Posts

Uptime Robot: Free Website Monitoring Service

Uptime Robot Disclaimer: I have no connection with this service. I am not an affiliate, or an investor, nor am I acquainted in any way with the company or any of its officers or employees. From their website: Everyone with a website knows that, things can sometimes go wrong. Sometimes it is with the code, the server or the network…. Uptime Robot is all about helping you to keep your websites up. It monitors your websites every 5 minutes and alerts you if your sites are down (actually, it is smarter, details below). How It Works? The Details Here are the step-by-step actions of Uptime Robot to understand it better: it asks for your websites headers and gets status codes like “200-ok”, “404-not found”, etc. every 5 minutes (or more depending on the monitor’s settings), if the status code doesn’t indicate a problem, we are good if the status code is~400+ and 500+, then the site is not loading in order to make sure the site is down, Uptime Robot makes several more checks in the next 30 seconds, if the site is still down, it sends an alert. Why Free? Ok, we know it is hard to offer something for free. And, to be honest, we can not foresee the expenses it will have. As 2 designers/developers (Umut Muhaddisoglu, Daniel Rimille) behind this service who have been into many different projects, we simply want to experience. This is exactly why we created Uptime Robot (in Jan 2010). We know that nobody likes a free service going paid. If we ever need to charge users to guarantee the future of Uptime Robot, we’ll try our best to keep what is already free as free. Update Jan 13 2015: We have introduced a Pro Plan today. And, the Free Plan is

Contact Form 7 and noCaptcha-reCaptcha

For some time, I have been using Contact Form 7 on a number of WordPress sites together with one of the noCaptcha-reCaptcha plugins from wordpress.org. However, after a recent update of Contact Form 7, the pages no longer showed any Captcha form at all. After some investigation and a bit of trial and error, it turned out that Contact Form 7 now includes its own Captcha integration. The other (now redundant) Captcha plugin interefered with the CF7 display and they cancelled each other out. This was the case with two different supplementary Captcha plugins. The fix is quite simple and all done from your WordPress Dashboard: Deactivate and delete the now redundant extra Captcha plugin(s) Go to Contact Form 7 Integration Enter your Google reCaptcha keys there Then edit any and all contact forms for your site to ensure that the shortcode [recaptcha] appears just before the submit button. And that’s it! You now have a working reCaptcha form on all your contact forms again.    

WordPress Security Learning Center

The WordPress Security Learning Center – Wordfence Wordfence.com December 16, 2015 The makers of the WordPress security plugin, Wordfence and Wordfence Premium, announced a new free feature today: The WordPress Security Learning Center – Wordfence. It includes tutorials from beginner to advanced and developer level. Everything from WordPress Security basics, security threats and attack types to guides for developers to help them avoid writing vulnerabilities and to penetration test their own code. The Learning Center is a completely free resource. No registration is required and absolutely no payment is needed. We have put this together as a resource for the WordPress community to do our part to help secure WordPress as a platform. This new resource should prove to be an excellent resource for beginners to seasoned WordPress users. The articles and videos are written and designed for anybody wanting to learn more about WordPress Security; also, a great selection of back-to-the basic resources for any WordPress Network Pro or Admin, computer sciences (Comp Sci) student and professors too. They also include information on what to do if your WordPress site has been hacked. Check it out here: The WordPress Security Learning Center – Wordfence Disclaimer: I have no association or affiliation with Wordfence. However, I do use Wordfence on all my sites and on sites I create for others, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

How quickly your web pages load matters. Here’s why.

Having a web presence is essential in today’s world. But it doesn’t stop there: People have to see your web site and interact with it if your is going to impact on new and returning clients. We’ve known for some years now that page load speed is a Google ranking factor. With the increasing use of mobile search (smart phones and tablets), it has become even more important, especially for small local businesses. If your pages don’t start and finish loading within a few seconds, several studies have shown that mobile visitors will simply click away to the next item in the search results. Web Hosting for Optimized Page Load Speed by Adam Thompson, Search Engine Journal December 10, 2015 [T]his study shows no correlation between page complete load times and Google rankings, but it did find a correlation for time to first byte. Another study also found no correlation between rankings and page load time. It seems likely that the impact of page load speed on rankings is very small, so as SEOs it’s important that we don’t present page load speed as a major factor in rankings. [On the other hand], the impact of page load speed on users is likely much greater than its impact on Google rankings. Multiple studies have consistently documented the impact of page load speed on user experience – slow load times lead to user abandonment and decreased conversion rates. Scale does matter when discussing this benefit, though. An incremental improvement in conversion rate (which is huge for large e-retailers) may translate to a very small monetary benefit for websites with small traffic numbers. Thompson goes on to discuss the specific ways in which your hosting service and/or plan contributes to load speed. Read more… There are several factors that affect your page

Security and Your Small Business Website

A recent article by Megan Totka talks about the increasing targeting of small businesses in cyberattacks. When we think of cyber attacks, our minds often jump to major corporations, millions of dollars, and large scale media scandals. However, experts are saying that small businesses are increasingly at risk for data breaches and other cyber threats. …. In 2012, a report from Symantic Security Response found that attacks on small businesses had risen 300 percent over the previous year. That number has been on the rise ever since. The reason cyber attackers target small businesses is simple: it’s easier. They’re often less secure, with a smaller security budget, and the mindset that they’re too insignificant to attract attention. Given that most attacks are fully automated, these attackers can make it through a small business’s defenses much faster than they can a larger corporation, allowing them to target more companies in a shorter period of time. Unfortunately, the negative impact on small businesses may also be disproportionately higher. They often face a loss of public trust as well as a significant financial loss, which can be crippling to many businesses of this size. That’s precisely why today it is so important to build your small business website with security in mind and to ensure that your website is kept up to date to plug any security vulnerabilities that may arise in the future. All of the website designed by Psychlinks include site security as a top priority. For a free quote on creating a secure website and/or maintaining an existing website, please contact us today!

Fixed: iTunes won’t recognize your iPhone

  I recently discovered that iTunes would not recognize my iPhone 5s after upgrading to Windows 10 and/or upgrading to the latest version of iTunes. Of course, I did what most people would do and Googled it. Apparently, this is a pretty common problem with both Windows 10 and iTunes… The problem is there are pages and pages of advice… and for most of a full work day none of them made any difference for me. Installing, rebooting, uninstalling, rebooting, deleting, rebooting, reinstalling, rebooting. Nothing worked. Finally, I came across this Redmond Pie article from August 2015 by Taimur Asad. The first part of the article was, for me, a repeat of advice I’d already seen and tried. But near the bottom of the page was this gem – and this one worked perfectly for me: Apple Mobile Device Support, Service and USB Driver Check to see if Apple Mobile Device Support is installed from Control Panel > Uninstall a program. If it is not installed, you need to reinstall iTunes. Restart Apple Mobile Device Service: Type services.msc in Run (WinKey+R) and hit enter. Locate Apple Mobile Device or Apple Mobile Device Service and then right click > Properties. Then click on Stop to stop the service. Click Start to run the service again. Reboot your computer. Check Apple Mobile Device USB Driver: Type devmgmt.msc in Run (WinKey+R) and hit enter. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers entry and see if Apple Mobile Device USB Driver is listed. (Note: In my case, it was initially listed under Portable Devices originally, not USB Serial Bus Controllers! After the repair below, it moved to it’s correct location.) If it is not listed, you need to reinstall iTunes and then connect your iOS device to your PC and wait for Windows to automatically install the driver. But if it is listed and has a “!” or “?” on it, you need to reinstall

Does Your Small Business Need a Website?

With the ever increasing use of mobile devices and local search to find products and services, it now has become almost essential that your small business have a properly optimized website. Chances are your competitors already have one. The good news is that today this doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Ed Lieber at SmallBizTrends.com recently cited a study by GoDaddy in the US: A majority of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a recent survey. Specifically, 55 percent of U.S.-based small businesses (59 percent, including all the various countries that participated in the research) don’t have a website, according to a GoDaddy-commissioned global survey. That percentage stands to shrink, however, as 55 percent of these small businesses voiced an intent to launch an online presence for their small business within two years. Of the small business owners that have a website up and running, 83 percent believe that they have a competitive advantage over those without an online presence. The major perceived obstacles for small business owners are cost and lack of technical knowledge. However, the cost today of establishing a website is considerably lower than most people would expect. Depending on your specifications, Psychlinks can create a simple website for as little as $200 – $500, which will provide a contact form so that customers can contact you, a list of your products and services, and easy options for updating your site with specials and promotions. You can even offer a newsletter subscription option so that your customers can be informed of specials and promotions via direct email. If you wish, you can include an online appointment booking system. And the good news is you don’t need any technical expertise to obtain and maintain a website. That’s where Psychlinks comes in. We will design the

Rebooting Solves Many Problems

  When in doubt, reboot! Not exactly an earth-shaking discovery, I know. Indeed, it’s something I regularly advise users who run into problems on their desktop or laptop computers to do. More recently, I have been offering the same advice for users of tablets and smart phones. I had another reminder of that today. For the past few days — or maybe a week or so; I have a terrible sense of time — my iPhone 5s has been refusing to play most videos on Facebook, or YouTube, or other sites. I put it down to atmospherics or perhaps a weak Wi-Fi signal but the problem seemed to getting worse, to the point where it was no longer playing ANY videos anywhere. My second mantra when it comes to puzzling technological issues is “When in doubt, Google it!” Today, I finally did that… The first item listed on Google was a thread at Apple’s support forums:5s won’t play videos with iOS 8 | Apple Support Communities. The response from Allen A. was: It may help to force close all open applications and reset your iPhone. iOS: Understanding multitasking iPhone, iPad, iPod touch: Turning off and on (restarting) and resetting A D’oh! moment to be sure. And it worked. Immediately. Perfectly. 😳

Scan for Malicious Code in WordPress Sites

How to Scan Your WordPress Site for Potentially Malicious Code WPBeginner.com August 11th, 2014 If you don’t like the video or need more instructions: Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) Theme Authenticity Checker is a free plugin that scans all of your WordPress theme files for potentially malicious or unwanted code. Often hackers target themes to inject links, so this plugin is a good way of checking for that. Exploit Scanner Exploit Scanner is another free WordPress plugin that is much more robust than the Theme Authenticity Checker because it search all files and database of your WordPress install. It checks for signs that may indicate if your installation has fallen victim to malicious hackers. Note: this does return a lot of false positives, so you have to know what you are doing to see if the error is really malicious or if it is ok. Sucuri Sucuri is by far the BEST WordPress security scanner out there. They have a very basic free site scanner, which checks your site to see if your site is doing ok. But the real value is in their paid version. See our article: 5 reasons why we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security for detailed overview. In short, once you install Sucuri, it automatically monitors your website 24×7 against all threats. It audits all the activities that happen on your site to keep track of where things went wrong. If something looks fishy, Sucuri blocks the IP. They also send you alerts if they notice something going on with your site. Last but not least, they offer a malware cleanup service which is included in the price of their service (no matter how big or small your site is). WordFence Not mentioned in this article is WordFence, another free WordPress plugin which I personally

Customizing and Tweaking Windows 10

Windows 10 is proving to be a very nice update to Windows 7 or 8, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further.   I started with Start10, the first Windows 10 Start menu alternative. This recreates the Windows 7 type Start menu while still giving you links to Windows 10 features. The cost is $4.99 USD (or $3.99 USD if you previously purchased Start8 for Windows 8). Some other utilities, tweaks, and fixes: Ultimate Windows Tweaker (Windows 8) Freeware (works with Windows 10 Free Windows 10 Training Videos Enable Windows 10 Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow, Here’s How Hide Those Annoying Live Tiles From The Win10 Start Menu Three Windows 10 Start menu tweaks that subtly improve your experience | PCWorld Eight Lesser-Known Windows 10 Features and Settings Worth Exploring How to Fix: Windows 10 Antivirus Missing Fix iTunes On Windows 10 Not Detecting / Recognizing iPhone, Here’s How Set Windows 10 File Explorer To Open This PC Instead Of Quick Access, Here’s How | Redmond Pie Libraries – Move above This PC in Windows 8.1/Windows 10 And an invaluable aid to troubleshooting and customizing Windows 10: Windows 10 Forums Finally, some concerns about privacy issues with Windows 10 have been expressed in a number of places. See this for some clarification: Windows 10 Scan-and-Block Piracy Fears May Be Unfounded  
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