Monstroid – Gulliver among the Lilliputians

Posted at November 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm by Stacey Talieres

Have you heard about Monstroid, a brainchild that came out of TemplateMonster’s factory production line not so long ago? We compared this WordPress theme with main hero of Jonathan Swift’s book, “Gulliver’s Travels”, Lemuel Gulliver because Monstroid really looks like a giant among most of the themes on the market.

monstroid

Read on and you’ll know much more about this multipurpose theme. First of all, we would like to emphasize that Monstroid is not just another WordPress theme, but the whole web designer’s toolkit able to cater to each and every need. Monstroid can become your lifetime partner as there is nothing impossible for it when it comes to web design and development.

From our viewpoint, the fact that Monstroid is oriented not only towards professionals, but also to DIY guys can be considered its real benefit. The developers even divided the theme’s features into two categories: for advanced users and amateurs.

By the way, if you are a newbie to web design and development, that’s not a big problem. Click this link to get to the Startup Hub and find everything you need to know about how to start a website. A very practical resource, so just give it a try. We believe professional developers will also find useful information there.

But let’s get back to Monstroid.

With all the practical features of this WordPress theme, you can build a modern website in just a few hours. A variety of pre-designed child themes for multiple business niches come in one package with Monstroid. There are 39 of them at the moment, and this number continues to grow.

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Monstroid pack includes 100+ layered PSD files for those who like to dig into Photoshop. That means that all pages of every Monstroid theme can be edited in Photoshop.

Monstroid offers its users multiple layouts. Manage your site look and feel by means of these options, including boxed, full-width, with left or right sidebar or no sidebars at all.

It’s not surprising nowadays that user-friendly websites are responsive, so it goes without saying that your web page, built on Monstroid, will adapt to any gadget with any screen size. Text and images are very flexible, so they will be rendered correctly. Why should you restrict your visitors in terms of location or device? Using a fully responsive website will not only provide users with good service, but boost your conversion, as well.

Parallax scroll is in vogue today. Websites with this effect are very visually appealing! They improve user experience considerably creating the illusion of 3D environments and letting the visitors feel immersed in it. Why do we mention that? Because Parallax is another Monstroid benefit.

Want to show off your best products in some interactive way? Background video is there for that purpose.

Monstroid gives you the possibility of choosing between multiple slider plugins (Cherry Simple Slider and premium MotoPress Slider), which come with Monstroid for free. With their help you can assemble good-looking slides of text, images and videos, decorating them with nice transition effects.

WordPress charts plugin lets you embed and manage interactive charts into your posts and pages, making it easier to visualize your complicated data and quickly comprehend it.

Font icons are scalable graphic elements that can be adjusted to different sizes without any loss of quality. Your font icon will look sharp even on high-resolution displays.

Now let’s have a look at Monstroid technology.

The theme has the fourth Cherry Framework release at its core. Therefore, the theme is easy-to-install, has solid Bootstrap options, plenty of shortcodes and widgets, and a foolproof way to update the current design with Parent/Child theme possibilities.

Monstroid is equipped with Installation Wizard. With this plugin you can install all theme files without using FTP or file manager. Please note that you are able to install only those plugins you are going to use and not overburden your website with unnecessary stuff.

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Theme settings backup feature is one of the most useful ones. It allows you to back up your settings and then restore them at any moment.

Monstroid developers have been really generous and have included a number of premium extensions with the package, that is, they are free for Monstroid owners.

Google Map API lets you mark the location of your company on an interactive Google map. This will make customers’ route to your company office swift and trouble-free.

Thanks to full Social Integration you will be able to promote your website via all popular social media networks.

The theme is SEO, Mobile & Google-friendly, so your website will be highly ranked on Google Insights website.

Run a multilingual WordPress site. Modify pages, posts, custom types, menus and theme’s text with WPML and they will be displayed correctly in every language.

The developers have included Google Analytics for you to obtain detailed insights of how visitors interact with your site. Track their actions in order not to miss the moment when some amendments should be made.

With 500+ Google Web Fonts you can change the styles of all fonts on your Monstroid-powered website. Do this through the Cherry Settings.

You can extend your site’s capabilities using extensions like BuddyPress, bbPress and others. Monstroid supports third-party extensions.

Create colorful infographics or present the stats you need in the form of pies, columns, areas, lines with Charts feature.

With Shortcode Editor you can create an unlimited number of shortcodes to call any content the way you want.

Static Area Builder allows you to create custom headers and footers or remove them from certain pages.

Add dynamic properties with LESS by means of variables, mix-ins, operations and functions with Dynamic CSS.

The following may sound unbelievable, but with Independent Modules all plugins available in the Monstroid pack can be used independently out of the framework.

And one more essential Monstroid feature. CSS Compile/Minify plugin gives you the ability to unite multiple CSS files into a single file, which improves overall site speed.

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As you can appreciate, the information about Monstroid features is not exhaustive. But you can get to know the rest from the theme’s documentation, which really covers every aspect.

And now we would like to draw your attention to some of the Monstroid pre-designed pages peculiarities.

The home page of Monstroid has 7 design variations. They include business, personal, blog, one-page, parallax, video, and landing pages. Just choose the one that seems the most appealing to you or is most suitable for your needs.

Monstroid is integrated with WooCommerce, a powerful e-Commerce platform. That means that you can build a store out of the box by simply replacing the default content with your own. (The Monstroid package comprises a full set of e-Commerce options and pre-designed pages: home, shop, category and product page).

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Monstroid offers several designs for portfolio pages (Masonry, Grid and Justified). The page comes separate from the other posts and pages of your site. It allows you to categorize and tag your projects so that they do not overlap with the rest of your posts.

Monstroid Gallery includes 7 pages. You can showcase your works (photos, designs, etc.) in Masonry, Grid or Justified style and manage them quickly and easily.

Contact Us page is available for the visitors to get in touch with you. It is functional and attractive.

Today almost every website has a blog. This helps to build/improve customer – brand relationship monitoring what content they like and enabling them to comment. Monstroid offers several blog styles: Classic, Grid, Masonry, and Timeline.

A well-designed Services page with thorough items descriptions will definitely increase your sales.
As a rule, FAQ page contains an extensive knowledge base answering the most frequent questions about your company, services, and products. Such things save you and your customers’ time as they reduce the number of repetitive inquiries.

Good Testimonials give your potential customers the needed confidence to think that you are a reliable partner and it is safe to deal with you. Testimonials page can affect your conversion rate as a result.

Team page serves for displaying team members’ profiles with direct links to their social media profiles using handy widgets and shortcodes.

Monstroid features a custom-designed About us page where you can place information about your company. The theme will help you give this page a striking look. It’s important, as the ‘About us’ page is one of the first pages people see before they start browsing your website.

What else is worth mentioning about Monstroid? Unlike many other companies, its developers provide the theme owners with free updates and 24/7 support for a lifetime!

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Not enough benefits for you? What would you say about 50+ royalty-free images you can use any way you like? They are also included as part of the Monstroid pack.

Should we sweeten the deal even more for you? Ok, if you really like this theme and want to purchase it, here is a 30% promo code “interserver”! Summing up everything said above, you can buy a multipurpose theme for all your web design needs and save nearly 24 bucks. You must agree that this is a really good investment.

It looks as though we have said enough about Monstroid; now it’s time to leave you alone and let all the information sink in for a while. Your own further research and comments on this huge WordPress theme are also welcome.

Thanks for your attention and good luck with your Monstroid!

InterServer was a Proud Sponsor of WordCamp NYC 2015

Posted at November 23, 2015 at 9:17 pm by Michael Lavrik

InterServer is proud to have sponsored WordCamp NYC 2015.  The WordCamp conferences are unique in that they are all locally organized and cover a wide range of WordPress related topics.  This local forum allows experts the ability to provide invaluable information and networking opportunities to designers, developers, business owners, and bloggers.   The team at interServer was elated to have the opportunity support the WordPress community through our sponsorship of the event.

The conference took place from October 30th to November 1st, 2015 at the New York Marriott located at the Brooklyn Bridge which was widely recognized as a huge success.

The Halloween themed event was a great gathering for the community it was educational and informative while creating a fun and festive environment for everyone in attendance.  We were especially impressed with this year’s lineup of presenters, all of whom we found to be enlightening.  Whether newer users or seasoned WordPress experts, everyone benefited from this event

Some Fun Facts:

  • Lots of great swag was circulating around the event
  • Contests were up and running (across social media)
  • Sponsorships ranged, from hosting companies to plugins (Woo Commerce)
  • Conferences were well attended with great feedback about the topics covered
  • Attendees loved the snack stations, which were a hit!

Several attendees asked us what compelled us to partake in WordCamp NYC and the answer was pretty simple our customers! At InterServer we help thousands of users set up their WordPress sites and keep them up and running smoothly 24 hours a day.  We always take cues from our customers and when we received feedback that we should look into this sponsorship based upon our offering of fully managed WordPress hosting, we agreed and began our quest to join in on the fun.

Finally, from the entire team here at InterServer we would like to thank WordCamp NYC 2015 for the opportunity to sponsor such an exciting event.  We would also like to thank all the speakers and presenters who shared their learnings and findings with all in attendance.  We’re looking forward to next year’s conference and will continue to seek more sponsorships that will support the community.

Next up WordCamp U.S.A. in Philadelphia on 12/4/15 thru 12/6/15 see you there!

 

phished imageMost responsible website owners would never dream of creating phishing pages. Google actively searches the web for potential phishing and flags sites thought to host malicious pages. Some site owners wake up to a message in search that their site is flagged as a phishing portal. Honest site owners don’t know what’s considered phishing, so they panic and immediately try to have the site reviewed. Having your site flagged isn’t the end of the world, but you do need to clean up pages before you can have a successful review. A successful review removes the warning from Google search results, so it’s in imperative that you act fast. Here are the why, how, and what you can do to fix a phishing flag placed on your site.

Understand What Constitutes Phishing

You might not even know that your pages are considered phishing portals. The first thing to ask yourself is what pages could be considered phishing. The first red flag is a site that doesn’t use SSL or TLS on their web server but retrieves personal data. SSL (and now the newer TLS) are certificates you install on your web server. The certificates allow you to provide encryption between your site and client’s browser. SSL certificates provide your site with the ability to use HTTPS as the protocol, which protects against eavesdroppers.

Go through your pages and identify if any of them ask for personal information. If a user lands on your page using HTTP, he should be redirected to the HTTPS version of the page before entering private information.

Another possibility is how you process data. When you submit data from a web page form, it  sends data either in a form POST or GET action. The GET action sends data in the browser’s querystring values. You’ve probably seen web pages with a question mark and variables appended at the end of the page name. Querystring values look like the following:

Mysite.com/?firstname=john&lastname=smith

The querystring is everything after the question mark. In this example, a user’s first and last name is passed to a processing page. What if the querystring contained a social security or bank account number? This is considered insecure. When hackers use phishing methods, they are generally sloppy in how they set up pages. For this reason, poorly secured or programmed sites are considered suspicious and flagged.

Another common and much more difficult problem to identify is a hacked site. Hackers who gain access to your site place phishing pages on the domain without your knowledge. This makes it much more difficult to track and identify the phishing page.

You can use a crawler that looks specifically for hacked content. For instance, AWSnap (aw-snap.info/file-viewer/) is one site that crawls specific pages, identifies any suspicious code and gives you suggestions. Another tool is Securi.net. This tool also lets you subscribe for a fee and use it to automatically crawl your site at a specific rate. If any suspicious files are found, Securi sends you a notification.

If you can’t find the hacked pages, you’ll need to hire a professional. Google won’t remove the warning until any phishing content is removed from your domain.

In rare occasions, your site might be incorrectly flagged. If this is the case, you can request a review and explain. Google also provides this URL for reporting incorrectly flagged sites:

google.com/safebrowsing/report_error/.

You should also know that Google has different levels for warnings. The most common form of a phishing notification is “Deceptive site ahead.” The message is displayed in the Chrome and Firefox browsers. If Google believes you host malware, the warning indicates that a site could harm a computer or contains malware.

What Can You Do to Fix the Site?

What you do to fix your site depends on what caused the phishing notice in the first place. If you take personal information with no encryption, you need to purchases an SSL/TLS certificate. Contact your host first. Most hosts offer a security certificate for their customers. It could be a free or paid upgrade depending on your hosting plan.

Once you install the certificate, you need to redirect your pages to the HTTPS version. You use a 301 redirect for moving from the HTTP to the HTTPS version. If you use WordPress, there are plenty of plugins that help you redirect. If you have custom applications, check with your developer. You don’t need to use HTTPS on all pages, but it’s recommended. Google announced that it uses encryption as a minor ranking factor.

If you’re using a GET form action, this is more difficult to fix if you aren’t a coder. You need to change the form submission process, which takes some coding from your end. If the forms you use are from a plugin, you can either contact the plugin coder or use a different plugin. If you hired a coder to implement forms, he needs to change the submission code. The processing page can remain mostly the same.

Finally, if the site is hacked, it’s also difficult to troubleshoot. However, with hacked sites you can usually disable the plugin causing the security breach and delete the malicious pages.  To avoid the situation, always upgrade your WordPress version and any plugins. Don’t download plugins where the owner does not manage and support updates. Most plugins must be updated after a few WordPress updates, and WordPress disables incompatible plugins.

Request a Review

After you’re confident that the phishing pages were removed and any hacks were deleted, you can now request a review. The review process happens through Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). If you haven’t already signed up, take some time to sign up and register your site in Search Console.

In the Malware section of Search Console, click the “Request a Review” button. Explain what you did to fix the site in the text boxes. Google employees review the site and the review requests, so be as detailed as possible with what you did to remove the content.

Google is very fast with malware reviews (as opposed to their reconsideration requests that can take weeks). The alert should be removed within 24 hours, but it usually happens in only a few hours.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Site?

If your site was hacked, you must take precautions from it happening again. Change your site’s passwords, and update any WordPress plugins. If the hackers were able to access your site’s files, check your local computer for any security holes.
Chrome extensions are one way a hacker can gain access to your passwords. Malicious extensions can perform numerous logging events to get your information.

Finally, always rotate passwords for important applications such as FTP used to connect to your host. Keep antivirus running on your machine, and always update definition files to avoid being victim to new viruses.

Once you have a hacked site, you never want to go through the trouble again. It’s a good lesson for webmasters who aren’t serious about security. There are numerous scripts that can be downloaded on the Internet, so penetrating WordPress sites doesn’t even require advanced capabilities. Always upgrade your plugins and WordPress version to avoid falling victim to these scripts.
Thankfully, Google is quick to remove the warning provided you cleaned up the phishing pages. Your customer’s data and privacy should always be a top concern, so always follow best practices for your websites.

Must have WordPress plugins for amazing website

Posted at October 30, 2015 at 1:48 pm by admin

pluginDid you know that dead-serious websites like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and BBC America, the zombie apocalypse gritty drama show, The Walking Dead,bootyliciousBeyonce and drool-worthy Channing Tatum has something in common? Their websites are powered by WordPress.

 WordPress is an undisputed luminary of the blogosphere. One of the easiest and simplest content management systems, WordPress is perfect for running a blog or a website or a combination of the two. The best part about WordPress is it a doddle to create a website. WordPress hosts almost over 70 million websites and it is absolutely free so you don’t have to be a celebrity or a hot-shot to own a website.

Once you have got the WordPress website, you might be wondering what else can be done with it apart from publishing your content. Although WordPress offers a lot of flexibility in terms of themes, features and functionality, there are still a lot of functionality that the core software doesn’t provide. But does that mean that you will have to make do with whatever features that WordPress provides? You can fill in the missing pieces by getting plugins. In layman’s terms plugins, could be compared with the apps you download on your smartphone. Plugins offer a whole heap of features and functionality which could just be installed and used. However, there are over 40000 plugins available and it can be little overwhelming to sort the best ones you would need for your website. Check out the list of plugins below that can help make your website awesome.

Aksimet

One of the most annoying thing for any website is spam. Nefarious hackers and spammers tend to post links in comment section which can inject virus and ruin your website and affect the SEO ranking. The plugin Akisme is a cutting-edge hosted anti-spam service which helps you thwart the spam.

Yoast SEO plugin

Having a website and not showing on the first few pages of search engines is as good as not having a website. Yoast SEO is one of the best WordPress SEO plugin, integratingsnippet preview and page analysis functionalityfacilitatingto optimize your pages content, images titles, Meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, and loads of other stuff.

W3 total cache

W3 Total Cache helps in improving user experience of your website. It increases server performance, reduces the download times and provides transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

MailPoet newsletters

Increase your subscription and keep the communication channel open between you and your audience by creating newsletters, automated emails, post notifications and autoresponders with MailPoet newsletters. The signup widget of this plugin helps you convert your visitors into subscribers. Add your posts, images, social icons, change fonts and add colours in your newsletter without any difficulty.

EWWW image optimizer

This WordPress image optimizer plugin helps you optimize your images as you upload them to your website or blog. It helps optimize the already loaded images, converting your images to the best file format with smallest image sizes and apply lossy reductions for PNG and JPEG images for best user experience.

BackUpWordPress

As the name suggests, BackUpWordPressplugin helps you back up your entire site including all files and database so that you don’t lose your precious data. For this plugin, no set up is required and it works even in low memory “shared host” environments.

All in One WP Security & Firewall

Although WordPress is quite secure as it is, it is always good to have extra security and firewall and that’s what All in One WP security and firewall plugin provides. Enforcing good security practices, this plugin is easy to understand and employ. It helps to reduce vulnerability risks and implements the latest recommended WordPress security techniques. It also uses an excellent security points grading system to help you measure how well your website is protected.

Social media feather

Social media feature is a lightweight simple, performance oriented social media sharing and follow button, which can be easily added to all posts and pages with minimum load time without adding unnecessary burden time on your website.

Although search engines are littered with best WordPress posts, these plugins help you solve real problems and in a way that it is not damaging to your website. Even though, these plugins will help you run your website efficiently, one of the most critical element of website performance is Web Hosting. If you are on a lookout for a web hosting service, InterServer is a great option. Established as a premier web hosting provider located in Secaucus, New Jersey, InterServer provide unparalleled webhosting services at an affordable cost. Known for quality, reliability, with safe and secure facility, and 24/7 superior support, InterServerprovides a 30 day money back guarantee on shared hosting, along with 99.5% uptime and a 100% power guarantee. To know more about our WordPress hosting, please visit http://www.interserver.net/0click/wordpress-hosting.html

Tweaking the TTL to reduce downtime after a website migration

Posted at October 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm by admin

ttlWebsite migrations are succeeded by DNS changes. A well planned change minimizes downtime and DNS propagation delays that follows every migration. You don’t want to create a panic among your customers when their emails are lost during the switch or if their websites are inaccessible from their location.

It is always a best practice to maintain the copy of all migrated accounts at the old host for a few more days so that the websites remain online for customers whose web/mail requests are still served by the old server. Their ISP’s caching DNS servers/resolvers still serve cached DNS information to clients even after you have pointed the domain to a location.

The problem with DNS caching is that it is the primary cause for delay in propagation of the DNS changes (Address records, mail exchange records etc.) you made after the migration. This is due to the fact that most of the DNS traffic is eased with DNS caching where your resolver/caching DNS caches DNS information for a predefined time. The entity that determines this time is TTL( Time to live). By default the TTL values for most resource records are 86400 seconds (24 hours). Any resolver that queries for the A record of your domain will cache that info for 24 hours.

To solve this problem to an extent, you can lower the TTL values of the resource records (MX, A) before you change the IP address. We assume that you have root/sudo access to the authoritative nameserver.

Login to the DNS server and all you have to do is edit the zone file in the authoritative nameserver of the domain (You may use DNS zone editor in cPanel if the service is running on a cPanel server)

Lets open xyz.info’s zone file using vi editor

vi /var/named/xyz.info

These are the first few lines of the zone file, you can see the first line $TTL that defines the default TTL for all existing records to 86400 seconds.

———————————————–

$TTL 86400

xyz.info.       IN    SOA  ns1.example.info. admin.xyz.com. (

2012080907      ; Serial

10800           ; Refresh

3600            ; Retry

604800          ; Expire

300             ; Negative Response TTL

)

———————————————–

We’ll change this to 300 seconds (5 minutes)

$TTL 300

We’ll increment the serial number from 2012080907 to 2012080908 so that the DNS server can verify the contents of the zone file.

Now reload the DNS service
/etc/init.d/named reload

Reloading named:              [  OK  ]

After this we will wait for the last TTL amount of time (24 hours) to make sure that the caching nameservers all around the world that has previously queried and cached this domain’s DNS information has purged the information. Once that time has passed we’ll switch the A record to the new server’s IP. I wouldn’t say this is 100% foolproof as there are caching nameservers which enforces their own TTL values and web browsers too cache DNS info for a default amount of time.

Note:- Make sure you revert the TTL value change later , a low TTL value will lead to an increase in DNS traffic.