How to activate ssl on wordpress

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

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

SSL Encryption for User Safety

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

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

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

SSL for All Websites

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

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

Requirements for Running SSL

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

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

Choosing an SSL Certificate for Your Website

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

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

Activate SSL for Your WordPress Site

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

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

Check Your Website to Ensure SSL is Activated

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

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

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

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

managed server benefits

When it’s time to compare the costs and benefits of third-party hosting versus in-house server maintenance, companies should note that the benefits are mostly in support, security, scalability, and reliability. By leaving the IT duties to the experts, business owners can save money and devote more time to daily operations. Below are some of the other advantages of  Managed Server services.

Security

The best data centers will invest the time and money on audits that ensure their network security, company policies, and employee training meet the nation’s standards. The old standard, SAS 70, was originally used for financial reports, but it has been replaced by SSAE 16 and/or SOC 2 and 3 as a measure of excellence in a data center.

Managed hosting providers also offer timely, relevant software updates that ensure a customer’s servers are fully protected against the newest malware and viruses. Offsite backup is a crucial service that can save a business from disaster by keeping vital data and critical applications available and safe.

Top-Quality Support

When customers hire a company for managed server services, they get the benefits of a team of responsive, certified, and experienced staff who can offer 24/7 server and physical data center monitoring to stay on top of any issues that may arise. While some companies have not yet grown to the point where they need a dedicated, in-house IT support team, a managed server comes with the highest level of support. Professional support saves customers money and time that is better spent on running the business. When a company outsources its hosting and IT duties, it can save money in two ways. Firstly, fewer new hires will need to be made. Secondly, the company will spend less of its valuable time training those new employees.

Reliability

When a company is not exclusively focused on information technology, managing servers in-house can be a significant burden. Concerns over uptime can inhibit the company’s growth, and they can gradually become a big distraction. Managed and dedicated server hosts can offer quality data infrastructure to ensure maximum uptime and reliability. Because these companies are dedicated to data center operations, they should already have an uninterrupted network connection and power supply with no single failure point. This reliability makes managed hosting a worthwhile investment for a company of any size.

Scalability

Dealing with an outage during a time when the business is outgrowing its service or product demands can be a real inconvenience, and it can be costly. A managed, dedicated server host typically has the additional space to support corporate clients’ future expansion needs. With the support of experienced, professional staff, clients can deploy a new server and rely on full support. Additional managed services can make it easier to update or monitor bandwidth, CPU, and disk space usage by sending a request or logging onto a portal.

Running a business is difficult enough without having to worry about server downtime, data loss, and unauthorized access. With managed server and IT services from a local company, corporate clients can be assured of flawless server deployment, maximum uptime, and minimal hassle or delay.

Page-Speed-Trends

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

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

It Will Be All About Mobile

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

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

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

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

Average Size

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

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

Number of Resources

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

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

Server Delays

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

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

Helpful Resources

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

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

best speed test tools

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

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

Why Page Speed is Important to Users

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

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

Why Page Speed is Important for SEO

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

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

Ways to Improve Page Load Speeds

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

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

Tools to Check Page Load Speeds

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

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

Is the Website As Speedy As it Can Be?

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

 

wordpress 2018 news

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

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

A Brand New Editor

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

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

Changes in Themes

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

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

Better UX

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

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

Duotone Themes

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

Photo-Based Sites

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

Virtual Reality

Woman wearing virtual reality glasses

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

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

The Future of WordPress

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

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

tips on running a secured server

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

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

Eliminate Unnecessary Services

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

Remote Access Controls

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

Keep Production, Testing and Development Environments Separate

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

Privileges and Permissions

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

Audit and Monitor Servers

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

Eliminate Unused Accounts

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

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