What is 503 Service Unavailable Error and How to Fix It

Error 503 Service Unavailable indicates that the webserver is temporarily unable to process the request. This can be a web server that you are trying to access directly, or another server, which in turn is trying to access a web server. It is called error 503 because it is the HTTP status code used by the webserver to detect such an error. The error can occur for several reasons, but the two most common reasons are: the server is overloaded with requests or maintenance is being performed.

Continue reading

6 WordPress Security Tips for New Bloggers

The excitement of owning a blog often comes with a price for newest bloggers. They often forget about the security of their content or already existing websites. This leads to loss of revenue, a drop in trust levels, and eventually hacking.

WordPress powers more than 33% of websites in the world, making it the most popular CMS likely to prone to security attacks. However, WordPress, on its own, is secure. It is the use of various plugins, themes, and some hosting, which make our WordPress sites vulnerable to security attacks.

As a beginner, there are a few things you could do to secure your site. To ensure your site is well functioning and protected from any attack, below are a few security tips that will guide you into understanding more about security attacks and their rightful cure – prevention.

1. Install a Plugin

The first step in securing your site is by installing a WordPress plugin. It is a primary step, but the logic in protecting the security of your site against security attacks and hacks. While there are a lot of plugins for use, opt for WordPress plugins as they’re more suitable with the site.

When installing the plugin, however, some factors should be kept in consideration to get the most out of it. 

  • A good plugin should be from a reliable source, preferably a WordPress plugins or from a site WordPress has deemed safe. Plugins from unknown websites are prone to attacks and hacks.
  • Select a plugin of a considerable cost. Not every free plugin is safe to use. Or when in a budget, you opt for the cheapest because that’s what you can afford. Carefully analyze the price and invest in a good plugin.
  • Choose a plugin with the right documentation. Before installing a plugin on your site, ensure you’ve read all its documentation and carefully checked for its authenticity. Also, there are reviews about a plugin on the internet. Please read them and see other people’s opinions, then make a choice.

Other helpful plugins may be of great help in improving the quality of content on your blog.

  • Use a Complex Login Password

The popular way of hacking into someone’s site is by hacking their password. This gives you access to their files and site settings, making it easy for hackers to tamper with the settings and install malicious plugins or add backlinks.

Ackerman Steve, a researcher at TopEssayWriting and writer with ClassyEssay says, ‘Always use complex passwords to avoid cracking by hacker bots. To make a password powerful, add special characters other than letters to the composition of your password. Keep changing it frequently, over some time. It is advisable to use password managers to help you improve your password security.’

To boost your complex password, install plugins that will record all failed login attempts. The plugin will, after a particular number of failed logins from an IP, blacklist it thus, preventing any attack. 

3. Two-Factor Authentication

Other than setting a complex password, setting up a two-factor authentication will help prevent your login from being compromised. The two-factor authentication will ensure that only authorized persons access your site. It is an essential tip as it provides another wall of defense in preventing security attacks and hackers.

Other than two-factor authentication, there is to assigning the least principles. When you assign a new person your password, you limit the activities they could do in your site. The login is only comprehensive for a few features and not each feature, which could allow for tampering of settings, plugins, and settings.

Let’s say your WordPress blog is for sharing stories. You’ve hired a new editor whom you wish to edit your stories. With the assigning of the least principles, you can limit their access to editing of the stories in your blog, nothing more. Providing limited access to your site gives you the ultimate control.

4. Manage Your Themes and Plugins

As mentioned earlier in this article, installing plugins from unknown sources have a higher risk of being malicious. It also applies to the themes you use for your WordPress site.

Before setting up a plugin or theme, check its authenticity, and determine its credibility. Check for its documentation and ensure that it is suitable for your WordPress. Using plugins and themes that aren’t suitable makes it easy for security attacks and hackers.  

Madison Maupassant, a writer with BeGraded and essayist with Studyker opines, ‘Always ensure that your WordPress version is updated to the latest version. With every update, there are fixed bugs and new features that improve the security of your site. This also applies to themes and plugins always check to upgrade to the latest version.’

When updating configurations of plugins and themes on your site, they should be set manually by you. Sometimes settings can be less secure than when you manually set. When setting up manually, go through every instruction to see what needs to be changed.

5. Back-Up Regularly

With the internet, nobody is ever sure. To feel more secure, create a habit of regularly backing up your data as anything could happen. You can do so manually or the use of WordPress Backup Solution or any other software.

You can use a WordPress Backup Solution, or link up with a 3rd party backup system supported by WordPress. It is advisable to have at least two copies of your data at all times on different servers. This is because some backup servers can also be hacked.

6. Use Web Application Firewall (WAF)

There is a firewall that exists between your hosting server and network traffic. It prevents most common threats from reaching and destroying your WordPress site. It acts as a filter that protects your host system.

Web Application Firewall (WAF) detects and identifies the following threats: Cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection attacks, and session hijacking. It is a highly recommended WordPress security feature, preferably for sites meant for business.

The most common firewalls you can use on WordPress are as follows:

  • At the network level – it works on the network level when you’re hosting WordPress data on a center your own. It is costly and used by enterprise-level websites that have physical space for server installation.
  • At the host level – it works on a web-application level, your WordPress. Your host does the lifting of filtering out traffic.
  • Cloud-based WAF- it filters the most common threats before they hit your WordPress server. It is the most economical and easy to use.

In conclusion, the security of your WordPress site isn’t a compromise. 

WordPress security is essential, and as a new blogger, it should be your top priority to have the best protection for your site. The above tips will go a long way in securing your site.

WordPress Security Plugins – Best Options For 2020

Have you selected WordPress as the CMS of choice for your first website? Maybe you’re pretty excited about it.  

WordPress powers 30% of the top 10 million websites. It controls more than 60% of the CMS platform market share.

Let us show you a list with plugins that worth a try in 2020.

Some of these plugins have more advanced features than others, which aren’t always necessary for all websites. Some plugins are easier for beginners, while others are better for advanced developers.

1

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator adds a second layer of security to your website login page. This process is known as two-factor authentication (2FA). It is used to ensure the security of online websites beyond just a username and password. Two-factor authentication is important because a lot of brute force attacks attempts to start at the login stage.

Using Google Authenticator you can choose another method of authentication. It can be a regular password followed by:

  • a secret question
  • a secret code
  • a set of characters
  • the Google Authenticator app, which sends a secret code to your phone
  • QR Code scanning
  • Soft Token
  • Any App supporting TOTP algorithm like Google, Authy, LastPass Authenticator, QR Code, Push Notification, Soft Token, and Security Questions(KBA)

Another Features:

It has a simple interface and is easy-to-use
You can choose which two-factor authentication method is the easiest for you
Device Identification option lets a user remember the device for future reference
The free version of this plugin offers 2FA authentication for a single user
Premium version can be customized for multiple users. You can select which user types need to go through the authentication process.

2

Hide My WP Ghost

It hides your WordPress site from attackers, spammers, and theme detectors.

Best Features:

Limit login attempts
Whitelist IPs
Block IPs
Use captcha protection
Hide the fact that your website is built in WordPress by hiding all WordPress related details ( from your wp-login URL, admin URL, names of themes & plugins, hide common paths & custom paths, changes in permalinks, etc)
Monitor, track and log events on your website
Log users events
Log brute force attempts
Block XMLRPC API
Check your WordPress website to Detect potential security breaches
It detects and blocks XSS, SQL Injection type of security attacks on your WordPress website
Compatible with multi-site, apache, Nginx, IIS, premium themes and other security plugins

3

SecuPress

 SecuPress scans your website for security vulnerabilities in six key areas:

  • User and login
  • Plugins and themes
  • WordPress core
  • Sensitive data
  • Malware scan
  • Firewall

Important features:

easy-to-use and provides a great UI interface
It scans and protects websites from intrusion
The Malware Scanner scans your website at regular intervals to detect any malware or threats
Include anti-spam protection
automated website backups in case a restore is needed
anti brute force logins
Firewall
IP block
security alerts
blocking country by geolocation
Helps you detect themes and plugins that have been compromised

4

Shield Security

The most important features:

Offers protection from attacks and sends alerts only when necessary
Blocks all web requests that violate the firewall security rules
Scan core files to detect malicious changes
Login limitations, two-factor authentication for login requests
Easy-To-Use
Checks for vulnerable and outdated plugins and themes and keeps them updated
Works by blocking malicious traffic and only letting through the non-harmful and trusted types

5

Security Ninja

Check your site for security vulnerabilities, issues, and holes, and take preventive measures against attack. Also, Security Ninjas scans your website looking for malicious codes and suspicious files.
perform 50+ security tests with one click
Every test is explained, with instructions provided on how to repair problems
doesn’t make any changes to your WordPress files which means you will have full control of your WordPress website
The Pro version includes a firewall, malware scanner, auto fixer, core scanner, and other tools you’d expect a comprehensive WordPress security solution to include.
The firewall protects your website from fake traffic and bad bots. It enables you to block suspicious IPs from specific countries. And even redirects them to a specific URL.

How to Clean Up Hacked WordPress Site

Websites can be hacked, this is a bitter reality, and it is very stressful if a WordPress site gets hacked. It has a direct effect on running a website and even greater impact if you are using one to represent your business. In this article, we will discuss a systematic guide to fix a WordPress site after it is compromised.

Few Things to Know Before We Start

Let’s break down what kind of impact a hacked site can have:

  • Lost or reduced search engine ranking.
  • Visitor data can be compromised.
  • You can lose reputation as hackers may redirect your website to scam sites.
  • You might lose your entire site.

 

If your income depends on your site, you must put security on top of the list of priorities. Therefore, it is vital to have a reliable web hosting that helps protect your site and to follow some security practices. Some important things to consider while running your WordPress site are:

  • Opt for a web hosting company you can trust.
  • Have a good backup solution.
  • Make sure to use a firewall.
  • Have good security on your website. Use the Website Security Check or other applications to scan your WordPress site’s files. This will show you potential flaws and vulnerabilities in your site.
  • Use a reliable plugin such as Hide My WP Ghost to improve security. This plugin stands out because it uses security through obscurity to protect you.
  • Staying up to date and informed is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself. Having a better understanding of WordPress will help pick reliable plugins, web hosting, and themes, to minimize the number of potential breach points. It’s a great idea to follow blogs like HostingWiki, which can both help you stay informed and master the CMS.

 

The best thing to do is try to prevent your site from being compromised in the first place. According to statistics, WordPress is the most likely CMS to be hacked, so let’s cover the worst-case scenario and look at what to do if your site gets hacked:

 

1.    Hire a Professional

The easiest and most reliable, but costly solution is to hire a professional. They will help quickly and effectively find the heart of the issue and secure your site. However, you should keep in mind that experts are always expensive.

 

2.     Identify the Hack

There’s a basic checklist you should immediately run through if you suspect that your site was compromised:

  • Enter your Username and Password. Check if you can access your site.
  • Check whether your website is working as it should, or is it redirecting to another URL.
  • Check for suspicious links in your content.
  • Check whether Google has penalized your site or marked it as insecure.

 

3.    Contact Your Hosting Company

A good hosting company has experienced and skilled staff on their customer support teams to help you. While they might not be able to fix your site, they can help find any existing backups, or walk you through potential ways to restore the site.

 

4.     Restore a Backup

If you have a backup of your site, you can restore it to the last uncompromised version. This can easily solve your problem. The only downside to this is the potential of losing any post-backup content or comments from your site. But on the other hand, this is the fastest way to get control of your site back.

5.     Scan and Remove Malware

If you have some WordPress themes or plugins, which are not active, delete them. Hackers can use compromised plugins to find a backdoor or another vulnerability.

 

Additionally, you should scan the website, and install a reliable plugin for security such as Sucuri Security or the Theme Authenticity Checker. After scanning, you can find the location of the vulnerability which can be in various directories or files (upload, wp-config, wp-includes, access). Once the issue is found you can:

  • Remove the malicious code by yourself.
  • Replace the infected file with the original one.

6.     Check User Permissions

Give administrator access to only those whom you trust with your website’s management. Go to the user section and check if any other user has administrator access, or if there are idle or unrecognized users. Be sure to delete anyone suspicious and log out all inactive users.

7.    Modify Secret Keys

WordPress secret keys improve encryption and help better secure your site. If your site was breached you should:

  • Generate a fresh set of secret keys.
  • Add them to your wp-config.php file

8.     Change Your Password

Consider changing the login credentials (both the username and password) for your site’s infrastructure. This includes the WordPress credentials, as mentioned in the first point, and those of your MySQL database, and hosting account. Make sure to use a strong password or use a password management tool that can generate a password that is virtually impossible to brute-force.

 

Summary

Having your WordPress site hacked can be catastrophic for your business. That’s why it’s important to both take steps to prevent such an incident and to know what actions to take if the worst-case scenario takes place. Let’s briefly recap what you should do if your site is compromised:

  1. Consider hiring a cybersecurity professional.
  2. Identify the hack.
  3. Contact your hosting provider.
  4. Restore your site from a backup.
  5. Scan and remove malware.
  6. Check user permissions.
  7. Modify WordPress secret keys
  8. Change your WordPress, hosting, and MySQL login credentials.

We hope this guide will help keep your website safe and sound.

Top 3 Push Notification Plugins for WordPress

Web push notifications are clickable messages that are displayed at the top of the user’s desktop.  They can be shown even when the user’s browser is not open.  

Web push notifications are a new marketing channel to re-engage your site visitors without knowing their email or other contact details. Allow you to automatically notify your audience when you have published new content on your site or when you have a new offer or important updates. 

When a person comes along to your website they will see a little bell icon which they can click to subscribe to new posts. They will get a notification every time you add something new to your website.

Web push notifications benefits:

drawing user attention even when they're offsite

stay in front of your customers even after they leave your site

it is more visible then email - studies have shown that notifications have 30x conversion rate over email

increase your website traffic

increase engagement with your audience

increase return visitors

it helps increase the sales for e-commerce sites

increase your site user loyalty rate

send instant browser notifications to your subscribers’ phones

easier to subscribe for your users

high click-through rate

 

Plugin  Compatibility browsers Compatible devices Price
One Signal Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Firefox Desktop (Windows PC, macOS) & Mobile (Android, iPhone (iOS)
  • the free plan allows targeting up to 30,000 subscribers
  • paid plan from $99/mo
PushAssist Chrome, Firefox, and Safari Desktop & Mobile( Windows & Android OS)
  • the free plan allows Subscribers Limit 3,000
  • from $ 9/month
SendPulse  Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera Desktop (Mac OS, Windows, Linux) & Mobile (Android, iOS)
  • Free
  • $9.85 /month – white label

 

1

One Signal Web Push Notification WordPress Plugin

    • Send messages through desktop, mobile browsers
    • Automatic Notifications
    • Target Right Audience – custom segments you can get better CTR, meaningful engagement and high conversions
    • Re-engage Users 
    • Intelligent Delivery – Leverage machine learning to send your messages at the optimal time
    • Automated Messaging –  You can trigger notifications based on user behavior
    • Real-Time Reporting – View delivery and conversion performance for every message
    • Superior Segmentation – Create personalized messages and send them to the right audiences
    • Opt-In Customization
    • A/B Testing – Compare message performance and automatically send the best
    • Scheduled Notifications
    • It’s a free plugin

 

2

PushAssist WordPress Plugin

    • Easy to Setup
    • Multi-Device Support  
    • Real-Time Tracking – Monitor the behavior of your users 
    • Send notification to a particular set of audience based on location, interest
    • Schedule push campaigns
    • Personalization – deliver individualized messages
    • Multi-Channel Messaging 
    • Collect Customer Data
    • Easily inform, persuade & remind potential customers about your website and products you offer
    • HTTP & HTTPS Support
    • Integrated Analytics
    • PushAssist offers full baggage of tools for A/B testing, deep links, referral programs, re-engagement or recurring campaigns.

 

3

SendPulse WordPress Plugin

    • Custom subscription requests – You can choose the look of the subscription request and time when you want to show it.
    •  create automatic notifications based on RSS feeds
    • You can also segment your subscribers by their location or other details.
    •  А/В testing – Test different versions of a notification to see which one strikes a chord with your audience
    • Offline notifications – Users will see your notification as soon as they come online
    • all its features are completely free
    • set up automatic messaging when certain conditions are met
    • Real-Time Stats: See your notifications being delivered in real-time, geography stats, open and click rates and more

Customize the WP-Content Directory in WordPress

Method #1 – Change wp-content with wp-config.php

This solution is simple, but it involves editing a core WordPress file.

First, access the root directory of your WordPress installation using the File Manager in your web hosting CPanel or using an sFTP client. Then find a file named wp-config.php and open the file to edit.

Then add the following line in the wp-config file at the beginning of the file:

define ('WP_CONTENT_DIR',__DIR__ .'/lib');
define('WP_CONTENT_URL','http://yourdomain.com/lib');
define( 'UPLOADS', 'lib/uploads' );

Continue reading

WP-Chatbot plugin by MobileMonkey

Chatbots have become extraordinarily popular in recent years. Today’s chatbots are smarter, more responsive, and more useful – and we’re likely to see even more of them in the coming years.

A chatbot (or bot) is a piece of automated software that engages in a conversation with people.

Chatbots are programmed to understand basic questions, provide answers, and execute various tasks.

MobileMonkey helps you create Facebook Messenger chatbots easily for marketing, sales, and support. It’s the world’s most advanced Facebook Messenger Marketing platform in the world.

Continue reading

Hide My WP Ghost 4.2 is Here With New Security Features

With the launch of WP 5.2, WordPress adds more security to the core to keep users’ websites secure. The problem remains with the lack of security of the themes and plug-ins that can be created by any beginner developer without security knowledge.

Because of the hacker-bots attacks targeting the exact paths of vulnerable plug-ins, more and more companies are adopting the “security through obscurity” method.

This method involves hiding the actual URL and choosing a random URL for the same result. When the hacker-bot accesses the actual URL, it will receive an error message without using the server resources.

Hide My WP Ghost 4.2 brings many improvements to protect all the themes and plugins installed on WordPress. It also comes with several options to hide the common paths of WordPress and to hide the fact that the WordPress CMS is used.

Continue reading

HACKERS ATTACK

2019: Why Do Hackers Want To Attack Your WordPress Website?

We live in a time in which digital security is becoming ever more important. An increasing number of people are becoming extremely proficient at maneuvering around the online sphere and attacking WordPress websites for personal gain.

It may go without saying but if your site is hacked and/or taken down it can have detrimental effects on your business, your branding, and your overall reputation.

Hackers may have a number of different reasons why they may be targeting your WordPress website.

We have listed some extremely common examples to give you a better idea as to why your site may be a target:

  • Inject Malicious Content
  • To Steal Money
  • Steal Visitors’ Personal Information
  • Spread Viruses
  • Steal Business’s Private Information
  • Use Your Web Server to Host Phishing Pages
  • Steal Your Server Bandwidth
  • Overload Your Web Server
  • Vandalize Your Website
  • For Fun or To Get Attention
  • To Disrupt Service

Continue reading

Top 10 Amazing Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2019

With the multitude of new plugins that are released for WordPress year by year, it becomes difficult to know exactly which are ‘must have’ WordPress plugins and which ones better to leave on the digital shelves. Well luckily for you we have narrowed down the list to 10 amazing plugins which will allow you to generate a whole different user experience. Continue reading