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Tag: WordPress

Decoupling WordPress


The opportunity to move to a decoupled or headless WordPress system is an emerging discussion because of the broad range of possibilities it opens for developers with complex architecture needs. Decoupling, or separating the backend from the frontend with a framework like Strattic, also delivers a level of complexity that should be factored in when planning a project’s development. Certain projects can benefit from decoupling, while the fully integrated WordPress platform better serves most use cases.

When the words “Learn JavaScript Deeply” were spoken by Matt Mullenweg in 2015, the world hadn’t yet fully realized the scope of what would soon be possible. Then, when the WordPress REST API was released as part of core in 2016, the platform made a giant leap into the future. Of course, Gutenberg, the WordPress editor introduced in late 2018, highlighted what could be accomplished with this new feature as it uses the REST API to create and update posts by communicating with the WordPress core backend. Both the REST API and a modern JS framework built on React are shipped with every copy of WordPress and are now integral components.

This evolution of WordPress means that today, developers are no longer limited to PHP. Instead, developers can create apps built on React and other JavaScript frameworks, served by Node, and powered by the WordPress REST API. This enables WordPress development by frontend developers who don’t write PHP, as well as integration between WordPress and other frontend technologies and systems. 

Key Issues To Consider 

First, a reminder of some key issues worth seriously considering as you weigh decoupling, versus using WordPress as a complete solution. 

  • Performance – Many developers want to decouple in the belief that this increases performance or scale. This, however, rarely proves itself in reality.  Decoupled front-ends must be scaled separately from the WordPress backend. A good host largely solves scaling in traditional architectures. A top-tier enterprise WordPress platform, such as WordPress VIP, will also scale endpoints for decoupled architectures and can serve Node apps at the same scale as anything else being served.  However, decoupled front-ends present their own points of failure, their own caching mechanisms, and generally increase performance risk.  For example, if the site is down, is the front-end causing the problem?  If so, which part of it?  Or is it the API?  
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Even teams with mature JS capacity typically find that decoupled experiences have higher TCO than traditional ones. This is primarily due to duplicate hosting, multiple technologies, split teams, multiple codebases, multiple caching strategies, and more. The overall cost of support and build of a decoupled project is almost always higher than a traditional integrated WordPress build. It is essential to consider cost in terms of the whole lifecycle of the project.
  • Solved problems / ecosystem – Out-of-the-box WordPress architectures have more access to integrations and community solutions than custom front-ends.  Sure, React supports many community extensions and integrations, but when we limit the scope to the kinds of extensions required for content apps, WordPress’ extensions and integrations are almost always easier and cheaper to figure out. Examples include AMP and other delivery channels, authentication/SSO, many platform integrations, and even features such as “preview” become an issue that needs to be solved anew for decoupled sites.

Available Toolkit

Today’s decoupled WordPress toolkit is quickly growing, and it includes the following popular solutions.

  • GraphQL / WPGraphQLGraphQL is a Query Language built to craft more precise and lightweight queries to bring only the data you need from the REST API into your front-end application. WPGraphQL extends this framework to be specific to WordPress.
  • GatsbyJS – GatsbyJS is a React and GraphQL-powered static site generator built for speed.
  • FrontityFrontity is a React framework for WordPress. Out of the box, it is set up to consume content from the WordPress REST API, giving developers a big head start by providing many of the most common queries already built-in.
  • StratticStrattic is a static site generator and hosting platform tuned for WordPress.

When Decoupling is an Option

Some of the most relevant reasons developers choose a decoupled approach for complex WordPress projects include:

  • Portability – The app or digital experience needs to be extremely portable or agnostic of the back-end technology.
  • Diverse data sources – The app or digital experience pulls data from more than a small handful of sources, with WordPress being only one of those, and where the WordPress source is probably not the most central of those sources.
  • Leveraging an existing JS-oriented dev team – Frequently, teams of JS developers, especially newly minted ones, want to build Node apps and leverage modern front-ends like React. While the current team’s capabilities are worth considering, this reason may or may not be outweighed by other factors. In addition, there is plenty of exciting work for modern JS developers to do within WordPress itself.
  • Moving into the future of modern JS frameworks – Sometimes, teams want to leverage modern frameworks because the technology is newer, supports app-like behaviors natively in the browser, and it is relatively easy to hire qualified modern JS devs.  These are valid considerations, especially if there are other business reasons to invest in this capacity. However, it is crucial to avoid automatically assuming that modern JS does everything better, cheaper, or faster than WordPress’s mix of PHP and modern JS.

AccuWeather: Making Brilliant Use of Decoupling

This marriage of technologies is the result of leveraging the long-term stability of WordPress with its vast ecosystem with modern frameworks such as React. When used appropriately, this union enables the creation of brilliantly complex applications. One example of this in use is the extremely popular AccuWeather. 

AccuWeather is recognized as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world, serving roughly 1.5 billion people daily. The system comprises weather forecasts, local media partnerships, enterprise solutions, APIs, news, videos, podcasts, and weather data. 

AccuWeather uses a decoupled WordPress stack that includes over 750+ million WordPress requests per day and 50+ billion data calls per day. 

So what advantages were gained by AccuWeather moving to this architecture? 

  1. By retaining the use of WordPress, they can utilize the backend UI/UX experience for the content team. While content is only one part of AccuWeather, it is an ever-growing piece of the brand and company. Using the WordPress backend, the editorial team can work with the most widely adopted and accessible CMS platform, which is used by 40% of the web.
  2. By decoupling the front-end from the back-end, rapid site redesign was made possible without worrying about making massive changes to the platform’s CMS side. 
  3. Finally, the decoupling makes the content easily accessible by other applications. Various development teams, such as app or enterprise teams, can present the content anywhere. For example, they can include a newsfeed with localized content in AccuWeather apps or present targeted video in a widget on a partner site. 

While AccuWeather makes extensive use of the REST API, many other companies and projects can benefit from utilizing and extending the REST API. For example:

  • A vendor may utilize the API for large-scale content migration.
  • A CMS dev team may extend the API to to create mobile apps, or facilitate communication that helps complete 3rd-party integrations.
  • Much like Laravel, WordPress offers developers an extensible REST API framework. A company can easily add new routes and endpoints, giving them a more predictable and structured way to interact with site content or other backend data. They’ll spend less time building tools to access data, and more time creating better user experiences.

One Final Consideration

If all of this seems like the perfect solution for every future project, there’s one final thing to consider before making that jump. 

Decoupling requires a developer or team of developers throughout the entire lifecycle – Developers need to not only be involved in the creation of the project, but will also be needed to manage the site throughout its lifecycle. The client will rarely be able to manage this on their own. While many fully integrated WordPress websites can be left in the care of the site owner, a decoupled WordPress site is usually far too complex for the average site owner to maintain, keep updated, and ensure security and forward compatibility.

Decision Worksheet

Use an internal decision worksheet, such as the one we’ve provided here, to help determine if your project should move forward with a decoupled architecture or not. The more times you answer “No” to the questions, the more caution you should exercise before moving forward. You may still decide that decoupled is the best option, even if you’ve answered ‘No’ to many of the questions, but more deliberation might be needed in that instance.

The Best Choice For You

WordPress leverages the best of a stable, mature product with the promise of evolving with ever-changing modern technological future platforms. Some projects may benefit from the WordPress platform’s integrated approach, while others might require a decoupled architecture. When making decisions, consider the following:

  1. Ask why – Identify the key drivers of your decision, and be honest about this. Are you choosing the more complex decoupling method because it’s the latest cool technology, or is it because it best serves the project?
  2. Consider the total cost of ownership – The TCO over the whole project lifecycle, including multiple hosting, increased complexity, more technical debt, etc., may be significantly higher than you expect.
  3. Look ahead – The landscape around JavaScript and WordPress is changing and expanding rapidly. Can you position your team and your application to thrive in the years and months to come?
  4. Embrace JavaScript – Regardless of your decision to decouple or not, embracing JavaScript will enable you to do exciting things, even within WordPress internally. Learn JavaScript Deeply…still as true today as the day Matt first spoke those words.

Many factors will influence your decision, but WordPress will always be there, either integrated or decoupled, to move your project forward in the best possible way.

Written in collaboration with Donna Cavalier & Jason Caldwell from WordPress.com, and Ryan Sholin & Matt Perry and WordPress VIP.

Get More Mileage From Your Site With These 6 WordPress Popup Plugins


Using a WordPress Popup plugin is a fast and easy way to get more value out of your site. Show visitors timely offers, divert them towards key pages – they can boost conversions considerably. Not every popup maker is equal, though, and how you design and place them is equally important.

This guide will take you through some of the best WordPress Popup plugins in the market and how you can use them effectively. Stop losing potential subscribers or customers today with these ultra-handy tools.

6 Best WordPress Popup Plugins

Before you dive into this list, I’d like to take a moment as a reminder. While popups can be very useful, they can also be a double-edged sword. This fact is especially true if you’re new to creating and using them. 

Make sure to check out the tips section once you’ve gone through the options on this list!

1. Popup Maker

Popup Maker - WordPress Popup plugin that is in use on over 600,000 sites at last count.

Website: https://wppopupmaker.com/

Starting Price: Free – $87/year

Popup Maker was the first WordPress popup plugin I came across when I was searching for one. It shows up high on the WordPress plugin repository and is in use on over 600,000 sites at last count.

This plugin allows you to build almost any kind of popup imaginable visually. While that may be expected of a top plugin, Popup Maker also features an incredible number of ways you can have popups triggered by visitors.

Imagine having a bunch of popups that behave following what individual visitors do. Trigger a popup just before they leave, or open a timely offer if they happen to show interest in a particular product.

It’s so easy to use that you can build and deploy a basic popup in a matter of minutes. The free version is suitable for most regular sites, but paid plans have eCommerce support features. 

Top Features

  • Visual popup editor
  • Conditional targeting
  • Popup analytics
  • Third-party form integration
  • Built-in subscriber form

2. OptinMonster

OptinMonster - Popular WordPress popup that works well with several third party services and applications

Website: https://optinmonster.com/

Starting Price: $9/month onward

OptinMonster bills itself as a lead generation tool rather than a popup maker. In reality, though, it is just a popup maker, albeit one with relatively comprehensive features. The plugin feels like it’s almost an entire website builder, thanks to a powerful visual editor.

Part of the reason why OptinMonster markets itself for lead generation is that it envisions how popups are used. Instead of focusing on selling the popup feature, the plugin encourages visitors to create comprehensive popup campaigns to boost lead generation.

It also works with several third-party services and applications such as MailChimp, Salesforce, Facebook, and more. While running your campaigns, you also get intelligent reports that can recommend further actions to improve performance.

The only downside of OptinMonster is the lack of a free version (or even a trial period). This pricing model makes it suitable for commercial use but not very practical if you’re running a personal site or blog.

Top Features

  • Powerful visual editor
  • Build multiple campaign types
  • Multi-event triggering
  • Actionable insights
  • Geo-location targeting

3. Popup Builder

Website: https://popup-builder.com/

Starting Price: Free – from $5 for extra extension

Popup Builder may not rank as highly as some other popup makers, but it does have a sizeable audience. The thing I like most about this popup maker is how simple it is to use. Big and clearly labeled icons segregate the different types of popups which can be created.

This style works in more ways than just simplicity, though. The basic plugin offers what most typical users will need – popups based on image, HTML, or for subscriptions and the like. If you need more advanced tactics, you’ll need to choose an extension.

While this may drive up costs for those seeking an ‘all-in-one’ solution, the extension system is more beneficial than you might think. It helps keep the plugin more streamlined and creates less impact on your hosting resources.

The free version comes with only the basics, and each extra extension you choose comes at a small price. Of course, if you want everything, they have packages that bundle in all extensions as well.

Top Features

  • Modular feature design 
  • Works with PDF forms
  • Animation effects
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Popup themes

4. WP Popups

WP Popups - WordPress popup plugin for real newbies

Website: https://wppopups.com/

Starting Price: Free – $35/year

WP Popups is a pretty good place to start if you haven’t used a popup maker before. It skips past the lead generation marketing speak and jumps into what users want – to quickly get started building a popup.

While not unique, the visual interface is accommodating and has the added advantage of letting you start with templates. The system is convenient for real newbies and can serve as a guidance system.

Beyond that, WP Popups keeps on giving thanks to advanced features that rival almost any popup marker in the market. This comparison is especially prevalent in the area of display rules that allow practically any conditions you need to be set.

Honestly, I find that the way WP Popups is built keeps well to the freemium pricing model. The free version is wholly usable, while paid versions add functionality for those who have mastered the basics.

Top Features

  • Visual editor with templates
  • Highly defined rule system
  • Lots of animations
  • Integrates with email marketing apps
  • A/B testing and analytics 

5. Sumo

Sumo - Popup maker that comes from creators of AppSumo

Website: https://sumo.com/

Starting Price: Free – $39/month

Sumo comes from the creators of AppSumo and takes the form of a suite of tools. While it doesn’t offer pervasive popup functionality, Sumo does help with an essential one for some – list building.

This Sumo feature is dedicated to helping you build your subscriber list and offers a few means to do so. You can either choose to have it done in-line or as a popup. The latter will behave as you configure it to, either on a timer basis, when users try to close your page, or when an event is triggered.

There are also many other rules you can set to govern the way your Sumo list-builder works. For example, implementing controls for mobile devices of varying sizes and the like. Purists may object to Sumo trying to do too many other things in one package.

While there is a free version of Sumo that comes with its branding, you will need to subscribe to a paid plan to remove limitations and branding. Oh yes – free users will still have to sign up for a Sumo account as well.

Top Features

  • Multi-function plugin
  • Connect eCommerce stores
  • Statistics and analytics 
  • Social media sharing

6. ConvertPlus

ConvertPlus - Popup plugin with a crazy amount of features.

Website: https://www.convertplug.com/

Starting Price: Free – $23

Even by the standards of popup plugins today ConvertPlus comes with a crazy amount of features. It seems determined to do everything it can to cover the entire field of lead generation rather than just offer popups.

The plugin offers detailed control over almost everything from background settings to animations and size. If the design options in place aren;’t enough, go ahead and add your own custom CSS to it as well.

Of course, there are also the trigger rules you can set, including a rather unique two-step popup to push your conversion rates even further. YOu can even create triggers on scroll activities!

Despite the name, ConvertPlus isn’t the paid version of it and offers some decent levels of capability. To get the whole shebang, you will need to sign up for ConvertPlus Pro – which sounds a little strange.

Top Features

  • Launch after content
  • Referrer detection
  • Visitor recognition (old vs new)
  • Cookie control

Tips for Using WordPress Popups Effectively

Nothing is more annoying than a website bombarding you with popups constantly. Using a popup maker to create a popup is easy, but working with them to create the results you want may not be.

Here are some areas to consider when using popups with your WordPress site;

Time Popups Carefully

When someone lands on your site, they are likely to have come as part of their search for something. Throwing a popup in their face is both rude and highly annoying. Chances are they’ll simply ignore the popup or even close the browser tab entirely.

Design Effectively

The art of design is more than building something that looks pretty. Popups are distracting for users, and you need to capture their attention quickly. You need a careful blend of colors and text that maximizes impact and effect.

Don’t Be Shy With Your CTA

I’ve seen users that place their Call-to-Action (CTA) so unobtrusively that it’s virtually invisible. Your popup is there for effect, so be bold and make your CTA prominent in color, font, size, and placement.

Follow Guidelines

Aside from what works or doesn’t with visitors, there are serious rules you need to consider. For example, Google will penalize sites using overly intrusive popups (especially for mobile devices). Make sure you’re aware of these potential pitfalls.

Following these guidelines can be difficult, especially since competition is so high nowadays. However, I’m sure you’ve felt the immense frustration at continually being bombarded by popups on every site you visit – show some consideration for your site visitors as well. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a popup for WordPress?

Using a plugin is the fastest and easiest way of creating a popup for your WordPress site. There are many to choose from and lots of free options that work well.

Do popup ads work?

Yes, but only if you design and use them carefully. Popups have a bad reputation due to many sites implementing them poorly and affecting user experience negatively.

How do I install a popup plugin?

Finding one from your WordPress plugin dashboard is the simplest way. You can search, install, activate, and configure it from one convenient location.

How do I add popups to WordPress without plugins?

Aside from plugins, you can also code popups manually or use third-party popup services like Popupsmart

What is a lightbox in WordPress?

Lightboxes are popup windows that display an image while dimming the rest of the page behind it.

Conclusion

I’ve tried a couple of the popups on this list, but my favorite is Popup Maker. For me, it was the perfect blend of simplicity and features. Yet all of us have diverse needs, so choose the WordPress popup maker that fits your requirements. Remember, plugins consume resources, so having one that does more than you need isn’t always the ideal solution.

Read more:

Cheat Sheet: Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting


More store for less 

Our Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting lets you create a robust ecommerce store quickly and easily. That means building the exact store your clients need for hundreds, even thousands, less per year. 

Build more store for less   

Powered by WooCommerce, our Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting features powerful flexibility with easy-to-use extensions and client-management tools. That can help you and your clients start  selling quickly and make revenue faster.  

Get online in far fewer steps, thanks to a simplified setup process with WordPress and WooCommerce installed and ready to go. 

Choose to start from scratch or with a gorgeous, eye-catching storefront theme, and then enjoy easier site maintenance with bulk updates and monitoring. A single dashboard cuts down the time necessary for performance optimization, domain management and an array of other administrative tasks. 

  • Free access to over 40 WooCommerce premium extensions 
  • No transaction fees 
  • Unlimited products 
  • Free SSL for life of plan 
  • Malware scan and removal (Website Security – Essentials) 
  • Easy WooCommerce Setup 
  • Free Premium WooCommerce Storefront design themes 
  • Unlimited storage 
  • Unlimited monthly visitors 
  • Concurrent processes allowed – PHP: 30 MySQL: 24 
  • One-click staging site 
  • Yoast SEO plugin 
  • SSH access 
  • SFTP access 
  • Full Asset CDN 
  • File Manager 
  • Auto Migration Tool 
  • Auto WP software updates 
  • Data centers in North America and Europe 
  • Free backups –  Automatic, Daily, kept for 90 days 
  • Free (1) Microsoft 365 Email with annual plan – 1st Year Free (optional) 
  • Free domain with annual plan 

Build a feature-packed online store — at no extra cost  

We’re able to pack over 40 premium WooCommerce extensions to offer the most customization and functionality at no additional cost!  

These high-end premium extensions at your fingertips include the functionality to enable: 

  • Cart and Checkout functions (6) like Checkout Field Editor and WooCommerce Purchase Order Gateway. 
  • Marketing functions (9) like Product Add-ons and WooCommerce Email Customizer. 
  • Merchandising functions (6) like WooCommerce Brands and WooCommerce Products Compare. 
  • Product functions (2) like Software Add-on and WooCommerce Photography. 
  • Services functions (6) like WooCommerce Subscriptions and WooCommerce Bookings. 
  • Shipping functions (12) like USPS, UPS and FedEx Shipping Methods. 
  • Store Management functions (3) like WooCommerce Pre-Orders and Product CSV Import Suite.

Additional popular extensions include: 

  • WooCommerce Quick View 
  • WooCommerce Box Office 
  • WooCommerce Order Barcodes 
  • WooCommerce 360º Image 
  • WooCommerce Store Catalog PDF Download 
  • WooCommerce Bookings Availability 
  • WooCommerce Accommodation Bookings 
  • WooCommerce Subscription Downloads

Protect your ecommerce masterpiece 

Once you launch a high-performing online store, rest easy knowing it’ll stay running its best. Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting includes leading edge security features like malware scanning and removal, security activity auditing, file integrity checks, blocklist monitoring, and notifications whenever an indicator of compromise is detected.  

Talk about locking it down. 

Every Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting plan also includes the installation, configuration and validation of your SSL certificate with no additional cost.   

Automated WordPress and WooCommerce updates ensure online stores are patched and protected from known security issues whenever updates become available. Restore points are created prior to updates, so it’s easy to roll back patches whenever it’s needed.  

BYOF on an open-source platform 

Flex your developer muscles with complete freedom to build your own features on an open-source platform built with a REST API. The powerful flexibility of Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting lets you spend less time on mundane tasks, freeing you up to create new features limited only by your ability and imagination. 

Support from the people who know ecommerce 

Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting customers get 24/7 premium support. Whenever you need assistance from a friendly professional, our award-winning ecommerce support team is only a ticket, call, or chat away.   


The information contained in this blog is provided for general informational purposes about Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting. It is not specific advice tailored to your situation and should not be treated as such. 

WordPress 5.6 is Now the Default for New WP Engine Sites


WordPress 5.6 “Simone,” which was released in December, was the third major WordPress release of 2020, and the features and changes that came with it will carry over well into 2021.

5.6 is also now the current default version of WordPress for all new sites built on WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform.

If you’re a current WP Engine customer and you’re unsure which version of WordPress you’re running, simply log into your User Portal and go to the site you want to review. Scroll down under “Environment stats,” and you’ll see a box on the right-hand side displaying your current WordPress version. As always, if you need help, our Support team is available 24/7.

While the Gutenberg block editor was a major part of the WordPress 5.0 release in December 2018, the still relatively-new default editing experience in WordPress has continued to see enhancements with each subsequent release.

5.6 is no exception, and the bulk of the new elements in this release are related to the block editor and the options available within it. 

Here are some of the key features you’ll find in WordPress 5.6: 

Easier layout control.

For starters, 5.6 brings with it expanded control over block and layout options. From single column blocks, designs using mixed widths and columns, full-width headers, and gradients within your cover block, improvements to the block editor in 5.6 simply make it easier to try different options for the most impactful use of your content.  

New block patterns. 

Block Patterns were introduced in version 5.5 and offer pre-defined combinations of blocks that allow users to quickly and easily add complex layout elements to a page.

5.6 expands on the available Pattern choices with a Quote option, a Heading and Paragraph option, and a Large Heading option, among others. See here for more information about the Block Editor and Block Patterns specifically.

Better video captions.

Another feature of note in 5.6 is the added ability to upload video captions or subtitles within your post or page. This makes it easy to ensure your video content is accessible for anyone who needs or prefers to use subtitles.

New default theme: Twenty Twenty-One.

Twenty Twenty-One is a new default theme that comes with WordPress 5.6. It’s built specifically for the block editor and features new block patterns you can only get by using WordPress default themes. Check out this review on Torque for more info. 

Twenty Twenty-One was also created with a major focus on accessibility. The theme conforms to the WordPress accessibility-ready guidelines and addresses several additional, specialized standards from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at level AAA, making it the most accessible default WordPress theme to date. 

Accessibility was indeed front and center across the entire 5.6 launch, and WP Engine Software Engineer Sarah Ricker played an integral role in this effort, serving as the Accessibility Lead on the all women-led release squad.

Sarah joins a long list of WP Engine employees who have contributed to WordPress in many important ways, including contributing code to WordPress Core, maintaining WordPress components such as Media, volunteering, organizing WordCamps and meetups, answering tickets in WordPress support forums, providing financial sponsorships for various projects, publishing educational and informational content for the community on Torque and the PressThis podcast, and of course, helping countless brands adopt WordPress for the very first time. 

You can find out more about all of the new features included in WordPress 5.6 here. As mentioned above, new sites built on WP Engine’s platform, as well as sites that are migrated over, will now default to this version of WordPress. 

While 5.6 has been available since December 2020, we always perform rigorous testing on all new WordPress versions and features to make sure they won’t have unintended impacts on our customers’ sites.

At the same time, we always encourage our customers to run updated versions of WordPress, once that testing has concluded, so they can reap all of the benefits WordPress has to offer. 

See this article for more information about WordPress updates and releases, and if you have any questions or need further assistance, log in to your WP Engine account to reach our Support team. 

Find out more about WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform and how we help our customers win with WordPress every day. 

Why WordPress Hosting Is Better Than a Simple Web Hosting Package?


If you plan to launch a WordPress website of your own or want to improve the one you already have, understanding the difference between regular web and WordPress hosting is a must.

WordPress is the single most popular website building platform that powers over 38% of the Internet. Ultimately, any hosting can support a WordPress website. But if that’s the case, why does specialized WordPress hosting exist? And what’s so special about it?

WordPress Hosting Vs. Web Hosting: What’s the Difference?

First of all, you need to understand that WordPress hosting is not exactly a type of hosting. Instead, it’s a type of service package. This means that you can get dedicated, VPS, or shared WordPress hosting the same way you can get regular web hosting of those types. The difference lies in how the servers used for the websites are programmed and managed.

It is that simple.

WordPress hosting is simply designed to cater specifically to the platform’s needs. As such it offers a greater functionality and efficiency for these websites. In essence, it’s like a well-tailored suit that’s made to fit you perfectly. Therefore, the main reason to seek out the best web hosting for WordPress as opposed to general hosting is to get the maximum value for your money. It will provide you with not only all essential hosting services but also additional perks.

The perks can vary depending on the hosting provider. However, any type of WP hosting will at the very least offer greater speed and security. Even a shared server of this kind will host only WordPress websites. Therefore, it will be easier for the administrators to allocate server resources and monitor their usage. This alone will reduce downtime and ensure better site performance overall.

As services and support for these servers are tailored to WordPress specifically, they are more efficient. This means that even if some issue does occur, it will be easier for professionals to fix and get all websites up and running.

What Does a WordPress Hosting Account Offer?

WordPress hosting providers often offer some great add-ons and extra resources to “sweeten the package”. These specific offers can vary greatly. For example, you can find packages with extra PHP memory, automatic updates, one-click installation and access to specific themes and plugins, etc.

That said, the basic benefits of WP hosting should be the same across all offers. These advantages include:

  • Better security.
    People are losing millions of dollars every year due to different types of cybercrimes. Therefore, every website owner must understand that installing the best security measures is a must. However, it’s very hard to protect your site when you use shared hosting. There are some specialized tools that help secure WordPress websites, but they aren’t 100% effective. WP hosting uses servers that are protected from WordPress-specific threats. Therefore, you get an additional layer of security from the start. Also, as they are configured for this platform, it will be easier to integrate other security solutions and SSL certificates.
  • Easy set-up and management.
    Usually, you would get WP hosting with all essential WordPress software pre-installed. It will also come with pre-configured settings to make the set-up even easier. Therefore, this type of hosting is the best for beginners. Note that it will also be easier to migrate a WP website to WordPress hosting.
  • Better speeds.
    “Speed is a killer” says a marketing guru Neil Patel. And he’s right as page loading speed is an essential factor not only for keeping visitors interested in your site but also for Google ranking. As WordPress hosting servers are optimized for maximum performance, they will provide you with the best possible speed. Simply put, if you can’t afford a dedicated server or even VPS, WP hosting is your best chance for a fast website.

Is WordPress Hosting Right for You?

The advantages of WordPress hosting are obvious. However, general web hosting providers also offer some fantastic packages today. Those can have some benefits that will outshine the better compatibility of WP-compatible exclusive servers.

If you aren’t sure whether you should use this service, answer the following questions:

  • Why are you building a WordPress website?
    If you are using this platform only for convenience and speed and don’t plan to have a lot to do with the website in the future, hosting won’t matter. WP hosting is the right choice when you want to use the platform to the fullest. It will also help your website to evolve with every update.
  • Do you want to get server maintenance in the package?
    WordPress hosting usually includes automatic updates and other maintenance services. These perks are often paid extras in regular web hosting or are included in more expensive plans.
  • Can you afford managed WordPress hosting?
    Basic shared web hosting plans are cheaper than managed WordPress hosting. If your budget is very limited, you will need to choose the cheapest option regardless of your wishes.
  • How well do you know WordPress?
    If you are a complete beginner, WP hosting will definitely help because so many things are pre-arranged. It also makes it easier to integrate different solutions and plugins to improve your WordPress website. You don’t need to have any knowledge of coding at all if you use WP hosting and plugins.
  • Will you upload a lot of media content?
    Videos, images, and podcasts are all “heavy” files. Therefore, you’ll need hosting that offers good bandwidth as well as handy services like CDN and caching. WordPress hosting packages usually include those starting with basic plans.

Bottom Line: Tailored Solutions Offer Better Results

It’s true that web hosting packages can be extremely versatile and flexible. However, it’s also true that a tailored suit will always look better on your person compared to something off the rack. Therefore, it’s not mandatory to have WordPress hosting for a WP website. However, using this service package can be better for you. This hosting is developed and managed to meet the WordPress platform’s needs. This means that it will ensure the best website performance and uptime. Of course, you also shouldn’t forget about useful extra features that will make running a WP site even easier for you.

Managed WordPress & Woocommerce hosting recommendations.


I maintain a website for a small non profit. They would like to implement an online store now that we don’t have nearly the same foot traffic inside the building as we did pre-pandemic. Our website is a WordPress site, so naturally I’m looking at Woocommerce for the store. I’d like to move our site from regular shared hosting to a managed WP/Woo hosting plan before implementing the store, especially since I’ll be moving away and the rest of the org aren’t tech-savvy, so they’ll likely have trouble keeping up with updates, resolving any security/malware issues, etc.

I know a managed plan will cost more (we currently pay $100/yr for our hosting), and being a non-profit I want to make sure we’re spending our money wisely and not dumping it into a crappy host.

We’re in the US and we get about 9,000 unique visitors a month, so nothing crazy, and the store would be small, basically a few items with different color and size options.

My number one concern is the security of the site, especially after I’m gone. They’ll also likely need good, reliable customer service.

For budget, obviously cheaper is better, but I know cheaper price also often equates to cheaper product. I’m hoping to be able to keep hosting under $200 a year/$15 a month.

I’ve looked at a bunch of hosts so far, and the ones that stick out are SiteGround and GreenGeeks, however as I look into them I see mixed reviews. Would either of these two be a good choice? Are there any others that would be a good fit? Is there anything that I’m not thinking about that I should? I want to get all the details hammered out before I take this to the board.

I appreciate any help, advice, and recommendations you’re able to give!

ETA: The site isn’t a big resource hog. We’re only using 5.5 gb for our site and all our backups. Our bandwidth usage is usually fluctuates between 7 and 13 gb a month. We’ve only got two databases which take up 41.95 mb. Right now the site is primarily used for displaying events, adoptable animals, donations, and applications. https://hsjc-wis.com/ is the site, if that helps.

What is Jetpack for WordPress?


What is Jetpack? WordPress Plugin review - image header

In the world of WordPress, the focus has been on making the visual editor – Gutenberg – the standard editor for the majority of WordPress users. Within that circle, there are a series of elite plugins that virtually every website—no matter how big or small—introduces into the ecosystem. The Jetpack for WordPress plugin, from Automattic, is one of them.

What exactly is Jetpack for WordPress? It is a versatile plugin that covers website security, optimization, marketing, and more. You get options for scanning your site, hosting for video, and even themes that you can use for your WordPress site!

What makes Jetpack so important? Jetpack gives you the best of both worlds. You get the control and flexibility of a self-hosted website and access to the WordPress.com server network and security hardening. The plugin facilitates this connection by linking your self-hosted installation with a free WordPress.com account you can create for yourself.

It also provides solutions for your WordPress site that keep you from having to get other plugins or services.

Get started with the most secure WordPress hosting. Look no further than InMotion’s Managed WordPress hosting solutions!

check markFree SSLs    check markMalware & Hack Protection    check markDDoS Protection

Free Versus Paid Features

Like many elite plugins, Jetpack for WordPress strikes a good balance between free and paid features. The free features offer tantalizing value while the paid version offers higher-level services. We’ll start by listing all of the features and then identify the premium features that can take your WordPress judo to the next level.

Jetpack for WordPress Feature List

Ads Display ads on your WordPress site.
Beautiful Math Uses LaTeX markup language for writing mathematical equations.
Carousel Display full-screen photos with comments and EXIF metadata.
Comments Comment system that replaces the default system used on Pages and Posts in WordPress. Includes social media login.
Comment Likes Provides an option for readers to “like” an existing comment.
Contact Form Provides a form for feedback.
Custom CSS Use custom CSS to modify an existing theme without creating a child theme
Custom Content Types Provides custom post types for your WordPress site.
Enhanced Distribution Allows your content to be included in the WordPress.com public blog content.
Extra Sidebar Widgets Additional widgets that you can use for your WordPress site.
Gravatar Hovercards Provides visibility for your Gravatar profile.
Google Analytics Use Google Analytics to track your WordPress site statistics.
Infinite Scroll Automatically adjust the position of a post so that it is visible when approaching the bottom of the screen.
JSON API Allows applications to securely authenticate to your site in order to use your content or provide functionality.
Lazy Images Speeds up page loading by providing the option of loading images in your WordPress site only when they are on the screen. Images load as the reader scrolls.
Likes Single click like for posts in your WordPress site.
Markdown Use markdown when composing posts or comments. Markdown allows you to use rich text through keyboard shortcuts.
Monitor Provides an email notification if your site goes down.
Notifications Gives you the option to receive notifications for new comments and likes through your admin bar or a mobile device.
Plugin Management Gives you the option to choose which plugin updates automatically.
Post by Email Publish posts with an email client.
Protect Provides protection from brute force attacks.
Publicize Share new posts through social media automatically. You can also schedule future shares.
Recurring Payments Allows you to add a payment button specifically for recurring donations with the Stripe payment gateway.
Related Posts Show other posts with similar content that a viewer might be interested in.
Security Scanning Anti-virus, malware, and threat detection for your WordPress site.
Search A replacement for the default WordPress search using Elasticsearch in the WordPress.com cloud.
SEO Tools Provides tools to help optimize your WordPress site for improved search engine results.
Sharing Gives you the option to add sharing buttons to your posts so that your viewers can share content.
Shortcode Embeds Embed content from various social media platforms on the internet.
Single Sign-On Use one login to sign into your self-hosted WordPress sites. Works through WordPress.com.
Site Accelerator Formally known as Photon. Optimizes images and serves them from a CDN.
Site Backups Provide an option to backup your WordPress site.
Site Stats Provides stats by date, most popular Pages and/or Posts.
Site Verification Verify your site in order to use it with Google, Bing, Pinterest and their tools.
Sitemaps Create a site map of your WordPress site. This provides an organized index of your website pages so that search engines like Google or Bing can find things easier.
Spam Filtering Automatically filter spam from comments, reviews, or contact form submissions.
Subscriptions Provides notifications for your viewers.
Tiled Galleries Allows you to display images in galleries in three different styles: rectangular mosaic, square mosaic, and circular grid.
Video Hosting A quick way to upload videos. Videos are hosted on WordPress.com.
WP.me Shortlinks Create short and easier to understand links for your content using the wp.me domain.
Widget Visibility Allows widgets to be displayed on specific pages.
WordPress.com Toolbar Replaces the default WordPress Administrator toolbar with a WordPress.com module. It provides links to the Reader, your sites, WordPress.com profile, and notifications.

Jetpack for WordPress Classic Editor Features

If you’re still using the classic editor for WordPress, then you will be limited to a set of features as listed below:

  • Contact Form
  • Markdown
  • Related Posts
  • Subscriptions
  • Tiled Galleries
  • Video Hosting

Jetpack Blocks

Each option above is also available through a block or an updated feature in Jetpack, but block specific options will only be available using the Gutenberg editor in WordPress version 5.0 and up, or by installing the Gutenberg plugin. The blocks listed in the Jetpack for WordPress feature list web page are listed in the table below. The full list of the blocks provided by Gutenberg can be found on the Jetpack Blocks page.

Contact Info Block You can display your contact information here.
Form block Form for user feedback without displaying an email address.
GIF Block Provides search options for animated GIFs from Giphy that you can add to a post or page on your WordPress site.
Map Block Add a map to a post or page.
Pinterest Block Embed Pinterest boards, profiles, and pins to your site.
Repeat Visitor Block Enables the author to control the visibility of its nested block(s) depending on how many times a visitor has previously visited the page.
Simple Payments Block Allows you to add a payment button to a post or page. You can also accept PayPal payments for products or donations.
Slideshow Block Allows you to insert an image slideshow into a post or page.
Star Rating Block Allows a site author to add reviews to the site.
Video Block Allows to upload videos for hosting on WordPress.com.

Which Features Require a Premium License?

Jetpack Premium Features - Upgrade button
Jetpack Premium Features – Upgrade button

The features listed below require an upgrade to a paid license before you can use them. If you install the free version of Jetpack for WordPress, these versions will have the label “Upgrade” next to them. Each one is linked to the Jetpack site so that you can purchase the license if you wish to use it.

  • Backups and Security Scanning
  • Search
  • Video Hosting
  • Ads
  • SEO Tools
  • Google Analytics

The premium licensing for Jetpack is organized by type and can be paid monthly or yearly. To get the full details of licensing, please go to the Jetpack Pricing page.

Who can use Jetpack for WordPress?

Anyone with a self-hosted WordPress site can use the plugin. Make sure that your version of WordPress is up-to-date before you install the plugin. You should also make sure to have a backup of your site before making any installations. The installation of Jetpack will require that you either create or use a WordPress.com account. Learn more about installing Jetpack by going to our linked tutorial.

If you are using Jetpack to replace a plugin, then be sure to carefully evaluate the function or functions that you are replacing. Make sure that the feature you are using in Jetpack meets your WordPress site requirements. Jetpack provides a wide variety of features that are mostly free. Additionally, it was made by the developers of WordPress, so compatibility should be no issue. Finally, technical support is only available with a paid license, so make sure to purchase one if you intend to get assistance when you are using the plugin.

Learn more about using WordPress and its plugins by going to our WordPress Plugins page!

Feedback and Participation in WordPress (+WooCommerce) Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2021)


Just wanted to give a heads up to the community here that I am opening up registration for 2021 WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2020 can be seen here for the unfamiliar.

I’d love to get any feedback this community might have for how to improve it (especially WooCommmerce since 2020 was first time I did that particular test). Changes already happening is changing over to K6 from LoadImpact. Also going to try to add some non-impacting measures around security.

Full details and signup are available here

API Integration in WordPress


There are generally two ways to conceive of WordPress relationships with external APIs: theme integration and plugin integration. With a little WordPress experience, both of these processes are relatively straightforward and can be executed in a short amount of time. Below are some things you can do every time you integrate a plugin API to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Always start with the basics

The first thing you are going to want to do is code the basic elements of the plugin. This will form the framework of the rest of the API upon which you will build whatever functionality you are looking for. Before you do any of that, however, make sure you have a WordPress site (of course) and an API account. Both are simple and free, although WordPress does have paid options.

Once completed, name the file (e.g. “new-plugin.php”) and move it to your WordPress install folder: wp-content > plugins. Once this is done, you can activate it by going to your WP admin dashboard and clicking on plugins. You are now reading to move onto configuration and getting your API key for the API you’re creating.

Configure and Test Your API With the Postman App 

Refer to the documentation for whichever API you are attempting to integrate. In the “Request Formats” section, you can choose from XML-RPC, SOAP and REST. Choose REST. Once you click it you will be shown an example of your chosen plugin’s REST API endpoint.

The REST API of your chosen plugin will allow you to post, get and delete whatever data you choose. Copy the sample endpoint provided and then paste it into Postman. Ensure your request type is “GET.”

Using the Postman app is not a mandatory step in the process, but it does help make it easier to connect and test your API as you go, and might make it more intuitive for first-timers. The best thing about it is: it’s free. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.

Find Your API Key

To create an API key you will need to have an API account registered. Once you have that, you can request an API key. A lot of API providers stipulate various terms and conditions for using their API, including restricted access and commercial vs non-commercial usage.

Once you’ve initiated your API request, you should get your key (which is what indicates it is you), and a secret personal code that allows you to prove you are who you claim to be, in short order. You are now ready to begin your API innovation journey.

Setting Your Request Parameters

The next step in the integration process is choosing your method for requesting data. The API documentation often has a wide range of options to choose from. Sometimes, certain methods require authentication.

It is a good idea to set your data format to “auto” so that Postman can select what data format to be used. Postman provides a number of different format options, including JSON, XML, Text and HTML.

Finally, Build and Integrate Your Widget

In your plugin’s primary PHP file, paste the widget code. Go to Appearance > Widgets on your WP dashboard, and add your desired widget to your desired widget area. If you view it from the front end you will see the title, but nothing concrete yet.

Go back to your PHP file and configure the widget output. You have everything you need at this point–the method, format and the API key. Here is where you can synthesize your final REST API endpoint URL using the multiple arguments you have gathered.

Conclusion

API integration in WordPress takes some getting used to, but once you have mastered the steps, you can create what you need and be up in running in no time. Familiarize yourself with the above process and enjoy virtually endless customization in WordPress.

Recommended read: Best WordPress Hosting

Developing a WordPress Website Without Programming Knowledge


WordPress is the solution to those who want to create websites but have minimal programming and coding experience. If you’ve heard that expression multiple times, why not check it out at least once? You don’t need to worry about your programming skills, since this powerful Content Management System (CMS) can be easily used by a layman to create stunning websites. However, you will need to understand the way WordPress functions as there are two WordPress versions that you can work with, and all that can be a bit confusing. In this article, we shall look at WordPress from a beginner or a novice’s perspective and determine whether it’s truly easy to learn. Let’s get started.

How WordPress works

Once you get the hang of the point-and-click interface, WordPress will be easier for you to handle, and even the more advanced features won’t take much time to learn. Let’s understand what exactly WordPress is and how you can quickly build a website with it.

WordPress started as a blogging platform but slowly grew beyond blogging. It currently fuels all sorts of websites, including business blogs. The WordPress core is made up of a mighty CMS that facilitates content publishing by individuals or teams in a consistently formatted manner on their websites. A WordPress user with little or no technical or coding skills can quickly publish their content.

WordPress websites offer fantastic flexibility and customizability, which is the real reason behind their popularity. WordPress is an open-source platform, which implies that technically sound and skilled developers can play with WordPress’ code while customizing it as per their website development needs. WordPress boasts of a huge developer community, and they develop a variety of extensions and add-ons to power their websites. From complex e-commerce websites to personal websites, WordPress can be used by almost everyone, irrespective of their technical skills.

WordPress plugins and themes

Plugins are simple add-ons to extend the capabilities and behavior of a WP website. Thus, you can easily integrate contact forms, photo galleries, social media, etc. If you wish to include a particular feature to your website, installing a WordPress plugin can be easily achieved. Plugins for both the back and front-end are available, and contact form is an excellent example for a front-end plugin, whereas backup is a back-end plugin.

The biggest advantage of using plugins is that they’re available in abundance, and you’ll simply need to decide whether a free or premium plugin will achieve your objective. There’re several companies that even develop custom plugins, which is a great way to include only the feature that you require.

On the other hand, WordPress themes are in complete control of the design elements of a website. Thus, everything from styling, color, font, page layout, and other design elements is controlled by a website’s theme. In order to tweak a theme or other design elements, you will need to learn more about CSS and template editing. Themes are similar to templates, and once you install and activate a theme, the appearance of your website changes completely within a few seconds.

How easy is it for beginners?

Learning the WordPress fundamentals is only a matter of a few days, and it has managed to eliminate all the technical hurdles. Thus, people with little or no technical skill level can use WordPress and build an impressive website. Additionally, such websites do not have to be bare-bounded.

Since you can install add-ons, the functionality can be greatly extended. For instance, you can add calendars, video galleries, or tools for optimizing SEO for your pages. Of course, some of the plugins and themes are free, but more unique examples come with a price tag. So, even if the core WordPress services are free-of-charge, you might still need to spend some money to take your website to the next level.

However, WordPress’s popularity has an unwanted side effect: it is the most frequently attacked CMS. Of course, you will take the necessary steps by getting an SSL certificate and installing additional security plugins. Sadly, that might not be enough to keep hackers away.

Recommended read: Best WordPress Hosting Providers

Can You Secure WordPress if you’re a beginner?

Many small companies opt to kick things off with WordPress websites instead of building ones from scratch. Still, a dedicated team of developers will probably work to make the WordPress website more unique and secure. For best results and immunity against potential attacks, they can use various techniques: two-factor authentication, an online VPN, hiding the WordPress version, managing permissions, limiting login attempts, etc. These are essential to fight hackers, attempting to gain unauthorized access to the admin panel, or attempting to initiate DDoS attacks.

There’s much more to WordPress security than this, but doing a bit of research and using best practices will make your WP website a lot more secure compared to doing nothing. You don’t have to be an expert or be an experienced developer to use the basic security guidelines like limiting login attempts, using a VPN, using 2FA, etc.

Benefits of using WordPress

It’s free. WordPress is absolutely free, and anyone can get started at zero cost. However, if you wish to run a self-hosted WP website, you’ll have to pay for the domain name and web hosting.

Beginners find it easy and developers powerful. WP is probably the easiest platform available to beginners as both the setup and going live is easier. All reliable web hosts offer one-click installation, so there’s no need for programming. On the other hand, WordPress is a compelling platform for advanced developers as they can use their skills to edit, tweak, and customize. They can customize both the front end and the back-end to create incredibly efficient and functional websites.