How to Install and Setup WordPress Multisite Network

Many of our users quickly learn to confidently manage multiple WordPress sites on their own. Some even start managing WordPress sites for clients, friends, and family. Recently, one of our users asked us how they can easily install and setup WordPress multisite. They were running multiple WordPress sites on sub-domains and wanted to manage all their sites together. In this article, we will show you how to install and setup WordPress multisite network.

What is WordPress Multisite?

A WordPress multisite network allows you to run and manage multiple WordPress sites from a single WordPress installation. You can create new sites instantly and manage them using the same username and password. You can even allow other users to signup and create their own blogs on your domain.

Pros of using a Multisite Network

1. As the network admin, you can easily administer multiple sites from a single dashboard.

2. Each site can have its own admins with capabilities to manage only their own site.

3. Install plugins and themes on multiple sites with one download.

4. Multisite network also makes it easier for you to manage updates. You only need to update your WordPress, plugins, or themes on one install.

Cons of Using a Multisite Network

1. All the sites on the network share the same resources, so when your site is down, all sites on your network are down.

2. Managing server resources in case of unexpected traffic can be difficult for a beginner level user.

3. If your site gets hacked, then this means all the sites on your network will get hacked.

4. Some WordPress plugins may not work well on a multisite network.

Who Needs a WordPress Multisite Network

Just because you have multiple WordPress installation does not mean that you need to create a multi-site network. You can use services like ManageWP or InfiniteWP to manage multiple different sites.

Creating a multisite network makes sense for:

  • A magazine site with different sections managed by different teams.
  • A business site with sub-sites for different locations and branches
  • Government or non-profit sites can use multisite for different departments, locations, and regions.
  • Your own network of blogs running on multiple subdomains.
  • Schools and colleges allowing students to create their own blogs on school servers

Requirements for a WordPress Multisite Network

The most important thing you will need to run a WordPress multisite network is good WordPress hosting. If you are not planning to create many sites and do not expect many visitors, then you can get away with shared hosting. However due to the nature of multi-sites, you’d probably need a VPS or dedicated server as your sites grow.

We recommend Bluehost because they offer both shared hosting and VPS/Dedicated servers, and they are also one of the official WordPress hosting partners.

We’ve also worked with SiteGround and InMotion Hosting, and they also provide excellent service.

Apart from web hosting, you will need some basic knowledge of installing WordPress and editing files using FTP.

Choosing a Domain Structure for Your Multisite Network

On a WordPress multisite network, you can have your sites installed in either subdomains or sub-directories.

http://site1.example.com
http://example.com/site1/

If you choose subdomains, then you will have to configure wildcard subdomains on your server (we will show you how to do that later in this article).

On the other hand, if you choose sub-directories or path based URLs for subsites on your network, then the only thing you need to do is enable pretty permalinks on your root site.

Setting Up Wildcard Subdomains

Log-in to your web hosting account, and you will land on your cPanel dashboard. You need to scroll down to the domains section and click on Subdomains.

Subdomains in cPanel

On the next screen, you need to enter * sign in the subdomain field and select your main domain from the drop down menu. Cpanel will automatically detect the document root, and it will display it in the field below. Now simply click on the create button to add your wildcard subdomain.

Adding a wildcard subdomain using cPanel

Enabling WordPress Multisite Network Feature

Multisite Network feature comes built-in with each WordPress install. All you need to do is install and setup WordPress like you normally would. Check out our complete WordPress installation guide if you need help.

You can also enable Multisite feature on an existing WordPress site. Before you enable multisite, make sure that you have created a full backup of your WordPress site.

To enable Multisite, you need to access your site using an FTP client or cPanel file manager and open wp-config.php file for editing.

You need to add this line to your wp-config.php file just before the /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ line.

/* Multisite */
define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

Save and upload your wp-config.php file back to the server. Now your WordPress site supports multisite network.

Setting up The Network

Now that you have successfully enabled the Multisite Network feature on your WordPress site, it is time to set up your network. Before you do that, first thing you need to do is deactivate all plugins on your site. After that, you need to go to Tools » Network Setup to configure your multisite network.

Network Setup

On the network setup screen, you will see a notice that you need Apache’s mod_rewrite module installed on your server to setup multisite network. This module is installed and enabled on most reputable WordPress hosting providers.

The next thing you need to do is to tell WordPress what kind of domain structure you will be using for sites in your network, e.g. Subdomains or Sub-directories. After that you would need to provide a title for your Network and make sure that the email address in the Network Admin Email is correct. Lastly, click on the install button to continue.

On the next screen, WordPress will show you some rules that you need to add to your wp-config.php and .htaccess file. Use an FTP client to edit those two files and copy paste the code.

Configuring Network Settings

After successfully setting up the Multisite Network, you need to switch to the Network Dashboard to configure network settings, add new sites, and do lots of other things. Take your mouse over to My Sites menu in the admin toolbar, a flydown popup will appear. Click on Network Admin » Dashboard.

Switching to Multisite Network Admin Dashboard

You will notice that there are new menu items to manage your multisite network. You will also see a dashboard widget allowing you to create new site and add new users.

Multisite Network Admin Dashboard in WordPress

To configure Network Settings click on the Settings link in the admin sidebar. On the network settings screen, the first option is to set your site title and admin email address. These fields will be filled with the network title and admin email you entered during the network setup.

Opening Your Multisite Network for Registrations

The Registration Settings section on the network settings screen is probably the most important setting in your network setup. By default, both user and site registrations will be disabled on the network. You can choose to open your site for user registration, or allow existing users to create new sites, or allow both user and site registration.

Registration settings on a WordPress Multisite Network

You can check the box next to Registration Notification to receive email notifications every time a new user or site is registered.

If you want to allow the site administrators the ability to add new users on their sites, then you can check the box next to Add New Users.

Limited Email Registration options will allow you to limit site or user registration to email address from specific domains, then you can add those domains here. This is particularly useful if you only want to allow people from your own organization to register and create users or sites. Similarly you can also ban certain domains from registration.

Limited email domain

New Site Settings

The New Site Settings section on the network settings screen allows you to configure default options for the new sites created on your network. You can modify the welcome emails and the contents of first default post, page, and comment.

New site settings

Upload Settings for Your Multisite Network

It is important for you to keep an eye on the usage of the server resources. Under the Upload Settings section, you can limit the total amount of space a site can use for uploads. The default value is 100 MB which is probably good for at least 100 photo uploads. You can increase or decrease this space depending on how much disk space you have.

Upload settings for sites in the network

The default upload file types are images, audio/video, and pdfs. You can add additional file types if you want, e.g. doc docx odt. Lastly, you can choose a file size limit, so that users can’t upload insanely large files to the server.

Menu Settings

Under the menu settings, you will find the option to enable administrative menu for the plugins section on the network sites. Enabling this will show plugins menu to site admins. They can activate or deactivate a plugin on their individual sites, but they cannot install new plugins.

Enable Plugins menu for site admins

Adding New Sites to Your WordPress Multisite Network

To add a new site to your WordPress multisite, simply click on Sites under My Sites » Network Admin menu in the admin toolbar.

Sites on your multisite WordPress

This will show you a list of sites on your current Multisite installation. By default, you have your primary site listed as the only site in your WordPress Multisite network. To add a new site, click on the Add New button at the top.

Click on Add New to add a new site

On the Add New Site screen, you need to provide the site’s address. You don’t need to type the full address, just the part you want to use as subdomain or sub-directory. After that provide a site title, and add the site’s admin email address.

Adding a New site in WordPress Multisite Network

You can add an admin email address other than the one you are currently using to manage your multisite. If the email address is not currently in use by another user on your site, then WordPress will create a new user and send the password and username to the email address you enter.

Once you are done, click on the Add Site button. A new site will be added to your multisite network. As the network admin, you will receive a new site registration email. If you created a new user, then that user will receive their username and password with instructions to login on the email address you provided.

Adding Themes and Plugins to Your Multisite Network

By default, individual site administrators cannot install themes and plugins on their own. As the network admin, you can install plugins and themes for them and make those themes / plugins available to them. To do that you need to login to your primary site and go to My Sites » Network Admin » Themes.

Multisite Themes

On the Network Admin’s themes screen, you will see a list of currently installed theme on your WordPress multisite. You can make a theme available to other sites by clicking on Enable Network under that theme. Similarly, you can disable a theme by clicking on Disable Network link under the theme.

Enable or Disable themes on Multisite WordPress Network

Similarly you can activate or deactivate a plugin for the whole network from My Sites » Network Admin » Plugins screen. Note that if you have checked the Plugins Menu as available to site admins in the Network Settings, then site administrators can activate or deactivate installed plugins on their own.

Activate or Deactivate plugins on multisite network in WordPress

Troubleshooting WordPress Multisite Issues

Most common issues occur due to incorrect configuration of Wildcard Subdomains. Make sure that your web host supports wildcard subdomains.

Another common issue is that when using WordPress Multisite with sub-directories, some users are unable to login to the admin area of their sites after they add the required code in wp-config.php file. To fix this, try replacing

define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false);

line in wp-config.php file with

define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', 'false');.

We hope this article helped you install and setup WordPress multisite network. If you liked this article, then subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more WordPress video tutorials. You can also join us on Google+ and Twitter.

To leave a comment please visit How to Install and Setup WordPress Multisite Network on WPBeginner.

WordPress 3.9 Adds 30 New Dashicons

Dashicons are what’s known as an icon font and were added to the core of WordPress with the release of 3.8. The icons are vector based so they can be as large or small as you want without losing quality. Plugin authors can use CSS, HTML, or a Glyph for use within Photoshop to display an icon. While 3.8 had 167 icons, WordPress 3.9 shipped with 30 new Dashicons bringing the total to 197.

New Dashicons In WordPress 3.9

New Dashicons In WordPress 3.9

The icons cover Media, TinyMCE, WordPress.org, Sorting, Widgets, Alerts, and Miscellaneous. Some plugin authors have already opted out of using a bitmap image and are using a Dashicon to represent their plugin within the WordPress admin menu. If none of the Dashicons match your use case, try Genericons instead. Genereicons is also an icon font but has icons that are not focused on WordPress.

News SEO 2.0: Google News optimization with ease

news seoWe’ve rebuilt and reimagined our News SEO plugin and taken it to the next level. Today we’re proud to release News SEO version 2.0, which allows you to easily optimize your site for Google News.

It had been, unfortunately, almost 2 years since we last updated the plugin which meant it didn’t work anymore for 95% of people and lacked many features. We’ve decided to make it a premium product, much like our Local SEO and Video SEO plugins, so we can actually afford to spend time on it. As always, our core WordPress SEO plugin (to which this News SEO plugin is an addon) is and will remain free of charge. Of course this plugin can also be used with our Premium WordPress SEO plugin.

What does our News SEO plugin do?

The News SEO plugin allows you to optimize your site for Google News. It creates XML News Sitemaps, editors picks RSS feeds and allows for use of the standout tag and the meta news_keywords tag as well as helping you optimize some of the more advanced XML News sitemap options like stock tickers.

Of course, you have to be in Google News first to be able to optimize for it, which is why I’ve taken the time to write a page outlining the Google News submission process. Not all sites qualify for Google News, but for those that do, it can be a very powerful source of traffic.

Universal Search

One of the most important reasons that Google News can lead to so much traffic is because it’s included in Google’s Universal Search results. A search for [mh370] in Google, for instance, will currently show something like this:

mh370 google search - news seo at work

Those first 3 results are taken directly from Google News, as is the image. As you can imagine, this can drive quite a bit of traffic on current affairs as well as celebrity names, sports clubs etc.

If your site is included in Google News and you run our WordPress SEO plugin, buying this extension should be a no-brainer. If you’re in Google News, your site runs on WordPress and you’re not using our WordPress SEO plugin… Well, shame on you :)

Now, you can go buy the News SEO plugin right, or read some more first.

1 year upgrades & support:

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Add a honeypot to WordPress comment form to prevent spam

wordpress-honeypot

One of the most common ways to fight spam used to be captchas. However, they’re being deprecated since reading bots are becoming more and more smart and can read even better than some humans. Another reason is that they penalize a legit human user, making them go through the pain of reading those horribly complicated captchas.
Read on to learn a good technique that’s both effective and user friendly.

So what’s a honeypot?

A honeypot is a trap to detect bots from humans. Its principle is that bots will typically fill in all the fields when submitting spam, for example, a spam comment.

Based on this, we can add an extra textarea element, and mark the comment as spam.

The code

This code can be added to your functions.php file or similar:

/**
 * Add the honeypot, a hidden textarea field.
 */
function queryloop_add_honeypot() {
	echo '<p style="display:none!important"><textarea name="additional-comment"></textarea></p>';
}

/**
 * Check if the more_comment field is set. If it's not empty, it's spam. Otherwise, return the status already set.
 *
 * @param bool|string $approved The approval status that will be modified if the honeypot is filled.
 *
 * @return string
 */
function queryloop_check_honeypot( $approved ) {
	return empty( $_POST['additional-comment'] ) ? $approved : 'spam';
}

add_action( 'comment_form', 'queryloop_add_honeypot' );
add_filter( 'pre_comment_approved', 'queryloop_check_honeypot' );

Closing words

A honeypot is a nice way to make your forms user friendly and keep spam low, there are plugins that make this automatically, and there are also ways to add it to the login form.
However, do not rely on this as an absolute method to fight spam. In addition to paid services like Akismet, there are other techniques like mathematical captchas, or captchas that ask a question for you to click on the correct image. Think of honeypot as a complement, rather than a replacement.

13 Vagrant Resources for WordPress Development

vagrant

Vagrant is an open source tool that makes it easy to configure and distribute virtual development environments. The project was started in 2010 by Mitchell Hashimoto and John Bender who wanted to create a way to standardize development environments for teams. Vagrant was designed to put an end to the “works on my machine” frustration that often surfaces when teams develop on different environments.

Because it’s so lightweight and portable, many WordPress developers have adopted Vagrant for development, which has resulted in different tools and configurations for various project needs. We’ve collected a few WordPress-related Vagrant resources here that will help you get started.

Varying Vagrant Vagrants

Varying Vagrant Vagrants is one of the most widely used and best-supported Vagrant configurations for WordPress development. Originally created by the folks at 10up, the open source VVV project became a community organization earlier this year. The company still contributes to its development and maintenance, helping to make it one of the most stable options for setting up a Vagrant-based WordPress development environment. VVV provides a comprehensive configuration for developing themes and plugins as well as for contributing to WordPress core.

VVV Site Wizard

If you’re a VVV user who is often creating and removing sites, then the VVV Site Wizard may be able to save you some time. It completely automates the creation of new sites as well as the teardown of old ones.

WordPress Theme Review VVV

If you’re a VVV user who spends quite a bit of time developing WordPress themes, this is a quick Vagrant setup that adds all the necessary tools for reviewing themes. WordPress Theme Review VVV creates a fresh WordPress site, installs and activates the Developer and Theme-Check plugins, and imports the Theme Unit Test data. Check out our tutorial for a quick walkthrough on setting it set up.

Primary Vagrant

Primary Vagrant is a configuration created by Chris Wiegman. It’s similar to VVV but with a few important differences: it uses Apache instead of NGINX and Puppet instead of Bash. Wiegman used VVV and Puppet as a base for a new Vagrant configuration for WordPress plugin or theme development. Primary Vagrant supports Apache and MySQL on Ubuntu and allows for use of different major PHP versions (currently 5.3 – 5.5), which can be easily changed with one line of code.

VagrantPress

VagrantPress is a simple configuration that sets up a WordPress development environment using Apache with Vagrant/Puppet. It’s geared toward developing themes and plugins. VagrantPress currently does not allow for multiple installations but Chat Thompson, the project’s creator, plans to add more features related to automating the provisioning and maintenance of multiple WordPress installations.

Chassis

Chassis uses Vagrant and Puppet to create a development environment running Ubuntu, Ngnix, PHP 5.4, Imagick, MySQL, Xdebug, WP-CLI, and WordPress, a setup which more closely matches many managed WP hosting environments. Chassis makes it easy to add additional testing domains via a YAML configuration file. It also has support for WordPress multisite, which can be enabled in config.local.yaml or the project configuration file.

WordPress and Vagrant Google Group

WordPress and Vagrant is a public Google group that you can join to post basic or advanced questions about using Vagrant for development. This can be a helpful resource for troubleshooting some unique issues concerning Vagrant-based WordPress development environments. Most of the threads seem to be about working with VVV, but the group isn’t specifically limited.

WordPress Vagrant Boxes

WordPress Vagrant Boxes is a Vagrant configuration that uses Apache. Although the web server is preconfigured to look for WordPress in a specific location, WordPress Vagrant Boxes is unique in that it doesn’t checkout or install WordPress at all. It’s up to you to unpack and install a WordPress ZIP, checkout from SVN, or clone from git.

VCCW (vagrant-chef-centos-wordpress)

VCCW (Vagrant + Chef + CentOS + WordPress) was configured for those developing WordPress plugins, themes or websites. It includes 17 customizable constants for setting the WordPress version (or beta release), language, hostname, subdirectory, admin credentials, default plugins, default theme, multisite, SSL and other options. These constants give you a lot of flexibility in tailoring your development environment to your specific needs.

Throwaway WordPress VMs with Vagrant and Ansible

Throwaway WordPress VMs uses Vagrant and Ansible to automate the process of creating and provisioning local virtual machines for WordPress development. The scripts were designed for use with Ubuntu, but you can select any version of Ubuntu you wish to use, or a base box from vagrantbox.es.

WordPress Machine

WordPress Machine sets up WordPress on a LAMP stack. It also includes Composer, WP-CLI, and Forge for WordPress theme setup and asset compilation (SCSS, CoffeeScript). This configuration runs WordPress as a submodule using WordPress Boilerplate, which means that themes, plugins and uploads are separated from the WordPress installation so that WP can be easily updated as a git submodule.

Monkey Rocket

The developer who created Monkey Rocket used much of the code from VVV, which he found installed more things than he needed for a simple development environment. This Vagrant configuration is basically a stripped down version of VVV that will set you up with the latest stable version of WordPress at local.wordpress.dev on your machine.

WordPress Kickstart

WordPress Kickstart is a Vagrant development environment provisioned by Puppet. It was created for use with production stacks that are hosted on DigitalOcean. Once you enter your DigitalOcean API credentials into the vagrantfile, you’ll have a command available for working on production deployment and provisioning. This command allows you to create a new droplet, setup your SSH key for authentication, create a new user account, and run the provisioners configured. You can easily switch back and forth from production to development by removing .vagrant/ from your project’s root folder.

How to Embed a Live Google+ Hangout Session in WordPress

Google Hangout is the best free solution to host live broadcasts. It allows you to stream, record, bring guests, and run Q&A sessions with live audience. The main problem is that all of this happens on Google+ and not on your own site. In this article, we will show you how to embed a live Google Hangout session in WordPress.

First thing you need to to do is go to the Google+ Hangouts On Air website and click on Start a Hangout On Air button.

Starting a Google+ Hangout On Air

A new popup will appear asking you for the details of your Hangout On Air. You need to give your hangout a name and add a little description of what this hangout is about. Below the name and description, you will see a section labeled Starts. You need to click on Later and then choose a date and time for your hangout.

Enter your Hangout Details

By default your Hangout on Air is available to public which means anyone can see it. If you don’t want to make it public or want it to be available to selected people, then you need to tag those people or choose a circle.

For the sake of this tutorial, we are assuming that you would want as many people as possible for your audience, so it would be a public hangout.

Once you are done with the settings, click on the Share button. If you haven’t already verified your YouTube account, then you will be asked to do so. After you are done verifying your YouTube Account, click on the share button again.

You will be redirected to your hangout page which will have the details about your hangout. Under the hangout details section, you will find a links icon. Click on the links icon, and it will show you the hangout links and embed code.

You need to copy the YouTube Page URL.

Getting your Google+ Hangout's YouTube URL to Embed in WordPress

Now come back to your WordPress site and create or edit a post or page where you want to embed your Google+ Hangout. You can follow our tutorial on how to embed a YouTube video in WordPress. All you really need to do is simply paste the YouTube URL in the page editor on it’s own line and save your changes.

Now if you preview your page, you will be able to see your Google+ Hangout On Air embedded into your WordPress page.

Google+ Hangout on Air Embedded in WordPress

That’s all your WordPress site is now ready to host your Live Google+ Hangout session.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+.

To leave a comment please visit How to Embed a Live Google+ Hangout Session in WordPress on WPBeginner.

Backup and Restore Theme Options

After taking the time to set a whole bunch of theme options, it’s nice to be able to make a quick backup of your theme settings. Many themes have this functionality built-in, but for themes that don’t, here is a plug-n-play snippet to create a “Backup/Restore Theme Options” page. You can see the snippet in action in the shapeSpace theme.

Overview

This is a basic technique that uses a PHP class to create a “Backup/Restore Options” page in the WP Admin. After adding the code, the Appearance menu will contain a “Backup Options” link leading to the Backup/Restore Options page. There, you may backup/export your theme’s options at your convenience, as shown in this screenshot:

[ Backup Theme Options from the WP Admin ]

If/when you need to restore your previous settings, use the “Restore/Import” option to select, upload, and apply the backup settings, as shown here:

[ Restore Theme Options from the WP Admin ]

If that’s something that would be useful for you, read on to learn how to implement.

Backup and Restore Theme Options

To implement this backup/restore technique, open your theme’s functions.php file and include the following code:

/*
	Backup/Restore Theme Options
	@ http://digwp.com/2013/01/backup-restore-theme-options/
	Go to "Appearance > Backup Options" to export/import theme settings
	(based on "Gantry Export and Import Options" by Hassan Derakhshandeh)

	Usage:
	1. Add entire backup/restore snippet to functions.php
	2. Edit 'shapeSpace_options' to match your theme options
*/
class backup_restore_theme_options {

	function backup_restore_theme_options() {
		add_action('admin_menu', array(&$this, 'admin_menu'));
	}
	function admin_menu() {
		// add_submenu_page($parent_slug, $page_title, $menu_title, $capability, $menu_slug, $function);
		// $page = add_submenu_page('themes.php', 'Backup Options', 'Backup Options', 'manage_options', 'backup-options', array(&$this, 'options_page'));

		// add_theme_page($page_title, $menu_title, $capability, $menu_slug, $function);
		$page = add_theme_page('Backup Options', 'Backup Options', 'manage_options', 'backup-options', array(&$this, 'options_page'));

		add_action("load-{$page}", array(&$this, 'import_export'));
	}
	function import_export() {
		if (isset($_GET['action']) && ($_GET['action'] == 'download')) {
			header("Cache-Control: public, must-revalidate");
			header("Pragma: hack");
			header("Content-Type: text/plain");
			header('Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="theme-options-'.date("dMy").'.dat"');
			echo serialize($this->_get_options());
			die();
		}
		if (isset($_POST['upload']) && check_admin_referer('shapeSpace_restoreOptions', 'shapeSpace_restoreOptions')) {
			if ($_FILES["file"]["error"] > 0) {
				// error
			} else {
				$options = unserialize(file_get_contents($_FILES["file"]["tmp_name"]));
				if ($options) {
					foreach ($options as $option) {
						update_option($option->option_name, unserialize($option->option_value));
					}
				}
			}
			wp_redirect(admin_url('themes.php?page=backup-options'));
			exit;
		}
	}
	function options_page() { ?>

		<div class="wrap">
			<?php screen_icon(); ?>
			<h2>Backup/Restore Theme Options</h2>
			<form action="" method="POST" enctype="multipart/form-data">
				<style>#backup-options td { display: block; margin-bottom: 20px; }</style>
				<table id="backup-options">
					<tr>
						<td>
							<h3>Backup/Export</h3>
							<p>Here are the stored settings for the current theme:</p>
							<p><textarea class="widefat code" rows="20" cols="100" onclick="this.select()"><?php echo serialize($this->_get_options()); ?></textarea></p>
							<p><a href="?page=backup-options&action=download" class="button-secondary">Download as file</a></p>
						</td>
						<td>
							<h3>Restore/Import</h3>
							<p><label class="description" for="upload">Restore a previous backup</label></p>
							<p><input type="file" name="file" /> <input type="submit" name="upload" id="upload" class="button-primary" value="Upload file" /></p>
							<?php if (function_exists('wp_nonce_field')) wp_nonce_field('shapeSpace_restoreOptions', 'shapeSpace_restoreOptions'); ?>
						</td>
					</tr>
				</table>
			</form>
		</div>

	<?php }
	function _display_options() {
		$options = unserialize($this->_get_options());
	}
	function _get_options() {
		global $wpdb;
		return $wpdb->get_results("SELECT option_name, option_value FROM {$wpdb->options} WHERE option_name = 'shapeSpace_options'"); // edit 'shapeSpace_options' to match theme options
	}
}
new backup_restore_theme_options();

As credited in the code, this technique is based on Gantry Export and Import Options, and there are probably other plugins that perform similar functionality.

Usage:

After including this in your theme’s functions template, edit the only instance of shapeSpace_options with the name of your theme options. If your theme doesn’t have its own options, you can still see it work by replacing shapeSpace_options with any option that already exists in the WP database, like widget_recent-comments or active_plugins.

No other configuration of the code should be necessary unless you would like to customize, extend, etc. It’s designed for plug-n-play functionality, so it should work out of the box. I’ve only tested this on a handful of themes, however, so your mileage may vary.

Project Management for WordPress

While it's been awhile since this site has been updated, we have plans to get things moving again. Expect a new design, new content and valuable WordPress design and development tips in the near future.

In the meantime, we've been working on another WordPress related project, a plugin designed to bring you happiness called "Project Panorama." Project Panorama is a WordPress based project management tool. Unlike other project management tools, it's designed to be a visual way of communicating your project roadmap and overall progress to key stakeholders (like your clients or team members.) This gives you, your client and your team an easy to digest picture of the current project status, what has happened and what will happen.

We just launched our second release (1.2.1) which adds numerous useful features including a revamped shortcode system and improved branding/customization capabilities.

Check it out today and stay tuned for more!

WordPress 3.9 Has Built-in Support for Pasting from Microsoft Word

photo credit: This Year's Love - cc

photo credit: This Year’s Lovecc

A common support question that’s been popping up on the web after WordPress users update to 3.9: What happened to the “Paste from Word” button in the visual editor? If you find that the button is missing, don’t worry – it’s not a bug. Prior to this update, the button was located in the kitchen sink of the visual editor:

paste-from-word

WordPress 3.9, however, removes the “paste from word” button entirely. It includes TinyMCE 4.0 and has better built-in support for pasting in blocks of text for Microsoft Word. The better your software gets, the more the magic happens behind the scenes. WordPress now detects if the pasted text is coming from MS Word and makes the appropriate changes.

Until I saw the question on Reddit, indicating that the button had gone missing, I had no idea that anyone still used this feature. The missing button is actually an enhancement, not a bug. Hopefully this information has reached you before you started deactivating all your plugins.

Unless you had been closely following the posts at make.wordpress.org, this improvement might have been easy to miss. Check out our summary of everything that’s new in WordPress 3.9. If you’re having any problems with the update, you may want to review some of the known issues with plugins before posting in the support forums.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting WordPress 3.9

After the release of WordPress 3.9, I decided to help out in the support forums since they usually become busy soon after a release. Providing support in the WordPress.org forums gives you a clear indication on how well a release is being received and whether or not anything major broke. After spending five hours in the support forum, here are some common issues being reported by users.

Visual Editor Disappeared Or Is Broken

A lot of users are reporting that the visual editor has either disappeared or is broken. Considering the number of changes that took place with TinyMCE in 3.9, this is not surprising. In most cases, having users go through the following process solved the problem.

  1. Deactivate ALL plugins.
  2. Switch to default TwentyFourteen theme.
  3. Manually empty browser cache.

If the visual editor doesn’t work after disabling all plugins and switching to the default theme, there could be a JavaScript issue. Follow these instructions to diagnose JavaScript errors in your browser. Then, open up a new support forum thread and make sure to add the following information:

  • the browsers that you are experiencing the problem in
  • whether SCRIPT_DEBUG fixed the error or not
  • the JavaScript error
  • the location of the error – both the file name and the line number
  • the context of the error – including the whole error stack will help developers

This detailed information will help volunteer moderators determine the best way to solve your problem.

Master List Of Known Issues

Themes and plugins confirmed to be the cause of the problem are documented and added to the master list of known issues with WordPress 3.9. So far, the list of plugins is up to eight with at least one in the process of being fixed.

The support team tries their best to help everyone with any WordPress problem even if it’s for a commercial theme or plugin. However, due to the great variety of existing themes and plugins it is nearly impossible to know everything. Your best option is to contact the developer for support. It’s always best to go to where the theme/plugin is officially supported when trying to get support.

How To Create An Audio Playlist

A few users have asked where the link is to create an audio playlist. In order to see the link to create an audio playlist, you either need existing audio files within the media library or you need to add them. It’s worth noting that if you host your media files on a content delivery network that’s not synchronized with the WordPress media library, you won’t be able to take advantage of the playlist feature.

Easy Way To Add Borders and Padding To Images Removed

Although WordPress 3.9 has refined the media editing experience, it did so at the cost of removing a feature users appreciated. In WordPress 3.8, users could easily add a border, vertical, and horizontal padding to images. WordPress 3.9 has removed this from the advanced image settings screen.

Image Properties In WordPress 3.8

Image Properties In WordPress 3.8

It’s not just those who use the self-hosted version of WordPress that are upset with the change. A WordPress.com support forum thread with over 430 posts is filled with users asking why the feature was removed. In some cases, WordPress.com staff are explaining how to use HTML code to add or remove borders to images. It’s possible that a plugin will soon be released that will restore this feature.

Use Patience When Asking For Support

Since WordPress 3.9 is a major upgrade, please exercise patience when requesting support on the forum. This guide on the Codex does a great job explaining how to get your question answered. Last but not least, if a volunteer helps solve your problem, say thank you. During my five-hour support stint, I realized first-hand that providing support is a thankless job. Reading thank you notes and seeing users express joy from having their problem solved gave me the energy to keep on going.

I encourage you to take 15-20 minutes to browse the support forum and help out where you can. Not only will you get a better understanding of problems users are facing, but you’ll learn a lot in the process. To anyone who’s taken the time to answer a support question on the forum, thank you!

See you at WordCamp Norrköping next week

I’ll be joining the fun at WordCamp Norrköping next week from Friday to Sunday:

wordcampnorrkoping

I’ll be helping with the Contributor Day over the weekend and I’ll give my Debugging WordPress talk to the dev community there. If you’re into WordPress development or interested in a secure and scalable managed WordPress hosting, meet me there and I’d be happy to chat.

 

The post See you at WordCamp Norrköping next week appeared first on Mario Peshev on WordPress Development.

5 Steps To Easily Create Successful WordPress Landing Pages

wordpress landing pages
A successful landing page can make or break a product. Poorly crafted landing pages will drive visitors away, while well done landing pages will entice them to learn more and hopefully become a paying customer! In this post I’m going to show you how to use the new FastLine Page Builder plugin to easily bring your landing page ideas to reality within your WordPress powered website.

Before you get your hands dirty, you’ll need to do some homework. After all, it’s not about the tools you use, but the content and message you are trying to convey. With that said, let’s get inspired.

1. Getting Inspired

Throughout the years, I’ve found that it’s a heck of a lot easier to come up with ideas by looking at what others have done than staring at a blank page. The internet is a vast landscape that offers many different avenues for finding inspiration, with the most ubiquitous being a Google search. Just pop in some terms that are relevant to what you’re trying to create and have a look at what others have been up to.

No matter where you like to look on the internet (or in print if you fancy that) for inspiration, get out there and start throwing some ideas around in your head. Once you feel confident in moving forward with an idea, you’re ready to start planning out your content.

2. Plan Your Content

Before you start thinking about layout, you’ll need to put some thought into the content for your new landing page. I don’t recommend worrying too much about making it perfect at this point, that will come later. Instead, I typically create an outline of what I want to say on the page starting with the main hero/headline and work my way down to the supporting sections.

Don’t hesitate to include filler text where needed to help move the creative process along. You don’t want to get hung up trying to write the perfect sentence at this point in the process! We’ll get into fine tuning things after we have a built layout to work with.

3. Choose A Page Builder

Now that you’re inspired and have an idea of what your content will look like, let’s get building! WordPress’ default editor is fantastic for blogging, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite as well for creating custom landing pages. To achieve a custom layout without having to write code, you’re going to have to choose a page builder plugin to use.

The page builder options seem endless these days and unfortunately, many of them aren’t good enough to get the job done without a lot of headache. While the link above offers a handful of solid solutions, today I’m going to be talking about the FastLine Page Builder plugin, recently released by yours truly!

4. Create A Quick Draft

To get things moving along, try to complete the first draft of your landing page quickly. This will allow you to start seeing things visually while assessing whether your ideas are working while they come to life. You’ll see in the example below that I created in less than five minutes, things aren’t perfect, but it’s a start.
wordpress landing pages
Accomplishing this within the FastLine Page Builder is easy. Just drag the content you want in your page from the panel on the right, fill out the settings for that module and click save!

Go ahead and try out a handful of quick ideas to see what’s working for you and what’s not. Once you’re happy with your draft layout it’s time to tighten your page up and get it ready for launch!

5. Finishing Up

Once you have the structure of your layout together, it’s time to start tightening up the content. I like to start with one section at a time, fine tuning the text and images until I feel like that section is perfect or close to it. This is the step where you want to spend as much time as possible getting those things right that you waited on earlier.

After I’ve gone through everything, I typically set the page aside for a few hours, possibly a day, and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes for another round of fine tuning. At this point, I like to take a step back and ask myself if the final product conveys the message that I am trying to get across. If it does, great! If not, I’ll continue fine tuning the content until I have a page that I feel is ready for prime time.

Conclusion

The beauty of using a WordPress page builder plugin to create your landing pages is that you aren’t limited by technical constraints or the quotas you might encounter when using a cloud solution. Getting good at building successful landing pages takes time, but it’s a lot easier to practice when you can create as many as you would like, quickly and easily, using a tool like the FastLine Page Builder plugin.

When creating a landing page that you intend to help you sell, always remember to get inspired, focus on your content and use a tool that will make accomplishing your goals a breeze.

Why not give the FastLine Page Builder plugin and see how it makes your task easier and get results?

This post was written by Justin Busa of FastLine Media.

WordPress 3.9 “Smith” Released

WordPress 3.9 Featured Image

photo credit: wbaivcc

WordPress 3.9 “Smith” is now available, just four months after the release of 3.8. This release continues the strategy of developing features as plugins first. Widgets Customizer by Westonruter is the only plugin that was developed and merged into WordPress this time around. Much of the work in WordPress 3.9 is an improvement of features added in earlier versions. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what this release has to offer.

New: Create Audio/Video Playlists

Building upon the addition of audio and video in WordPress 3.6, WordPress 3.9 offers a lot of enhancements. For starters, you can now create audio playlists. You can also add multiple sources to help with cross-browser compatibility. Managing multiple sources is easy thanks to an improved workflow. WordPress now has subtitle support for videos as long as you supply the appropriate files. This post by HTML5Doctor explains how to create the proper files to add subtitles to videos.

Audio Playlist In The Visual Editor Of WordPress 3.9

Audio Playlist In The Visual Editor Of WordPress 3.9

Searching For WordPress Themes Has Never Been Easier

The theme browsing experience in WordPress 3.8 has been significantly improved in 3.9. The new theme browser features large preview images, indicators on which themes you already have installed, and fast-loading previews. Browsing and installing new themes in WordPress has never been easier.

Theme Browser Experience Revamped In WordPress 3.9

Theme Browser Experience Revamped In WordPress 3.9

Crop and Edit Images From Within The Visual Editor

Images are easier to edit and remove from posts. Simply click on the image within the visual editor and select the pencil icon. This will launch the image details screen. From here, you can quickly edit the details of the image and if you select the Edit Original button, you’ll be able to crop, flip, and change the image size. You can also drag and drop images right into the editor. Alternatively, you can crop and edit an image from within the visual editor.

Image Editing In WordPress 3.9

Image Editing In WordPress 3.9

Instead of seeing a placeholder, galleries can now be previewed as a grid within the visual editor. You cannot yet drag images around to change the display order, but this feature is expected to be added in a future update.

Preview Galleries Live Within The Visual Editor

Preview Galleries Live Within The Visual Editor

Live Widget Previews

You can now preview changes to widgets in real-time thanks to the theme customizer. Gone are the days of having to refresh the page every time you want to preview a change to a widget.

WordPress 3.9 Live Widget Previews

WordPress 3.9 Live Widget Previews

A New Streamlined Post Editor

The post editor in WordPress 3.9 has been updated to use TinyMCE 4.0. The update provides the following enhancements:

  • New UI and UI API.
  • New theme.
  • Revamped events system/API.
  • Better code quality, readability and build process.
  • Lots of (inline) documentation.

The Paste from Word button has been removed. When text from Microsoft Word is pasted into WordPress, the editor will automatically strip out the special formatting. The distraction free writing mode button is now on the right side of the editor. Distraction free writing mode is also responsive. The changes to the editor are a noticeable improvement when compared to WordPress 3.8.

TinyMCE 4.0 In WordPress 3.9

TinyMCE 4.0 In WordPress 3.9

oEmbed Support Added For Meetup and Imgur

Publishing content from either Meetup.com or Imgur is now as simple as pasting the URL into the editor. Meanwhile, oEmbed support for Qik has been removed.

Meetup Group Event Embedded Into A Post

Meetup Group Event Embedded Into A Post

Take A Tour Of WordPress 3.9

Michael Pick does a great job showing and explaining the new features in WordPress 3.9.

Important Information For WordPress Developers

There are a lot of under-the-hood improvements in WordPress 3.9. Over the past two-weeks, those responsible for adding specific features to WordPress have written detailed blog posts on the Make WordPress Core development blog. Here is a list of noteworthy items you may have missed.

HTML5 Galleries and Captions in WordPress 3.9 – WordPress 3.6 introduced HTML5 versions of popular template tags, starting out with comments, the comment form, and the search form. With the 3.9 release the team added galleries and captions to that list. Now, when adding HTML5 support for those features, WordPress will use <figure> and <figcaption> elements, instead of the generic definition list markup.

Symlinked Plugins in WordPress 3.9 – One of the cool little features included with 3.9 is the ability to symlink plugin directories. While it has been possible to symlink plugins in the past, functions such as plugins_url() return the wrong URL, which causes breakage in most plugins. The team has corrected this with the help of a new function.

Plupload 2.x in WordPress 3.9 – Plupload is the library that powers most of the file upload interfaces in WordPress, and in 3.9 the team has updated the bundled library to version 2.1.1. This post lists some of the things that have changed, which may affect WordPress plugins and themes.

MySQL in WordPress 3.9 – In WordPress 3.9, we added an extra layer to WPDB, causing it to switch to using the mysqli PHP library, when using PHP 5.5 or higher. For plugin developers, this means that you absolutely shouldn’t be using PHP’s mysql_*() functions any more – you can use the equivalent WPDB functions instead.

Masonry in WordPress 3.9 – If you use Masonry in your themes or plugins, here’s what you should know about the 3.9 update.

TinyMCE 4.0 Requires text/css For Editor Style Files – As of TinyMCE 4.0, the visual editor iframe now has an HTML5 document type (DOCTYPE html>). In this scenario, CSS files must be served with the text/css content type. A server will serve a *.css file with the proper content type, but if you’re using a PHP file for an editor style file, you need to be the one to do it.

Multisite Changes In 3.9 – Much of the bootstrap code for Multisite in ms-settings.php has been refactored in #27003 with the intent to improve how we handle the detection of domains and paths for sites and networks in core. Several other smaller enhancements and bugs have been completed in this and in other tickets.

jQuery UI and wpdialogs in WordPress 3.9 – WordPress 3.9 does not use the “wpdialogs” TinyMCE plugin as part of the TinyMCE 4.0 update which comes with a new dialog manager.

Thanks To Everyone Who Contributed To 3.9

Although 3.9 doesn’t have a lot of new features, the refinements to existing functionality are just as satisfying. I’m happy to see a release where the focus was more on improving what WordPress already has versus adding new functionality. Even though the live previews of widgets is my favorite feature, several of the pesky bugs that were squashed are a close second.

WordPress wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the awesome contributions from the community. Thanks to everyone who helped make 3.9 a reality! This release was led by Andrew Nacin and Mike Schroder. There are 267 contributors with props in this release, which is a new high for WordPress.

What is your favorite feature or enhancement in WordPress 3.9?

Archive your tweets with WordPress

Twitter is fun and catchy, but the thing is: once tweeted, gone forever. Found an awesome link last month, shared it with a relevant #hashtag? Good luck finding it now. Your data now lives and dies on Twitter and you have no hand on it.

Four years ago to address this problem I made yet-another-Twitter-to-WordPress plugin, creatively named Ozh' Tweet Archiver.

Two years ago Twitter broke my plugin with their new API, requiring OAuth for every request, including reading public tweets. Fixing it has been since on my todo list but, hey, you know.

Two weeks ago @EHER sent me preliminary code to fix things, just what I needed as a motivation to fix things.

Two days ago I published version 2.0 of my super cool Tweet Archiver plugin. Fixed, dramatically improved, with new features. w00t.

TL;DR: from @ozh to planetozh.com/tweets with WordPress, #yay.

Go get it, install it, you'll love it. Or, as usual, 120% refunded!


(cc) Ozh for planetOzh, 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us | splogmenotplz
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How to Setup CloudFlare Free CDN in WordPress

Page speed is a crucial element in determining your website’s search engine rankings. Not to mention, slow websites lead to a bad user experience. We are often asked by our users how does WPBeginner load so fast. The answer is simple, we use W3 Total Cache and MaxCDN. However, some of our users told us they can not afford MaxCDN. In this article, we will show you how to set up CloudFlare’s FREE CDN in WordPress.

What is CloudFlare?

CloudFlare is basically a Web Application Firewall, a distributed proxy server, and a content delivery network (CDN). It optimizes your website by acting as a proxy between visitors and your server which helps protecting your website against DDoS attacks.

They offer a free basic plan suitable for small websites and blogs. They also offer paid plans starting with $20 per month.

CloudFlare Analytics

What is The Difference Between MaxCDN and CloudFlare

MaxCDN and CloudFlare are both quite different services actually. While MaxCDN is focused on serving your content through their CDN, CloudFlare is more focused on security and spam control.

They both use different technologies to serve content through their networks. MaxCDN serves content from your site’s DNS using pullzones. CloudFlare on the other hand serves content through their own DNS, and you are asked to change your site’s DNS to point to their servers.

CloudFlare acts as a proxy between you and your site’s visitors which means you give up a lot of control, while MaxCDN acts as a reverse proxy which means you have all the control.

CloudFlare is better at optimizing your page speeds by preventing your site from malicious bots, attackers, and suspicious crawlers. MaxCDN is better at improving your speeds by serving your static content through their servers located around the world.

Cons of Using CloudFlare

Users testing CloudFlare have reported that even though it helps the page load times, the difference is not significant.

There are also complaints from users that CloudFlare blocks some of their legitimate visitors from accessing their website. Instead it displays a captcha page to the visitors to prove that they are legitimate users. This creates a bad experience for first time visitors who may never visit the site again.

How to Setup CloudFlare for Your WordPress Site

Before you implement CloudFlare to improve your website’s speed please make sure that it is not your web host that is slowing you down. If you think that it might be your web host, then perhaps you should first consider switching to a better WordPress hosting provider. If you are going to use CloudFlare, then we would recommend BlueHost. They are one of the official CloudFlare partners and one of the official WordPress recommended hosting providers.

To setup CloudFlare, the first thing you need to do is to signup for an account. Visit CloudFlare website and click on the Signup link.

CloudFlare Signup Form

Provide the information required, and then click on the ‘Create account now’ button. In the next step, enter your website’s url.

CloudFlare Add Your Website

CloudFlare will now scan your website. This will take around 60 seconds and during this time you are shown an informational video about how CloudFlare works, and how you would proceed with the setup. We recommend that you watch this video. Once the scan is finished, you need to click on the continue button to proceed with the setup.

CloudFlare Setup Scan

After the scan, CloudFlare will show you a list of all DNS records their systems found. This will include your subdomains as well. The DNS records you want to be passed through CloudFlare will have orange cloud icon. The DNS records that will bypass CloudFlare will have a gray cloud icon. You need to review the list to make sure that your main domain, www subdomain are active on CloudFlare with an orange cloud icon.

Configure your DNS Records

CloudFlare will also add FTP and SSH subdomains for you. If you used your domain name to connect to FTP or SSH, then from now on you will use ftp.yourdomain.com for FTP, and ssh.yourdomain.com for SSH. . The new subdomains will not pass through CloudFlare.

If you have any subdomains that you would like to pass through CloudFlare, then you can set them up here.

Once you are satisfied with the DNS records, you need to click on ‘I’ve added all missing records, continue’ button to proceed with the setup.

Choose a plan for your CloudFlare Service

On the next screen, you will be asked to choose a plan, performance and security settings.

If you use SSL on your website, then it is important to remember that SSL will not work with the FREE CloudFlare service. Leave rest of the options to their default settings and click on the continue button to proceed.

On the next and the final step of your setup, CloudFlare will ask you to update your nameservers. You will be asked to change your name servers and point them to CloudFlare nameservers.

Changing Name Servers to CloundFlare

Notice: Changing name server can take some time to propagate through all over the internet. It is possible that during this time your website may become inaccessible for some users.

To change name servers for your domain and point to the CloudFlare name servers, you need to log into your hosting account. Since most web hosts provide cPanel to manage hosting accounts, we will provide you instructions on how to change your name servers using cPanel. However, if your web host does not have cPanel, then you should ask them for instructions.

Once you are logged on to your cPanel dashboard, scroll down to Domains section and click on the Domain Manager.

cPanel Domain Manager

On the next screen, you will be asked to choose the domain name you want to edit. Once you select the domain name you want to edit, you will be shown available editing options for that domain. You need to click on the Name Servers tab.

Changing your name servers

You need to select Use Custom NameServers and enter the nameservers provided by CloudFlare in the boxes below.

After that you need to go back to CloudFlare set up page, and click on the button labeled ‘I’ve updated my nameservers, continue’ to finish the setup.

That’s all, your website is now served and optimized by CloudFlare.

Note: the above screenshots are from the Bluehost account. Your nameserver settings may be different if you’re using a different hosting provider.

We hope this article helped you add CloudFlare’s FREE CDN service to your WordPress site. If you liked this article, then consider subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

To leave a comment please visit How to Setup CloudFlare Free CDN in WordPress on WPBeginner.

My Talk Proposals for Open Source Bridge

I submitted two proposals to Open Source Bridge, an annual conference in Portland, Oregon, for “open source citizens.” The call for papers is now closed, but they let anyone leave comments on proposals that are private to the conference organizers. If you have any feedback on these, or have seen me speak before, it would be awesome if you could leave a comment. Here they are:

Extreme Software Portability as an Art Form

Writing portable software is hard. Throw in thousands of bad and worse shared hosting configurations, a decade of technical debt, the need to cater to a sprawling ecosystem, and PHP — and you have WordPress. We’ve found breaking changes harm our community and unfairly punish our users, so we don’t make them. But that doesn’t mean we don’t innovate or evolve — we’re just forced to get really clever. And it works, with adoption continuing to soar.

Trust, Community, and Automatic Updates

WordPress shipped in October what is perhaps its most polarizing feature ever — automatic updates in the background of self-hosted web software, on by default and no easy way to turn it off. In most open source communities, this would be cause for open revolt. Learn how through trust, communication, and a steadfast commitment to its philosophies, the WordPress core team convinced a skeptical community to go along, even if it meant users giving up some control.

WordPress contributors Mel Choyce and Aaron Jorbin also both submitted proposals: My Journey into Open Source Design and Modernizing a Stagnant Toolbox.

Post Connector 1.5

Post Connector
I’m happy to announce that we’ve released the biggest update to Post Connector so far, version 1.5. New features in this update include related connections, backwards linking and automatically displaying linked posts after a post.

Related Connections

Here at Yoast we’ve been recommending you to add related posts to your post pages since it encourages both readers and search engines to continue their visit to your site. This means more pageviews per visit for visitors and for search engines it means you tie your related content to each other, improving its chance to rank in the search results.

Post Connector 1.5 introduces the concept of related connections. With related connections your WordPress website will suggest related (custom) posts which you can then easily link to the post you’re writing. Just like any other connection in Post Connector, related connections are stored in your database allowing them to be fully cached by WordPress and thus keeping your website fast.

In recent months, more and more hosting parties have recommended against the use of related posts plugins because they create to heavy a strain on the database. You will not get this issue with Post Connector.

Backwards linking

You can now link posts both ways, so instead of only linking from parent to child you can now also link from child to parent. Backwards linking is a connection option, allowing you to enable it per connection. Both parent to child and child to parent links can be automatically displayed under posts.

This allows us, for instance, to link this post to the Post Connector plugin page, but also the other way round. This allows us to show recent posts about Post Connector on the plugin page itself, and a block with related plugins on the page here.

Automatically displaying linked posts

Automatically displaying linked posts introduces a new way of displaying linked posts. Next to our widget and shortcode you can now display linked posts by let Post Connector append them to your posts. This new feature prevents the need of editing your theme files allowing you to easily switch themes in the future.

This new feature of course ties in perfectly with both the other two options above, making Post Connector a quick and easy related posts plugin.

Post Connector 1.5: available now!

If you’ve already bought Post Connector, you can download the update now. Otherwise:
go buy it now

Also included in this update

We’ve also fixed several bugs, introduced an autoloader, improved our various admin screens, improved our license handling and added various languages.

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

WordPress 3.8.3 Released, Fixes Quick Draft Bug

WordPress 3.8.3 was released today and fixes a pesky bug introduced in WordPress 3.8.2. As we reported a few days ago, one of the security fixes in 3.8.2 caused the Quick Draft dashboard widget to break. Auto-drafts created through the widget were not being promoted to draft status. When a title and content were added to the widget, clicking the save draft button gave the appearance that it was discarded. A Quick Drafted post didn’t show up within the drafts list even though it existed within the database.

WordPress 3.8.3 Fixed The Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

WordPress 3.8.3 Fixed The Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

According to the announcement post on the official WordPress developments blog, not only does the update fix the bug but it also attempts to retrieve the last created auto-draft.

It’s possible that the quick draft you lost last week is still in the database, and just hidden from view. As an added complication, these “discarded drafts” normally get deleted after seven days, and it’s already been six days since the release. If we were able to rescue your draft, you’ll see it on the “All Posts” screen after you update to 3.8.3.

The team also pushed out 3.8.3 as a background update so there’s a chance you may see a draft appear. WordPress 3.7.2 was affected by the bug as well. You can upgrade to 3.7.3 to fix the issue but you’re encouraged to upgrade to the latest version which is 3.8.3.

The Significance of WordPress 3.8.3

This release is significant for a few reasons. The first is that a security and maintenance release (3.8.2) broke core functionality. When we wrote about automatic updates in WordPress not having an options panel to configure their behavior, I pointed out minor and security updates rarely break anything dealing with the core of WordPress.

We now have an example of where a security update broke core functionality. Unfortunately, those that argue minor upgrades can break their site now have fuel for their argument. These types of mistakes happen and the core team has apologized.

We recognize how much trust you place in us to safeguard your content, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re sorry we let you down.

Second, the WordPress philosophy doesn’t mention anything about preventing content from being lost. While we have post revisions, auto-saves, and auto-drafts, they weren’t enough to prevent some content from being lost. Whether using the Quick Draft dashboard widget is an edge case or not, it’s reassuring to see the core team consider any loss of content, unacceptable.

Minor and Security Releases Can Break Things

Although there was a problem with 3.8.2 and using the Quick Draft widget, the team put together a fix and released it within a few days. Minor and security updates can break things but it happens far less frequently than the successful ones.

On a brighter note, WordPress 3.9 is expected to ship later this week.

WordPress 3.8.3 Released, Fixes Quick Draft Bug

WordPress 3.8.3 was released today and fixes a pesky bug introduced in WordPress 3.8.2. As we reported a few days ago, one of the security fixes in 3.8.2 caused the Quick Draft dashboard widget to break. Auto-drafts created through the widget were not being promoted to draft status. When a title and content were added to the widget, clicking the save draft button gave the appearance that it was discarded. A Quick Drafted post didn’t show up within the drafts list even though it existed within the database.

WordPress 3.8.3 Fixed The Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

WordPress 3.8.3 Fixed The Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

According to the announcement post on the official WordPress developments blog, not only does the update fix the bug but it also attempts to retrieve the last created auto-draft.

It’s possible that the quick draft you lost last week is still in the database, and just hidden from view. As an added complication, these “discarded drafts” normally get deleted after seven days, and it’s already been six days since the release. If we were able to rescue your draft, you’ll see it on the “All Posts” screen after you update to 3.8.3.

The team also pushed out 3.8.3 as a background update so there’s a chance you may see a draft appear. WordPress 3.7.2 was affected by the bug as well. You can upgrade to 3.7.3 to fix the issue but you’re encouraged to upgrade to the latest version which is 3.8.3.

The Significance of WordPress 3.8.3

This release is significant for a few reasons. The first is that a security and maintenance release (3.8.2) broke core functionality. When we wrote about automatic updates in WordPress not having an options panel to configure their behavior, I pointed out minor and security updates rarely break anything dealing with the core of WordPress.

We now have an example of where a security update broke core functionality. Unfortunately, those that argue minor upgrades can break their site now have fuel for their argument. These types of mistakes happen and the core team has apologized.

We recognize how much trust you place in us to safeguard your content, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re sorry we let you down.

Second, the WordPress philosophy doesn’t mention anything about preventing content from being lost. While we have post revisions, auto-saves, and auto-drafts, they weren’t enough to prevent some content from being lost. Whether using the Quick Draft dashboard widget is an edge case or not, it’s reassuring to see the core team consider any loss of content, unacceptable.

Minor and Security Releases Can Break Things

Although there was a problem with 3.8.2 and using the Quick Draft widget, the team put together a fix and released it within a few days. Minor and security updates can break things but it happens far less frequently than the successful ones.

On a brighter note, WordPress 3.9 is expected to ship later this week.

6 Free WordPress Plugins to Retain Readers & Decrease Bounce Rate

If a majority of your readers are visiting your blog only to leave within a few seconds without ever venturing to additional pages, chances are your blog has a high bounce rate. That’s not pretty. It means that your content may not be attractive, does not effectively target the right readers or something could be technically wrong with your site that is preventing readers from seeing relevant content.

blog bounce rate

Retaining readers is the key to having profitable experiences with your blog, regardless of your niche. Therefore, whatever you’re selling, you need to capture the attention of your readers. These statistics are vital for reviewing your online business model and testing different messages that work. Google Analytics is a free tool that every blogger should be using to keep track of site visitors. If you haven’t yet created an account and started tracking, now’s the time. Your statistics tell a very honest story of how successful your blogging tactics are.

In addition to making more engaging content, reducing site load times and encouraging discussion, there are a few useful WordPress plugins that can be installed to help create that engaging experience for users. Prompting them to click often, read and buy more of your stuff.

Here we go:

1. nrelate Flyout Plugin

nrelate flyout wordpress plugin

The nrelate Flyout Plugin initiates a neat slide out panel at the bottom of your readers’ screen prompting them to click through to more content on your blog. It’s difficult to ignore as it moves in a manner that breaks the flow of the scrolling page, without being too intrusive. It captures the readers attention. Ensure your article titles are engaging enough to entice a click through though.

The plugin automatically analyzes your website to display the most related and best suited results in the fly out. The plugin is set by default to fly out at the end of the article content, presumably at the point your readers would complete reading the article.

2. Thank Me Later Plugin

thank me later wordpress plugin

Thank Me Later automatically sends your readers a customizable HTML “thank you” email once they submit a post comment. Therefore, without wasting any time, you can start engaging via email, nudging the reader to come back for more.

Use this plugin sparingly, however, since the reader did not sign up for a “newsletter” by submitting a comment. Keep the tone of the email message as a thank you note with a brief reminder to check back the site for more.

3. Comment Redirect

Comment Redirect automatically sends your first time blog readers to a page of your choice after submitting a comment. A much safer and non-intrusive method than the Thank Me Later. This page can be a highly optimized sales page, subscription page or a presentation of your most valuable content; encouraging the user to keep reading on. A very simple, yet powerful plugin to direct your readers to the content you want to push.

4. YARRP

The Yet Another Related Posts Plugin automatically displays pages and posts related to the page your users are currently reading. Your blog should not present one instance or type of content unless you’re aggressively trying to convert for a specific service. Otherwise, as a reader completes an article, there should be an opportunity to read something else. YARRP takes care of this by presenting customizable related stories.

5. WPTouch Mobile Plugin

free wordpress mobile plugin

After analyzing your website statistics for your blog, you may notice that the majority of your readers who leave your pages without reading are mobile users. This could mean that your site isn’t presented well on mobile devices and thus your site is ignored when accessed. The WP Touch plugin serves up a beautiful mobile version of your website to all mobile users.

As over 50% of all global internet users now access the web primarily through a mobile device, it’s imperative that your site renders seamlessly for these devices. You are missing out on a great deal of traffic and potential sales by ignoring this. There’s no excuse as this plugin makes it as easy as a click of a but.

6. Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box

This Scroll Triggered Pop-up Box plugin comes with a feature usually found in premium, paid plugins. That’s a triggered pop-up that you can customize with any content you wish. The pop-up box is designed to be triggered based on certain events you specify such as percentage of the page scrolled by the user, reaching the end of a post or comment or other element.

This free plugin comes packed with lots of features giving you control over its design through predefined templates or your own HTML and CSS and other settings that can help the pop-up box to be as less intrusive as possible.

scroll triggered pop up wordpress plugin

Reducing Your Bounce Rate is Easier Than You Think

Your bounce rate can drastically change by implementing just a few simple changes to your blog. Many without the use of plugins and an example of which is by simply asking or requesting input from your audience. It’s time to conduct an audit of your WordPress site to determine how you can offer more to your readers and build more sustained relationships.

Next Version Of WordPress To Fix Quick Draft Dashboard Widget

If you’ve noticed after upgrading to WordPress 3.8.2 that the Quick Draft dashboard widget no longer functions correctly, you’re not the only one. Unfortunately, one of the security fixes in 3.8.2 caused the widget to break. Auto-drafts created through the widget are not being promoted to draft status. When a title and content is added to the widget, clicking the save draft button gives the appearance that its discarded. It doesn’t show up within the drafts list even though it exist within the database.

The patch attempts to do two things.

  • Find all lost Quick Draft auto-drafts and promote them to proper drafts.
  • Bring them back in place, with no date changes or other processing.

Andrew Nacin, lead developer for WordPress, explains why every auto-draft created won’t be able to be retrieved.

Unfortunately, each save of Quick Draft by the same user would update the existing auto-draft they previously lost. If they used Quick Draft in succession, or tried again when they couldn’t find their post — both of which are not unlikely — we can only rescue their last edit.

Quick drafts only hold onto a single auto-draft post ID per user and will re-use it as long as it remains an auto-draft. This is due to performance reasons so new auto-drafts are not created each time the dashboard is visited. Once upgraded, you should see the latest draft created through Quick Draft with the date and time of creation kept in tact.

If WordPress 3.8.3 is released, it may be available as soon as this weekend but nothing has been set in stone.

Monitor WordPress Download and Version Stats With WP Central

If you’re interested in WordPress project stats, WP Central has a collection of interactive visualizations for everything from download stats to version usage to internationalization. The site, created by WordPress contributor Marko Heijnen, has been in development for several months and is gradually adding more data.

The homepage of the site features stats for the latest release, with data for the total downloads, last seven days, downloads per day and per hour.

wpcentral-downloads

Version usage is particularly interesting, with clickable segments that display the percentage of WordPress installations operating on various versions of WP, PHP and MySQL.

version-usage

The site uses Bootstrap for the theme and Heijnen said that all of the data is pulled from the WordPress.org API, with the download history stored locally. He’s looking into the possibility of collecting and displaying old data, along with the new stats.

Heijnen created the site with the hope of providing a historical reference that is easy to visualize. “I would love for it to become a place that shows the history of WordPress, i.e. how many downloads we had per release and the progress,” he said. “I hope that people will be able to get more insight about how WordPress has grown over the years.”

WP Central‘s graphs make it easy to visualize trends in WordPress downloads and version usage. Given that WordPress is a major part of millions of people’s lives on the web, it’s important to have helpful sites like WP Central that will track WordPress’ growth over time and make this data available to everyone. To find out about new data and visualizations added, follow WP Central on Twitter.

Menu Performance in WordPress 3.9

The next major release of WordPress is just around the corner — April 16th is the scheduled release date for WordPress 3.9. It will also be the very first version of WordPress with this little patch of mine running behind the scenes which enables plugins to improve the performance of rendering menus. In theory, it should save up to six database queries on each page load!

I have updated the Widget Output Cache plugin to include this new filter and add support for caching the menu output. Membership and e-commerce websites (and others with mostly logged-in users) should see the biggest performance improvement and decreased page load times. Be sure to check it out.

WordPress 3.8.2: First Security Release Shipped as a Background Update

photo credit: Will Montague - cc

photo credit: Will Montaguecc

WordPress 3.8.2 was released today with several important security fixes that warrant an immediate update. If you have background updates turned on, you should get the 3.8.2 security release within 12 hours. Of course, you can always update immediately via Dashboard > Update in the admin.

Andrew Nacin outlined the important security fixes in this release. In summary, they are:

  • Fixes a weakness that could let an attacker force their way into your site by forging authentication cookies
  • A fix to prevent a user with the Contributor role from improperly publishing posts.
  • Update to pass along additional information when processing pingbacks to help hosts identify potentially abusive requests.
  • Fixes a low-impact SQL injection by trusted users
  • Prevents possible cross-domain scripting through Plupload, the third-party library WordPress uses for uploading files.

These security concerns were discreetly disclosed to the WordPress security team, but now that they are public knowledge, it’s very important to get your sites updated to the latest version.

First WordPress Security Release Shipped as a Background Update

In the course of providing the 3.8.2 security update, a 3.7.2 release was also pushed out, which includes the same fixes for sites still running on 3.7.1.

We’ve now entered a new era of WordPress security updates wherein sites that are on older versions may have automatic updates enabled. Passing on those same security updates, wherever possible, only makes sense.

I asked Nacin how far back the team plans to provide security releases for sites running older versions of WordPress. “We don’t want sites to remain on older versions,” he said. “But it’s obviously tough to pass up the opportunity to keep them secure.”

There is no hard and fast rule set for how far back security updates will go, but Nacin says that they will continue to do what they can. “This was the first security release shipped as a background update, so it’s new to us, too,” he said. “But I would expect we’ll do whatever we can to keep sites secure.”

So far the automatic updates seem to be going quite well:

The first release candidate for 3.9 was also sent out on the heels of the 3.8.2 security update. You can expect to see the official 3.9 release next week on April 16th.