Two Different Approaches to Install WordPress SSL

Short for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is important in lending credibility to your website. The purpose of an SSL certificate is to provide users with a secure connection and ensure that your site is trustworthy when it comes to the encryption of data. In other words, if you truly want your WordPress website to be perceived as the real deal, then you need to install WordPress SSL.

In this piece, we will cover two of the different approaches to install WordPress SSL.

2 WordPress SSL Installation Approaches 

There are a number of different ways to go about installing WordPress SSL, but here are just two of the methods you can employ.

1. Use Microsoft Internet Information Services

IIS Microsoft services

One way to install WordPress SSL is by using Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). To start this process, you first need to generate what is known as a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) on your server. The CSR includes your public key and server information, and the process of generating it is fairly simple if you follow the right instructions.

First off, you need to open the Server Manager. Next, hit Tools and then select Internet Information Services Manager. Under the Connections list, you will want to choose the right workstation before opening the Server Certificates tool.

After that, hit the Create Certificate Request link, which will then require you to fill in the Request Certificate information. This information typically includes the common (domain) name, the state or province you are in, your town or city name, the name of your company, the section name (Marketing or Communications, for example), and your two-digit country code.

Next, you will want to be sure that the bit length is set to 2048 and that the cryptographic service provider is set to default. The last part of the CSR process is to name the certificate request file.

Once you generate your CSR, you then need to go about ordering your SSL certificate. This can be done through a number of services, such as GlobalSign, DigiCert, and Symantec.

After you order you SSL certificates, you will need to download them. By the end of this process, you should receive your Primary Certificate via email, which you should rename to yousitename.cer.

After this, click the “Complete Certificate Request” link. Then, after the certificate has been installed, you will want to connect it to the appropriate website. Do this through instructions provided by the Sites folder.

Then, simply install the Intermediate Certificates, restart IIS, and test your certificate, and you should be good to go.

2. Use cPanel

cpanel hosting

Another way to install WordPress SSL is through cPanel. Just like through the Microsoft IIS process, you will need to generate a CSR. To do this, you will need to log into cPanel and locate the SSL/TLS Manager.

After this, click the links labeled Generate and follow the instructions in the Generate a New Key section. This will require you to type in your domain name and to select a Key Size of 2048 before clicking the Generate button.

After hitting the Return to SSL Manager button and clicking the “Generate, view, or delete SSL certificate signing requests” link from the main menu, you will need to enter your organization’s or company’s information. This information includes the full organization or company name, the two-digit company code, the state or province, the common (domain) name, the city or town name, and the section name.

Once this is all complete, you will need to order your SSL certificates and download these certificates. Again, just like with the Microsoft IIS process, you can go about ordering your certificates through services such as GlobalSign, DigiCert, and Symantec. Each certificate service is different depending on your needs, so be sure you know exactly what it is you are looking for before choosing a service.

When you order the certificates, you need to upload the CSR file to whichever service you used. Then, simply download the certificates, which you will receive via email.

After the ordering and downloading process is finished, open the SSL Manager menu in cPanel. Follow the instructions provided there until you get to the Install SSL Certificate link. This will complete the SSL process, and your server will restart, allowing your certificate to be distributed.

Making Your WordPress Site the Most Effective Site Possible Through SSL 

wordpress ssl

It may seem fairly complicated but installing WordPress SSL can do leaps and bounds for your website. If you feel at all intimidated or overwhelmed by the process, don’t hesitate to perform a quick Google search, as this will help to pull up a number of different step-by-step methods to effectively install WordPress SSL.

Once the SSL process is completed, you will likely find that your users feel increasingly more confident when it comes to exploring what your website has to offer.

A Step-by-Step Guide for How to Install WordPress

installing wordpress

It seems like everyone and their grandma is trying to get into the blogging game these days. Well, every good blog needs a good blogging platform, and WordPress is one of the most effective platforms on the market.

In this piece, we will give you a step-by-step instructional guide for how to install WordPress all by yourself.

Downloading and Extracting the Files

downloading and extracting

To officially begin the WordPress installation process, you need to first go to the download section on WordPress’s website and download the most recent version of WordPress’s blogging platform files.

The downloading process can be slightly different depending on whether you are uploading WordPress to a remote web server, if you are using File Transfer Protocol, or if you are comfortable with downloading WordPress straight to your web server.

Whichever downloading method you choose to employ, once the files are downloaded, you then need to extract the files, which will be extracted to a folder called “wordpress.”

Creating a WordPress User and a Database

creating database

When it comes to creating a WordPress database, you have several different options going forward. You may already have a database that is set up for you if you are using a hosting provider, so check your control panel or provider’s support pages to determine whether or not you need to set up a database yourself.

If you do need to set up a database manually, there are a number of different database services you can use. It really all depends on what your hosting provider offers. For our purposes, we will demonstrate how to install a WordPress database using phpMyAdmin.

First, you will need to make sure you install phpMyAdmin if your web server does not already have it installed. Once you have phpMyAdmin up and running, open up the Database dropdown menu on the left. If you see that a WordPress-related database does not already exist, you will need to create one.

To create a database, you will first need to choose a name for it. Typically, this name will need to begin with your username followed by an underscore. Type your name into the Create Database section and then select the best arrangement for your language and encoding.

Next comes the step of creating a WordPress user. To begin this stage, go back to the phpMyAdmin main menu and click on the Users tab to see if a WordPress-related user already exists. It one does not exist, click Add User button and choose a username and password.

Make sure that all the Global Privileges’ options are kept at their defaults before clicking Go.

Uploading the Files

uploading files into database

The next step of the WordPress installation process is deciding whether you want your WordPress-powered site to appear in the root directory (http://websitename.com/) of the site or a subdirectory (http://websitename.com/blog/).

If you want it to appear in the root directory, use a File Transfer Protocol client to upload everything contained in the “wordpress” directory into your website’s root directory.

If you want the WordPress site to appear in a subdirectory, be sure that you rename the “wordpress” directory to your preferred subdirectory name before using a File Transfer Protocol client to upload the entire directory into your preferred location within the root directory.

Running the Install Script

running wordpress

How you proceed with the process of running the install script depends on whether you uploaded your files into the root directory or a subdirectory.

If you placed them in the root directory, go to http://websitename.com/wp-admin/install.php, but if you placed them in a subdirectory, go to http://example.com/subdirectoryname/wp-admin/install.php.

You will then need to enter in some database connection details, such as the database name, your username, your password, the database host, and the table prefix.

Finishing Up the Installation Process

finished installation of wordpress

For the last step of the installation process, you should be presented with a screen that prompts you to fill in some site information. This information includes the username, the site title, your email address, and your desired password (which you will have to enter twice).

There is also a check box at the bottom that will ask you whether or not you want your site to be visible in search engines, such as Google. If you want your site to be visible to everyone, make sure the box is left unchecked.

Then, simply click install WordPress. If the installation process was successful, you will be presented with a login prompt.

If there is an error of any kind, go back and make sure that all the database information was entered successfully. In case that does not work, make sure you permitted your WordPress user authorization to access your WordPress database and that the database server is operating.

Once you go back and correct these errors, you have successfully learned how to install WordPress. After your site is up and running, you should be on your way to providing the best possible content to your users. Pretty exciting stuff, isn’t it?

 

Top 15 Best Free WordPress Themes To Empower Your Website

Top-15-Best-Free-WordPress-Themes

Top 15 Best Free WordPress Themes 

You know you want your own good-looking WordPress website, but you also know you don’t have the coding skills to build a theme for it from scratch.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

Happily, the WordPress community is large enough – and committed enough – to create a variety of free resources available to help users. One of these is the WordPress.org Theme Directory with over 3,000 free themes to choose from, all of which have been contributed by individual users and design companies.

Then again, narrowing your choice down to “just” 3,000 themes may not seem like much help. Once again, don’t worry! We’ve gone through all the available options to find the 15 best free WordPress themes for you to choose from.

How We Choose Our Ratings


We excluded themes created by WordPress.com because by default, those are downloaded more often than others. Also, we didn’t include themes which hadn’t been rated by the WordPress community as there wasn’t enough information to make a judgment. For all the rest, we answered the three questions below to choose the best free WordPress themes.

How can it be used?

We looked at each theme’s features and functionality as well as its versatility for use by different websites such as ecommerce, food and drink, news, photography, and portfolios.

How many active installations are there?

Popularity isn’t everything, but it does count. A higher number of active installs shows people really are using a theme.

What rating does the WordPress community give it?

WordPress users are not shy with their opinions. The ratings they give themes go a long way toward determining how well it’s been received within the WordPress community.


Best Free WordPress Themes

One of the great things about WordPress is the ability to preview different themes before applying them to your site. No matter how much you may like a theme when you first see it, always preview how your site looks using it before switching from your old theme.

GeneralPressPhoto credit to wordpress.org

GeneratePress, from the design firm of the same name, is one of the most powerful themes in this list. In addition to having features common to other entries – responsive design which makes it mobile-friendly, easily customizable, and compatible with all major WordPress plugins – it is also fully integrated with schema.org microdata which boosts responsiveness and communication with search engines.

While other themes utilize Google Fonts, GeneratePress takes this one step further by offering full access to Font Awesome. Developers will love its built-in filters and hooks which will reduce development time. There are multiple dropdown menus, sidebar layouts, and widget areas. If you’re looking for a full-fledged theme with all the bells and whistles you could hope for, GeneratePress just might be it.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce

100,000+


Sydney

Photo credit to wordpress.org

Sydney is available from aThemes. Sporting a ton of customization options, it’s great for both businesses and portfolios. You’ll have full access to Google Fonts, complete color and layout control, a full-screen slider, and sticky navigation. It’s also translation-ready and features threaded comments. You’ll be able to incorporate parallax backgrounds and front-page blocks. You’ll keep your visitors engaged through the multiple social media icons and widgets.

Plus, how can you say no to a design firm who has a blog post about the 6 best beer brewery WordPress themes?

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
Portfolios

200,000+


Colormag

Photo credit to wordpress.org

As its name suggests, ColorMag features a magazine-style design which is well-suited for news, magazine, or newspaper publishing. In fact, it’s the most popular magazine-newspaper theme available at WordPress.org. It comes with a left sidebar, and your choice of a one- or two-column layout.

While print newspapers may be fading fast, ColorMag’s integration with WooCommerce will make it easy to monetize your site. You can also use your own customized code and allow users to share content via multiple social media channels. Plus, unlike many of the themes on this list, there is free support available at the ThemeGrill website.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
News

100,000+


total


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Available from HashThemes, Total does its best to be a one-size-fits-all website solution. It utilizes a clean, one-page design with unlimited color options, a sticky menu, animated text slider, and 10 homepage sections ranging from “About Us” to “Portfolio” to “Services” and more. And, yes, it’s compatible with WooCommerce. You can also have footer widgets, threaded comments, and a featured image. It’s translation-ready, too!

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
Photography
Portfolios

60,000+


Mesmerize


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Mesmerize, from the design firm of the same name, incorporates a drag-and-drop layout system which is quickly and easily customized. There’s a predesigned home page, 30 different content sections which are ready to use, and 5 header styles to choose from. Additional options for customization include either a slideshow or video background. Mesmerize is fully responsive and mobile-friendly as soon as you start using it. It’s also ready to use with WooCommerce straight out of the box.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Food and drink, portfolios

30,000+


Writee


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Mesmerize, from the design firm of the same name, incorporates a drag-and-drop layout system which is quickly and easily customized. There’s a predesigned home page, 30 different content sections which are ready to use, and 5 header styles to choose from. Additional options for customization include either a slideshow or video background. Mesmerize is fully responsive and mobile-friendly as soon as you start using it. It’s also ready to use with WooCommerce straight out of the box.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce news
photography

30,000+


Ashe


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Produced by WP Royal, Ashe’s style is both elegant and minimal. As with many other themes on this list, it supports WooCommerce, and the responsive design is mobile-friendly. Language translation is built in as well as right-to-left (RTL) reading. It comes with plenty of documentation so even WordPress coding newbies will be able to easily customize it. There is also a full-screen slider, Instagram widget support, and retina display support.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
 Food and drink Photography

10,000+


Bulk


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Okay, so Bulk doesn’t have quite as many ratings as most other themes in this list, but that’s probably because it’s relatively new. Made by Themes4WP, it was developed for use with the drag-and-drop page builder plugin Elementor. It’s translation-ready and is compatible with both WooCommerce and RTL. Its fully responsive design works well with its one-page layout.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
photography portfolios

10,000+


Storefront


Photo credit to wordpress.org

As you can tell by its name, Storefront is perfect for online sales, especially as it’s available from WooCommerce. Not only does it have WooCommerce bespoke integration, many of the WooCommerce extensions also come built in. Specifically designed to use succinct and compressed code, you can easily customize its extensible codebase. In addition, its deep WooCommerce integration means there is little to no downtime due to plugin and theme conflicts.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce

100,000+


Zerif Lite


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Zerif Lite, from themeisle, uses BootStrap and has parallax support. It’s compatible with WooCommerce, RTL, and WPML. It also has enhanced search engine optimization (SEO). The one-page design incorporates responsive features which allow it to translate well to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. When you decide to make changes to your website, you can see them in real time. Whether you’re showcasing your portfolio, corporate business, or web agency, it’s worth taking a look at Zerif Lite.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce Portfolios

100,000+


Hestia


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Hestia, another themeisle contribution, has a multipurpose one-page design good for businesses or portfolios. You can use your own custom header, background, menu, and colors. You can also choose from either a one- or two-column layout. It’s compatible with WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin and ecommerce platform. Still not sold? A version of it is used by Jeremy Spencer, one of the founding members of the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac!

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce Portfolios

90,000+


Onepress


Photo credit to wordpress.org

A FameThemes product, OnePress is a multipurpose one-page theme which is suitable for a variety of websites. It features a mobile-friendly responsive design, custom content blocks, parallax backgrounds, and an advanced theme customizer. Out of all the themes in this list, this one is an excellent example of how Bootstrap 4 WordPress can be thoroughly integrated with WooCommerce.

Want more? OnePress easily translates into the language of your choice, has advanced HTML5 functionality, and is rigorously tested for compatibility with all major browsers. FameThemes boasts over 78,000 satisfied customers, thanks in no small part to the superior support it provides.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce Portfolios

70,000+


Shapely


Photo credit to wordpress.org

ColorLib is a prolific developer of WordPress themes, and Shapely is one of its more accomplished efforts with its pixel-perfect design and numerous customization options. Sure, it supports WordPress widgets like WooCommerce, but that support extends to JetPack, Google Analytics by Yoast, Gravity Forms, and more. You also have access to Font Awesome vector graphics, unlimited color options, and detailed theme documentation to provide the support you’ll need to take full advantage of its versatility.

Like GeneratePress, Shapely has multipurpose capabilities which extend its use far beyond one or two types of websites. While its primary purpose is ecommerce, it can be easily adapted for content publishing by blogs, magazines, or newspapers. As ColorLib says, “Shapely may well be the last WordPress theme you need to buy.”

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce Photography Portfolios

30,000+


Pagespeed


Photo credit to wordpress.org

PageSpeed bills itself as the fastest and most robust SEO WordPress theme available. This SwiftThemes product has a clean design which effectively incorporates negative space and loads in less than a second, according to Pingdom. All this speed does not sacrifice customization as you can have sticky sidebars and navigation, integrate Google Fonts, and incorporate a featured post slider. It’s coded to official WordPress standards and is compatible with WooCommerce, AdSense, Beaver, and Elementor.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce
 Food and drink

10,000+


consulting


Photo credit to wordpress.org

Consulting, from Think Up Themes, is the free version of Consulting Pro, and both are excellent options for an ecommerce or services site. Consulting incorporates a responsive design, is HD-ready for retina displays, and allows you to quickly add social media sharing icons. Plus, it has powerful built-in widgets for cloud tags and Flicker feeds.

If you upgrade to Consulting Pro, additional powerful features become available: access to unlimited colors, your choice of full-width or boxed layout, and a library of over 100 custom shortcodes. And, with the full version, there is robust support to help you should you need it.

How You Can Use It

Active Installs

Rating

Ecommerce Photography

30,000+

Choosing a WordPress Theme

When choosing from the best free WordPress themes, function should always dictate form. Even if you’re taken by a particular theme – c’mon, who doesn’t love Zombie Apocalypse? – it may not automatically work well for your ecommerce site. Or, maybe you know you’ll need more additional tech support than providers of free themes usually offer. In that case, you should look at the paid commercial themes also available at the WordPress.org Theme Directory.

Want to see even more great free WordPress themes? Check out these additional examples!

How to Make Your WordPress Site Appear in Google Answer Box

How to Make Your WordPress Site Appear in Google Answer Box

Photo credit to Template Monster

When you create content on your WordPress site, you likely think about where that content will be seen.

Your website is the obvious first destination you have in mind since you want to generate traffic. But there’s also content sharing sites, social media pages, and – Google Answer Box.

That may seem like a big leap in terms of exposure, and that’s because it is. Most content creators view a spot in the Google Answer Box as a rare privilege bestowed on a lucky few. It’s easy to think this spot is out of reach, even if it is something every content creator would love to achieve.

Google programmers know people don’t want to click through dozens of pages of search results to find what they want. Even more to the point, users would prefer to have to click nothing to get the right answer once they input a question into the search bar.

This is where the answer box comes in. If you can get your content in this space, it’s a massive boost for your content’s credibility and an all but certain path to increased site traffic.

What Is Google Answer Box?

Google Answer Box

Photo credit to Web Solutions

Google’s Knowledge Graph is an algorithm that tries to answer questions on the search page. This doesn’t mean just putting the right link at the top of the list – it means providing a small bit of text from the most authoritative source that answers the question directly and links back to the answerer’s site.

Google’s algorithm is smart. It knows the less clicking a person has to do to find their desired answer, the better. Studies have shown these answers account for nearly a third of click-through-rates. For those looking to boost site traffic, raise engagement rates, and drive users to continue exploring an online site or store, landing in the answer box is a sure path to success.

So how do you get there? The short answer is by improving your content. Obviously, having the right answer to a question is the best way to improve the chance of getting an answer box spot. But what about if the question isn’t one with a concrete factual answer? For example, a person searching up the ingredients to a common lunch dish may be after widely known facts. But in terms of which lunch dish is the best to serve at a party, subjectivity comes into play.

How can you improve your chances of getting in the Google Answer Box? By following Google SEO and best practices while offering meaningful and authoritative content, anyone can inch closer to (and even land in) the answer box.

Three Simple Steps to Attain an Answer Box Spot

Here are a few simple steps any website owner can take to increase the likelihood their content will end up in Google’s Answer Box.

 Think Like the Answer Box

To get in the answer box, think like the answer box – make sure your content has plenty of short, accurate answers to common questions. If you’re writing on a more general topic, it’s a great opportunity to pepper multiple answers throughout. This gives you more opportunities without requiring you to create more content – a win-win!

 Consider Google SEO Best Practice

Photo credit to YouTube

 Consider Google SEO Best Practice

Keywords aren’t just good for getting a site to the top of search results – they’re helpful for getting it featured in answer boxes, too. Anyone who knows about search algorithms can attest to using multiple keywords for improved visibility. But don’t forget an SEO meta description as well. Keywords should be used in the title, headers, and body, but they should also be featured in the meta info.

 Get Tools for Monitoring Performance

Programs like MonsterInsights can help content creators see how they’re doing in search results. If a page isn’t getting a lot of traffic, tighten up the content. Knowing where traffic is coming from and how changes affect it to make it much easier to create good content that gets a lot of views. This type of content is much more likely to end up in an answer box.

WordPress Tools for Monitoring Performance

Photo credit to ThemeIsle

The Answer Box Is Not Unattainable

Obviously, since so many sites have landed in them – right?

Being one of the chosen few can seem like a hard goal to achieve, but it isn’t impossible. Create good content, provide real answers, monitor the traffic, and ramp up your SEO. Doing all this over time will help you greatly increase the chance of securing a coveted answer box spot.

It’s not just for show, either. Real answers appeal to people who want to get the most out of search engines. If you offer them the solution they need quicker than anyone else, you could gain a follower, subscriber, or customer.

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

Photo credit to GreenGeeks

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!

 

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?