5 Essential WordPress Tips For Beginners For Starting A Self Hosted WordPress Blog
I think that at this point no one will argue against the fact that WordPress.org is the most powerful blogging platform out there. Furthermore, it is very easy to create a blog with WordPress.org, ie, install and launch a WordPress blog on a self hosting server even for non-technical people.
But there are also few issues that conveys a sense of simplicity wrong because, in reality, things are not always so simple . Find that your relationship with WordPress.org you is like a honeymoon: everything is idyllic at first and gradually go landing in reality with all its problems.
This is because with WordPress platform you must also face the technical side of hosting the application and sooner or later getting into the technical problems without adequate preparation can be a bit overwhelming.
The consequence of this is that more than once you spend giving hours or days to finally find the solution, and if you find the answer you are good to go, if not it can generate frustration, at one end, and even make you give up your project.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to scare you away from WordPress, nothing is further from my intentions, simply note that when this platform is recommended to be the best there is often talk about their positives and too little of the difficulties involving, especially if you do not have a technical background.
5 Typical Challenges You Will Have to Face with WordPress Self Hosted Blog
In this post I’ll draw a map of the challenges that awaits you with a WordPress self hosting blog and what is the best way to make use of this platform for your personal or business purpose.
So what are those challenges that you will encounter?
1. The initial creation of the blog
As I mentioned earlier, the initial start up of a WordPress blog is not very complicated, but there is a tipping point where you can really screw it thoroughly, i.e the right choice for your hosting . And it is not a good idea to choose a free hosting for a “serious” blog. The installation of WP can be done in a matter of minutes and there are many tutorials on YouTube which can be of help to you.
If you also want to know more about the essential concepts of hosting (what is a hosting server, what is DNS and how to point it to your server, etc..), There are helpful materials in abundance on the Internet that explains it very well.
Finally, the initial creation of the blog is, in principle, is a relatively small challenge . It gets a bit more challenging if you do not want to create a blog from scratch, but migrate an existing blog from Blogger or WordPress.com.
2. Loss of Data Due to Ignorance
The vast majority of bloggers forget to do backups . It is a good idea to take regular backups of your blog.
With a free WP back up plugin called BackWPup and throwing a little love can have automatic backups setup.
Four important tips :
- Always set automatic backups (if not, you’ll end up forgetting)
- Do not let them on the server as many do. Where will you find the backups if the servers crash? So always make a local copy of files.
- Try to make a restore copies (that’s a little more challenging …), but with another account. That is, do not put in your blog you risk crushing it with the restoration of the copy.
- As an additional measure, I recommend that every few months once, you manually make a special copy with the Duplicator plugin. This also has a great advantage that these copies are very easy to restore and thus have a series of “snapshots” of your blog in different moments in time which is something that some day may be helpful.
In addition, the plugin allows you to send BackWPup to cloud services like DropBox or SugarSync that are an excellent way to store . So even if an atomic bomb dropped on site from your provider, you will always have your blog safe.
Finally, the only challenge you will face here is that, if you know these things and you just have enough time to do all these things it is good. But if you’re not aware of them, and after years of work, one day if your blog just disappears forever after an un-expected incident with your hosting provider, and he faces some technical problems that cannot help you to recover the backup of your site. So it is always recommended to take backups.
3. Maintenance: Updates and Errors
The incredible amount of themes and plugins from WordPress that have to made this platform a most popular one, but also has its dark side. The themes and plugins, as well, that the core of WordPress, must be continuously updated as soon as the updates are released.
So far so good, WordPress notifies you of updates, you click on “update” the plugin or theme and it is updated within seconds, and ready. If sometimes along with with updates also come “bugs”. The vast majority of bugs are harmless, they are usually small things that you do not even come across and it will be fixed during the the future updates.
But once you get to the point where you come across the “white screen of death WordPress” error and that if you are not prepared for it, it scares a while, since your blog seem to disappear. The WordPress white screen of death is one of the most annoying issue which will throw up an error called “error establishing a database connection”.
Probably you cannot even access the administration screen without some technical base, you will not have idea on how to get your hands on this, unless you’ve read a post on the subject or have taken a course that talks about these things.
4. Maintaining a Good Performance Blog
Another point that is going to cost more or you will not even be aware if you do not care properly in this matter, is the optimization or the performance of your blog. A trusted good quality hosting, can hold an unoptimized WordPress blog with several hundred hits a day without any problems, although a figure somewhat relative because it depends on other factors such as the plugins you have installed etc.
However, even with virtually no traffic, page load on a unoptimized blog can be slower and that is something that translates directly into higher bounce rates and lose readers. Loading times over just a few seconds can result in losing readers to leave your blog before they come to see the page . With 4 to 5 seconds load time, thing become really a challenge, without the basic SEO optimizations like page load speed, since you may already know that Google considers page loading speed as a criteria for ranking a website in SERPs.
So you see, even with little traffic, a WordPress blog should be optimized for performance, to avoid losing readers and rankings in Google. Apart from this , we must know how to do it right because it not very complicated, but it is also not an easy task.
To optimize a WordPress blog you must:
- Watch your plugins: You may have already read about it, that once you install more plugins, it may start to slowdown your WordPress. And some plugins may be conflicting with each other which is also a cause for slow response time. So, with the P3 plugin you can detect and remove the conflicting plugins. It is very easy to use, as you’ll see.
- Use a caching plugin: You can choose between W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache . A good WordPress hosting provider should also have a help page where they recommend the most appropriate one along with a setup guide, in any case there are tutorials on the net, you just have to look.
- Disable WP-Cron: This is actually an unknown technique among optimization techniques, but it is essential that you implement this which will be a big improvement.
- Take up the CDN (Content Delivery Network) : With the above three steps it may go fairly well, but it’s another twist that will you notice here. This is something apart from cache setting plugin, a CDN provides enterprise content delivery system and accelerate your pages load time more. The best-known CDN companies are Cloudflare , Max CDN and Amazon S3/Cloudfront.
5. Brute Force Attacks
You will be thrilled when you start to have some visibility to your blog, but along with the multiplying problems. In fact, one can say that problems with WordPress start to really get challenging when you succeed with your blog.
Brute force attacks are one of the common issues with WordPress sites, according to WordPress.org: “A brute force aims at being the simplest kind of method to gain access to a site: it tries usernames and passwords, over and over again, until it gets in. Often deemed ‘inelegant’, they can be very successful when people use passwords like ‘123456’ and usernames like ‘admin.”
Intentions are not always bad, or that someone want to take a revenge, often just a bunch of dudes sit at some remote place in the world, who do it just as fun and who want to demonstrate their hacking talents.
The problem is that the more visibility you have, the more you also have to become a target for these things. Also, it seems that lately WordPress blogs have become fashionable as preferred targets for these morons. And if you become a target of these attacks, and if you are not properly protected, your blog will be dropped every other day too.
Here is a series of measures to protect your blog from these attacks :
- Again please choose a decent hosting. In these situations, you better have a support conditions in real-time to help you quickly identify an attack situation and implement counter measures.
- Change the default administrator WordPress username, everyone knows it is ‘admin’. So use a little more difficult for attackers to guess, also use a hexa-decimal password for more security.
- A very effective measure is to protect the login page (wp-login.php) since this is the the gateway for hackers. There is an option where you can block the wp-login page with the help of .htaccess file. What you can do is just insert a piece of code in the website’s htaccess file (what is a htaccessfile) which tells the server to allow access to this page only from your ISP’s IP address.
Below is the sample code:
allow from 202.090.21.1 (replace with your ISP IP address)
deny from all
If you have a dynamic IP you can use the 1st column of the IP address, in the above case it is just “202”. So the server will allow access to login page from requests coming from this IP. For an added protection you can use Wordfence plugin, which can be configured to block login page if there are any invalid login attempts.
There will likely be challenges to overcome if you do not prepare you to deal with them.
These five problems I have mentioned above are the most typical, but sometimes you may also come across even more complicated issues.
Below are few Tips which you can use if you are a beginner:
For a person without the necessary expertise there are several ways to address the technical complexities of a WordPress.org installation:
1. Hire a managed WordPress hosting
If you opt for a managed hosting, support is not limited to the server, but extends to applications, in this case, WordPress. Depending on the particular service, the service pack can be more or less complete.
2. Train you to take care yourself
The appropriateness of this choice depends entirely on your skills profile. If you have some technical background in subjects like HTML, PHP and Apache web server, how it works etc, you will find yourself quite comfortable.
On this basis you can do almost everything yourself, especially at first while you have little traffic. But when your blog starts to succeed and complicate the problems, get the idea that once you probably need the help of a professional.
3. Hiring a professional
If technical issues are out of your hands and if you think you do not want to spend time with them, then I recommend you do not spend time messing with these things and better opt to delegate the technical issue of your blog to a professional. The marketplaces like oDesk have a huge supply of professionals.
I still recommend that you learn atleast the basics in order to understand the work that needs to be done in and also understand the work done by the professionals.
If you have a good blog that works as expected, it will constantly evolve. Especially if you have career goals, sooner or later you may want to use WordPress.org, because it means access to another level of possibilities in the development of your blog.
But WordPress is a professional platform and you have to assume, for better and also (sometimes) comes worse. So creating a blog on WordPress involves necessary expertise. In any case we strongly recommend you do not rush , if you already have a blog up, you should not be expecting something more dramatic to prepare well. On the other hand, if you’re starting your first blog, a good idea is to start with WordPress.com quietly and focus first on creating content and audience base. With the blog you can go up gradually seeing if you compensated and when the jump to WordPress.org.
What I recommend is that you especially do not be carried away by the widespread mentality among bloggers do not spend a penny on this. On the other hand, a WordPress.org blog, once properly set by a qualified person, in my experience, should just give maintenance work , apart from doing basic updates. So if you are planning to start a WordPress self hosted blog, keep the above pointers in mind.