Find Out If You Use WordPress.Com or WordPress.Org

The most common question that many WordPress users struggle with is how to tell if their website is on either WordPress.com or WordPress.org. On this blog post, we share the most basic ways of telling the two apart.

The key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is hosting.

Let us begin by defining web hosting. It is the process of space allocation on a web server for a website to store its files. These files that comprise a website (HTML, CSS, files and images) are made available for viewing online.

WordPress.org often referred to as self-hosted WordPress, is usually set up with your own hosting provider, e.g. GoDaddy, Bluehost, 123 Reg, or a company like WP Support Specialists.

You can customize your website design as needed, and you are also able to run custom analytics and tracking for your website.

On the other hand, you pay WordPress.com to host your website domain for you. This kind of website is easy to use and does not require installation. However, your website will not be completely under your control and the design and themes are limited.

With all said you are still probably wondering whether there is another way you can tell if your website is on wordpress.com or self-hosted? Yes there is J

 A more practical way of checking the difference is by using your browser and following these simple steps:

  1. Go to your browser; type your website’s domain followed by /wp-login.php. This takes you to your WordPress login dashboard.
  2. Your WordPress login dashboard will appear, login to your website’s backend with your username and password.
  3. Once you are at the backend, hover your mouse over the WordPress logo at the top left corner of the page.
  4. On the dropdown list, you will see either WordPress.org or WordPress.com

Wordpress.org screenshot

We hope this blog clearly illustrates how you can tell which WordPress hosting platform you are on.

If you have any further questions about how do i tell if my website is on WordPress.com or WordPress.org, feel free to contact us here with your query.

Managed WordPress Hosting And Support

Managed WordPress hosting and support in a single, affordable package is hard to come by.  There are many companies offering fully managed WordPress hosting, and many others offering WordPress technical support – but few combine the two.

Really this makes no sense: websites need hosting and websites need maintenance – it’s just a fact of the digital world.  But WordPress website owners have to shop around to find the best managed WP hosting company for their needs.  Then most owners simply try to manage the regular maintenance themselves, without having any training or expertise in WordPress management.

And there are several disadvantages to these approaches:

1.Not All Website Hosting Is Created Equal

WEBSPACE

The size of a website dictates the amount of webspace it requires.  Around 1Gb is fine for small sites with modest website traffic, but the bigger the site, the more webspace it requires – those huge, complicated sites with 1000s of visitors plus per day, are going to need to have hosting with unlimited webspace.

It’s not easy to predict the amount of webspace you will need for your site and consequently makes it hard to find the right hosting package for you.

SERVER

Hosting can be shared or on a private server – again the best choice depends on the anticipated website traffic.  General shared hosting, as offered by companies such as GoDaddy, Bluehost and 123 Reg, means your site will share the server with other company websites. Consequently this type of hosting can be adequate for small sites where uptime and site speed are not critical, but far from ideal for sites with large volumes of traffic. In the latter case, website speed may be slow and if you have too much traffic, the site is likely to crash

Private server hosting means you have resources that are not shared by others. This provides more power and flexibility than being on a shared account, but costs more.

For a WordPress website, it makes sense to choose WordPress specific hosting. It may be slightly more expensive than general hosting but is optimised for WP and ensures the website runs faster and can be more easily maintained.  But many of the “big names” in website hosting don’t offer this option.

In short finding the right hosting package for your WordPress website can be tricky if you don’t  know the right questions to ask.

2. WordPress Maintenance Isn’t All Plain Sailing

In theory, WordPress is a free platform available for all to use. The reality is that it is hard to maintain a WP site securely if you’ve taught yourself everything you know about the platform.

Many business owners don’t even appreciate the need to regularly maintain their website: it needs to be backed up regularly, to be monitored for malware, and plugin and core updates need to be done in a timely manner.

Even those who do realise regular maintenance is essential, don’t have all the skills they need to carry it out effectively. Or alternatively they get so caught up in the demands of their business, that the website maintenance gets overlooked all together.

The result? At some point or other the website is going to have problems. And at that point, WordPress support is needed – again another hassle for the business owner who has to try to find a company to help them as soon as possible.

 

For all of these reasons, we have created a Managed WordPress Hosting and Support package which offers reliable, WP specific hosting and expert support delivered by trained WP specialists.  We work with a modest number of clients, enabling us to provide a truly personal service for each one (quite different to the likes of Godaddy and Bluehost who manage hundreds of thousands of customers).

If you’re fed up with your unhelpful WP hosting company, who tend to blame the WordPress platform itself for any problems you report, and you want quality support from friendly, WP experts then consider our managed WordPress hosting and support package.

 

 

Premium WordPress Hosting And Support

Premium WordPress hosting and support is ideal for companies with WordPress websites who want to leave the management of the site to experts so they can focus on their business.  As the name suggests, premium WordPress hosting and support comprises a top-notch service which includes:

  • WordPress specific hosting, specifically designed to deal with the “application nuances” of this CMS and ensures optimal caching and security for WP sites
  • A fast loading website which is essential for your website to please Google (and so show high in search results) and also to please your website visitors
  • The ability to quickly fix any security issues identified by WordPress
  • Regular maintenance of the website including daily back-ups, malware protection plus core and plugin updates
  • 24/7 WordPress support if things go wrong
  • WordPress support services delivered by experts who work solely with the WordPress platform and know everything there is to know

Whilst business owners realise they need to host their website via a third party hosting party, many mistakenly believe that they can support their site without external assistance; but unless they are an expert in all things WordPress, things have a tendency to go horribly wrong.

For example, WordPress plugins and core updates need to be made frequently, but if the whole website isn’t backed up properly first and something goes wrong, a lot of data is going to be lost.

Similarly if the site isn’t fully protected against hackers and malware, and actively checked for malicious behaviour on the site, it can become compromised.

At this point, business owners realise their error – they will have search for WP experts who offer emergency support, and then pay out hundreds or thousands of pounds for the experts to investigate the problems to put everything right.  And during this process of course, the website isn’t working and the business is losing potential customers and sales.

How much more sensible it would have been to follow the “prevention is better than cure” philosophy.

For all of these reasons, we have created a WordPress premium plan which offers both fast, reliable hosting and superb support delivered by specific WP experts.  We support small businesses on a regular basis and pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with them – not for us the impersonal approach of the “big” hosting companies such as Godaddy and Bluehost where you are just one customer amongst hundreds of thousands.

Are you fed up trying to deal with your hosting company, who are slow to respond and then simply blame the WordPress platform itself for any below par performance? Do you need regular support from friendly, experienced WP experts to keep your website ticking over reliably? If yes, then consider our premium WordPress hosting and support package.

6 Simple Steps to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

If you’re using a WordPress site, you have already made at least one good decision towards the online success of your business. Now you need to optimize your site’s performance to ensure that you get the best results from it, and one way to do that, is by enhancing its load speed.

A site that loads slowly, will result in poor search engine performance, reduced conversions and a loss of traffic. Research has shown a direct link between visitor retention and:

  • page speed
  • bounce rate
  • visitor retention
  • profit

Additionally, Google has acknowledged that page speed is used as a factor in rankings. Why? Because page speed affects the user experience. Users don’t want to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to be loaded, and therefore, fast pages will be ranked higher in the search results pages.

Speed Up Your WordPress Site In Six Simple Steps

1.   Choose the right host

A reliable web host that uses DNS and is configured specifically for WordPress is crucial for your site’s performance. Your site should be hosted on servers that understand WordPress.

2.  Choose the right framework

When it comes to choosing the right framework for your WordPress site, you can’t go wrong with Genesis. It is made for WordPress and it uses the latest best practices in terms of code for best functioning. Additionally, Genesis offers responsive themes, which automatically change its resolution based on the device on which it is viewed. Since a large percentage of consumers view sites on mobile, it will open your site up to a whole new market.

3.  Install a clean theme

Clean coding is key to a fast WordPress site, and that’s why you should opt for the cleanest theme you can find. You can rely on StudioPress to deliver just that, with every single theme they create.

4.  Install a caching plugin

W3 EDGE provides an awesome plugin, known as W3 Total Cache. This tool provides fragment caching support for Genesis-powered sites.  It provides increased control over granular caching and enables faster load times.

5.  Be picky about your plugins

With so many different plugins at your disposal, it is tempting to install as many as your disk space will allow, but don’t.  Stick to the basics, and keep only those plugins that you need for your site to function as it should. With that, be sure to only install plugins that are supported and that use solid, clean code.

6.  Optimise your images

Large images take longer to load, especially if you receive a lot of traffic to your site. Therefore, you should optimise your images and compressing them in order to reduce the amount of bandwidth used when they are loaded.

There are many ways to do this, including:

Photoshop – Reduce the size of your image to the exact dimensions required on your site, and choose the most appropriate format. Select low compression settings.

WP Smush.it – Another cool WordPress plugin, Smush will take all the legwork out of compressing your images.

These simple tips should help you to speed your site up significantly. You can test the speed before and after, using Pingdom.

Planned WordPress Maintenance – Is It Really Necessary?

You may have heard mention of planned WordPress maintenance, but even if you have a WordPress website, you may think it’s not strictly necessary.  And if that’s your view, then you’ll be one of thousands of WordPress managers who all feel the same way!

Shocking Statistics

The results of a 2015 WordPress survey conducted by CodeGuard frankly didn’t surprise us.  It seems a large majority of WordPress website owners aren’t too concerned about planned WordPress maintenance.

We weren’t shocked to hear that:

  • 21% of WordPress users back up their site ‘occasionally’
  • 26% of WordPress website managers have ‘some’ training
  • 22% of WordPress users think backups are unimportant

We have seen the fallout first hand from companies who fail to take precautions to ensure their WordPress website is not vulnerable to malicious hackers or malware.  We’ve held the hands of many a website owner that didn’t have WordPress maintenance in place and who ‘forgot’ to back up essential files – but then deleted them in the all too common curse of human error.  And we’ve had to sort out plenty of messes when WordPress plugin updates have gone bad.

Common WordPress Mistakes

WordPress is such a popular CMS, used by well over 20% of global websites, for the very reason that it is so easy to use.  But many users fall into a false sense of security – just because it’s easy to use they seem to completely overlook the fact that their WordPress website has the potential to go wrong!  Common mistakes made include:

  • No Backups – Hands up if you back up your website regularly.  Well done you – but hands down if you think that means once every 6 months.  Not carrying out regular backups (at least monthly) means your data is vulnerable to loss
  • Installing Unnecessary Plugins – we all love a nifty plugin but have you installed dozens of plugins which you aren’t actually using?  By not deactivating unnecessary plugins your website could be running slower than it needs to
  • Not checking the verity of free themes and plugins – you see a great free theme and go right ahead and install it, not checking to see if it is from a trustworthy source.  A high number of WordPress websites get infected by malware this way.
  • Human error – we are all prone to it but inexperienced WordPress users may make a big mistake just because of their lack of training in the software.

The Benefits of Planned WordPress Maintenance

When clients come to us with a WordPress emergency, we get their website back up and running as fast as possible.  And from that point on, our clients are sold on the idea of having regular WordPress maintenance carried out by WordPress experts.  They fully appreciate the ‘prevention is better than cure’ scenario.

A good website is fundamental to all businesses – and if it goes down, not only do you have to pay to get it up and running again, but business is being lost and reputation is being damaged every single minute it’s offline:

  • clients can’t contact you
  • clients can’t place their order
  • potential clients can’t find your website (and be sure that they won’t bother looking for you again as they’ll have found one of your competitors to match their needs)

Many companies can’t afford to have their own in-house IT support, so rather than cross your fingers and pray to Lady Luck, WP Support Specialists recommends a regular WordPress maintenance package that will give you peace of mind.  This will save you ££££ in the long run – consider it as an insurance policy for your online business presence so you can rest easy knowing your WordPress website is in the hands of experts.

Typical planned WordPress maintenance packages cover the following:

  • Secure backups
  • Backup restoration if required
  • Malware monitoring and removal
  • WordPress Plugin updates
  • WordPress core system updates
  • WordPress Theme updates

Just imagine being able to focus on your business knowing your website is in capable hands.  Think about being able to go away on that important business trip or a week away with the family without worrying that your website might go down.  We recommend regular WordPress maintenance for all WordPress websites!

Read more about the WordPress maintenance packages on offer from WP Support Specialists here.

 

Is Your UK Website One of the Half a Million at Risk?

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were over 5 million small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK at the end of 2014.  Since nearly 25% of websites globally use WordPress, we can estimate that there are 1.25 million UK WordPress websites supporting UK SMEs.

No surprise there.  But the shocking fact is that a high proportion of these websites are not being updated regularly. w3techs.com reported that 23% of WordPress websites they surveyed had not been updated to the current version, and our own small survey of 250 UK websites showed that 75% weren’t using the current version!

It’s possible to crunch the numbers and conclude that between 290,000 and 937,500 UK WordPress websites are probably out of date – let’s just call it half a million.

So does this indicate that half a million business owners don’t care about their website?  Are they not bothered about malware, hackers and how they might consequently lose clients? Are they indifferent to the improvements that each new version of WordPress offers its users?

Surely not.  It’s far more likely that most SME owners have simply no idea about the importance of regularly updating their WordPress website.

So let’s reiterate the importance of updating your WordPress website.

Firstly you need to understand that WordPress issues Major and Minor releases.  Major updates (two digit releases eg. 3.9 and 4.2) include code changes and new features. Webmasters need to upgrade their own website manually with these. The Minor updates (three digit releases eg. 4.1.4 and 4.2.1) are intended to fix bugs and patch security issues.  These are automatically installed on the website.

By keeping your WordPress website up to date, you’ll reap the following benefits:

  1. Improved Security

Hackers are unfortunately a way of life nowadays and they are always trying to infiltrate WordPress websites to cause mischief and havoc – ranging from loss of data, sending inappropriate communications to your customers and trying to spread their evil far and wide.

Fortunately because WordPress is an open source platform, the massive community of developers and users will quickly spread the word if a security vulnerability is found in the current version.

For people with an updated website, minor releases to fix the vulnerability will be installed automatically.  But if a business owner has let the website version control lapse, the website will have to be updated manually to take advantage of these critical security improvements.  If they don’t, their website is at significant risk from hackers.

The problem is that manual updates are quite complicated for people who aren’t experts in WordPress.  There are a number of hints and tips found on the WordPress.org website such as never upgrade across more than 2 major releases at one time.  The manual process also requires that you back up your database and files, check the backup has worked and deactivate plugins before you can start to update your WordPress version.

If you care about the security of your website and don’t want to lose clients and income due to a hacked website, then you must keep your WordPress version regularly updated.  If your website is powered by a very old version (3 or before) you will probably need expert help to get you up and running on the current version.

  1. Better Website Performance

Major WordPress updates come out 3 or 4 times a year and are destined to improve your website performance, often by offering more functionalities.  For example, new features in version 4.2 included better updates from the AddPlugins screen, Emoji Support and an improved ‘Press This’ feature.

After a Major update, many plugins will also get updated to maintain their compatibility with the core WordPress site and to take advantage of the new features.

If you want a website that performs well and offers all the most recent features of WordPress and associated plugins, you need to update your WordPress version regularly.

Summary – Considering the statistics about WordPress updates, it seems clear that SME owners really don’t understand the importance of keeping their WordPress website updated. But perhaps after reading this article, they will check the WordPress version powering their website, and update it without delay!

4 Reasons Your Clients Will Flee When Your Website Is Hacked

If you’re a company owner who takes your website for granted, do you ensure it’s regularly maintained and checked for malware? If not, hackers may have already got in without you even knowing it!  And when hackers get in, they can create havoc – causing you to unintentionally irritate and offend your clients – who won’t remain your clients for long.

Many people believe that when a website is hacked, it’s pretty obvious – it just crashes, right?  Well no  – today hacking is far more sophisticated.  Hackers like to keep well under the radar so they can collect information, install malware and merrily spread infection to other users and servers as far and wide as possible, all the while evading detection.

Here are 4 reasons you’ll lose clients when your website is hacked:

  1. Offensive content is added to your site

As sure as eggs is eggs, when hackers alter your website content, they don’t add images of cute kittens or beautiful scenery – they opt for more unsavoury content.

The result?  Whether your clients realise your site has been hacked or think this is the kind of content you want to share, they won’t be staying around for long, and you certainly won’t have made a good impression.

  1. Visitors are told your site is unsafe

When someone lands on your website they receive a warning message advising them that the site they are about to enter is unsafe and could damage their computer – your website is on a blacklist.

The result?  Clients will quickly close the tab and steer well clear of your website in future.

  1. Clients and many others receive spam emails

Thousands of people may start to receive spam emails from your website when it’s been hacked – even if you’re not aware of it.  If your company hosts websites for others, the problem may even extend to their domains.

The result? Unhappy people who don’t appreciate receiving spam emails from you.  Most will delete your emails – if they get through their spam filters; others may report you as a spammer and after multiple abuse reports, your entire domain is likely to be blocked.  Either way, you shouldn’t expect any of these people to want to become your customer in the future.

  1. Your website is ooooh sooooo slow

As a company owner you probably don’t navigate around your website very often.  But if it has been hacked it may be working very slowly and your customers will be the ones to suffer.

The result? Customers will simply get frustrated by your sluggish website and won’t bother to stay around to learn what your company could offer them.

 

In the above scenarios you may be in blissful ignorance that your website has been hacked and consequently may lose many existing and potential clients in a matter of days.  If you’re lucky, one of your clients will alert you to the problem but really – what does that do for your credibility in their eyes?

It’s far better to maintain your website regularly, with malware monitoring and regular back-ups.  Then in the event your website is hacked the malware can be removed as quickly as possible.

The online world is far too competitive for you to lose clients to your competitors when, with simple website maintenance, the problems could have been avoided in the first place.

CodeGuard WordPress Survey – Surprising Results?

In February 2015, CodeGuard, which offers automated cloud backups, undertook a survey of 503 WordPress users – and the results may surprise you.

Website Backups – or Lack of Them

In the first instance, 22% of respondents believe that website back-up is unimportant!  And this is supported by the fact that 47% back up only every few months, and 22% users stated they did it occasionally – whatever that might mean.

Can this be right?  We can only conclude that these lucky folk have never had to run a code comparison between a live site and backup to find a hacked file, or suffered database corruption and lost everything.

Training – or Lack of It

Perhaps these sanguine individuals should be forgiven – may be this serious oversight is due to a lack of experience and training in WordPress – only 23% of users had received extensive training.  But even without training, surely firsthand experience would make these optimistic souls be a little more savvy about looking after their website – 63% confessed to having deleted files which weren’t backed up.

Plugin Update Failures

This fascinating survey also asked about problems experienced with plugin updates – 69% confirmed they had a plugin fail after an update, and an unfortunate 24% had multiple plugin failures.  Worse still, 21% of respondents have been face to face with the truly frightening WordPress “white screen of death”.

The Cost of Putting Things Right

You may find these results surprising, or you may find yourself nodding sagely having experienced some or all of these problems yourself in the past.  But with such a high proportion of WordPress users experiencing technical issues, why aren’t people taking a more proactive approach to safeguarding their website?

The users surveyed clearly value their website and appreciate it lies at the heart of their business (and often the most important revenue-maker) – if things go wrong, a whopping 24% said they would pay anything to get their site restored.

A Pre-Emptive Strike

Whilst you may be happy to spend anything to get your crashed website back up and running, prevention is always better than cure.  If you’re not an expert WordPress user but the fate of your company’s website lies in your hands, you have two options:

1) get yourself trained up to expert level in WordPress as quickly as possible, learn how to do plugin updates correctly, backup regularly and never make a human error that you can’t fix otherwise you may have to use an emergency WordPress support service.

or

2) sign up for a regular WordPress maintenance plan where experts will maintain your website, back it up, monitor it for malware, carry out core system, plugin and theme updates without fuss, and be on hand to help you with any problems you encounter.

The choice is of course yours. 🙂

If you’d like to find out more about our regular WordPress maintenance plans just click here.

Codeguard infographic WordPress Survey