Category: Netweaver

Start a website in just 15 minutes

It’s a commonly held thought that launching your own website takes hundreds of hours spread over many months.  What if you want to do it in just 15 minutes?  Not possible, surely?

With the combined power of NetWeaver and WordPress – we think it is.  You’ve got an idea for your site, you’ve decided what to call it –  let’s start the clock….

0:00 – 1 min – Setup your hosting

Head to www.netweaver.uk and place an order.  Your account will be setup instantly.

1:00 – 1 min – Install WordPress

Login to your control panel and find the ‘Installatron’ option.  Install the latest version of WordPress.

2:00 – 2 mins – Choose a theme

There are hundreds of free themes available to use for your site – choose the one that appeals to you.

4:00 – 5 mins – Customise your site

Spend a few minutes adding relevant content to the Pages of your website in WordPress.  Details of your products or services, contact details and opening times.

9:00 – 2 mins – Add a blog post

On the Posts section of WordPress add a post introducing you and/or your business to the world.  The Posts section allows to you keep your website up to date and relevant, whilst adding new content to keep your visitors interested.

11:00 – 2 mins – SEO optimise your site

From the Plugins menu, install Yoast SEO and follow the advice.

13:00 – 2 mins – Secure your site.

Again, from the Plugins menu, install a security plugin to help keep your new site secure.

15:00 – You’re all done.

A simple website online within 15 minutes.  Don’t leave it there though, over the coming weeks you can add all kinds of functionality to your website.  Check out this blog post from Alan on the types of sites you can make with WordPress.

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10 things you can build with WordPress

WordPress is a content management system used by millions of websites all over the world. But what exactly can you build with it? Is WordPress just about publishing blogs, or are there other applications too?

It turns out that you can do a lot more with WordPress than publish blogs. Yes, WordPress is a content management platform, but the universe of possibilities that it offers far exceeds what most people expect. In truth, it’s a kind of operating system for the internet, providing hundreds, if not thousands, of features through its network of helpful plugins.

So what esoteric things can you build with this wonder platform? Let’s take a look.

E-Commerce Websites

Although Shopify would have you believe that it is the only game in town when it comes to e-commerce websites, WordPress provides a fabulously rich resource for newbie entrepreneurs to flog their wares over the internet. No, it’s not as intuitive as Shopify by any stretch of the imagination, but what WordPress lacks in user-friendliness it more than makes up for in features. With WordPress, you can create a bespoke e-commerce shopping site, integrate payment, manage inventory, and do practically everything that you can do on off-the-shelf solutions, like Shopify. What’s more, it’s relatively cheap to run too. 

Podcasts

Despite the plethora of videocasts out there on the internet, there’s still a role for podcasts in the modern world thanks to the fact that people like to move around and do other things as they listen. WordPress provides a platform that helps to manage and arrange podcasts, as well as giving users search tools to browse through them.

Contact Books

If you run a small enterprise or a consulting business, managing all your clients can soon become a difficult task. But with the help of WordPress contacts plugin, you can quickly view which of your contacts are currently on your site, allowing you to manage them more effectively and deploy better marketing.

Web Soapboxes

Web soapboxes are a little bit like the internet’s version of talk radio. They’re an opportunity for every Tom, Dick and Harry out there to share their opinions with others. WordPress provides tools that allow you to create websites that make it easy for people to voice their views, whether that’s through forum plugins, comments plugins, or the ability to upload video.

Review Sites

Review sites have jumped enormously in popularity over recent years. People view review sites to try to find genuine information about products that they want to buy. There are, in general, two ways to build a review website, both facilitated by WordPress. The first is to write the reviews yourself – a bit like an editorial column at a magazine. WordPress provides you with facilities to periodically publish reports in a highly structured and formatted way.

The second is to get customers to write reviews themselves. If you’re an e-commerce company, this could come in handy. As the vendor, you can verify that a customer has made the purchase and that their review is authentic. Customer reviews are becoming increasingly popular and are being driven by people’s desire to find out what peers think about the goods that they are considering buying online.

Resume Sites

While most people will be satisfied uploading their CVs to LinkedIn and Indeed, for some, that just isn’t enough. WordPress allows you to build resume sites where you can include much more information about who you are, what you do, and where you’ve come from than any CV ever could.

Photo Galleries

Let’s say you’ve just taken your business to an event and you want to show customers and record of what you did. Perhaps you want to share images of people enjoying your products or of the props you used at a tradeshow. Whatever it is, WordPress can help. WordPress has tools that allow you to share all your photos with friends and followers online, and an intuitive user interface that makes browsing those pictures easy.

Business Websites

For most businesses, their websites aren’t the primary way they generate sales. But merely having a site can help a great deal. Prospective customers will usually want to check out your website as a matter of course to see what your company is about, what your values are, and, frankly, whether you have the expertise to construct a great website (as that might be an indication of the quality of your products).

WordPress is an excellent tool for creating company websites because it offers much more functionality than standard website builder templates. With its many plugins and the ability to edit the source code, WordPress provides a world of opportunities to savvy companies who want to create bespoke experiences for their users.

News Sites

Many companies need outlets through which they can tell the world about stories that they are interested in. And while many will choose to push them through a blog or articles section on their main site, others will create an entirely new website just for current affairs.

WordPress can help in this regard too. In fact, WordPress is such a great tool for news that some of the most prominent news organisations in the world, like CNN and Techcrunch, use the platform to distribute their stories. WordPress allows the builders of news sites to create summary pages that link to articled and automatically update once new stories come through.

Question And Answer Sites

You’ve no doubt heard of Quora. It’s a website where you can ask pretty much any question you like and hope that somebody, somewhere has an answer. One of the great things about Quora is the fact that the site allows users to vote on whether they think an answer is good or not, pushing the best responses to the top of the list, and relegating those that do not make the grade.

Because of its rich set of features, WordPress can be used to build question and answer sites too. WordPress users can choose between several plugins, including DW Questions and Answers and CM Answers.

Get Started Today

Ultra-optimised WordPress Hosting from NetWeaver is just £5/month and you can be up and running in minutes.  Click here for more information.

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The Best WordPress Cache Plugin

The Best WordPress Cache Plugin

What is a Cache Plugin?

Cache plugins create a static version of your site’s content and deliver it to visitors. This reuses data from previous requests so that visitors don’t have to request the same information every time they view a page.

Why is this important?

Caching reduces the amount of fresh information that a visitor loads when viewing your page, improving its loading time significantly. The higher the page speed, the better your search rankings, so the more traffic your website will attract. To further improve you search rankings, see our article on SEO plugins here.

Now that you know what a cache plugin is, let’s take a look at the 4 best WordPress cache plugins available.

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache Plugin

With over 1 million active installations and a 4.5 star average rating from 1,000+ reviews it is one of the most popular WordPress plugins.

WP Super Cache features 3 methods of caching files:

  • Expert: This is the fastest method, recommended only if you are experienced with editing PHP files.
  • Simple: With an easy configuration and no PHP file editing, this method is recommended to most users.
  • WP-Cache caching: This is the slowest method but has its advantages. It is useful for known users such as those who are logged in or leave comments.
Advantages:
  • Free.
  • Flexible. With 3 methods of caching files you are sure to find one that is perfect for you website.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache Plugin

With over 1 million active installations and an average rating of 4.5 stars based on nearly 4,000 reviews, W3 Total Cache is even more well regarded than WP Super Cache.

The wide range of features that this plugin offers is impressive. Perhaps its only downside is that this number of features can be overwhelming.  However, W3 Total Cache manages this fairly well as the default settings are ideal for most users. If you do wish to configure each feature, there is a dedicated settings page for each one.

Advantages:
  • Free.
  • Huge number of features.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache plugin

Despite its lower 700,000 active installations this is the most highly rated free plugin available. It received a 5 star average rating from over 2,000 reviews.

WP Fastest Cache describes itself as the ‘simplest WP cache system’ and it certainly delivers in this regard. It is the easiest free WordPress cache plugin available, featuring fewer configuration options allowing for an easy setup.

Advantages:
  • Free with the option of a premium upgrade for $40.
  • Simple interface with a lack of overwhelming features.
  • Simple setup.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket plugin

WP Rocket is this most popular premium cache plugin for WordPress with an average 5 star rating from 2,000+ reviews.

This plugin begins caching on activation meaning no setup is required. This is great if you don’t want to mess around with setup configurations. You can of course alter the settings if you wish however the default configuration is perfect for most users. The only downside to this plugin is its price of $39 for 1 website. However we believe that the benefit of this plugin justifies its cost.

Advantages:
  • Effective caching and customer support
  • Instant setup on activation makes this the simplest caching plugin to configure

Which Plugin is Best for You?

When trying to determine which of these plugins are best for you and your site, we would wager that any one of these would more than meet your demands. However here are some guidelines to assist you in your decision:

  •  If you are willing to spend money on a caching plugin, we highly recommend WP Rocket. This is the best premium WordPress cache plugin available regardless if you are more interested in simplicity or effectiveness.
  • If you are looking for a free caching system that prioritises simplicity, or you are a beginner, we recommend WP Fastest Cache.
  • For a wide range of features and a more advanced setup, give W3 Total Cache a try for free.

We hope this article helped you find the caching plugin that is best your site. If we left any out please let us know in the comments.

The post The Best WordPress Cache Plugin appeared first on NetWeaver.

The Best WordPress SEO Plugin

The Best WordPress SEO Plugin

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. It allows websites to reach a higher position in a search engine’s search results. This leads to more traffic reaching your website and is therefore crucial to a successful site.

Luckily WordPress offers many plugins that make SEO an easy task. Since you only need one SEO plugin, we have narrowed it down to what we believe are the three best WordPress SEO plugins.

It is no secret that Yoast SEO is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin out there however it should not be the default plugin in all situations. The other plugins up for contention are the All in One SEO Pack and The SEO Framework.

What Makes a Good SEO Plugin?

The most popular plugins are almost always beginner friendly. While SEO pros will have a use for plugins, it is the beginners that will be most reliant on them. Therefore a good SEO plugin should include a simple installation process and an easy to use interface.

However, this is not the only factor that makes a good plugin. Many SEO plugins are too similar, offering the same features with few standing out from the crowd. Although these three plugins are free initially, each can be upgraded to premium versions (for a price course). Therefore the price and value of these upgrades may be important if you really want to climb the search ladder.

What is the Best WordPress SEO Plugin?

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO plugin

With a 5 star average based on nearly 22,000 reviews, Yoast is considered the most popular SEO plugin out there. The main reason for this is its user friendly interface making it ideal for beginners and an easy ‘Setup Configuration Wizard’. However it can at times be too tailored to beginners as it hides some of its best (but more complicated) features under the ‘Advanced’ tab in settings.

It has a wide range of features such as the ability to edit URL titles, meta descriptions and an analysis on improving readability and ‘SEO score’.

Yoast analysis

Although many people find these recommendations helpful, they are general suggestions and should not be followed by the book otherwise your posts may come across as robotic. They pick up on unnecessary changes such as a ‘stop word’ in a URL or the misuse of a ‘passive voice’.

Pros:
  • A wide variety of features
  • Very beginner friendly with an easy to use interface
  • Easy setup thanks to the ‘Setup Configuration Wizard’
Cons:
  • Analysis can be too generic
  • Expensive premium upgrade. WordPress SEO by Yoast Premium is $80
  • Very tailored to beginners, hiding advanced features
All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack plugin

This is the ‘original WordPress SEO plugin’ and was first created in 2007. Despite its age it is still the most actively used WordPress SEO plugin with around 3 million active installations and a 4.5 star average rating from 400 reviews.

It remains fairly user friendly but still includes advanced features. Some of these include a bot blocker, easy Google Analytics integration (used to view website stats) and free WooCommerce integration. This makes it ideal for online merchants. It is difficult to find many negatives with this plugin, it manages to please both advanced and beginner users.

Pros:
  • Free WooCommerce integration (usually a premium feature), ideal for online merchants
  • Bad Bot Blocker, which blocks any harmful bots from slowing down your site
  • Easy Google Analytics integration
  • Can be used by just about anyone, not too difficult for beginners but not too simple for experts
Cons:
  • Could be more user friendly. The interface requires a lot of scrolling.
  • Very slimmed down interface which may not suit all beginners.
The SEO Framework

The SEO Framework plugin

This can be considered the underdog of the 3 plugins. Despite significantly lower active installations, it has great reviews. From under 200 reviews, 96% rated it 5 stars out of 5.

The setup has both pros and cons. It is one long list of settings but once they are finished, you are done. No notifications, no pressuring into upgrading, just a big list of potential features. However, there is little guidance throughout the setup which makes it unwelcoming to beginners. Instead it is tailored perfectly to experts who will no doubt appreciate its lack of unnecessary interference.

It also provides free support for WooCommerce which makes it ideal to online merchants.

Pros:
  • Free WooCommerce integration, great for online merchants
  • Simple, efficient setup if you are experienced
  • Little interaction after setup, everything can be managed from the settings if required
Cons:
  • Not suited to beginners due to a lack of guidance. Although this is the only negative we picked up on, it is likely the reason for its lack of users. However without this it would be less tailored to experienced users.

Conclusion:

There is no generic best WordPress SEO plugin, but we believe one of these plugins will suit everyone. Here are some guidelines to help you decide which one suits you best:

  • If you are an experienced SEO user who wants an efficient plugin with no unnecessary annoyances, or you are bored of the same old 2 plugins, give The SEO Framework a try.
  • If you are a total beginner who is looking for an easy, user-friendly interface to add some basic SEO to your site, Yoast will not disappoint. It is the most popular plugin for that reason.
  • And finally, if you are neither a beginner or an expert in SEO, you can’t go wrong with The All in One SEO Pack which we believe will suit just about anyone.

We hope this comparison helped you find the SEO plugin that best suits your site. If we left any out please to let us know in the comments.

The post The Best WordPress SEO Plugin appeared first on NetWeaver.

Secure access to your WordPress website

Secure access to your WordPress website

If you keep up to date with tech news at all, then you’ll be aware that as from version 68 (which is out today, July 24th, 2018) – Google Chrome will begin labelling websites which don’t use https as ‘Not secure’

Google Chrome 68

Obviously, this is likely to put visitors off using your website. Chrome is the most commonly used browser, and a lack of SSL will even hurt your search engine performance!

But – do not fear – NetWeaver provide free https certificates, automatically installed, on all our hosting accounts.  All you need to do is make sure your website makes use of it.

The following guide shows you how to take your WordPress website from ‘Not secure’ to ‘Secure’ in just two minutes.

Step 1

Login to your WordPress admin section (usually yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/)

WordPress Login

Step 2

From the side menu select ‘Plugins > Add New’

Add New Plugin

Step 3

Search for ‘Really Simple SSL’, then click ‘Install Now’

Really Simple SSL

After a few seconds, click ‘Activate’ .
Activate Button

Step 4

Click ‘Go ahead, active SSL’

Enable SSL WordPress

Your website will then refresh and you should see the lovely green ‘Secure’ message in your browser.  See, told you it’d only take 2 minutes!

Secure Toolbar

You should probably have a cup of tea now, so you can act like you’ve done something really complicated.

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The Best WordPress Image Compression Plugin

The Best WordPress Image Compression Plugin

Image compression is a process that reduces the size of an image file without greatly affecting its quality. It converts an image file so that it takes up less space than the original file. This allows your website to run faster.

Images are necessary to make your content more engaging and improve the general look of your site. However, they are larger in size than plain text and so take longer to load. Therefore image compression is crucial in making your website faster and better looking.

Luckily WordPress provides plugins that allow you to do this. This article will try to determine the best WordPress plugin for image compression. To do this, lets take a look at the pros and cons of the 5 most popular image compression plugins available for free. This comparison will also take into account the amount of compression for both PNG and JPEG files using the same images for all plugins.

Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG

Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG

Compress JPEG & PNG was created by TinyPNG. It optimises your images using the TinyPNG or TinyJPEG image compression services. It scored second best with the compression statistics in comparison with the other 5 here. File sizes were reduced to 45% (PNG) and 50% (JPEG) of the original image sizes.

Pros:
  • Automatically optimise new images.
  • Optimise existing images individually or in bulk
  • Set a maximum size for all your images where any larger images are resized.
Cons:
  • Limited to 100 image compressions each month (free version).
  • Requires account registration.

EWWW Image Optimizer

EWWW Image Optimizer

The second compression plugin on the list is EWWW Image Optimizer. This can compress and resize both images and PDFs. It reduced the files to 86.5% for PNG and 90.5% for JPEG and therefore has the second worst compression statistics.

Pros:
  • Automatically optimises new images.
  • Can optimise existing images in bulk.
  • Does not require account registration.
Cons:
  • API keys are available, but must be purchased.
  • API customers get priority.

Imagify

Imagify Image Optimizer

Imagify by WP Media uses jpegtran, optipng/pngout, and gifsicle to optimise images for a reduced file size. However it had the worst compression statistics with a reduction to 86.7% for PNG and 90.9% for JPEG.

Pros:
  • Automatic optimisation of new images.
  • Can optimise existing images in bulk with backups.
  • 3 different levels of compression.
Cons:
  • Requires account registration.
  • Limited to 25MB of optimisation each month.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer

ShortPixel Image Optimizer

ShortPixel Image Optimizer had the best compression statistics for both PNG and JPEG files. It reduced the images to 41% and 23% of their original file sizes.

Pros:
  • Automatic optimisation of new images.
  • Easy comparison between original and new file sizes.
  • 3 types of compression to suit different people.
  • Ideal for photographers with the option to keep or remove EXIF data.
Cons:
  • Free version is limited to processing 100 files per month.
  • Limit can be increased by paying for a different plan.
  • Requires registration (although it is a fast registration with no confirmations etc.).

Smush Image Compression Plugin

Smush Image Compression and Optimisation

Smush Image Compression and Optimisation is the ‘award winning optimiser’. It includes well organised and easy to use interfaces and is the most actively installed image compression plugin.

Pros:
  • Well organised.
  • Recommended for new users as it is easy to use
  • No registration.
Cons:
  • Option for premium account (although the free account is not limited by number of image compressions).
  • Scored 3rd lowest on compression statistics, so sacrifices image compression for a cleaner interface.

Summary

So what is the best image compression plugin available for free on WordPress?

It depends on what you are looking for. If you are purely looking at compression, then the ShortPixel Image Optimizer would be the best since it reduced the size of the images by the greatest amount. EWWW Image Optimizer is also a great plugin, but you will need to pay for an API Key to access the higher levels of compression.

A new user may find the Smush Image Optimizer the best due to its clean interface and easy setup. This more than makes up for its average compression values as it is the most actively installed compression plugin available.

The post The Best WordPress Image Compression Plugin appeared first on NetWeaver.

5 stunning single page WordPress Themes for your website

5 stunning single page WordPress Themes for your website

Why use single page WordPress Themes?

One page websites have recently become a trend amongst web designers.   An obvious reason for this is they are able to display content in a simple, easy to digest format.  They provide greater space for information and also create a more fluid experience as scrolling as opposed to clicking is more natural to the user, particularly on mobile devices.  Luckily for you, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a web designer to have a single page website.  There are many great examples of WordPress themes that provide a smooth scrolling experience and in addition to this come at a very reasonable price.  Here, we will show some of the best one-page themes that you can use for your website.

TheGem

TheGem themes

TheGem is a premium WordPress Theme with a modern, creative design to suit any user creating a website.  It will help you build impressive, high-speed websites and in addition to this, you do not have to touch a line of code.  It features 40 unique multi-purpose design concepts, 150 stunning demo pages, as well as eight navigation settings in over 20 styles.  This means the possibilities for customization really are unlimited.  TheGem also has full WooCommerce plugin integration, with custom visual styling for to match your customized themes look and style.  This provides you with all your ecommerce needs perfect your WordPress site.  TheGem costs just $59 and for this, you get a very sophisticated looking template at a very low cost.  This could be the perfect theme for you, I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn theme

Brooklyn is a slick, simplistic WordPress theme that can be used for any kind of website.  With an excellent one-page design and also a crisp parallax effect this theme provides a great user experience for your visitors.  It is simple to install with just one click and everything can be managed from the admin panel so there is no need to touch any code, making it perfect for those with little coding knowledge.  Just like with TheGem, WooCommerce is compatible and easy to integrate.  You can create pricing tables in a matter of clicks meaning it is ideal for your ecommerce store.

Verko

Verko themes

Verko, just like the previous two, is also a premium WordPress Theme.  This theme is focused more towards marketing your services or products.  With landing page templates it encourages the user to take another step forward into your business.  It has a very simplistic design, taking full advantage of the single page layout, using photos, videos and call-to-actions to improve the look but to also help increase the page traffic.  Verko is ideal for any business with a wide range of products and services as there are so many tools to help showcase them.

Zerif Pro

Zerif Pro themes

Zerif Pro is a modern, one-page WordPress premium theme designed for small businesses.  It features a full-width picture in the background as well as smooth animations with a white menu at the top.  It has a vibrant design that can be customised with an unlimited choice of colours and theme widgets. They can be moved exactly where you want them, giving you plenty of freedom.  Zerif PRO is also translation and multilingual ready thanks to its built-in support for WPML multilingual plugin.  Like the others, Zerif Pro features the parallax effect which gives it classy sliding from one section to another.  While this theme is a single page template it can also be used as a multi-page website making it perfect for everybody.

Hestia

Hestio themes

Unlike all of the other themes in this list, Hestia is available for free.  This is perfect for starting a website as you get a very slick design at no cost, the only drawback is that a lot of other people will be using the same theme as you.  Hestia has smooth scrolling and parallax sections making it perfect for both corporate and creative use.  It is easy to integrate WooCommerce which is essential for your online shop.  As well as this it has a fantastic portfolio to display any designs or photos you may want to add.  Customization is simple, as it comes fully compatible with SiteOrigin Page Builder – a great solution to help to build websites.

 

 

 

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How to add an Instagram feed to your website

How to add an Instagram feed to your website

Instagram Feed plugin

The first thing you will need to do to get your Instagram pictures and videos to appear on your website is to install a relevant plugin.  The one we will be using is ‘Instagram Feed’ – although there are tons of different options available this is by far the most popular which is always a great sign and it is regularly updated.  The plugin is free, however, there is a paid version available.  The pro version offers more features, such as being able to display feeds from hashtags, locations and “liked” photos.

Configuring the plugin

Firstly, you need to install and activate the plugin.  Once this is done click the ‘Instagram feed’ option that will have appeared on the dashboard sidebar.  Now you need to add your access token – this gives the plugin access to your Instagram account so that it can import your posts.

Instagram Feed setup

You need to log in if you aren’t already and this will reveal your access code and user ID, you then need to copy and paste them into the correct box.  The user ID is basically a numerical representation of a specific Instagram account – every account has one.  If you want to have pictures from more than one feed then after entering one user ID separate it from the next one with a comma.

Customizing the feed

Now you can customize how your feed will appear.  To do this, go to the ‘Customize’ tab.

Here you can change things such as:

  • Width of feed
  • Height of feed
  • Background colour
  • How you want your feed to be sorted
  • Number of photos displayed
  • Number of columns

Instagram feed customization

There are also a few smaller options that you can change, however, a lot of the customizable options are for pro users only.

Be sure to save your changes before exiting and then you are good to go.

Displaying the Instagram feed

Once you have customized your feed you are ready to display it on your website.  To do this go to the ‘Display Your Feed’ tab.  Here you need to copy the shortcode that it provides.

Instagram feed shortcode

To get your feed onto your website all you have to do is paste this shortcode into the page you want it to appear on as seen below.

Instagram feed

Once you have done this you are good to go, your Instagram feed will appear on your website.

The post How to add an Instagram feed to your website appeared first on NetWeaver.

Improving the security of your WordPress site

Improving the security of your WordPress site

Why is security important?

WordPress security should be of huge importance to every website owner.  Users want to know that their data is safe and that there is no risk of hackers stealing information, such as their passwords.  If your website is a business, it is your responsibility to protect your customers, therefore, you will need to pay extra attention to website security so that there is no serious damage to your business revenue and reputation.

In 2016, Google reported that more than 50 million website users had been warned that a website they were visiting may contain malware or steal information.  Google also blacklists around 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing each week.

Obviously, you do not want to be blacklisted or have people complain about your website.  This is why it is vital to stay secure.

Keeping up to date

The first step to increase the security of your website is making sure everything is up to date.  WordPress, for example, is regularly updated.  All minor updates are performed automatically, however, major releases need to be manually activated.

WordPress security updates

You can check in WordPress by going to ‘Updates’ and this will tell you if everything is up to date.

Third party themes and plugins also need to be kept up to date.  As you can see above WordPress monitors them for you and lets you know if they do need an update.

Strong passwords

The most common hacking attempts come from stolen passwords.  You can easily make this more difficult by using a stronger password.  The best way to do this is by using a randomly generated password and having it saved in Keychain or another secure place.

To be safe, make sure you do not give out your login details to anybody unless you have to.  WordPress also comes with a user role management system which defines what a specific user can do.  Only give a user the role which they need before adding them.

WordPress security plugins

WordPress plugins are a great, extra way to keep your site secure.  They offer a wide range of features to keep your site protected from known threats.  If you want to keep your site safe, then installing one of these plugins is a necessity.  There are many available that range from free to a variety of prices.

WordFence

WordFence is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins available.  It is free and has many features to help improve your security, for example, one of the most important is the scan module.  The plugin will scan through your site for any potential security problems, what is very impressive is the fact that WordFence has a server with every WordPress version, theme and plugin in the directory.  This means the plugin can compare your files and detect if anything has been changed.  Once this is done WordFence will give you a list of potential security risks and recommendations on how to deal with them.

The plugin also blocks brute-force attacks and includes a firewall to block fake traffic, botnet and scanners.  If you want to upgrade to the premium WordFence you get even more great features.  These include things such blocking traffic from specific countries, two-factor authentication via SMS and much more.

This is the WordFence dashboard

WordFence Security

It provides you with a detailed overview of all current security statistics on your site and as you can see you get a lot for a free plugin, and if your site becomes larger there is always the option to upgrade to the premium for more features.

These are some quick and easy ways to help make your website more secure, hopefully, you find them insightful and put them to good use.

 

 

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Comparison of WordPress Cache Plugins

Comparison of WordPress Cache Plugins

Cache Plugins

If you have a WordPress site then you want it to be as fast and responsive as it possibly can.  Fast load times can help boost your traffic, increase your Google search rank and increase your websites overall performance.  Luckily for you, there are many free or low-cost cache plugins available.  Caching is effectively storing data so that the browser needs to receive less ‘fresh’ information each time it is loaded.  This results in a faster load time and therefore, people are more likely to stay on your site or keep revisiting.  Here I will be reviewing some of the most popular caching plugins available and seeing what effect it has on a website.

Without a plugin

To check your page speed you can go here.  I will be doing this for a demo website with no caching plugins installed to use as a benchmark.  Here are the results.

desktop cache page speed

So on a desktop, it is rated 92/100 which is very high but there is little on the website so this is to be expected – as you add more plugins and posts it would begin to decrease.

Mobile cache page speed

This is the score for mobile devices. As you can see it is slightly lower at 87/100 but this is still very good.  Now I will use some of the most popular caching plugins available and see how they affect the score and which is the most useful.

WP Super Cache

First is WP Super Cache – the most downloaded caching plugin on the market.  It’s free and easy to use and also requires very little configuration to set up.  There is a lot of options you can change, for example, you can choose the order in which your plugins load.  This means if there are certain plugins you want to load very fast, you’re in luck.  You can also schedule when you want cached pages to be cleared so you can designate in advance.

I installed the plugin and went the ‘Settings’ and enabled caching, for this test I changed no other settings.  Here are the page speed results for mobile using WP Super Cache:

Mobile Cache

So simply just installing the plugin has increased the page speed on mobile from 87 to 90 which is a significant increase. If you go onto to play with more advanced settings you could be able to get an even larger increase.

Desktop Cache

Desktop page speed has also risen, this time from 92 to 96.  This shows that the plugin has made a noticeable difference and this is only on the most basic of settings.  It is very easy to use and within minutes can have a positive impact on any website.

Another great feature of WP Super Cache is the amount of support available.  There is a support forum along with a detailed FAQ section.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is the second most downloaded caching plugin on the market.  With 16 pages of configuration, it offers a huge amount of customization options.  This makes it perfect for a more advanced caching solution with precise specifications, however, if this sounds too complicated then not to worry because it also offers a one-click setup.

Desktop cache

Having enabled caching using the one-click setup I ran the speed test to see how it well it worked.  For desktop, it scored 94/100 which is an improvement from having no caching plugin but only by 2 points which is less than the impact that WP Super Cache had.  It is possible that as W3 Total Cache has more advanced customization options that if you play around with the settings you can achieve a higher score.

Mobile Cache W3

So, as you can see here the speed has not changed for mobile.  Comparing this to WP Super Cache is not good as that increased by 3 points.  Again this could be down to using the more advanced settings, but this would require a good understanding.

To increase performance further, there are premium extensions available with extra functionality.  Just like the previous plugin, there is a support forum and FAQ section on the plugin page for help with any problems that may arise.

Out of the two plugins, it is clear which one had the biggest impact.  WP Super Cache is easy to install and configure achieving very quick results.  This is the one I would recommend out of the two unless you have more knowledge on the topic as 16 pages of customization could be daunting for some users, but W3 Total Cache does have the extra functionality that could be put to good use.

 

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