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Top 4 Ecommerce Plugins For WordPress
Filed under: How To,Industry Insights,News,Products  February 25, 2015

Over the holidays we shared a few ecommerce security and performance tips for our customers, but we’ve yet to delve into the process of actually setting up an ecommerce site. Many of our customers utilize WordPress for their websites, which is also a great option for ecommerce sites. WordPress offers small and medium-sized businesses the ability to grow their web presence and sales capacity quickly via one of the many available ecommerce plugins. Before deciding to build an ecommerce site, businesses will want to remember to think about the special security requirements, specifically protecting their customer’s data with PCI Compliance.

For those customers who have decided that WordPress is the ideal home for their ecommerce site, there are plenty of plugins available that can easily add product pages, a shopping cart, and a simple checkout process. However, choosing between the numerous options can be overwhelming. The following plugins are highly recommended by our Heroic Support® team and offer many features that can help enhance your ecommerce store.

  1. WooCommerce
    WooCommerce WordPress Ecommerce Security PluginThe most popular plugin for WordPress ecommerce, WooCommerce is established, respected and reliable. The primary benefit of this plugin is the strong community of developers supporting both it and its many extensions and themes. With seamless dashboard integration with WordPress, this plugin is free, easy to use, and intuitive. Features include standard integration with PayPal, sales and reviews reports, multiple shipping options, inventory management, customer account areas, flexible couponing system, control over shipping/tax charges, and a plethora of premium add-ons available for a fee. WooCommerce is ideal for all shapes and sizes of ecommerce businesses, whether you deal in digital or physical products, have very little inventory or whole warehouses full, offer subscription products, or need to bundle your products.
  2. Shopp
    Shopp WordPress Ecommerce PluginThe Shopp ecommerce plugin often integrates with your existing WordPress themes. It offers many standard features needed for an ecommerce business, including integration with many payment gateways (such as PayPal and Google Checkout), order management, email notification, coupon codes, control over tax/shipping charges, related products, RSS feeds, and options for a grid or list view. This plugin is free to download, but additional support and features are available for purchase. Shopp is ideal for an ecommerce business that has a larger product inventory and is easily customizable for developers.
  3. Cart66
    Cart66 WordPress Ecommerce PluginCart66 stands out amongst the other available plugins because of its unique hosted checkout option. With Cart66’s hosted checkout option, your business doesn’t need to worry about hosting or protecting your customer’s data with PCI Compliance or SSL Certificates. Their checkout solution will match your theme and appear to be part of your site, but will actually be hosted on their secure cloud server. Cart66 also offers many of the standard ecommerce features, such as order management, promotions, control over tax/shipping charges, support for multiple currencies, customizable email reports, custom product management, and affiliate platform integration. Cart66 is also a great option for those looking to sell subscription-based products, and offers both free and professional versions with a number of different licensing options.
  4. Easy Digital Downloads
    Easy Digital Downloads WordPress Ecommerce LogoWhile other plugins offer the ability to sell digital downloads, Easy Digital Downloads lives up to its name and excels at it. The plugin is simple and meant for those businesses that only sell digital downloads, such as plugins, files, music, etc. The plugin also allows the sale of digital content through subscriptions. Seamlessly integrating within the WordPress dashboard makes it easy to use, and it can be customized by developers. Easy Digital Downloads is free, but extra extensions and themes are available to purchase. Other features include discount codes, user purchase history, and sales reports.

The ecommerce plugin you choose for your WordPress site should be based on your unique business needs. For additional resources, consult our other blog posts for information on the best WordPress security plugins to protect your site, as well as general WordPress security tips. While themes, plugins, and custom modifications are not covered with our fully managed Heroic Support®, our team will always provide Best Effort Support for installing and troubleshooting plugins for WordPress, 24/7/365. Our WordPress hosting solutions are available on our Shared hosting, Storm® VPS hosting, and Dedicated hosting plans.

KB Weekly Wrap-Up 2-20-15
Filed under: Heroic Support,How To,Knowledge Base  February 20, 2015

Liquid Web Knowledge Base Weekly Wrap-UpHave you checked in lately with our Knowledge Base? We’re always adding helpful how-to’s and explanations for our customers. This week we’re featuring instructions on updating Bash, installing mlocate, MySQL/MariaDB, and Apache!

Don’t see what you need to know? Contact our Heroic Support® team and we’ll help! If you’d like to request a specific article for our Knowledge Base, let us know at support@liquidweb.com.

Top Four WordPress Security Tips You Need To Follow
Filed under: How To,Industry Insights,News  February 18, 2015

Top WordPress Security Tips
When it comes to operating your business on a WordPress site, security is the most important consideration. WordPress sites are among the most targeted by attackers due to relatively common vulnerabilities that are easily secured with a small amount of effort. In a sample size of 4,322 WordPress websites hosted on Liquid Web’s network, we blocked and logged over 628,722 attacks in a 72 hour period; that’s over 48 blocked attacks per day per website. Some websites are more highly targeted and see four to five times more attacks per day than the average. Our proactive Security Team uses ModSecurity (a request filtering module for Apache) as one method of protecting our customers’ WordPress sites, but we can’t protect your server from every threat. If you’re looking to secure your WordPress site against such a deluge of attacks, here are four tips that will lead you in the right direction.

  1. Update Your Plugins & Themes

    Regularly updating all of your existing plugins and themes is the most effective method of securing your website. This is especially important given that outdated plugins and themes are a popular attack vectors for WordPress sites. While updating plugins is ultimately our customers’ responsibility, we do our best to help our customers as much as possible. For example, we have ModSecurity rules in place that prevent some outdated plugins from being exploited, providing our customers a small amount of leeway in their plugin maintenance. However, this service does not replace the need to monitor your plugins and we strongly recommend updating them whenever possible. It is possible to set at least the WordPress Core to automatically update. To learn how, check out our Knowledge Base article on enabling automatic background updates.

  2. Create Strong Passwords

    Another popular attack vector for WordPress sites is weak passwords. We have an in-depth Knowledge Base article with tips on how to create strong passwords, including which types of passwords to avoid. Attackers often use brute-force attacks that attempt to guess passwords, an effort that is only made easier by simple, dictionary word passwords. Our customers ultimately have the final authority on what passwords they choose, but in an effort to help secure their servers as much as possible we do utilize ModSecurity on most of our servers to block brute-force attacks.

  3. Maintain Regular Backups

    It is impossible to guarantee your server will never be successfully hacked, which is why it is vitally important to take regular backups of your site and data. You can recover from nearly any attack if you have a solid backup solution in place. Our Heroic Support® team can help you configure cPanel backups or our Guardian backup solution on your dedicated or Storm® server. For customers with Storm® servers, Storm® backups can be easily enabled from within your account. Up-to-date, secure, and offsite backups are critical to protect your site data in the event of an unavoidable attack.

  4. Utilize Security Plugins

    Once you have taken the proper precautions by updating your site, strengthening your passwords, and backing up your files, it’s time to think about a security plugin. The Liquid Web Security Team recommends a few WordPress plugins that are highly ranked and widely used across the industry. Learn more about our team’s WordPress security plugin recommendations.

The four tips above will go a long way toward protecting your WordPress site from would-be hackers. While themes, plugins, and custom modifications are not covered with our fully managed Heroic Support®, our team will provide Best Effort Support for those and other third-party plugins and issues. As always, our Heroic Support® is here to help, 24/7/365.

Top Three Security Plugins For Your WordPress Site
Filed under: How To,Industry Insights  February 11, 2015

Top WordPress Security Plugins
One of the most common tasks our Heroic Support® technicians do for our customers is help ensure their WordPress website is properly secured. There are many WordPress security plugins that can help with this task, but the options can be overwhelming. When it comes to finding the ideal security plugin for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend finding one that suits your needs and maintaining it properly. To help you narrow down your options, the following security plugins have been recommended by the Liquid Web Security Team. These plugins are ranked highly, used widely across the industry, and will help secure your site against potential attacks.

  1. WordFence

    WordFence will perform a deep scan on all of your source code files, themes, and plugins to verify their integrity and security. In addition, this plugin offers firewalls, virus scanning, a new caching engine, post & comment scanning, and file scanning. A unique feature of this plugin is the real-time map on the WordFence homepage that tracks attacks on WordPress sites. This map is used as a crowd-sourced approach to blocking attacks. If one site using the plugin is attacked, the attacker is then blocked by all other sites using the plugin, allowing your site to be even more protected.

  2. Takeaways:

    • Free
    • Caching Engine Speeds Up Site
    • Crowd-Sourced Blocking
    • File Verification Against WordPress.org Repository
  3. iThemes Security

    Formerly known as Better WP Security, this plugin prevents a number of different common attacks through strengthened user credentials, site & database monitoring, locking out users with multiple invalid login attempts, changing the admin login path and username, and limiting the number of times users can access the site (brute force protection). Not to mention, this plugin backs up database files prior to securing your site. It’s easy-to-use, quick start installation makes this plugin ideal for site security.

  4. Takeaways:

    • Easy to Use
    • In-Depth Tutorials
    • Obscures Vulnerable Default Configurations
    • Free and Pro Versions
  5. BulletProof Security

    Well known for its ability to secure and monitor logins, as well as prevent SQL injection attacks, BulletProof Security uses .htaccess files to secure the entire WordPress installation. In addition, it protects against RFI, CSRF, XSS, and Base64 attacks. This plugin also features verbose logging capabilities, which are handy for troubleshooting by your or Liquid Web’s admins. The available maintenance mode, backup and restoration of .htaccess files, login security, firewalls, and strengthened access privileges all make this plugin a great option to secure your site.

  6. Takeaways:

    • Performance Optimization
    • Logging
    • Easy Security via .htaccess Files
    • Free and Pro Versions
The importance of maintaining a secure website cannot be overstated. WordPress sites are often a target for attackers and therefore extra caution should be taken with your security. While plugins and other WordPress features are not covered under our fully managed Heroic Support®, our team will provide Best Effort support to help you in any way possible.

“Six More Weeks of Winter” Liquid Web Giveaway
Filed under: Contests  February 2, 2015

Happy Groundhog Day!

We don’t know about the weather where you are, but we are smack dab in the middle of winter at our Lansing, Michigan headquarters. Groundhog Day is always the time of year that us Michiganders start to think longingly of spring. However, this morning the famous, weather-predicting groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil” saw his shadow and promises six more weeks of winter. We may be wishing for spring, but it looks like we should be preparing for a couple more months of winter!

With that in mind, we’d like to give away a HUGE prize pack to help our customers get through the rest of this winter. Our Liquid Web Winter Gear Prize Pack includes our Glacier Jacket, a Liquid Web Beanie, Smartphone Gloves, and a Travel Mug to hold a warm beverage of your choice.
Liquid Web Winter Gear Prize Pack Giveaway
The Winter Prize Pack will be awarded in the form of LW Bucks, the point system used in our Brand Store. We’ll add LW bucks equivalent to the value of the prize pack in your LW Brand Store account. Don’t have an account? Signing up is free and easy!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below! The contest will run until Friday, February 6th. We will announce the winner that Friday at Noon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Three Reasons to Try Docker – A Container Technology Overview
Filed under: Industry Insights,New Technology,News  January 28, 2015

Docker Container TechnologyContainer technology has rapidly risen in popularity over the last couple of years – especially since the release of the Docker platform in 2013. While containers existed prior to Docker, their platform introduced versioning and vastly improved portability. These new features, among others, are what will continue to drive the exponentially increasing interest in container technology, like Docker, throughout 2015.

Containers are encapsulated, lightweight, and portable application modules. They allow developers and sysadmins to build and run multiple standardized application environments on a single server. Traditionally, virtual machines (VMs) have been used to achieve operating system isolation or unique application environments. However, containers have proven to be lighter weight, highly portable, and more easily deployed than their VM counterparts.

  1. Lightweight

    Unlike VMs, containers don’t incorporate their own operating system and instead rely on the host server’s operating system, while isolating an application’s dependencies. This makes containers extremely lightweight, requiring very few resources to operate and freeing up computing hardware for other applications, or additional containers.

  2. Advanced Portability Options

    Not only are containers lightweight, but they’re also highly portable. A containerized application can be easily extracted from one server running Docker and moved to another server that is also running Docker.

  3. Deployment Speed

    Due to their portable and lightweight construction, containers enable an app, or entire suite of apps, to be quickly assembled and deployed from saved and versioned containers. This makes the transition between development, testing, and production environments much smoother, allowing products to ship faster and run across devices in an unchanged environment. Many of the common development and production roadblocks, due to differences in development environments, are easily routed around with containers.

While it is the buzzword of the moment, container technology hasn’t grown so quickly in popularity without a number of skeptics raising questions, notably about the maturity of the technology’s security. Despite such questions, containers do offer a number of benefits for the curious developer. Compatible with Liquid Web’s Storm® Platform, the Docker platform could considerably speed up the development and deployment processes for our customers. For those customers interested in learning more about installing and operating Docker on their servers, our Knowledge Base has a series of instructional articles to help you get started.

KB Weekly Wrap-Up 1-9-15
Filed under: How To,Knowledge Base,News  January 9, 2015

Knowledge Base Weekly Wrap-Up
Don’t forget to check in regularly with our Knowledge Base, to which we add helpful, new articles every day. In this edition of our KB Weekly Wrap-Up, we feature step-by-step instructions for installing Logwatch, lsyncd, MySQL/MariaDB, ProFTPD, and Varnish, all on the Fedora 21 operating system.

Don’t see what you need to know? Contact our Heroic Support® team and we’ll help! If you’d like to request a specific article for our Knowledge Base, let us know at support@liquidweb.com.

Another Year of 99.995 Percent Uptime at Liquid Web
Filed under: Heroic Support,News  

Liquid Web Network
Now that 2015 has well and truly begun, we can take a look back at our uptime throughout 2014. For yet another year, we’ve maintained 99.995% uptime, according to HyperSpin reports. This impressive number represents all the hard work our Heroic Support® teams have put in throughout the last year for our customers, including everything from important network upgrades to an overall commitment to excellent customer service.
Liquid Web Uptime Report 2014
Our 99.995% uptime in 2014 is partially attributable to the significant upgrades we made to our network throughout the year. These upgrades include updated border, core, distribution, and access layers across all of our data centers, giving us three times the capacity of our previous hardware. In addition to the upgrades we made, we also consistently rely on our redundant power, cooling, and networking systems to provide secure and dependable uptime to our customers.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and invested a lot of resources upgrading our core network to increase uptime, throughput, stability, and reliability,” explained Nick Cappelletti, the head of Liquid Web’s Networking Department. “There have been a lot of long nights and large amounts of caffeine during this process and we have even more exciting core router upgrades to come later this year.”

It isn’t only our incredible uptime percentage of 99.995% that makes Liquid Web stand out from other hosts. What’s equally as important is how we handle downtime when it does occur. For those situations, we’ve created our Heroic Promise® to protect our customers. Everything from our carefully designed network, to our Heroic Support® is catered to making sure our customers have the best experience possible. Here’s to another successful year in 2015!

KB Weekly Wrap-Up 1-2-15
Filed under: How To,Knowledge Base,News  January 2, 2015

Knowledge Base Weekly Wrap-Up 1-2-15
Welcome to 2015! The year may have changed, but our Knowledge Base is still here with fresh and insightful content. If your New Year’s resolution involves learning more about your hosting environment, then you’ve come to the right place. In this edition of our KB Weekly Wrap-Up, we feature instructions for installing Git and PostgreSQL, adding users on Fedora 21, and all the information you need on the latest CVE-2014-9322 vulnerability.

Don’t see what you need to know? Contact our Heroic Support® team and we’ll help! If you’d like to request a specific article for our Knowledge Base, let us know at support@liquidweb.com.

KB Weekly Wrap-Up 12-26-14
Filed under: How To,Knowledge Base,News  December 26, 2014

KB Weekly Wrap-Up 12-26-14
Merry Christmas! Now that the holiday is over, the presents are all opened, and the Christmas dinner leftovers are put away, you might find your mind wandering back to your hosting environment. When that happens, check out our Knowledge Base, which we’re updating all through the Holiday season. In this edition of the KB Weekly Wrap-Up we feature vsftpd, Firewalld, Python, Pip, and MongoDB.

Don’t see what you need to know? Contact our Heroic Support® team and we’ll help! If you’d like to request a specific article for our Knowledge Base, let us know at support@liquidweb.com.

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