6 June 2023

Successful website case study: Top 40 WordPress plugins for #bicyclecouriers

This is what we use to ensure successful delivery of the tagline, “Where can we send your bicycle today?”

These are the almost 40 plugins I have installed on #bicyclecouriers. Please note that it all of them are activated all the time. I am very conscious of fast loading website and page speed times so only use what I need and when I need it. Below are all the plugins in Alphabetical order, plus a short description of what it does and how I use it in practice.

Top 40 WordPress plugins for this scenario — and why we use them

Advanced Form Integration

When an order is placed or updated in WooCommerce or a form is submitted to your website, the plugin will automatically create a new row in Google Sheets.

When you run a business and are busy with other things you have to be as efficient as possible. So I export all ne orders to a Google Docs Spereadsheet and can manage the workflow from there. Now I can see which bikes are being delivered by which couriers and when — and it is much easier and a lot faster than scrolling through the default WooCommerce screens. TADA 🙂

Advanced Form Integration – Connect WooCommerce and Contact Form 7 to Google Sheets and other platforms

Allow Webp Image

Generally WordPress doesn’t allow the .webp format for WordPress media and gives an error, to solve that error you need this plugin.

Why use webp? To serve faster images to browsers who support them. Speed is everything and a faster website ranks better. As easy as it gets — without having this plugin installed you cannot upload webp images into WP (al least not yet). And after installing this plugin you can 🙂

Allow Webp image

Antispam Bee

Say Goodbye to comment spam on your WordPress blog or website. Antispam Bee blocks spam comments and trackbacks effectively, without captchas and without sending personal information to third party services.

The default that comes with every WP installation is Akismet, also from the Automattic stable. But it requires you to sign up and always wants to upsell so this is as good a free alternative in my book. You are welcome 🙂

Antispam Bee

Burst Statistics

Privacy-Friendly Analytics for WordPress. Get detailed insights into visitors’ behaviour with Burst Statistics, the privacy-friendly analytics dashboard from Really Simple Plugins.

From the creators of the default SSL plugin. And when something works as well as Really Simple SSL, then you are bound to check out other plugins from the same creators as well. Burst tells me exactly what I want to see, at a glance, without me having to log into the xneelo backend for AWstats 🙂

Burst Statistics – Privacy-Friendly Analytics for WordPress

Classic Editor

Classic Editor is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress editor and the “Edit Post” screen.

I’m a huge fan of simplicity and the traditional word processor like display of the classic editor. WP says they will continue to support this for the time being. And by the looks of things I am not alone, with 5 million+ other installations the classic editor is still the way to go. And here is a thought — even if you use the FSE full site editing option to set up your WP website, you can always afterwards switch to the classic editor for loading your many blog posts 🙂

Classic Editor

Classic Widgets

Classic Widgets is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress widgets settings screens. It will be supported and maintained to 2024, or as long as is necessary.

Again, along the same line as the classic text editor above, I prefer using classic widgets, unless it is a a FSE full site editing theme in use and we are busy with the look and feel 🙂

Classic Widgets

Easy Table of Contents

A user friendly, featured focused Easy Table of Contents plugin which allows you to insert a table of contents into your posts, pages and custom post types.

This is great for long form posts to automatically insert a table of contents at the top of your blog post. It is also great for structure, because while writing you now also think about what it will look like from the index above. Which means you easily follow a more structured approach and don’t just write any gibberish as filler text. Oh, how I love typing 🙂

Easy Table of Contents

Flexible Checkout Fields

With this single page checkout plugin you can edit the default fields (change labels, hide, delete) or add your own checkout fields. You can set your own fields order.

When the default checkout fields of your WooCommerce website is insufficient, then this is one of the easiest ways to amend your checkout fields. With #bicyclecouriers I wanted a collection address and a delivery address, together with custom field or two for which type of bicycle we are collecting. And I wanted the standard billing address/delivery address flow changed, because it wasn’t relevant to they way we do things 🙂

Flexible Checkout Fields for WooCommerce – WooCommerce Checkout Manager

Forget About Shortcode Buttons

Makes the process of adding buttons to your posts and pages much more natural whilst improving the appearance and usability of the post editor.

This is the easiest way to insert WP buttons without having to check the theme code each and every time. As a bonus you can also create templates so inserting many similar looking buttons in future is a cinch. We love things that are functional and easy to use. And this is one of those plugins 🙂

Forget About Shortcode Buttons

Gallery Custom Links

Gallery Custom Links allows you to link images from galleries to a specified URL. Tested with WordPress Gallery, Gutenberg, the Meow Gallery and others.

This is a feature which I assume will become part and parcel of future WP editions as time goes by (especially with FSE). But for the moment and when using the classic editor and media insert from the gallery than you don’t have a default option to point to an external link when an image is clicked. This changes that 🙂

Gallery Custom Links

Google Listings and Ads

Google Listings & Ads makes it simple to showcase your products to shoppers across Google. Sync your store with Google to list products for free, run paid ads, and track performance straight from your store dashboard.

Ah, still on my todo list for sure. Installed but haven gotten around to it yet. The curse of the busy entrepreneur. But is is an easy fix though, we’ll just add it onto the task list. And will have a lot of fun playing around with this one, because we love tracking stats 🙂

Google Listings & Ads

HD Quiz

The easiest way to create fun quizzes for your site. You can create an unlimited amount of quizzes and embed them anywhere on your site. Using both shortcodes and blocks.

If you want to create a fancy looking and interactive quiz to keep your audience engaged or test their knowledge on a subject, then this is your go-to WP plugin. I used it to play around with all the different main centers to which we deliver bicycles. See if you can get 100% full marks on bicyclecouriers.co.za/quiz/ 🙂

Tell us how much you scored in the comments below and you might get free hosting! (irrespective of the score, zero is also a win).

HD Quiz

iThemes Security

On average, 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Every 39 seconds, a new cyberattack happens somewhere on the web. Using iThemes Security, you can identify and stop attacks on your website. Saving yourself the time and cost of repairing a hacked website.

This is one of those themes that gets better (albeit with a vastly different interface) over time. We take WP security very seriously and this allows us to do smart things like add WP salts, change the default login path, for certain PWD protocols and much more. With 1+ million installations you are in good hands. And the new wizard-like setup makes installation very easy for newcomers (even though I find it adds a few more clicks for experienced users than before). And remember, always use a safe word 🙂

iThemes Security

Joinchat

Chat with your website visitors through their favorite chat applications. Place a floating button at the bottom of your site and give the best support to your customers.

Boost interaction and get your customers to chat to you easily and immediately. We add this for the human touch, and to be able to answer pre-sale questions, that boost conversions. You can do the same 🙂

Joinchat

Move Comments

This plugin allows you to move comments between posts in a simple and easy way by adding a page under (\’Move\’) under the \’Comments\’ section in the admin Dashboard.

One of the things that make Bicycle Couriers successful, is without a doubt the client interaction on the website. This includes the fact that they do not only use the site to gather info and are asked to send boxed dimensions in order to get a quote (but that they can immediately order and check out and pay) for bicycle transport.

However, we have to keep all those comments organized and at bay and from time to time a clean of the homepage is required. Then I use this simple plugin to bulk move comments to the right product of general FAQ pages. in just a few clicks. Move FROM here to HERE. And what to include 🙂

Move Comments

Newsletter

Newsletter is a real newsletter and email marketing system for your WordPress blog: perfect for list building, you can easily create, send and track e-mails, headache-free. It just works out of box!

Mailpoet was my default newsletter client (and it should still be on the list for any newcomer), but there are some limitations and quirks when you expand. Which is why I use the aptly named Newsletter plugin as an alternative. The setup is not as wizard-like as Mailpoet (and I prefer Mailpoet’s clean look and feel), but essentially you can do a bit more with it, still for free 🙂

Newsletter – Send awesome emails from WordPress

Newsletter – Import

With Advanced Import Addon for the Newsletter plugin, you can import a list of contacts saved in CSV format and map the CSV columns to the subscriber’s fields.

This is further to the one above, because all of us probably have our mailing lists somewhere on a XLS spreadsheet, at least for starters. This way you can batch import all your subscribers at once, and have a mailing list to start with. Upload the CSV file with your contacts’ details and there you go 🙂

Advanced Import

Ninja Forms

The most user-friendly WordPress contact form builder, using drag+drop. Use Ninja Forms to create beautiful, user friendly WordPress forms that will make you feel like a professional web developer!

This is without a doubt the easiest and most visually appealing contact form builder available for free on WordPress today. At least in my mind. And the reason I started with NINJA forms way back before when they have this sleek design, was because it was a free options that easily allowed for contact form submissions to be exported to CSV and or XLS spreadsheets. Perfect for number crunching. You can also open up the developer options to add some advanced functionality, as well as capture the date/time/min/hr/sec of each submission Plus the IP address of the person who completed the form, if you so prefer. And Captcha, to stop all those pesky bots 🙂

Ninja Forms Contact Form – The Drag and Drop Form Builder for WordPress

OSM – OpenStreetMap

Add a map with marker in less than 100 seconds. Important plugin requirement: you have to enable the checkbox “Display attribution (credit) in the map.”

This is the easiest way to display a map marker for free and embed it onto your WP website. OSM is an alternative to google maps. I use it extensively for cycling long distances across the globe (well, Europe to be exact). And I much prefer having a sleek looking fully functional map presented to me — rather than a google map full of disclaimers because to website creator didn’t allow for a few cents to go into the google pockets on each view 🙂

OSM – OpenStreetMap

PDF Embedder

Upload PDF files and embed them directly into your site’s posts and pages. It works as simple as adding images! Your PDF files will be automatically sized to their natural size and shape.

This is another plugin I am sure will be of little use in the future as this kind of functionality will simply be built in to future editions of WP by default. But for the time being, if you want to embed a PDF document on your WordPress website, with nice extra features, and all for free, then this is the way to go 🙂

PDF Embedder

Product Open Pricing

Lets you create open price (i.e. “name your price” or “pay your price”) products in WooCommerce. For each product you can optionally set: Default (i.e. Suggested) price, Minimum price, Maximum price.

For Bicycle Couriers I have set prices for set products, but I also want to have a variable price product where it allows customers to check out and pay online without knowing the price in advance. And this is the answers. Customers can simple enter the price that you give them manually, and continue with the process. This allows the process to continue and they can still pay using all your given payment portals and online methods. Plus, you don’t have to run another set of notes or books elsewhere, because all orders are centralized and go through your WooCommerce setup. Less admin 🙂

Product Open Pricing (Name Your Price) for WooCommerce

Products & Order Export for WooCommerce

Export ALL your WooCommerce store data to CSV or XML using this free plugin, export Products, Orders, Order Items, Customers, and Customers from Orders in single click.

I love stats and tracking to see how we grow. I use this plugin for monthly management statements, to download our orders and sales for the month into XLS so that I can see our MOM month-on-month and YOY year-on-year % sales growth. Lovely to see those results and very healthy growth rate 🙂

Products, Order & Customers Export for WooCommerce

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL will automatically configure your website to use SSL to its fullest potential. Use extra security features to protect your website, and use our server health check to keep up-to-date.

I’ve already mentioned the creators or this plugin above. There is no better SSL plugin for WordPress. It now also features more advanced features [see what I did there?] and can help you to add a free SSL certificate it seems (not necessary for us because it is included with our xneelo hosting). And after using this you can have a look at their solutions for tracking your websites statistics and effective managing your website cookies alerts 🙂

Really Simple SSL

Redirection

Redirection is the most popular redirect manager for WordPress. With it you can easily manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This can help reduce errors and improve your site ranking.

No-one likes seeing those pesky 404 errors. Now you can catch them all and point visitors anywhere else. And the easiest would probably be just back to your home page — it certainly looks better than an error. Also useful for when you have moved or changed content and need to point existing links that may already have been distributed on social media and elsewhere. Just point FROM to old link TO the new link. Again, less admin, which is great 🙂

Redirection

Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

Drag & Drop Gallery Builder and Lightbox functionality that’s used daily by more than 300,000 active users and downloaded over 3 Million times.

I love the lightbox effect and square tiles for images grids, but I loathe having to install Jetpack and all the bloat that comes with it just for the 1 or 2 features that I want. So here is a lightweight alternative to achieve the same thing, without the need for Jetpack 🙂

Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

Safe SVG

Safe SVG is the best way to Allow SVG Uploads in WordPress! It gives you the ability to allow SVG uploads whilst making sure that they’re sanitized to stop SVG/XML vulnerabilities affecting your site.

Probably another plugin that might disappear as it could be introduced as part of WP by default in future releases. But for now this is my go-to solution for uploading and displaying safe SV images in WordPress. Quick and easy, no mess no fuss. It just works right out of the box — before this you won’t be able to upload a SVG image into the WP media uploader; and after installing it you will 🙂

Safe SVG

Simple Banner

This plugin makes it easy to display a simple announcement banner or bar at the top of your website. You can easily customize the color of the links, text, background, etc.

Oh this reminds me of COVID. Because the SA government was adamant that all local domains had to put a COVID alert notice on their websites. And this was one of the fastest solutions to do so, while being able to display exactly what and where you want. Keep in mind that WooCommerce also has a built-in side-wide notice that is just as easy (probably easier!) to use. But with Simple Banner you have more control over what and where and how you want to display a banner notice on your site 🙂

Simple Banner – An easy to use Banner/Bar/Notification/Announcement for the top or bottom of your website

The Events Calendar

The #1 Calendar for WordPress. Easily create and manage an events calendar on your WordPress site with The Events Calendar free plugin.

This is another one that is still lying in the dfevelopment box (for Bicycle Couriers, that is). We will use this to show all the relevant bicycle races in and around South Africa in an effort to draw more web traffic to the site. I have noticed for the last 2 years that there is a demand for same, although being very seasonal. People typically go on December holiday and start chatting and planning for the new year. And when office workers return to their stations and the long year ahead awaits, they start planning ahead and what to see which events are one. Because you cannot just start the year at 100% capacity straight after a December holiday now can you ? 🙂

The Events Calendar

Ultimate FAQ

Easily create FAQs and add them to any page on your site. The responsive accordion display fits seamlessly into any site and provides a great FAQ user experience on any device. Use blocks or shortcodes.

I use Ultimate FAQs as the default FAQ plugin on all my WP sites that require a Q&A feature. It is a lovely installation and allows you to segment your FAQ’s just like posts, with categories and the like. then you just call the relevant FAQs (or all of them at once) with a shortcode on the correct page (or in a widget). And then you can have fun with the wording — What the FAQ, For FAQs sake, and so on. Also great for SEO (the categories, not the wordplay) 🙂

Ultimate FAQ – WordPress FAQ and Accordion Plugin

Ultimate Maps by Supsystic

Google maps becoming too expensive? Supsystic team provides users with the Google Maps alternatives: Bing maps, OpenStreetMap or OSM, Leaflet maps, Mapbox, Thunderforest.

Along the same lines as already mention above from OSM and others. Rather have a correctly displayed map iso a google map that has alerts and disclaimers and restrictions on it. I prefer OSM 🙂

Ultimate Maps by Supsystic

WebP Express

More than 9 out of 10 users are using a browser that is able to display webp images. Yet, on most websites, they are served jpeg images, which are typically double the size of webp images for a given quality. What a waste of bandwidth!

With little effort, WordPress admins can have their site serving autogenerated webp images to browsers that supports it, while still serving jpeg and png files to browsers that does not support webp. According to caniuse, 96.3% of browsers currently support the WebP image format. Which is why we serve the right images to the right browsers 🙂

WebP Express

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the world’s most popular open-source eCommerce solution. Whether you’re launching a business, taking brick-and-mortar retail online, or developing sites for clients, use WooCommerce for a store that powerfully blends content and commerce.

I considered doing a whole seperate article on WooCommerce and all the plugins around it that I use to enhance my shoppers’ online exprience. And maybe I will. Because it is vast. But for the purposes of telling you why I use WooCommerce in this post right here, it is really simple. Just as WordPress is the biggest CMS system on the planet, WooCommerce is its biggest open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. And a stellar alternative to Shopify 🙂

WooCommerce

WooCommerce Peach Payments Gateway

A payment gateway so you can Accept payments from customers using a variety of payment methods, including card, EFT, BNPL (buy now, pay later), QR code, wallet, voucher, mobile money, and alternative credit.

If you already have WooCommerce and want to extend your online payment options further than PayPal, COD, EFT and such, then this is the way to go. Well, Peach Payments, and also YOCO. At Bicycle Couriers and at Webandmore we use both. They are similar in nature but have different tweaks. More on that later. You can pick, either or. YOCO is probably the default choice if you already have one of their physical card machines 🙂

Peach Payments Gateway

WP External Links

Manage all external & internal links on your site. Control icons, nofollow, noopener, ugc (User Generated Content), sponsored and if links open in new window or new tab.

I love using a website where it is clearly shown when it is and internal links vs when it is an external link. You can do so with a little icon after the hyperlink. Personally I choose not to do so on Webandmore, because we have so many images with external links as well. But the reason I use this plugin is very simple (and I use it on almost all sites with external links). It allows me to set that ALL external links open in a news separate browser window or tab, with the click of a single button. So you don’t have to go and set it manually for each and every link, because we are human, and sometimes we miss one. Not with this 🙂

External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window

WP Fastest Cache

When a page is rendered, php and mysql are used. Therefore, system needs RAM and CPU. If many visitors come to a site, system uses lots of RAM and CPU so page is rendered so slowly. In this case, you need a cache system not to render page again and again.

There are many caching plugins around for WP and many are equally impressive. Any what do we do when things are equally impressive? We tend to pick the one that either looks the best or is the easiest to use. Now caching plugins is certain nothing to look at, so I pick the one that is as easy as it gets. And now you can too 🙂

WP Fastest Cache

WP Mail Logging

WP Mail Logging is the most popular plugin for logging emails sent from your WordPress site. Simply activate it and it will work immediately, no extra configuration is needed.

Oh WP mail, why have you forsaken me? It is a well known fact that WordPress email can sometimes be a tad unpredictable. Which is why I like to keep a log of everything that is sent out. So that I can verify, just in case. But you can also consider sending mails via FTP. And if you need help with same then contact Webandmore right away, without delay 🙂

WP Mail Logging

Yoast SEO

This is the #1 WordPress SEO Plugin for a reason. Since 2008 Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines. Users range from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet.

Yoast makes it extremely easy to ensure that you can see at the bottom of every WordPress post or page, exactly what it will look like in a google search. It prompts you when there are SEO issues with your featured images (usually if they are to small on upload). And I allows you to dynamically add meta tags and the like. The plugin is easy. But writing a Yoast friendly readability score article is not. Especially if you are prone to using longer sentences, like I am 🙂

Yoast SEO

Yoco Payment Gateway

Accept payments on your WooCommerce online store with Yoco. Payments are processed through the Yoco platform, so you can see all your online and in-store sales in one place.

I am a huge fan of YOCO. Because of a few things. Their rates are on par (not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive) with other online payment portals available in SA. But their interface is sleek. And the setup is instant. And you can start accepting payments immediately. And their payout (after you have been FICA’d) is probably the fastest of the lot. And they have also introduced a lending service (which I haven’t used, but see it is available) that allows you to get an advance against your average monthly sales for better cash flow. Genius 🙂

Yoco Payments

WOW, this was the easiest 4000 words I have ever typed. I just shows you how quickly things flow when you love what you do and have done it many times before.

PS, how many days is 10,000 hours? At full 24hr days, 10,000hrs is divided by 24 = 416 days. But that is nonsense because no-one can work 24/7 for 416 days in one go. Unless you are a robot, which we aren’t.

A better estimate would be 40hrs for a standard work week, time 50 weeks in a year is 2000 hours per year. Then 10,000 hours equates to 5 years worth of work days. Which is a way better full-time estimate. Is this accurate? We’ve been doing WordPress websites for over 15 years in total. So yes, 10,000 hours rule for Webandmore? Checked!

5 June 2023

Simplify Your File Transfers with FileZilla FTP Client

FileZilla is a popular open-source FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client software.

It provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface for transferring files between a local computer and a remote server using FTP, FTPS, or SFTP protocols. FileZilla is available for multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Here are some key points about FileZilla:

1. FTP Client: FileZilla is primarily known as an FTP client, allowing users to connect to remote servers and transfer files between the local machine and the server. It supports both uploading (sending files from the local machine to the server) and downloading (retrieving files from the server to the local machine) operations.

2. Protocol Support: FileZilla supports multiple file transfer protocols, including FTP, FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS), and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). This allows users to connect to servers using secure connections, encrypting data transmission and providing enhanced security.

3. User-Friendly Interface: FileZilla offers a user-friendly graphical interface that simplifies the process of connecting to servers, browsing directories, and transferring files. It provides a dual-pane view, with a local directory on one side and a remote server directory on the other, making it easy to drag and drop files between the two.

4. Site Manager: FileZilla includes a site manager feature that allows users to save and manage connection details for multiple remote servers. This simplifies the process of connecting to frequently accessed servers by storing server addresses, port numbers, authentication credentials, and other settings.

FileZilla offers even more…

5. File Management: Apart from file transfer, FileZilla provides basic file management capabilities. Users can create, rename, delete, and move files and directories on the remote server directly from the FileZilla interface.

6. Transfer Queue and Resume Support: FileZilla includes a transfer queue feature that allows users to queue multiple file transfers and manage their order. If a transfer is interrupted or fails, FileZilla supports resuming the transfer from where it left off. This reduces the need to re-upload or re-download files.

7. File Permissions and CHMOD Support: FileZilla allows users to modify file permissions on the remote server using the CHMOD command. This feature is particularly useful for web developers and administrators who need to set specific permissions for files and directories on the server.

8. Advanced Settings and Configuration: FileZilla provides advanced settings and configuration options for fine-tuning the client behavior. Users can customize transfer settings, set speed limits, configure proxy servers, and enable logging for troubleshooting and diagnostics.

9. Open-Source and Cross-Platform: FileZilla is an open-source software, which means it is freely available for use, modification, and distribution. It is developed by a dedicated community and is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

FTP & FileZilla: Complete Tutorial

FileZilla is widely used by individuals and organizations for managing file transfers between local machines and remote servers. Its ease of use, protocol support, and availability on multiple platforms have contributed to its popularity as an FTP client.

5 June 2023

Effortlessly Transfer Files with FTP for Seamless Collaboration

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.

It is a standard network protocol used for transferring files between a client and a server over a computer network, typically the internet. FTP is commonly used for uploading files to a web server, downloading files from a server, or transferring files between computers.

The Basics

Here are some key points about FTP:

1. Client-Server Architecture: FTP operates on a client-server model. The client is typically a computer or a device that initiates the file transfer, while the server is a remote computer that hosts the files and accepts the transfer requests from clients.

2. Port-Based Protocol: FTP uses two communication channels: a command channel and a data channel. The command channel, which operates on port 21, is used for sending commands from the client to the server (e.g., listing directories, initiating file transfers). The data channel, which operates on port 20, is used for transferring the actual file data.

3. Authentication: FTP supports authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of users accessing the server. Typically, users need to provide a username and password to establish a connection and gain access to their designated directories on the server.

4. Modes of Operation: FTP offers two modes of operation: active mode and passive mode. In active mode, the client opens a port and listens for the server to establish the data connection. In passive mode, the server opens a port and listens for the client to establish the data connection. Passive mode is commonly used in scenarios where the client is behind a firewall or NAT (Network Address Translation).

File Transfer Protocol (continued)

5. File Operations: FTP supports a range of file operations, including uploading files from the client to the server (put), downloading files from the server to the client (get), renaming files, deleting files, creating directories, and navigating through directory structures.

6. Transfer Modes: FTP supports different transfer modes to accommodate different file types. It can transfer files in ASCII mode, which is suitable for text-based files, and binary mode, which is used for non-text files like images, executables, or compressed files. The appropriate mode is automatically determined based on the file extension or explicitly specified by the user.

7. Security Considerations: By default, FTP does not provide encryption for data transmission. This means that usernames, passwords, and file contents are sent in plain text. To enhance security, FTP can be used in conjunction with secure protocols like FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) that provide encryption and secure authentication.

8. Applications: FTP is widely used in various scenarios, such as website maintenance, file sharing, software distribution, and remote backup. It provides a convenient method for transferring files between computers and servers over a network.

9. Alternatives: While FTP is still commonly used, alternative file transfer methods like SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) and HTTP-based protocols (e.g., WebDAV) have gained popularity due to their enhanced security, compatibility, and ease of use.

Verdict

FTP remains a widely used protocol for file transfer, particularly in scenarios where simplicity and wide compatibility are important factors. However, it is worth noting that secure alternatives like SFTP and FTPS are recommended when transferring sensitive data over untrusted networks.

FTP & FileZilla go hand-in-hand,

So be sure to check out the following article, together with an easy video summary on both FTP & FileZilla:

Simplify Your File Transfers with FileZilla FTP Client

5 June 2023

Elevate Your Website’s Performance with Nginx Web Server

10,000 concurrent connections? No problem.

Nginx (pronounced “engine-x”) is a popular open-source web server software known for its high performance, scalability, and efficient handling of concurrent connections. Originally developed to solve the C10k problem (handling 10,000 concurrent connections), Nginx has gained significant popularity as a web server, reverse proxy, and load balancer.

What you need to know about Nginx:

1. Web Server: Nginx functions as a web server, similar to Apache, handling HTTP requests and serving web content to clients, such as web browsers. It can serve static files directly and also proxy dynamic requests to backend application servers.

2. High Performance: Nginx is designed to deliver high performance and handle a large number of simultaneous connections efficiently. It uses an event-driven, asynchronous architecture, which allows it to handle thousands of concurrent connections with low resource usage.

3. Lightweight and Efficient: Nginx has a small memory footprint and low CPU usage, making it efficient in resource utilization. It is known for its ability to handle a large number of connections using minimal system resources, making it suitable for high-traffic websites.

4. Reverse Proxy and Load Balancer: Nginx can act as a reverse proxy, receiving client requests and forwarding them to backend servers. It can distribute traffic across multiple application servers, providing load balancing and improving overall system performance and reliability.

5. Scalability and Flexibility: Nginx is highly scalable and can be easily deployed in various scenarios. It can handle a wide range of workloads, from small websites to large-scale distributed architectures. Nginx can be configured to optimize performance, handle caching, handle SSL/TLS encryption, and support various protocols.

Nginx Web Server details continued

6. HTTPS and SSL/TLS Termination: Nginx supports SSL/TLS encryption, allowing it to handle HTTPS requests and terminate SSL/TLS connections. It can handle SSL certificates, perform encryption/decryption, and provide secure communication between clients and the server.

7. Configuration: Nginx uses a simple and flexible configuration format. The configuration files are easy to understand and modify, allowing administrators to customize the server’s behavior, define virtual hosts, rewrite URLs, set up caching, and configure various other aspects of server functionality.

8. Community and Ecosystem: Nginx has a large and active community of users and developers who contribute to its development, provide support, and share knowledge. It has an extensive ecosystem of modules and third-party extensions that add additional features and functionality to Nginx.

9. Integration: Nginx integrates well with other technologies and can work alongside different web servers or application servers. It can be used in conjunction with Apache or other backend servers to optimize performance, act as a reverse proxy, or handle specific tasks such as load balancing or caching.

Final note

Nginx has gained popularity as a high-performance web server, reverse proxy, and load balancer due to its efficient architecture, scalability, and flexibility. It is widely used in various web hosting environments, content delivery networks (CDNs), and as a front-end proxy for application servers.

Never stop learning. Here is a DevOps Engineering Course for Beginners, again from freecodecamp.org.

You will learn what DevOps is, continuous integration, continuous deployment strategies, and application performance management. Many DevOps practices are commonly used in programming and web development, it is important to understand key terms and technologies. This course often references the MERN (MongoDB, Express JS, React JS, Node JS) technology stack.

5 June 2023

Harness the Reliability and Performance of Apache Web Server

Apache refers to the Apache HTTP Server, which is a widely used open-source web server software.

It is often referred to as simply “Apache” and is renowned for its stability, robustness, and scalability. Apache is designed to deliver web content and handle HTTP requests from clients, such as web browsers.

Key notes on Apache:

1. Web Server: Apache is primarily used as a web server, responsible for serving web pages and other web content to users. It listens for incoming HTTP requests, processes them, and sends back the requested resources, such as HTML files, images, CSS stylesheets, or JavaScript files.

2. Open Source: Apache is an open-source software, meaning it is freely available to use, modify, and distribute. It is maintained by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and benefits from a large community of contributors and users who actively contribute to its development, bug fixes, and security patches.

3. Cross-Platform: Apache is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and others. It is known for its cross-platform support, allowing it to run on a wide range of server environments.

4. Modular Architecture: Apache follows a modular architecture, allowing users to extend its functionality by enabling or disabling modules as per their requirements. This modular design provides flexibility and enables administrators to customize the server’s behavior and performance.

More on the Apache HTTP Server

5. Configuration and Virtual Hosting: Apache can be configured using its configuration files, which define server settings, virtual hosts, and other parameters. It supports virtual hosting, which enables hosting multiple websites on a single server, each with its own configuration and domain name.

6. Security Features: Apache includes various security features to protect web servers and the hosted websites. It supports SSL/TLS encryption, allowing for secure HTTPS connections. Additionally, it provides access control mechanisms, authentication options, and modules to mitigate common security vulnerabilities.

7. Performance and Scalability: Apache is known for its performance and scalability. It is optimized for handling high traffic loads efficiently and can scale to serve millions of requests per day. It supports features like load balancing and caching to improve performance and distribute traffic across multiple servers.

8. Extensibility and Integration: Apache offers an extensive library of modules and extensions that enhance its functionality. These modules can add features like server-side scripting support (e.g., PHP), database connectivity (e.g., MySQL), content compression, URL rewriting, and more. Apache integrates well with various programming languages and technologies.

9. Market Share: Apache has a significant market share among web servers and is widely used across the internet. It is often the default choice for hosting websites due to its stability, performance, and community support.

Finally,

Apache’s long-standing reputation, community support, and feature-rich nature have made it one of the most popular web server software choices for hosting websites and serving web content.

And now for something completely different.

For making it to the end you are rewarded with Apache, Live In Concert, from The Final Tour in 2003 (in HD) by The Shadows.

5 June 2023

Secure Your Online World with HTTPS Encryption

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

It is a secure version of the standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) used for communication between a web browser and a web server. HTTPS ensures that data transmitted between the browser and server is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access.

Here are some key points about HTTPS:

1. Encryption: The primary purpose of HTTPS is to provide a secure and encrypted connection between the browser and the server. It uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security), protocols to encrypt data and protect it from being intercepted or tampered with during transmission.

2. Data Security: HTTPS safeguards sensitive information transmitted over the internet, such as passwords, credit card details, and personal data. By encrypting the data, it prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing or manipulating the information.

3. SSL/TLS Certificates: Websites that use HTTPS require an SSL/TLS certificate, which is a digital certificate that verifies the authenticity of the website and enables encryption. These certificates are issued by trusted third-party Certificate Authorities (CAs) and contain information about the website and the encryption key.

4. Trust and Authentication: HTTPS provides authentication and verification of the server’s identity to the browser. When a user visits an HTTPS website, their browser checks the SSL/TLS certificate to ensure it is valid and issued by a trusted CA. This verification process helps establish trust and prevents users from accessing malicious or fake websites.

HTTPS shows up as that familiar green padlock in your browser

5. Padlock Symbol and Green Address Bar: HTTPS-enabled websites are indicated by a padlock symbol in the browser’s address bar, along with the “https://” protocol prefix. Extended Validation (EV) certificates display a green address bar, providing enhanced visual assurance of the website’s security.

6. SEO and Ranking Benefits: Search engines like Google consider HTTPS as a ranking factor. Websites using HTTPS may receive a small boost in search engine rankings compared to those using plain HTTP. Implementing HTTPS can contribute to better visibility and credibility in search results.

7. HTTP/2 Support: HTTPS is fully compatible with HTTP/2, the latest version of the HTTP protocol. HTTP/2 offers performance improvements, multiplexing, and server push capabilities, enhancing the speed and efficiency of website loading.

8. Evolving Security Standards: HTTPS and the SSL/TLS protocols are continually evolving to address emerging security vulnerabilities. It is essential to keep up with the latest security updates and best practices to maintain the integrity of the HTTPS implementation.

In summary,

HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP that encrypts data transmission between web browsers and servers. It ensures confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data, protecting users’ sensitive information and establishing trust in online communication.

5 June 2023

Seamlessly Upgrade Your MySQL Experience with MariaDB

MariaDB is a fork of MySQL

MariaDB is a community-developed, open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that originated as a fork of MySQL. It was created by the original developers of MySQL in response to concerns about the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle Corporation.

Some key points about MariaDB:

1. Fork of MySQL: MariaDB started as a fork of MySQL in 2009, led by Michael “Monty” Widenius, one of the original creators of MySQL. The purpose of the fork was to create a compatible and feature-rich alternative to MySQL that would remain open-source and community-driven.

2. Compatibility with MySQL: MariaDB is designed to be highly compatible with MySQL. It retains the use of the SQL language, APIs, and many of the commands and syntax used in MySQL, making it relatively easy to migrate from MySQL to MariaDB or run applications developed for MySQL on MariaDB.

3. Features and Enhancements: MariaDB offers additional features and enhancements compared to its predecessor. These include improved performance optimizations, enhanced storage engines, expanded scalability options, and support for advanced features like virtual columns, thread pooling, and JSON data type.

4. Open-Source Community: MariaDB is developed and maintained by a vibrant open-source community, which contributes to its ongoing development and improvement. It encourages community participation, and users can actively contribute bug fixes, features, and enhancements to the project.

More on MariaDB

5. Licensing: MariaDB is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which ensures its free and open-source nature. It can be freely used, modified, and distributed, allowing for widespread adoption and collaboration.

6. Compatibility and Ecosystem: MariaDB aims to maintain high compatibility with MySQL. To ensure that most applications, tools, and connectors developed for MySQL can work seamlessly with MariaDB. It also supports a wide range of connectors, libraries, and frameworks, making it compatible with popular programming languages and platforms.

7. High Availability and Scalability: MariaDB offers various features and technologies to ensure high availability and scalability of database systems. These include master-slave replication, multi-master replication, clustering, and sharding, allowing for distributed and fault-tolerant database architectures.

8. Community Support: MariaDB benefits from a strong and active community of users and developers who contribute to its development, provide support, and share knowledge. There are forums, mailing lists, and community-driven resources available to help users with any questions or issues they may encounter.

9. Adoption: MariaDB has gained significant adoption across a wide range of industries and organizations. Many companies and applications have migrated from MySQL to MariaDB due to its enhanced features, performance improvements, and commitment to open-source values.

Evolution

While MariaDB shares many similarities with MySQL, it has evolved to offer additional features and enhancements, all while staying compatible with MySQL’s ecosystem. Its community-driven development and commitment to open-source principles have made it a popular choice for those seeking a robust and feature-rich open-source database management system.

1hr MariaDB Tutorial For Beginners

MariaDB Server is one of the most popular open source relational databases. It’s made by the original developers of MySQL and guaranteed to stay open source. It is part of most cloud offerings and the default in most Linux distributions. This video covers the basics of using MariaDB and Heidi SQL.

 

5 June 2023

Efficiently Manage Your Data with MySQL Database

MySQL is one of the most popular database systems and is commonly used in web applications.

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that is widely used for managing and organizing structured data. Here are some key points about MySQL:

Ten Things You Need To Know About MySQL

1. Structure: MySQL follows a relational database model, which means it organizes data into tables with rows and columns. It allows for efficient storage, retrieval, and manipulation of structured data.

2. Features: MySQL provides a wide range of features, including support for multiple storage engines, transactions, indexes, and various data types. It offers comprehensive security features to protect data integrity and confidentiality.

3. Query Language: MySQL uses the Structured Query Language (SQL) to interact with the database. SQL allows users to perform operations like creating, querying, updating, and deleting data in the database.

4. Scalability and Performance: MySQL is known for its scalability and performance. It can handle large datasets and high traffic loads efficiently. It provides various optimization techniques, caching mechanisms, and replication features to improve performance.

Efficiently Manage Your Data with MySQL Database — Part 2

5. Compatibility: MySQL is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and others. It integrates well with popular web development languages and frameworks like PHP, Python, Ruby, and Java.

6. Community and Support: MySQL has a large and active community of users and developers, which provides extensive resources, documentation, and support. There are also numerous online forums and communities where users can seek assistance and share knowledge.

7. Open Source: MySQL is an open-source database system, which means it is freely available for use, modification, and distribution. This open nature has contributed to its widespread adoption and popularity.

8. Applications: MySQL is commonly used in web applications, content management systems (CMS), e-commerce platforms, and various data-driven applications. It can handle diverse use cases ranging from small-scale projects to enterprise-level applications.

9. High Availability and Replication: MySQL offers features like replication, which allows for creating multiple copies of the database to ensure high availability and fault tolerance. Replication enables data redundancy and facilitates load balancing.

10. Data Integrity and Transactions: MySQL supports ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties to maintain data integrity. It provides transaction support to ensure that database operations are executed reliably and consistently.

Finally,

MySQL’s combination of reliability, performance, flexibility, and wide adoption has made it a popular choice for organizations and developers when it comes to managing structured data in a wide range of applications.

Learn MySQL in 2hrs

Here is the MySQL Database – Full Course from freecodecomp.org, of which 80% of it is database administration.

Learn about MySQL Database in this full tutorial course for beginners. This course teaches you not just SQL basics, but it also goes into key database concepts such as Data Modeling, Locks, Indexes, Data Modeling, SQL Explain, and more.

5 June 2023

Unleash the Power of Dynamic Web Development with PHP

PHP is embedded within HTML code and executed on the server, generating dynamic web pages.

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a popular server-side scripting language primarily used for web development.

Here are some key points about PHP:

1. Purpose: PHP is designed for creating dynamic and interactive web applications. It allows developers to generate dynamic content, handle form submissions, interact with databases, and perform various server-side tasks.

2. Syntax: PHP syntax is similar to C, Java, and Perl. It uses tags like `<?php ?>` to enclose PHP code within HTML files. PHP code is executed on the server and the output is sent to the client’s web browser.

3. Features: PHP offers a wide range of features, including support for database connectivity (such as MySQL, PostgreSQL), file handling, session management, and integration with various protocols (HTTP, FTP, etc.). It also provides extensive libraries and frameworks to simplify web development.

4. Cross-Platform Compatibility: PHP is a cross-platform language, meaning it can run on various operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS, and others. It is compatible with most web servers, such as Apache and Nginx.

5. Open Source: PHP is an open-source language, which means it is free to use and has a large community of developers contributing to its development and improvement. This has led to a vast ecosystem of resources, frameworks, and libraries available for PHP development.

Dynamic Web Development with PHP — continued

6. Popularity: PHP has been widely adopted and is one of the most popular languages for web development. Many popular websites and platforms, including WordPress, Facebook, and Wikipedia, rely on PHP for their backend development.

7. Scalability: PHP is capable of handling large-scale web applications and can be used for both small projects and enterprise-level applications. It provides various tools and techniques for improving performance and scalability.

8. Integration: PHP can be easily integrated with other technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and various databases. It also supports various protocols and APIs, making it versatile and flexible for web development.

Overall,

PHP is a versatile and powerful scripting language used for server-side web development. Its ease of use, extensive community support, and broad adoption make it a popular choice for building dynamic and interactive websites and web applications.

Learn PHP in 5hrs

Here is the PHP Programming Language Tutorial – Full Course from freecodecamp.org.

Learn the PHP programming language in this full course / tutorial. The course is designed for new programmers, and will introduce common programming topics using the PHP language.

5 June 2023

Hosting: What is required to run WordPress?

WordPress Requirements

To run WordPress we recommend your host supports:

  • PHP version 7.4 or greater.
  • MySQL version 5.7 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.3 or greater.
  • HTTPS support

That’s really it. We recommend Apache or Nginx as the most robust and featureful server for running WordPress, but any server that supports PHP and MySQL will do. Sounds like Greek? See below what each one means.

Definitions:

What is PHP?

PHP is a popular server-side scripting language used for web development. It is widely used for creating dynamic and interactive web pages. With PHP, you can perform tasks such as processing form data, accessing databases, generating dynamic content, and interacting with other web services.

More on PHP from Webandmore: Unleash the Power of Dynamic Web Development with PHP

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that is widely used for managing and storing structured data. It provides a reliable and efficient way to store, retrieve, and manipulate data. MySQL is commonly used in web applications to handle tasks such as user authentication, content management, and data storage.

More on MySQL from Webandmore: Efficiently Manage Your Data with MySQL Database

What is MariaDB?

MariaDB is a community-developed open-source fork of the MySQL database management system. It was created as a result of concerns over the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle Corporation. MariaDB is designed to be a drop-in replacement for MySQL, offering similar functionality and compatibility while adding some additional features and performance improvements.

More on MariaDB from Webandmore: Seamlessly Upgrade Your MySQL Experience with MariaDB

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of the standard HTTP protocol used for communication between a web browser and a web server. HTTPS ensures that data transmitted between the browser and server is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access. It is commonly used for secure online transactions, user authentication, and protecting sensitive information.

More on HTTPS from Webandmore: Secure Your Online World with HTTPS Encryption

What is Apache?

Apache refers to the Apache HTTP Server, which is a widely used open-source web server software. It is known for its stability, robustness, and scalability. Apache is designed to deliver web content and handle HTTP requests from clients, such as web browsers. It is commonly used for hosting websites and serving web pages.

More on Apache from Webandmore: Harness the Reliability and Performance of Apache Web Server

What is Nginx?

Nginx (pronounced “engine-x”) is an open-source web server software known for its high performance and efficient handling of concurrent connections. It can also function as a reverse proxy and load balancer. Nginx is designed to handle high traffic loads efficiently and has gained popularity for its scalability, flexibility, and ability to serve as a front-end proxy for application servers.

More on Nginx from Webandmore: Elevate Your Website’s Performance with Nginx Web Server

What is FTP?

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a standard network protocol used for transferring files between a client and a server over a computer network, typically the internet. It allows users to upload, download, and manage files on remote servers. FTP is commonly used for website maintenance, file sharing, and remote backup.

More on FTP from Webandmore: Effortlessly Transfer Files with FTP for Seamless Collaboration

What is FileZilla?

FileZilla is a popular open-source FTP client software. It provides a user-friendly interface for transferring files between a local computer and a remote server using FTP, FTPS, or SFTP protocols. FileZilla simplifies the process of connecting to servers, browsing directories, and transferring files. It is widely used for managing file transfers in various scenarios, such as website maintenance, software distribution, and file sharing.

More on FileZilla from Webandmore: Simplify Your File Transfers with FileZilla FTP Client