I’ve been running a blog on Blogger since 2008 with a custom domain sourced by 2020Media. I had been using a simple template with a few custom widgets.
The site was due a refresh but I also wanted to get more flexibility and control over the layout and content. There is a lot of power in the blogger templates but I specifically wanted to have different adverts and affiliate links displayed depending on country of visit. Blogger could not easily support that so I decided to swap to a self hosted WordPress.
I started my migration by learning about WordPress using a locally hosted virtual machine, it had been a few years since I’d looked at this particular CMS.
Next I put together a list of all the things I wanted to move across, posts, pages, comments, images, links and all of the functionality I wanted in the new site.
I checked that the latest WordPress platform was capable and looked at the tools needed for blog migration. Some of the things did not work well on my local VM so 2020 provided me a free hosted site for ease of testing. A simple theme was selected and customised to meet my requirements.
At this point I asked a professional WordPress expert to review the site and we came up with a long list of issues. Some of the issues were technical and some regarding the content and structure of the site.
The issues were fixed and the site were gradually improved. A plan was drawn up for what needed to happen during the switchover. To ensure success, several practice runs were made to ensure the process would work and the posts displayed correctly.
I let 2020 know a week in advance of the migration and cleaned down the test site in preparation for the migration. The transfer of data did not take long and the rollout was finished ahead of plan. The last step was to get the team at 2020 to switch over the DNS and wait for the changes to ripple around the world.
Many thanks Andy.
Andy's shed is a previous finalist of the "Shed of the year" awards, so we're honoured to be hosting such a prestigous site.
If you'd like to know more about 2020Media's WordPress hosting services, you can read about our UK WordPress services here.
We aim to make website migrations as pain-free as possible. To enable a seamless transition we provide free temporary domain names so the site can be fully tested before switching the actual website domain name. In addition, we are keen to help with migration, as we know this can be daunting for the non-technical. So we provide a free migration service - provide us with the login to your existing site and we'll move it to our hosting, completely free of charge.
2020Media is a internet company with a established track record. In this post we'll find out why 2020Media and WordPress make such a strong solution for any business or non-commercial site.
The Rise and Rise of WordPress
But what was it about WordPress that allowed it to flourish where so many have languished? The story of its success is simple: bloggers needed a quick and easily customisable platform to host their content and WordPress offered a free, open sourced publishing tool that people could adopt and tweak as they wished. But the days of WordPress being simply a ‘blogging platform’ are long gone. The past 10 years have seen the software evolve into a sophisticated content management system that users can build entire websites and applications on.
Over the years it’s seen its fair share of rivals from the likes of Blogger to Joomla, but with recent research revealing that WordPress now accounts for a 62% share of the content management system market, it’s clear the system is now leagues ahead of the competition. An astonishing 23% of all websites in the world are published using WordPress (source: http://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all).
2020Media - a UK web host with a great track record.
2020Media was founded by three friends in 1999. Initially working in streaming media and Java, the company soon broadened it's services into web hosting, domain names and internet services. Over the first few years (and the first DotCom bubble), 2020Media gradually brought all the essential services in house so that it was no longer dependent on any one supplier for any part of it's services. This included joining RIPE in 2002, using independent datacentres, and becoming an accredited domain name registrar.
With a keen personal interest in Internet Governance, emerging web technologies and the open source movement, the directors have guided 2020Media into it's current position as a leading UK web host with a highly skilled and knowledgeable team of experts ideally placed to help the SME market, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, local government and the non-profit sector achieve their goals on the internet.
WordPress and 2020Media Together.
2020Media has specialised in hosting WordPress sites for several years. We proudly support many WordPress events, share our knowledge, and try to give back to this open-source project in as many ways as we can.
Our friendly UK support team is available 24/7 by phone, web and email. The expert team solves hosting, domain and WordPress specific issues. We make sure every team member sees each support issue as a personal challenge and we've never found a problem too tough to solve.
Our aim in providing superior WordPress Hosting is threefold:
- Security: Never compromise on WordPress security. Daily backups on every site.
- Performance: Optimised WordPress servers. Advanced caching technology. A network built for speed & security.
- Support: To be there whenever our customers need us and to be proactive in sharing expertise and advice.
Your Partner for a Safe, Reliable WordPress Host
Through our community involvement in WordPress, our daily experience in working with the software, and our established track record as a UK web host, 2020Media could be the last host you'll ever need.
Hosting plans come as off-the-shelf or bespoke and range from shared hosting for under £50/year to virtual and dedicated servers. Support is included. Managed WordPress (WordPress maintenance services) brings additional peace of mind to keep each site fully patched, optimised and backed up.
Contact us and we'll be delighted to talk about what you need from an ISP - that's Internet Services Partner...
The topics at this months meetup were entitled:
- Handling WP user generated content
- Use WP to find clients
- WP Security
- Cleaner themes.
User generated content
The first talk was by Graham Armfield of Coolfields, who is known as Mr Accessibility. But this month he almost managed to talk about something completely different! Accessibility came in sideways with an aside about captchas vs logic puzzles.
Graham's talk was about handling user generated content - this means input to the website via a form or upload box - without requiring a login. Grahame gave us a run down of the steps needed to take input from a form on a wordpress website, process it, allow an admin to moderate it and then publish the data on a page. He used a gig guide as an example.
If you're interested in learning more, his slides are available here http://www.slideshare.net/coolfields/handling-user-generated-content-in-wordpress
Another useful tip was the the popular Ninjaforms plugin offers a logic puzzle anti-spam test, which is apparently much better from an accessibility point of view.
Using WordPress to find clients
The next talk was from Rob Cubbon and entitled "Using WordPress to find clients". In practice this talk was about optimising your site or online presence to attract and then convert vistors into clients. Rob talked about carefully choosing keywords with buying intent, creating specificity in your pages, not generallity. Example being writing detailed tutorials on how to do something - a subject hopefully you are an expert and authoritative on. Creating a call to action on every page. Adding key phrases to page titles and headlines. He also recommended creating in-depth profiles on social media sites for freelancers as it's likely prosopective clients will research these when selecting somone.
Duncan Stuart gave us all a wake up call with his fascinating talk on WordPress Security. Duncan's company works mostly for government departments or agencies and they spend a lot of time working on security. Duncan began with telling us that the well-known Jetpack plugin, has been suffering from a security weakness that allowed spammers to publish their own content on websites. He then went through a set of examples of types of attack and some well known plugins that have (in the past) had vulnerabilities that have allowed these attacks.
Duncan then gave some advice on improving WordPress security. The first point of call being the Hardening WordPress Codex page. He recommended choosing plugins carefully as these can be a very weak part of the WordPress ecosystem. Look for high numbers of downloads, recent updates and an active support forum.
He wrapped up with tips on writing a good plugin or theme so that our own work does not become part of the problem. His company runs a free resource at https://security.dxw.com/
Persil.co.uk - Cleaner Themes
After a break, the final talk was from Adam Onishi. The company he works for recently built the new iteration of washing powder brand Persil. It was a great insight into a complicated build that spanned 20 countries with many competing requests from different parts of the Persil marketing departments.
Adam's mission was to keep the site management under as tight a control as possible so that updating and changes could be made as simple and straightforward as possible. To this end, the entire global prescence of 35 websites runs from a single WordPress multisite installation.The second vital ingredient was Parent/Child themes. This has allowed extensive localisation of design and content.
Adam went through some code examples, the tools he and his team used to build the site, the most useful plugins that were used, and how he now is working alone on building out the individual country sites.
All videos of WordPress meetups are free to view and can be found here https://www.youtube.com/user/WordPressLondon
Logging to file could also be useful when debugging very visual things (where you don't want extra messages) such as themes. Also background scheduled cron jobs are the same as Ajax calls and run with no user interface so you need to send the messages to file not to the screen.
Although it is possible to configure the logging modes yourself via php.ini or .htaccess, WordPress sets up some constants in the WP_CONFIG.php file which make it simpler to setup debug logging to file.
The setting first is the master control for debugging.
Without this setting nothing will get logged.
The next setting is
This tells WordPress to log everything to the /wp-content/debug.log file, if you want to log to an alternative location do not include this setting and use the settings described in the first reference below.Finally we need to turn off the display of setting to the user (or Ajax call) using the following setting
if you set these three settings then you should have logging to file. It's worth turning this off once your debugging session has finished as the file can get quite large quite quickly.
The WordPress brute-force login attacks show little sign of abating and we recommend all users ensure their sites are secured against this attack.
Since spring 2013, hackers have been calling the WordPress login url with "standard" usernames (like 'admin') and thousands of passwords. In our experience nearly all users have 'admin' as a user account so this makes them especially vulnerable.
Well - not a solution exactly but it should protect your site being hacked.
The solution we propose is to change your username to something only you know about. If you are creating a new WordPress site, don't use the default 'admin'. Choose a new username.
If you have an existing site, you can't simply delete the user 'admin' - therefore there are lot's of free plugins around to change it instead. The one we've been using is called 'Username Changer'. Install it, activate it, change your username and then remove it. It's a one off job.
2020Media can help
Additionally 2020Media would like to see these WordPress attacks stop - realistically this is not going to happen - it's a distributed attack from botnets, and things will change only when it's not worth the hackers while any more.
2020Media are happy to change your login username for you plus we can add additional server-side security which will mitigate the denial-of-service aspects of the attack.
The Managed WordPress service from 2020Media is something anyone not logging in to their WordPress site on a weekly basis should seriously consider. Even if you do, get peace of mind as updates to WordPress, Themes and plugins are done for you. Read more