Category Archives: Website hosting

WordPress adds encryption

letsencrypt-logo-horizontalI notice that this blog now by default provides its content to visitors in encrypted form, using the HTTPS [Hyper Text Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)] protocol. This is great news. I congratulate WordPress.com. They’ve used the new Let’s Encrypt Certificate Authority, which removes the relatively high cost barrier of encrypting websites.

A big “thank you” to both WordPress.com and Let’s Encrypt.

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A tale of two e-commerce platforms

I’ve been developing a few websites with storefronts.  I used Nopcommerce three years ago, and it was impressive in many ways, but its poorly-defined technical support steered me elsewhere.

Two attractive e-commerce offerings with better-defined tech support are Volusion and SquareSpace.  Both offer mobile-responsive templates, and both products include hosting with tech support.

Volusion logoVolusion is more mature, potentially more flexible, and able to handle large volume needs. If you use it out of the box for online sales only, you may not need to write any code. If you need a physical store, you will need at least some HTML, CSS, and Javascript programming skills.  If your pages contain more than just simple paragraphs of text, you’ll need to write mobile-responsive code.  Volusion provides many options for every aspect of a business’s storefront, and its 24/7 telephone tech support is excellent.

Squarespace logoThe “drag and drop” SquareSpace templates allow a developer to quickly place a rudimentary SquareSpace site into production, but I don’t recommend it for sites of more than about twenty pages or a business with complex product inventory or special payment processing needs.  One could quickly roll-out a good-looking modest SquareSpace e-commerce site without writing one line of code.  Just don’t expect to easily expand this simple site into a large complex site, and your payment processing options are limited.  Unlike Volusion, SquareSpace does not seem to offer 24/7 tech support via telephone — only via email.

One beauty of both Volusion and SquareSpace is that you don’t need to host them.  Just pay a modest monthly hosting fee and let them keep your site on-line.  An attractive alternative to both is BigCommerce, but I have no personal experience with it.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Defend your WordPress site

WordPress can be a terrific website platform. However, its popularity and its open source nature make it a favorite target for attackers. Two real-time defenses:
WordPress logo

  • WordPress Simple Firewall plugin: detects bad behaviors by comment spammers, blacklisted clients. and brute force password crack attempts
  • http:BL WordPress plugin: redirects visitors who are on a public dynamic blacklist to a honeypot page, which is seeded with unique email addresses that can give away spammers.

One plugin that logs malicious activity:

  • SEO Redirection plugin: logs 404 (page not found) errors. Reviewing the log file allows an administrator to block future access of IP addresses that attempted to discover cracks in his or her firewall or execute administrative PHP scripts.Caveat: Use care to ensure that you don’t mistakenly block search engines’ spiders and other legitimate robots. (I’d erroneously blocked three IP addresses that are used by the GoogleBot spiders. That explains why the website suddenly disappeared from Google’s search results.  D’oh!)

I use and recommend all three of these WordPress plugins on self-hosted WordPress installations. They work. I’m amazed by the persistence of attackers on my WordPress sites. (Most attacks originate from Russia, Ukraine, China, Netherlands, Germany.)

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695