Best Providers of Month to Month Web Hosting for WordPress

Web Hosting for WordPress

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WordPress has changed the landscape for both creating and maintaining websites. Whether you’re an inexperienced website builder who just wants to start your own blog, a professional website developer or a business creating a mission-critical web presence – Web Hosting for WordPress opens the door to creating elegant, professional websites that are easily maintained, optimized and enhanced.

Why Use WordPress?

WordPress is the undisputed leader among tools for building websites, with over 75 million websites utilizing the platform.

There are many reasons developers and businesses are attracted to WordPress:

  • Ease of Use – Develop anything from your personal blog site to a professional full-featured business site.
  • Popularity – With over 27% of websites and three-quarters of all Content Management Systems (CMS) based on WordPress, there is an extensive base of WordPress talent available for businesses to draw from, and a vast number of forums and blogs offering tips and techniques for new developers.
  • Flexibility – WordPress provides templates and themes ready for use on your website, and literally hundreds or thousands are offered on the internet at attractive prices, or at no cost whatsoever by generous developers.
  • Great Plug-Ins – Many thousands of plug-ins have been developed for nearly as many functions – managing forms, creating slideshows, running eCommerce sites, and so much more. Many are available for download at no charge.
  • Quick Start-Up – Even a slightly-savvy individual can download WordPress, install it, and build their first website in hours – even minutes. This makes building and hosting your own website with WordPress an attractive endeavor for many individuals and small businesses.

Hosting your WordPress site often presents the larger challenge, as many great bloggers and website developers are not well-suited to managing the technical environment required to operate the site on a day-to-day basis.

WordPress Web Hosting Offers Many Advantages

It’s one thing to build a website, but it’s quite another thing to support, manage, monitor, and continuously upgrade the underlying infrastructure of servers, operating systems, and storage devices.

That is why it is often preferable to subscribe to a service that can provide access and reliability to your site without the need for you to worry about the technical details related to keeping your site online. When seeking out the best providers of the month to month web hosting for WordPress, there are several leading factors to keep forefront in your evaluation criteria:

  • Security – One of the major concerns of hosting your own WordPress site is that of security – for yourself and your site visitors. Horror stories surface nearly daily of sites and servers hacked by undesirable elements who make off with financial data and personal information, and may even damage your site or databases. Hosting services provide the security for your information and protect you from such attacks.
  • Reliability – Have you ever had your computer or server go down, or simply lose connectivity to your internet provider? Web hosting offers you and your readers or customers real-time access to the information, products, or services you have to offer, often with redundant networks and servers that provide 24x7x365 availability. If customers can’t reach you, they will likely turn to a competitor – possibly never to return. Web hosts solve that problem for you.
  • Flexibility – Especially if you’re running a business, you need the assurance that if your needs grow, your website can grow with it. With a WordPress web host, scalability can be as simple as contacting customer service to increase processing power or storage capacity.
  • Bandwidth – Can your server or computer support hundreds or even thousands of users trying to access your blogs and leave comments, or place orders for products daily? Turning to a web host solves that problem. Your site is accessible from anywhere – anytime – from any device.
  • Performance – Have you ever left a website simply because it was too slow, or the page load rate was just too frustrating? Your readers or prospects will do the same if your website isn’t up to par. Web hosts offer high performance that is often specifically optimized for WordPress applications.

Other considerations when signing up for the services of a WordPress host include cost, technical support, and other services provided such as site backup, WordPress updates, and the flexibility of installing your own templates, themes, and plug-ins for your website.

So the dilemma that arises is – how do you find the best providers of the month to month web hosting for a WordPress site?

Advantages of WordPress

Photo credit to Grace Themes

Finding the Best Providers of Month to Month Web Hosting for WordPress

There are many WordPress web hosting services available in the market, with a wide range of services provided, and at varying price points.

Evaluating the offerings carefully is critical for maximizing the operation of your website, as well as receiving the highest return on your investment.

With that in mind, read on for services and features provided by some of the leaders in a month to month web hosting for WordPress.

HostGator Cloud

HostGator Cloud is an award-winning US-based web host with a tempting limited-time offer of $4.95/month to get you started with your website. One of the 10 largest web hosting companies in the world today, HostGator also provides US-based support 24x7x365.

There are three levels of services provided for HostGator subscribers:

Hatchling Cloud – for a single-domain – even at this tier, the service offers unlimited bandwidth and a one-click installation

Price – special offer of $4.95/month – 45% off the regular price

Hatchling Cloud includes 2GB memory and 2 Core CPU for processing your web services

Baby Cloud – offers the same unlimited bandwidth and ease of installation, but unlimited domains

Price – $6.57/month with the 45% discounted rate

Baby Cloud beefs up your website power with 4GB memory and 4 Core CPU

Business Cloud – For the most power and performance when you need it

With the 45% off promotional rate of $9.95/month, Business Cloud provides even more power with 6GB memory and 6 Core CPU performance.

Additional benefits of Business Cloud service include:

  • Free Positive SSL
  • Free dedicated IP

HostGator offers many valuable tools and services across all packages:

  • Unmetered bandwidth and disk space utilization
  • Free website building tools and thousands of templates to choose from
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • WordPress blogging tools

HostGator user comments/reviews:

  • “I asked around to see which hosts people who were managing their WordPress sites without breaking the bank were using. It was very clear the budget-friendly, quick, headache-free hosting solution was and is Hostgator.” 
  • “I started my new Blog/Store using HostGator and it has been the most positive experience in my adult life. This weekend alone I placed 6 orders and I have people calling me left and right. Now I’ve almost become a mentor, in my area, to young and new entrepreneurs.”
Web Hosting for WordPress

Photo credit to 20i

SiteGround

SiteGround is also among the best providers of a month to month web hosting for WordPress, with impressive credentials that include:

  • Multiple data centers in various countries – US, UK, Netherlands, and Singapore
  • Variety of hosting options – shared, cloud, dedicated server, reseller hosting, or enterprise solutions
  • Customer-customized backup and recovery services for reliability and secure operations
  • High availability – respectable 99.99%

SiteGround offers tiered plans to accommodate every client and budget, as well.

StartUp – regularly offered at $9.95/month, StartUp service is targeted to those just getting started with their web presence, and has a promotional offering of only $3.95/month.

What’s included?

StartUp offers everything you need to get a personal, typical blog site or even a business website off the ground:

  • Free website builder
  • Technical support available 24×7
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSLs
  • SSD storage (indicates the use of technology for high performance)
  • Free setup and website transfer
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Free automated daily backups

SiteGround markets the StartUp plan to individuals or businesses with fewer than 10,000 visits per month on a recurring basis. Even smaller online businesses with a limited number of products may find StartUp very adequate for their needs. StartUp facilitates 10GB of web space.

GrowBig – the next tier of SiteGround plans bumps the price to $5.95/month (currently discounted from the regular price of $14.95/month).

Need more capacity or higher performance? GrowBig offers all the features of their StartUp plan and adds the power to handle heavy website traffic or even multiple websites.

GrowBig offers additional features for plan subscribers:

  • Multiple system backups and quick, an easy restore process
  • Estimated 25,000 monthly visits
  • Multiple websites (unlimited)
  • Web Space – 20GB

GoGeek – need the ultimate in web hosting? GoGeek service is available at a monthly cost of $11.95, a promotional rate over their regular $29.95 month to month charge.

GoGeek services give customers several advantages over lower-priced plans:

  • Server resources are shared by a lower number of users, providing optimized performance
  • eCommerce shops are fully PCI compliant
  • Website traffic – 100,000 monthly visits
  • Web Space – 30GB
  • Instant backups on demand – offers added security against data loss or corruption

What SiteGround customers say (actual customer comments):

  • “Paolo C. was well informed, patient, and so caring. I truly appreciate the customer service I received from him. If there was any doubt about joining SiteGround, he cleared it all! GREAT customer service! Thanks, Paolo!”
  • “Velizar Y. understood exactly what I was trying to fix and helped me with everything! Amazing customer service!”

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is another highly-rated provider of a month to month web hosting for a WordPress site.

They offer a wide range of hosting services, with current promotional rates for services starting at:

  • Shared hosting – $3.92/month
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting – $5.00/month
  • Reseller hosting – $13.19/month
  • Dedicated hosting services – $99.59/month

A2’s multiple tiers are marketed and focused on several audiences:

  • Shared hosting for those who want to set up a blog or website optimized for WordPress and operated on high-performance servers that offer ease of setup and use.
  • VPS hosting when more power is needed, coupled with a more isolated environment from other users, and including a higher level of security and more site management options.
  • Dedicated hosting is the utmost in power, security, and control, where your website is operated on your own server, isolated from all other A2 customers.
  • Reseller services are provided for those entrepreneurs seeking to offer their own web hosting services, facilitated through A2 Hosting.

A2 Hosting offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and options such as:

  • Turbo Servers for maximum performance
  • Free solid state drives (SSD) for extra speed
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates
  • Global servers to get the best website performance from data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia

What do A2 Hosting customers have to say?

“I am truly thankful I use A2 Hosting! In an error I made, I accidentally wiped out my WordPress page, The Tech at A2 Hosting was able to assist in getting everything back to the way it was before my goof! Thank You!!”

“One month ago, I bought an SSD WordPress hosting solution from A2 and paid 2 years for it in advance because I read some really positive reviews. Well, I can confirm that I did well, and those reviews told the truth. A2 is great but even if they offer unlimited features, SSD servers, etc., I can say that the greatest feature they have is customer support.”

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting is a leading web hosting service (top rated by CNET 15 years running), and like others offers a full range of month to month services to manage the needs of blog sites, small businesses, and large enterprises.

Services and pricing vary depending on your website security and performance needs:

  • WordPress hosting starting at $7.26/month (19% off), with shared services optimized for blazing WordPress performance, free backup services, and security provided with malware and hack protection.
  • Business hosting from $6.39/month (20% off) with unlimited disk storage and bandwidth, free SSL, and unlimited email accounts.
  • VPS hosting starts at $21.04/month (39% off) including available free server management, unlocked CPU cores, and InMotion’s reliable cloud infrastructure.
  • Dedicated servers from $105.69/month (44% off) offering 99.999% uptime, free server management, and configurable server hardware.
  • Reseller hosting services available beginning at $15.39/month (45% off) that puts you in the hosting business with your own clients. This service supports unlimited websites and gives you the ability to resell domains.

InMotion promotes their investment in infrastructure that offers:

  • Secure infrastructure with free SSL, custom firewall protection, and automatic security updates
  • PCI compliance
  • SSD storage and custom server caching

What InMotion Customers Say

  • “I keep recommending InMotion Hosting for the simple reason that it has the best support I have found in the IT business. Individuals like John, who take the time to understand the customer, make a true effort to provide the assistance one needs and then walks that extra step by accommodating the customer.”
  • “Patrick is doing a great job! He really helped me set up my new account and answered all of my complex questions thoroughly. Thanks a lot, I am excited about my new hosting account at InMotion Hosting!”
Web Hosting for WordPress

Photo credit to DreamHost

Summing Up WordPress Hosting

Most web hosting providers offer attractive pricing of tiered service levels, based on your needs for capacity, performance, and storage. While some of the best providers of a month to month web hosting WordPress services truly charge by the month, for some that pricing is based on a 12 or even 24-month commitment. Be sure you read the fine print of your agreement before signing up.

What makes one provider stand out from the masses are the underlying details:

  • Support – Never underestimate the value of great technical and day-to-day customer support. This includes how you contact the provider – online chat, phone, email, ticketing system, etc. Look for 24x7x365 access to the help you need.
  • Technical Infrastructure – Do they leverage the latest in technology such as SSD storage for reliability and performance? Does the vendor retain multiple servers for redundancy and optimum uptime – perhaps even redundant data centers?
  • Security – Are there multiple layers of security provided including secure SSL certificates, malware detection that is regularly updated, and website backups?
  • Visibility – When you suspect performance problems or need to analyze your website, does the provider offer a control panel that gives you visibility to any issues? This can help you troubleshoot problems or help you monitor proactively to prevent problems before they impact your visitors.
  • Startup Assistance – if this is important for your situation, make sure the vendor supports a transfer of your website from its current location, whether that’s on your own server or another web host.

Armed with this information and thoughts for moving forward, you’re ready to make the decision for finding the best provider of a month to month web hosting for a WordPress site.

 

Website Maintenance Tasks You Should Regularly Perform on Your WordPress Site

Creating a professional-looking, a full-function website has never been easier than it has become today.

With the advent of WordPress, even novices can quickly create websites that provide a canvas for sharing personal opinions, swapping life experiences, and so much more.

WordPress websites are utilized worldwide for many purposes:

  • Personal blogs and participating in discussions
  • Freelancers and entrepreneurs building websites for profit, including providing audio, video, and other media for download or sale.
  • Businesses creating eCommerce storefronts for products and services, or building enterprise applications for use by employees scattered across the globe.

While building and deploying WordPress websites is now easier and facilitated by the many tools, templates, themes, and plugins than ever before, getting the site up and running is only one phase of the overall effort.

Keeping the website running securely and reliably is just as important. That requires a number of critical tasks to ensure:

  • Visitors can get the information and services they seek
  • Undesirable elements cannot access private information
  • Unexpected events such as hardware failures or power outages to not shut down your website

Regular maintenance and precautionary measures can go a long way toward providing high reliability of your website, with optimum performance.

Ten Website Maintenance Tasks You Should Regularly Perform on Your WordPress Site

Although each of these tasks is important to the sustainability of your WordPress site, they may or may not be listed in the order of importance for your particular website.

Weigh each of these carefully and consider the relevance depending on the functionality and critical nature of your site.

Even a personal blog WordPress website needs regular maintenance to run smoothly and perform at its best.

Change WordPress Passwords

Photo credit to MainWP

Change WordPress Passwords

It’s astonishing how many WordPress website builders do not take the simple precaution of changing passwords on a regular basis.

In some of the worst horror stories of compromised websites owned even by sophisticated businesses, the intrusion was not detected until weeks or even months after the hackers obtained access.

By changing passwords frequently and utilizing strong passwords, vulnerability is greatly reduced.

Strong passwords are defined as those that include a combination of both upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Remember that hackers use sophisticated tools to try many combinations of words or phrases to gain access to websites or accounts, so the less your password looks like a value in a dictionary, the more secure it is.

Example: DogLover (weak) Dog1over (better) Dog!0ver (stronger)

When changing your passwords, don’t forget to change the many passwords that are included in your website:

  • WordPress Admin Area
  • Any applicable FTP or SSH accounts
  • Your WordPress database password

If you have difficulty in managing your WordPress passwords (and your many other online passwords, for that matter), there are a number of good applications that can assist with password management.

How to Back Up Your WordPress Website

You wouldn’t think of running your home or business computer without periodically backing up your critical files or those of personal value to you. The same is true of your WordPress website.

Failure of a critical hardware component or intentional damage by a disgruntled visitor or hacker can leave your website disabled indefinitely, without an effective backup strategy.

There are numerous WordPress plugins that make backing up your entire WordPress website quick and easy.

If you’re using a web host, they often include a service of backing up your website. It’s still to your own advantage to undertake this function at least periodically, to be certain you’re covered in the case of a catastrophic failure at the hosting service. Regularly performing this simple maintenance task on your WordPress site will give you protection and peace of mind.

Backup plugins offer automated processing of your backups, which you can schedule at your own discretion. This will be dependent on several factors:

  • How critical is your data? – if your site consists purely of personal blogs, daily or weekly backups may not be in order. But if this is a business-critical function with customer information or frequent updates, you will want to consider that in your backup schedule.
  • How often do you update your website? – if your web pages are less volatile, weekly or even monthly backups may be sufficient, but frequent changes call for a more aggressive strategy.
  • Where is your backup data retained? – your web host may provide backup data that is immediately recoverable, while your own manual backup may be stored in a location of your choices such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, or other storage facilities. Speed and ease of access to the backups is another consideration of how often to perform the backup task.

Backup plugins have different features, such as automated scheduling, full or incremental backups (incremental means that only data added or updated since the last backup is copied to the new backup content – this saves time and storage, but may not be appropriate for all websites).

Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of the backup plugin you select. Whichever you use, do not store the backup data on the same server where your production WordPress website resides. If that system fails, you could lose your backup data files at the same time.

Back Up Your WordPress Website

Photo credit to Backblaze

Spam Comments

WordPress plugin Akismet is a commonly-used tool for capturing spam detected in comments and contact forms. This protects your website from potentially malicious content that you would not want on your site.

This content is isolated in your website spam comments. Periodically, you should review the spam comments to determine if the plugin has misidentified legitimate content as spam so that you can properly view it as genuine comment information.

Having completed your review, you can safely delete the spam comments to free up space and make your next review of spam comments easier.

Back Up Your WordPress Website

Photo credit to DreamHost

WordPress Database

WordPress stores your information in a database that is updated continuously. This data includes:

  • Content data
  • User information
  • Settings and other values
  • Comments

As information gets inserted or deleted from the database, some of the data become obsolete and unnecessary. This means your backups take longer, and could also impact upload/download speeds.

WordPress database optimization cleans up the unneeded information and defragments your tables, improving performance and reducing backup/restore times.

Optimizing your WordPress database can be easily accomplished by installing the WP-Optimize plugin – a one-time effort.  Once you’ve installed the plugin, the optimization is easily accomplished in two easy steps:

  1. Backup your WordPress site
  2. Utilize the plugin to perform the optimization

Once the plugin has done its work, your database will be cleaner, smaller, and running at peak performance.

Stay Current

WordPress and its many associated plugins and themes are continuously being updated. Make sure you check for updates on a regular basis.

Keeping WordPress up to its current version will provide you with better performance and support potential as improvements are made to both WordPress itself, or to your plugins and themes.

WordPress includes a tool that will check for updates to the product, including the themes and plugins that you have downloaded and installed. This is a website maintenance task you should regularly perform on your WordPress site to ensure stability and to take advantage of enhancements.

As a WordPress administrator, you can view available updates that WordPress has detected in the dashboard, using the “updates” option. From there, you can select to update the WordPress core or any of your installed components.

Keep in mind that if you have downloaded and installed plugins or themes from third parties, WordPress may not have visibility to updates for those objects. Referring back to the source of those downloads for updates is your responsibility as part of your regular website maintenance.

Validate Your Forms

WordPress is well-recognized for its ability to create attractive and functional forms.

The problem here is that forms you have integrated into your website may fall victim to changes in software or configurations made by your web host or third-party developer. This could cause them to stop working properly – even without your knowledge.

A simple example is a form that you have created for visitors to offer comments or place product orders, that integrates with email services to send you information or notifications. Changes to the related email system could result in emails not being routed properly, or not at all.

Verifying form functions is a task you should regularly perform on your WordPress site, to ensure they are all working as designed.

Back Up Your WordPress Website

Photo credit to London Academy of IT

Check Your Performance

Many WordPress developers check the performance of their homepage or web pages when the site is first built, or when moving to a web host or changing hosts. Once satisfied with the performance, it may be overlooked or forgotten as the website is updated or as new pages are added.

Poor performance not only results in a less than engaging experience for your visitors, it can also result in degraded results from search engines.

You only have a limited amount of time to engage your audience. Slow page loads, images that cannot be displayed on mobile devices, and other performance problems will result in lost interest, and lack of conversion to sales.

To stay on top of your website’s performance, re-evaluate results of not only the home page but all important or regularly-visited content anytime you update the website or change themes. There are many tuning tips and plugins available online that make optimizing your WordPress site faster and easier.

Fix Broken Links and Missing Pages WordPress Website

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Fix Broken Links and Missing Pages

There’s very little more frustrating for website visitors than clicking a link that appears interesting or important, with the result being the dreaded “404” error for a missing page or being directed to a page that has nothing to do with the link you clicked.

To keep your website up to date and avoid a negative visitor experience, check for such instances along with your regular maintenance procedures. This not only makes your site more consistent for viewers, it also avoids negatively impacting your SEO.

Fortunately, WordPress plugins come to the rescue in detecting and reporting missing and broken links, giving you the opportunity to regularly monitor and correct any wayward links, hopefully before they turn your visitors away.

Stay Vigilant – Security Counts

The last thing you want for your WordPress site is for it to join the ranks of the thousands of sites that are blacklisted by Google for malware or phishing attempts.

While WordPress itself is recognized as a secure environment and undergoes regular security audits by many developers, there is still much you can do to prevent security issues:

  • Review your website’s access and error logs to detect inappropriate or questionable activity
  • Utilize automatic log out to drop idle users
  • Set limits for the number of invalid login attempts
  • Change all WordPress passwords, and enforce strong password rules
  • Backup your database and entire website regularly

These concerns are especially critical for businesses and sites that retain customer information or regulated industries such as healthcare or financial institutions. Intrusions can compromise critical data that can result in financial loss and massive fines.

Utilizing a quality security plugin such as Sucuri will go a long way toward helping you with monitoring, detecting, and analyzing the security of your WordPress website.

Security  WordPress Website

Photo credit to DreamHost

Time Your Maintenance

Keep in mind when performing the Website maintenance tasks you should regularly perform on your WordPress site – that some activities can actually impact site performance. Such processes as checking for broken links and optimizing your website consume system resources, which could impact overall website functionality.

For that reason, if you maintain a site that requires high-performance and quick-loading web pages, timing your maintenance tasks for periods of lowest activity is recommended.

Discipline yourself with a plan of action and a defined schedule for maintenance tasks. When performed regularly and consistently, your website will run at peak performance with minimal effort.

Website Maintenance Tasks – Conclusion

Whether you have built a WordPress website for personal blogs and feedback or created enterprise-level applications for mission-critical business use, there are website maintenance tasks you should regularly perform on your WordPress site to keep it running efficiently and to provide reliable and consistent operation.

Keep in mind that web hosting services often provide many of the maintenance tasks listed here. If you utilize a web host, be sure your agreement spells out in detail what functions are included in the service:

  • Backups – entire website, database, email information, etc. – what is backed up, and how often?
  • Security – is malware or DDoS software updated regularly – even daily or automated?
  • Updates – is WordPress kept up-to-date by the service? Are plugins and themes included in the updates?

Having a good understanding of which of these services are performed by your web host will provide you with a good action plan for your own regular maintenance task schedule.

We wish you luck!

 

Finding the Best WordPress Image Gallery Plugin

WordPress Image Gallery Plugin

Photo credit to CodeCanyon

WordPress is the undisputed leader for creating powerful, engaging websites for personal blogs, small business, and even enterprise solutions for global businesses and eCommerce.

One of the most effective attributes of websites is the incorporation of media such as images, audio, and video in web pages.

WordPress facilitates the inclusion of pictures and groups of pictures through the use of image galleries that store pictures or other content for the purpose of organizing and adding them to posts or web pages. Thus, the WordPress image gallery plugin makes an integral role for blog development.

What Makes an Image Gallery Plugin the “Best”?

WordPress Image Gallery Plugin

Photo credit to WP Dev Shed

There are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of image gallery plugins available to WordPress developers, but how do you pick the best one, and what makes a particular plugin better than another?

Finding the best WordPress image gallery plugin can be a true challenge.

WordPress comes equipped with its own gallery feature, but as with many software packages that try to do everything, the result is often that individual functions may not be as robust or easy to use as you might prefer. The built-in gallery is a perfect example.

Creative minds have developed plugins that improve performance and greatly enhance the visual presentation of images on your website, improving the appearance of your web pages to enhance the experience of your visitors.

Some of the advantages presented by image gallery plugins include:

  • Improved Performance – Many plugins available provide lackluster performance, even with plenty of server power and bandwidth backing your WordPress site. Speed is a critical factor in selecting your image gallery plugin. It’s essential not only for your user interest but also for SEO.

This is especially true if your site will include a large number of images such as social media posts or travel websites.

  • Features – You want a plugin that will have at least a reasonable number of features that will simplify development and provide dazzling presentations, but sometimes less can be better.

Features such as navigation through images, the creation of albums, and presentation effects can be very useful, but too many functional details can be over-complicating, especially for beginners.

  • Ease of Use – Hand-in-hand with features comes usability. If the plugin is too technical or takes weeks to understand and become productive with it, it’s probably not the best candidate for your development.

There are a few stand-out image gallery plugins that are worth a close look. These include the desirable attributes of being fast and easy to use, while still possessing the features most WordPress users find useful.

Finding the Best WordPress Image Gallery Plugin – for You

Everyone has different needs and uses for WordPress and images, so finding the image gallery plugin that’s right for you may require in-depth comparison of features, options, and pricing.

Upfront Gallery in WordPress

Upfront Gallery in WordPress

Photo credit to WPMU Dev

With Upfront Gallery, WordPress users can add, organize, and edit images into posts and web pages quickly and easily, creating galleries in seconds, rather than hours or days.

Even inexperienced WordPress users can produce beautiful pages and enhance posts by including responsive images with drag-and-drop ease.

Adding styling to images is a snap, allowing you to enhance the appearance of your web pages, changing attributes to suit your personal taste and to dazzle visitors of your website:

  • Change borders
  • Add captions
  • Adjust thumbnail settings

Just drag an Upfront element to the page where you want to display the gallery, drop the images you want visitors to see, then add the styling that transforms the page into the masterpiece you want your visitors to see.

This familiar drag-and-drop approach to editing your web pages makes the use of the plugin very familiar and smooths out the learning curve. You can position images, entire galleries, or even other elements onto your posts to design the web pages that best suit your taste.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery WordPress

Photo credit to enviragallery.com

Envira Gallery measures up as one of the fastest plugins for images available. That alone brings Envira high up on the list.

Other factors that make Envira attractive, especially to beginners:

  • Envira generates and displays the shortcode immediately when you create a gallery. This makes it very simple to include the gallery on your WordPress posts or web pages.
  • The template tag is also created, for ease of including galleries into your theme files – very handy when you’re creating image galleries for specific themes, such as for a client or individual topic.

One notable design element of Envira is its attention to efficiency for mobile use. The result is ease of use in choosing layouts, selecting thumbnail sizes, adding meta tags, and more from one single interface.

Envira is an incredibly intuitive plugin, with ease of use for moving beautiful images around on your posts with drag-and-drop simplicity, selecting columns and spacing to present your artworks effectively.

Add-ons – Envira has plenty of extras that you can add as you become more proficient and gain experience:

  • Social sharing
  • Video
  • Albums and slideshows
  • Fullscreen mode
  • And many more

An added attraction is that Envira adheres closely to WordPress’ standard coding, look, and feel. This makes it ideal for WordPress beginners since it’s not necessary to become familiar with two totally different ways of doing things.

Don’t forget backups of your image gallery. Since Envira follows WordPress methodology and best practices, images are stored right in the database as custom post types. That’s significant since it means that when you back up your database, your Envira galleries are also backed up.

Envira also allows you to import/export galleries individually. That makes your image galleries transportable from one WordPress site to another.

Pricing for Envira begins with a free version (Lite), which is a great way to get started and see if the plugin is right for you. Once you’re sold on Envira, you will undoubtedly want to move up to the full gallery plugin for $19, then determine if you can benefit from additional add-ons to gain even more power:

  • Gallery themes
  • Tag function that provides the ability to add tags to your gallery images
  • Password protection to protect your images
  • Pinterest add-on that creates a simple-to-use “Pin It” button

Need even more functionality? Move up to the $99 Gold level for the ultimate in add-ons:

  • Fullscreen for lightbox display
  • Album add-on to organize images into albums
  • More add-ons that stretch and challenge your creativity

Regardless of the features and add-ons, you select, you get an impressive tool to create and manage your media and WordPress website easily and beautifully.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery WordPress

Photo credit to Torque

NextGEN has taken a somewhat different approach, building its own user interface rather than adopting standard WordPress methodology.

This may cause some developers to back off a bit, just due to the variation from traditional WordPress appearance that can make NextGEN appear intimidating. Still, there are thousands of NextGEN users who consider it the best WordPress image gallery plugin available.

Along with the variation in appearance, NextGEN also stores data in its own set of database tables and image folders. With its own way of getting work done, new WordPress users may struggle a bit getting reasonably productive with NextGEN. Uploading and creating galleries can be more challenging than other plugins.

A downside of using its own database tables is that, because of this, NextGEN does not support import/export functions.

Backup is also a separate issue, as the NextGEN tables must be backed up as a separate function, or incorporated into your backup plugin.

NextGEN is a very mature plugin and has been around longer than most. As such, there have been many features included in the base plugin that others make available as add-ons.

Even with all the features packed into NextGEN, there is still room for additional functionality, if you move up from the free version to Pro and Plus versions.

Gmedia Gallery

Gmedia Gallery WordPress

Photo credit to Gmedia Gallery

Gmedia combines power and simplicity for getting started creating a wide variety of galleries including playlists with photos, audio, and even videos.

Organize your items into albums and create tags like a pro, with little or no skill or experience.

Gmedia is ideal for novices who want to hit the ground running and be productive with image galleries quickly. Gmedia’s search bar even helps you find your albums and galleries easily.

With over 20,000 installations, Gmedia Gallery plugin is enabling WordPress developers to load and manage photos, videos, and music files to incorporate on sites, even managing them from anywhere utilizing the iOS app.

Benefits of Gmedia:

  • Organize files easily into albums
  • Add tags as desired
  • Drag-and-drop sorting for images
  • Image editor including filters
  • Insert images or files into a post or web page with a single click
  • Responsive – adjusts to your visitors’ device seamlessly

Pricing for Gmedia Premium is based on the number of website licenses needed, beginning at $29.99 for a single site license.

Besides the advantage of the iOS app, Gmedia has an impressive selection of add-ons to handle every need you have for developing dazzling web pages and posts, among them:

  • PhotoCluster – categorize images and other media as your personal preference
  • AlbumsList – search and locate albums with a single click
  • Cubik Lite – 3D cube gallery
  • WaveSurfer – music module that allows you to create and save music waveforms

Gmedia also integrates with WordPress comments, allowing visitors to your blog or website to post comments on your media galleries.

Recommendations

When considering any of these image gallery plugins for your WordPress development, consider these findings:

Envira offers the best rating in pure speed and combines that with ease of use to help you become productive with its features and functions quickly. The combination of features and ease of use makes Envira a truly attractive choice for most WordPress users, especially novices.

NextGEN is hands down the most feature-laden plugin, although you may find it intimidating or overkill for your needs. But if you need the feature-laden plugin that gives you the most power and functionality, take a close look at NextGEN.

While NextGEN is somewhat more costly than other options, those who need the full array of options it provides may find the price and complexity outweigh any negative factors.

As a WordPress developer/user, the use of a powerful image gallery plugin that gives you the features you need without slowing your website performance is a very effective investment.

Selecting Your WordPress Image Gallery Plugin

Photo credit to BoldGrid

Selecting Your WordPress Image Gallery Plugin

Creating an image gallery in WordPress is an important feature for embedding uploaded images within posts and WordPress web pages. The use of image gallery plugins makes the process easier and faster for developers.

Finding the best WordPress image gallery plugin that suits your purposes may take a little time, but the return on your investment is well worth the due diligence.

Picking the right plugins for your website means evaluating each option on its own merits, and selecting the one that’s right for you. Your choice of image gallery plugins is dependent on several factors:

Ease of use – if you can’t use the plugin effectively, it’s not right for you.

Some plugins include a staggering array of features that may be great for those seeking in-depth manipulation of images such as lightbox and animations, but beginners can quickly become frustrated by complex features that are not needed.

Speed – As with any WordPress task, stepping through the process quickly optimizes your development efforts

Performance – You will want to be sure the plugin performs well for your website without impacting overall website response

Other Features – Image gallery plugins vary in design and user functions/interfaces. Pick the one that has features that are relevant for you.

With a little research and evaluation of available plugins, you will be able to select the image gallery plugin that will allow you to easily include images with your WordPress posts and web pages.

Know the Difference Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

Know the Difference Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

If you’re looking at getting a new website set up to introduce yourself or your business to the world, then you have likely started researching a number of options available. Such as wordpress.com vs wordpress.org.

One of the most popular ways to build a unique website is WordPress. According to the company’s own statistics. WordPress is the backbone of 30% of the websites on the internet today. That’s a pretty strong number when you consider all of the different website creation tools available today.

Even for those that choose WordPress, there are different options on how to get a website started, and knowing the difference between those options is important for making the right choice.

The Main Difference Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

The big difference when considering WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is who will be hosting the website. This may seem minor to some, but it may be the biggest decision you make when starting your blog, company website, or personal portfolio site.

On WordPress.com, the hosting is done for you. There is no software to download or install. Plus, best of all, the base plan is free. Of course, there are paid options that you can include in your website package like custom domain names.

When you choose WordPress.org, you are essentially choosing to take many of the hosting aspects into your own hands. Using WordPress.org, you download the WordPress software to install on your own server or server space that you have leased through any one of the many different hosting providers online.

Now that you understand the main difference, how do you decide which is right for you and where you hope to grow your website? In the battle of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, who comes out on top?

Who Should Choose WordPress.com?

Know the Difference Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

People who are looking for the simplest, plug-and-play solution will immediately attract to WordPress.com. The hosting is done, the WordPress software is already available, and some basic themes are free to use.

Essentially, with WordPress.com, even beginner website creators could have a website available online incredibly quickly.

Of course, some people want more than just the basics. WordPress.com also offers a lot of options and customization for users to take advantage of. There are various pricing levels above the free level that offer increasing levels of customizations, access to additional themes, the ability to install plugins, and more.

WordPress.com is an easy way to build an online presence while also offering customization features for those who need them. The pricing model is simple to understand and makes it easy for users to choose the level that meets their needs.

Of course, some people may not find all of their needs met by the WordPress.com services.

Who Should Choose WordPress.org?

Know the Difference Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

In contrast to the previous solution, WordPress.org requires a little bit more effort to get a site up and running. Using WordPress.org, users download the WordPress software for installation on their own server or a third-party server that will host the website.

One of the main advantages of going this route is customizability. Once the WordPress software is installed all on a server, you have complete control. Install themes from around the web, make use of plugins that help take your website to the next level, and choose the right domain name provider to help you get your unique brand out there.

For those who want to put in some additional effort, WordPress.org is a great solution to gain access to the powerful software that’s behind a large portion of the websites online today.

There is also the issue of cost. WordPress.org offers the WordPress software for free to download. Users who have their own server or who rent affordable server space from a third party will often save money in the long run over users who choose the paid plans from WordPress.com.

On WordPress.org, there are some hosting providers mentioned. All of these providers offer easy solutions to install WordPress and are as close to the “plug and play” solution that WordPress.com offers. However, because of this simplicity, users may not notice as much of a pricing difference when compared with operating their own server.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org 

So, should you choose WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? There is no clear answer that you can apply to every unique user.

Ultimately, the right choice comes down to your personal expectations, experience, and budget. Beginners who want to be up and running right away will likely find a more friendly experience from WordPress.com.

On the other side of that are more experienced users who demand customization options at an affordable price. Those users will be much more satisfied with downloading software from WordPress.org and getting their own hands dirty to do a lot of the technical work.

Both options are great and designed for different users. All you have to ask yourself is: Which user are you?

5 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Security

5 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Security

According to their own statistics, WordPress is used as the backbone for 30% of all websites today. It’s no surprise that so many people choose WordPress when building a website. The software offers functionality and customization at an affordable price with options for all different types of users.

However, the size of the WordPress community makes the software a prime target for hackers online. Plus, the increasing number of themes and plugins available could introduce various new vulnerabilities for people to exploit.

This is not meant to be a scare piece. In fact, quite the opposite. WordPress is an amazing tool that can take your blog or business to the next level. Following some simple recommendations to improve your WordPress security can help you enjoy the power of WordPress without opening yourself up to online threats.

Ready to ensure your WordPress security is up to the test? Here are some solutions you can start putting into place today.

1. Choose a Secure Username and Password

This may seem like an obvious solution but it is often overlooked by many users. One major example of this is using “Admin” as a username. By using a default-style username, hackers already know half of the information needed to gain access to your WordPress website.

Try creating unique usernames and avoid using names for authors or contributors that may appear on your site. This simple username practice can save you a lot of grief down the road.

In addition, making a secure password can thwart a lot of attempts to breach your WordPress security. There are a number of methods to ensure you have a secure password. Most importantly, don’t reuse passwords on multiple sites, don’t use common phrases, and make passwords as long as possible.

2. Only Use Trusted Plugins and Follow Updates

One of the biggest threats to WordPress security is third-party plugins or themes that are not offered by WordPress. There are tens of thousands of plugins available from WordPress and even more are available from third-party sources like GitHub and Code Canyon.

It would be alarmist to say that people should avoid third party-plugins. Even plugins available from the WordPress repository could pose a threat. You should always read reviews and ratings for a plugin before choosing to install it on your website.

In addition, you need to ensure that the plugins you use are being updated. Automatic updates can protect you from old vulnerabilities that have been patched. If plugins are no longer offering updates, then you may want to consider looking for a similar plugin with better support to help with WordPress security.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication for Login

A strong username and password are great, but they still can’t protect against some forms of data theft. Even if a hacker is able to get your login and password, two-factor authentication can stop them in their tracks and alert about attempts to circumvent your WordPress security.

There are a number of plugins available from the WordPress repository that enables two-factor authentication using the most popular methods available including Google Authenticator, SMS, and email.

Of course, two-factor authentication is only as secure as the second method used to verify your login. You should also enable two-factor authentication on other services that allow it including your email account.

4. Remove Unused Themes and Plugins

If you have been using WordPress for some time, then you may have installed themes or plugins that are no longer in use because you have found other services that you prefer.

Just like updating existing plugins in a timely manner is important, so is removing unused themes. Best practice for protecting your WordPress security is to remove any themes and plugins that you are not using as soon as you stop using them.

This helps remove the clutter of unused plugins that can build up over time and eliminates additional areas where hackers could find vulnerabilities. Only keep the plugins you are actually using. If it’s not in use, then you should uninstall it immediately.

5. Backup Your WordPress Site Regularly

When all else fails, you can count on a recent backup to save the day. This is true for your own personal computer, your smartphone, as well as your WordPress site. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there may be a security breach or loss of data unrelated to any security issue.

The easiest way to get back up and running is to reinstall your WordPress site from a backup. There are a number of services and plugins that help you back up your WordPress site. Research the options and find the one right for you.

Always Stay Vigilant to Ensure WordPress Security

5 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Security

Keeping your site safe and secure is an ongoing job. Use these best practices to help protect your WordPress security and always stay on top of the latest news and updates.

The more effort you put into WordPress security, the fewer opportunity hackers have to destroy your business and your hard work.