I have decided to create a list of just my WordPress lists. They include themes, plugins, resources, tutorials, news and podcasts. And I’m sure I’ll be creating even more. In fact, soon I will be adding a list of WooCommerce extensions that I have used and recommend.Continue Reading
BobWP has run on WPEngine since May of 2013. What better way to celebrate my appreciation to WPEngine than giving my readers 33% off your first three months of hosting.Continue Reading
I would like to share with you some tools online that I use in a pinch: for those little tasks or gathering some quick info. Some are directly related to WordPress while others are not. But I promise you, they are all very handy.Continue Reading
GoDaddy has come a long way. As with many people, I have had my own opinions in the past. But why dwell on the past?
In the past year GoDaddy, has made some serious changes, all very positive. I’ve watched many within the WordPress community and beyond change their attitudes, and a lot of them are people I know and trust. I have also had the chance to exchange emails with and personally meet Mendel Kurland, GoDaddy Evangelist, over the last few months. I have created both a friendship and business relationship with Mendel. And seriously, he is good people.
As a result two things have happened.
The first was when I approached them about sponsoring a WordPress workshop that I wanted to provide free: What Is WordPress and Why Should I Use It? And that happened. (Note, they didn’t come to me, I asked them.) You can register for the first one on April 9th, in Bellevue, WA. But you will see one more coming to Bellevue, and two more in Seattle over the next few months.
The second thing that happened? They released their GoDaddy Pro Managed Hosting. That did catch my eye and as a result of digging under the hood a little, I am can now share with you what if offers.
Installing and Migrating
When I first opened my account, I was given the option of either doing a new install or migrating a current site over. I knew that very few hosts can screw up a fresh install, and there would be no issues there, so I opted for a migration. I didn’t want to migrate this site over, but wanted something a bit more than a fresh install somewhere else. So I set up a simple site, added a few plugins, activated a WooTheme and installed WooCommerce.
Once that was set up, I returned to GoDaddy to migrate my site. After clicking on the Migrate button it asked me for this:
WordPress User Name
Now some of you may be saying, FTP? Ugh.
Well, here’s a tip. Anytime you have someone set up a site for you, make sure to get the FTP access from them. Yes, you can find it in your hosting account, but it’s much easier to ask. And once that person is done helping you, make sure to change your FTP password.
Okay. Back to the migration. They also informed me that it would take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of my site. Sounded good to me.
I clicked the button and waited for the email that would let me know when it’s done. In less than 30 minutes, it came my way. After logging in and poking around a bit, the migration went smooth as silk. In my case, it was perfectly done.
One of the first things I checked was my set of plugins. As you will see, two were installed, but not activated: Go Daddy Quick Setup and WP101 Video Tutorials. I know that some people do not like having any plugins automatically installed without their permission, but I don’t see anything wrong here. They are both tools to help the new WP user. And if you are new to WordPress, I would really suggest checking out those WP101 Videos. And of course, there were a couple of must-see plugins installed, which is also common with any managed host.
The GoDaddy Dashboard
Your managed dashboard is nice and uncluttered. You basically have two options. 1. Manage: Allows you to enter your WP dashboard via this panel. 2. Settings: these are your managed host settings, which I will be going through. You will also notice that if you have several sites, they can all be managed from this dashboard.
Here are the settings that come with my GoDaddy Pro Business Plan. One thing to note here: If you go with the Starter Plan, you will not have the One-Click Staging or SSH Access as seen here.
As you saw in the previous screenshot, your first option is to add a domain to your site. When you first install WordPress, it will give you a temporary domain. But assigning a domain is very easy and straight-forward. Once you click Add Domain, you get this screen. You can easily select one you have purchased on GoDaddy, or enter one you have registered elsewhere. If you choose the latter, you will still need to go there and change the DNS which you can find easily under DNS.
This is one of the very cool things with managed hosting. They typically back up everything daily and will let your restore a backup with a single click, whether it’s just your database or a full restore. GoDaddy Pro is no different. I restored a backup and there were no issues. The only thing missing is the ability to create an instant backup, which can come in handy at times. This is something I prefer, but the fact that it is backed up every day and has an easy restore is good for most WordPress users.
This is handy if you are needing to know what it is when you are pointing a domain from another registrar. At least you don’t have to hunt it down. Of course, if pointing your domain is still a bit fuzzy to you, I would suggest getting help from the registrar you have your domain with.
SSH & SFTP
This is where you can find your SFTP settings. Now you may be confusing it with FTP, but don’t worry. Since this is managed hosting, this is Secure FTP. It’s used when you need to access your files via FTP using an FTP client like FileZilla. For those of you who are a little lost right now, here is an example for knowing when these settings would be helpful. Let’s say you installed a new plugin via your dashboard and activated it. Then, bam, suddenly you get some weird error that won’t let you into your dashboard.
What to do? Well, the easiest thing would be to access your plugin folder via FTP and delete it. This info will help you or someone you have asked to help you. In any case, it’s easily found here.
As I mentioned before, the SSH option is not available in the Starter Plan. But no worries. Without getting into it, you will know if you need that option or if you want it. This just makes it easy to activate.
Again, this is just giving you the info you or someone else needs to access your database.
Staging is one of the coolest features that comes with a lot of managed WordPress hosting. But again, as mentioned earlier, this is not available in the Starter Plan. You will notice that you get a couple of options when it comes to this. The first is moving your entire site and all content into staging—or the ability to just move theme and plugins there, which would be good if you are testing new plugins or a theme on your site.
Staging is a must-have for developers and designers. The fact that you can clone your entire site and work on it while your current site is live is incredibly time-saving, whether it’s a redesign, adding some new plugins, changing your theme, updating or a number of other situations. The ability to make sure everything is working right and nothing blows up is priceless. And when you feel confident everything is just right, you simply move your site back to live from staging.
The only other thing to add here is it’s just not for developers and designers. If you are a user that likes to do tweaks to your site, add new plugins as needed, or a number of other things, this can also save you time and a bunch of headaches. So give that some thought.
Once you have moved your site into staging, you will be able to access it easily here. (Also, you will find info for your staging environment under SSH & SFTP and DATABASE.)
And lastly, you can easily remove all traces of your site if needed.
So there you have it. GoDaddy Pro Managed WordPress Hosting. Pretty slick, huh? And as most managed hosting, they promise better performance, enhanced security, and other great features.
Now before I go, you might be asking one or all of these questions:
Do you recommend this?
Yes, I do. From my experience so far with the hosting, and any support questions I had up till now, I have been very happy with the results. But if you know me, yes, I do have a few hosts that I recommend. And each depends on the client’s needs.
Are you going to run BobWP on GoDaddy?
Nope, not now or in the foreseeable future. I have been on WPEngine for a long time and am very happy with it. No reason for me to change. I am just happy to find another option to recommend to my clients and readers, one that I know, use and trust. But as I have found from experience, as a business owner and in life, never say never.
Will you be hosting a new site on GoDaddy?
Right now, the account where I did all this is a test site. I can continue to give it a good going over, use it for various testing, and see how it plays out in the long run. And who knows, another use may come up. So keep your eyes on an update in the future on how all this has played over the long term.
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You may be curious because you have heard people talking about it, or some friend or colleague said you should start a blog on WordPress. Or you are just starting with WordPress and still have a lot of unanswered questions.
In this video tutorial you will learn what an open-source software means to you and the differences between WordPress.com, WordPress.org and a self-hosted WordPress site. Also you will understand more what choices you have when starting your WordPress site or blog
Some thoughts from the video:
WordPress is free software that can be installed or uploaded from WordPress.org. WordPress powers over 23% (and growing) of the websites on the internet. WordPress is secure. All websites are open to attacks and often WordPress problems come with poorly developed themes, or out-of-date themes and/or plugins. WordPress started as a blogging platform, but today is so powerful it can create any kind of website and blog. The confusion of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a managed hosting site that is run by a company and allows you to create a free blog there. So, for the sake of clarity, let’s change the options to:
WordPress.com vs. Self-hosted
No differences here. WordPress software is free in both cases.
Ease of Installation and Hosting Costs
WordPress.com – It’s free and easy to set up a simple blog or website. No installation necessary.
Self-hosted – The software is free, but you need to pay a small monthly hosting fee to a third party provider, as you do with your website. Some hosting services, such as InMotion.com, Web Hosting Hub and others, have one-click installations. And it’s already installed on some WordPress specialized hosting sites like WPEngine, If the host you choose doesn’t, you will need some understanding of FTP (file transfer protocol) and database setup.
Updates, Back-ups and Security Features
WordPress.com – Everything is automatic: all backups, including your posts, updates, security and spam filtering.
Self-hosted – You need to back up your post and files, install spam filtering, and do your own updates. But there are plugins for these functions that make easy for you. For example, WordPress DB backup lets you schedule your backups and will email you the files. BackupBuddy will back up your whole site and database. There are even hosting companies who specialize in WordPress like WPEngine that will do the backups for you. WordPress has one-click updates on your dashboard. But before updating, I suggest you make sure everything is backed up!
Choice of Themes
WordPress is based on themes, or what some people think of as templates.
WordPress.com – You are limited on your theme choices. There are limited number of themes to choose from and more are added from time to time. You can search the available themes by characteristics through your dashboard. And they have a selection of premium themes as well.
Self-hosted – You have access to thousands of themes, both free and paid. With so many choices, you are more likely to find a theme that fits your needs, style and personal brand. And by having more choices, you are able to choose more wisely with theme sites that not only give you quality themes, but good support as well. A note on themes: There are several great, free themes out there, but understand that with paid themes you are likely to get more stable features, updates as new WordPress versions come out, and much better support.
Plugin and Widget Options
Plugins are tools to help you expand the functionality of your WordPress blog or website. Widgets are like plugins, but give you a simpler way to arrange the various elements of your sidebar content—without having to change the code.
WordPress.com – Comes with a limited number of widgets and plugins. The one widget you will probably find most useful is the text widget. It lets you insert html code to create a widget that otherwise would not be available. But with this limits what you can do with your site. For example, you cannot add a shopping cart plugin and there are restrictions on how much advertising you can have as well.
Self-hosted – As with themes, there are a ton of widgets and plugins available on the Web and on WordPress.org. And, unlike WordPress.com, you are able to upload them to your site. A note: Research your plugins and widgets on the Web to find reputable and stable ones. For instance, find out if they will still work when you upgrade to a newer version of WordPress. Also, be selective. Don’t add plugins and widgets just because they are fun and cool.
Ability to Customize
The beauty of WordPress is the ability to customize your blog or website to convey your unique brand. In both cases, your theme has its own features to customize (for example, custom headers and colors).
WordPress.com – You are limited to which customization options each available theme has (custom headers, font size, etc.) WordPress.com does have an advanced feature: for $30 a year, per theme, you can customize the CSS (cascade style sheet). This will allow many more customization options, but you must understand CSS editing.
Self-hosted – There are two parts to this. First, you can now upload many more themes, including paid premium themes. Several of them have a wide array of custom options that don’t require CSS or html knowledge. The Headway theme is a good example of this. The second part: If you do know CSS or html, you have complete control to change code—if you are technically minded and know what the heck you are doing.
Ownership of Your Site
In my mind, this is the biggest difference. Full ownership of your site is critical.
Self-hosted – If you are self-hosted, you have total control over your site. If you don’t like one hosting service, you can move the whole thing somewhere else. You can also back up everything so you will never lose it. There are additional differences between .com and self-hosted, but this gives you a starting point as you weigh your options. consider Just remember to figure out your goals and needs first and then find which option will best fit them. For simple blogs and some websites, WordPress.com will probably serve your purpose. But for more customized blogs and websites, consider putting WordPress on your own server, especially if you want the flexibility you’ll need to grow your site down the road.
To celebrate, I wanted to quickly share WPEngine’s OctoberPress Hosting Fest. You will get 3 months free hosting with an annual hosting plan. And if you are curious why I use them and love them so much, check out this video from my membership site that I created just for WPEngine.
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Before you make any rash decisions, this is not some big ad for WPEngine. It’s just something that enough of us never think to do.
Thank a company for the great service they give you.
Both Judy and I have always made the biggest effort to do this. I remember when she went to ER one time, and sent a letter afterwards about how great the staff was. She was later told by the head ER doctor that the letter hung on a board in staff room for a long time!
The thing is it’s human nature to complain about when things go wrong. Unfortunately.
So back to WPEngine. A while ago I was listening to one of my favorite WP podcasts, the Dradcast. They were talking about a scathing post on WPEngine. I had read it myself and won’t give the person the satisfaction of providing a link here. But on the show one of the co-hosts, Dre, brought up exactly how I feel. He asked people to take the time to do a post and talk about the good service.
That’s what I’m doing here.
When I moved to managed hosting, it was a choice between two hosts, WPEngine being one of them. I had met several of the employees and also had chatted with a couple of them. I took two months to decide on WPEngine. And I’ve never regretted it.
Their product is great. Gives me everything I need to manage my WP site.
Customer service has always gone out of their way to solve my problems.
I don’t have one single complaint.
Now every hosting company is going to have their bumps in the road, big and small. Shit happens. I do truly believe to run a hosting company is probably one of the most thankless jobs around.
But I am thankful I chose WPEngine.
That is all, and if you have something good to say about someone, feel free to leave it. But for today, put aside the nastiness and rants.
I cannot tell you how many times someone has come to me for WordPress help and after I ask for specific information, like their hosting login, their FTP info, or even their WordPress login, it’s never a simple matter of finding it. Or they send me info that is outdated. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am adamant about every website owner retaining all of this info. So many have depended on their developer or designer to keep track of it. And when that person disappears, likely moving to a small remote island or having been abducted by aliens, you are SOL. With that said, make sure you have the following info at hand.
- Domain info
- Hosting info
- WordPress login
- FTP info
- WordPress database info
And to make it even easier for you, here is a pdf where you can record all of it. BobWP Online Web Info. Now get to work and gather that information. One last tip: When you hire someone to help or fix your site, I recommend that you create their own user profile, with a unique username and password. That way, when they are done, you can easily delete their profile and access. Not to say they aren’t trustworthy – it’s just better to be safe than sorry.
WPEngine is probably one of my favorite managed hosts for WordPress. That’s why we have all our sites there. Sure, compared to shared hosting they cost more, but for the security, site speed and their fantastic support, it’s well worth the money. But I’m not here to tell you all of their features, as you can find them for yourself at WPEngine.com.
But sometimes, when choosing a host, you don’t get the real feel for those special features by merely reading about them. Until you actually see how easy something is, it likely doesn’t impress you. That is why in this short video I show you two of WPEngine’s features, Backup Points and Staging.
Came across another great infographic. If you know me, I talk a lot about this as so many people have the concern of WordPress and security.
What I find particularly interesting is the How Do WordPress Sites Get Hacked? You will see nothing about flaws in the WordPress core. It’s all with hosting, plugins, weak passwords, etc. As someone said once on Twitter, WordPress, as the software, isn’t where the security issues are. It’s everything else. And even when you look at the last chart on core bugs, yes, they happen, but they get fixed right away. That is why we have small WordPress version updates.
UPDATE: Someone on Twitter pointed out the line in the infographic under Best Ways to Harden Your WordPress Security that said Do not install WordPress themes that are available for free. Their comment was this is misleading beyond belief. I agree. But also there is some truth in that and I think it should have been clarified. I’m not sure if they truly believe that all free themes suck, but I recommend only using free themes from WordPress.org or from a theme author or theme shop that you know and trust. Otherwise, just randomly pulling a free theme off the web opens you up to all kinds of security issues.