Importance of WordPress Website Checkups

Even if there are no new WordPress updates to install, I go ahead and log in to each of my WordPress sites on a periodic basis and check for any plugin updates and check to see how backups are doing.

This week, I noticed that several sites had backups still in progress from days or weeks ago. Upon investigating, it appears that the backup plugin has an issue where the backup is completed, but the backup session for some reason does not know to end successfully and list the new backup. So, I have submitted a ticket to Support. In the meantime, I am using a workaround so that the backups still complete, although it is a manual process.

Windows Live Mail error 0x80072efe

A couple of weeks ago, I clicked Send/Receive in Windows Live Mail to retrieve my hotmail messages and got this error:

Unable to send or receive messages for the Hotmail.com (*********) account.

Server Error: 0x80072EFE
Server: ‘https://mail.services.live.com/DeltaSync_v2.0.0/Sync.aspx’
Windows Live Mail Error ID: 0x80072EFE

Luckily I found the answer here, tried it, and it worked perfectly. I clicked Send/Receive and my messages synched.

The fix for Windows Live Mail error 0x80072efe was:

In Control Panel, open Internet Options.
On the Advanced tab, enable Use TLS 1.0
Click Apply and OK

Website Content – Converting Case

caseHere’s a great tip I use often when adding content to a website for a client. Sometimes the content I’m given is in all CAPS. Rather than re-type it to change the case to lower, I use online tools such as http://convertcase.net/. All you do is paste the text that you want to change, then choose conversion options such as Sentence case, lower case, Capitalized Case, etc. Next, copy the converted text and paste it into the website page.

Example of Why WordPress Sites Need to be Kept Updated

On April 27, 2015, WordPress.org posted this message:

“Posted April 27, 2015 by Gary Pendergast. Filed under Releases, Security.

WordPress 4.2.1 is now available. This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

A few hours ago, the WordPress team was made aware of a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable commenters to compromise a site.”

This is when it becomes very important to update your WordPress site. I am currently in the process of visiting each of the WordPress sites that I maintain and updating to the latest version. At the same time, I also update any plugins that need updates, and check to ensure backups are still being completed. As a last step, I visit the site, navigate through the pages, and ensure that the site appears as it should and functions as it should. This is part of the support that I provide as part of my maintenance package.

Connection Reset Error

While working on a WordPress site hosted on GoDaddy recently, I kept getting a Connection Reset Error when trying to save a page. The page had over 100 links to documents, so I thought it might have something to do with that. There were no errors in the Error Logs. I did see a warning about reaching Shared Hosting Resource Limits, specifically the I/O limit of 512 kb/s. The current hosting plan is a free plan that probably came with domain purchases.

So, was the large number of links on the page the reason for exceeding the I/O limit? Here is how GoDaddy defines I/O: “I/O is short for ‘input/output.’ In the context of a hosting account, it’s the “throughput” or speed of data transfer between the hard disk and the RAM.”

And “…sites that need to read and write a lot of data, such as those streaming any kind of media or with many database records, benefit most from I/O enhancements.”

Also, “…a site just ‘hangs’ while it waits for the data to transfer from the hard disk to the RAM.”

So I think it’s safe to assume that when I attempted to save the page containing a high number of links, it caused a high amount of read/writes to the database and then the site hung and the browser returned the ‘Connection Reset Error.’

For now, I will split the page content into several pages.

Installing WordPress in Subdomain on Network Solutions

I recently had a client who wanted to host a new WordPress site in her Network Solutions account. Since her existing hosting plan allowed her to host multiple sites, I created a folder for the new domain.

To install WordPress, go to Toolbox, then View the Open Source Library. Choose WordPress and then select the domain name and folder. Network Solutions doesn’t allow you to NOT select a folder. I didn’t want the new site to have URLs like ‘mynewdomain.com/wordpress’ so I found information on how to make WordPress ‘look like’ it is in the root folder and not in a subdirectory (or folder). So, I entered ‘blog’ as the folder. Where it says ‘Make this wordpress my homepage’ leave it unchecked. Next, wait for WordPress to install.

Follow the steps on this WordPress page under the heading “Using a pre-existing subdirectory install”:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Giving_WordPress_Its_Own_Directory

If you’ve followed all of the steps correctly, you should be able to view the new WordPress installation at mynewdomain.com.

 

 

By |March 20th, 2015|domain, hosting, WordPress|Comments Off on Installing WordPress in Subdomain on Network Solutions

Fixing the Image Facebook uses when the page is shared

Recently a client of mine with a WordPress site said that the image Facebook uses when the page is shared is not the image that she wanted to have show up. Sure enough, when I checked I saw that an image from her Pinterest page was showing up instead of her company logo!

When determining an image to use, Facebook looks for certain meta tags in the <head> section of the page, specifically these:

<meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/rock.jpg"/> <meta property="og:image:secure_url" content="https://secure.example.com/ogp.jpg" />

If these tags are not present, it will look for the older ‘link rel=’ method of specifying an image. If neither are there, Facebook looks at the content of your page for images that meet its criteria, such as size, aspect ratio and PNG, JPEG or GIF format.

Sometimes, SEO plugins may override the tags. Since this site uses WordPress SEO by Yoast, I edited the page, and under the Social tab I specified the image that my client wants to use.

Next, I went to the Facebook Debugger: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/, entered the site URL, and clicked ‘Fetch new  scrape information’.  This confirmed the og:image.

Not Receiving Email from Script

This may happen when the website (ex: mysite.com) is hosted in one account and the domain and email are hosted in a separate account. A php script that sends email (to an address that is on mysite.com such as info@mysite.com) will not know that the email is hosted under a separate account and will try to send the email locally. The fix is to go into the DNS settings in cpanel of the hosting account and add a DNS record for the domain called Remote Mail Exchange.

On GoDaddy hosting, go to Hosting > Manage. Under Email click on MX Entry. Under Email Routing, you will see Local Mail Exchanger and Remote Mail Exchanger.

Use Strong Passwords

choose-strong-passwordIt is so important to have strong passwords for all of your online accounts. You should have a unique password for every service you use. Re-using the same password would allow a hacker to break into not only one account, but all of your accounts that use that password.

Here are some tips for choosing a strong password:

  • At least 8 characters long
  • Use both upper- and lower-case letters
  • Include at least one number
  • Include special characters such as ! # $ @ _ + , ? [ ] .
  • Don’t use your account ID;
  • Don’t include your first, middle or last name
  • Don’t use words that appear in any English dictionary
  • Don’t repeat the same character either upper- or lower-case
  • Don’t use a series of 3 or more ascending or descending characters, ex: ABC or xyz
  • Don’t use your child’s name or your pet’s name
  • Spell words incorrectly or phonetically, such as b4 for ‘before’
  • Use the first letter of each word in a song title or sentence
By |January 15th, 2015|password, security, WordPress|Comments Off on Use Strong Passwords

Reducing Email Spam

reducing email spamA client recently contacted me about the large amount of spam emails he’d been receiving through the contact form on his website. Sure enough, when I took a look at his email, he’d been receiving 30-40 every day. They were all ads for various designer purses or other products.

The site was using GoDaddy’s webformmailer script to handle emailing of the forms on the site. I found a php script that uses captcha and implemented it on both of the forms that the website uses. Next I renamed the webformmailer script. When I checked a few days later, spam was down to about one per day. I found that some spam was still being received from cached versions of the html pages that used the scripts. Next step was to submit a request through Google Webmaster Tools to remove the old version of the pages. The client is now reporting that little or no spam emails are being received.

I do recommend contact forms versus just putting your email address on your website since spambots will pick up your email address and bombard you with spam.