Blog

Major Update to WordPress.com – Plugins!

WordPress Training Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

WordPress.com has always been an easy and simple way for people to create their own frantastic WordPress websites and blogs in next to no time.  That simplicity, however,  came with a tradeoff — WordPress.com did not offer built-in support for the thousands of third-party plugins and themes that helped make WordPress (through WordPress.org) the world’s largest and most open web publishing platform.

Now that’s all changing.  With a major update just announced to the WordPress Business Plan option, you will be able to access and add third-party plugins and themes built by the WordPress community.Eident Glasgow Edinburgh WordPress Training

  • New to 3rd party Themes?
  • Not sure about Plugins?

We’re already on the case and updating our popular WordPress training courses delivered at out training centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh (or on your own premises anywhere in Scotland – yes, we can come to you!) to cover these great new changes. Contact us for more details.

Find out more by reading Mark Armstrong’s blog post here.

WordPress 4.6 – a pinch of Pepper, and all that jazz

WordPress Training Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

Have you upgraded yet? Version 4.6 of WordPress, is actually named “Pepper” in honor of jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III, and is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. There are some nice new features in WordPress 4.6.1 to help you work better, faster & smarter, as well as some security enhancements.

Streamlined Updates

Don’t lose your place: stay on the same page while you update, install, and delete your plugins and themes.

Native Fonts

The WordPress dashboard now takes advantage of the fonts you already have, making it load faster and letting you feel more at home on whatever device you use.

Editor Improvements

Inline Link Checker

Ever accidentally made a link to https://wordpress.org/example.org? Now WordPress automatically checks to make sure you didn’t.

Content Recovery

As you type, WordPress saves your content to the browser. Recovering saved content is even easier with WordPress 4.6.


Under The Hood

Resource Hints

Resource hints help browsers decide which resources to fetch and pre-process. WordPress 4.6 adds them automatically for your styles and scripts making your site even faster.

Robust Requests

The HTTP API now leverages the Requests library, improving HTTP standard support and adding case-insensitive headers, parallel HTTP requests, and support for Internationalized Domain Names.

WP_Term_Query and WP_Post_Type

A new WP_Term_Query class adds flexibility to query term information while a new WP_Post_Type object makes interacting with post types more predictable.

Meta Registration API

The Meta Registration API has been expanded to support types, descriptions, and REST API visibility.

Translations On Demand

WordPress will install and use the newest language packs for your plugins and themes as soon as they’re available from WordPress.org’s community of translators.

JavaScript Library Updates

Masonry 3.3.2, imagesLoaded 3.2.0, MediaElement.js 2.22.0, TinyMCE 4.4.1, and Backbone.js 1.3.3 are bundled.

Customizer APIs for Setting Validation and Notifications

Settings now have an API for enforcing validation constraints. Likewise, customizer controls now support notifications, which are used to display validation errors instead of failing silently.

Multisite, now faster than ever

Cached and comprehensive site queries improve your network admin experience. The addition of WP_Site_Query and WP_Network_Query help craft advanced queries with less effort.

WordPress Backup & Recovery Options

Creating regular WordPress backups is as important for your WordPress sites as it is with all your regular data files.

  • If the worst happened, would you really want to start again?
  • Would you be able to replicate all the lost data on your site?
  • How long would it take you to get your site up and running again?

Backups give you a peace of mind and can save you in catastrophic situations if your site was hacked or you somehow locked yourself out. There are several free and paid backup plugins for WordPress and most of them are fairly easy to use. Here we will take you through some of the best current backup plugins for WordPress.

Many hosts offer limited backup services, but remember that it is your responsibility to backup your website and, more importantly, to know how to recover and restore from a backup.

If you are not already backing up your site, then you should consider one of these WordPress backup options:

1. VaultPress

VaultPress was founded by Matt Mullenweg (a WordPress co-founder) and his team at Automattic.

It is a subscription based service with different plans and pricing. VaultPress offers automated real-time cloud backup solution which charges a monthly subscription.

Setting up VaultPress and restoring from backups is just a series of clicks through an easy to use interface. With some of their packages, they also offer security scans.

2. BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is a popular premium backup plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily schedule daily, weekly, or monthly backups and store them in Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Stash (their cloud service), and even email it to yourself.

A big advantage of using BackupBuddy is that it is not a subscription based service. You are licensed to use the plugin on the number of sites mentioned in your plan. You get access to premium support forums, updates, and 1GB of cloud storage to store your backups.

You can even use BackupBuddy to migrate your WordPress site to a new host provider.

3. BackWPup

BackWPup is a free plugin that allows you to create complete WordPress backup for free and store it on the cloud (Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace, etc), FTP, email, or on your computer.

It is extremely easy to use and allows you to schedule automatic backups according to your site’s update frequency.

Restoring a WordPress site from backup is also very simple. There is a BackWPup Pro version comes with priority support, ability to store backups on Google Drive, and some additional features.

4. BackUpWordPress

BackupWordPress is a complete WordPress backup plugin with automatic scheduling support. It allows you to create different schedules for your database and files. The only issue with this tool is that the free version does not allow you to store your WordPress backups to a cloud storage service so you will need your own backup drive option.

If you want to store your backups on Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP, etc, then you will need to purchase a premium extension for it. The extensions are available for each service, and you can buy the one you need or the whole bundle.

5. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is another WordPress backup plugin. It allows you to create complete backup of your WordPress site and store it on the cloud or download to your computer. The plugin allows you to create scheduled backups and store them to your chosen location. There is a premium version of the plugin with additional features and addons.

On the downside, despite having great features, some people feel it has a cluttered user interface which can make it difficult for beginners to locate the options they need. Despite the clutter, however, it still has a very good rating in the WordPress plugins directory.

Summary

Each WordPress backup plugin has it’s Pros and Cons. VaultPress is extremely easy to use and it offers real-time incremental backups. This means that instead of backing up all of your files every day or every hour, it only creates a backup of what has updated and literally within minutes of the update. This is ideal for large sites.

If you run a small-medium size website and hate paying monthly fees, then the popular BackupBuddy plugin may be a good option because it has its own cloud storage which makes it easy for beginners to store their backups in cloud with a matter of few clicks.

A WordPress Glossary

WordPress Training Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

Here is a quick reference to common terms, phrases and features commonly found in WordPress sites.

 

Basic Template Files
style.css Style sheet file
index.php Home Page file
single.php Single post page file
archive.php Archive or Category file
searchform.php Search form file
search.php Search content file
404.php Error page file
comments.php Comments template file
footer.php Footer content file
header.php Header content file
sidebar.php Sidebar content file
page.php Single page file
PHP Snippets for Header
bloginfo('name');
Title of the site
wp_title();
Title of the specific post or page
get_stylesheet_directory_uri();
The style.css file’s location
bloginfo('pingback_url');
Pingback URL for this site
bloginfo('template_url');
Location for the site’s theme files
bloginfo('version');
WordPress version for the site
bloginfo('atom_url');
Atom URL for the site
bloginfo('rss2_url');
RSS2 URL for the site
get_site_url();
Exact URL for the site
bloginfo('name');
Name of the site
bloginfo('html_type');
HTML version of the site
bloginfo('charset');
Characterset parameter of the site
PHP Snippets for Templates
the_content();
Content of the posts
if(have_posts()):
Check if there are posts
while(have_posts()): the_post();
Shows posts if posts are available
endwhile;
Closes the ‘while’ PHP function
endif;
Closes the ‘if’ PHP function
get_header();
Header.php file’s content
get_sidebar();
Sidebar.php file’s content
get_footer();
Footer.php file’s content
the_time('m-d-y');
The date in ’08-18-07′ format
comments_popup_link();
Link for the comments on the post
the_title()';
Title of a specific post or page
the_permalink();
the link or URL of a specific post or page
the_category();
category of a specific post or page
the_author();
Author of a specific post or page
the_ID();
ID of a specific post or page
edit_post_link();
Link to edit a specific post or page
get_links_list();
Links from the blogroll
comments_template();
Comment PHP file’s content
wp_list_pages();
List of pages of the site
wp_list_cats();
List of categories for the site
next_post_link('%link');
URL to the next post
previoust_post_link('%link');
URL to the previous post
get_calendar()'
The built-in calendar
wp_get_archives();
retrieve a list of archives for the site
posts_nav_link();
Next and previous post links
bloginfo('description');
Site’s description
Navigation menu
Category Based Navigation
<ul id="menu">
<li <?php if(is_home()) { ?> class="current-cat" <?php } ?> >
<a href="<php bloginfo('home'); ?>">Home</a></li>
<?php wp_list_categories('title_li=&orderby=id'); ?>
</ul>
Pages based Navigation
<ul id="menu">
<li <?php if(is_home()) { ?> class="current_page_item" <?php } >>>
<a href="<php bloginfo('home'); ?>">Home</a></li>
<?php wp_list_pages('sort_column=menu_order&depth=1&title_li='); ?>
</ul>
Extra stuff
/%postname%/
Customised permalinks
include(TEMPATEPATH . '/x');
Include any file
the_search_query();
Value for search form
_e('Message');
Prints out message
wp_register();
Displays the register link
wp_loginout();
displays the login/logout link
<!--next page-->
Divides the content into pages
<!--more-->
Cuts off the content and adds a read more link
wp_meta();
Meta for administrators
timer_stop(1);
Time to load the page
echo get_num_queries();
Queries to load the page
The Loop
<php if(have_posts()): ?>
<php while(have_posts()): the_post(); ?>
// Post content here (Custom HTML & PHP code)
<php else; ?>
<php endif; ?>

Building your own WordPress website

Why use WordPress?

WordPress is more than just a blogging platform.  Download and install on your own website, using your own domain name if you want, and use WordPress as a powerful CMS.

If you don’t already have a web server or host provider we can recommend several.

remember, you will need to perform backups and maintenance yourself. We highly recommend VaultPress for security and backups.

You can install a range of themes – hundreds are free, some have worthwhile paid-for extras.  You can even build your own with PHP and CSS.

Install powerful plugins to help extend your site’s functionality, including SEO tools, calendars, and e-commerce modules.

Get started

Find detailed instructions at

https://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

which includes the famous 5 minute install guide.

here are some key links:

 

Things to Know Before You Begin Installing WordPress

 

The Famous 5-Minute Installation

 

Detailed Installation Instructions

 

Common Installation Problems

 

Automated Installation

 

WordPress in Your Language

 

Installing WordPress in Your Language

 

How to Install Multiple Blogs

 

How to Install on Your Own Computer

 

Easy 5 Minute WordPress Installation on Windows

 

How to Install with Amazon’s Web Services (AWS)

 

How to Install at Digital Ocean on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

 

Getting Started with WordPress (much more installation info)

After the Install – Getting Started with your new site

Once you have installed WordPress you will need to log in the Admin panel or the back-end of your website. Visit your site’s login page by placing “wp-admin” after your domain name (e.g. http://example.com/wp-admin). You can also place “login” after your domain. Some themes may provide a “login” link or form on the front end as well.

Now log into WordPress using your username and password.

Build Content!

Now all you have to do is create great content that people will love to read.  Create your pages, tailor your site’s menu, and of course start blogging with regular posts.

Want to know some of the technicalities?

Here are some great links from the team at WordPress:

 

1 Getting Started

1.1 Log In

1.2 Start at the Top

 

2 Test Drive Your WordPress Site

2.1 It’s All in the Details

2.2 Take a Quick Trip Around

 

3 Test Drive the WordPress Administration Screens

3.1 Quick Changing the Look

3.2 Writing and Managing Posts

 

4 Planning Session

4.1 Using the Information

4.2 What Information Do You Want to Share

4.3 Comments

 

5 Setting Up Your Site

5.1 Create Categories

5.2 Put Posts in Categories

5.3 Preventing Spam

5.4 What Is Next

 

6 Customizing Your WordPress Site

6.1 WordPress Themes

6.2 Customizing The Look

6.3 WordPress Plugins

6.4 Customizing How It Works

 

7 Above and Beyond the Basics

 

7.1 Getting More Help

Is WordPress.Com just what you need?

Why Choose the WordPress.com hosted service?

With WordPress.Com you have no access to the HTML of the <head> and <footer> sections of your page. You also have no access to the PHP files you would normally have access to on a self-hosted WordPress.org installation. What this also means is that you can’t add CSS or JavaScript links or blocks to your webpage as you normally would.

You are limited to whatever widgets WordPress.com provides you with.  When it comes to displaying multiple images there are only 2 options – as a slide show and as a gallery.  If you wish to link to external content it must come from one of these sources .  Plugins and themes are also limited in comparison with WordPress.Org

Given these constraints, you may wonder what benefits there are in choosing WordPress.com over a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Here are some of the advantages:

Availability

Content on WordPress.com is spread many hosted servers with built-in redundancy. The likelihood of all them failing at the same time is extremely unlikely. If you install your own content through a self-hosted WordPress.org solution you will need to consider back-up options or risk losing your content – if the server fails, all your blogs hosted on that server fail with it.  Many 3rd party website hosting services will offer a backup plan includded with your package, some may charge extra – best to check before you need it!

Backups

WordPress.com takes care of your backups automatically.

Security

WordPress.com manages security for you and also provide fixes for any security issues that may turn up. Given the spate of recent WordPress hacks this is a critical issue. This more than anything would give someone a reason to move to WordPress.com.

Also following good security practices like securing your admin panel through SSL is a simple one-click operation.

When using WordPress.org, you have to install plugins to get this working or update your server to use SSL and install an SSL certificate.

Pay Extra for Custom Options

You can purchase the WordPress.com value bundle and gain access to the most useful options such as Custom Designs and Fonts, No Advertisements, Custom domain names, and Video for less than a couple of hundred pounds.
value-bundle

In Summary then WordPress.com is a great choice for someone who wants an off the shelf solution that is very easy to use, but be aware that a WordPress.com site is not completely under your control and there are some significant design limitations.

Embedded Options:

(see https://en.support.wordpress.com/tag/embed/)

WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

WordPress Training Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

Do you know the difference?  It is an important one, and best to think about which option is right for you before you start.

Our experts can always discuss your requirements to help you decide.

Rather than us explaining, here is the official line on the technical differences from WordPress themselves:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

For a good commentary have a read at Elizabeth’s blog post here:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/com-or-org/

We run training sessions on both options, so whatever you pick, we can help!

https://trainingscotland.wordpress.com/wordpress-training-courses/

WordPress Training

Eident IT Training

We use this site for training, testing and demonstration purposes during our WordPress seminars and courses – please excuse the “under maintenance” feel, and apologies if your favourite content disappears when we re-set the site between sessions! (if it does, please contact us & we’ll make sure its back ASAP)

View our Training Course Outlines for Glasgow & Edinburgh here:

https://trainingscotland.wordpress.com/wordpress-training-courses/