FREE Website Uptime Monitoring

There is a LOT that can be done with free online services — sometimes things that probably go way beyond what the service creators envisioned.

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You can’t go out this Friday night, it’s time to update WordPress to Version 3.4.2

Holy mother of toad! Again! WordPress just loves to release those late in the week security updates.

We already know how hackers work — they do a file compare of the old WordPress version to the new one, the write some code to exploit the vulnerability, and then they set the code loose on whatever servers they already control to hack MORE servers and control them too.

Then they go out, party for the weekend, and check in Monday morning to see all the WordPress installs they’ve hacked and can add their porn links to.

You’ve got two choices folks:

1. Get hacked and have all the gurus on blame you for your negligence.

2. Stay in Friday night logging into each of your WordPress installs and clicking the damn UPDATE button and waiting for it to finish. (And if you’re smart, run a backup before you do that.) No party for you

But FINALLY there is a new third choice that actually makes sense!

3. Use ManageWP to administer all your WordPress sites and be able to update them all with ONE click. And then go out and party!

I just used it and now I get to go out and party while feeling a bit safer and secure, knowing that my WordPress sites are all updated to the latest version.

Go there, do it now, the pain of having your site hacked over the weekend is too much. Trust me: been there, done that.


Jetpack kills Contact Form 7 — Like Because Why Not?

JetPack installs it’s own comment form and kills your nice contact forms that you spent lots of time getting just right…


WordPress gets me again!

See this:

This is very frustrating since one of the happiest features on my site is that my contact Eric Shefferman form has a drop down selection for

  1. Don’t bother to read this email
  2. This is a personal email
  3. This is a business/website related email

I love this feature since almost all the spam I get is marked as “Don’t bother to read this email” by the spammer themselves.

See the instructions on the site linked above to fix this.

To implement my spam solution on your site, just use Contact Form 7 and allow the user to select their subject line like so:

<p>Use this drop down to select a subject (required)<br /> [select* your-subject2 “ES: Don’t bother to read this email” “ES: This is a personal email” “ES: This is a business/website related email”]</p>


Why I hate WordPress – Part 9,347


And to crap on top of it, I actually do have W3 Total Cache installed and did update it just the other day.

However, it only updated “because it’s there” — I don’t actually use it. I just never happened to delete it after I deactivated it. I guess I was hoping I’d figure out how to enable something useful like cacheing without it destroying the usability of my site.

So now I’ve had a “cleverly disguised backdoor” installed on my web site (which can thus access ALL my domains) for a few days.

Of course, I don’t even know what to look for regarding this exploit.

How could I have protected myself from this? Checking the news minute by minute for their latest security issues? Can I afford to ever sleep? Or maybe I just need to read through every single line of code for every single theme and plugin? Oh — but I probably have to scan the entire WordPress core as well. How long could that take?

Oh – the only solution is to buy VaultPress for ALL my domains… That makes sense. At least then I’ll be making somebody else’s monthly Corvette payment.

That’s the problem I keep running into with WordPress — it’s a bunch of very pretty cards and when you’re done… you’ve built a house of cards.

From my admin page — I gave up on even having this plugin activated in January.


How To Include Amazon Text and Image (Enhanced Display) Affiliate Links In WordPress – Part 2

Feh. As per my previous post on inserting iframe tags in the TinyMCE editor in WordPress for amazon affiliate links and youtube videos, this is something a user needs to be able to do without having the editor delete them as soon as you switch into WYSIWYG mode.

This plugin — Amazon Widgets Shortcodesalmost does what I’d want with amazon affiliate links. It’s nice that it makes them stand out in the editor with a little amazon logo. It seems to work in the WYSIWYG editor, but there are some issues with trying to move the cursor before or after it that make it necessary to switch to HTML mode to insert a placeholder character and then go back to WYSIWYG and move the cursor to the placeholder. Icky.

This comment regarding the TinyMCE Unfilter plugin points out the problem with inadequate care in coding. Otherwise the TSL TinyMCE Unfilter plugin seems to do what is actually needed. Unfortunately, the author hasn’t updated it in 6 months. And if you go in and edit it yourself, you run the risk of the author someday updating it and WordPress allowing you to overwrite your edited version with the author’s update — whether or not he addressed this issue.

That’s a problem with WordPress plugins – you can’t tell which ones will be abandoned or when or what the effects of that will be.

It looks to me like the TinyMCE Unfilter plugin will work if you aren’t making any other modifications via plugin to the TinyMCE. I think.

I couldn’t find anything else in the WordPress plugin repository that would do this kind of thing — which surprises me. Might just be an issue of not searching for the right keyword. Or results being buried under plugins that only work in version 2 of WordPress. Or whatever.

But there’s two other possible solutions — which both beat messing with the functions.php file and losing your stuff when you change themes.



How To Include Amazon Text and Image (Enhanced Display) Affiliate Links In WordPress

Another WordPress thingy to drive me crazy! I try to put an amazon affiliate link in a post and it seems to work, but then as soon as I switch back the the Visual editor the link disappears!

As with many WordPress things:

  1. There’s probably a reason beyond my comprehension why this “bug” is actually a feature
  2. There’s all sorts of solutions posted by people with such high levels of technical expertise that I can’t understand how to implement their “obvious” solution
  3. The fix is actually simple (I think)

NOTE: Watch the video below to understand the danger of the word “simple” — then read the rest of the post for what I did to make it work.

FYI – I’m a huge fan of Jeri Ellsworth!
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Check Your WordPress Website’s Speed and Make It Faster

Google thinks the web should be fast, and that’s kinda the final word. Here’s some (older but still useful) info on site speed as a ranking factor.

I recently found a useful website for testing your website’s speed – it checks the website by accessing it from multiple locations (in multiple countries) and thus gives a better test than just checking the speed in your own browser.

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