully loads. If your website garners many daily visitors, I can only imagine the sheer panic you may feel when you open your website only to see that it’s not loading at all. “How many visitors am I losing this very moment?” you may wonder. Did you know that your website conversion rate decreases by a whopping 7% for every second your website loading speed is delayed? Read More
Is your website or blog built on the popular open source content management platform called WordPress? There’s a good chance you are running WordPress in fact according to Wikipedia, 22% of all active websites on the Internet today are running WordPress as their core. This is because of the several tools and pure “awesomeness” WordPress delivers. But there are some downsides to WordPress being the #1 most widely used CMS.
The main downside is security. Because WordPress is so commonly used these days, it has become a target of hackers as of late. And will most likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. Hackers love to exploit over-exposed WordPress run sites and hacks are being reported at alarming and record-breaking rates. So if you run WordPress than this blog post is for you… to learn how to better protect your site from malicious hackers. Read More
Earlier this month, WordPress users across the world (as well as users on other platforms) fell victim to a massive brute-force attack on their sites.
The hack, or attempted hack, used a large botnet (a network of compromised computers doing the bidding of someone else) to repeatedly try and guess passwords on WordPress sites to gain administrative access to them. From there, the botnets would take over the sites and attempt to integrate them into a new bothnet, one made up of high-powered servers with better connections to the Web.
For most sites, the hacking attempt was pretty harmless. If you don’t use the original “admin” account and have a password that is easily guessed, you were most likely safe from the attack. Rather, the attack was an attempt to cast a broad net in hopes of finding the low-hanging fruit, sites that can be trivially broken into.
But while your site is probably fine as long as you took even the most basic precautions, there were still repercussions. The weight of thousands of attempts to login put a strain on many people’s servers, especially if the server had many different WordPress sites. This resulted in websites slowing to a crawl and even shutting down, including ones not directly affected.
But while the worst seems to have passed for now, there are still some lessons to be learned from it and it’s important to grasp them before the next wave hits.
Because if there’s one thing that’s for certain, there is another wave coming. Read More
I had a pretty rough night last month.
After relaxing for a bit with my wife, I checked my site only to find that it wasn’t there at all. Instead, I was greeted with an error message saying that WordPress could not connect to the database.
I logged into my server’s control panel and noticed that the server load was unfathomably high, much more than it could ever take. I’d been dealing with a weird CPU issue for a while so I restarted the server, expecting it to correct itself.
But when my server eventually restarted, the site came back but only for a second, it quickly went down again. Whatever was causing it wasn’t just a temporary issue.
I contacted my host, which told me that they were seeing very high levels of traffic to the server, more than it could handle. It turns out the article I had written about a recent plagiarism case on Reddit was getting some attention both via Reddit itself and Google searches. The volume just seemed too high.
But then I looked at the sample level of traffic that I managed to snag when the site came back up briefly. It was high, many times my normal level, but nothing the server shouldn’t be able to take easily. It had, in the past, handled spiked much bigger than this.
My host agreed and we worked together to keep the site offline but give me access. Once in, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake.
The week before, I had to, in an emergency, create a new theme for my site. As part of that I had disabled W3 Total Cache. While a great move at the time, when I was done I had forgotten to reenable it and the site was without any kind of caching.
I reenabled the plugin, checked that it was working and then opened the site back up to the rest of the world. Sure enough, though the load was high and the server was straining some, it was nowhere near buckling. The highly-elevated traffic remained for several days and, through it all, there wasn’t as much as a glitch or a hiccup.
If I had remembered to reenable W3 Total Cache, or any caching plugin, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the traffic spike until I checked the stats the next day and I certainly wouldn’t have people on Reddit commenting about how quickly my site went down.
It was an embarrassment that ended up being minor, but it serves as a reminder to every WordPress user: Make sure you are using a caching plugin. Read More
Last month I found myself with my back against the wall: My theme was falling apart.
In June of 2011 I had switched my site to the Headway Theme Framework, version 2.X. The changeover, initially, went very well. The theme was wonderful on the test site and, despite a hiccup or two in transferring it to the new main site, things were up and running quickly.
But problems slowly began to arise. The theme would occasionally have errors where the settings would change or elements would be added, causing sections of my pages to be repeated many times over. Most of the time the problems were minor and easily fixed, but they were annoying. However, over time the problems began to escalate.
After setting up the theme, I was at a major plagiarism conference in the UK when my site broke completely and became unreadable. The smaller errors started to become more common and it began to feel as if I was doing patch jobs on the theme weekly or more regularly.
I tried addressing the issue with both my host and with Headway’s support but none of the changes, including increasing the memory in my VPS, seemed to help. The people at Headway encouraged me to upgrade to the 3.X branch, saying it was much more stable and resource-friendly. However, there’s no upgrade path to go from 2.X to 3.X, meaning that doing so would require starting from scratch. In my mind, I didn’t have the time to set up a new theme and the patches, while annoying, were not time-consuming.
But then things went from bad to worse. In one day the theme went down three times and, the last time, temporarily took the entire database with you. Though I have good backups of my database, nothing causes a moment of panic quite like realizing that 8 years of hard work may have just been erased.
Fortunately it wasn’t, but with errors now as frequent as coffee breaks, I knew something had to be done quickly. So, that evening, I set out on one of my most ambitious WordPress-related tasks, creating an entire new theme in one night. Read More