Everyone who is running the website is asking the same question – how to protect it from hackers. And that is obvious, as no one wants to take the risk of their business, and take clients under the risk. Due to the fact that WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for website development – the question related to the safety of a given platform is really common.
First of all, there is a need to talk about the statistics, here are the most popular situations, due to which sites are being hacked:
- in 41% of cases websites were hacked because of the vulnerability of account hosting;
- 29% of websites had been hacked because of security issues in the WordPress theme;
- in 22% of cases the issue was in the WordPress Plugins;
- and only 8% of websites had been hacked because of weak passwords.
As we see, there are different reasons which influence the security of the website. In any case, it is always better to predict the situation, than to solve the problems. In this article, we are going to talk about ways of protecting the website from hackers attacks.
Place the website using a reliable hosting provider
This is obvious, that hosting provider is one of the most important things when we are talking about safety and good performance. There are a few main issues, which you should take attention at, choosing a hosting provider:
- support of the latest versions of PHP and MySQL;
- usage of the latest versions of the software;
- regular antivirus scanning of the websites;
- automatic backups of the websites.
Update WordPress engine on a regular basis
Each system is being updated on a regular basis, and WordPress is not an exception. Updating the programs is crucial for ensuring safety, deleting possible defects of the systems and to improve performance. Taking into account the fact that the safety and performance of WordPress influence the productivity of the business.
Use only trust-able plugins and themes for the WordPress
As mentioned before, in 50% of cases websites are being hacked because of usage of not trust-able plugins and themes for WordPress. That is why it is crucially important to think pragmatically before uploading new plugins if there is no real need in that action – our advice is to not set it up. In order to protect the website, there is also a need to check the theme and quality of the template code.
Use the correct access rights
In order to minimize the possibility of hackers attack, there is a need to set up a few options:
- all folders should have right 755 or 750;
- all files should be 644 or 600;
- for the wp-config.php right 600 is required.
Make sure that hosting provider is able to provide you with support, and set up all required rights for you.
Use non-trivial prefixes in the database tables
By default, prefixes in the WordPress database are wp_. And of course, everyone knows about that, including hackers. That is why making them more complicated is crucial for engaging security. There is a possibility to set up custom prefixes, during the installation process. In case if the installation process is over, and you are left with the standard set of things, then you can change it in wp-config.php and in the database.
Protect your website through the .htaccess
Not everyone knows, but file .htaccess is a very strong instrument, which is working with different service settings. With its help, it is possible to not let the review of website directories, trough browser. In the same time, protecting all the files and folders, located in the WordPress settings.
Change the login and password on the periodical basis
Everyone receives notifications regarding the need for changing the passwords on a regular basis, but a lot of us do not take it seriously. That is the nature of the human being, we all act the same way, and only after being hacked we take it more seriously. Many companies force their employees to change all the passwords on monthly or at least quarterly basis. They simply cannot log in with the old password, after some period of time. This practice ensures the security of all the data, stored on the company servers, and decreases the risk of hacker attacks. Try to apply this practice in your company, and ensure the safety of a business.
Use additional protection during authorization
For sure, changing passwords on a regular basis increase security of the website. There is one more important rule to follow – apply double authorization for the login page. The weak passwords make hackers find access to the website very quickly, using automatic systems of password picker. More complicated passwords increase the chances of not being hacked immediately. While the additional level of authorization ensures that you will be informed immediately after the third person is trying to log in into the website.
Protect the website from spam comments and regularly check whether you are not in the blacklist
It is extremely important to not let spammers and robots to comment under the posts, as it can be the reason for the bad reputation of the website. One of the most popular plugins, which is able to help you with this issue – Akismet.
Quite often it happens that you do not know that you have actually been hacked. They are silently adding the bad script to the settings, sending spamming letters, which in the result may cause you being in the blacklist. As we all know, being in the list of bad websites decreases the number of visitors, shows you on the lower level in the google search, and cause many other unpleasant things.
Use plugins for website protection
If you want to make your website even more secure, and to spend too much time on all actions described above – use plugins, which provide you with complex support. For example, Wordfence Security, scans website on the case of damaging codes or viruses, for free. Acunetix WP Security checks the website weak sides and suggests methods of solutions. In order to get the maximum effect, and ensure an even higher security level – use the methods, described in the article, together with the plugins which are going to scan the website.
There are a few more cases, which can ruin even the perfectly performing website: Duplicating of the content
There are two types of the duplicates, which are being used on the website, copied content from another site and inside duplicates. It is a well-known fact that plagiarism is damaging for each website, it places you lower in the search engines and decreases the number of visitors. In the same time, not everyone knows that the same fragment of text inside the website is causing the same effect. So, if you want your website to be successful – never allow any kind of plagiarism and duplicates.
The bad URL structure of the website
URL can do both, make the website successful and play the worst joke with its owner. Of course, URL is being generated by the default, but still, there is a place for custom settings. In order to make the website even more successful – the URL should be short, easy to remember, have a clear structure and everyone should be able to write it from the memory.
No description on the category pages
It is really important to add a description to each category, located on the website. It gives a clear vision to the visitor on what is going to be described on the page. Additional to that, it increases the unique content on the website, decreases chances of the duplicate content, which generally improves the status of the website.
We have described the most popular mistakes, which can run the website to crash and increase the chances of hackers attacks. In the same time, we provide you with an impressive amount of pieces of advice, thanks to which you may be sure that your WordPress website will be safe and perfectly performing. Years of successful experience, provided us with all the knowledge, we are happily sharing with you! Aren’t sure yet, what is the best way of running the business? Contact us! We are always glad to consult, support and provide your business with the best solutions.
We’re very excited to tell you all about the improved website creation UX in Plesk, and why we invested in making it even better in 2021. Let’s face it, creating a website in Plesk was never hard. Type in your domain name, fill in a few details, and bam! In a matter of seconds, your website was ready to go.
Easy as pie, right? Well, turns out, that the procedure was not as clear-cut for new Plesk users. Some of them got frustrated and left without discovering the many benefits Plesk could bring them. A real bummer, and a lose-lose both for us and for them. We had to fix that. In this article, I will walk you through the revamped website creation workflow, and also tell you about the customer pain points these improvements aim to solve.
New website creation workflow
Challenge: How can I create a new website or add my own website in Plesk?
Despite the seeming simplicity, the previous website creation UX had a major flaw. It hid all the options that Plesk offered when creating a new website.
Specific situation: one of our partners told us that four out of five new clients they get migrate existing websites from different web hosting services to Plesk. Plesk comes with the ‘Site Import’ tool for just such a job. However, the partner didn’t know about it and therefore chose to use a third-party solution.
Many other cool Plesk features fared no better in terms of discoverability. New customers did not know that they could upload content easily with the File Manager, pull files from a Git repository, or use our Toolkits (for WordPress, Joomla!, Laravel) to create and manage websites within the snap of a finger.
Thus, our main goal was to clearly show the customers all available options, and make it so that right after website creation they could easily select the desired functionality and thus hit the ground running. The available options depend on the installed extensions, and their visibility can be controlled via the panel.ini configuration file. I will talk about this in more detail later in this article.
Let’s say I need to create my own WordPress website so that I can blog there instead of writing articles for the Plesk Blog. Gotta develop that personal brand! For that, I have chosen the ‘WordPress site’ option.
Challenge: What if I don’t have a registered domain name?
So, the next screen is similar to the old one, just waaay better.
First, I need to type in the domain name of my website. But what if I don’t have a domain name yet? Where can I get one? What if a domain name isn’t important to me at this stage? Can I continue and assign one later? What if I want to quickly show a potential client that my hosting environment can host a Laravel website?
The answer is: “Use a temporary domain name, courtesy of Plesk“.
Plesk automatically generates a free domain name in the .plesk.page DNS zone you can use as a placeholder. We handle all the icky technical stuff like DNS resolving so that you can get on with your work. On top of that, your temporary domain name uses HSTS and is automatically secured by a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. Your website becomes available on the web right from the get-go, no waiting time needed!
One more important note: previously, you had to enter all required credentials by hand before a website could be created. To speed things up, Plesk now pre-generates system users’ credentials. You can see what they are or change them at any time – just click ‘Connection Info’ on the domain card.
As I haven’t registered my own domain name yet, I choose the temporary domain and click ‘Add Domain’.
Challenge: What’s going on behind the scenes? What does Plesk do for me?
Okay, it’s doing something… but what exactly? Here’s what the process looked like before:
Who doesn’t like staring at spinning activity indicators? Well, everyone, actually.
So, now we give you a glimpse backstage by adding concrete steps with progress bars:
Challenge: What should I do next?
As I chose to use WordPress for my future blog, right after creating hosting for my website Plesk takes me to the WordPress installation screen. What do I need to do next? Click the ‘Install’ button, and that’s it!
No need to scour the interface in search of the desired functionality.
You can see detailed progress of what’s going on under the hood:
Finally, I am taken straight to the WordPress dashboard. Here I can configure and manage the newly created website (which is already available on the web, mind) to my heart’s content.
And it only took a couple of minutes, from start to finish!
Customizable creation options
Last but not least: every option you see is configurable.
You can leave the desired website creation options and hide the others by modifying the panel.ini configuration file. You can disable all options except one.
For example, if you are a WordPress hoster and only ever create WordPress websites, leave only that option available and hide the rest! In this case, the screen with the different website creation options is skipped and the users are taken directly to creating a new WordPress website. Pretty nifty, right?
What if you don’t need to see these options? Disable them altogether, and the world (or at least your Plesk server) is your oyster.
Here is the list of available panel.ini options to customize the website creation process in Plesk:
|Creation option||panel.ini (control option)||Description|
applicationWizard.blankSite = false
|Disables the blank website (skeleton) creation.|
|Deploy using Git||[ext-git]|
enableOnSiteApplicationWizard = false
|Disables the option to pull the files from a remote Git repository.|
enableOnSiteCreate = false
|Disables the option to import a website from another hosting server.|
enableOnSiteApplicationWizard = false
|Disables the option to create a Joomla! website.|
enableOnSiteApplicationWizard = false
|Disables the option to create a Laravel website.|
|New ‘Add Domain’ screen||[domainManagement]|
applicationWizard.enabled = false
|Disables the new website creation screen in Plesk. A blank website will always be created by default.|
applicationWizard.uploadFiles = false
|Disables the option to upload files using File Manager after website creation.|
enableOnSiteApplicationWizard = false
|Disables the option to create a WordPress website.|
To sum it all up: when we make changes to Plesk, the goal is always to solve real customers’ pain points.
With the website creation workflow redesign, we brought more clarity, showed all possible options, tools, and ways of creating a new website, and simplified the process as much as possible.
We hope you like it!
And we hope that Plesk helps you spend less time working, so that you may spend more time with your family, engage in a hobby, and relax.
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback! Have you tried the new and improved website creation process? What are your thoughts? Let us know at [email protected] or in the comments section below.
As Machine Learning is becoming in demand these days, it is unwise to ignore it altogether. Statista projects that the AI market is going to grow in a flash by 2025 and obtain 126 billion US dollars. McKinsey, a global management consulting company, did some calculations too, and 70% of companies are on their way to adopt at least one AI sub technology by 2030. This power move will increase the world’s economy by an estimated $13 trillion. It wouldn’t be fair if you’re a startup and you wouldn’t make an attempt. There are thousands of existing ML startups today, but what would it cost to become the thousands first? If you want to change the world, my guess is you should start small.
You never know what you can do until you try.C.S. Lewis
What Does It Take To Start?
It is always hard to start your business as it requires an abundance of moves and constant investments of time and money. Stanford’s university Sam Altman and Dustin Moskovitz, who have been teaching people how to start startups for more than 14 years, see this process as a journey from having an idea, creating a team of software developers, and assembling a product, and up to market involvement. 14 years later, their lectures still make sense!
Remember these steps as they will help you optimize your time and save money usually spent on chaotic moves. Start with an idea and everything else will pull up.
Machine Learning, which is a subset of AI, originates from algorithms that teach computers to act on data, understand data patterns, self-learn, and predict the future based on the acquired knowledge. No exhaustive coding is required, but you still need to know Python as approximately 60% of developers apply it in data science. Machine Learning became popular about ten years ago, but there are cool ways you can use it for your startup today:
E-commerce: online shopping has been the most popular online activity around the world from the moment it became possible and, nowadays, when pandemics hit, it is the only means of shopping left that guarantees your safety. Statista predicts a 6.5 trillion US dollars growth of e-commerce by 2022. So, it is a brilliant way to offer something huge here to the public. For example,
- an e-commerce human-oriented search engine that will significantly improve the experience of product search results
- image and video recognition search for enhanced user experience
- chat bots and customization of user experience
- tools for smart homes
Healthcare: as long as people will be interested in health improvement there will be a place for medical technology advancement. Statista expects 7 billion US dollars of investments made into the big data field by 2021. So, you still have time to jump on that train. For instance, think about
- automated analysis of medical images to set right diagnoses
- automated patient-screening methods and navigation
- chat bots and online consultations with remote vital signs check
Cybersecurity: with the digitization of every industry humanity also obtained new ways of fraud in cyber hack attacks, data breaches, and data leakage by specific malware that harms businesses and puts confidential information of every user in danger. Statista states that the cybersecurity market should grow up to 248 billion dollars and beyond this number by 2023. So, why not make your contribution to this field? For example, create
- enhanced hack and data leakage prevention
- predictive detection of threats via smart analysis
- ML integration into enterprise security monitoring
Fintech: everything concerning financial services and digital payments has become so convenient due to becoming online instead of offline and in queues. This industry has vast potential and will, without a doubt, win a jackpot within the following couple of years. So, why not try your fortune and develop something for
- predicting future market trends
- automating customer services
- detecting customer risk profiles
Education: Covid-19 has changed so much of what we call “normal” education. When everyone had to shift to online studying, most of the educational institutions met the problem of being simply not ready. So, online education tools are the technology of tomorrow! There’s a need to reflect on proposing
- an educative platform for kids with special needs
- a program that makes the smart choice of school to apply to (based on children’s skills)
- creating study content automatically based on the topic of study
Preservation of Land Resources: global warming, destruction of rainforests, pollution, contamination, drought, famine, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other environmental changes are not only the words present in the dictionary now. We experience them and the consequences of human disrespect of nature are shocking! That’s why there is a great need for ecosystem preservation. This can be done by useful ML tech support such as
- contamination prediction and detection
- provision of data on environmental changes and climate control
- reduction of energy and water usage
There are as many ideas as your head is creative to brainstorm further. Sometimes, even a one-horse idea might skyrocket. So, get an idea and make sure it can’t be replicated that easily. Within time, your idea will expand and become more ambitious.
Good ideas need specialists to make them a reality. So, let’s proceed with understanding how to choose teammates for your ML Startup!
The ML Team
The closest team member of your Startup is a co-founder. Co-founders should be on the same wave as you are. What’s more, if you are not a tech-savvy person, your co-founder should be a techie specializing in Machine Learning development trends and nuances.
The CEO of the company is a team member, who motivates employees to excel every day. If you are going to recruit a startup team in Machine Learning, be ready to be on the same wave as your employees are. ML specialists are rare talents with deep knowledge across many fields. You’ll need a strong and self-motivated team, so prepare yourself to be a strong and confident leader, who can drive the company forward. Intensity is the word that should be on the tip of your tongue because intensity gives power.
Sam Altman says that at the beginning you have to spend at least 25% of your time hiring. This number is just an average one as everything depends on your business idea and its requirements. Altman also suggests staying small as long as possible and expanding only after a certain breakthrough — initially costs per hire will be enough to try the patience of a saint. What about the developers’ knowledge? I think, hire the best ones, don’t compromise. For again, it is better to have 1 or 2 professionals than 5 amateurs. And, last but not least, consider aptitude over experience. You haven’t got the time and money to be extra choosy!
There are three things that I look for when I hire people: Are they smart? Do they get things done? Do I want to spend a lot of time around them? And when I end up with a ‘yes’ to all the three, I almost never regret this hire!Sam Altman
Machine Learning is the key to prediction-making and autonomous decision-making. After the machine is being educated, i. e. programmed, it will carry out tasks on its own, without specific human help because ML is powered by AI. To make sure ML works according to your boldest expectations, the first step is to define the requirements, outline the scope of work, set standards (metrics) and let the techies on your team explore all the possibilities. Make this process a flexible one, and think outside the box!
ML includes four types of learning possibilities. These are:
- supervised: algorithms are programmed to predict outcomes by processing the labeled data (various amounts of training data that has tags with outcomes)
- unsupervised: algorithms detect patterns without processing the labeled data (e.g. associations, clustering, or detection of anomalies)
- semi-supervised: it’s a merge of the supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms
- reinforced: algorithms learn based on obtained feedback over some time (mostly robots work like this)
The product itself also has the background to adhere to. The major thing is to understand your intentions — is it an ML product you’re trying to build or integrate ML into a product? This straightforward question matters. Here’s why. ML product stands on ML models — the pillars of any developed product, which have ML at its core. Don’t reinvent the wheel and get engaged with understanding the input and output of the models and that’ll be enough.
The key contributor to assembling a product is the end-user. Find a couple of end-users and give them to test your product. It is best to make a product for a small number of people to love dearly, than for a larger number of people, who will only like it. To add, what is the most important thing for the end-user? Right, the user experience or, as we know it, the UX. Yes, it is critical in software development, and yes, ML is used to enhance UX. It is less important only in the case of performance accuracy as the top priority.
Tech Stack and Challenges
Building an ML solution requires not only the knowledge of Python and algorithms. Machine learning engineers are in high demand as their skill set includes Java, R programming languages, probability and statistics, data modeling, computer science, and system design. Also, they have to be flexible team members ready to work side by side with project managers, UI/UX designers, business analysts, and other team members of a cross-functional team.
Machine Learning engineering teams face a lot of challenges. ML algorithms tend to act like a “black box”, which takes the input and produces the output being completely covert. So problem-solving and critical thinking are the ones of the most important skills too.
The last instance of this journey is execution — not so fun, but worth the candles. Let’s dig deeper!
Accumulating ideas is quite easy but executing them is the opposite. Implementation takes an abundance of effort and sleepless nights. There are two focus questions the answers to which will help you a lot. First, “What to do?” And, second — “How it’s done?” If you figure out these focus questions, you will get stuff done quickly and top-notch. To add, make a plan, set company goals, and communicate your product to the masses. Continuously.
It would be also good to find a business partner that can provide expertise in the execution of your ML product. Overview of the machine learning companies can be found on g2.com which enlists the best software development companies based on transparent reviews. Among the top-rated companies specializing in data science and engineering are IBM, Intel, Google which also provide machine learning data catalogs to transform, model, and visualize data.
If you want to test your idea, we can always help you out. Follow the web development services for startups to succeed!
Small businesses get all types of daily advice from marketing experts about how to sell services or products to local customers. However, you have to take note that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. However, if you want to get better results, you must prioritize local SEO for your business.
Generally, local SEO is one of the best ways to optimize your website since it’ll help your local customers find you. It’s valuable because it provides your potential customers access to everything related to your business, like a physical address. To reap its amazing benefits for your small business, the only thing you need to do is to implement some powerful local SEO strategies.
Fortunately, there are countless strategies you can use for your local SEO. If you don’t know where to get started, hiring a local SEO agency may benefit you and your business as you’ll get to stay on the right track.
If you want to do your best and rely on your skills first, below are some of the best local SEO strategies you can try for your small business:
1. Be Mobile-Friendly
Any SEO company will tell you that it’s vital for your business to be mobile-friendly. Just think of the number of individuals who use smartphones these days. In fact, almost everyone uses mobile devices to access the internet more often than desktop devices. For this reason, most local searches are frequently done using smartphones. So, make sure that your website content is mobile-friendly and don’t forget to use local citations. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself neglected by most of your customer base.
2. Optimize Your Images
When it comes to local SEO, optimization isn’t only limited to text. Because of the blended nature of the search results, images can be seen on the search listings page, so it’s crucial to optimize your images for search engines.
Since search engines cannot read images, make sure that your images are all SEO-friendly by using alt tags to describe your image in a way that search engines will understand. Just make sure to combine it with a relevant and concise description that contains the best keywords appropriate for the images.
3. Clean Backlinks
Once you decide to implement local SEO in your business, it’s crucial to use backlinks. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t use them properly. It can be a problem since Google will penalize content or websites with bad backlinks, including the ones with a link to some problematic domains.
Penalties can reduce your search engine rankings, which can be problematic especially for small businesses. So, make sure to clean up your backlinks to maintain your search engine ranking.
4. Provide Good Content
Search engines now value quality over quantity. In the past several years, poorly created website content might have worked great for SEO. However, at present, Google prioritizes content that adds value to people’s lives.
Luckily, it provides small businesses a chance to make content that sets them apart from their big rivals to reach the top search engine ranking. Just don’t focus on making plenty of content but concentrate on making quality content with appropriate keywords.
5. Attract Quality Reviews
For local businesses, you can check your Google My Business page, which appears in the sidebar of Google during searches. Basically, this page features business reviews and such can be some of the first things consumers see when looking for your business. That’s the reason why it’s vital to attract quality reviews from your happy and satisfied customers. You can do this by encouraging your customers to leave reviews for you.
With today’s highly competitive market, it isn’t easy to outrank your competitors. But it’s never impossible if you’ll implement the listed local SEO strategies for your small business.
Once you’ve done it properly, you can be assured that you’ll get nothing but results, such as reaching more potential customers and better exposure in your local area.
For web developers & sysadmins, managing multiple sites and servers can include endless tasks that take up your entire day and leave no space for new projects. So that’s why at Plesk we want you to start with the best tools in place, freeing you to take on more tasks and grow your business.
So you’ve got your Plesk license sorted, your sites & servers synced to the control panel, and you’re ready to optimize your workload quickly and easily. Where do you start? Here is a list of top extensions that simplify, automate and speed up your setup and maintenance.
Let’s get started:
Setting up your sites & servers
Here are the best tools and kits to get started:
The Plesk WordPress Toolkit
- One-click installment
- Single dashboard to manage multiple instances
- Default security scanner that blocks attacks
- Testing environment to stage features with no separate server
- Centralized updates to mass-manage themes and plugins
- Easy for beginners, great for developers
With access to CLI, search engine index management, cloning, migration tools and beyond, WordPress users and web developers have a clear place to start safely and efficiently.
Smart Updates (for the Plesk WordPress Toolkit)
The Plesk WordPress Toolkit is particularly well suited to work in conjunction with other plugins, as is the nature of WordPress itself. Another top extension to optimize your WordPress sites is Smart Updates.
Automatically updating your WordPress site or multiple sites is far easier than doing each one manually, but it comes with a risk – the update could break your sites, and backtracking is difficult and costly. With Smart Updates, the extension tests your auto updates in a testing environment to make sure there are no problems before applying to update to your live site. Just like that!
The Plesk eCommerce Toolkit
Another powerful toolkit in the Plesk extension library helps you set up eCommerce stores from scratch – that’s right, from top to bottom.
With the eCommerce Toolkit extension, web developers and inexperienced retailers alike can enjoy the full power of online selling in just a few steps:
- Create a website complete with personalized domain, products and shopping cart
- Connect to EVO Payments or other gateways to make secure transactions
- Broadcast products across multiple selling platforms like social media & Amazon
- Sync with existing PoS systems
For an A to Z kit specifically designed for online retailers, this kit is a top-notch solution available directly through Plesk.
Securing & backing up your data
Once you’ve taken the first steps to getting your sites and servers online and running, the next step is keeping everything safe.
Backup to Cloud Pro
First things first: You have to keep your data safe.
The popular Backup to Cloud Pro extension allows you to keep your backups safely in the cloud of your choice: AmazonS3, Google Drive, SFTP Backup, Dropbox, DigitalOcean Spaces, or MicrosoftOneDrive. These backups can be scheduled to repeat automatically, so you don’t have to do a thing. From a security perspective, this extension is a great place to start.
ImunifyAV & Imunify360
Two great products from one powerful security giant. Imunify provides the best immunity (pun intended) against viruses, adware spyware, trojans, and worms.
With ImunifyAV, you can equip your site with the essentials for combatting various threats in real-time, keeping your sites locked and closely monitored. It also smartly manages reputation, blacklists, and malware cleanup.
Upgrading to Imunify360 packs in even more security features to ensure the best, automated system tracking your sites. It includes everything you get in ImunifyAV, plus additional firewall software, hardened PHP, some integrations with backup, and more. It is the complete security detail you need to keep your inventory safe without a fuss.
Plesk Email Security
Moving on to your mailing. If you want to safely manage your mailing system on the Plesk control panel, Plesk Email Security is the place to start.
Spam can be a real nuisance, and viruses can present a real threat to your privacy and data. With this extension, advanced anti-spam filters keep spam and ham under control server-wide. Even more importantly, the pro version allows you peace of mind with antivirus technology designed to recognize and learn about harmful content. With this tool scanning all emails, managing DNS blacklists, and blocking unwanted content, you can start using Plesk for email too without a worry.
Now it’s time to keep the safety of your OS in check.
Web developers know that the integrity of your kernel is paramount. So this extension in the Plesk catalog, KernelCare, does exactly what it says on the tin: it takes care of your kernel and thereby protects Linux servers against vulnerabilities.
Updates are checked every few hours, and can take place without rebooting the server. This stops service interruptions happening due to server downtime, and the extension monitors this uptime too. This security patching is a web developer’s dream, as it works on a live site automatically without causing anything to go offline.
Monitoring your sites
Many of the above extensions have monitoring features related to their specific area of expertise. However, we suggest getting started with performance monitoring too, to have a real understanding of your inventory through and through.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This add-on takes your sites to the next level. The performance of your site in terms of speed and optimization is key for creating fast, useful sites. And Google PageSpeed Insights analyzes your site content and performance to suggest the best steps to take to improve.
Plus, as it supports SEO efforts, your sites’ visibility is vastly improved. Plus, as an extension built for Google, the top search engine, you know your insights are accurate and helpful!
The last major WordPress Toolkit release in 2021 — v5.9.0 — is now officially available for Plesk. This quick release adds more site vulnerability goodness with a number of important bug fixes. As there have already been major developments in the 5.8 release, this newest update is building on those existing features:
Site Vulnerability: Policies
It’s hugely beneficial that you can now update or disable vulnerable WordPress assets in WordPress Toolkit once you learn that they’re vulnerable. However, you must log in and perform these actions manually, even if it’s not a convenient time for you. To make life easier for site admins, we have added advanced auto-update policies that allow site admins to make sure that vulnerabilities that can be fixed by installing updates are addressed by WordPress Toolkit automatically. In the case of plugins, site admins can also opt to deactivate them instead of updating (before you ask, we can’t do the same with themes, since there must always be an active theme on a site).
Security updates for vulnerabilities are installed immediately after these vulnerabilities are found; there is no ~24 hour wait period. Also, there is no special auto-update policy for WordPress core, since minor WordPress auto-updates already handle this case.
Finally, if you’re a server admin, keep an eye on future release as we’re planning to introduce auto-update defaults specifically to suit your needs. This should help keep the servers secure even when some customers forget to look after their sites.
Site Vulnerability: Email Notifications
As we’ve mentioned, you can easily learn if you have vulnerabilities when you visit WordPress Toolkit. But this could cause you to miss this information because you don’t visit your control panel that much. To address this, we have added email notifications about security vulnerabilities found by WordPress Toolkit:
These notifications differ from our usual email notifications — they are sent immediately after WordPress Toolkit finds a vulnerability, without any delay. Once a notification about a particular vulnerability on a particular site is sent, we will not repeat it to avoid spamming.
With more than 141 billion app downloads across iOS and Android in 2020 alone (a number that is expected to grow to 184 billion by 2024) more businesses than ever are looking to expand their digital portfolio with a mobile solution.
As a result of this opportunity, however, the marketplace has become competitive, and only the most well-researched applications tend to succeed. Now, crucial to success is the decision of what type of app to build: A native product fine-tuned to the requirements of a single marketplace, or a hybrid application capable of delivering a consistent experience across the entire mobile ecosystem.
As performance, user experience, market coverage and ease of maintenance become increasingly pivotal to product success, we run down the differences between hybrid and native applications, dissecting the pitfalls and opportunities of each.
What are native mobile apps?
A Native App is a type of software or program that has been developed to function within a particular platform or environment. They are built for specific software frameworks, hardware platforms, or operating systems.
There are two main mobile frameworks that combined account for 99% of devices worldwide: Google’s Android, which controls around 72% of the market, and Apple-owned iOS, which accounts for 27%.
What are the advantages of native apps?
Native applications have the edge in three key areas: Speed, User Interface (UI) and Robustness.
When building native applications developers are able to take full advantage of the functionalities specific to that framework. The result of this is peak performance, consistent UX and UI across devices and a codebase that is, generally speaking, a little more stable.
This is particularly true on iOS, where Apple has not only built the operating system, but they produce the devices themselves. This allows for an unmatched level of predictability and consistency across the Apple ecosystem.
That being said, if multiple native applications are being used to gain whole-of-market coverage, making live fixes becomes significantly more difficult.
Native applications provide peak performance for businesses that require unparalleled performance and unbeatable user experience. Although hybrid applications come closer to native-level every day, there is still a gap to consider.
What are the disadvantages of native apps?
A key disadvantage of building a native app is that you automatically lose partial market coverage. In such a competitive mobile landscape, completely disregarding either iOS or Android can be detrimental to your product launch.
Building two native apps to cover both Android and iOS is also costly and time-consuming. Instead of working on one code base, two development teams have to work on two different code bases. Code cannot simply be copied from one platform to another. It needs to be rewritten.
This raises the cost of development significantly and increases the time it takes to launch your app.
It should also be noted that the post-launch support process is significantly more labour intensive should you produce two applications. Fixes must be made across both codebases, and the opportunity for operating system bugs to occur is effectively doubled.
Whilst native mobile app development allows you to produce the most powerful bespoke products, the production and further support is a massive undertaking and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Technologies used for native app development
Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language created by Apple for building apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch. Swift is open-source, with an extensive support network of developers and documentation.
Kotlin is a reputable programming language with vast open-source tools and libraries to help developers build native Android applications. Kotlin is a more stable and congruous development of Java, which has been used to develop android applications since its inception in 2008.
What are hybrid mobile apps?
Hybrid, or cross-platform mobile applications, are developed to function across multiple mobile platforms or frameworks. These apps are compatible with both iOS and Android, allowing for 99% market coverage.
By choosing hybrid app development, companies receive the significant benefits of faster turnaround time, lower costs, a quick deployment, and ease of ongoing management. These factors help businesses realise an ROI higher than what could often be obtained through native app development.
Cross-platform applications use a library of native-styled modules that can be used to create a near-perfect user experience across devices. It should be noted, however, that creating two native applications would still give you the edge in this respect.
What are the advantages of hybrid apps?
The sooner your mobile app is developed and deployed, the sooner you’ll be reaping the benefits from it.
Because only one cross-platform app needs to be developed in order to achieve functionality on all platforms, rather than the multiple apps that would be required when building native apps, hybrid app development takes much less time than native app development.
And that’s not the only reason for the quick turnaround. Code used to create hybrid apps can be reused, so app developers can tap into their library of already-coded modules to assemble these applications more efficiently each time. Any code specific to a company’s first mobile app can also be reused in later, related company mobile apps.
This one’s a simple matter of doing the maths. Less time and effort spent in development equals lower cost.
With only a single mobile app to develop and maintain, not only does hybrid app development move more quickly, but QA processing, deployment and support are made easier. The time and monetary costs of developing your product are reduced dramatically by opting for cross-platform mobile app development, allowing your business to see ROI more quickly.
What are the limitations of hybrid apps?
If one of your priorities is providing a user experience that is consistent with the operating system and with the majority of the other apps available on that platform, then a hybrid app may not be the right solution for your business.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot provide a good mobile user experience with a web app or a hybrid app – it just means that the system graphics may not be exactly the same as those with which users may be already accustomed. This can negatively impact your user experience.
In addition, if your product relies on getting the absolute maximum amount of performance from the operating system, your idea may be better suited to a native application. Whilst cross-platform applications are still powerful and suitable for the vast majority of use cases, they still fail to achieve the same performance as a native application.
Technologies used for hybrid application development
Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google. It is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and the web from a single codebase.
React Native is an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook, Inc. It is used to develop applications for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows and UWP by enabling developers to use React’s framework along with native platform capabilities.
A Note on User Experience
In today’s market where there are millions of mobile applications, web platforms and digital products available, good UI/UX is no longer a feature- it is expected. Applications with no consideration to aesthetic usability create the impression of a subpar product, regardless of their ability to function or solve a specific problem.
Both native applications and cross-platform/hybrid apps have the capacity to create intuitive experiences. Whilst hybrid applications allow you to create continuity over different platforms, the OS-specific UI elements used in native applications create the best possible UX, user interface elements directly from the operating system.
To find out more on the importance of UI & UX, read our recent insight ‘The Difference Between UX and UI Design’
How to choose the right app type?
When we take a closer look at native and hybrid apps, the benefits of both approaches become more evident. All you have to do is to compare the core features of these approaches with the needs and expectations of your company.
For example, native mobile apps provide excellent UX and speed with an unparalleled user experience. Therefore, they are a great choice for companies that work with sensitive data, want to create a technically intense product, or only need to serve a single user base (either Android or iOS).
On the other hand, there’s cross-platform functionality provided by hybrid apps. This feature is invaluable for businesses that want to achieve whole of market coverage whilst keeping development speeds high and maintaining relatively low support and maintenance costs.
It’s important to understand that it’s not the nature of hybrid and native apps that determines if your idea will be successful or not. The crucial thing is the ability of developers to build upon your ideas and ensure that core business objectives are met in the solution they produce.
As the quality of web and mobile applications on the market continues to improve, UI and UX are no longer considered luxuries. In fact, thousands of applications fail to meet their user or revenue targets every year as a lack of focus on usability makes them seem subpar- regardless of their ability to perform.
What are UX and UI design? Why are they important and why can’t we afford to ignore them? Read on for our insight into why usability is so important in 2022.
What are User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)?
User Interface or UI refers to all visual elements that can be seen when interacting with a digital product. Everything from the text we read to the buttons we press, UI is the part of the application that ensures you understand and navigate through the app as intended.
User experience or UX is the overall perception/feel/attitude a user has when interacting with a product. UX doesn’t start and end with the opening and closing of an application. User experience can both be online and offline and can be considered a collective of every interaction between a user interacts and product.
UI/UX designers work to bridge the gap between user and device in a way that helps users understand their task within the app and allows them to seamlessly navigate the interface.
In order to gain a sense of what attributes to successful UI/UX, we spoke to the Netsells design team: Lead Designer Scott Broughton and UI/UX Designers Connor McLeod and Bartek Marzec. Here are our key takeaways:
What Makes for a Good UI?
- A good UI acts as an extension of the brand, continuing core messaging.
- Designed with accessibility consideration according to documentation such as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and Google’s Material Design foundations.
- A responsive interface that follows the user journey, providing feedback as the user navigates the app.
- Easy to use and understand.
What Makes for a Good UX?
- Good UX is always intuitive.
- Designed according to the scenarios and environment users will interact with the final product. For example, a fitness application intended to track active training sessions will need to be designed so that users can spend their time performing the activity without monitoring the application.
- Good UX moulds to meet the changing habits/demands of the user. There is never an endpoint. Great products learn from how users interact with the product and constantly iterate.
What Makes for Bad UI/UX?
- Designed in isolation from user needs and business goals. Design that is solely based on assumptions without user research cannot properly cater to their needs.
- Not having a clear purpose. As UI/UX are processes for delivering high quality and performing product it is vital for the success of any app to answer the why question early and use it as a guiding star to build upon.
- ‘Reinventing the wheel’ with unnecessary or over-complicated design. Pushing the boundaries is great if done correctly, but most often complicated design attributes to the downfall of a product. In our experience, this is most often through the poor structure of visual elements and overly focusing on trendy aesthetics rather than usability.
How do UX and UI work together?
Both UI and UX supplement each other. UX can be considered the framework of human interaction with a product, whilst the UI is the visual aspect that the user actually interacts with, be it the buttons on a mobile application or the drop-down menu on a PWA.
Whilst it is important that all product team roles collaborate closely from the beginning of a development lifecycle, UI teams tend to form the primary building blocks for most projects. Throughout this process, the features and functionalities that are required from both a user and stakeholder perspective are gathered, mapped and planned.
The UI team then takes the framework developed by the UX team, creating and developing the wireframes that will ultimately inform the user interface for the final application. This happens regardless of platform (mobile, web, etc.)
Throughout the entire process, stakeholder and user input is vital to ensuring the success of the UI and UX processes.
Is UX or UI more important for Digital Product Development?
User Experience is more important in the early stages of product design, with designers working to balance stakeholder and user requirements for the creation of a viable Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
It’s vital to strike that balance when creating a UX framework so that UI Designers can work from this pool of knowledge and form an enhanced understanding of how certain sections need to function in terms of interface.
Simply put: UI and UX are Inseparable in their nature, and they should be considered equally important to success. A functioning application needs to have an informed visual design just as much as it needs to perform against it’s target goals.
In today’s market where there are millions of mobile applications, web platforms and digital products available, good UI/UX is no longer a feature- it is expected. Applications with no consideration to aesthetic usability create the impression of a subpar product, regardless of their ability to function or solve a specific problem.