3 Free WordPress Managed Solutions

3 Free WordPress Managed Solutions

Minimum options needed for hosting and hosting further explained.

  • Space (disk space) Small plans normally start at about 10G of disk space. Roughly 200 hours of music per month.
  • Bandwidth (network connections) Small plans normally accommodate up to 10,000 unique visitors per month.
  • SSL free or paid option.
  • A way to upload, add or modify files to your hosting space such as SFTP.
  • Instructions for getting into your hosting space.
  • Documentation – Online self service documentation that you can follow. Think Knowledgebase.
  • Support – helpful and knowledgeable support that will NOT charge you for simple things. Does not need to be phone based!?
  • One click installer. Click here to listen to a previous episode about one click installers.
  • A way to serve your files.
  • A script processor – php, ruby, python, perl…etc. customer preference.
  • Database and databse connecticity -mysql/postgresql/oracle/mongo.
  • Security mechanism Firewall or other intrusion detection system.
  • Backups at least weekly – although the user should also have their own backups.

Not on the list

  • Email – use google, wibble, outlook for hosted email.
  • DNS services including domain registration.

Goes without saying

  • Way to add domain to your hosting account.
  • Way to add domain aliases; this might be known to some people as parked domains.

 

WordPress managed soloutions

What is managed WordPress?

A complete service package where all technical aspects of running WordPress is provided by your chosen host. This style of web hosting does and should cost more than web hosting that does not provide these services.

This includes:

  • Security
  • Speed
  • WordPress Updates
  • Daily Backups
  • Premium support – this is handled by WordPress experts with lots of experience.

This is why the typical managed WordPress hosting plan is much more expensive than standard hosting.

Companies that do managed WordPress hosting

 

What is WordPress hosting?

WordPress specific hosting, not to be confused with managed WordPress hosting, is specialized shared hosting with optimizations specific for WordPress sites. These changes often improve site speed and response.

Why/How is this different than regular hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting, WordPress hosting and shared hosting are all different and very specific to the needs of the customer.  Shared hosting, the lowest level and most basic hosting is setup so there are many accounts on a single server.  These shared servers will be serving many different websites, this makes it hard to optimize for a single application.  WordPress shared hosting, or WordPress Hosting, is a shared server optimized specifically for WordPress web sites.  Managed WordPress is all the benefits of a optimized server experience without having to also worry about updates, security, speed and support.  These are handled for you as part of the hosting package.

How is this relevant?

Do it yourself managed programs you can use on your WordPress site.

All 3 add a plugin for remote management of

  • core updates
  • plugin updates
  • theme updates
  • And more features below.

 

Infinite WP

Infinite WP (IWP) is a self hosted free or paid product, although version 3 is suppose to provide for a managed install version (SAAS). The free version installs as a plugin that then installs a command interface where you can add your site to be managed, as well as others. It provides a simple backup and updater. The paid version includes a reported $2888 worth of add ons. This is all self hosted and you are responsible for updating and securing your install of infinite WP. The biggest drawback to Infinite WP is the support. For the free version, good luck getting any response. Even their website lists 96 hours for a response for free tier, and for the enterprise tier it can be 12 hours. This is just not acceptable if you are paying for this product.

Ease of Use rating from beginner to advanced? 

This is more advanced than I would like.  You have to not only manage your WordPress install, which is fine, but you also have to manage the install of Infinite WP.  Installing the command interface could be problematic and if you have problems, good luck getting a reply back from support.

WP Remote

WP Remote is operated as part of maek.it, which is a full service client management portal.  This is ideal for designers/developers or agencies that want one place to go for everything from invoicing to hosting.  Features of WP Remote include.

  • One click deploy.
  • Simple Hosting (not sure what they mean by “simple”, they also advertise FTP but no SFTP or FTPS 🙁 ).
  • Unlimited WordPress management.
  • Invoices.
  • CRM.
  • Domain Management.
  • Track sales & leads.

Ease of Use rating from beginner to advanced?

This is more simple than Infinite WP, but the interface may be quite confusing.  Only thing to install is the control plugin which is quite simple to do.  More options than a simple WordPress management interface.  If you want to generate invoices, track sales leads and let Maek.it handle your hosting then this might be for you.

Manage WP

Mange WP is owned by GoDaddy which also owns Sucuri .
This is a cloud based software as a service application and Manage WP handles updates and security for the product. There is nothing the end user needs to install or manage except the control plugin. This is installed into your WordPress website. Manage WP is free for unlimited sites and certain addons are free. Premium addons are very reasonable at $1-$2 /mo. each, and you can purchase group bundles for multiple site activations. This means you can spend as little or as much as you need. I prefer this to having to pay $35/mo. for all of it. By only charging me for what I want/need it becomes very easy to turn on a few things that interest me or my customers.

Ease of Use rating from beginner to advanced?

This is super simple to install.  The only thing to install is the control plugin which is quite simple to do and I think anyone can/could do it.  The interface is very user friendly and easy to understand.  The notices, billing, and alerts are very clear to see and understand.  The only downside to Manage WP is that the basic backups do not allow you to download them or push them to another location.  They maintain the backups for you on their S3 drive.  Paying $2/mo. is the only way to get your backups sent to another location or be able to download them.  Other than that, there are many wonderful and free features that I use everyday.

Free with Manage WP:

  • Backup
  • Sucuri security checks
  • Performance check
  • Client reports
  • Google Analytics
  • Maintenance mode
  • Code snippets
  • 2-factor authentication
  • 1-click login
  • Manage comments
  • Manage plugins and themes
  • Vulnerability updates
  • Collaborate

Many paid options increase the functionality of the free options. For example, $2/mo extra will give you cloud backup destinations with scheduling, or you can use the free basic backup. Or for $1/mo. enable the SEO monitor feature to track the SEO of your site.

Listeners of the Web Hosting Podcast have been given a wonderful bonus, if you want to try Manage WP. You can use the code WHPOD and you will get $10 added to your account to try any of the paid features. This means you can get SEO monitoring for 10 months.

 

10 website security tips with Megan Ferrell and show feedback.

10 website security tips with Megan Ferrell and show feedback.

10+ Web Site Security Tips
10+ Web Site Security Tips

Feedback on/about the podcast.

  • Who is this podcast for?

The short answer to this question is, me. This podcast came about by me wanting to have something for my children to remember me by. I originally started reading books, recording them and then archiving them. The first book I read was Night Before Christmas. We have a family tradition of reading it Christmas eve. I wanted there to be a recorded version of myself that my children could listen to and share with their kids, long after I was gone. From there, I started reading Encyclopedia Brown books. This series holds fond memories for me and my youngest as it is one of the first books we read together, and then tried to figure out the answer. It was a lot of fun and if you have not read any of the books I highly recommend reading them. Even as an adult, they hold great value. After doing the books for a while, the next logical step was to do a podcast. Something that shared my discipline in Linux/Unix. So the podcast, web hosting podcast, was born.

For those that wonder what the target market would be for this podcast, I am not 100% certain. I like to think it is someone that is new to hosting and wants to get the most out of their shared hosting plan. I really like to share and give out information to anyone that will listen, and anyone that knows me personally, I think would agree. There is a wealth of information jammed into my head about everything from Apache to Xen Virtualization. Most of it is going to be very boring. So, I try to wade through the minutiae and bring the elements of hosting that I think would be not only interesting, but relevant. My hope is that this remains fun, for me, and in the end if someone finds one thing that is useful then that would be a bonus.

If you have questions or comments regarding the podcast or your own web site please feel free to drop me a line. The easiest way to reach me is through the contact form on https://webhostingpodcast.com/contact

 

10 website security tips + a few more for good measure.

Megan Ferrell from websites 503 joins me via zoom.us to discuss 10 website security steps. We take time going over the questions after the speed round of her answering them. We then add a few of our own recommendations for good measure. I urge anyone that has a website to look over these 10+5 security steps and see how your web site rates. These steps are very easy to fulfill so you get a 100%.

  1. Is your CMS software up to date?
  2. Are you using trusted third-party plugins and themes?
  3. Have you changed default settings on your CMS?
  4. Do you promptly remove outdated access permissions?
  5. Does your website URL start with HTTPS?
  6. Are you using a WAF (Web Application Firewall)?
  7. Is your server monitored for malware?
  8. Do you use SFTP instead of FTP to upload files to your website?
  9. Do you have daily backups of your website?
  10. Are passwords difficult?

    Bonus round

  11. Have you changed all default passwords sent to you when you signed up?
  12. Does your developer or another person know your passwords?
  13. Have you disabled and removed all unused themes or plugins?
  14. Have you hidden your login page?
  15. Have you enabled or use two factor authentication?

The original 10 steps came from the following link.

Upcoming topics and additonal show ideas.
In the coming episodes, we are going to take a look at SEO, Managed WordPress Options that are FREE, modifying the robots.txt file and touch on some development topics. I am also looking at starting a web hosting round table show in 2018 using google hangouts or youtube. If anyone is interested in participating in the round table, please use the contact form to get in touch. The idea from the round table came from watching the podcasters round table. I would like to have no more than 6 people on at a time, a topic would be determined ahead of time to ensure a proper fit, and then discuss that topic in a round table setting. I think it would be very informative to get many different points of view. For example, my idea of a developer/designer could possibly be different than yours. If this sounds like something that would interest you please let me know.

Web hosting one click installers, David Anderson of Canvas Host talks domains

Web hosting one click installers, David Anderson of Canvas Host talks domains

Web Hosting Podcast episode 3


News / security

WordPress plugin with 200,000 installs has a backdoor – Display Widgets version 2.6.1 and 2.6.3
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/backdoor-found-in-wordpress-plugin-with-more-than-200-000-installations/

ransom-ware outbreak

Company agrees to pay $1 million in bitcoin to unlock 157 web servers.
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/south-korean-web-hosting-provider-pays-1-million-in-ransomware-demand/

CloudFlare now includes apps June 27th – https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-apps-2/
Some of the great apps on cloudflare I have found.
– social icons – add social icons automatically to your site
– tweet this – highlight and tweet text
– Facebook comments – Facebook Comments app lets people comment on content on your site using their Facebook account.
– Facebook Like – Add a Facebook Like button to your site to build your social media presence.
– Pinterest – Let your visitors share your content and increase your social presence with Pinterest buttons!
– google maps – quickly add a map to your page.
– spotify, soundcloud, trebble – add music playlists to your site.
– ecommerce apps for paypal
– fun stuff – particles and browser blast.
– check out all the apps here.

One click installers

What are one click installers?
One click installers allow you to “install” a range of popular software from a library of applications for use. These can include wordpress, joomla, drupal and many others depending on your host and possibly the hosting plan you select at signup.

The 3 major one click installers used for hosting.
fantastico -https://netenberg.com/
softaculous – https://www.softaculous.com/
installatron – http://installatron.com/

All have panel integration (cpanel, plesk, etc..)

All allow you to install the most current version of popular software including.
wordpress
drupal
joomla
magento

Why I like installatron over the others.

– Ease of use, hands down installatron is easiest to use.
– clone a site and move a site to another location – very easy to do.
– remote backup including dropbox integration.
– automatic install of security plugins (wordpress specific in this case) during the one click install.
– automatic update with backup and rollback ; this is huge. Installatron will automatically backup, then attempt to update each piece that needs a update. If a update fails it will roll back to the backup file. It sends emails out regarding the status of the updates and if they were successful or not.
– schedule of backups and retention. This only backs up the installed application and not your entire cPanel or control panel account. This allows your site to be portable and easy to restore in the event something happens to your site.
– Easily login to your wordpress site from inside of cPanel.
– Easily reset your wordpress login credentials, this includes the password.
– Install two factor authentication on creation of wordpress site, or later on. This can be enabled by default.
– Limit failed login attempts, by default.
– You can import current installs into installatron so that it can manage it for you. This is very handy to help manage automated updates and backups.

Follow this blog post to see how to import your current install of wordpress into installatron. Keeping your WordPress Website Updated | Enrolling in an Automatic Updater

 

Domain registration with David Anderson of Canvas Host

Topics covered with David from Canvas Host.
– What is a domain registrar.
– Buying a new domain.
– Price change after one year – this is very common to see a $1.99 or lower, intro price and then have a much higher price renewal after the first year. Could be much much higher.
– Domain transfer to new registrar – unlock domain, generate epp code, send epp code to new registrar. Watch the transfer fee, will renew for 1 year.
– Grace periods – 0 – 45 days after it expires. Just the cost to renew.
– Redemption – after 45 days. This costs a lot more money + renewal. Fee varies on registrar.
– Pending deletion after 80 days, which then anyone can register after released. This is cheaper than paying redemption fees, but could cost you your domain.
– Loosing a domain by lapsing and entering delete state.
– Contact information must be current on domain registration so that you can be reached. DO NOT USE bogus/false info!!
– Private registration – $7.50 per year, can vary by registrar, some TLDs are free for private registration. For exmaple, *.uk. Some domains can’t have private registration, .us for example.
– Warning about domain registry of america letter and the scam. Domain slamming. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_scams

If you have show topic suggestions, recommendations or want to be on the show follow this link

Free SSL/TLS for your web site, Caching options for your web site

Free SSL/TLS for your web site, Caching options for your web site

SSL/tls

What is ssl and tls. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security
Auto ssl in cpanel – https://blog.cpanel.com/autossl/
Other free SSL sites – Lets encrypt https://letsencrypt.org/
Google will penalize page rankings if SSL is not used as well as mark pages without HTTPS as non-secure.

Caching

In episode one we discussed gzip compression and using cache control headers (expires and headers) to improve website speed.
Now we are going to take it a little farther and discuss more caching options for your site.

A web cache (or HTTP cache) is an information technology for the temporary storage (caching) of web documents, such as HTML pages and images, to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and perceived lag. A web cache system stores copies of documents passing through it; subsequent requests may be satisfied from the cache if certain conditions are met.[1] A web cache system can refer either to an appliance, or to a computer program.

Source wikipedia -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_cache

2 WordPress specific caching plugins that I have used.

w3 total cache – https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
wp super cache – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/

Common features of both.

– PHP caching.
– Compress pages.
– Don’t cache pages for known users.
– Cache rebuild.
– CDN support.
– Extra homepage checks.

Cloud flare -https://www.cloudflare.com/

Cloud Flare is software as a service cache.

Free plan has many options and features that you will want to use.

– Auto Minify
– Page Rules – custom define patterns for your site. for exmaple lock down wp-admin with custom rules.
– apps – add your google analytics code to every page automatically, even error pages. – https://www.cloudflare.com/apps/
– force ssl and version of ssl, even if you don’t have a ssl cert a free one can be provided
– spdy or http2 integration.
– allow for ipv6 to be used
– access rules, define rules based on IP or Country to use a captcha to see your site.
– AMP (accelerated mobile pages) automatically
– scrape shield – email obfuscation, hotlink protection.
– Always online – if your service provider has a issue, a static version of your site will still be online for pages that have been visited and are sitting in cache.

If your web hosting provider is a cloud flare partner, then you may have immediate access right now to cloud flare inside of cPanel. It is quick and easy to get setup.

If you have show topic suggestions, recommendations or want to be on the show follow this link

Picking a web host, gzip compression, expires and headers

Picking a web host, gzip compression, expires and headers

Web Hosting Podcast: Episode 1

What is it you are going to be hosting?  A Blog, eCommerce website, funny cat pictures or something that is mission critical and requires 100% uptime?  Depending on the answer there could be millions of different options….. Current google search for “Web Hosting” results in 115 Million results.  How do you sort out the good options from the bad options?

  • Top eight (8) things to watch for when choosing a web host
      1. Know your hosting needs.
      2. Investigate on host reliability and uptime guarantees.
      3. Study web host upgrading options.
      4. Check all hosting features (such as number of addon domains allowed) based on your needs.
      5. Check prices on both sign up and renewal.
      6. Check hosting control panel.
      7. Read hosting company’s ToS to find out more about account suspension and server usage policy.
      8. Other supporting features (ie. site backup, environmental friendliness, etc)
  • Gotchas to avoid – don’t fall for the “buffet” or “unlimited” plans.
  • Check their knowledge base or documentation
  • Do they have shared values with you or your business i.e. B corporation

Final tips and info:
Price – do not go for the cheapest option.  You get what you pay for!!
Do they provide one click installers for popular programs?
Do they provide a site builder application free of charge? If you use their site builder can you move your site to another host?
Do they offer the services you need for future proofing?
Links:
http://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.net/choose-the-right-web-hosting/

https://www.aawebmasters.com/choose-web-host/

Expires and Headers:

Setting headers on images and other file types to prevent re download.

  • Speeds site up. Typically users leave a site if it is slow to load after 2 seconds.
  • Will save bandwidth and save you $$, just like gzip compression.
  • Will increase your page ranking by having a faster site load time.
  • The Longer you set the expire time the longer the file will stay in the browsers cache.
  • Issue: may change your workflow. Elements need to have new names if replacing the same element.

Add the following lines to your .htaccess file to enable Header Cache-Control.  Add your own file types in the FilesMatch area.

[cc]
# 3 Months

Header set Cache-Control “max-age=7257600”

# 1 Week

Header set Cache-Control “max-age=604800”

[/cc]

Links:

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/htaccess/apache-module-mod-expires
http://magentoexpertforum.com/showthread.php/10324-Speed-up-your-site-with-htaccess-caching-mod_expires-and-mod_headers

Gzip compression:

What is it!?
Gzip is a method of compressing files (making them smaller) for faster network transfers. It is also a file format. Compression allows your web server to provide smaller file sizes which load faster for your website users. Enabling gzip compression is a standard practice.

Why would you want to enable it?

  • Saves your bandwidth.
  • Can make your site load quicker.

How to enable it in cPanel, the great missing menu.

  • Optimize Website inside of your cPanel account.

Verify it is working a the following links.
https://checkgzipcompression.com
http://www.gziptest.com

Mime Types:
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/Basics_of_HTTP/MIME_types

If you have show topic suggestions, recommendations or want to be on the show follow this link