Corporate Blogs

WordPress 5.1 Release Candidate

WordPress.org News -

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.1 is now available! This is an important milestone, as the release date for WordPress 5.1 draws near. “Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.1 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, February 21, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.1 yet, now is the time! There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.1 release candidate: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the release candidate here (zip). What’s in WordPress 5.1? Inspired by Archie Bell & The Drells, WordPress’s theme for 2019 is to “tighten up”, and WordPress 5.1 focussed on exactly that. With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress. Furthermore, when installing new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check whether a plugin requires a version of PHP incompatible with your site. If so, WordPress will prevent you from installing that plugin. The new block editor has kept improving since its introduction in WordPress 5.0. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother. There are more features and performance improvements planned in upcoming WordPress releases, you can check them out in the Gutenberg plugin. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.1 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.1. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release. The WordPress 5.1 Field Guide has also been published, which goes into the details of the major changes. WordPress 5.1 Field Guide How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.1 release schedule. If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs. This is my release candidate. There are many like it. This is mine.

ATTENTION ALL WEBSITE OWNERS: iDNS Letter and Other Domain Scams

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Almost since the day the very first person connected a computer to the internet, it seems that there have been people trying to scam others out of their hard-earned money. Recently, two such scams crossed our desks and we feel we must pass these on to you as they are specifically targeting website owners who operate businesses and also owners of personal blogs. These are actually pretty professional fake letters and invoices that people are receiving which are duping them into believing that the scammers are legitimate. Continue reading ATTENTION ALL WEBSITE OWNERS: iDNS Letter and Other Domain Scams at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Torque’s Plugin Madness 2019: Nominate Your Favorite Plugin Today!

WP Engine -

Plugin Madness is back! For the fourth year in a row, Torque Magazine is pitting plugin against plugin in a bracket-style competition to determine who is the king of the WordPress plugins. In order to determine what plugins will make up the brackets, Torque needs your nominations! For the past two years, WPMU Dev’s Smush… The post Torque’s Plugin Madness 2019: Nominate Your Favorite Plugin Today! appeared first on WP Engine.

How Gen Z is Changing Everything [Webinar]

WP Engine -

Members of Gen Z are in a class of their own when it comes to being, buying, and building online. This generation, born after 1996, has $143 billion in buying power but feel like their needs aren’t being properly when it comes to digital experiences. To better understand Gen Z and how they compare to… The post How Gen Z is Changing Everything [Webinar] appeared first on WP Engine.

When PHP Went Pear Shaped- The PHP PEAR Compromise

cPanel Blog -

As you may or may not be aware, on January 19th, 2019, a security announcement was published confirming the compromise of the PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR) installation script. The PEAR project had the following statement to announce: “A security breach has been found on the http://pear.php.net webserver, with a tainted go-pear.phar discovered. The PEAR website itself has been disabled until a known clean site can be rebuilt. A more detailed announcement will be on the …

Give your automated services credentials with Access service tokens

CloudFlare Blog -

Cloudflare Access secures your internal sites by adding authentication. When a request is made to a site behind Access, Cloudflare asks the visitor to login with your identity provider. With service tokens, you can now extend that same level of access control by giving credentials to automated tools, scripts, and bots.Authenticating users and bots alikeWhen users attempt to reach a site behind Access, Cloudflare looks for a JSON Web Token (a JWT) to determine if that visitor is allowed to reach that URL. If user does not have a JWT, we redirect them to the identity provider configured for your account. When they login successfully, we generate the JWT.When you create an Access service token, Cloudflare generates a unique Client ID and Secret scoped to that service. When your bot sends a request with those credentials as headers, we validate them ourselves instead of redirecting to your identity provider. Access creates a JWT for that service and the bot can use that to reach your application.Getting startedWithin the Access tab of the Cloudflare dashboard, you’ll find a new section: Service Tokens. To get started, select “Generate a New Service Token.”You’ll be asked to name the service before Access provides you with a Client ID and Client Secret. The dashboard only displays the Client Secret once, so you’ll need to copy it and keep it in a secure location.Once the service token has been created, you’ll need to update your Access policies to allow requests from approved services. You can add service tokens to existing rules, or you can create new policies for specific endpoints. Access will list the service tokens you created so you can select which services are allowed.Give the Client ID and Secret to your service with the following header names:CF-Access-Client-ID: CF-Access-Client-Secret: When your service attempts to reach an application behind Access, Cloudflare will look for those headers. If found, we’ll confirm they’re valid and exchange them for a JSON Web Token (JWT), which allows the request to proceed.The Client ID and Secret pair are valid for one year, at which time you can rotate the tokens. If needed, you can revoke the credentials at any time in the Cloudflare dashboard.A chatbot with service tokensHere at Cloudflare, we keep product statistics in an application we secure behind Access. When team members need to query or review data, they login with our identity provider and Access directs them to the tool.We built a bot to grab reports of product usage and share them directly in chat. However, the bot needed a way to reach the data behind Access without opening up a security hole in the application, so we gave the bot an Access service token.Each time a team member asks for the latest update on a product statistic, the bot uses its Client ID and Client Secret to login with Cloudflare Access that it also has permission to reach the application. Now that we gave the chatbot service tokens, the data is available to everyone instantly.What’s next?You can get started with Access service tokens today by following our guide here. Our chatbot is just one use case. With service tokens, you can leave IP whitelisting behind and authenticate any automated system that needs to reach something behind Access.

Introducing Six New Business-Oriented Themes

WordPress.com News -

Today we’re excited to announce six new themes with an entrepreneurial spin: Calm Business, Elegant Business, Friendly Business, Modern Business, Professional Business, and Sophisticated Business. Designed by Takashi Irie, each theme in this collection is based on a clean, easy-to-navigate layout that’s well-suited to a wide range of businesses — but with six unique styles and tones, there’s a version that suits your distinctive brand. The sleek minimalism of Modern Business brings focus to your high-end fashion photography; Sophisticated Business brings a moody palette and stylized typography to complement the style of your upscale restaurant. Calm Business’s softness matches the peaceful tone of your small yoga studio, while and Friendly Business adds subtle but uplifting touches to create a welcoming online home for your hobby farm. Not to be outdone, Professional Business is solid and grounded to echo the integrity of your accounting firm, and Elegant Business’s combination of warmth and sophistication makes it a perfect fit for coffee shops. Each themes has a bold accent color you can customize to match your business’s branding. They all also include full support for the new WordPress block editor, allowing you to create a wide range of content for your site. You can learn more about each of these themes in our showcase!

Does AI Impact Social Media Marketing?

Reseller Club Blog -

Social media in today’s day and time is used by a majority of users on a daily basis, be it for posting updates about personal lives to checking out brands and posts from others. According to a study by we are social, the number of users as of January 2019 is 3.48 billion. Moreover, on average, the report states that there is a 10% year-on-year rise in the active percentage of people on social media and the number will keep on increasing. With so many users investing their time online, it is only natural that companies start focusing their marketing strategies on social media. However, with the growing needs of the consumer and infinite possibilities, targeting the right customer, as well as, the market is tough especially when you even need to keep a track of them. It is at this time Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes to the rescue. But the question is how? In this article, we’ll learn what is Social Media Marketing and understand in depth how AI impacts Social Media Marketing. What is Social Media Marketing? Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a type of internet marketing that makes use of various social media platforms to promote a business and its products, thereby driving traffic to the business website. Some of the popular social media platforms that marketers use are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. SMM is a simple and powerful way for marketers to reach out to their potential customers irrespective of the size of the business. As a business, some of the key things you would do as a part of your SMM campaign is to post images, videos and text updates for audience engagement. The more powerful the strategy, the more productive will be the outcome. One of the ways SMM helps your business is helping you create brand awareness. Take, for instance, you have a Facebook page for your business on this page there are roughly about say, 5 thousand followers. Out of these many followers if 1% likes/comments or shares your post which talks about your brand and has the website link, it increases the reach of your business, eventually leading to an increase in your website traffic. Furthermore, this enables you to establish your brand’s identity as it builds credibility thus, raising conversions. Apart from this, SMM also helps you interact with your customers better, understanding their needs and catering to them individually. This can be done by you replying to the customer’s comments or queries addressed by them either in the form of public posts/comments on posts or Private/Direct messages on your social media account. However, as we just noticed above the average number of people active on social media is in billions, and to cater to such a large audience would require an in-depth analysis and ideas which can be a mammoth task to a human mind. It is at this time that Artificial Intelligence comes to the rescue. Artificial Intelligence backed by the power of machine learning is slowly but surely changing the way businesses interact with consumers. Let us see how AI impacts SMM activities of a growing online business. 3 ways AI impact SMM for a growing business AI-powered bots and algorithms are replacing human analysing power and help in analyzing real-time trends and user engagement activities. Here are 4 ways in which these bots help. Predicts the outgrowth Predictive analysis is one of the core competencies of an AI-powered bot. With the help of predictive analysis, AI-powered bots are able to extract information from existing data sets in order to predict future outcomes.When it comes to Social Media Marketing, AI enables businesses to predict the growth or engagement activities in response to the customer. For example, if a customer likes a set of posts or always asks questions on other types of posts, as a marketer you learn to predict the next action and accordingly, design and release data that would predict the maximum outgrowth. Backtracks marketers AI algorithms at times backtrack. This helps marketers revisit points that are old. This way you as a marketer can steer clear of the things that hampered your progress and not repeat them again.For instance, businesses make decisions based on the past activities of users or their habits, be it search queries or the type of purchase made. Having this data helps marketers know their customers and serve them better by showing them the right kind of products. If marketers were to rely on manually understanding this data set, it would take weeks, eventually hampering productivity. Machine learning algorithms help marketers backtrack the data set and process a huge amount of information in fairly less time.Once you have this information, you can then effectively target your customers on social media with the right post or personalized messages that would entice them to click the link taking them to the website. And who knows, they might even make the purchase. Meltwater is one of the tools that you as a marketer can use to analyze your brand or optimise your social media marketing activities. Analyse the right time to target the audience The success of a campaign largely depends on the amount of user interaction. Hence, timing is of utmost importance. If you were to schedule a post or post a story on your social media account at a time when users are most inactive, it defeats not only the purpose of the post but also, doesn’t help build your brand.However, this gives rise to an important question – if you post at the same predicted ‘peak time’ wouldn’t other brands too? If yes, then you would be overcrowding the target user’s timeline. The solution to this query is, either you don’t think much and continue posting at the generic predicted time-slots or evaluate a bit more and post content at different time slots. Once you’re done with this, analyze each individual engagement and impressions on your posts. This way you come to know the preference of your target audience and cater to them better.Running an e-commerce store requires persistent effort right from what the user likes to what time he/she surfs the internet. However, catering to all the customers is impossible but it is possible to cater to most of them. AI-based tools help you analyze the location and the time zones of your customers and when they are the most active. When you run your campaigns at this time you will notice a significant change in user engagement. Also, using AI-powered tools to schedule your campaigns not only enables you to post them at the right time but also, reduces your efforts as a marketer to maintain a sheet with the when to post what tracker. Conclusion: In summary, social media channels are the best when it comes to leveraging and targeting a large amount of audience. Using the right AI-based tools can help you enhance your social media marketing by analyzing your customer interests, as well as, enable you to focus more on strategies for effective marketing rather than managing the activities themselves. Do you use any AI-based tool for your SMM activities or suggestions on the article? If yes, please do let us know in the comments below how has it helped you.

Should You Do a Cloud Website Backup or Keep an Offline Copy?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Local and cloud website backup couldn’t be more important – especially if you own a business. If your website crashes and you lose all of your data, it’s not just you that’s affected, but your customers as well – it’s likely that you’re already aware of this and perform backups on a regular basis. What you might not be sure about is where to save all your data. With all the options out there, it can be confusing. Continue reading Should You Do a Cloud Website Backup or Keep an Offline Copy? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Best Times to Post on Social Media

InMotion Hosting Blog -

In 2018, there are 2.6 billion people using some form of social media. By 2021, that number is expected to be over 3.2 billion. As someone with an online business presence, that’s an awful lot of potential customers that you can advertise to if you know how to successfully manage a social media campaign. In order to do that, you need to know the peak times for posting on social media so that you can hit the largest targeted audience. Continue reading Best Times to Post on Social Media at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Dedicated IP and Shared Hosting: What’s the Difference?

HostGator Blog -

The post Dedicated IP and Shared Hosting: What’s the Difference? appeared first on HostGator Blog. If you’re in the market for a new host there are a lot of things you’ll need to consider. Not only are there multiple types of web hosting available, but there are probably hundreds of different web hosting providers to choose from. Beyond choosing between the hosting provider and style of hosting, you’ll also need to sort through a lot of different technical terms and hosting requirements. After all, it can be difficult to find the right kind of hosting when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Below we look at two very common forms of hosting, shared hosting and dedicated IP hosting. Learn about what dedicated IP and shared hosting actually are, how they differ, as well as the pros and cons of each, so you can decide what style of hosting is best for your business. What is an IP Address? An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a way to reference and locate a computer that’s connected to a network. In this case, your IP address will reference the location of a server that’s connected to the internet. Every domain will be assigned an IP address. IP addresses are then mapped via the Domain Name System (DNS). This system works like an address book. When you type in a domain name into your web browser, your ISP will perform a DNS query. This query will then look up the name servers associated with your domain and finally send you to the requested website. That’s a lot of steps, but all of these tasks happen behind the scenes, and all take less than a couple of seconds. Without the DNS system, we’d be stuck typing in IP addresses into our browsers, instead of easy to remember domain names.   What’s a Dedicated IP Address? A dedicated IP address is an IP address that’s assigned to a single domain name. Think of this as your personal cell phone, as opposed to a home phone line that can be answered by anyone in your home. Here are a few of the most common benefits of a dedicated IP address:   On-Demand Website Access Sometimes you’ll want to start building your website or access it before the domain has effectively propagated. With a dedicated IP address you have direct server access, so you can view your website without having to change the DNS settings.   Improve Email Deliverability Most businesses have business email addresses that are associated with their domain names. In this case, you might also be sending emails over through an app on the server. If another site using the same IP address is using shady or spammy tactics, then this could have a negative impact on your email deliverability rates. With a dedicated IP address, your site is isolated from these negative consequences.   It’s a Requirement for Some Applications Some applications and server-side software might actually require that you have a dedicated IP address in order to function properly. This requirement isn’t as commonplace as it once was, but if you’re running a customer server, or require a unique server configuration, then a dedicated IP address might be a necessity.   Some Hosts Require Them for SSL Before, you needed a dedicated IP for SSL. Today, it’s no longer an across the board requirement, but some hosting providers might require it. It’s worth checking with your current hosting provider, to see if a dedicated IP is required for SSL.   What is Dedicated IP Hosting? Dedicated IP hosting has a variety of different meaning depending on your hosting provider. For example, it could mean that you have a dedicated IP address, but you’re still using shared hosting. Or, it can mean that you have a dedicated server, along with a dedicated IP address. Web hosting with a dedicated IP refers to your IP setup, rather than the type of hosting itself. Most hosts will be able to offer you a dedicated IP address no matter the kind of hosting environment you’re currently using. However, dedicated IP hosting typically refers to dedicated hosting. To define dedicated hosting, it is a style of hosting that provides you with your own physical server. Compare this to shared hosting where you’re sharing a single physical server with hundreds, or even thousands, of other websites.   Dedicated IP Hosting Pros and Cons The benefits of dedicated IP hosting depend on what you mean by dedicated IP hosting. If you’re strictly referring to a dedicated IP address (no matter the type of hosting you’re using), then refer to the dedicated IP address benefits above. However, if you’re referring to a dedicated IP server, then these are the benefits your site will receive:   Rock Solid Performance With a dedicated server, you have access to all of the resources of your server. This means that you’ll never run into bandwidth, disc space, or memory issues. Your site can receive a nearly unlimited volume of traffic without negatively affecting your site’s performance.   High Level of Security With a dedicated server, you not only receive a dedicated IP address, but you’ll have much higher levels of server security. With a dedicated server, you can create custom security protocols that are engineered to your unique websites. Plus, since you’re not sharing the server with any other users, a spammy or insecure website won’t affect your server.   High Level of Uptime Dedicated servers have very high uptime. You won’t experience any issues of your site being taken offline due to resource consumption.   Drawbacks of Dedicated Hosting Still, dedicated hosting isn’t perfect. Here are some of the biggest drawbacks of choosing this form of hosting:   It Can Be Expensive With a dedicated server, you’re paying for the entire physical server yourself. So, instead of splitting the costs between multiple users you’re responsible for the entire server cost yourself. However, with the higher dedicated hosting costs you’re getting direct access to a high-performance server. If you’re thinking about upgrading to a dedicated server plan, then you’re probably the type of website owner who can afford it. There are also cheap dedicated server hosting plans available, but with these it is highly recommended to do your research and know what you’re getting before purchasing.   High Level of Technical Expertise With a dedicated server, there’s a higher level of technical experience required. For example, you or your team will be responsible for server configuration and maintenance. If you don’t have the necessary technical skills, then you may need to bring on additional team members or consider using a managed hosting provider.   What’s a Shared IP Address? A shared IP address is an IP address that’s shared between multiple domains. It’s probably one of the most common IP address setups today. Hosting providers today are able to utilize a single IP address for multiple domain names, while still delivering users to the web page they specify. But, just because you’re using a shared IP address doesn’t mean that it’s shared hosting. With shared hosting, you’ll be sharing the server resources amongst multiple users on the same server. They often go together, but it’s not always the case.   What is Shared Hosting? In this section, we will discuss what is shared hosting so you can have a better idea of which hosting plan is best for you. Shared hosting is by and far the most common type of hosting. It’s well suited for beginners and can usually benefit sites up until they’re getting tens of thousands of visitors per month. Like we mentioned above, with shared hosting you’re sharing the server hardware and resources with dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of other sites. This is done through server partitioning. Every user will have an allotted amount of storage, bandwidth, and more that they can use however they wish (within the host’s terms of service of course). Shared hosting is commonly equipped with an easy to use control panel, along with additional tools to help you get your site online as fast as possible, plus it’s usually the cheapest form of hosting you’ll be able to find!   Shared Hosting Pros Shared hosting is the most commonly used form of hosting in the world. It’s oriented towards beginners and can greatly aid in the site building process. Most site owners will start their online journey with a shared host, eventually “graduating” to other types of hosting as their sites expand.   It’s Cheap One of the main reasons people turn to shared hosting is because it’s incredibly cheap. Since you’re sharing server resources with other site owners you’ll be splitting these costs as well. When you’re just starting out online and don’t have much of a budget, the cheap monthly rate can be very beneficial.   Easy to Setup Shared hosting is incredibly easy to use. A shared hosting environment typically comes with pre-installed software scripts, or at least the ability to quickly install whatever kind of technology your site requires to function. For example, with a shared server environment you’ll have access to tools like WordPress, Joomla, website builders, and more. Any technical task can be accomplished through an app within cPanel.   Shared Hosting Cons Shared hosting can be very beneficial for the right kind of website owner. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. Although shared hosting can be the perfect fit when just starting out, some sites will quickly outgrow the service and need to upgrade to a higher package.   Limited Server Resources Shared hosting is limited with its disk space and bandwidth. Most websites won’t run into these limitations unless they’re growing quickly or are receiving a very high volume of traffic. However, in some cases, another site on the same server who’s experiencing a heavy load of traffic can actually negatively affect your website’s performance too.   Can’t Support Custom Setups With shared hosting, you’re given a wide range of software to choose from, but there isn’t much you can do to the actual server environment or underlying technology. You’re stuck with the customization options that are offered by the server environment, usually things like choosing your CMS or website builder, configuring email addresses, and more. If you need higher levels of customization that allows you to optimize your server environment for performance, or for your unique website needs, then you’ll need to upgrade to another form of hosting.   Dedicated IP Hosting vs Shared Hosting The main difference between dedicated IP and shared hosting is the IP address. The most common type of IP address is a shared IP address. In this scenario, multiple websites that are sharing the same server environment will also share the same IP address. With a dedicated IP address, your website is the only site that’s using the IP address—it’s yours and yours alone. When you choose dedicated server hosting it’ll typically be equipped with a dedicated IP address. It can be server specific (and you’ll receive a dedicated IP address for the server no matter how many sites you’re hosting). Or, you can have multiple dedicated IP addresses on a dedicated server environment (for each site that you’re hosting on the server). With shared hosting, you’re sharing the server resources, along with an IP address. It is possible to have a dedicated IP address on a shared server, but you’ll need to make this request through your host. Not every host has the underlying structure to support a dedicated IP address on a shared hosting environment.   Closing Thoughts Dedicated IP hosting and shared hosting both address very different needs in the hosting market. Shared hosting is a perfect choice for those just getting started online. It’s easy to use, simple to set up, and can support your site until you’re receiving pretty decent levels of traffic. However, you may run into performance issues, depending on the other site’s you’re sharing the server environment with. While if you’re using dedicated IP hosting, then you’re most likely on a dedicated server environment. Dedicated servers are oriented toward high-level sites, and and you can even use dedicated servers for games as well. A dedicated server offers you greater levels of server customization, security, control, and support for very high levels of traffic without any issues in site performance. Hopefully, you have a better idea of the differences between dedicated IP and shared hosting, so you can better choose the right hosting package when building a website. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Your New 16-Step WordPress Maintenance Checklist: 2019 Edition

Liquid Web Official Blog -

I think you’ll agree with me when I say: WordPress maintenance can be a pain. Almost all WordPress users have heard stories about plugin updates or theme updates breaking sites, or worse, websites getting hacked. This WordPress maintenance checklist will take away the pain from keeping your website running stable and secure. It’ll give you a framework to structure maintenance into simple recurring tasks which you can partially automate. You can literally save days throughout the new year by using this checklist. I’ve broken down this checklist into multiple areas to account for maintenance tasks you should perform on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. You’ll find that most of the daily tasks can be automated with ease. The weekly and monthly tasks can sometimes be automated as well, but there are some things you will want to do manually. All tasks from this checklist come from my team’s experience of managing 100+ WordPress websites on behalf of our clients. I’m not saying this to sell you on my service but to demonstrate the practicability of this WordPress checklist. This is no fluffy checklist written for the purpose of creating a checklist. It’s a tool you’ll want to have in your belt. You don’t need to be a WordPress developer to follow along with this checklist. In fact, you won’t have to write a single line of code or touch any server setting. This checklist provides you with instructions for maintenance tasks on a high level – so you know that your site is set up properly. If your site breaks (e.g. because of a faulty plugin update that causes an error in combination with your theme) you might still need a developer at hand. But you’ll also be in the position to simply bring back a backup of your website to get it back up and running in no time. While this WordPress maintenance checklist gives you a glimpse into all of the areas that go into keeping a WordPress site running smoothly, it cannot hide the fact that WordPress maintenance is tricky. However, it will act as a beacon guiding you in the right direction. And if you’re on Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting plan, you’ll find maintaining your site even easier. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to get more WordPress content like this sent straight to your inbox. Daily WordPress Maintenance Tasks I’m fully aware that daily WordPress maintenance might not fit into your schedule. It certainly does not in mine. I’m a WordPress developer running my own business for maintenance services and loading speed optimization, a writer for Liquid Web (I love their approach to support the WP community), a full-time lead developer for a German agency, and a husband and friend. Surely you’ll agree that the daily WordPress care program should take as little time as possible. But no matter whether your business depends on your WordPress site (think of lead generation, e-commerce, etc) or whether your site is for your hobby, daily maintenance is important. Hence, I’ll give you three tasks you should perform on a daily basis. All of those can and should be automated because you want those maintenance tasks to be executed no matter what life throws at you. Software can do these things a lot better than humans. 1. Back Up Your Website Daily Having a backup of your website is mandatory. You never know when things could go south because your website can break for so many different reasons. It doesn’t even need to be a problem with WordPress itself, but could also be related to your hosting company’s servers or their infrastructure. The great news is that some professional WordPress developers have thought about this problem and created rock-solid solutions for us. While reliable hosting companies like Liquid Web do include backups in their Managed WordPress hosting plans, I like the security of having a second backup of my website somewhere in the cloud. As a free plugin, I rely on UpdraftPlus most of the time, including my own website WP Mastery. I’m happy to start my WordPress maintenance checklist with this particular plugin because it served me and my clients well for years. You can simply install it from your WP dashboard and then configure automated daily backups that get stored to whatever cloud service you prefer (I have my backups in Dropbox). If you’d like a paid alternative with a support team you can reach out to 24/7, I highly recommend you check out blogvault.net. Their founder Akshat Choudhary gave an interview for Liquid Web recently, outlining how he runs his two businesses and what he thinks about WordPress security. 2. Get Notified About Downtime Every second in which your website isn’t accessible matters. You’re losing visitors and, more importantly, damaging your brand’s reputation. Just think about how people go crazy when Facebook isn’t online. Those incidents even make it to media outlets like USA TODAY. While your brand likely isn’t as big as Facebook, you still want to know when your website goes down so that you can bring it back online fast. Here are a few services that help monitor your site for uptime. UptimeRobot is a free service you can use to automatically test your website every five minutes. If a test fails, you’ll get a notification from their platform so you can reach out to your hosting company or website team to fix the issue. If you’re looking for a more complex and powerful website monitoring, have a look at Pingdom. That service isn’t free but gives you plenty of automated checks to ensure that your site is performing at its peak capacity at all times. 3. Protect Your Site Against Hackers With WordPress powering a third of the Internet, hackers love it as a target. Imagine how many websites they can attack that all use the same platform. Since most attacks are automated nowadays, you shouldn’t believe that your website will not be attacked just because it’s small. That’s why Liquid Web thinks security is important and why you should add your own measures as well. You can install tools like WordFence to have your website files monitored for unwanted changes (e.g. caused by malware). Weekly WordPress Maintenance Tasks 4. Install Pending Updates Installing updates isn’t a task you should take lightly. Always ensure you have a backup in place. Next, install the updates on a staging website first. Read this article on creating a staging site on Liquid Web or talk to your hosting support team if you’re not with Liquid Web. If you cannot test updates on a staging copy of your website first and still want to follow this WordPress maintenance checklist, install the pending updates one by one. Install your updates in this order: WordPress core updates Theme updates Plugin updates 5. Monitor Your Traffic And Rankings Do you currently know if your traffic went up or down over the past few weeks? Chances are that you don’t. However, knowing how your traffic and rankings develop can be a game changer to your business. You can base decisions on that data: How your content marketing campaigns are performing How your visitors respond to your content (time on page, bounce rate, etc) How your SEO strategy is working Whether your site got blacklisted (organic traffic dropped) Whether one of your content pieces got more attention than usual. Leverage Google Analytics to report last week’s data via email every Monday. You only need to include the most relevant numbers in that report so you can skim through it within a minute and only dive deeper if a number stands out from the rest. 6. Run Malware Scans As I already mentioned in the checklist (see #3), protecting your website against hackers is crucially important. The plugin WordFence which I mentioned earlier can run automated malware scans, but there are more tools you might want to leverage. Sucuri’s Sitecheck platform is one of my favorite malware scanners. It’s a free tool that analyzes your website for known WordPress malware and provides other helpful information as well. 7. Moderate Comments Depending on whether you have comments activated on your blog, you’ll want to moderate them on a weekly basis (or more often if necessary). Delete spam comments to free up space in your database and reply to relevant comments. This is not just a great way to declutter your WordPress site, it also helps you keep an active relationship with your readers. 8. Go Through Your Site Visually Perform a visual check of your website at least weekly. You’ll want to be sure that your site looks the way you want it to! Don’t just perform this check in your favorite browser you use all the time, but also test your site in other widely used browsers. At least include Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge, an Android phone and an iOS phone. If this checklist item sounds too labor intensive, move it to the monthly section of my WordPress maintenance checklist. Just ensure you do it regularly! Monthly WordPress Maintenance Tasks 9. Clean Up Your Database From Junk Data Having a clean WordPress database helps with making your site load faster. Junk data can be spam comments, settings from plugins that were uninstalled but not deleted, post revisions, and other data that is a bit more technical to explain. My go-to plugin for optimizing WordPress databases is Swift Performance Pro but since that is paid, you can use WP Sweep as a free alternative. Just be sure that your database is backed up before you start the cleaning process! 10. Remove Unnecessary Users Having outdated or unnecessary users active on your website is a serious security risk. Those users could be co-workers that switched divisions or had to be let go, logins for plugin or theme support, authors that aren’t active anymore, and so on. You never know whether their passwords are secure, whether they share their passwords with others or whether hackers know their email addresses and can thus launch targeted attacks against your site. Hence, I recommend you go through your list of users once per month and delete all users that aren’t absolutely needed. Especially have a look at the users with administrative capabilities and double-check if those users need to be admins. 11. Delete Unused Themes And Plugins Similar to the unnecessary users, there’s also no reason to keep unused themes and plugins in your WordPress site. Delete those plugins and themes you don’t need any more to remove those files from your server and the settings from the database. Remember to clean your WordPress cache after this step, so that your site loads with only those plugins necessary. 12. Check The Loading Time Of Your Website Besides security, this WordPress maintenance checklist also focuses on making websites faster. Make sure you check your site’s loading time regularly. I run my site through GTmetrix weekly to ensure that my changes to not negatively impact my loading time. By doing this every week, it becomes easier to identify bottlenecks that limit the performance of your website. 13. Search For Broken Links In Your Content Broken links are links that go nowhere and result in error messages. You don’t want those to be in your content, because it makes your content look like it’s researched badly. There is a very popular plugin called Broken Link Checker, which I do NOT recommend at all. Even though it reliably points out all broken links on your site, it’s known to slow down loading times – which is a no-go in my eyes. Instead, you can use deadlinkchecker.com to find links on your site that are broken. If you insist on using Broken Link Checker, be sure to measure your site’s loading time carefully. 14. Check The Google Search Console The Google Search Console is a free tool that provides you with an abundance of information on how Google thinks your site is performing. It’s a good habit to look into your console once per month to check if there are any errors creeping up, such as content that can’t be found on your site, indexing errors, or other problems. Yearly WordPress Maintenance Tasks 15. Review Your WordPress Setup Once per year, set aside 2-3 hours to review your entire setup. You might need more time than that depending on your experience with WordPress, but you should take the time to: Review your hosting company, see if it still fits your requirements and how it compares it to other hosting companies that specialize in WordPress hosting. Review the theme you’re using and check for alternatives that might load faster, look better or are easier to use. Review the plugins and search for better performing alternatives. Review 3rd-party services like CDNs, analytics tools, split-testing tools, and others. With these review items, you can be sure that your site is ready for another year of high-performing online marketing instead of letting components of your site get older and older without even noticing. 16. Review Your Content Strategy Similarly to reviewing the technical components of your website, you also should take time to review how your content strategy is performing. While your content strategy heavily depends on your marketing goals, budget, team capacity, and other factors, there are a few metrics that are worth including in almost any content strategy review: Use Google Analytics to get an idea of which posts and pages get the most visits. Check which traffic sources have the highest time on page and conversion rate and the lowest bounce rate. Find out which geographical areas seem to value your content most (this might be a potential for targeted ads). Review the performance of your opt-in forms and calls to action. Ensure that event tracking (e.g. clicks on important buttons) is set up and running. Check which content gets the most shares and comments to double down on those topics. This WordPress maintenance checklist gives you a more than a solid overview of key factors that can turn your WordPress site into a valuable asset. At the very least, it’ll help you save time in your regular maintenance tasks and will ensure you don’t miss important steps. Managed WordPress Can Help Liquid Web can take care of many of these things for you automatically with Managed WordPress Hosting. From daily backups to automatic core WordPress and plugin updates, they can streamline your process. The post Your New 16-Step WordPress Maintenance Checklist: 2019 Edition appeared first on Liquid Web.

Design and Create The Right Business Logo For Your Audience

The Domain.com Blog -

What makes your business memorable? Is it your catchy slogan or witty business name? How about your logo? What’s that, you say? You don’t have a logo?! Not having a logo is detrimental to your business. Now that you have a domain name and website it’s essential you design a logo. Photo courtesy of Merriam-Webster. Stop and think about some of the biggest businesses you know: Starbucks, Walmart, Nike. They all take great care in their logos. At a glance, these logos bring the business top of mind; if golden arches against a red background make you salivate, you’re not alone. Memorable logos aren’t strictly the purview of big business — your small business or side hustle can create one too! Let’s take a look at three things to keep in mind when designing your logo. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. Color influences perception Choosing the correct colors for your logo is imperative. Various colors evoke different emotions, and you can leverage those to your advantage. What are some common connotations that different colors have? Yellow is associated with happiness, green with health and nature, and purple with royalty. Not all colors work with all types of businesses. If you’ve been stressed and want a soothing, relaxing spa to while away an afternoon, which one will you visit: the spa whose logo is composed of calming greens and blues, or one whose electric, neon-colored logo looks like Rainbow Brite got sick all over it? It helps to ask your friends or family for input on your logo’s colors. How do the colors make them feel? What do they think of when seeing those colors? Use their feedback to refine your choices. You can also refer to this handy infographic courtesy of FastCompany. Size matters in logo design Your logo should always be featured on your website, marketing communications, and other advertising. Be mindful of your logo size and complexity, as not all of your advertising takes place on a giant billboard. If all your advertisements were that size it’d make sense to create an intricate, hyper-detailed logo, but that likely isn’t the case. Your logo should be distinctive and maintain clarity when displayed on small phone screens, business cards, pamphlets, or wherever else you may advertise. Choose your typography carefully Just as with color, different fonts are associated with different emotions and business types. Think about a soft, rounded, swooping script. Would you expect to find that sort of typography used by an edgy, street-wise graphic designer? Probably not. In fact, Wichita State University did a study to determine if different fonts were associated with emotions or personalities, and scripted fonts were perceived as being feminine and casual. Before you decide on a font, consider doing some sleuthing. Are your competitors all using a similar font type? It may be a good idea to choose a like font, as your audience may have already created an association between that font type and your industry. Creating a good logo takes more than a cute design When creating a logo for your new website and business, keep these tips in mind. Color, size, and type are three indispensable components of logo design. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a little while to come up with the perfect logo! After all, it’s one of the first things people think of when they think of your business, so it’s important to take the time to iterate and create something special. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. The post Design and Create The Right Business Logo For Your Audience appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Backup a WordPress Website in 10 Minutes or Less

InMotion Hosting Blog -

One of the most common questions that new WordPress website owners ask is how to backup their WordPress website in 10 minutes or less. With the right plugin, this is actually a pretty easy task. But it is also an essential task to undertake regularly. If your site crashes or is hacked, your backup will be your last save point from which you can quickly restore your site. If you don’t have one, then you are going to have to restart from scratch without any of the data that you may have compiled over months or even years. Continue reading How to Backup a WordPress Website in 10 Minutes or Less at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Podcast 296: [Public Sector Special Series #5] – Creating Better Educational Outcomes Using AWS | February 6, 2019

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Cesar Wedemann (QEDU) talks to Simon about how they gather Education data and provide this data to teachers and public schools to improve education in Brazil. They developed a free-access portal that offers easy visualization of brazilian Education open data. Additional Resources QEDU About the AWS Podcast The AWS Podcast is a cloud platform podcast for developers, dev ops, and cloud professionals seeking the latest news and trends in storage, security, infrastructure, serverless, and more. Join Simon Elisha and Jeff Barr for regular updates, deep dives and interviews. Whether you’re building machine learning and AI models, open source projects, or hybrid cloud solutions, the AWS Podcast has something for you. Subscribe with one of the following: Like the Podcast? Rate us on iTunes and send your suggestions, show ideas, and comments to awspodcast@amazon.com. We want to hear from you!

Bringing eCommerce to Life with WP Engine

WP Engine -

UK-based Bamboo Clothing has been providing customers with reasonably-priced, bamboo-infused clothing since 2006. As the company has continued to grow, its eCommerce team has increasingly had to make changes to the company website, in an effort to keep up with growing demand. As that workload got larger over the years, the team found that the custom-built, legacy system they… The post Bringing eCommerce to Life with WP Engine appeared first on WP Engine.

5 VPS Hosting Nightmares That Will Surprise You (And How To Fix Them)

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Halloween is long past, but your worst VPS hosting nightmares may be unfolding today. And what is your host doing to help out? There’s a horde of cheap hosting companies that are keen on selling you a VPS without making you aware of a few simple maintenance tasks you should perform regularly. Fear not, this is how Managed Hosting can save you. If you’re concerned about any of the points mentioned in this article, take note and ask a managed hosting expert for more information. Continue reading 5 VPS Hosting Nightmares That Will Surprise You (And How To Fix Them) at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Better business results from faster web applications - Cloudflare is the fastest

CloudFlare Blog -

Web performance encompasses a lot of things: page load time, responsiveness for web and mobile applications. But overall, the key element is response times. How quickly can the origin server or the cache fulfill a user request? How quickly can a DNS response reach the client device?The Cloudflare mission is to help build a better Internet to everyone, and we offer multiple services for boosting the speed and performance of our customers and users. Cloudflare is faster than the competition when it comes to accelerating performance.How site speed impacts the bottom lineThere is a lot of research out there that confirms what many businesses and web developers already know: speed affects revenue. Better web performance means better user engagement and more conversions. Better performance also results in better SEO, driving up overall traffic numbers and increasing lead generation, sales, or ad revenue.One study by Google and Bing concluded that on average, a two-second delay in a website's page rendering led to a 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor. Another independent study has shown that 1 additional second of load time reduces conversions by 7%.How does using Cloudflare affect performance?According to testing from Cedexis (a company that evaluates CDN performance):Cloudflare is over 50 milliseconds or 23% faster than the nearest competitor over HTTPS for the 95th percentileCloudflare performs better than all competitors over HTTPS at both the 50th and 95th percentileCloudflare performs better than all competitors over HTTP at both the 50th and 95th percentileHTTPS performance at 95th percentileHTTP performance at 95th percentileTranslating domain names into IP addresses quickly and with authority needs an enterprise-ready DNS.  Each webpage requires multiple requests and responses in order to load, so an improvement of even a few milliseconds in how DNS queries are answered adds up quickly.  That's why it's so important to us that our DNS resolvers are the fastest available. According to DNSPerf (a DNS performance benchmarking service):Cloudflare is the fastest authoritative DNS provider, 30% faster globally than the next-fastest competitorCloudflare is the fastest public resolver, almost 30% faster globally than the next-fastest public DNS resolverDNS performanceWe've seen this in action; customers have reported large performance gains as a result of implementing Cloudflare. Zendesk, for example, improved their response times by 10x, and OKCupid was able to cut their page load times by up to 50% by implementing Cloudflare.How Cloudflare technology boosts business resultsCloudflare has a wide range of customers, from small businesses to large enterprises, but across all of them there's a similar story: Users engage more, convert more, and bounce less when content renders quickly. For instance, improving page load speed resulted in 62% more conversions for U.S. Xpress. Bidu grew leads by 30% year over year by reducing average full page load times from 13 seconds to 2.3 seconds.Our innovative products and services help speed up applications and websites:Argo: Cloudflare Argo uses smart routing to find the fastest, least congested path across the Cloudflare network.CDN: The Cloudflare globally distributed CDN caches web content across 165+ global data centers to supercharge web performance.DNS: Cloudflare DNS services shave crucial milliseconds off requests for a DNS lookup.Load Balancing: Cloudflare balances traffic across multiple servers or regions and uses health checks to identify offline servers.Web Optimizations: Cloudflare optimizes web content delivery by bundling JavaScript files, leveraging local storage, adjusting cache headers automatically, and more.Improving page speed and performance results in higher conversion rates, better user engagement. Cloudflare provides the fastest performance for web applications.Sign up here or speak to one of our experts to get started.

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