WordPress is Celebrating 20 Years of Empowering the Web

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, few technologies have stood the test of time as gracefully as WordPress. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), a platform that has revolutionized the way we build and manage websites.

Born on May 27, 2003, WordPress started as a humble blogging tool developed by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Little did they know that their creation would soon become a driving force behind millions of websites, powering everything from personal blogs to e-commerce platforms, news websites, and even corporate websites for Fortune 500 companies.

From its early beginnings, WordPress has grown exponentially. Its open-source nature and user-friendly interface attracted a vast community of developers, designers, and enthusiasts who contributed to its continuous improvement. With each new version and update, WordPress has become more powerful, flexible, and secure, adapting to the ever-changing needs of its users.

One of WordPress’s greatest strengths is its versatility. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a beginner with no coding experience, WordPress offers a wealth of themes, plugins, and customization options that make it accessible to users of all levels. It has democratized web publishing, enabling individuals and businesses alike to create stunning websites without the need for extensive technical expertise.

Over the past two decades, WordPress has become a driving force in the democratization of information, enabling people from all walks of life to share their stories, ideas, and knowledge with the world. It has empowered bloggers, journalists, and content creators, giving them a platform to amplify their voices and reach a global audience.

WordPress has also played a crucial role in fostering a vibrant community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for the web. From local meetups to international conferences, WordPress enthusiasts gather around the world to connect, learn, and collaborate. This sense of community has been instrumental in shaping the platform’s development and ensuring its continued success.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of WordPress, we reflect on the countless achievements and milestones it has reached. From the introduction of the Gutenberg block editor to the integration of mobile-responsive design, WordPress has consistently evolved to embrace emerging trends and technologies. It has kept pace with the ever-changing digital landscape, ensuring that its users can adapt and thrive in an increasingly competitive online world.

Looking ahead, the future of WordPress looks brighter than ever. With ongoing advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things, WordPress is poised to continue its transformative journey, empowering even more users and expanding its capabilities further.

On this momentous occasion, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to the entire WordPress community, past and present, for their dedication, innovation, and contributions. It is your collective efforts that have made WordPress the robust and inclusive platform it is today.

So here’s to WordPress and the next 20 years of growth, creativity, and limitless possibilities. Happy 20th anniversary, WordPress! May your legacy continue to shape the web for generations to come.

Benefits of Building Your Website with WordPress

Building a website can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a background in web development. However, there’s a solution that makes the process much easier and accessible to everyone – WordPress.

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. It’s a free and open-source platform that offers a wide range of features and benefits to both users and businesses. Here are some of the key benefits of building websites using WordPress.

Easy to Use and Customize
One of the biggest advantages of WordPress is its user-friendly interface. Even if you have no prior coding experience, you can easily set up and customize your website using its drag-and-drop features and intuitive design. There are thousands of themes available that you can use to change the look and feel of your website, and a vast library of plugins to add extra functionality.

SEO-Friendly
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for a website to rank well in search results and attract more traffic. WordPress is designed to be SEO-friendly, with features such as clean URL structures, built-in metadata, and the ability to add tags and keywords to your content.

Responsive Design
With the rise of mobile devices, it’s essential that websites are optimized for different screen sizes. WordPress automatically adjusts the layout of your website to fit the screen size of the device being used, ensuring that your website looks great on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Secure and Reliable
WordPress is constantly updated with security patches and bug fixes, so you can be confident that your website is secure and reliable. The platform also has a large community of users who can help you troubleshoot any issues you may encounter.

Affordable
Building a website from scratch can be expensive, but with WordPress, you can save money on development costs. The platform is free to use, and many of the themes and plugins are available at no cost. You can also choose to host your website on a variety of affordable hosting platforms, making it possible to have a professional-looking website for a fraction of the cost.

WordPress is a fantastic platform for building websites that offers a range of benefits for users and businesses. Its user-friendly interface, SEO-friendly features, responsive design, security, and affordability make it the perfect choice for anyone looking to establish an online presence. So why wait? Start building your website with WordPress today!

If you’re looking for a custom built WordPress website feel free to contact me.

How To remove default elements in Visual Composer

Visual composer can be a little overwhelming with all of the options and elements available. So here I will show you how to remove default elements that you may not be using to help cleanup the elements grid. Add the code below to your functions.php file. You will notice a list of the things I excluded in this example, these are elements that I am removing using their short-code value.

Tip: To find out an elements short-code simply add the element and then switch to classic mode to see the short code value.

Use Featured Image as Background Image in WordPress

To use your WordPress featured image as a background image, simply use the code below. Place the first line after your header call and add the style to the div you want. make sure to style your div properly to your liking.

Additionally, we can use what we created above but tweak it a bit. Here we will add a fallback background image in the mix just incase something goes wrong with a media file or someone forgets to add a featured image. As you can see we are linking to an image located in a “images” folder in your theme.

Happy coding!

Reduce HTTP Requests in WordPress

WordPress can be fickle when trying to speed it up, especially if you are using more than a handful of plugins. So to help with the performance we can reduce some requests by disabling some things in WordPress that we may not be using.

Disable Emoji’s

If you’re not using emoji’s on your site then lets not load them and reduce an HTTP request. Add the code below to your functions file.

/** 
* Disable the emoji's
*/
function disable_emojis() {
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'print_emoji_detection_script', 7 );
remove_action( 'admin_print_scripts', 'print_emoji_detection_script' );
remove_action( 'wp_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );
remove_action( 'admin_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );
remove_filter( 'the_content_feed', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );
remove_filter( 'comment_text_rss', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );
remove_filter( 'wp_mail', 'wp_staticize_emoji_for_email' );
add_filter( 'tiny_mce_plugins', 'disable_emojis_tinymce' );
}
add_action( 'init', 'disable_emojis' );

/**
* Filter function used to remove the tinymce emoji plugin.
*/
function disable_emojis_tinymce( $plugins ) {
if ( is_array( $plugins ) ) {
return array_diff( $plugins, array( 'wpemoji' ) );
} else {
return array();
}
}


Remove Embed

The embed script simply auto formats pasted content in the editor like videos or tweets, so if you do have a use for this leave this out. Add the code below to your functions file.

// Remove WP embed script
function speed_stop_loading_wp_embed() {
if (!is_admin()) {
wp_deregister_script('wp-embed');
}
}
add_action('init', 'speed_stop_loading_wp_embed');

Remove Query Strings

Most often scripts in WordPress will end in a number, this number is their version number (ver=1.1.2). This can prevent the scripts from caching so lets just remove them. Add the code below to your functions file.

/**
* Remove Query Strings
*/
function _remove_script_version( $src ){
$parts = explode( '?ver', $src );
return $parts[0];
}
add_filter( 'script_loader_src', '_remove_script_version', 15, 1 );
add_filter( 'style_loader_src', '_remove_script_version', 15, 1 );

Happy Coding!

How To Create A WordPress Widget Area

To create or add additional WordPress widget areas or sidebars to your WordPress website or theme its as simple as adding some code to your themes functions.php file. Now, as I always say you will first want to make sure you are editing your child theme (if using update-able theme) and if you do not have one then i recommend you create one.

Once in your theme, edit your functions.php file and add the code below. This will add an additional widget area to create a new or secondary sidebar you can use anywhere on your site. once saved you should now see the new widget area under appearance / widgets.

Now that you have created a new widget area you can place the widget area anywhere in your WordPress theme be using the example below.

To place your new sidebar or widget area in your theme using a shortcode, checkout the amr short code any widget plugin.

Happy Coding!

How To Improve Your WordPress Security

We all know that having your website hacked is not fun and can be down right frustrating knowing that it could have been prevented with some simple tips.

1. Secure Hosting

Finding a cheap hosting provider can be great on the wallet but it probably won’t be the most secure when it comes to security. Do your research and make sure you choose a hosting company with a good track record. Hopefully it has backup/restore and firewalls in place to help secure the server. When it comes to hosting the old saying “you get what you pay for” comes to light. It’s worth paying a little more to know your website is in good hands.

Here are few good hosting companies that are popular:
Blue Host
Media Temple
Host Gator

2. Keep up with updates

All of those updates for WordPress core, plugins and themes are there for a reason and security is a big one. If you do not keep everything up to date then you are leaving your website open to security vulnerabilities and attacks. So keep your site updated and have multiple backups just in case you have issues with updates not playing nice with one another.

3. Do not use admin as your username

Until version 3.0, installing WordPress would by default use the administrator username as “admin”. Now WordPress will ask you what username you would like to use but many will still use the username of admin out of old habits or ease to remember. This will leave your site open to malicious brute force attacks and with a weak password in place, you are just asking for your website to be hacked.

To change the username simply create a new administrator account and delete the old one.

4. Harden your backend

Make these quick edits in the WordPress backend to help secure your website even more.

Prevent access to all of your directories: (place in .htaccess file)


#Prevent folder browsing
Options All-Indexes

Protect your wp-config file: (place in .htaccess file)



order allow,deny
deny from all


Hide your WordPress version: (place in functions.php)


/* Hide WordPress Version */
function remove_version() {
return '';
}
add_filter('the_generator', 'remove_version');

Hide login error messages: (place in functions.php)


/* Hide Login Error Messages */
function wrong_login() {
return 'Wrong username or password.';
}
add_filter('login_errors', 'wrong_login');

5. Install Security plugins

On top of these tips you should always have a security plugin installed and up to date. I also recommend using more than one security plugin to help tighten security even more. Here is a list of popular and trusted plugins to get you started.

6. Backup your website

Lastly, make sure you have multiple full backup’s in place just in case something happens. With these backup’s on hand you can quickly restore your website to working order.

For automatic backup’s and restore I recommend using UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration plugin. It is very simple to use and you can schedule automatic backup’s and choose where to store them. If you need to do a restore, they have a one click restore function as well.

Happy Coding!

How To Create A Child Theme In WordPress

Many people using WordPress have heard the term child theme, or have come across themes that utilize child themes but might not understand what a child theme really is. I will explain this in simple terms and how to create one when developing and or customizing your theme.

What Is A Child Theme?

A child theme is a miniature version of your main theme, but WordPress will use whatever files that are in your child theme folder before your main theme. This gives your child theme hierarchy, this is why you always want to use a child theme when customizing. For example, lets say you have been working on customizing a theme you purchased from themeforest.net and after weeks of customizing and countless cups of coffee, the theme decides to roll out an update. You say “Sweet” and without thinking quickly update the theme and cannot wait to see the new changes. Then a few minutes later , you find that the update wiped out all of the changes you made because the update overwrote the theme files you have been tweaking to your liking, Ouch.

By creating a child theme, you create a set of separate files that you can use to customize the theme without ever affecting the original theme. Not only does this make updating a theme stress free, it also makes sure that you will never ruin your original theme as you are never actually modifying those files.

Quick & Easy Child Theme

The quickest and easiest way to create a child theme is to use a plugin, and the plugin I prefer to use is One Click Child Theme or Child Theme Wizard. The plugins are very easy to use, and will give you a simple child theme structure to build upon. Some other plugins I have used are just not as simplified and straight forward as these.

Simply download the plugin, install and activate. Next you will use the plugin to name and create you child theme, but make sure you activate your new child theme before starting any customization.

Note

You will copy any files that you will be editing from your original theme, into your child theme. Remember that WP will check for files in the child theme first, then the original theme if the needed file is not found. This gives the child theme authority over the original theme when the child theme is activated.

Tip: If you are not sure what file to edit, use the plugin What The File to find out what file is being used on every page.

Child Theme Resources