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WordPress Hosting With Connect4 Consulting – Your Website Bodyguard, Handyman, and Paramedic

WordPress is now used by nearly 80% of all websites. One of the drivers of that recent growth is ease of installation, maintenance, and low cost. After all, a Google search for wordpress hosting reveals hosting plans for as little as $3.99/month. So why would you want to pay Connect4 Consulting $50/month for hosting?

godaddy hosting plans

Imagine that you’ve just built your dream house. You have spent thousands of hours of time pouring your heart into every detail. Paying $3.99/month for hosting is like setting that dream house in a bad neighborhood and leaving the door ajar while you sleep inside. Sure, you’re saving $46.01/month, but you have to clean, maintain, fix, and protect the house yourself 24 hours a day. This leaves you with very little time to enjoy your dream house and requires that you are both the bodyguard, the handyman, and the paramedic.

Hosting plans at Connect4 Consulting start at $50 per month because we are your website bodyguard, handyman, and paramedic.

Connect4 Consulting actively monitors activity on your website to protect it from hackers. More than 30,000 websites a day were hacked in 2013. There are different methods of attack, but one is via simple guesswork and attempting to log in. If an IP fails at log in repeatedly, we will block that IP address. However, the most successful method of prevention and protection is via updates. WordPress sites rely on a variety of smaller programs and plugins in addition to the WordPress code itself. Whenever updates are available, we test them and then update sites immediately. Most plugin and wordpress core updates include security updates.

Many people believe that viruses are distributed from adult and gambling sites, but in reality the majority of these 30,000 websites are legitimate small businesses that are unwittingly distributing malicious code for the cyber criminals. These cyber criminals have automated scanning tools that scour the web looking for unsecure websites to infect and deploy their malicious code. This is another reason why it’s important to have someone actively monitoring and maintaining your website.

You might be thinking “Couldn’t I update the plugins myself?”

Well you could, and most of the time you would be fine, but every once in a while one update doesn’t get along with another update. As an example, the most recent update to WordPress rendered the Go Portfolio plugin invisible. There’s nothing quite as useless as a sorting portfolio plugin that doesn’t display any photos. When something like this happens, we need to figure out what’s causing the problem. Is it a problem specific to the plugin, the wordpress update, or something else? Is there an update for the plugin? If not, is it safe not to update WordPress (the answer is no)? Do we have to find and configure another plugin with the same functionality? If one doesn’t exist, do we have to create our own custom plugin? What do we do in the meantime so that website visitors see pictures in their portfolio? Connect4 Consulting answers these questions so you don’t have to. Most of the time all of this is going on behind the scenes and you don’t know about it. If you know about it, we aren’t doing a good enough job.

Unless you are intimately familiar with backup processes, restores, php tables, etc., you are probably not your website’s best paramedic.

Even with ongoing proactive maintenance, sometimes bad things happen and you go to check your website and all you see is just a blank page or an error message. With that $3.99/month plan, you are out of luck and will likely be scrambling to find someone to fix your site for you. You will need to be able to tell that person what you think is causing the problem and you will need all of the various administrative usernames and passwords. That person is going to charge a hefty hourly fee and you could easily spend more than a thousand dollars restoring or fixing your website.

Hosting your website at Connect4 Consulting means that you get expert assistance if bad things happen to your web site. We can immediately address your problem and roll back your website to a previous update while we figure out exactly what caused the problem in the first place. We can do this because we have an ongoing relationship with you and your website. We are your website bodyguard, handyman, and paramedic.

WordPress Powers Nearly 80% of All Websites

According to a recent report by CodeGuard, the WordPress content management system (CMS) powers nearly 80% of all websites. Joomla and Drupal follow with just 7% and 5% of the market. WordPress has made such dramatic gains in popularity because of its ease of installation, management, and support. WordPress is being adopted by designers and developers at a faster rate than bloggers and this has fueled its growth. Most hosting providers now offer WordPress specialized hosting to cash in on the increased demand.

 

What’s New in WordPress 4.0?

WordPress 4.0 was released about a month ago.

This release is code-named “Benny” in honor of jazz legend Benny Goodman, and saw a record number of contributors during this cycle — 275 volunteers from all around the world.

Better Support for Languages

For years, WordPress has supported localization — running the WordPress dashboard in other languages. But until now, the process has been confusing and beyond the reach of most beginners. Now that’s ancient history, because WordPress 4.0 presents you with a choice of languages during the installation process, making easy to use WordPress in whatever language you prefer!

New Media Grid View in Media Library

Media Library Grid View ‹ Connect4 Consulting — WordPress
The Media Library now includes a gorgeous, endless grid view that allows you to browse your uploaded images more easily than ever. Plus, the new details preview (shown below) makes viewing and editing your media files a snap. You can now also bulk select images if you need to delete them.

 

Media Library ‹ Connect4 Consulting — WordPress

Better Plugin Discovery and Search

There are now more than 30,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, and it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your needs. WordPress 4.0 makes this easier with an improved search and browsing experience. Plus, search results will return plugins translated into your language first!

Add Plugins ‹ Connect4 Consulting — WordPress

 

Post Editor Improvements

The post editor has been upgraded in WordPress 4.0, and now automatically expands to fit longer content as you write. And if you frequently write longer posts, you’ll love the way the formatting toolbar now “sticks” to the top of the editor while you scroll up and down the page, ensuring your editing tools are always visible!

New sticky editor toolbar in WordPress 4.0

Real Preview of Embedded Video and More!

Finally, you can simply paste a YouTube or Vimeo URL on a new line in your post, and instantly preview it directly in the editor! It even works with Tweet URLs. Say goodbye to the ambiguous grey box; now embedding is a more accurate experience. The functional preview of your embedded content saves you time and enables you to preview precisely what your content will look like before hitting the publish button!

True video previews in WordPress 4.0

For a complete list of what’s new, check out the official page on the WordPress Codex.

How to Push Blog Posts to Constant Contact

Suppose you have a blog with regular posts and also a Constant Contact email marketing account. Since time is money, whenever you can save time doing a repetitive process, you are essentially saving money. In this case what you want to do is push summaries of your blog posts to a Constant Contact email template to reduce the amount of time involved in putting together a marketing email. I will show you how to do this in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Create a Google Feedburner Account

Go to http://feedburner.google.com and set up an account. If you already have a gmail account, just log in with your gmail account and follow the prompts to link the two accounts. Once you are logged in, you will see the following screen:

Enter your sites rss feed link. If we set up your site the link will be http://www.yourwebsite.com/feed

You should see the Congrats! confirmation page. Click the “Skip directly to feed management” link adjacent to the Next button at the bottom of the page.

To complete the initial set up, click the Publicize tab at the top > then choose Email Subscriptions on the left side. From the Email Subscriptions page > click the Activate button located at the bottom of the page.

Step 2: Create Your Email in Constant Contact and Push RSS Feed to Email Template

Go to your Constant Contact account and log in. Find your email template. If you have one you like and use regularly, you can just copy the most recent campaign. Select the area where you want to insert blog content.
Click Blog Content in the left sidebar and enter the RSS feed url from Feedburner.

Then select the blog posts that you want to push from your website to your email campaign. You will see a list of all the blog posts on your website. You can pick and choose whichever posts you want to use.

Then you just need to determine how much content you want in the email. Do you want to use a summary and redirect traffic back to your website? Or would you prefer to give your audience the entire blog in the email. It’s up to you.

When you click submit, the blog posts will appear in your email within Constant Contact. You can then make additional design and content edits. If you don’t like the summary, you can even edit the summary.

How to Improve the WordPress Admin User Interface

Initially WordPress was just for blogs. But now WordPress commands roughly half of the website content management market, taking over market share from Joomla and Drupal and other content management systems. This is mainly because WordPress is so easy to use and administer. The one drawback – and a significant reason why many still use Joomla – is the admin user interface. The admin area is the heart of any WordPress-powered site – it’s where everything is controlled – posts, pages, media, comments, etc. – A site with more than 10 pages and galleries can be difficult to manage in WordPress. Difficult, that is, without adding some of the following plugins. Plugins allow you to customize only what you need.

For example, suppose you have someone on your staff composing blogs for you. The out-of-the-box WordPress admin interface does not have a robust feature for editorial control and review.

Today, we will introduce you to a number of fantastic plugins that will enhance your WordPress website in some way. These admin plugins are all free to download from the official WordPress plugin directory and will help protect your website, give you more control over users or automate the editorial process. As always, we recommend that you consult with your website administrator prior to installing any new plugins since they can occasionally conflict with each other and break your website.

Post Scheduling & Management

1. Editorial Calendar

This is the perfect plugin for managing the scheduling of your posts. Editorial Calendar adds a calendar page to the post section of your admin area. Each day shows the posts that are scheduled for that day. Multiple posts are listed in chronological order.

Watch the Video to learn more

Editorial Calendar: Download

2. Peter’s Collaboration Emails

This is a great plugin for managing the editorial flow of blog posts. When a contributor submits a post for review, the plugin emails the specified users to let them know there is a post to review. Once the post is approved, the contributor gets an email letting them know it has been accepted. If the post is changed back to “Draft,” the contributor is advised that it has not been accepted and is sent a link to edit the article.

Peter’s Collaboration Emails: Download

3. Peter’s Post Notes

On its own, this plugin adds a panel to the sidebar of the add and edit post / page screens so that users can add notes for themselves or others and keep track of these notes. Whenever you save a post, you can type a note to be displayed along with the post in the edit view. When used with Peter’s Collaboration E-mails 1.2 and up, the notes are sent along with the e-mails in the collaboration workflow. There is also a general and private notes system on the dashboard.

On the dashboard, there’s also a summary of the most recent notes. By default this shows notes by all people on relevant posts / pages. There is also a general and private notes system.

peter's_post_notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter’s Post Notes: Download

4. Content Audit

Content Audit lets you and your staff easily review old content and determine if it’s still relevant. The plugin works with posts, pages and media. You can automatically set content as outdated after a set period of time and notify post authors about it. Content can be marked as redundant, outdated or trivial. You can also mark content as needing a review of SEO or style.

content-audit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content Audit: Download

5. Edit Flow

Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress. It’s feature rich and comes with a calendar, custom statuses, editorial comments, notifications, story budget, and user groups.

edit-flow

 

 

 

 

Edit Flow: Download

General Admin

6. Adminimize

This is a great plugin that let’s you hide parts of the admin dashboard that you deem “unnecessary”.  You can change back-end options; global options; dashboard options; write options for posts, pages and custom page types; link options; and menu options.

Adminimize: Download

Security

7. WordFence Security

This is an incredibly valuable plugin that is completely free. WordFence includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, cellphone sign-in (two factor authentication), malicious URL scanning and live traffic including crawlers. Wordfence is the only WordPress security plugin that can verify and repair your core, theme and plugin files, even if you don’t have backups.

wordfence-security

WordFence Security: Download

Summary

The great thing about WordPress is that the default installation doesn’t overwhelm you with options. This allows users to choose the plugins that best meet our particular needs and disregard those that don’t.

You might find that some of these plugins can be disabled after you use them. I recommend reviewing your situation every month or so and remove any plugins that aren’t being used regularly. Also it’s a best practice to remove any plugins that have not been updated (by the plugin developer) in at least a year. Old plugins increase the chance that someone can hack into your site. Update plugins regularly and delete plugins that you don’t use.

WordFence Security Update

We are seeing exploits in the wild appear within the last week for the following WordPress themes and plugins. If you are running any of these themes or plugins, check if there is a recent security update and install the update, or remove the item from your system if there is no security update. If you’re unsure, contact the theme/plugin developer or vendor.

  • Cubed Themes version 1.0 to 1.2. Remote file upload vulnerability. Distributed by themeprofessor.com. Exploit released on 9 November 2013.
  • Army Knife Theme, unspecified version. CSRF File Upload vulnerability. Theme is distributed by freelancewp.com. Exploit released 9 November 2013.
  • Charcoal Theme. CSRF File upload vulnerability. Distributed by the official WordPress repository. The theme hasn’t been updated for several years, so we recommend deleting all files from your system.
  • WP Realty Plugin may contain an email sender vulnerability. Please contact vendor for clarification. We’re seeing exploits that claim to exploit this hole. Plugin is distributed by wprealty.org.
  • The following themes distributed by orange-themes.com appear to contain a remote file upload vulnerability and we’re seeing exploits appear in the wild, all published around November 12, 2013: Rockstar Theme, Reganto Theme, Ray of Light Theme, Radial Theme, Oxygen Theme, Bulteno Theme, Bordeaux Theme. Please contact the vendor to find out of your theme is applicable and what action to take.
  • Amplus Theme version 3.x.x contains a CSRF file upload vulnerability. We’re unclear who the vendor is, but it appears to be Themeforest.
  • Make a Statement Theme version 1.x.x (also known as MaS ) contains a CSRF file upload vulnerability. Exploit distributed November 17, 2013. Vendor is themes.mas.gambit.ph.
  • Dimension Theme, unspecified version, contains a CSRF file upload vulnerability. Theme is distributed by ThemeForest. Exploit appeared November 17th, 2013.
  • Euclid Version 1 Theme contains a CSRF File Upload Vulnerability. Exploit appeared today. Theme is distributed by FreelanceWP.com.
  • Project 10 Theme, Version 1.0. Remote file upload vulnerability. Distributed by ThemeForest. Exploit appeared today.

Please remember: Deactivating a theme or plugin with a security hole does not make it safe. You need to remove all files from your system to remove the security hole in a theme or plugin. If your theme or plugin is listed here, don’t panic. First contact your theme or plugin author or vendor. Work with them to determine if your particular version contains the vulnerability we’ve publicized and get their advice on what action to take. If they are not contactable after a reasonable amount of time, work with your hosting provider or site developer to determine if you have a vulnerability and what action to take.

Source: www.wordfence.com