Top 5 Maintenance Mode Plugins for WordPress

Visitors to your website can be turned off by any number of items including maintenance. If you are updating your live and hosted website then users are more likely to return if they know what is happening. There are plenty of great maintenance mode plugins you can add to your website that will let your visitors know what’s going on and when to return or where else they can go for more information. If visitors think your site is broken or is in bad shape they might not return but by placing your site and pages in maintenance mode you can easily alert them.

WP Maintenance Mode

Free high functioning plugins are always a welcome pleasure. WP Maintenance Mode will add a simple splash-style page that gives your website’s coming soon page style. Its easy to use settings let you change colors, upload new images, add countdown timers, social links and contact forms. Once you set up the design, general and modules areas your “down for maintenance page” will be attractive and engaging without too much work on your end.

Maintenance

When you maintain and upgrade your site you will still want the benefit of knowing a few key statistics. Maintenance plugin has the Google Analytics functionality you need. You can enable “503 Service temporarily unavailable”, set a temporary page with authorization and edit it for your specific needs. A big brand presence website will benefit from adding a logo, changing colors and using a full screen background image. Even if your performing maintenance you can still maintain your brand image and look professional with a quality page that mimics your style.

Ultimate Coming Soon Page

Create a Maintenance Mode or Coming Soon Pages that works on any theme with the Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin by SeedProd. Use a good background, some basic content and add features to connect with your visitors over social media and through email. If you are ready to trick out your coming soon page this plugin has all the features you need to make it stunning with solid advanced options that make it fully customizable. It is built on HTML5 and CSS3 and operates smoothly on the latest coding languages for a full professional and well organized maintenance mode page.

Easy Pie Maintenance Mode

Let your users know you aren’t down but you are hard at work with the simple to use Easy Pie Maintenance Mode plugin. You won’t be bothered with any configuration or settings needs. You only have to install and activate it. Add your images and a few lines of simple text and your coming soon or maintenance page is good to go. This is a bare bones free plugin but it is fully responsive and you can add custom CSS to the preset themes.

Simple Maintenance

Keep your visitors informed and engaged while you get work done with the Simple Maintenance lightweight WordPress plugin. Decide which pages you want to update and activate the plugin. Its fully responsive HTML5 design won’t leave your mobile users guessing where your pages have gone either. If you need something more customizable look at the Simple Maintenance Mode Pro plugin that gives you color, backgrounds, countdowns, e-mail capture abilities and search engine optimization.

You would be foolish not to use one of these plugins if your pages are down or your website is a work in progress. You can alert your visitors to come back soon, present them with a sharp visual experience while directing them to your social media channels and collecting email. You visitors will still be engaged and impressed even though you may have a major website overhaul in progress behind the scenes.

Changing Your HTML Website to WordPress

Or Re-designing Your Current WordPress Website: The Perfect Time to Change to WebHostingWorld

Are you ready to change your current static website to a WordPress website? Or maybe you already have a WordPress website but you want to do a redesign without disturbing your current website. In either case it is a perfect time to make a change to WebHostingWorld.

1. Best Strategy

When changing your static website to WordPress or doing a redesign of a current WordPress website, and you want to change web hosts, the least disruptive approach is to leave your current website live where it is and build the new website on your new WebHostingWorld account.

Your domain name will continue to point to your current website until your new website is ready to go live. WebHostingWorld will give you an IP address for you to use to access your new website. You will build the new website live, but you can prevent it from being seen by others or accessed by search engines. To do so go to ‘Settings’ from your WordPress dashboard, and choose ‘Privacy’, then select ‘Ask search engines not to index this site’. To be extra sure that your content does get searched, despite your use of the privacy setting, you may also want to upload and activate the ‘Maintenance Mode’ plugin.

2. New WordPress Install

If you are changing a static html website to a WordPress website you will start with a new install of WordPress on your new hosting account and you will cut and paste your old content into the new website. If you are redoing your existing WordPress website and it is damaged or nothing to write home about, you may also want to start with a clean installation. If you have content on the old website you can export it and import it into the new website.

3. Mirror website Method

If your existing WordPress website is sound, other than needing a design change, you can make a mirror image of your existing website on the new hosting account using the Backup Buddy Plugin (or you can ask the friendly WebHostingWorld support team to transfer your files). Having a mirror copy of your website will allow you to change and customize your theme without disturbing the traffic to your actual website.

4. Setting Up Your New Website

a. Configure Your Settings

People are often so anxious to get started on customizing a new website they often fail to go configure their settings causing problems down the road. In General Settings, the website Title and Description are important to search engines and should be filled in. The time must be set for your location so if later you schedule your posts they will go out when you think they should.

Permalinks are the actual Internet address of each of your pages and posts. WordPress gives you control over how they are configured so that the url is not http://yourdomainname.com/abunchofnumbers. If you are creating a new website you can set up the format of your links to pages and posts so that they are readable such as: http://yourdomainname.com/yourpostorpage name. If you already have a WordPress website that you are importing your old content from, you must use the existing permalink format of your previous website on your new website before doing the import.

b. Know The Difference in Pages and Posts

Before you move content from your static html website into your new WordPress website, you should know the difference between Pages and Posts. In a WordPress website static content is entered as a Page, such as your About, Services or Contact Page content. Your blog content will be entered in as Posts but also, if any content is something that you may have multiples of and could be categorized, such with Portfolio items or Media items, the best way to enter that information is individually as Posts, even though they are not actually “blog” posts.

The WordPress navigation menu can include both Page and Category names. If you have a category as a menu item, the items in that category will show up on the ‘Category Archive Page’ looking like they are a ‘Page’, but what the user is seeing is actually a page of posts.

c. Redirect Traffic From Your Old Page Names To Your New Page Names.

If you are changing from a static html website to a WordPress website, or are changing page or posts names once published, you will need to install a plugin that redirects the traffic previously going to the old page or post names to the new names. This can be done painlessly by installing the Simple 301 Redirect plugin onto your new website and adding each of the old page names next to the corresponding new page name. Before you take your old website down, be sure to write down all of the page names so you have the names handy to input into the plugin. And remember even if your actual pages names stay the same, on an html website the file extension is .html whereas the WordPress pages end in .php so they would all need to be redirected.

d. Install Plugins, Activate and Configure Them.

Plugins add additional functionality to WordPress websites. Some plugins make sitewide changes and others make widgets for your sidebar. If you are starting your first WordPress website or you started your updated website from a fresh install, you will have to install, activate and configure your plugins. Some important plugins to use are Akismet, a premium plugin for Spam prevention, Google Analyticator that tracks your website performance in Google Analytics. And make sure you have a good backup plugin such as VaultPress or Backup Buddy.

5. Going Live

a. Check your e-mail hosting.

When your new website is ready to go live you have this to consider on how to handle this step. If your mail is hosted somewhere else and you would like to keep it where it is you will go to your domain registrar and point just the domain name to the website with the IP address which will not change your e-mail hosting. If however you are moving your e-mail accounts to WebHostingWorld, set them up and ask to our support team about your server name servers. that will point your domain to your new website on WebHostingWorld. You can also opt to transfer your domain name to WebHostingWorld. It is easier to manage your hosting and domain names in one place.

b. Timing.

Once you change where the domain is pointing whether by using the IP address or the DNS numbers, your old website will go down and it can take from 2 to 72 hours for the new website to propagate over the Internet and be live. You may want to check your stats and find a time of low traffic where the disruption will be minimized.

c. Make your website searchable.

Remember to go change your privacy settings back to make your website searchable and deactivate the maintenance plugin. You may also want to add the Google xmls Sitemap plugin that automatically makes a site map and submits it to search engines for you. It will also automatically update the site map when you make changes to your website.

6. Close Your Old Hosting Account.

Don’t forget to go back and close your existing hosting account

Here is another resource to reference when converting a static HTML website to WordPress.

 

Many Flavors of WordPress Backup. Which is your favorite?

popsiclesWhen it comes to a backup for your WordPress website, there are as many options are there are flavors of Popsicles, but choosing the right one is like standing in front of the freezer section, and wondering which one will taste best.  VaultPress, XCloner, DropMySite, Better WP Security, BackWPup, BackupBuddy… There are so many choices. Do you commit to the expensive one, hoping that it is worth the price?  Do you start with the cheaper one, hoping after you commit to the economical choice that you will love it?  And every day, more and more options are available. Just when you think that you have made a single choice, you wonder if maybe you need more than one for a combo flavor!

Here is a summary of everyone’s recommendations for WordPress backup options, listed in order of most-to-least mentioned.  Of course the greater number of mentions doesn’t necessarily equate to best choice!  (While cherry Popsicles might have greater mass appeal, you may be the type that really prefers banana!) Get your sample spoon ready, and let the tasting begin!

BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy won the popularity contest for WordPress backup, so it gets the cherry Popsicle award.   According to the website, BackupBuddy is used to schedule regular backups of your entire WordPress installation, and have them sent off-site to Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, and FTP server, or your email.  Another option is to download them to your desktop. Here is what the users said:

  • Backup Buddy was worth the cost, including super-simple and straight forward backups and migrations. I love it!
  • Backup Buddy is the best solution I’ve found yet to meet my needs.
  • I consider Backup Buddy second to Ezpzbackup.
  • While I want to be able to write my own backup scripts, I invested in BackupBuddy, but I only have experience with this one product.
  • I love the functionality of BackupBuddy, the support and community around it, and it’s a great investment.
  • Here is a BackupBuddy secret. I create a website template that has my favorite settings, plug-ins, basic pages, and theme. Then I use Backup Buddy’s move function as my starting canvas for new websites. It’s a real time saver and the idea works even if you use another backup system. Another reviewer dittoed this same trick as one of the main reasons he likes Backup Buddy, saying that there are other programs that do this, but none quite as well as Backup Buddy.  To reference the structure for this, check out the LinkedIn conversation.

BackWPup

BackWPup is another popular solution for WordPress backup mentioned by responders. If you are looking for format flexibility, this may be your choice.  Formats include zip, tar, tar.gz, tar.bz, and it can backup to a very wide variety of locations including  folder, FTP Server, Amazon S3, Google Storage, Microsoft Azure (Blob), RackSpaceCloud, Dropbox, SugarSync, or email.  Here is what users say:

  • It seems that it has tons more value to our business than VaultPress.
  • Saving all backups on your Dropbox account is awesome.
  • This plugin offers a very interesting alternative.

Better WP Security

Better WP Security was the choice for some who praised the way WordPress backup and security preformed hand in hand.  While working in the “shadows,” o, this plugin improves the security of your WordPress installation from many common attack methods.  Backup are an option, and these responders discussed how they use this for recovery:

  • Emails me a backup of the DB every week, but I back up files manually when big changes occur. I receive database backups weekly, then erase so I can use Gmail trash if a problem occus and I need a backup.
  • I use this more for security than backup.
  • Provides one of the best WP security solutions for WordPress as well as backing up your WP site.

VaultPress

VaultPress seems to be the WordPress backup answer for those users needing a realtime solution and are willing to pay the price.  Plans range from $15/month per site to $350/month per site depending upon the features required.  Even at the $15 per month Basic plan, users receive realtime backup and automated restores. Here is what the responders said:

  • I have a script running on my server that does backups of all mysql databases.
  • I use VaultPress on one site, because I wanted to know how it worked before I would consider recommending it to anyone. Now I would recommend it if your budget stretches that far. No other solution is going to push security fixes onto your site for you.
  • I use VaultPress on a relatively large site that needed continuous realtime backup. VaultPress did this brilliantly. However it is expensive at $15/month for a single basic site, and I wouldn’t use it again unless I needed continuous realtime backup.
  • Then a few responders said that they had purchased BackupBuddy before they had every heard of VaultPress, while another was not familiar with the VaultPress service.

 

XCloner

XCloner offers free WordPress backups with optional pay-for-premium-24/7-support. Here is what responders said:
  • Free, and this is a quick and easy way to copy of files and database.
  • I’m now testing this, and it looks promising.

DropMySite

DropMySite offers free site WordPress backups, up to 2 GB.  It was mentioned by one responder:
  • It is super duper awesomeness!

DIY Options

Then there are the responders who have great Do It Yourself options for WordPress backup, too:
  • I do full server backups to an ftp site.
  • I use my own backup scripts.
  • For sites where I don’t use VaultPress, I use my own backup scripts, including a full database dump and backup, full file system backup, offsite (to another country) every six hours.

So there you have it.  Thank you to all those who have responded already.  Do you have something to add?

Please comment now on your favorite flavor for a WordPress backup strategy.

 

WordPress Users: Update your All in One SEO Pack Plugin!

The All in One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress was updated a few days ago to patch some serious vulnerabilities. Thankfully the problem is easy to fix. All you need to do is log into your administrator area in WordPress and update the plugin in question.  Here are more details about the vulnerabilities from the Sucuri blog.

If your site has subscribers, authors and non-admin users logging in to wp-admin, you are a risk. If you have open registration, you are at risk, so you have to update the plugin now. While auditing their code, we found two security flaws that allows an attacker to conduct privilege escalation and cross site scripting (XSS) attacks.

Read all the details on the Sucuri blog.

WordPress Plugin Vulnerability

It was recently discovered that a large number of WordPress plugins have security vulnerabilities allowing hackers access to websites running outdated versions of these plugins. The list below includes plugins which have been identified as definitively containing the vulnerability but it is by no means a complete list:

  • Jetpack
  • WordPress SEO
  • Google Analytics by Yoast
  • All In one SEO
  • Gravity Forms
  • Multiple Plugins from Easy Digital Downloads
  • UpdraftPlus
  • WP-E-Commerce
  • WPTouch
  • Download Monitor
  • Related Posts for WordPress
  • My Calendar
  • P3 Profiler
  • Give
  • Multiple iThemes products including Builder and Exchange
  • Broken-Link-Checker
  • Ninja Forms

The above plugins have already been updated by their developers to fix the issue so we strongly recommend logging into your WordPress admin panel and updating these as well any other plugins that are installed.

If you are a customer with us, we will be contacting you with more information if this affects your account.

For more information about this vulnerability, please visit the following link:

https://blog.sucuri.net/2015/04/security-advisory-xss-vulnerability-affecting-multiple-wordpress-plugins.html