How to Update a WordPress Website

It is really important to keep your website as up to date with the latest versions. Why?

Well, there are 2 main reason – the update will usually be aimed at improving functionality, which can be really important to keeping your readers using your site. The other main reason comes down to security, there are always attempts at hacking websites. By ensuring you install the latest update you can reduce the risk.

But how do you update a WordPress website? Well, I have put the following short video together to show you the steps to completing them.

The steps are relatively simple –

  1. Sign into your WordPress Dashboard
  2. The easiest way to know you have a WordPress update available is with the banner at the top which shows that you have an update to WordPress on it.
  3. Select ‘Please Update Now’
  4. This will show you all of the updates that you have available – an update to WordPress itself, will usually result in updates to WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins.
  5. Select Update Now on WordPress.

The key thing to understand is, it is vital you back up your website prior to completing any update, just think how much time and effort you have put into your website then you do a update and it goes wrong… Make sure you get into the habit of completing a back up first.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, hope you found the video useful – it’s my first video, so let me know what you think in the comments.

AS ever, if you have any questions on WordPress then please put them into the comments.

Thanks

John

BlueHost WordPress Review

Overall Ranking:Bluehost WordPress Review

Price: For WordPress Standard starts at $19.99/month, normally $39.99/month

Owners: Endurance International Group Hldgs Inc.

Website: www.bluehost.com

Who are bluehost?

Bluehost was founded in 1996.  It has grown to a point where it hosts over 2 million websites and has been a recommended provider by WordPress.org since 2006. They are owner by Endurance International Group Holding Inc.

They offer a number of different hosting options; this review is based on their WordPress offering. They offer a number of options for those just starting out and those who are looking to grow their business. On initial research, there are a number of misleading reviews, this could possibly be down to their affiliate program offering anyone who promotes them to a reward of $68.  You recommend them to a new user and you receive this reward, this can sometimes lead to people promoting them even if they do not believe they are the best option.   To ensure my review is my own thoughts and impartial, I have not become an affiliate of this product.  I will only  recommend products I believe in and would use myself.

I have checked out a number of opinions, reviews and their website to give you my opinion, read on to see what I found.

Who is bluehost for?

Bluehost is recommended by WordPress.org and I can see that they have a number of benefits to using them, they have options including shared hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, reseller hosting. So, they have any option that you may need, depending on your needs.  It can look confusing on their website though.  I looked at the website and saw $3.95/month for a shared hosting account. Which looked great, but was actually a very limited version.  I use WordPress, so if I wanted a WordPress Standard account with Bluehost, it would cost me $19.99/month to start.  But this is an offer which is normally $39.99.  so how long do I pay $19.99/month before the new price kicked.  This wasn’t very clear and still is unanswered.  What you get for that price was great, but still depending on your needs, the price could sky rocket a bit.

See below each type:

Shared Hosting: Designed for a new website starting out with low traffic, you use shared resources on the server.

Cloud Hosting: an upgrade to the shared hosting, it utilises multiple cloud servers.  It will automatically switch between servers based on any problems or traffic issues.

WordPress Hosting: optimized for WordPress websites, with support to protect the site against common threats.

WooCommerce Hosting: allow you to start an online store in WordPress.  WooCommerce is a popular plugin for WordPress.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting: allows you to use virtual dedicated resources in a shared environment.

Dedicated Server Hosting: a dedicated server for just your website. this allows you all the resources this can give you, but at the cost of you having to manage it yourself.

Pros

  • Number One recommended web hosting by WordPress.org.
  • 1-click install WordPress installation
  • 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Cons

  • The WordPress Managed accounts are very expensive compared to many of their competitors, check out SiteRubix (2 free sites with a free starter account)
  • Bluehost tend to try and get you to upsell quite regularly, which can get annoying
  • Investigations show their server uptime clocking in at only 99.0%, quite low for such a big provider.
  • Mixed views on their customer service, some stating they have had to wait a long time to get their ticket viewed and sorted
  • Wouldn’t say it would be great to someone who is totally new to WordPress, their training is based on someone who knows SEO, etc.

Training/Tools Available

They have a number of tools to help you, which they call their cPanel.  Which when one searches in their self-help to see what tools it actually offers, it comes up with a database error, this would be a concern for me, as it might affect your websites uptime as well.  But on the whole, users find the tools a great help towards their website.

Even though they promote themselves as a great starting point for someone new to a website, I still have yet to find anything that offers anything in the sense of extensive training for someone new it.  Having a website is only part of the journey, you need to understand SEO, the importance of relevant content, using google webmaster tools, even PPC (pay-per-click).

What is Their Support Like?

They have an option called Self-Help, which is basically a FAQ. Although I found that hard to navigate and it didn’t really answer my questions I had, especially around the WordPress option.  It was simple enough to answer how to install a WordPress site, which is made simple with a 1-click install option, but most providers offer this.

They also have a ticket system, where you can ask support for answers which is 24/7.  There seems to be a mixed view online about this.  Some say it’s great and they got a response straightaway, others are stating a massive delay.  BlueHost have over 2 million websites on their hosting, so there is bound to be a delay at certain times.

How Much Does It Cost?

Their shared hosting is very cheap, starting at $3.95/month but this is very limited with capacity, abilities, etc.  On the other hand, their WordPress managed accounts have all the features but is one of the most expensive providers out there.  Their standard package starts at $19.99 and this is an introductory offer.  The price is normally $39.99.

My frustration from the price comes from the fact that even the ultimate package still only offers 1 domain.

Bluehost WordPress Packages

Final Opinion & Verdict

All I have found about Bluehost is mainly positive, they have a number of hosting packages depending on what a user wants from it.  It does feel like they have spread their resources too thin when you hear the customer support team gets mixed views from a number of reviewers/users.

As far as WordPress Managed accounts, they offer free ssl, on all packages and with 1-click install it is easy to get started, but on the other hand their managed accounts are quite expensive compared to other competitors.

They do come recommended from WordPress.org and offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Overall, I think if you are a complete newbie, wanting to start out in blogging, you would be better with Wealthy Affiliate, check out my review.  As a new starter, you need proper training and tools that will help you establish your business that Bluehost may not offer.

They could possibly be better alternatives for those that have a fully-fledged business already looking for a hosting provider, due to the support concerns, I would probably say these might not be for you.  Bluehost would be great for someone who knows what they are doing, is happy paying the price to get free ssl. My only pushback would be that even paying for the higher subscriptions, you are limited to one full domain website, SiteRubix offers 25 websites with free ssl for their premium members.  Their hosting also scores top marks.

Final Verdict

Bluehost is a great provider, but not our number one recommendation, seems too expensive compared to better alternatives, with too many upsells

Thanks for taking the time to read this review, if you have any thoughts on Bluehost – good or bad, then please let me know what you think.

John

How to Automatically Update WordPress Plugins

How to Automatically Update WordPress Plugins

Hey everyone, today’s post is all about automatically update WordPress plugins. Depending on the plugins you use, there is normally an update or two that drops quite regularly.  This is an important step to improve the security and remove any bugs that may have been in the previous version, but it can be annoying to have to update plugins every time you log in.

It does depend on your personal view, I prefer to control the updates and install them myself, and know what they are updating them for, but then I am a bit of a control freak.  It is totally up to you how you run your WordPress site.

When & Why Would You Should Automatically Update WordPress Plugins

If there is a major security update or big change from WordPress themselves, your WordPress version may automatically update. But most major updates will need to be manually updated, and this will be visible when you log-in to your WordPress editor.

How to Set up Automatic Updates for All WordPress Plugins

If you wish to set all of your WordPress Plugins to automatically update, then there is a command you can add to your theme.php file or a site-specific plugin. See below.

All plugins –

add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );

You can also add a command that will keep your WordPress theme up-to-date too.

Update your theme.

add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );

I would add caution with this one, that if an update does go wrong, it has already installed, so you will still need to log in regularly to check that the update hasn’t gone wrong.

How to Set Up Automatic Updates for Some WordPress Plugins

Setting up updates with major WordPress plugins with high trust ratings can be beneficial, but if you use plugins made by smaller developers, it may not be a good thing.

So, this way may be the way to go, with a plugin called Automatic Plugins Updates you can choose which plugins you will allow to be automatically updated and those that you would rather manage yourself. Check out this post to learn how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note – if you are using this plugin, you will not need to add that command to your theme.php file.

Once installed, you can go into the settings and select which plugins you would prefer not to automatically update.

How to Automatically Update WordPress Plugins

There May Be a Need to Undo an Automatic Update

Even manually updating a WordPress plugin may result in problems arising, that is why I suggest 2 things.

  1. Manually back up your WordPress Site once a week, check out how here
  2. Install a Plugin called WordPress Rollback Plugin.

If you ever have a problem with your site, you can restore it from a back-up. But with this plugin you can just rollback a version of a plugin. Some would suggest uninstalling the plugin and reinstalling it, but that would just install the latest version and that may have been the problem version.

With Rollback, when you go to your plugin lists, there will be a new option there, which allows you to roll back the version of the plugin to the previous version.

WP Rollback Plugin

Hope you found that useful, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

John

How to Update a WordPress Plugin

How to Update a WordPress Plugin

Hey Everyone, this post will be describing how to keep your WordPress Plugins update.  Having any kind of website will require you to keep elements of it up-to-date for a number of reason, including keeping it secure for you and your readers.  For starters, I will be describing what a WordPress Plugin is and then I will describe how to update a WordPress plugin

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress Plugin is software that allows you to add features onto your website to improve the functionality of it for yourself and your visitor.

There are literally thousands of them to do all sorts of things, from monitoring social media engagement, capturing email address for those who want to sign up for newsletters to being able to add photo galleries to your website.

There are free versions and some paid versions. If you want a bit more information on WordPress Plugins including how to install a WordPress Plugin, then check out this post.

Want to Learn Everything there is about WordPress, Learn More with Wealthy Afiliate…

Why is keeping your Plugins Up-to-date So Important?

OK, anyone who is already using WordPress, will realise that there are normally updates available most times you log in to your website. So why is that?

If it is a brand-new plugin, then there will be a number of updates as and when problems arise that need addressing.

But the majority of updates will be to help keep you safe online. New updates will typically be to improve the security features of it to protect the information there of the owner of the website and the user visiting the website.

They also do updates to increase the performance of certain elements and remove any bugs that may have been in a previous version.

There can be a slight risk when updating a WordPress plugin, so it might be prudent to back up your website, but this would be a good habit to get into on a weekly basis anyway. But I haven’t experienced any issues updating any plugin I have had.

How to Update WordPress Plugins

I will be describing how to update WordPress plugins both individually and by bulk.  If you have updates available for a number of plugins and they are plugins you have used for a while and haven’t experienced any issues in the past with updating them, you could typically select them to update.  But if it is a new plugin for you, or one that you have experienced trouble with, it may be best to do this individually. Alternatively, have a look at this video below:

Step 1 – Login to your WordPress Editor

When you log into your WordPress Editor, you will see on the left-hand side menu you will see any updates highlighted as in the picture below.

How to Update a WordPress Plugin

Clicking either of the links will take you to the plugin menu where you can see which Plugin is due an update, what version it is and whether it is compatible with your WordPress Version and theme.

In this example, I am updating WP Product Review Lite.

Plugin Update list

Step 2 – Selecting & Updating the WordPress Plugin

You can select each update individually or you can choose to select them all to update. Then you can select update.

Select and Update a WordPress Plugin

This will take a few seconds and when the update is completed you will see the following screen showing it is complete

Confirmation of Update Complete

That’s it, You’ve Now Updated Your WordPress Plugin

That’s it, a nice simple 2 step process on how to update a WordPress plugin. Some would advise you to wait a week after the update has dropped down just in case there are any issues with them, but I haven’t experienced any issues from updates yet. But I would advise you to check out what the update is for and read the comments prior to it, if you are unsure on a newish plugin.

There is a way of setting WordPress plugins to automatically update, but I personally prefer not to do this, just in case it automatically updates and messes up your website and you haven’t been able to log on and are not aware there is an issue.  But for those who would like to set them up to automatically update, I detail it in this post.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please leave them in the comments below.

John

Learn How to Create a WordPress Blog

Creating a WordPress Blog is a great way of expressing yourself online with a view to sharing experiences, some knowledge and possibly with a view to turning it into a revenue stream.  Earning money from your passion is always an incentive.

With over 2 billion people online searching for ways to do something (how to guides) or a way of connecting with people. It is totally able to do this and earn some money from it too.

This guide is all about starting a WordPress website and getting your first post published onto it, thus getting your blog started.

The first thing you need to think about and get right is choosing a hosting platform that is easy to use, has all the relevant tools to get your website online and get it ranked in the search engines to ensure people can find your blog. It also would be great if it was free to get started and wasn’t a limited time offer?

The hosting platform that we recommend is SiteRubix… they provide you with 2 free WordPress websites with a starter account.  In this guide, we will describe how you can get started for free with SiteRubix, why we recommend them and also how you can get your website up and running in minutes and also how you can get a blog posted onto the website.

SiteRubix has all the tools you need to get your blog up and running

Our preferred platform, SiteRubix, gives you 2 free WordPress websites. It is powered by Wealthy Affiliate and the benefits they offer their members is endless.  If you are starting out with an online blog, there is nothing worse than having to pay for something to see if it’s any good and whether it is right for you, SiteRubix is free with no time limit.  See if its right for you.  They provide the full version of WordPress for you to get your website looking the way you want.

That is why SiteRubix is Free to Starter Members.

What are the benefits of Wealthy Affiliate? The hosting is second to none, with a number of great features for their members for the website, but the best features of Wealthy Affiliate are the community you join and the sheer number of training materials they provide to getting your website successful and how you could make money from them with affiliate marketing.

There are a number of features restricted to their premium membership, but there is no pressure to upgrade and your website will still be great with a starter membership.

Check out this post on SiteRubix Hosting and my Wealthy Affiliate review.

Once signed up you could have a free website up and running in minutes.

It takes 4 steps to Launch your Website

Once signed up with SiteRubix and you are in your account from the left-hand menu you will notice a blue button labelled SiteRubix. Select it and choose Site Builder.

Wealthy Affiliate Site Manager1. Domain Type– As a starter member, you only have the choice of selecting a free domain. This is a subdomain which will have siterubix.com – so an example would be dslr-cameras.siterubix.com.  this doesn’t put it at a disadvantage with regards to ranking.  But if you would prefer a full domain the premium membership can accommodate this.  The premium account gives you 25 full domains and they will all benefit from having free ssl certificates on them. (Understand the benefits of this here).

Pick a Domain Type and Name2. It’s All in the Name – This is a chance to give your website a bit of personality with its own domain name, it needs to be easy for people to search for and is fully relevant to the topic or content. It ultimately depends on what you wish to achieve with the blog. My only advice is if you are planning on it being a niche website, try and make it relevant.  When you type in the name it will tell you whether it is available and can be changed at any time.

3. Give it a Great Look – Choose a theme that will suit your blog. As a starter member, you have a select number to choose from, select the one you want. But again, you could gain access to the full library of themes with the premium membership.

Choose a Theme to Match your Blog

4. Build Your Site – The final step is to click on the blue button that builds your website.

Build Your WordPress Website

That’s it, your website will be created and you will shortly be able to sign in and personalise your website, create your first post and start your blog.

So, the next stage is to sign into your WordPress website and learn how to post on your website.

From your SiteRubix menu, you will have Site Manager as an option. Your list of websites will be here and the ability to log into your site from here too.

Site Health of your website

You will also notice some of the benefits you will get from Wealthy Affiliate with a site health detail, daily back-ups, etc.

It also tells you whether you have been indexed in Google, which is important if you want your blog to be found, learn about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) here.  See the screen shot of mine above.  This could take a few days to show as your website is new.

Your next step is to click log on. It will give you the ability to log on to your WordPress dashboard from here.

From your side menu in your WordPress Dashboard, you can select ‘Post’ and ‘Add New’. Then you are ready to start writing and sharing your story with the world.

Your WordPress Dashboard

From here you can select a Title, and write the blog you want in the space provided.

You have the ability to save it as a draft to actually publishing it live on your website.

There is quite a bit to learn about WordPress, including plugins, getting it ranked in the search engines (SEO), adding pictures, etc, Which I will be adding posts regularly about and I can offer you any help and support you require, just leave any questions in the comments below.

If you do sign up with SiteRubix you will also benefit from all the training materials, support of the community and everything there is to know about WordPress, SEO, getting your site ranked on search engines, monetising your blog, all about plugins on WordPress.

Don’t be afraid to explore the community to learn more or ask me any questions and I will be here to help you in any way I can.

John

 

 

 

Ways to Work from Home

How to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step Guide

Anyone who is getting started with WordPress needs to understand how plugins can benefit them and how to install them correctly to start reaping the benefits from them.

In this guide, we will be exploring what a WordPress plugin is and how it can benefit you whilst showing you a step-by-step guide to installing a WordPress plugin.

There are also times where it is necessary to understand how to uninstall a WordPress Plugin so I will also describe how to deactivate plugins and uninstall them.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A plug-in is software that adds features and/or functionality to your website, whether it be to add a photo gallery to your website, or a social media plug-in that allows your visitors to share your content on Facebook or Twitter.

There are also the plugins that make it easier to get your content ranked with search engines using SEO (search engine optimisation).

There are a high number of free and paid ones available to cover any aspect you want to add to your website, but there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before installing one as going for a free one does seem appealing but they tend to not come with technical support.

So, always check how long has the plug-in been in use and is it compatible with your version of WordPress, what is the rating it has been given by other users and does the support it offers respond to questions at all.

Plugins on WordPress.com sites

If you happen to have a free website on wordpress.com the you cannot install plugins unless you upgrade your plan to a paid one. If you do want more functionality in your site, it is probably best to transfer it to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I use the SiteRubix platform, learn more here.

Step-by-Step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin

If it is a free plugin you can use the search function which will be described below. I will also cover how to upload a plugin as some paid plugins require you to upload it. This is relatively simple, but slightly different.

Using the Search function

Once signed into your administration account of your WordPress website, from the side menu you select plugins and select ‘Add New’.

adding a new plugin to a WordPress site

Using the search bar at the top right, you can search for your desired plugin. I am showing AMP for WP. This is a great plugin for making your website mobile friendly due to recent changes to Google. As more searches are being completed on mobile devices, it makes sense to make sure your site is mobile friendly.

Searching for a wordpress plugin

You can see it shows at the top of the search, it has had 10,000+ installs and is compatible with my version of WordPress.

The next stage is to click install, this will take a few seconds. After that the button will change from install, as per the example of minimal AMP to activate.

The button will change from install to activate

Now that is something key to remember, just because you have installed it doesn’t mean it is active.  Several plugins require you to complete some kind of setup, which will be unique to each plugin.

Now click activate, once complete your plugin is now installed and active on your site.

You can also do this from the plugin page, the example below shows how the option below is activate.

how to activate a plugin

The plugins page will show you the plugin, the way to know it is active is there is an option for you to deactivate it.

How to know you have an activate plugin

Installing a Plugin, you have downloaded

If you have downloaded a paid plugin, this will not show on the search bar, therefore you will need to upload it.

On the plugin ‘Add New’ page, next to the words ‘Add Plugins’ is a button labelled Upload Plugin.

how to upload a plugin

Click this button and it gives you the option to select a file, same as you would attach a document to an email.

The plugin you have downloaded will be a zip file, normally, and you select this file and click install now.

uploading a plugin

After this stage, you activate the plugin from the plugin list and you have now installed your plugin and it is ready and active on your site.

Things to think about with Plugins

However much plugins are great to increase functionality of your website, too many plugins or rather poor quality plugins that slow down your website can have a negative impact as visitors might get frustrated if your site takes ages to load and choose to navigate away.

Just something to think about when installing a high number of unnecessary plugins that could be slowing you down. So, that is why it might be necessary to uninstall a plugin. I had Google Analytics Master active, but then found that if I just added some code to the header of a site then I wouldn’t need it active at all.

How to Uninstall a WordPress Plugin?

Go to your admin area of your site and select plugins from your menu, click installed plugins.

list of plugins on a site

Underneath each plugin will be several options, if the plugin isn’t active it will display activate. If the plugin is active, it will display deactivate.

The first step is to deactivate the plugin. Click the word deactivate and that way it is deactivated, you can also then check if it has had an effect on your website. if you are replacing a plugin straightaway then the impact will only be for a minimum, but still worth a check.

how to deactivate a plugin

Now the plugin is deactivated you can either leave it there in your plugin list, in the case where you may plan to reuse it or you have deactivated it to review whether it is having an impact on your site speed before turning it on again.

Or you can choice to remove it. Once deactivated the plugin will now have the option to delete the plugin. You can always choose to reinstall it using the steps above later.

delete a plugin

Hope that you have found this useful? If you have comments or questions about installing or uninstalling a WordPress plugin, then please leave them in the comments below.

John