SiteGround Blog

jHackGuard Received a Major Update!

Since we initially released jHackGuard back in 2010, it has been shipped with all the Joomlas installed on SiteGround servers and has additionally been downloaded more than 86,000 times from our download pages. What started as an internal tool for protecting Joomla sites under attack has turned into a really successful plugin that has helped thousands. Today we are happy to announce the release of a major jHackGuard update which greatly extends its functionality. What’s New in This Release? First of all, the user interface got a significant update. We hope that it will be easier than ever to enable, configure and use jHackGuard! Since it’s now a pack of a component and plugin, we’re not limited to the options page for plugins.  In addition to that, you can now see all the logged activity right in the component instead of having to browse through log files manually.  We have also added BotScout support to the plugin. This is a free database of spam bots that’s been maintained regularly. When enabled, this functionality will use that database to prevent spam bots from submitting any data on your site. The next functionality we’ve added is the integrated firewall that allows you to blacklist and whitelist IP addresses and networks. This basically gives you the ability to protect your site from DoS and Brute Force attacks from certain IPs and at the same time to make sure that your own address will always have access to your site. Last but not least, the patterns and rules that we use to protect you from being hacked are now located on a separate server and not hard-coded within the what used to be a plugin itself. This will allow us to update the firewall rules much more often and act immediately when new vulnerabilities emerge. In the past, we had to release an update of the plugin in order to add new checks and now we can do this instantly. How to Update? Updating to the next version of jHackGuard is really, really easy. Simply download it from our jHackGuard page  and install it on top of the old plugin. For more information on that matter, please check our tutorial on how to install Joomla extensions. The installer will automatically remove the old plugin and replace it with the new component + plugin package. The new update is available only for Joomla 3. If you are still using Joomla 1.5 and 2.5 you should continue to use the old versions of our plugin compatible with your Joomla version.

jHackGuard Received a Major Update!

Since we initially released jHackGuard back in 2010, it has been shipped with all the Joomlas installed on SiteGround servers and has additionally been downloaded more than 86,000 times from our download pages. What started as an internal tool for protecting Joomla sites under attack has turned into a really successful plugin that has helped thousands. Today we are happy to announce the release of a major jHackGuard update which greatly extends its functionality. What’s New in This Release? First of all, the user interface got a significant update. We hope that it will be easier than ever to enable, configure and use jHackGuard! Since it’s now a pack of a component and plugin, we’re not limited to the options page for plugins.  In addition to that, you can now see all the logged activity right in the component instead of having to browse through log files manually.  We have also added BotScout support to the plugin. This is a free database of spam bots that’s been maintained regularly. When enabled, this functionality will use that database to prevent spam bots from submitting any data on your site. The next functionality we’ve added is the integrated firewall that allows you to blacklist and whitelist IP addresses and networks. This basically gives you the ability to protect your site from DoS and Brute Force attacks from certain IPs and at the same time to make sure that your own address will always have access to your site. Last but not least, the patterns and rules that we use to protect you from being hacked are now located on a separate server and not hard-coded within the what used to be a plugin itself. This will allow us to update the firewall rules much more often and act immediately when new vulnerabilities emerge. In the past, we had to release an update of the plugin in order to add new checks and now we can do this instantly. How to Update? Updating to the next version of jHackGuard is really, really easy. Simply download it from our jHackGuard page  and install it on top of the old plugin. For more information on that matter, please check our tutorial on how to install Joomla extensions. The installer will automatically remove the old plugin and replace it with the new component + plugin package. The new update is available only for Joomla 3. If you are still using Joomla 1.5 and 2.5 you should continue to use the old versions of our plugin compatible with your Joomla version.

WP eCommerce Plugin Vulnerability Fixed

Yesterday Sucuri reported a new vulnerability in WP eCommerce – a popular WordPress plugin for online stores. The vulnerability allows attackers to obtain private information from websites. All versions of the WP eCommerce extension before 3.8.14.4 are vulnerable and attackers may export all user accounts, addresses and other information related to people, who used your site and the plugin to purchase any products from your site. We immediately wrote our own WAF security rules to block malicious requests that try to take advantage of this vulnerability. We performed extensive tests to make sure that regular requests will not be blocked. However, in some cases malicious requests cannot be differentiated from regular authorized requests and some users may be blocked by our WAF even if they are the administrators of the site. We advise all site owners that use the WP eCommerce extension to upgrade it to the latest stable version 3.8.14.4. If you’re using the WP eCommerce extension and you see an error that your request is blocked by our WAF please post a support ticket via our HelpDesk and we will resolve the case for you.

WP eCommerce Plugin Vulnerability Fixed

Yesterday Sucuri reported a new vulnerability in WP eCommerce – a popular WordPress plugin for online stores. The vulnerability allows attackers to obtain private information from websites. All versions of the WP eCommerce extension before 3.8.14.4 are vulnerable and attackers may export all user accounts, addresses and other information related to people, who used your site and the plugin to purchase any products from your site. We immediately wrote our own WAF security rules to block malicious requests that try to take advantage of this vulnerability. We performed extensive tests to make sure that regular requests will not be blocked. However, in some cases malicious requests cannot be differentiated from regular authorized requests and some users may be blocked by our WAF even if they are the administrators of the site. We advise all site owners that use the WP eCommerce extension to upgrade it to the latest stable version 3.8.14.4. If you’re using the WP eCommerce extension and you see an error that your request is blocked by our WAF please post a support ticket via our HelpDesk and we will resolve the case for you.

SiteGround Partners with WP Rocket

Site speed has always been a priority for SiteGround. As you know we carefully choose our hardware, we do a lot of customizations on the server software and we have added Varnish and Memcached support within our SuperCacher plugin. All this is done to provide you the fastest possible environment. However, the speed of your site depends not only on the environment it’s hosted on but on the way it’s built and handled by browsers too. This is why we’re happy to announce our partnership with the creators of the WP Rocket plugin for WordPress which can further optimize the speed of your WordPress by improving the way it is opened by the browsers. How WP Rocket Helps your Site Become Faster? The plugin provides you with few ways to improve the speed of your site but its strongest part and what grabbed my attention immediately is the way it handles JS and CSS minifications. This functionality is not new, and there are many plugins that try to optimize you JS and CSS code for faster loading times. However, it can be a tricky business and if not done right, it can actually break your site and prevent it from loading properly. I have tested WP Rocket minification on a site with a pretty messed up CSS, which I have been able to break with almost any other similar WordPress plugin. It felt great that the WP Rocket was able to handle this complex case without any problems. On top of that, the minified CSS & JS files are cached which further reduces the loading time of your pages. The next optimization provided by WP Rocket is called Lazy Image Loading. Basically, upon the initial load, your page will render only the images that are visible to the visitor. If you have a lot of images on your page, they will be loaded by a JavaScript when you scroll down towards the end of the page. The best example for this technique is Facebook and the way it shows more and more posts while you scroll down. Finally, WP Rocket provides an option to enable page caching for your WordPress site. If you enable this feature, the final result of your pages will be saved into static files and then served to your visitors. Note, however, that if you are using the Dynamic cache option of the SiteGround SuperCacher on your website, you don’t need to enable this particular option because the SuperCacher operates on server level, stores its data into the RAM and results in much faster loading time for your pages. What is the Partnership About? To begin with, the WP Rocket developers have tested their plugin on our servers extensivly making sure that everything is working perfectly. Furthermore, they have added SuperCacher support to the plugin. This means that when you delete your WP Rocket cache, it will automatically purge our dynamic cache too. Next, we have a special promotion valid for SiteGround customers. Click on the banner in the Resources page in your Customer Area and you will get the exclusive 20% off discount for purchasing WP Rocket! Both our teams are really passionate about site speed and performance optimization. We hope that our partnership will help more easily improve the speed of their sites and achieve better results with them!

SiteGround Partners with WP Rocket

Site speed has always been a priority for SiteGround. As you know we carefully choose our hardware, we do a lot of customizations on the server software and we have added Varnish and Memcached support within our SuperCacher plugin. All this is done to provide you the fastest possible environment. However, the speed of your site depends not only on the environment it’s hosted on but on the way it’s built and handled by browsers too. This is why we’re happy to announce our partnership with the creators of the WP Rocket plugin for WordPress which can further optimize the speed of your WordPress by improving the way it is opened by the browsers. How WP Rocket Helps your Site Become Faster? The plugin provides you with few ways to improve the speed of your site but its strongest part and what grabbed my attention immediately is the way it handles JS and CSS minifications. This functionality is not new, and there are many plugins that try to optimize you JS and CSS code for faster loading times. However, it can be a tricky business and if not done right, it can actually break your site and prevent it from loading properly. I have tested WP Rocket minification on a site with a pretty messed up CSS, which I have been able to break with almost any other similar WordPress plugin. It felt great that the WP Rocket was able to handle this complex case without any problems. On top of that, the minified CSS & JS files are cached which further reduces the loading time of your pages. The next optimization provided by WP Rocket is called Lazy Image Loading. Basically, upon the initial load, your page will render only the images that are visible to the visitor. If you have a lot of images on your page, they will be loaded by a JavaScript when you scroll down towards the end of the page. The best example for this technique is Facebook and the way it shows more and more posts while you scroll down. Finally, WP Rocket provides an option to enable page caching for your WordPress site. If you enable this feature, the final result of your pages will be saved into static files and then served to your visitors. Note, however, that if you are using the Dynamic cache option of the SiteGround SuperCacher on your website, you don’t need to enable this particular option because the SuperCacher operates on server level, stores its data into the RAM and results in much faster loading time for your pages. What is the Partnership About? To begin with, the WP Rocket developers have tested their plugin on our servers extensivly making sure that everything is working perfectly. Furthermore, they have added SuperCacher support to the plugin. This means that when you delete your WP Rocket cache, it will automatically purge our dynamic cache too. Next, we have a special promotion valid for SiteGround customers. Click on the banner in the Resources page in your Customer Area and you will get the exclusive 20% off discount for purchasing WP Rocket! Both our teams are really passionate about site speed and performance optimization. We hope that our partnership will help more easily improve the speed of their sites and achieve better results with them!

How do we compare to other hosts? – video and slides from the affiliate webinar

The second webinar of our Affiliate Series aims to help people who recommend SiteGround be well prepared for the question: what makes SiteGround different from all the rest? We have done detailed real-life tests with 12 hosting companies we consider close competitors and in the webinar we will show some real numbers about: How much faster exactly a website is on SiteGround servers How our reaction to security issues is the most efficient out there How much faster we resolve our customer support requests You will also learn how do we achieve such great results and how to use this information to convince easier your referees that SiteGround is the best choice.  

How do we compare to other hosts? – video and slides from the affiliate webinar

The second webinar of our Affiliate Series aims to help people who recommend SiteGround be well prepared for the question: what makes SiteGround different from all the rest? We have done detailed real-life tests with 12 hosting companies we consider close competitors and in the webinar we will show some real numbers about: How much faster exactly a website is on SiteGround servers How our reaction to security issues is the most efficient out there How much faster we resolve our customer support requests You will also learn how do we achieve such great results and how to use this information to convince easier your referees that SiteGround is the best choice.  

Time to Say Goodbye to SSL Version 3.0

It is no secret that securing your client’s data is an ongoing process and not something that you can simply install on a server/platform. That is why security solutions and protocols evolve all the time and developers frequently release new versions. The two cryptographic protocols that provide communication security over the Internet are TLS and SSL. The latest version of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL version 3.0) is the predecessor of TLS and is nearly 15 years old. So it was only a matter of time for someone to find the next big issue related to the SSL protocol. Yesterday Bodo Möller from the Google Security Team wrote a blog post about a new vulnerability in the design of SSL version 3.0. The vulnerability allows attackers to calculate the plain text of secure connections. Possible Fixes: There are two ways to protect yourself. The first and best way to mitigate this problem is to completely disable SSL version 3.0 on all of your servers and also remove SSL 3.0 support from all client products. For example, Google officially announced in the same blog post that in the coming months they will remove SSL version 3.0 support from all of their client products (including the Google Chrome browser). Cloudflare and Sucuri already stopped supporting it. All other major browsers will also disable SSLv3 by default (Firefox version 34 will be released on Nov 25). The second solution is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV. This is a solution which prevents attackers from tricking browsers to use the old SSLv3 protocol instead of the TLS protocol. However, this solution is difficult to implement (many people will need to manually compile custom version of openssl) and it is only a new patch which solves this issue but does not provide any guarantees that SSLv3 won’t become vulnerable again a week from now. Our Solution: Based on a detailed analysis of our network and the traffic towards our servers we decided to completely remove SSL version 3.0 support. As a matter of fact, a big portion of our servers have already been configured to support only the TLS encryption protocol and we’re in the process of reconfiguring all machines that are part of our infrastructure. Possible Issues: We know that some web applications still use SSLv3. Let’s say that for example a developer has decided to configure his/her PHP app to use SSLv3 via the CURLOPT_SSLVERSION option. Unfortunately, if such application connects to our servers, the connection will not be established and the developer will need to patch the code of the app. Our analysis shows that less than 0.05% of all traffic towards our servers is SSLv3. Thus, we do not expect such issues to occur, but we still encourage our customers to contact us via our Helpdesk if they notice any SSL-related issues.

Time to Say Goodbye to SSL Version 3.0

It is no secret that securing your client’s data is an ongoing process and not something that you can simply install on a server/platform. That is why security solutions and protocols evolve all the time and developers frequently release new versions. The two cryptographic protocols that provide communication security over the Internet are TLS and SSL. The latest version of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL version 3.0) is the predecessor of TLS and is nearly 15 years old. So it was only a matter of time for someone to find the next big issue related to the SSL protocol. Yesterday Bodo Möller from the Google Security Team wrote a blog post about a new vulnerability in the design of SSL version 3.0. The vulnerability allows attackers to calculate the plain text of secure connections. Possible Fixes: There are two ways to protect yourself. The first and best way to mitigate this problem is to completely disable SSL version 3.0 on all of your servers and also remove SSL 3.0 support from all client products. For example, Google officially announced in the same blog post that in the coming months they will remove SSL version 3.0 support from all of their client products (including the Google Chrome browser). Cloudflare and Sucuri already stopped supporting it. All other major browsers will also disable SSLv3 by default (Firefox version 34 will be released on Nov 25). The second solution is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV. This is a solution which prevents attackers from tricking browsers to use the old SSLv3 protocol instead of the TLS protocol. However, this solution is difficult to implement (many people will need to manually compile custom version of openssl) and it is only a new patch which solves this issue but does not provide any guarantees that SSLv3 won’t become vulnerable again a week from now. Our Solution: Based on a detailed analysis of our network and the traffic towards our servers we decided to completely remove SSL version 3.0 support. As a matter of fact, a big portion of our servers have already been configured to support only the TLS encryption protocol and we’re in the process of reconfiguring all machines that are part of our infrastructure. Possible Issues: We know that some web applications still use SSLv3. Let’s say that for example a developer has decided to configure his/her PHP app to use SSLv3 via the CURLOPT_SSLVERSION option. Unfortunately, if such application connects to our servers, the connection will not be established and the developer will need to patch the code of the app. Our analysis shows that less than 0.05% of all traffic towards our servers is SSLv3. Thus, we do not expect such issues to occur, but we still encourage our customers to contact us via our Helpdesk if they notice any SSL-related issues.

WordCamp Europe – First Time Organizer Perspective

Photo by Vladimir Kaladan Petkov For the last few months there have been times that I wasn’t present at the office, I could not attend some of the weekly SiteGround meetings and I have neglected a lot of the internal mail communication, that needed my attention. But it was all for a great reason — I was lucky and honored to be part of the core organizing team of what turned out to be one of the most successful WordCamps. With 2 conference days, a packed Contributors Day and almost 800 people in attendance, I dare to say that WordCamp Europe was one of the best and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been part of. How Did All This Happen in the First Place? Up until #WCEU my WordCamps involvement consisted of representing SiteGround on many of the events we sponsor and communicating with the organizers about all sponsorship related things. It just happened naturally that during the last 2 years I also got involved with our local community (which is absolutely awesome btw!) by helping organize WordCamp Sofia and the Local WordPress 10th anniversary celebration, which SiteGround supported as well. So when a call for WordCamp Europe organizers was put up and after the amazing WordCamp Sofia we had the previous year, SiteGround encouraged me to join the rest of the WordCamp Sofia organizers and to be part of the team that will apply to organize the event here. The rest is history as they say. Once we knew that Sofia was chosen to host WordCamp Europe, SiteGround decided to dedicate part of my work time to organizing the event and I am so glad they did. Now that the dust has settled, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the event and share some insights about the challenges I faced and lessons I learned as an organizer. 1. Volunteer Work ≠ Little Work ⇒ Dedicate Time if you Want to do it Right. WordCamp Europe is 100% volunteer organized and also incredibly time consuming. If SiteGround hadn’t decided that part of my work time will be dedicated to this event, I would not have been able to do even 1/10 of what I actually did and I would have never been as involved with WCEU. So my advice to future WordCamp organizers would be: if you are a freelancer or self employed, accept the fact that you will be spending a lot of your time on the event and your normal routine and projects will probably fall behind. If you are employed, you’d better convince your boss that it’s well worth it to dedicate part of your work time to work on the event. I am lucky enough that SiteGround didn’t need any convincing on that part, on the contrary – as firm believers in contributing to WordPress, they encouraged me and here’s the time to say a huge thanks for not only allowing me but also helping me with the organization of this amazing event. 2. Don’t be Afraid to Step up and Take Responsibility. Be Proactive. WordCamp Europe was organized by a team of 15 people. 10 of the organizers were located all over Europe part of which participated in last year’s WCEU organization, and 5 of us were first time WCEU organizers and were here in Sofia. Working mainly at SiteGroud for the last 8+ years, I am used to act in an environment where roles are clear, communication is mostly face to face, tasks are distributed quite quickly and job’s being done pretty fast. Probably this explains my initial frustration during the first weeks after I started working as part of the WCEU organization team, where all the communication was only online through Skype and P2, there seemed to be lack of clear structure, immediate todos and material results. I was the new kid on the block and wasn’t sure what was the best approach to this situation. This was a crucial moment when I could have easily become discouraged and disconnected, but instead I decided to take the initiative in my hands instead of passively waiting for someone to assign tasks to me. After all I was the one with the best idea what I am good at, so I stepped up, assigned myself the tasks I was OK with and started working on them. The rest was a question of good communication to the other team members and lots of enthusiasm to get things done. 3. Communicate – Be as Precise, Clear, Justified and Timely as Possible With a team this big and distributed, it’s needless to say that communication is the key to get the job done. Everyone on the team needs to be up to date with the progress of your work and should be able to provide feedback. For example, as a person on the ground taking care of the venue and food, I made sure I posted detailed pictures of the venue with suggested layouts, decoration, and signage. I also described my catering research process and the requirements I had for the food. Also, whenever I had an idea or suggestion, I made sure to explain it as good as possible and justify it. I should admit that sometimes when being short on time and deprived of sleep I was tempted to just inform briefly the others about a decision I have already made and avoid discussion. However, resisting this temptation and actually being willing to hear what the others have to say has always led to great results. Outgoing communication to speakers, sponsors and volunteers is as important as your internal team communication. Those people are going to set the vibe for the event and it’s only going to be positive if they’ve been treated well by the organizers. One thing we could have done better this year is precisely communication to speakers – we delayed our responses to the people who applied to speak and we know that this made travels planning for some of them a bit hectic. 4. Start with the Budget – It’s the First Step to a Great Event When I started working on the budget for WordCamp Europe, I had no idea that it will require so much time. However, after I was through with the task, I was thankful for every minute spent on it. If there’s one thing to recommend to future WordCamp organizers it is: take the time to do your budget right. Detailed and proper planning of our budget gave us 3 immediate benefits: 1) We had done the big part of the research process on the vendors we would later work with for food, t-shirts, coffee breaks, printing, etc and this made our work afterwards much easier. 2) We knew exactly how much money we needed to raise from sponsors and got our sponsorship packages ready. 3) We were able to set an affordable price for our event and attract as many people as possible. WordCamp Europe ticket price was only 30 Euro which is one of the least expensive WordCamp tickets so far. 5. Enjoy it! I failed miserably at this one several times mostly because I am diagnosed with perfectionism and lack of patience, but the sooner you accept that some things will happen slow and over others you do not have full control, the better. I am incredibly thankful to absolutely everyone from our organizing team for the patience and the support in the difficult moments (I need to mention especially Petya and Veselin as they have seen the worst of me) and trusting me to be part of the most epic WordCamp to date. No matter how stressful and busy it was at times, this was well worth it and I am glad and thankful that I did it. P.S. Always remember to wash your apples  

WordCamp Europe – First Time Organizer Perspective

Photo by Vladimir Kaladan Petkov For the last few months there have been times that I wasn’t present at the office, I could not attend some of the weekly SiteGround meetings and I have neglected a lot of the internal mail communication, that needed my attention. But it was all for a great reason — I was lucky and honored to be part of the core organizing team of what turned out to be one of the most successful WordCamps. With 2 conference days, a packed Contributors Day and almost 800 people in attendance, I dare to say that WordCamp Europe was one of the best and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been part of. How Did All This Happen in the First Place? Up until #WCEU my WordCamps involvement consisted of representing SiteGround on many of the events we sponsor and communicating with the organizers about all sponsorship related things. It just happened naturally that during the last 2 years I also got involved with our local community (which is absolutely awesome btw!) by helping organize WordCamp Sofia and the Local WordPress 10th anniversary celebration, which SiteGround supported as well. So when a call for WordCamp Europe organizers was put up and after the amazing WordCamp Sofia we had the previous year, SiteGround encouraged me to join the rest of the WordCamp Sofia organizers and to be part of the team that will apply to organize the event here. The rest is history as they say. Once we knew that Sofia was chosen to host WordCamp Europe, SiteGround decided to dedicate part of my work time to organizing the event and I am so glad they did. Now that the dust has settled, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the event and share some insights about the challenges I faced and lessons I learned as an organizer. 1. Volunteer Work ≠ Little Work ⇒ Dedicate Time if you Want to do it Right. WordCamp Europe is 100% volunteer organized and also incredibly time consuming. If SiteGround hadn’t decided that part of my work time will be dedicated to this event, I would not have been able to do even 1/10 of what I actually did and I would have never been as involved with WCEU. So my advice to future WordCamp organizers would be: if you are a freelancer or self employed, accept the fact that you will be spending a lot of your time on the event and your normal routine and projects will probably fall behind. If you are employed, you’d better convince your boss that it’s well worth it to dedicate part of your work time to work on the event. I am lucky enough that SiteGround didn’t need any convincing on that part, on the contrary – as firm believers in contributing to WordPress, they encouraged me and here’s the time to say a huge thanks for not only allowing me but also helping me with the organization of this amazing event. 2. Don’t be Afraid to Step up and Take Responsibility. Be Proactive. WordCamp Europe was organized by a team of 15 people. 10 of the organizers were located all over Europe part of which participated in last year’s WCEU organization, and 5 of us were first time WCEU organizers and were here in Sofia. Working mainly at SiteGroud for the last 8+ years, I am used to act in an environment where roles are clear, communication is mostly face to face, tasks are distributed quite quickly and job’s being done pretty fast. Probably this explains my initial frustration during the first weeks after I started working as part of the WCEU organization team, where all the communication was only online through Skype and P2, there seemed to be lack of clear structure, immediate todos and material results. I was the new kid on the block and wasn’t sure what was the best approach to this situation. This was a crucial moment when I could have easily become discouraged and disconnected, but instead I decided to take the initiative in my hands instead of passively waiting for someone to assign tasks to me. After all I was the one with the best idea what I am good at, so I stepped up, assigned myself the tasks I was OK with and started working on them. The rest was a question of good communication to the other team members and lots of enthusiasm to get things done. 3. Communicate – Be as Precise, Clear, Justified and Timely as Possible With a team this big and distributed, it’s needless to say that communication is the key to get the job done. Everyone on the team needs to be up to date with the progress of your work and should be able to provide feedback. For example, as a person on the ground taking care of the venue and food, I made sure I posted detailed pictures of the venue with suggested layouts, decoration, and signage. I also described my catering research process and the requirements I had for the food. Also, whenever I had an idea or suggestion, I made sure to explain it as good as possible and justify it. I should admit that sometimes when being short on time and deprived of sleep I was tempted to just inform briefly the others about a decision I have already made and avoid discussion. However, resisting this temptation and actually being willing to hear what the others have to say has always led to great results. Outgoing communication to speakers, sponsors and volunteers is as important as your internal team communication. Those people are going to set the vibe for the event and it’s only going to be positive if they’ve been treated well by the organizers. One thing we could have done better this year is precisely communication to speakers – we delayed our responses to the people who applied to speak and we know that this made travels planning for some of them a bit hectic. 4. Start with the Budget – It’s the First Step to a Great Event When I started working on the budget for WordCamp Europe, I had no idea that it will require so much time. However, after I was through with the task, I was thankful for every minute spent on it. If there’s one thing to recommend to future WordCamp organizers it is: take the time to do your budget right. Detailed and proper planning of our budget gave us 3 immediate benefits: 1) We had done the big part of the research process on the vendors we would later work with for food, t-shirts, coffee breaks, printing, etc and this made our work afterwards much easier. 2) We knew exactly how much money we needed to raise from sponsors and got our sponsorship packages ready. 3) We were able to set an affordable price for our event and attract as many people as possible. WordCamp Europe ticket price was only 30 Euro which is one of the least expensive WordCamp tickets so far. 5. Enjoy it! I failed miserably at this one several times mostly because I am diagnosed with perfectionism and lack of patience, but the sooner you accept that some things will happen slow and over others you do not have full control, the better. I am incredibly thankful to absolutely everyone from our organizing team for the patience and the support in the difficult moments (I need to mention especially Petya and Veselin as they have seen the worst of me) and trusting me to be part of the most epic WordCamp to date. No matter how stressful and busy it was at times, this was well worth it and I am glad and thankful that I did it. P.S. Always remember to wash your apples  

SiteGround Affiliates Area Webinar – Video and Slides Available

As firm believers in educating and empowering all our clients and affiliates, we extended our webinars tradition and last week started a new webinar series for SiteGround affiliates. I was honored to present the first webinar which was focused on the tools and features available in our affiliate area. As the tradition goes, we’re making the video reply and slides publicly available, so feel free to watch here and download! Next Affiliate Webinar – October 22nd The 2nd webinar from the series will be on October 22nd and will reveal how SiteGround services compare to other hosts. As a SiteGround affiliate you probably hear that question a lot, so we’ve done some detailed real-life tests with leading hosting companies to answer this question. Our marketing director will reveal some interesting numbers, so hurry up and register for the webinar today. Space is limited

SiteGround Affiliates Area Webinar – Video and Slides Available

As firm believers in educating and empowering all our clients and affiliates, we extended our webinars tradition and last week started a new webinar series for SiteGround affiliates. I was honored to present the first webinar which was focused on the tools and features available in our affiliate area. As the tradition goes, we’re making the video reply and slides publicly available, so feel free to watch here and download! Next Affiliate Webinar – October 22nd The 2nd webinar from the series will be on October 22nd and will reveal how SiteGround services compare to other hosts. As a SiteGround affiliate you probably hear that question a lot, so we’ve done some detailed real-life tests with leading hosting companies to answer this question. Our marketing director will reveal some interesting numbers, so hurry up and register for the webinar today. Space is limited

Major Bash Vulnerability Fixed on All Servers

A major security flaw was discovered in the most popular shell (Bash) which is used by default in many Linux and Unix distributions. A shell is a program that takes your commands (accessing folders, listing files, etc.) that you type and sends them to the operating system to be executed. The Bash vulnerability, also known as Shellshock, allows attackers to issue arbitrary commands via crafted environment variables. The bad thing about this specific vulnerability is that it is fairly easy to craft such a request and attack a server. In addition, the vulnerability affects all types of devices and not only web servers – routers, some mobile devices, Linux computers and even Mac OS X devices are also affected. There is a simple test that will show you if you’re vulnerable. Just run the following command within your shell: env X="() { :;} ; echo BUSTED" /bin/sh -c "echo test" If you see the word “BUSTED” echoed back then your Bash version is vulnerable and you have to update. Now that you’re scared it’s time for the good news. All SiteGround servers were patched in less than 24 hours the vulnerability was announced. In addition, our unique server setup including the special chroot isolation has made it highly unlikely for any attacker to have been able to utilize this vulnerability and gain access to sensitive information even before the patch. If you have an account on our servers you don’t need to do anything because we’ve got you covered. However, please remember that this vulnerability also affects other devices and not only web servers. If you’re using Linux as your operating system you need to update Bash to the latest available stable version just to make sure that you’re not at risk.

Major Bash Vulnerability Fixed on All Servers

A major security flaw was discovered in the most popular shell (Bash) which is used by default in many Linux and Unix distributions. A shell is a program that takes your commands (accessing folders, listing files, etc.) that you type and sends them to the operating system to be executed. The Bash vulnerability, also known as Shellshock, allows attackers to issue arbitrary commands via crafted environment variables. The bad thing about this specific vulnerability is that it is fairly easy to craft such a request and attack a server. In addition, the vulnerability affects all types of devices and not only web servers – routers, some mobile devices, Linux computers and even Mac OS X devices are also affected. There is a simple test that will show you if you’re vulnerable. Just run the following command within your shell: env X="() { :;} ; echo BUSTED" /bin/sh -c "echo test" If you see the word “BUSTED” echoed back then your Bash version is vulnerable and you have to update. Now that you’re scared it’s time for the good news. All SiteGround servers were patched in less than 24 hours the vulnerability was announced. In addition, our unique server setup including the special chroot isolation has made it highly unlikely for any attacker to have been able to utilize this vulnerability and gain access to sensitive information even before the patch. If you have an account on our servers you don’t need to do anything because we’ve got you covered. However, please remember that this vulnerability also affects other devices and not only web servers. If you’re using Linux as your operating system you need to update Bash to the latest available stable version just to make sure that you’re not at risk.

Updated: WordCamp Europe Coming to Sofia!

At SiteGround we definitely love WordCamps. We have been involved as sponsors and speakers in many of them lately. However, the upcoming WordCamp Europe is extra special for us. The reason? It will happen in our home city – Sofia! So apart from being just a sponsor, we get the chance to become much more involved this time: we have a ninja volunteer (Tina) in the main organization team of the event; we will welcome the contribution day in our office and we will be able to share our favorite places and pastimes with all the friends, clients and partners coming to town. Below is the list of events that we organize and anyone attending WordCamp Europe can join: Free Co-Working at SiteGround Office First and foremost, SiteGround office will be open for co-working to all attendees from September 23 (Tuesday) to September 30, 9 am to 7 pm – the whole week before the WordCamp and one day after Contributors Day is over. The office location for those of you who would like to come over is: Adora Business Center, fl 3 8 Racho P. Kazandzhiyata Str. SiteGround Office on Google Maps As entry in the building is controlled, please ping me on Twitter or drop me an email if you plan on coming.  Or just show up at the security desk downstairs and let them call the office. Our office manager Ramelina will come over to pick you up. Bar Hopping Hosted by SiteGround & Human Made Second, SiteGround and HumanMade (a WordPress.com VIP partner and agency for the enterprise) unite to organize a bar hopping on Thursday from 7 p.m. We start at Kanaal bar and every 40-60 min we’ll be changing locations so you can get a tour of one of the nicest areas in Sofia and get to know the best bars in town. SiteGround and HumanMade are paying the beer! To join the fun be at Kanaal bar at 7 p.m 2 Madrid blvd. Bar Kanaal on Google Maps Wakeboarding in Kazichene UPDATE: Because of the bad weather in Sofia we’re cancelling the Wakeboarding activity. Unfortunatelly, temperatures won’t allow us to have fun in the lake without getting cold. Third, for those of you who like extreme sports, I will take you wakeboarding and wakeskating in Kazichene on Thursday (meet time 2pm at the SiteGround office). Obviously, if it’s pouring and the weather is bad, we’ll have to skip that one and maybe replace it with an in-house game in our office (billiards, Dixit, Cards against humanity, Darts, table tennis, we have quite a few). If you are interested in any of these activities, you are welcome to comment under this post, ping me on Twitter or email me so I can keep you posted on all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Sofia!

WordCamp Europe Coming to Sofia!

At SiteGround we definitely love WordCamps. We have been involved as sponsors and speakers in many of them lately. However, the upcoming WordCamp Europe is extra special for us. The reason? It will happen in our home city – Sofia! So apart from being just a sponsor, we get the chance to become much more involved this time: we have a ninja volunteer (Tina) in the main organization team of the event; we will welcome the contribution day in our office and we will be able to share our favorite places and pastimes with all the friends, clients and partners coming to town. Below is the list of events that we organize and anyone attending WordCamp Europe can join: Free Co-Working at SiteGround Office First and foremost, SiteGround office will be open for co-working to all attendees from September 23 (Tuesday) to September 30, 9 am to 7 pm – the whole week before the WordCamp and one day after Contributors Day is over. The office location for those of you who would like to come over is: Adora Business Center, fl 3 8 Racho P. Kazandzhiyata Str. SiteGround Office on Google Maps As entry in the building is controlled, please ping me on Twitter or drop me an email if you plan on coming.  Or just show up at the security desk downstairs and let them call the office. Our office manager Ramelina will come over to pick you up. Bar Hopping Hosted by SiteGround & Human Made Second, SiteGround and HumanMade (a WordPress.com VIP partner and agency for the enterprise) unite to organize a bar hopping on Thursday from 7 p.m. We start at Kanaal bar and every 40-60 min we’ll be changing locations so you can get a tour of one of the nicest areas in Sofia and get to know the best bars in town. SiteGround and HumanMade are paying the beer! To join the fun be at Kanaal bar at 7 p.m 2 Madrid blvd. Bar Kanaal on Google Maps Wakeboarding in Kazichene Third, for those of you who like extreme sports, I will take you wakeboarding and wakeskating in Kazichene on Thursday (meet time 2pm at the SiteGround office). Obviously, if it’s pouring and the weather it’s bad, we’ll have to skip that one and maybe replace it with an in-house game in our office (billiards, Dixit, Cards against humanity, Darts, tennis table, we have quite a few). If you are interested in any of these activities, you are welcome to comment under this post, ping me on Twitter or email me so I can keep you posted on all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Sofia!

WordCamping with Angels

SiteGround was one of the sponsors of the Los Angeles WordCamp 2014 and I was thrilled to be part of the team attending the event. We spent three extremely exciting and rewarding days together with more than 300 other WordPress enthusiasts in the City of Angels. We also had the chance to be involved in many of the great #WCLAX activities including the beginner’s workshop, the selfie scavenger hunt and the contribution Sunday. The Beginner’s Workshop We started out the conference on Friday, September 5th, with the beginners workshop track where attendees were encouraged to make their first steps with WordPress. Everything from setting up a website, choosing a theme and adding content was explained and exercised under the guidance of seasoned speakers such as Gregg Franklin, Adam Silver and our own Philip Artinyan. Phil gave out a talk on how to choose your domain and hosting services – a comprehensive guide on the important things to look for when choosing a company to work with. As part of the SiteGround customer care team, both me and Philip have helped online many people get started with their first projects but doing it face-to-face on the spot was even more exciting. The Great Crowd We spent the majority of the second day of the event on the SiteGround sponsor booth. No words can express the sheer joy of meeting your customers face-to-face and getting positive feedback. We exchanged words and emotions, introduced ourselves to the rest of the crowd and found lots of new friends among the WP enthusiasts. A special thank you goes to all of the organizers for doing such a great job with the event and for organizing together with us the Selfie Scavenger Hunt. During the whole day you could see people taking pictures with speakers, volunteers, newbies and the SiteGround team. The game helped attendees seek out contacts, network and share the fun with each other. Later at the after party we gave out few cool prizes (iPad Air, 2 iPad minis and some professional headphones) to the most diligent selfie hunters. We also had the chance to talk to many more people in a great informal environment and discuss WordPress, social media and how people that come together to share their experience can actually influence and change products and services for the better. The Contribution Day On the last day of the event many people gathered at the Blankspaces DTLA to contribute to the WordPress project. This was my first contribution day and I was surprised to find out how easy it is to give back to the community – all you need is a genuine wish to get involved. The contribution day was extremely well-organized, with dedicated people that were helping all the volunteers get started. A great calm co-working environment formed naturally and made everyone involved feel really good about doing it. WordCamp L.A. turned out to be everything I hoped for. A place that gathered passionate and positive people which eagerly shared their knowledge and skills. We came back home with new ideas, a lot of new friends and fully charged for the next WordCamp event!

WordCamping with Angels

SiteGround was one of the sponsors of the Los Angeles WordCamp 2014 and I was thrilled to be part of the team attending the event. We spent three extremely exciting and rewarding days together with more than 300 other WordPress enthusiasts in the City of Angels. We also had the chance to be involved in many of the great #WCLAX activities including the beginner’s workshop, the selfie scavenger hunt and the contribution Sunday. The Beginner’s Workshop We started out the conference on Friday, September 5th, with the beginners workshop track where attendees were encouraged to make their first steps with WordPress. Everything from setting up a website, choosing a theme and adding content was explained and exercised under the guidance of seasoned speakers such as Gregg Franklin, Adam Silver and our own Philip Artinyan. Phil gave out a talk on how to choose your domain and hosting services – a comprehensive guide on the important things to look for when choosing a company to work with. As part of the SiteGround customer care team, both me and Philip have helped online many people get started with their first projects but doing it face-to-face on the spot was even more exciting. The Great Crowd We spent the majority of the second day of the event on the SiteGround sponsor booth. No words can express the sheer joy of meeting your customers face-to-face and getting positive feedback. We exchanged words and emotions, introduced ourselves to the rest of the crowd and found lots of new friends among the WP enthusiasts. A special thank you goes to all of the organizers for doing such a great job with the event and for organizing together with us the Selfie Scavenger Hunt. During the whole day you could see people taking pictures with speakers, volunteers, newbies and the SiteGround team. The game helped attendees seek out contacts, network and share the fun with each other. Later at the after party we gave out few cool prizes (iPad Air, 2 iPad minis and some professional headphones) to the most diligent selfie hunters. We also had the chance to talk to many more people in a great informal environment and discuss WordPress, social media and how people that come together to share their experience can actually influence and change products and services for the better. The Contribution Day On the last day of the event many people gathered at the Blankspaces DTLA to contribute to the WordPress project. This was my first contribution day and I was surprised to find out how easy it is to give back to the community – all you need is a genuine wish to get involved. The contribution day was extremely well-organized, with dedicated people that were helping all the volunteers get started. A great calm co-working environment formed naturally and made everyone involved feel really good about doing it. WordCamp L.A. turned out to be everything I hoped for. A place that gathered passionate and positive people which eagerly shared their knowledge and skills. We came back home with new ideas, a lot of new friends and fully charged for the next WordCamp event!

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