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  • 5 Anti Spam WordPress Plugins to Clean Up Your Comments Section

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017 by

    best wordpress antispam plugins

    Best WordPress Plugins for Anti Spam

    You’ve finally done it, your site is gaining traction, and you’re getting more traffic than ever before. However, once your site starts to pick up your traffic, you might also notice the rise of something else, too: spam comments. If you run a WordPress blog or website and have comments enabled, then you’re probably well aware of the spam comments that fill your inbox. These can be a nuisance to sort through and delete yourself, but you don’t want to stop moderating comments and have spam comments fill up your site. Luckily, if you’re using WordPress, then there’s a way around this. There are dozens of anti-spam plugins you can use to help ward off those pesky spam comments. Below we profile 5 of the top anti-spam plugins you can use on your WordPress site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Akismet

    Akismet Akismet is one of the most popular and longest running WordPress anti spam plugins. Automattic, the team behind WordPress, developed this plugin. If you’ve done a default installation of WordPress, then this plugin comes atomically installed. However, to use this plugin you’ll need an API key, which is free and easy to setup. However, if you run a large commercial website, and need to moderate over 50,0000 comments per month, you'll want to upgrade to a paid plan. Whenever a new comment is submitted to your site, Akismet runs through their cloud-based algorithm, and filters out any spam comments.  

    2. Antispam Bee

    Antispam Bee Antispam Bee is a simple and free spam protection plugin. It doesn’t require you to register or setup an account, just install the plugin and you’ll be set. To filter out spam this plugin compares spam requests to an existing spam database, uses IP address checks, and Gravatar validating. Plus, this plugin will show the statistical data of spam requests blocked and filtered. There’s also a feature that will delete any stored spam every couple of days, so it won’t slow down your site. If you’re looking for a simple spam solution, then this plugin is worth trying out.  

    3. WP-SpamShield

    WP-SpamShield WP-SpamShield is a very effective way to automate spam protection. It offers two levels of protection to help protect your site from spam. The first layer of protection works to block most automated spam tools, while the second layer uses an algorithm to filter out any spam requests that have made it past the first layer of protection. You’ll also be able to protect your site against spam via comments and contact form spam. The plugin even integrates with other commonly used plugins like Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, and Contact Form 7. If you’ve been struggling with a ton of bot-created spam, this this is a great tool to use.  

    4. AntiSpam by Cleantalk

    AntiSpam by Cleantalk AntiSpam by Cleantalk operates in a similar manner to Akismet, using a cloud-based system to evaluate spam comments. However, you can also create blacklists that will block requests from certain locations, IP addresses, emails and more. With this plugin, you’ll be able to monitor spam comments and registrations across your comments, contact forms, registration pages, checkout pages, and much more. Basically, you’ll be protected across any area a spam comment might occur. This plugin is currently offering a free trial, along with an $8 per year commitment.  

    5. WordPress Zero Spam

    WordPress Zero Spam WordPress Zero Spam is an anti spam plugin that’s very easy to setup. There’s no need for any APIs or a complex setup process. It’s not quite as feature heavy as the other anti spam plugins on this list, but it’s free, quick to setup, and will get the job done. This plugin helps block spam comments and spam account registration. Plus, it also integrates with Contact Form 7, BuddyPress, Gravity Forms, and Ninja Forms, so your site will be spam free regardless of which contact form plugin you’re using. If you’re having issues with spam comments on your existing WordPress site, or you want to protect yourself before it becomes an issue, then consider using one of the plugins above.   Any plugins you’ve been using that we didn’t include in the list above? Share your favorites in the comments below.
  • Dedicated Server Hosting: 7 Frequently Asked Questions

    Monday, November 13, 2017 by

    dedicated server faqTop Dedicated Server Hosting FAQ Answered

    Dedicated hosting can be a very rewarding investment for your company. However, dedicated hosting can be a little confusing for the uninitiated. As a result, you’ll probably have a lot of questions about what dedicated hosting actually entails. Below we answer the most common dedicated server hosting questions we’ve come across. HostGator Dedicated Server Hosting

    1. What is dedicated hosting?

    Dedicated hosting is a single web hosting environment that’s dedicated to the needs of a single website. This is typically for websites that are large, receive a high volume of traffic, or require a unique hosting setup. In dedicated hosting clients get complete control over their server environment. This allows for complete server customization and is ideal for larger organizations.  

    2. How does dedicated hosting work?

    With dedicated server hosting, you’re renting an entire physical server. This provides you with unparalleled customization and control over your server environment. Plus, you’ll have access to higher levels of server resources. With a dedicated server, you’ll be able to customize your CPU type, operating system, and the total amount of RAM and storage available. Dedicated hosting

    3. Who is dedicated hosting for?

    First, dedicated server environments are geared towards more technical users. Managing your own server, and keeping it efficient and secure does take a lot of work. As a result, dedicated server hosting is typically used by very high traffic websites, complex applications, or anything else that requires a high-level of security. Dedicated hosting is also much more expensive than other hosting options, so it’s typically reserved for companies or individuals who have profitable online ventures.  

    4. How does dedicated server hosting differ from shared hosting?

    With dedicated hosting, you have access to the entire server. With shared hosting, you’re simply renting a portion of that same server. You can think of it in terms of an apartment building. If you choose a shared hosting environment you’re renting a single apartment. While with a dedicated server you’d be renting the entire building, and keeping every room open for your own needs. You can see why dedicated hosting is typically a much more expensive option. Instead of sharing resources with hundreds of other websites on the same server you’ll have access to the entirety of the server’s resources for your own website.  

    5. What’s the difference between managed and unmanaged dedicated hosting?

    With unmanaged dedicated hosting, you’ll essentially be renting a blank server, and customizing it to your liking. You’ll be in charge of technical tasks like server maintenance, security, software updates, and everything else required to keep your server secure and running. With managed dedicated hosting, you’ll typically have a team of experts that will help to setup and manage your dedicated server. You’ll usually have to do some technical tasks yourself, but that list will be much smaller than if you were running an unmanaged dedicated server.  

    6. What benefits does dedicated hosting have?

    Dedicated hosting can be very advantageous for certain websites and applications. First of all dedicated servers are one of the most secure hosting options. The simple fact that you won’t be sharing a server with other sites that might be vulnerable to hacking is a big plus. Dedicated servers also tend to have higher uptime, as there are less hardware and software failures that may result in your site being taken down. Dedicated servers are also optimized for performance and uniquely structured to address your unique website needs. Your site will be able to utilize the full resources of the server without having to share them or compete for them, with other websites. Finally, dedicated servers also provide you with scalability to meet the changing needs of your website. This style of hosting environment has larger resource allocation abilities, plus additional servers can be brought on if you exceed those resources.  

    7. What are the drawbacks of dedicated hosting?

    Dedicated hosting isn’t the best fit for every kind of website owner. For starters, they’re much more technical to manage. Sometimes even requiring an entire team. If you’re less technical, but still require a dedicated server, there are managed dedicated server hosting packages that will reduce the number of technical tasks you must perform. Another disadvantage is the cost. Dedicated server hosting environments will be the most expensive option available to you. So, if you’re just starting out, or have a low budget for hosting, then there are better options out there.   Hopefully, the answers above have helped you better understand what dedicated hosting is and why you might need it. Learn more about HostGator's dedicated server hosting here!
  • Why Backing Up Your Website Is So Important

    Monday, November 6, 2017 by
    Why Backing Up Website is Important

    You've heard a lot of talk about the importance of backing up your hard drive just in case something should happen to your computer. There are few things more painful than knowing that all of your precious files have been lost forever.

    The same holds true for websites. It seems like every day there is a new headline about the latest high profile website crash.

    Unfortunately, website threats are very real. Backing up your website helps you to safeguard against those threats.

     

    6 Reasons Why You Should Back Up Your Website

    1. Website Hackers

    Unfortunately, hackers have become commonplace on the web. While the aim of a hacker may be to steal credit card numbers and other sensitive information, often people hack websites merely to prove themselves or cause trouble. If your website is online, there is always the chance that it may become compromised.

     

    2. Computer Catastrophes

    Storing a copy of your files on your computer is a good idea, but should your machine crash, get lost, or fall off a cliff, then your files will be gone with it. Backing up your files remotely is a more practical option in the event that something happens to your machine.

     

    3. Updates Gone Wrong

    Regular updates refer to updated features and increased security, but they don't always go as planned. This is why WordPress always tells you to perform a backup before updating. Websites have multiple components, including plugins, themes, software, and back-end programming. An awry update to any of these can take an entire website offline for any amount of time.

     

    4. Malware and Viruses

    Viruses, trojan horses, and other malware can find their way into your website even via third parties that are normally safe. You can download them unknowingly with a theme or plugin, or they can slip in through a chink in your firewall's armor. Having backup files means that you'll be prepared just in case your site starts acting mysteriously weird.

     

    5. Employee Errors

    The truth is that people make mistakes. It's perfectly possible that an employee or contractor might click a wrong button or delete a necessary file by accident. When you backup your files, there's less chance that human error will mess up your operations.

     

    6. Minimize the Damage

    Say you log onto your website one day, only to be greeted with an unfamiliar error page. You try again and again, but it still doesn't come up. You get a sinking feeling in your stomach as you realize that something has gone wrong. You could either a) Go into an all out panic as you try to figure out what went wrong, and whether or not you've lost all of your precious content, or b) Become a bit annoyed that you may have to spend some time reloading your website, but you won't have reason to go into an anxious tailspin.

     

    How To Backup Your Website

    If by now you're convinced that backing up your website is the right thing to do, there are a few ways you can go about it.

    1. Find out if your web host provides website backups as a service.

    2. Contact the person who designed your website and ask them to do it for you. They should have enough knowledge of how content management systems work that they would be able to manually backup your files.

    3. Use an additional “just in case” backup service. Many of these services exist, so do your research. Some are more cost effective than others, while others have software that's more or less user friendly.

    4. Install a backup plugin on your site. Some plugins allow you to schedule backups, as well as send your files to cloud services like Dropbox.

    5. If you have a smaller website, you might just choose to compress your files in a ZIP folder and email them to yourself. Again, this works best for small websites. So if the size of your files is bigger than your email provider allows you to send, or if you expect that the size of your site will expand, then look into one of the other backup options.

    6. It's a good idea to also save a copy of your files on your computer, though you should also do this in addition to one of the other techniques. Having two copies of your files isn't a bad idea. As the old adage goes, better safe than sorry.

     

    Backing up your site doesn't take a lot of time or money, and it it's a worthwhile investment considering all of the threats that exist online. Backup your website today, and avoid becoming one of those anxiety-ridden business owners who must reluctantly restart their website from scratch.

  • Choosing the Best WordPress Theme for Your New Blog

    Monday, November 6, 2017 by

    How to Choose a WordPress ThemeHow to Choose a WordPress Theme for Your New Blog

    Choosing the right WordPress theme for your site is a very important step in the site building process. Choose the wrong theme and you’ll end up with a design you’re unsatisfied with and a site that doesn’t help you reach your goals. But, where do you start? After all, there are thousands of different themes for you to choose from, and you don’t have the time to sort through every single one. Trying to find the right theme can seem like quite the overwhelming task. Below we highlight a few important considerations you’ll want to take into account when selecting a WordPress theme for your new blog. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    What Are Your Needs?

    Before you even begin the theme selection process it’s important that you take note of what you’re actually looking for in a WordPress theme. This will help you to narrow the selection process, so you can more easily find what you’re looking for. The questions below might help you get started:
    • What’s the purpose of your blog? Is it primarily an online journal, or do you want to build a business?
    • Will video be the main focus of your blog?
    • Do you need a static homepage or do you prefer a traditional blogroll?
    • Do you want your blog to have a minimal, creative, or corporate feel?
    • What level of customization do you require?
    Beyond answering the questions above spend some time browsing other sites in your space, so you can get a feel for what you like, and what elements are must-haves for your own site.  

    Free or Premium?

    Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for it’s time to decide whether you’re going to go for a free or premium theme. Free themes make a solid choice if you’re not trying to monetize your blog in any way, or you don’t demand any extensive customization features. There are a lot of high-quality free themes, but don’t expect the same level of support and customization options from free themes. Premium themes are generally higher quality, come with support teams, and have an abundance of customization options. Typically, you’ll be able to find the perfect premium theme to fit your chosen niche.  

    What Else Should You Look for in a WordPress Theme?

    When browsing for WordPress themes there are a few additional things you’ll want to keep in mind. Not every theme will have every single feature you desire, but that’s where WordPress plugins come in. Still, you’ll want to choose a theme that has the following features.   1. Responsive Design Sadly, there are still themes out there on the market that aren’t responsive. With Google’s big mobile smackdown, your site needs to be mobile-friendly if you want to compete. Make sure you check your theme’s responsiveness before you decide to install it on your site. Typically, you’ll be able to preview the theme on mobile, desktop, and landscape view before you decide to buy or download.   2. Extensive Customization Options When you choose a WordPress theme the chances are high that there are dozens, or hundreds, of other websites out there using the same theme. For that reason, you’ll want to be able to easily customize your site to give it a unique look and feel. We're guessing you don’t want to have to hire a developer, and you prefer to customize your site yourself. If so, then you’ll need to ensure there’s extensive documentation, or tutorials, which will walk you through setting up and customizing your site.   3. Solid Reviews and Customer Feedback Customer reviews don’t lie. Make sure to spend time reading customer reviews and feedback. If you find that the overall customer base is frustrated and can’t get the theme to work, then you should steer clear. There are plenty of themes on the market that have stellar customer reviews.  

    Where Can You Find WordPress Themes?

    There are numerous places online where you can download free and premium themes. The best source for free WordPress themes is going to be the WordPress theme depository. You can even filter themes listed here by the features you’re looking for. The WordPress theme repository also has a selection of paid WordPress themes that are very high quality as well. Here are three of the most popular sources for premium WordPress themes:   1. ThemeForest ThemeForest is one of the largest WordPress theme marketplaces on the internet. You have the ability to use search filters to find the exact theme you’re looking for. Plus, most of the themes here have dozens of reviews from past customers, so you can determine the actual quality of the theme before you buy.   2. StudioPress StudioPress has an outstanding reputation for offering some of the highest quality themes on the market. You’ll be able to filter your search by theme features, or the niche you’re building your site in. All of their themes are easy to customize and come with extensive documentation to help you set up your theme and customize it accordingly.   3. Elegant Themes Elegant Themes currently has a customer base of over 430,000. That number alone should tell you that their themes are high-quality. They offer a number of themes that are geared towards specific niches. All of their themes are rather “elegant.” The team has also developed a number of high-quality WordPress plugins that you might want to use as well.   Hopefully, the tips above will help you choose the best WordPress theme for your new WordPress blog. Have any questions related to choosing the right WordPress theme? Ask away in the comments below.
  • 6 Common Questions About Shared Hosting

    Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by
    shared hosting faq

    Top Shared Hosting FAQ

    Shared hosting is one of the most commonly used forms of hosting. It’s most frequently used by beginners who are looking to get their first sites online in the easiest manner possible. In fact, most website owners end up using shared hosting for at least a little while throughout their site’s career. If you’re just getting started online, then you’ve no doubt come across shared hosting, and you probably have a lot of questions. Below we answer some of the most common questions about shared hosting.  

    1. What is shared hosting?

    With shared hosting, there will be multiple sites using the resources of a single server. Usually, you’ll be partitioned a certain amount of server resources your site can utilize. Typically, shared hosting plans are some of the most affordable plans out there. When you have a shared web hosting plan, you’ll have access to a certain portion of server resources, defined by the hosting company you end up choosing. You’ll typically have access to the server environment through an integrated control panel. Shared hosting is also very beginner friendly, as server maintenance and any other necessary tasks are managed by the hosting company. The only thing you’re responsible for is your own website. Shared Hosting

    2. How does shared hosting work?

    With shared hosting, multiple sites share the same hardware and software resources of a single physical server. Typically, a shared server has pre-installed scripts and software that every site on the server must utilize. Think of it this way. Say there’s an apartment building that has dozens of apartments. Each apartment is a different website. But, the building’s resources like utilities and other apartment benefits are shared by each individual.  

    3. How does shared hosting differ from dedicated and VPS hosting?

    In a shared hosting environment, you’re sharing a server with dozens, hundreds, or even more websites. Compare this to dedicated hosting where you have an entire server all to yourself. VPS hosting does share some similarities to shared hosting. For example, VPS hosting utilizes a single server, but that single server is then partitioned out into multiple virtual server environments. These server environments act in a similar manner to a dedicated hosting environment.  

    4. What are the benefits to using a shared hosting environment?

    Shared hosting is the perfect fit for beginners who are just getting started online. Since shared hosting is typically geared towards beginners the setup process is usually very intuitive and the host handles the more complex tasks. By choosing a shared host you’ll also enjoy other benefits including:
    • Cost savings as shared hosting is the cheapest form of hosting available
    • Shared hosting can usually be easily upgraded to higher packages
    • No technical skills required
    • Built-in cPanel integration, so site management is a breeze
     

    5. What are the negatives to using shared hosting?

    Shared hosting isn’t the perfect hosting environment for every kind of website owner. Sure, it’s cheap, has high uptime, and is very easy to manage, but it still has some drawbacks, such as:
    • The loading speed can be much slower than dedicated server environments
    • There’s a chance your site’s performance can be affected by other sites sharing the same server
    • If your site’s traffic levels increase you may see a lag in performance
    • You won’t be able to customize your server environment for improved performance
     

    6. What kind of user would benefit most from shared hosting?

    Shared hosting is geared towards beginners. If this is your first time building a website and you’d like to host your own site but outsource a lot of the complex technical tasks, then shared hosting is a great choice. If you have a high-traffic website or a very large website, then you’ll want to look into other hosting options, like dedicated servers, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or even WordPress-specific hosting.   Hopefully, the answers above have helped you better understand what shared hosting actually is, and clear up any questions related to shared hosting. Still have questions about shared hosting? Learn more about HostGator's shared hosting plans here.