Tag: wordpress

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 3)

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 3)

This is part 3 of a series “Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog

In the last post I talked about WordPress Updates, next we will discuss choosing a WordPress Theme. My requirements for a theme may not be the same as yours but here they are.

WordPress Theme Must Haves

  • Clean Layout, Pleasing to the eye
  • Distinctive separation of header, page content, and sidebars
  • Responsive / Mobile Friendly Layout
  • <canonical> tag support
  • Schema.org Meta Tags
  • Open Graph Meta Tags
  • Twitter Cards Support
  • Post Thumbnails / Header Image Support
  • Flexible Theme Widget Slots
  • Plays nice with Sitemap, SEO, Caching Plugins
  • Must be based on Bootstrap, UIKit, or some other full featured CSS Framework
This is an example of Mobile Friendly, Responsive Layout

Over the years I relied on the WordPress delivered themes, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen, etc. Each one was a little different, generally followed web standards and loaded fast. My problem with these WordPress themes was that they sometimes had over exaggerated styling such as the huge header images of Twenty Seventeen which placed every page’s content below the page fold.

My search for a great WordPress Theme lead me to the LightHouse theme. Lighthouse ticked all of the boxes and after using it for a while I decided to support the theme’s creator by switching to the paid version. It’s available at a reasonable price of $32 USD. Lighthouse is a Bootstrap based, mobile responsive theme. It features a good number of Widget slots which gracefully disappear in the layout when not populated.

So I use Lighthouse, it’s not the ultimate WordPress theme but it serves me well. I wish you Happy searching for a WordPress Theme that fits your style!

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 2)

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a series “Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog

In the last post I talked about DigitalOcean hosting and CloudFlare CDN.   In this post we will move into the WordPress realm.

WordPress is great!  I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone or for every site but it sure does have a lot to offer.  If you are trying to decide if WordPress would be a good fit for your website you might want to keep reading.

The best feature of WordPress is in-place upgrades to newer versions, as well as delivery of  Theme and Plugin updates.  Web-based application are hard to upgrade but WordPress has struck a good balance with it’s approach.  Once  configured correctly, your WordPress blog and installed plugins can be updated with only a few clicks.  It’s very important in today’s landscape to keep software up-to-date.

Before you launch your website and begin blogging you want to make sure you have WordPress updates configured properly.  There are  several updates methods including Auto Updates, I personally use the FTP update method.  I simply configure VSFTP to only bind to localhost (127.0.0.1), give WordPress the correctly credentials and everything upgrades smoothly.

Here is where you want to start if you are configuring WordPress Updates

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 1)

Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog (Part 1)

This is part 1 of a series “Behind-the-scenes of a WordPress Blog

This month marks the 10th anniversary of this blog so I thought I would do a behind-the-scenes tour and share with you some of the WordPress plugins and techniques that I have relied on and refined over the years.

Before we get into the WordPress specifics lets look at how and where the site runs.   The website begin life on a Slicehost VM.  I absolutely loved SliceHost, they came into the webhosting/vps landscape with disruptive pricing and just killed competition.  Unfortunately, Rackspace acquired SliceHost and ran it into the dirt.

Enter DigitalOcean, I don’t remember exactly how I discovered DigitalOcean but the price was right, I migrated all of my websites and never looked back.  So, DigitalOcean is where I now host the site, originally on a 512MB Ubuntu Droplet.  It was challenging to configure Apache/MySQL to coexist with only 512MB of RAM but I was happy with the performance.  When I upgraded from one Ubuntu LTS version to the next I did so by creating a new 1GB droplet and I migrated everything over.  In late 2017, DigitalOcean double these 1GB Droplets to 2GB Droplet.   Today the site runs on a 2GB Droplet with 1 vCPU, 2GB RAM, and 50GB of SSD storage.

Want your own server from DigitalOcean and $10 credit?

As I hinted, the host operating system is Ubuntu running Apache Web Server and MySQL.  I have since fronted the entire site with CloudFlare which was a no-brainer for me.  I’ve enjoyed the inherent caching and features that you get for FREE with CloudFlare.  For example the site is now SSL enabled, I didn’t have to buy or install an SSL certificate.  All SSL technicalities were handled by CloudFlare with the flip of a few switches.