16 Jul 2018

Learn How to Activate SSL on WordPress

It seems like everyone is talking about SSL encryption and adding it to their website. Whether or not you sell products online, you’re going to want to make sure you activate SSL on your WordPress website right away. You’ll need to do this for a variety of different reasons, including for optimization and the new EU data protection law.

Learning why it’s needed as well as how to add the encryption enables you to make sure your website is secure and you get all of the benefits you’re looking for. Start the process to activate SSL on WordPress now so you can make sure your website visitors know their information is secure every time they visit your website.

SSL Encryption for User Safety

SSL on wordpress for user safetyFor many years, websites have started with HTTP and are now moving toward HTTPS. This signals users that the website is safe to use as they’ll receive a notice if the website certificates do not match the website they’re trying to reach. It’s an added layer of protection that helps anyone who visits a website be sure they’re actually visiting the website they intend to visit and so they can ensure they’re safe if they share any personal information with the website.

Search engines like Google now require SSL encryption and use it for higher rankings. When you’re working on the optimization of your website, if you do not have SSL encryption, you’re missing out on a way to boost your ranking.

This is done is so search engines can help users ensure they’re able to choose a secure website to obtain the information they’re looking for. As of 2018, if your website doesn’t have SSL encryption, visitors will receive a warning that the website might not be secure and they may leave it to check out a competitor’s website.

SSL for All Websites

ssl for e commerce safetyIf you sell products, you may be required to use SSL encryption by the e-commerce websites you’ll use to sell your products. These websites, like the search engines, want to make sure the people using your website are secure and feel comfortable using the website to purchase what they need. They don’t want the risk of giving personal information to a website that might not be secure.

Encryption is also a requirement under the EU Data Protection Law, so your website will need it if you have customers around the world who might want to visit your website. Even if you do not sell anything, if you collect any personal information from the visitors to your website, you will need SSL encryption on your website.

Requirements for Running SSL

There aren’t too many requirements for running SSL on a WordPress website. You’ll mainly need to purchase an SSL certificate and then use WordPress to redirect your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

A number of WordPress hosts will include SSL certificates in some of their plans, so this is likely the easiest way to obtain the certificate. However, if the plan you are using does not include the SSL certificate, you can also purchase one through an SSL certificate provider.

Choosing an SSL Certificate for Your Website

There are a few different types of certificates you can purchase, depending on the type of website you have. Domain Validation is the least expensive type, but only offers basic encryption and is for websites that do not obtain any personal information from visitors.

Organization Validation is the minimal amount of encryption required for e-commerce websites. There are more expensive and thorough types of certificates as well, depending on the encryption your website needs. You’ll want to make sure you choose the right one so you can handle all of your subdomains or so you can make sure you have enough encryption for your users to feel secure on your website.

Activate SSL for Your WordPress Site

WordPress makes it easy for you to change to SSL encryption for your website, but there are still a few things you’ll need to do to make sure everything switches over smoothly. To start, go to the settings and choose general settings to update your site URL address fields. Then, you’ll need to set up SSL redirect to move your pages from HTTP to HTTPS.

There are plugins that make this part easier, which you can use to quickly switch your website from HTTP to HTTPS. If you’d prefer to do this manually, you can add a few lines of code to your .htaccess file. This will force your website to change over from HTTP to HTTPS, but it might not completely change all of your pages, so you’ll need to make sure it’s working properly for your pages.

Check Your Website to Ensure SSL is Activated

How to activate ssl - example

The green padlock signals that a website has activated SSL.

Once you’ve activated SSL for your website, you’ll need to make sure it’s working properly. The easiest way to do this is just to visit your website. Look at the address bar in a browser like Chrome and check the symbol next to your address.

If the symbol is an icon of the globe, your website is not using SSL and you need to go through the activation again to fix any issues. If the symbol is a green lock, your SSL is working properly.

If any of your pages did not update with the code or the plug-in, go ahead and change these manually. This will help ensure they are now encrypted properly. Going forward, your pages should be automatically encrypted with the plugin or code you used, so you won’t have to worry about this.

Nowadays, SSL encryption is more than just something you may want to do for your users to feel secure. You need it if you collect or process personal data on your website or if you’d like to sell products through your website. You also need it to ensure your website is optimized and ranks as highly as possible. Thankfully, once you know what to do, adding SSL encryption to your website isn’t difficult and will start providing the benefits you’re looking for right away.

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15 Jun 2018

You Can Start Building Your Own Website Today

Websites don’t create themselves and they do take a while to get up and running. However, it is possible to create a website today. In fact, it’s something you can start doing right now as long as you know what to do.

Whether you’ve tried to create a website before unsuccessfully or you’re ready to start working on your very first website, knowing what to do and how to do it is vital. You’ll want to make sure you understand every step of creating a website so you can work through each step and design the website you want. Use the information here to start working on a website you can be proud of today.

Purchase a Domain Name to Use

Domain Names for 2017

Chose the domain name carefully

Your domain name is what people will type into their browser to go to your website. This should be chosen carefully as you won’t want to change it later on. That could mean your customers will have to update their bookmarks, so they can easily find your new website.

Your domain name should represent your business. You may want to use your business name or use a word or phrase that’s representative to your business. Be sure your domain name is short and easy to remember when possible so your customers can recognize it later or remember what it is when they want to visit your website again.

Once you have a domain name in mind, you’ll need to purchase the domain name. Most of the time, you’re going to want to purchase one with .com at the end as this looks more professional to your customers. There are other options, but your customer might not remember the ending for your website as easily if you use something else. There are numerous places to purchase a domain name and it’s often inexpensive.

 

Create a Business Email Address

You should have an email address specifically for your website. This helps you separate your website emails from personal emails so you don’t accidentally respond to a customer using your personal email address.

It’s often easier for the customer to recognize your email when it uses your domain name. This way, they can see that emails come from you directly and are more likely to open them to see what you have to say. It also looks more professional and provides a basis for trust between you and your customers.

 

Choose Website Building Software

WYSIWYG editors help to setup a website quick and easy

You don’t need to learn how to code to create a website. You don’t need to spend hours working on it before it’s ready to be published. Today, there are a number of different options for web building software that will help you create your website quickly and easily.

When you use a website building software, you’ll often use a “WYSIWYG” software. This stands for What You See is What You Get, and it means that you’ll be able to see what you’re doing as you’re doing it. If you don’t like how something looks, you can change it and immediately see the chance.

This type of software makes it much easier for you to create the website you want because you can use the software to do all of the hard work. You simply choose what you want and how you want the website to work and the software will do all of the coding to make it happen. This means you can create a basic website in just a few minutes and expand or adjust it as needed.

 

Figure Out Your Website Hosting

You need somewhere to store all of the coding you’ve done with the builder software so it’s online and ready for your customers to see. This is what website hosting does for you. The hosting provider offers the space you need to place your website so it can be seen online and they offer the servers you need to display your website to all of your customers.

There are free options and paid options for website hosting. You’ll want to think carefully about what you need. While free options might be beneficial in the very beginning to help you save money, you might find that you quickly run out of server space and need more. Paid options enable you to share the website with more customers because you have more server space to handle all of the requests to view your website.

 

Create Your Logo

Image of a logo design example

Use a simple and easy-to-remember logo

You’ll need a logo for your website if you do not have one already. There are numerous options for creating a logo, including doing it on your own or paying someone to create one for you. You can also use a logo generator to easily and quickly create a logo. One key thing to remember is that you’ll want to make sure the logo is eye-catching without being overwhelming. Simple logos are often best as they’re easily recognizable by your customers.

Your logo should be used on each page of your website to provide consistency when your customers move through the different pages. You may also use your logo in emails or in other types of correspondence, and your business branding is built around your logo. Be careful to choose one you’re going to want to use both now and in the future to represent your business.

 

Obtain High-Quality Images for Your Website

image of a man taking a look at a photograph in front of a computer screen

High quality images will increase the value of your website

Websites that only include text are boring and might not be something your customer is interested in. They want to see images on your website to show them more about your business and to break up all of the text on your website. Yet, you won’t want to just use any photos on your website. You want to make sure you have high-quality images that will impress your customers.

You can find high-quality images that will work well on your website online or you can take photos on your own. If you decide to take photos on your own, make sure you learn how to take professional photos and edit them to improve them before putting them on your website. If you choose to use photos you can find online, make sure you’re allowed to use them on your website. There are free and paid websites that offer images you can use.

 

Start Using Google Analytics

What’s working on your website? What’s turning customers away? You likely won’t know at the beginning, which is where analytics can be important. You can sign up for Google Analytics as soon as your website is published and it will start tracking everything for you.

When you want to see what pages your customers are viewing the most, where your customers are coming from, or any other information about how your customers use your website, you’ll be able to see it with Google Analytics. It might take a bit before you have enough data to use, but this data is vital for learning how to improve your website and what you can do to draw in more customers for your business.

 

Work on Marketing Your Website

Online marketing actions will help your business to grow

Right now, there is an abundance of different ways to market your website. You’ll want to start with marketing techniques that are going to have the biggest impact, but you may need to limit your marketing budget in the beginning while your website grows. Some types of marketing to look into are paid ads, SEO techniques, and social media marketing.

You can start doing the marketing on your own to save money, but it might be worth the cost to work with a professional. They understand you have a budget to keep and can help you find the right techniques to use to maximize how your budget is used. They have experience working with different types of internet marketing and can help steer you in the right direction.

 

Continue to Improve and Add to Your Website

image of someone sitting in front of a laptop, typing

Keep of your website up-to-date

Creating your website is only the first step. A website shouldn’t ever be “done” and should be improved and added to over time. Though you’ll get the bulk of the website created in the beginning and there may be some steps you won’t repeat, such as purchasing a domain name, you’ll want to continue to update and add to your website.

When your website is updated regularly, you encourage customers to stop by more frequently. They’re going to be interested in what’s new on your website. Regular updates also help optimize your website to draw in new customers and enable you to post information that might encourage new customers to see what you have to offer.

To create a website you will be proud to show to others and that can help you bring in money isn’t something that can be done instantly. But, if you know how to create a website, you can get it up and running quickly. Using these steps, you’ll be able to create your first website and start working on improving it so it can help you reach your goals. Start with the first step today so you can create the website you want.

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15 May 2018

Are you up to date with the new page speed trends?

Page Speed is one of the most important elements of creating a user-friendly web browsing experience.  It is also essential when it comes to search engine rankings.  While average load times change based on a page’s industry and location, there are a few general trends that apply to all businesses with an online presence.

There is no better time than right now for webmasters to evaluate their average load times and learn a few new tips and tricks for improving page speeds across their sites.  Read on to find out about the next anticipated trends.

It Will Be All About Mobile

In fact, the past several years have seen a trend toward increased mobile internet use.  Of course, desktop browsing will likely always play a large roll in internet marketing, but any company that is advertising exclusively or even primarily to desktop users will be increasingly likely to fall by the wayside.

Google released the results of research conducted in early 2017 that proved the majority of mobile browsers, 53% of them to be exact, will leave a mobile page after just three seconds if the page has not begun to load.  Given that average loading times for mobile landing pages are still coming in at just over 20 seconds, that’s bad news for online marketers.

So, what’s the catch?  It’s actually quite simple.  Most mobile pages do not load fully until almost half a minute after browsers have begun to use these mobile sites.

Webmasters can use this information to their advantage by constructing sites designed to begin loading as quickly as possible even if it takes a little bit longer for ads and plugins to load fully.  Any webmaster who is unsure as to whether it’s worth redesigning a page to load faster can check industry averages to find out how their pages stand up to the competition.  If their load times are coming in below industry averages, it’s time to consider starting the new year with a redesigned site.

Average Size

There is undeniably a direct correlation between site speed and site size.  Webmasters who are looking to improve load times can start by checking size-correlated industry averages.

The newest recommendation is that all pages be under 500 KB to improve loading times.  Given that average values hover around 1.88 MB, it should go without saying that most webmasters have their work cut out for them.  Companies can begin optimizing file 

Number of Resources

how to improve page speedOnline resource counts refer to the number of files a browser must download in order to render a page correctly.  Pages that use CSS scripts, images, and other large files in addition to HTML files are taking up a much larger number of resources.  Each extra request from the computer to the server will place additional strain on both ends of the system, so it’s best to keep resource numbers low.

Standard resource numbers among most industries still average more than 100, yet experts recommend that this number be under 50 this year.  Webmasters should note that resources can often be combined or even eliminated completely through a careful redesign.  If done properly, this optimization will result in far lower resource numbers and consequently much faster page loading speeds.

Server Delays

TTFB, or time to first byte, plays almost as large a role in search engine optimization rankings as page loading time. Industry research has shown a clear correlation between TTFB and higher rankings in major search engines, and while it has yet to be proven outright that decreasing a site’s TTFB improves its search engine ranking, there is enough of an obvious correlation to merit further discussion and consideration of this important, yet frequently overlooked, issue.

Just like average page speeds, different industries also have different TTFB averages.  The average of these values across most industries currently comes in at around 2.11 seconds, yet the recommendation now is that webmasters keep their TTFB under 1.3 seconds.  Those who are unsure about current TTFB values can read on for more relevant information.

Helpful Resources

After evaluating industry standards and recommendations for the coming year, webmasters should begin to analyze how their own pages add up.  There are many online tools available that can help, including WebPageTest, Pingdom, Gtmetrix, MachMetrics, and SpeedCurve.

When optimizing pages for increased loading times and TTFB values, be sure to keep industry standards in mind.  The best way to remain competitive in search engine rankings and user-friendliness is to ensure that each page at least meets, and ideally exceeds, these standards now before the competition catches up.

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19 Apr 2018

The best Speed Test Tools

Page speed is the time required for a site to load. It depends on a variety of factors, such as the data center’s connection, the server’s hardware and the site’s design. The more a site is optimized and the higher the quality of its hosting, the faster its load time will be. Some aspects, such as the user’s location and connection speed, can’t be controlled, but others can.

In this guide, readers will learn why page speed is so important and how they can improve it.

Why Page Speed is Important to Users

Page speed is a crucial part of the overall user experience, especially on mobile devices. When a site loads faster, the user’s experience is better and conversions are likely to increase. If a site serves content and generates ad revenue, a shorter load time means that it’s easier for users to navigate between pages.

When sites sell services and products, faster load speeds make it easier for visitors to learn about the company’s offers, fill in lead capture forms, and make purchases. Sites that are designed in a responsive way tend to load faster on mobile devices, which can make it easier for users to find what they need when they’re out and about.

Why Page Speed is Important for SEO

Google has a simple reason for making page speed an important ranking factor: It creates a better user experience. The faster a site loads, the greater the likelihood that the user will have a good experience.

While the search engine prioritizes fast-loading sites, it’s unlikely to hurt a site unless it’s extremely slow to load. According to information from Google, only about one percent of results are affected by page speed ranking indicators.

Ways to Improve Page Load Speeds

how to improve page speedEvery website is unique, and there’s no universal way to optimize page load times. Some sites serve an abundance of unique content and need structures that make it easier, while other sites serve just a few pages. However, certain general tips can improve load speeds and site performance.

  • Select a top-quality server that’s powerful enough to host the site, and is located in a data center with enough bandwidth to accommodate the entire audience.
  • If the site has a global viewership, use a CDN or content delivery network to host images and videos on multiple servers, thereby decreasing load times.
  • If the site is WordPress-based, ensure that there are no unnecessary plugins. Scripts and plugins can substantially increase page load times.

Tools to Check Page Load Speeds

It’s quite easy to check a site’s load speed. There are several tools that load sites from different locations and measure load times; some tools even tell the user which factors are increasing the site’s load time. A few of the best tools are listed below.

  • Google’s PageSpeed Insights: This tool grades mobile and desktop site speeds by retrieving the URL from the appropriate agents. From there, it provides the site’s rank on a scale of 1-100; the higher the rating, the better the site is optimized.
  • Pingdom: This free tool provides a significant amount of information on a site’s speed. Along with an overall grade, the tool offers a visual depiction of the time required for each element to load. Under the Page Analysis tab, users get in-depth data that allows them to examine a site’s overall health.
  • GTMetrix: This tool goes into detail to show users a full history of site load times. It offers various monitoring services and reporting options, and it allows users to export the test history in CSV form.
  • WebPageTest: Here, users get the ability to specify browsers and locations for tests. This is essential for global sites that target a variety of geographical areas and browsers.

Is the Website As Speedy As it Can Be?

Page load speeds are an important yet commonly overlooked factor in SEO and conversion optimization. Use the tools and tips above to find out whether a site is performing to its full potential. If it is not, make increasing the page’s load speed the main SEO priority.

 

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16 Mar 2018

WordPress in 2018

Wordpress LogosWordPress has long been one of the most popular tools for developing new websites and blogs. This platform has already come a long way from its humble origins as a simple blog creation tool, and 2018 is one of its biggest years yet. The CMS is turning 15, and its developers have promised that they already have the biggest software update to the platform since 2014 in the works to celebrate.

It’s undeniable that WordPress 5.0 promises some special changes to come, but what exactly does that mean for the webmasters, bloggers, and small businesses who already make use of WordPress for web design? Whether readers are already avid users of WordPress or are simply trying to plan ahead for future blogs and websites, they can read on to find out about some of the exciting changes that are in the works and anticipated WordPress Trends in 2018.

A Brand New Editor

According to WordPress’s own official development cycle page, the Gutenberg editor, which is the newest version of its already popular editing platform, will bring with it some major changes to themes, designs, and the editor itself.  These changes will include plenty of new features and updates to the CMS admin user interface. The largest part of these updates should be a revamping of the editor used for writing and managing blog posts and web pages, but of course, WordPress’s impressive development team didn’t stop at optimizing its page editor.

Current WordPress users can preview the new features, but it’s unclear as to whether the exact design being previewed will be released as part of the new WordPress 5.0 software package. It’s also important to note that WordPress almost always releases its biggest updates to its paid platform well in advance of releasing them for its free software. Ultimately, no one will know for sure what’s in store until the new editor is officially released in this year.

Changes in Themes

A WordPress Design ThemeThe original WordPress was more or less just a user-friendly platform for creating simple blogs. Of course, the platform has already come a long way from there. Currently, it can handle everything from creating fully-equipped online stores with hundreds of product pages and integrated shopping carts to massive news websites, so it’s safe to assume that future changes will incorporate even more user freedom and personalization of content.

Today’s online marketplace requires more versatile themes and more advanced websites, and WordPress is responding to the changing needs of the online marketplace through offering more themes created with page builders like Visual Composer. These themes should offer users more freedom to create personalized features and incorporate rich content on their sites via the WordPress platform. There are already advanced themes available that incorporate built-in shopping carts and online check-out, with more similar features promised for next year’s update.

Better UX

Microinteraction is the buzzword of the day in the wide world of web design. Webmasters and browsers alike have likely already seen how these changes have begun to manifest themselves on popular apps and websites, and this trend is positioned to make its move to WordPress themes in 2018 as well.

For those who are not yet in the know, microinteractions consist of small interactional elements incorporated into websites with the intent of improving user experience. Current examples of microinteractions include icons that animate when browsers hover over them and visual check marks that appear after users submit forms. While these microinteractions are quite simple, they are also quite effective at encouraging users to interact with websites and remain engaged.

Duotone Themes

2017 was a big year for duotone web design, with more websites adopting this colorful style every day. It’s safe to assume that WordPress 5.0 will incorporate more official themes developed with this new design style in mind. This trend is unsurprising when one considers how the duotone effect is able to help highlight a website’s typography, making it simultaneously more readable and more visually appealing.

Photo-Based Sites

It’s long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and web designers have begun to catch on to the wisdom behind this old axiom. Today, webmasters using WordPress can create page designs that rely heavily on images to capture the attention of browsers and showcase products or services at the same time.  Similarly, many of the new WordPress themes set to be released for 2018 make heavy use of images and large photo-based site designs.

Virtual Reality

Woman wearing virtual reality glasses

While virtual reality used to be a concept that was only found within the realm of science fiction, today it is a reality that is slowly gaining in popularity among mainstream markets. New virtual reality gadgets, devices, games, and tours are being developed all the time, so it’s safe to assume that 2018 should herald in the support of virtual reality on websites as well.

While WordPress does fully support devices like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift, its developers have yet to release any themes specifically focused on virtual reality features. Virtual reality enthusiasts are hoping that the coming updates will include at least one WordPress theme that focuses on built-in virtual reality features. In the meantime, though, developers can at least optimize their websites for virtual reality compatibility through using plugins like VR image galleries, product tours, and videos.

The Future of WordPress

2017 was undeniably a big year for WordPress, and 2018 is already set to follow in last year’s footsteps. Despite the fact that WordPress 5.0 has yet to be officially released, developers are already hard at work on future releases as well. Arguably the most exciting of these is the WordPress REST API, which will be designed to let users build mobile apps using the WordPress platform as a framework.

Like all major changes, this process will take time. However, REST API’s lead developer has already expressed confidence that these changes will be implemented by the year 2020. While it’s difficult to imagine what other changes WordPress’s incredible development team has in store, it’s all but guaranteed that they will be just as exciting.

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28 Feb 2018

6 Tips on Running a Secure Server

Although it can be difficult and time-consuming to run a secure server, it is far from impossible. By putting in a few hours of research and hard work now, owners can save themselves from data breaches and long nights in the future. Regardless of which OS and server software a company runs, out-of-the-box configurations are typically insecure.

Below are several steps to achieve a more secure web server.

Eliminate Unnecessary Services

As mentioned previously, default configurations are insecure. In the average default installation, many unused services such as RAS, remote registry, and print servers are included. The more services an OS is running, the more ports are open, which allows an easier insertion of malicious code. By disabling unnecessary services, a user can make a server more secure and boost performance at the same time.

Remote Access Controls

Although it is not always practical, administrators should try to log into servers locally. If they need remote access, the user should ensure the security of the connection with encryption protocols and tunneling. Single-use sign-ons are a good secure server practice, and remote access should be limited to specific accounts and IPs. Corporate servers should not be accessed on public PCs or networks, such as those in internet cafes.

Keep Production, Testing and Development Environments Separate

Because it is easier and quicker for a developer to assemble a new version of a web app on production servers, it is common that testing and development are done there. It is common to find newer versions of sites, as well as other restricted content, in /new/, /test/ and other sub-directories. Because these apps are in the development stage, they have many vulnerabilities and handle exceptions poorly. These flaws can easily be exploited with widely available tools. In an ideal situation, testing, and development should be done on an isolated, secure server.

Privileges and Permissions

Network and file permissions play a critical role in running a secure server. If a server engine is breached via network services software, a malicious user can use the account to execute files and carry out other tasks. It is important to assign the lowest privilege level needed to run certain services and to anonymous users.

Audit and Monitor Servers

Server logs should be stored in secured areas. All website access, network services, database secure server and OS logs should be checked frequently. Log files offer information on attempted and successful attacks, but these are ignored most of the time. If a user notices strange activities, they should immediately investigate and escalate the issue.

Eliminate Unused Accounts

Default accounts created during OS installs should be eliminated or disabled. When certain software is installed, user accounts are created, and permissions for these should be changed as required. The admin account should be re-named, and every admin with access to the web server should have his or her own account with the correct privileges.

Web servers have a variety of purposes, but they only fulfill their intended roles when they are kept secure. By following the tips mentioned here, business owners and others can have a secure server while protecting the sensitive data contained within.

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10 Dec 2017

The Best File Hosting Solutions for Single Files

Before the advent of secure file hosting platforms, people used email to share personal and business files. However, this strategy has one problem: most email accounts have a file size limit, and large files are hard to send. Additionally, risk management experts understand the dangers of using an unsecured platform to send proprietary files. Secure sharing platforms address these concerns because top vendors offer data and security controls, including collaboration tools, that allow only necessary personnel to have access.

A Brief Overview of Secure File Sharing Platforms

Cloud technology offers a variety of products for business users looking to protect data and streamline operations. From online document management and cloud storage to data rooms and online backup, many options are available for businesses and individuals needing to share single files. There is a significant amount of overlap in the functions and purposes of these file sharing services because they all use internal servers to warehouse data.

For instance, many online file hosting services permit users to share single files, and many file hosting options back up users’ data on corporate servers. However, there are notable differences in the functionality and features of secured document sharing services and online file sharing platforms. Secure platforms offer great security while allowing users to collaborate on documents.

Benefits of Secure File Sharing

For users with sensitive data, email file sharing is not an appropriate option. Secure file sharing services offer software platforms that have much tighter security when compared to email exchange programs. Many business clients use FTP (file transfer protocol) to receive and send large, single files, and this strategy offers some security benefits when compared to email. Despite its capabilities as an in-house file hosting program, FTP does have some drawbacks.

File Security

There are frequent reports of security breaches at businesses of all sizes. Part of doing business involves understanding the concepts of data security. Today’s best file hosting programs include a minimum of 256-bit encryption. Below is a brief list of the top sharing services for single files.

  • Google Drive. This platform became popular because it allows users to edit files simultaneously. The free plan includes 15 GB of storage. The Premium version, Google Drive for Work, offers unlimited storage and additional functionalities like encrypted data storage.
  • Dropbox. Known as a consumer cloud service, Dropbox also provides secure single file hosting for business clients. Dropbox automatically syncs files and allow users to share them even if the recipient does not have a Dropbox account. Trial users get 2GB of storage space, and the largest business plan available offers 1TB.

Platform Considerations

From increased reliability and tracking capabilities to enhanced collaboration, more businesses are counting on file hosting services to get things done. Technology is forever improving, and competition continues to encourage a downward trend in prices. Secure file sharing services are becoming the next popular service among businesses.

Secure hosting software is rapidly becoming a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes as well as startups looking for a quick, painless way to share single files. The benefits of these platforms are difficult to ignore, making the file sharing industry an option that every organization should consider.

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04 Oct 2017

7 of the Best WordPress Backup Plugin Options

As great as WordPress is, it’s not immune to security threats, cyber attacks, and data breaches that can tarnish a company’s reputation. Apart from these dangers, a Backpage misconfiguration can threaten a website’s integrity. In any event, site owners should prepare for the worst by having a backup from which full functionality can be restored. Below is a WordPress Backup PlugIn list that can make the data backup and restoration processes easier.

BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugin options. It allows users to schedule monthly, weekly, or daily backups, and it stores them in Dropbox, Stash, Rackspace Cloud, Amazon S3, or another cloud service. There’s no subscription fee, and users can use this plugin on a certain number of sites as outlined in the plan. It comes with access to regular updates, support forums, and a gigabyte of cloud storage. BackupBuddy can also be used to restore, duplicate, and migrate websites.

BackWPUp

With BackWPUp, users get a free WordPress PlugIn that allows them to create comprehensive backups and store them with any number of cloud services, send them in emails, or save them to a hard drive. It’s easy to use and allows users to schedule backups according to the site’s update settings. Restoration from a backup is simple, and the Pro version of BackWPUp comes with Google Drive storage, priority support, and other great features.

BackUpWordPress

This is the WordPress Backup PlugIn to use if a site owner wants to create reliable, simple, and automated backups. After installation and activation, the plugin goes to work using default settings. If necessary, site owners can set a different backup schedule in the Settings menu. Although the WordPress Plugin itself is free, users can pay for extensions that increase the plugin’s functionality by linking it to cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Windows Azure.

Duplicator

This isn’t just a WordPress Backup PlugIn. It also gives users all the tools needed for site duplication and migration. It works by storing core files, databases, content, plugins, and WordPress Theme files into a single package. When the entire site is packed into a zip file, users can host it elsewhere or use the infrastructure to build a new site. However, users should know that Duplicator isn’t for WordPress beginners. While the process of creating a backup is very simple, it requires technical knowledge to use the packages created during the backup process.

VaultPress

If a user needs more than a simple WordPress Backup PlugIn, VaultPress is the way to go. Along with the ability to create an automated backup, the plugin also scans the site’s databases for viruses, malware, and other security holes. VaultPress also comes with spam protection to maintain a site’s SEO and reputation, but users will have to pay a monthly fee to use it and its features. Although the cost may be too high for a new site owner, it’s good for those who have the budget to invest in WordPress security.

Updraft Plus

This is a popular backup plugin that does nearly everything. It does backups, restorations, migrations, and site cloning all with one click. Users can also use advanced tools like site wide control and database search through UpdraftCentral. Although the plugin’s basic functions are free, a paid license allows users to encrypt backups, use backups from different plugins, back up a multisite network, and much more. This makes the UpdraftPlus tool useful on sites of any scale.

BlogVault

The only thing better than backing up WordPress sites on a daily basis is doing it in real time, which is one of BlogVault’s core features. The tool works by making an instant backup whenever site changes are saved, and it ensures that site owners never lose progress during content and site development. BlogVault comes with history, testing, and backup monitoring tools to preserve the integrity of a site’s data. The only drawback is that there’s an annual fee to pay before the features can be accessed.

In Closing

Creating regular, comprehensive backups is an important part of website maintenance and continuity assurance. However, site owners should remember to choose a WordPress Backup PlugIn that can help them meet their goals. Whether a webmaster needs a simple plugin or a comprehensive security solution, the options listed in this WordPress tutorial can help them make an informed decision.

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12 Sep 2017

Learn How to Update Your WordPress

Community members and developers work to keep WordPress updated. Other than adding new features and addressing security issues, these updates simply improve the WordPress UX. However, learning how to update your wordpress site can be tedious. This guide addresses the importance of staying up to date and offers tips on what to do when upgrading a WordPress plugin, version, or site.

Updates Patch Security Holes

The primary reason to update your wordpress site is security. Although the WordPress CMS is immensely popular, it is far from perfect. When site owners don’t update their wordpress themes and sites, the site itself becomes vulnerable to intrusion. Following a regular update schedule is the best way to reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

Bugs are Fixed With Every Update

Although every version of WordPress undergoes weeks of rigorous testing, bugs still get through occasionally. When new functions and features are tested, the chances of a malfunction increase. Every new WordPress version fixes bugs that were found after the last release, and users can see the release notes for specific details.

Updates Bring New Features

With the popularity of WordPress, users regularly get to experience new functions and features. These new add-ons are designed and intended to make it easier to run a WordPress website and, in most cases, they’re the result of direct user feedback

Follow Basic Best Practices

In most instances, updates go smoothly. However, to ensure a hassle-free upgrade, site owners should take a few precautions. To avoid serious problems, never try a new update on a live WordPress installation. Test them in a sandboxed environment, which minimizes the risks posed by a failed update.

Wordpress Hosting

Set Up Auto Updates

Every WordPress site has automatic updates enabled for translation files and minor releases. While it may be convenient, process automation isn’t always beneficial. Devs are often slower to bring their plugins up to date when a new WordPress version comes out. In some cases, these problems can break a site without the owner’s knowledge. Therefore, it may be a good idea to disable automatic updates.

Check Plugin Compatibility Before Updating

A plugin can significantly affect a website’s design or function. If a plugin is found in the WP directory, the user can check its compatibility on the appropriate page before committing to the upgrade.

Perform Frequent Updates

Before undergoing a major update, site owners should always do a wordpress database backup. If something happens, the site can be restored to its last working configuration and its data won’t be lost. Several software-based solutions are available, and a site owner’s choice depends on which solution the server uses. WordPress plugins can create on-demand backups to be placed on a server, stored in the cloud, or emailed to a specific address.

Updating WordPress

There are two main ways to install a new WordPress version to a website: the one-click update from the WP dashboard and the manual FTP update. Regardless of the option a site owner chooses, they should try the update on a remote copy of the website so issues are found before downtime occurs.

  • A one-click update is found in the plugins section. Before updating core files, users should first update themes and plugins.
  • The FTP update process is a bit more involved. Start by backing up the WP installation and database, and download the newest WP version. Turn off plugins, access the server through FTP, and delete the necessary WordPress files. Upload the new files to the appropriate folders, and visit the WP backend to run an update script. Be sure to update permalinks in the appropriate menus and, finally, reactivate plugins to ensure compatibility with the new version.

Checking the Site After Updates

After finishing an update, it’s important to ensure that everything is working normally. To test a site, open the home page, go to a few subpages, read a post or two, log into the admin dashboard, and create a post. While doing so, look for design changes, layout breaks, and other glitches. If there are no problems, that’s great! If issues are present, however, the user may have to restore the site to an earlier version.

Restoration After an Update Fails

Website-MigrationIf a site is taken offline when you update your wordpress themes, database, or the site itself, there’s no reason to panic. If the owner has done proper backups, they can restore the site to its last working configuration. Database restorations are usually done with a management tool such as phpMyAdmin, and users should be patient during the process. After the database is restored, the process is repeated with the files on the server. Here’s how it’s done with an FTP client.

  • Start the client and connect to the site’s FTP server
  • Delete everything but the folder marked wp-content/uploads, which contains the site’s media
  • Browse to the most recent backup on the hard drive or in the cloud, whichever is applicable
  • Upload the necessary files (except for the wp-content folder) onto the site’s server

When the process has finished, open the wp-content folders on the server and in the backup. From there, restore all files except for the Uploads folder, which should already be present.

Conclusion

That’s how to update your wordpress site and recover from a failed upgrade. After completing the steps above, visit the site to see how successful the restoration process was. If it failed, it’s time to troubleshoot the update process on an online or remote copy of the website.

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11 Aug 2017

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a Service is one of the fundamental service models in cloud computing, alongside, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service(PaaS). Instead of leasing or renting space in data centers, acquire labor and manage utilities required to deploy storage, computer servers, and cloud networks, users rent space in a virtual data center. With IaaS, cloud buyers have access to virtual components over the internet and create their own IT platforms. They pay for the resources they consume such as storage space, data transfer, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers.

What are the Benefits of using the software?

Its providers offer highly scalable resources that are easily adjusted on demand. This means that it is suitable for businesses that are experimental, temporary or those that are prone to changes. Startup businesses can save on costs of establishing a physical data center, servers and paying IT experts to operate these servers. In addition, cost control is further improved because payment for cloud services is done on a per-user basis. Whether payment is by the hour, month or year, users have an opportunity to save on in-house hardware purchases.

Cloud buyers also enjoy quality service without experiencing the hustle of managing or upgrading cloud data centers. The providers are responsible for managing the cloud. Since the operators that manage the cloud are specialized in their field, the room for error is greatly reduced.

The risk of failure is greatly reduced due to the availability of multiple hardware resources from the cloud providers. Additionally, users can assess services as long as they have an internet connection. It has broken the physical constraints associated with traditional servers and data centers.

Services are available upon demand. The providers are easily found on the internet, and buyers can easily access services through direct communication. With this technology, the time consumed during the construction of physical data centers is eliminated.

Buyers are free to concentrate on the core of their business rather than on the IT structure. All maintenance, backup, and upgrade of systems are managed by the provider.

Better security for data is provided by the Cloud providers.

Types of IaaS Cloud Offerings

Public IaaS Cloud: Providers rent out hardware resources to multiple tenants in the general public. The users share server resources and only pay for the resources they use. The public cloud is easy to set up highly scalable and elastic.

Private IaaS Cloud: The provider delivers cloud-computing services to one organization. This type is suitable for businesses that have large CAPEX budgets and are rely on personal data center professionals to manage the computing environment. All resources are directed to one business.

Hybrid IaaS Cloud: This is the conjoining of physical and virtual resources in a private or public cloud. The hybrid cloud allows companies to take advantage of scalability with cloud technologies while managing sensitive company data that is not suitable on the cloud.

Common Business Scenarios are

  • Test and development operations that can easily be scaled up and allow the quick release of applications into the market.
  • Webhosting with IaaS is cheaper than traditional web hosting.
  • Storage, recovery, and backup of data is cheaper and can be easily scaled up and scaled down when required.
  • Web applications are easily supported on IaaS.
  • High-Performance Computing (HPC) is easier on super computers and computer grids that perform complex calculations are easier.
  • IaaS economical in the analysis of big data.

Examples

Internal Business Networks: Businesses can store data and run applications through the utilization of pooled servers and networking resources. Additionally, businesses can scale their resources as the business grows.

Cloud Hosting: Websites utilize several virtual resources from several servers.

VIRTUAL DATA CENTRE’S (VDC): Interconnected virtual servers that are used to provide enhanced cloud hosting capabilities, IT infrastructure and integrate operations.

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Cloud-Hosting, Virtual Servers & Managed Services