Archive | March, 2017

What is Malware and How to Prevent It

If you’ve been a victim of malware, you know how frustrating it is to remove. Unless you’re an expert, you may lose valuable time and money trying to figure out how to fix the damage done. This blog will explain what malware is, and how to prevent it from happening.

What is Malware?

Malware stands for malicious hardware. As you can probably figure out, is not something you want on your WordPress website. “The most common types of malware are viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and zombies,” states Website Defender.

This website explains different types of malware, stating that the most common type of malware comes in the shape of a virus. Viruses are very tricky to detect because they can live on your site for different periods of time without you knowing about them. Your WordPress site may act strange all of a sudden but it doesn’t always mean it has just been infected. The virus could have been implemented days, weeks, months, or even years ago before manifesting itself. The trick is, it acts like your own site for some time, which helps the site’s owner not realize that an infection has occurred.

A worm is a more extreme case of a virus. Viruses spread on one computer, while worms have the capability to travel between computers, thus making them much more aggressive when spreading.

A trojan is an attack that is masked as something else, like a photo or a video. For example, if you get an e-mail from an unknown address asking you to open a photo, the photo can actually contain malware in the form of a trojan. The trojan will then leave a virus on your computer.

Spyware is malware that people use to get information from people’s computers. First, the spyware gathers info. Then the info is sent back to the person who infected the computer.

Zombies are probably the most unpleasant form of malware for those that witness its effects. Once a zombie has been implemented on a computer, the controller can send commands that your computer will follow. Therefore, it can greatly affect your WordPress site, making it do whatever the controller wants. If you’ve ever operated your computer, only to be shocked to see it having a mind of its own, it most likely has been infected with a zombie.

Good Hosting Companies to Prevent Malware

From our experience, we have found that most types of malware affect WordPress sites through hosting companies. Hosting companies sell you space on the Internet where your WordPress site will exist. The best malware removal tip is to prevent malware from getting on your site. Two good hosting companies we can recommend are WP Engine and Siteground.

WordPress hostingWP Engine

Although this hosting is very tech-heavy, it is also great for novices as they have very helpful customer service. Every single member of their staff is a hosting expert, and they will take the time to answer all your questions about what is malware and also steps to prevent malware. They offer time machine based backups for easy rollback or restores, and if your site does ever get hacked, they will take full responsibility and restore it at no cost. One great feature is that they offer a clone button of your live site that copies your WordPress site to staging environment. This is great for development as it create a “sandbox” site for development and testing without effecting your current, live site. The first level of hosting is $29/mo per site risk-free for 60 days.

NOTE: WP Engine doesn’t offer an email solution so this would have to be setup independently. Rackspace has dedicated email ($2/mo per user) or Google Apps for Business ($50/year per user).hosting for wordpress

SiteGround

For more affordable hosting, we like SiteGround, which offers competitive rates for hosting and is WordPress friendly. SiteGround claims that they create custom hosting for each WordPress site, making it faster and better. They often run promotions so you can check the site for their latest offers. Their first package starts at $3.95/mo for 1-3 years and then switches to $9.95/mo. For added security, we recommend adding CloudFlare and security plugins such as Login Lockdown, Sucuri’s one click hardening, BulletProof Security, Sitelock, or Wordfence. The best thing about CloudFlare is its capability of expediting and safeguarding practically anything online. This includes the great mass of websites, APIs, and other properties connected to the Internet. SiteGround has a built-in one-click integration with cPanel and a lower rate on the Plus plan. It can also help speed up the site.

Plugins to Keep Your Site Secure

Login Lockdown is a security plugin that has the capability of limiting the number of login attempts from a given IP range within a certain time period. Every failed attempt is recorded then the login function is disabled. It currently defaults to an hour lock out of an IP block after 3 failed attempts within 5 minutes.

Sucuri is a globally recognized authority in all matters related to website security, with specialization in WordPress Security. The Sucuri Security WordPress Security plugin is free to all WordPress users.

Bulletproof Security protects against known and unknown attacks like brute force login attack. It also features database backup and protection, and firewall security and protection.

Sitelock protects more than six million websites all over the world.  It has all the technology to do regular scanning, auto-removal of malware, and web app firewall to ensure the safety of sites.

Wordfence is a security plugin that provides the best protection suited to a particular website. This is also powered by the constantly updated Threat Defense Feed, which allows WordFence Firewall to stop websites from getting hacked. Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting website users quickly in the event the site is compromised.

The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.

For more information about making your site mobile friendly, contact Behla Design.

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, wordpress

Why Creating a WordPress Child Theme is Important For Your Site

Cute little girl and mother on bed using laptop at home in the bedroom

A developer recently asked us about the benefits of creating a WordPress child theme for websites. This was such a great question, after all, many people do not know or would not think of how to create two different versions of their site. However, creating a parent and a child theme is actually very important for a particular website.

While many people who have a WordPress blog or site will choose to use the default themes that WordPress offers, this may not be always the best option. Even some of the best WordPress themes are already set up, so it can be minimal in terms of functionality and features, and customization is limited. Therefore, we usually say that the best WordPress themes are custom, with the help of frameworks such as WooThemes. However, you should decide what works best for you depending on your skill level and needs.

Woo Themes

Woo Themes

What is a WordPress Theme Framework?

A parent theme, also known as a WordPress theme framework is “the term WordPress theme framework often refer to a code library that is used to facilitate development of a theme,” according to WP Beginner. Various theme frameworks exist, some are paid, others are free. Some allow you to just implement design if you’re a beginner and don’t really know how to set up a WordPress blog or site, and others offer the bare minimum and allow you to code the site to your specifications.

Among the recent best choice when it comes to building WordPress websites is BeaverBuilder.  It became popular for a number of reasons. Images and texts can be positioned with precision, and column-based layouts can be built in a matter of minutes. It also comes with a number of gorgeous page templates to choose from.

There are many advantages to using a theme, for example, it speeds up development time because you don’t need to build your website or WordPress blog from scratch. Also, some of the best WordPress themes are popular, so if you have any questions, there are forums where you can get help from others.

What is a WordPress Child Theme?

A WordPress child theme is a theme that you create for your WordPress blog or site. The most important thing to know is that a child theme is a secondary theme. The first and main theme that you create is called a parent theme. This is the framework where you control all the functions.

“A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme,” states WordPress. “Child theme allows you to modify, or add to the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override within.”

wordpress theme framework

WordPress theme

What are the Benefits of Creating a WordPress Child Theme?

1. Development – Creating a child theme will speed up the time it takes to develop your WordPress blog or site. It’s also pretty easy to learn as many of the best WordPress themes allow even beginners to easily set up a theme.

2. Not Losing Changes – Many times, when you update a WordPress theme, any changes or customization you have made to your website will be lost. Creating a WordPress child theme prevents that from happening. You can customize the child theme, and then update the parent theme. All the updates and new features will automatically be applied to the child theme, but none of the customization will be affected.

3. Allows for Mistakes – “When you are creating a complete theme, you need to think about all the possible scenarios and code for them,” says WP Beginner. “However, when you are working on a child theme and you forgot to code for something, then there is always the parent theme’s functionality available as the fallback option.”

How to Create a WordPress Child Theme

WordPress.org gives a great summary of how to create a child theme:

  • Create a directory in your themes directory to hold the child theme. The theme directory is wp-content/themes. You should name the directory without any space as part of the name, and it is common practice to use the name of the parent theme folder with “-child” appended to it. For example, if you are making a child of the twentythirteen theme, your folder name would be twentythirteen-child.
  • In the child theme directory, create a file called style.css. This is the only file required to make a child theme. The style sheet must start with the following lines:
/*
 Theme Name:     Twenty Thirteen Child
 Theme URI:      http://example.com/twenty-thirteen-child/
 Description:    Twenty Thirteen Child Theme
 Author:         John Doe
 Author URI:     http://example.com
 Template:       twentythirteen
 Version:        1.0.0
*/

@import url("../twentythirteen/style.css");

/* =Theme customization starts here
-------------------------------------------------------------- */

You can change each of these lines to suit your theme. The only required lines are the Theme Name, and the Template. The Template is the directory name of the parent theme. In this case, the parent theme is the TwentyThirteen theme, so the Template is twentythirteen, which is the name of the directory where the TwentyThirteen theme resides. If you want to make a child of a theme with the directory name example-theme-name, then you would use Template: example-theme-name.

  • The child theme’s stylesheet is included after the parent theme’s and styles will therefore override those in the parent theme’s stylesheet.
  • Activate the child theme. Log in to your site’s dashboard, and go to Administration Panels > Appearance > Themes. You will see your child theme listed there. Click Activate.

In conclusion, remember that creating a WordPress child theme can have many great benefits to your WordPress blog or site. However, if you don’t make too many changes to your original site, you may not need one. So do your research and figure out the best way to go for your website.

The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copy writing professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.

For more information about making your site mobile friendly, contact Behla Design.

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, wordpress

Why WordPress is the Best Solution for Your E-commerce Store

More and more people and companies are turning to the Internet to sell merchandise or services. E-commerce stores have become so popular that in just three months in 2005, sales from e-commerce stores totaled $22.3 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With an e-commerce site, you can sell practically anything from clothes to food, vitamins to art, even services, such as translating or writing. All you need to do is to make a great, easy-to-use and functional website.

For our clients, we always turn to WordPress – a great option for both novice and seasoned web designers. WordPress is very customizable to all your needs and has thousands of forums with discussions on how to navigate the site.

Read this blog for our advice or reasons why WordPress is the best solution for your e-commerce store and find out why Mashable said that “today, e-commerce on WordPress is ready for prime time.”

Three Reasons Why WordPress is the Best Solution for Your E-commerce Store

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

One of the best reasons why WordPress should be your first choice when it comes to e-commerce is “WooCommerce.” It’s a free, popular toolkit for your WordPress site.

WooCommerce is a platform that’s perfect for e-commerce startups because it can expand in many ways. With its huge flexibility, WooCommerce can be capable of selling downloads, physical products, virtual products, subscriptions, and more. Additionally, your products can be categorized and given sale prices. All these can help you grow your business sans the trouble of having a number of plugins and solutions to maintain.

This plugin also works seamlessly with PayPal, the number one way to accept payments online, as well as UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc. Even though you may be just one person packing and sending out your merchandise, you can be as efficient and trustworthy as a big retail giant, such as Amazon, with all the tools that WooCommerce provides.

WooCommerce also lets you run great promotions on your WordPress e-commerce site with specials, coupons, sales, promotional codes, and even gift certificates. Furthermore, the plugin keeps track of all your visitors, sales, turn around, etc. to provide you with an accurate picture of how your business is doing. You can see what your most popular products are, how many people come to your site and leave without buying anything, and how promotions affect your sales.

Digital Downloads

If you are selling photographs, music, books, or other digital downloads, WordPress is a great solution. WordPress has various plugins to sell your downloads without your customers ever having to leave your store. For example, Easy Digital Downloads lets you sell e-books and other downloads free of charge. The best part is that as long as you have an active WordPress e-commerce site, you can set up this plugin and start selling in minutes. They have over 190 extensions to truly set up your website to your needs and preferences.paypal

PayPal for Digital Goods is another reason why WordPress is the best solution for your e-commerce store. PayPal makes it just as easy to sell music as it is to sell shoes. The best part about using PayPal is its top of the line security. Clients feel safe entering their bank and credit card information, and you, the seller, feel safe knowing that PayPal will protect you from fraudulent attempts.

Affiliates

If you want to start an e-commerce site, you can start to make money without having any merchandize to sell. The way you can do that is through affiliate networking. Read our blog about the best WordPress affiliate plugins for more information. This is how an affiliate program works. Say you want to sell products from Amazon. You sign up to Amazon’s affiliate program, which gives you the right to sell their merchandise on your e-commerce website. When you make a sale, Amazon ships the item for you, and pays you a commission of the proceeds. This is a great way to make money online, as you don’t need to invest in any items to sell; you simply make money every time someone buys something from Amazon from your site.

The team at Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development, is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of top web design, web development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals that had worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your next project.

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, woocommerce