All posts filed under “Blog

A collection of post on creating blogs and getting the most out of them

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Secure Apache configuration for WordPress & SSL

Apache runs nearly 50% of all active websites
Apache runs nearly 50% of all active websites

Recently I moved the hosting for keithRozario.com from a regular hosted platform called WPWebhost to my own Virtual machine on digitalOcean. The results have been great, but the migration process was a bit tedious and took some effort.

I thought I’d share my Apache configurations, so that if you’re thinking of hosting your own WordPress site on an SSL server, you’ll at least have a solid base to start off from. I’m by no means an expert here, but this is what makes sense to me, and if you have any feedback please let me know in the comments.

So let’s start.

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Nearlyfreespeech the hosting provider that takes security seriously

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET Web HostingYou all know how much I love nearlyfreespeech, it’s one of the best hosting providers out there. Here’s one more reason, recently they alerted me to a suspicious number of login attempts to my wordpress site, which usually means someone was trying to hack it.

If you remember the post I did about the RHB bank scam, it’s quite common for hackers to inject pages onto a wordpress site to help them carry out banking scams. This was probably something similar.

Fortunately, the guys over at nearlyfreespeech were not just kind enough to log the attempts and alert me, but even automatically disabling the login page of the site to prevent something similar happening. Good on them!

Nearlyfreespeech is a great hosting provider and this just proves my point. Check out the email below:

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My Issue with WPWebHost: Bad Support

WPWebHost-Logo

Last weekend I had an issue with my hosting provider, WPWebHost.

I switched to WPWebHost 2 years ago, and recommended them because they promised wordpress hosting at an affordable rate. WordPress hosting is where the hosting provider would support wordpress specific features, e.g. help troubleshoot plugin and theme issues, perform nightly backups, and offer ‘higher availability’ for WordPress sites. If you’re still wondering what WordPress is, take a look at one of my previous post.

My latest experience with WPWebHost has left me wondering if indeed this was actually WordPress hosting or just regular hosting in disguise. I’m now wondering if I should stay with them.

Was my server really getting the 99% uptime promised by WPWebHost? Nope.
Did I get the WordPress Specific support that help identify theme and plugin issues? Nope.
Does WPWebhost cost more than regular hosting from other providers like GoDaddy, Dreamhost and my previous provider NearlyFreeSpeech? Yup.
So why I am still with them? Read more to find out.

Below is the full un-redacted transcript of my email correspondence with WPWebhost–I’ve left out the customer service agents name because I believe they have a right to privacy. However, nearly every time I sent an email, a different rep would respond making the whole conversation very messy and difficult to keep track off. Some emails were left out to simplify the flow.

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SEO Tips for Malaysian Bloggers

A lot of my search traffic comes from Google, in July I had slightly more than 8,000 visits to my site with just over 6,000 of those coming just from Google. So it made a lot of sense for me to look into some Search Engine Optimization to help boost those numbers. In September, I had more than 10,000 visits with more 8,o00 from Google, which of course begs the question who are the lovely people giving me 2,000 hits/month without going through Google.?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization or more commonly know by it’s acronym SEO, is the process of optimizing your site so that search engines like Google know exactly what is on your site, what topics you’re writing about and what keywords are present in a page. This allows the search engine to display your site as a result for people searching for topics and keywords most related to your articles.

In Laymans terms it’s making your site understandable for Google to analyze.

Google doesn’t employ thousands of workers to categorize every site on the internet, Google automatically ‘tries’ to figure out what your site is about through a mixture of sophisticated algorithms and feedback from search results. SEO is about trying to help Google figure this out by adjusting certain elements of your site to fit what Googles algorithms are looking for, of course SEO isn’t just about Google, but the general concept is the same.

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Why I stopped the Nuffnang Ads on my blog

About 2 months back, I posted up a nuffnang ad on my blog, and with reasons explaining why I felt the need to advertise. The guys from Nuffnang were pretty stand-up characters and I felt like I could trust them, so I begin to post Nuffnang ads and monitor that over time.

Unfortunately the results haven’t been so good, and after some reflection I decided not to port over the nuffnang ads when I migrated the blog over to a new hosting provider. It’s important to recognize that your experience with Nuffnang could be different, and I have no doubt that they do contribute significantly to some bloggers, but for me the relationship just wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t really getting any value out of the ads. So when I migrated my blog from Nearlyfreespeech to WPWebHost I decided not to port over the Nuffnang advertising widget–and here’s why?

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WPWebHost : WordPress Hosting in Malaysia from Exabytes

You may have noticed that my site recently got a spanking new design. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my previous wordpress theme (compositio by Design Disease) and my previous web host (the ever awesome, nearlyfreespeech), but there were 2 real compelling reasons for me to switch web host.

First, maintaining wordpress was taking a lot of time, this included the usual backups and updates and that was eating into time I could have spent researching other stuff or just plain blogging. Secondly, the site had grown both in size and visits, previously I received my first notch up the Google Page Rank, and now I’m a Page Rank 1 site (woo hoo!!). The additional traffic and storage cost were increasing to the point where it made more sense to have a fixed cost monthly payment than worry about the topping up my account (that being said, it would have still been cheaper to host on Nearlyfreespeech).

My first choice was dreamhost, but I’ve tried them before, and while they were good, they weren’t exactly out of this world. So I decided to look for a WordPress specific hosting service, these are web host that specialize in WordPress. They cover stuff like daily backups and offer free wordpress themes etc. Unfortunately, most WordPress host cost quite a bit, but with some google searches, I manage to come across a WordPress host that was well recommended, was at the right price point, and best of all–based in Malaysia.

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What is wordpress?

I’m a really big fan of 3 things, Manchester United, AC/DC and Wordpress!!

WordPress is awesome, but as awesome as it is, a lot of people don’t really know what it is.

It gets even more confusing, because there’s actually two definitions of WordPress. One is WordPress the blogging platform, and another is wordpress.com –the blogging website.

WordPress is a blogging platform designed specifically to make blogging easier. It’s a tool that simplifies website creation to a point where webmasters no longer have to be programmers but just content writers. However, just like any other tool or platform, WordPress needs to be installed–usually on a server–for it to work.

WordPress.com is a service that offers functionality of the WordPress blogging platform for free. On wordpress.com you can start your own blog in seconds without worrying about finding a server to install WordPress on. However, because it’s a free service it has it’s limitations (which we’ll discuss later).

There’s a lot of confusion about WordPress (the blogging platform) and WordPress.com (the free service), and I hope those two lines above make the distinction clear.

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I’m officially on Nuffnang

If you didn’t already know, there’s something on the sidebar of this site, something that hasn’t been there before. Something that I’m not particularly happy to put on my site– it is — an Advertisement!!! (gasp!)

To be more specific it’s a nuffnang add, about 10 lines of javascript code that will for the next couple of months display ads to visitors of this sites. I’m not too familiar with ads, but from what I gather I have little control over who will display ads on this site, and that’s the part I’m not particularly happy with. Aside from the usual “No alcohol” and “No tobacco” options, I couldn’t really control who I would not like to advertise on my site.

So why put ads, especially when I claim the blog cost under $4 a month?

First the blog does cost less than 4USD per month, and second it isn’t about making money–but money is still nice to have — it’s about taking this to the next level.

What is Nuffnang anyway?

Nuffnang approached me last week, and suggested that I join their network. They described it as a platform and community for Malaysian bloggers to ‘unite’ and provide a social and communitarian aspect to an otherwise dispersed group of bloggers working in silos. Of course, companies have to pay the bills and the whole community/social aspect of Nuffnang is funded by advertisers who view blogs as another way to reach their target audiences. Over time, blogs will slowly creep into the mainstream advertising space to compete with print and televised ads (if they haven’t already).