Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design https://skookummonkey.com Big Business Solutions for Small Business Budgets Wed, 03 May 2017 18:44:42 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 59856110 “Not Secure” Warning Coming October 2017 in Chrome When Users Type Any Data Into HTTP Sites https://skookummonkey.com/blog/not-secure-warning-october-2017-chrome-users-type-data-http-sites/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/not-secure-warning-october-2017-chrome-users-type-data-http-sites/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:02:21 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2966 Yesterday, on Google's security blog, they announced the next step that is coming in October 2017 with the release of Chrome 62: "Not secure" warnings on any websites without an SSL certificate where users enter data, plus all website visited in incognito mode.

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Chrome "not secure" warning

Since the beginning of this year, Google has been taking steps to make the web a more secure and private place.  The first step was a “Not secure” warning on websites that collect passwords and credit cards. Yesterday, on Google’s security blog, they announced the next step that is coming in October 2017 with the release of Chrome 62. The “Not secure” warning will also be on any websites without an SSL certificate where users enter data, plus all website visited in incognito mode.

You can read more about this upcoming security change on Google’s security blog.

The History of the “Not Secure” Warning

In September 2016, Google first announced the “Not secure” warnings would be coming in January 2017 for any sites that require passwords or collect credit card information. We’ve also known for some time that this warning would be extended. When we announced the arrival of Chrome 56 in February 2017, we warned about this next step. Google has been very transparent about the desire to make the internet a more private and secure place.

What Type of Data Entry Will Cause Chrome to Return a “Not Secure” Warning?

When we first predicted the next step, we thought that it would only be limited to entering email addresses on comment forms. Then the final step would be a red warning for all sites that do not have an SSL certificate. It appears our predictions were only partially correct.

On Google’s blog, they write the following:

Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.

Any type of data would include the following:

  1. Search fields;
  2. All comment boxes: Name, website, email address, and comment;
  3. Other forms, such as contact forms, forms that capture information for mailing lists, forms to enter a giveways, etc.;
  4. Anything else that you can think of where the visitor will be typing something on your website and that information is transmitted to your server or any other server that collects the information.

If your website has any of the above, visitors will be greeted with a “Not secure” warning.

Why Is Google Extending the “Not Secure” Warning to All HTTP Sites When Browsing in Incognito Mode?

The reason for this is simple. People use “Incognito Mode” because they want extra privacy. An SSL certificate provide security by creating a secret handshake between the visitor and the server. But, an SSL certificate also provides privacy. It’s true your ISP will still be able to tell which domains you visit. However, once you visit a secured website, your ISP can’t get information on specific pages you visit because your visit is encrypted.

Getting an SSL Certificate to Avoid the “Not Secure” Warning Is Easy

There are still a number of web hosts that are trying to make money off of Google’s push towards a more secure and private web. They insist that you need a dedicated IP address, which they charge for, in order to get an SSL certificate. You do not need a dedicated IP address to get an SSL certificate. Some hosts also charge for an SSL certificate when, most likely, it costs them nothing.

If your host is using WHM/cPanel, then they have free SSL certificates through Comodo. They also have the ability to easily get an extra 100 free SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt. All they have to do is turn on AutoSSL for Comodo certificates and install the Let’s Encrypt add-on for the extra 100 certificates. If your host refuses to do so, you have a couple of choices:

  1. Get a free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt and install it yourself; or
  2. Switch to a host that provides SSL certificates upon account creation.

All of Skookum Monkey’s hosting accounts come with free SSL certificates.

I Have a Self-Hosted WordPress Site and I’ve Just Installed an SSL Certificate. Now What?

Updating your self-hosted WordPress site from http to https is simple. Just follow our tutorial.

Have any questions about the upcoming changes to Chrome and what it will mean to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jetpack Stats Now Integrated in Posts and Pages Sections in the WordPress Dashboard https://skookummonkey.com/blog/jetpack-stats-posts-pages-sections-wordpress/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/jetpack-stats-posts-pages-sections-wordpress/#respond Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:02:13 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2683 Imagine our surprise, followed by joy, when we noticed that there is a Jetpack Stats link per post and page when looking at the respective indexes inside of the WordPress dashboard.

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Jetpack StatsImagine our surprise, followed by joy, when we noticed that there is a Jetpack Stats link per post and page when looking at the respective indexes inside of the WordPress dashboard.

Because we have everything set up to automatically update, there can be times where we go days without noticing changes — despite spending every day inside of various WordPress dashboards. We don’t always know something has updated because it happens overnight and we never see the update notice. This also means not having a chance to check the changelog before the update takes place.

(There really needs to be email notifications with changelog links when plugins automatically update, like there is for the automatic WordPress core updates. But, that is a different matter for another day.)

When we finally saw the new Jetpack Stats column today, of course we exclaimed, “How long has that been there?! This better not be another thing where it took us weeks to notice a change to something we use every day!” Of course, there was laughter involved, as we quickly head over to read the Jetpack changelog. Good, we’ve only gone two days without noticing this stats feature that WordPress users have been asking for, for a very long time.

Jetpack has also added some other enhancements, but this is the one that we’re most happy about!

What Happens When You Click the Jetpack Stats Graph in the Posts/Pages Dashboard?

When you click the stats graph, a new tab opens in which contains the completely history of your post or page! More accurately, it shows the complete history dating back to when you installed Jetpack and connected it to your WordPress.com account.

Jetpack stats of a single post

What Kinds of Information Do You Get Per Post Inside the New Jetpack Stats?

The Jetpack Stats per post / page screen contains the following statistics breakdowns:

  • At-a-glace graph that can be sorted by Days, Weeks, Months, and Years
  • Post Likes (you need to have “Likes” turned on in Jetpack’s Sharing settings)
  • Months and Years table
  • Average per day table; broken down per month
  • Recent Weeks table: 5.5 weeks

I Don’t See This New Jetpack Stats Column. Now What?

  1. Do you have Jetpack installed? If not, then do so. Jetpack is on our list of must-have plugins for a lot of reasons.
  2. If you have Jetpack installed, have you updated to version 4.7? If not, what are you waiting for?

Are You Really Excited About this new Jetpack Stats Column?

Yes! Very much so! Truly! We’ll tell you why!

One of our clients has over 200 authors. We can’t give everyone access to Google Analytics, but we can give them access to Jetpack Stats. Very often, we get questions about historical stats, which means jumping through all sorts of hoops to find them in Jetpack, or taking time out to find the information in Google Analytics. For years, clients have seriously been asking, “When will they implement stats in our published posts area? This would be such a great function!”

But even if your site doesn’t have 200 authors and it’s just a handful of people, or just you, having this extra convenience is truly a cause for much joy for us today!

Back to the site with over 200 authors, it’s now super easy to get basic statistical information about posts. If the author does not have a WordPress.com account, all the author has to do is:

  1. Create an account on WordPress.com
  2. Log into the self-hosted WordPress site that has Jetpack installed and enabled
  3. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Jetpack -> Jetpack
  4. Click the “Connect” button and follow the rest of the simple steps

If the blog for which you write has yet to update to Jetpack 4.7, you can still see the stats for individual posts:

  1. Go to https://wordpress.com/stats/day/URLofWebsiteHere.com
  2. Click “View all” in the ‘Posts & Pages’ column
  3. Click “All time”
  4. Ctrl+F to search for the Post title
  5. When you’ve found the post title, click the link to see the breakdown of the stats as above
  6. Bug your site’s admin to update soon, please and thank you!

If the blog doesn’t have Jetpack, bug them to install it ASAP.

Does this change also make you excited? Let us know in the comments below.

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6 Recent WordPress Changes You May Have Not Noticed https://skookummonkey.com/blog/6-recent-wordpress-changes/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/6-recent-wordpress-changes/#respond Fri, 03 Mar 2017 22:29:32 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2639 WordPress changes. They happen. Often. Unless you read the changelogs, most people are unaware of them. Even if you do read the changelogs, some still can go unnoticed. Let’s play a game. Spot the difference: Find six things that are different in your WordPress post creator.   Do you see them? If you don’t, it’s okay. […]

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WordPress changes. They happen. Often. Unless you read the changelogs, most people are unaware of them. Even if you do read the changelogs, some still can go unnoticed.

Let’s play a game. Spot the difference: Find six things that are different in your WordPress post creator.

The old WordPress toolbar
The WordPress 4.7.x toolbar

 

Do you see them? If you don’t, it’s okay. One of the five recent WordPress changes caused a lot of laughter when we finally noticed it. Five of the WordPress changes are to the user interface which affects user experience. The sixth change is an SEO feature. Still don’t see them?

WordPress Change #1: Removal of Justify Text Button

There is a lot of speculation as to the reasons behind this, ranging from, “justifying text is a bad practice,” to, “hardly anyone was using it, so why keep it?” There are some cases in which justifying text is the thing to do. But those cases are few and far between. Overall, the biggest reasons for not justifying text is that it’s hard to read and it doesn’t not behave well with responsive design. As mobile-first design is the thing to do, why give a tool — one that is hardly used — that goes against best-practices?

One final possible reason for its removal: A lot of people didn’t know it existed to begin with. It’s amazing how many people are not aware that there is a second line to the formatting bar because they don’t poke and hover over the buttons to see what they do. If you are one of the people who are unaware of the second formatting bar, click the button to the right of the “ABC” spellcheck button.

Goodbye, justify text button. I don’t think you’ll be missed.

WordPress Change #2: Removal of Underline Text Button

The underline text button used to live to the left of the justify text button. Just like justifying text, underlining text is bad design practice. It’s ugly and difficult to read. If you are want to emphasize text then it should be in italic. Bold is sometimes an option, and sometimes bold and italic but italic is the best choice.

You may be thinking, “But, hyperlinks! They’re underlined!” This is true. Most WordPress themes’ CSS contains code to add an underline text decoration to hyperlinks. Sometimes, it’s just a change in colour with a different colour on hover. This is an area that is up for debate. In 2014, Google got rid of hyperlinks in search results. When we design a new theme, we start without the underline on hyperlinks and then get feedback from the client. We use underlined hyperlinks after doing an experiment on click-through rates (CTR), and saw that CTR dropped when we removed them.

WordPress Change #3: Horizontal Line Button Moved

We’re not really sure how many people have even noticed this button exists, never mind that it’s been moved from the top formatting bar to the bottom one. One of our clients has, GeekDad and GeekMom, has over 200 writers. Every now and then, one of the editors will suggest flipping over to the Text (HTML) tab to add <hr> tags to separate content. When it is pointed out that there is no need to manually add the code because the button exists, it’s actually quite interesting. It allows us to know a couple of things:

  1. How people are using the WordPress Visual editor; and
  2. What things we need to add to our ever expanding “Tips and Tricks” guide — not only for our clients, but also our newsletter subscribers and our newly created FAQ and Knowledge Base.

WordPress Change #4: Strikethrough Button Moved

This is another button that has moved from the top formatting toolbar to the bottom. Just like with the Horizontal Line move, we have to wonder if this is because people rarely use it. WordPress doesn’t capture data about how people are using self-hosted WordPress. They rely on surveys — which only a handful of people ever fill out — and feedback; most of which ends up coming from developers.

WordPress is always encouraging people to subscribe to their Make WordPress blogs so that users know what is going on with WordPress and as a place for users to easily provide feedback. Unfortunately, there are more developers than regular users who tend to participate on this level.

WordPress Change #5: Paragraph / Heading / Preformatted Dropdown Menu Moved

When we finally noticed this change — which was today as we were preparing to write this post — there was a lot of laughter. Why? Because we write a lot of personalized formatting tutorials for our clients. Each of our clients have different workflows, so we write quick tutorials to suit their needs as questions come up.

A recent tutorial was about how to prevent ads from showing up in blockquotes. We wrote the tutorial from muscle memory, starting the how-to with:

This tutorial requires that you have both formatting bars visible. If you do not see the second row of the formatting bar, click the “Toolbar Toggle” button that is to the left of the “ABC” spellcheck button, or ‘Shift+Alt+Z’.

Why did we write these sentences? Because there is a section in the how-to about highlighting text and then changing from “Paragraph” to “Preformatted.” Not that long ago — WordPress 4.6.x — we had to bring attention to the second toolbar with almost all of our clients when they would ask how to add headings. The “Toolbar Toogle” step became such a part of memory, that we didn’t even notice when this menu was moved, even though we use it in almost every post we create.

This WordPress change is our favourite because it really was in the top five for, “I didn’t even know that existed!” comments from clients, and this is one of the most important features when creating a post or page. It would be even better if the second toolbar was open by default.

WordPress Change #6: Stop Words Automatically Removed from the Slug

This is an excellent addition to the build-in SEO tools that WordPress has. WordPress is truly an excellent CMS when it comes to SEO and the makers are constantly improving on its structure and code to make it even more SEO-friendly.

Before this change, every single word you entered into the title would be included in the slug. If you use Yoast SEO, you may have noticed a flag for stop words in the slug. This would lead to having to click the “Edit” button in the permalink structure area. So, WordPress fixed that, making one less thing to do when creating a post.

Before this change, the slug for this post would have been: 6-recent-wordpress-changes-you-may-have-not-noticed

Now, the slug (before shortening it to be even more SEO-friendly) is: 6-recent-wordpress-changes-may-not-noticed

We shortened it even more for better SEO: 6-recent-wordpress-changes

What do you think of these changes? Let us know in the comments below.

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Introducing the Skookum Monkey FAQ and Knowledge Base https://skookummonkey.com/blog/introducing-faq-knowledge-base/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/introducing-faq-knowledge-base/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:13:04 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2630 It is long overdue but it is finally here: an FAQ and Knowledge Base. And with the FAQ and Knowledge Base comes a new direction for content creation.

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It is long overdue but it is finally here: an FAQ and Knowledge Base. And with the FAQ and Knowledge Base comes a new direction for content creation.

We have only started the beginning of building our FAQ and Knowledge Base. Currently, the FAQ is filled with the most common questions we get about SSL certificates and hosting account questions. The Knowledge Base has links to our most popular tutorials about WordPress, and development tutorials including our CSS and HTML tip and tricks.

The Future of the FAQ

As we receive more questions via email, we’ll not only answer them right away but we’ll add them to the FAQ. It will be contently evolving. Soon, we will be adding answers about hosting plans, WordPress design and development, and in-bound marketing services. Until that time, you can read our pages about our website hosting plans, our WordPress services which include in-bound digital marketing, and our SHOUTCast hosting services.

The Future of the Knowledge Base

Just like the FAQ, the Knowledge Base will be updated as we create new content. Currently, we have two sections: WordPress and Development. We plan on adding a section about SEO, and other sections as appropriate. Eventually, we will add the content from our WordPress Basics newsletter series. That content will be added to the Knowledge Base a few weeks after it is released to our newsletter subscribers, as they get first dibs at that material for being kind enough to sign-up. But the Knowledge Base also leads to the change in direction in content creation.

New Content Creation Direction

We are going to try a little experiment after reading a post about advanced SEO tactics from Elegant Themes, specifically section 2: Turning important posts into pages. This tactic has been around for a long time and we have done it with our clients. It works. We haven’t used it with ourselves because we get so client-focused, we can sometimes lose track of our own “big picture.”

So, this is how content will be created on Skookum Monkey from this point forward:

  • Long tutorials will be done as pages and linked in the Knowledge Base. They will be updated when necessary.
  • Old blog posts will be reread on a regular schedule and, if necessary, updated.
  • We will write a blog post whenever a new tutorial is added to the Knowledge Base so that people are aware.
  • Blog posts will be things like our must-have plugins list, infographics, round-ups of posts that we found informative. Basically, things that are quick and easy to digest.
  • Those blog posts may be fleshed out into longer Knowledge Base pages. An example would be: a very long walk-through of the Jetpack plugin.
  • Blog posts will also be general announcements from Skookum Monkey, like this one.
  • Finally, when important WordPress security news comes out, we’ll write quick pointers.

Along with the new content creation direction, we will also be revamping our blog categories so that it’s easier to find similar blog posts. Right now, we only have two catch-all categories.

We’ve linked the FAQ / Knowledge base in the “Can We Help You?” menu and clients will see the link on the account page. There are some other details but this is the big picture of change.

Take a look at the beginnings of our FAQ / Knowledge base then let us know in the comments what you’d like to see in there.

And as always, feel free to send us an email at anytime.

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How To Setup a WordPress Blog on Your Non-WordPress Site in 7 Steps https://skookummonkey.com/blog/setup-wordpress-blog-non-wordpress-site/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/setup-wordpress-blog-non-wordpress-site/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:00:25 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2503 If you've ever wondered how to setup a WordPress blog on your non-WordPress site so that visitors don't exit the site when viewing the blog, this is the tutorial for you.

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If you’ve ever wondered how to setup a WordPress blog on your non-WordPress site so that visitors don’t exit the site when viewing the blog, this is the tutorial for you.

Reasons to Setup a WordPress Blog on Your Non-WordPress Site

The first question you may have is: Why setup a WordPress blog on a non-WordPress site? The answer is pretty simple: Blogging is a great way to boost SERP results and help with SEO by creating fresh content that is relevant to your visitors. In some situations, the website already exists but it does not have a CMS (content management system). It could be an html site or a php site, or some other format. You want to setup a blog but you don’t have the money for a completely new site. So, the easiest and cheapest solution is to install WordPress, use one of the many free themes available, do a quick setup, and start blogging in little time.

Step 1: Install WordPress in the Blog Subdirectory

For your WordPress blog to be part of your regular domain, you need to install WordPress (self-hosted) in your hosting environment. This will not work with a WordPress.com site that you can get for free. Read about the differences between self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com if you don’t already know what makes them different.

Follow this tutorial if you are installing WordPress via Softaculous. When you get to step 3, instead of deleting “wp” and leaving it blank, delete it and type: blog. If you are installing WordPress manually via FTP, first create a new folder/subdirectory called “blog”. Download WordPress, unzip it, then upload the unzipped WordPress files to that subdirectory, and follow WordPress’ five-minute installation instructions.

Step 2: Make Changes to WordPress Settings

To manage your newly installed WordPress blog, you’ll go to: https://mysite.com/blog/wp-admin/ (where “mysite.com” is your domain name).

  1. Once you’ve logged into WordPress, go to ‘Settings > General’ and make sure all those settings are correct. You will need to change your timezone settings.
  2. Next, go to ‘Settings > Permalinks’. Choose anything other than the default ‘Plain’, or ‘Numeric’. The most common choices are, ‘Month and name’ and ‘Post name’.

If you want to poke around the rest of the settings, go ahead. But don’t forget to make sure your site name and tagline are correct, timezone is set, and your links are SEO-friendly.

Step 3: Pick a Theme and Set It Up

This is the step which may cause option paralysis. When you install WordPress, the default theme will be installed and activated during the process. Currently, the default theme is Twenty Seventeen and it is very flexible. But there are a tonne of themes from which to choose in WordPress’ free theme repository. The theme featured in this post’s image is: Fooding.

  1. If you are not happy with Twenty Seventeen, then from within your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Appearance > Themes’.
  2. Click ‘Add New’ and start exploring. Before choosing a theme to install, you can hover over the theme images and click the “preview” button to get an idea of what it will look like.
  3. Once you’ve found a theme you like, click “Install” and then “Activate”
  4. Go to ‘Appearance > Customize’ to finish setting up your theme, skipping the ‘Menu’ settings.
  5. Add some widgets, like “Most Recent Posts” to your sidebar. To do so, go to ‘Appearance > Widgets’.

If you decide to keep the Twenty Seventeen theme, wpmudev has a great tutorial.

Step 4: Create Your Menu

This step is where the magic happens. You will create a custom menu that matches the menu on your main website.

  1. Go to ‘Appearance > Menus.’
  2. Click “create a new menu’.
  3. In the “Menu Name” field, enter something that is easily identifiable, like, “Main Menu” then click the “Create Menu” button.
  4. On the right, click “Custom Links”.
  5. Enter the ‘URL’ (example: http://mysite.com) and ‘Link Text’ (example: Home), then click ‘Add To Menu’. Repeat until you’ve done this for each navigation item that is found on your non-WordPress site’s main menu.
  6. Make sure to add your new blog’s url to the menu and label it “Blog”: both in the WordPress menu, via a custom link, and on your non-WordPress’ menu.
  7. Once you’re done, assign it to a location in the “Menu Settings” area and click “Save Menu.” The location name will be different based on the theme installed, but usually the main menu is named something like, “Top Menu” or “Main Menu”.

Step 5: Integrate With Your Google Analytics and Search Console Accounts

If you already have Google Analytics and/or Search Console setup, you’ll want to make sure your new blog gets tracked.

Adding your Google Analytics code is very simple. There are a bunch of plugins that can do this for you. We recommend using Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.

  1. To install it, go to ‘Plugins > Add New’. Search “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.” It will be the first search results.
  2. Click “Install” then “Activate”.
  3. Once it’s active, you’ll see “Google Analytics” in your dashboard’s left menu. Follow the tutorial below for one-minute setup.

Next, you’ll want to install Yoast SEO.

  1. To install it, go to ‘Plugins > Add New’. Search “Yoast SEO.” It will be the first search results.
  2. Click “Install” then “Activate”.
  3. Once it’s active, you’ll be taken to a easy configuration wizard. If the configuration wizard doesn’t automatically start, then go to ‘SEO > Dashboard > General’ and click the configuration wizard button.
  4. Once the configuration wizard is done, make sure “Advanced settings pages” is enabled under the “Features” tab.
  5. Go to ‘SEO > XML Sitemaps’. Click “XML Sitemaps” link to get the URL of the sitemap you’ll add to Search Console. It should be ‘http://mysite.com/blog/sitemap_index.xml’. It’s the “blog/sitemap_index.xml” part of the URL you’ll enter into Search Console.

Step 6: Start Blogging

Adding a new blog post is easy. Simply go to “Posts > Add New” and start typing. There are a lot of formatting things you can do that are beyond the scope of this tutorial, including some SEO things. The important things to remember when writing a new blog post are:

  • Make sure there is a top image. You add an image by clicking the “Add Media” button, upload your image, pick a size and alignment, and insert the image.
  • Select a feature image. There is a “Featured Image” box in the right side of your post screen.
  • Add your post to a category. You can create categories in the new post screen.
  • Write content that is useful and relevant to your audience.

We’ll write a more in-depth tutorial at another time.

Step 7: Miscellaneous

There is one other plugin that we recommend you install and explore right away: Jetpack. It not only has security features and stats, but also has sharing and publicize settings that allow you to easily add social media sharing buttons to posts, but can also be setup to automatically push new posts to social media.

Congratulations! You’ve just setup a WordPress blog on your non-WordPress site.

If you are new to WordPress, then sign up for our newsletter. We are currently doing a WordPress Basics series. So far, we’ve covered: WordPress Basics: What’s a CMS and Why Choose WordPress?Picking a WordPress ThemePart 3 in the WordPress Basics Series: Architecture, and WordPress Basics Series: Choosing Plugins. Next up in this WordPress basics series, we are going to start a walk-through of the WordPress dashboard, starting with Settings.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out, either by leaving a comment below or sending us an email.

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Chrome 56 Is Here Which Means ‘Not Secure’ Warnings on WordPress Login Pages for Sites Without SSL https://skookummonkey.com/blog/chrome-56-not-secure-warnings-sites-without-ssl/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/chrome-56-not-secure-warnings-sites-without-ssl/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 23:24:37 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2197 As we wrote in September, Google announced SSL would be mandatory in January 2017. Chrome 56 is now here, which means, sites without SSL will now see a "not secure" warning when logging into your website. This includes self-hosted WordPress sites.

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As we wrote in September, Google announced SSL would be mandatory in January 2017. Chrome 56 is now here, which means, sites without SSL will now see a “not secure” warning when logging into your website. This includes self-hosted WordPress sites.

Today, Chrome updated to version 56. Immediately we decided to confirm the “not secure” warning for when visiting self-hosted WordPress login pages. We were able to confirm the “not secure” warning on both /wp-admin/ and /wp-login.php pages. Because we don’t want to expose any live vulnerable sites, below is a screenshot of how the warning looks for a staging build:

As per the original Google SSL announcement, this is just the first step. This first step includes the above “not secure” warning not only on login pages or any other page that requires a password, but also on pages that capture credit card information. The next step will most likely be on pages that capture email addresses, such as comment boxes. The final step will be a warning in red on all pages that do not have an SSL certificate.

How To Get An SSL Certificate

The first thing you should do is talk to your website host. Let’s Encrypt has free SSL certificates that can be used on shared IP address. You no longer need a dedicated IP address for SSL certificates! Do not let your website host tell you otherwise. Let’s Encrypt is trusted by WordPress, Mozilla, Google, and more.

If you host uses cPanel and they are not running cPanel 62, demand that they update to cPanel 62 and turn on autoSSL. autoSSL is a WHM setting that automatically installs SSL certificates issued by Comodo — 200 certificates per server — to domains. There is also a Let’s Encrypt plugin for WHM/cPanel that allows for an additional 100 certificates, for a total of 300 certificates per server. There is no reason for you hosting provider to not provide free SSL if they are running WHM/cPanel. If they refuse to do so, then it’s time for you to look for a new host.

Skookum Monkey Provides Free SSL Certificates

All of Skookum Monkey’s hosting packages come with free SSL. We have provided this service for a year, free of charge, as we anticipated this move by Google. We have done this in three phases.

When we first implemented free SSL, customers had to email us to install the certificate for them because, at that time, Let’s Encrypt didn’t have a cPanel plugin. Then, Let’s Encrypt created a plugin for WHM/cPanel and we wrote a tutorial about how to install your own Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates via cPanel. Then, to make it even more convenient to our customers after Google made the mandatory SSL announcement, we turned on autoSSL. This translates to: Existing domains on our servers got an SSL certificate installed automatically and all future domains have the SSL certificate installed when the domain is added to the server. Then, we updated our Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate installation tutorial to reflect these changes.

And we’ve made it clear to customers following our Softaculous WordPress installation tutorial to always choose SSL installation.

Aside from following Google’s SSL guidelines, we also follow WordPress’ hosting guidelines, which are PHP version 7.x and MariaDB 10.x. Below you’ll see full details of Skookum Monkey’s hosting environment:

If you have any questions about what these changes to Google Chrome mean to you, how to talk with your existing host about turning on autoSSL, or would like more information about Skookum Monkey’s hosting packages, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Important: Google Announced SSL To Become Mandatory for January 2017 https://skookummonkey.com/blog/important-google-ssl-mandatory-january-2017/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/important-google-ssl-mandatory-january-2017/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 21:42:59 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2114 Today, we informed our newsletter subscribers of the following news: If your website requires a login, which it probably does, you have until January 2017 to get an SSL certificate or Google will flag it with a warning to visitors.

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google

Today, we informed our newsletter subscribers of the following news: If your website requires a login, which it probably does, you have until January 2017 to get an SSL certificate or Google will flag it with a warning to visitors.

We are sharing the announcement here, too, because of the importance of it and the huge impact it will have.

UPDATE: Chrome 56 Is Here Which Means ‘Not Secure’ Warnings on WordPress Login Pages for Sites Without SSL.

UPDATE 2: “Not Secure” Warning Coming October 2017 in Chrome When User Types Any Data Into HTTP Sites, and All HTTP Sites When Visited in Incognito Mode.

Below is the text from that newsletter.

Today, Google Made a Huge Announcement That Will Affect Most Websites

We really mean huge. We also welcome this announcement because we are strong proponents of https all the things.

So the news: Basically, starting in January 2017, if your website requires a password to login or is an eCommerce site, and people visit it using Chrome, Google is going to send visitors a big warning that the site is not secure if it doesn’t have an SSL certificate. This will turn people away from visiting sites that do not have https in the address. We strongly urge you to read the full announcement on Google’s Security blog.

What You Need To Do

If your website is hosted by WordPress.com, you are good. If your website is built using a service like Squarespace or Wix, you are going to run into problems unless they start to allow for easy implementation of SSL certificates. Currently, they do not.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress powered site, you need to contact your host and request that they install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. They may come back with some excuses like: You need a dedicated IP address for SSL, or they cost money. Neither of which is true. Once upon a time, this used to be the case, but it hasn’t been for some time. So be prepared to have to educate them, send them to Let’s Encrypt (linked below) and send them to Google’s security blog update (linked above).

[The differences between self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com explained.]

 

Let’s Encrypt is highly trusted, with sponsors including Mozilla, Automattic (WordPress), Cisco, and more. It’s also free and has automatic renewals. Let’s Encrypt has a goal of making the entire web https by the end of 2016, and they are making it extremely easy to do so.

If your host will not accommodate and help do what is necessary to comply with current security standards–which they should have predicted when Google announced that sites with SSL will rank higher than sites without it–it may be time to find a new web host. You really do not want your site visits to suffer. The January 2017 changes are just the beginning in Google’s efforts to make sure all websites are secure.

Skookum Monkey Can Help

Earlier this year, we announced that all of our hosting packages come with SSL upon request. Earlier this week, we announced that we’ve made it even easier for our clients to get an SSL certificate by adding easy Let’s Encrypt SSL installation right in their account management tools. They now have the freedom to do it for themselves or ask us to do it for them. We also wrote a step-by-step guide of how to install Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates and update their WordPress installation.

The timing of Google’s announcement with our announcement is uncanny.

There are other benefits with hosting with us, including we will transfer your existing WordPress site to our hosting environment at no cost. Learn more about other benefits of hosting your website with Skookum Monkey.

If you have any questions about what these changes mean for you, or need help dealing with your existing host to get them to do what is now necessary, or if you have more questions about our hosting packages, please do not hesitate to reach out!

We understand that switching hosts is time consuming and scary. We are happy to help you deal with your current host. We are here to help 🙂

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Changes to Google+ Search Have a Huge Impact on the Ability for Businesses To Do Social https://skookummonkey.com/blog/changes-google-search-huge-impact-ability-businesses-social/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/changes-google-search-huge-impact-ability-businesses-social/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 20:00:55 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2108 Changes to Google+ search has removed the ability to filter search, making it more difficult for businesses to use is as a social media tool to engage people outside of their circles. Time to re-examine how business use Google+ as a social tool; social meaning engaging potential and current clients.

The post Changes to Google+ Search Have a Huge Impact on the Ability for Businesses To Do Social appeared first on Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design.

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new google plus

Changes to Google+ search has removed the ability to filter search, making it more difficult for businesses to use is as a social media tool to engage people outside of their circles. It’s time to re-examine how businesses use Google+ as a social tool; social meaning engaging potential and current clients.

We have always been huge supporters of Google+. We were Day One users for the personal accounts, Day One users of businesses pages, and Day One users of Communities. Google+ used to be our number one social media referral source, even though only a handful of people have circled our page. Google+ was great for reach for things tech-related and was good for SEO.

It was also a great tool for doing social. We would search for certain keywords in order to see what people were saying about those topics; in order to offer any help with WordPress-related questions people had; and to share interesting posts that are relevant to our Google+ demographic and  relevant to our business.

The other week, Google+ switched all users over to the “new and improved” Google+. If you attempt to switch back to the classic Google+, you receive the following message: “Heads-up! Classic Google+ is going away soon, but you’ll still find all your stuff on the shiny new Google+.”

And just like that, Google+ is no longer a good tool for social and finding out about what topics relevant to your field people are talking. Why? Because now, when you search for a topic, you can no longer filter results.

Before, you could filter Google+ search results based on “Best of” and “Most Recent, plus the following great options: People and pages, Collections, Communities, Google+posts, Photos, Hangouts, Events, From your circles, From you, and To you.

Classic Google+ Search

These filtering abilities are what makes easy social possible and now they are gone.

With the new Google+ search, when you search for a keyword, you can explore Communities, Collections, Peoples & Pages, all of which have WordPress in their name, but finding posts with which to engage and share are gone because you can no longer filter posts.

New Google+ Search

For years, people have been talking about the death off Google+. With the breaking off of Hangouts and Photos into their own domains, and now breaking off of profiles to their own domains, an emphasis on Communities and Collections, and now the removal of important search tools, we are finally jumping in on that talk. If Communities are also broken off into their own site, we will officially call it the end of Google+ as we know it.

So what are we to do now in order to use Google+ as an effective social media tool? This means re-examining the way you currently do social. It also means putting more time into Google+ if you want to continue to engage people. How? By joining and participating in communities that are relevant to your business, and by spending a lot of time looking through people’s collections. Communities are still thriving on Google+. Collections are being used with greater frequency. The questions you need to ask yourself are: Do I need to redo my Google+ social media strategy and spend more time looking for good communities with which to engage, and searching through collections? Is the extra time going to return a positive ROI? Do I spend time experimenting in different communities? Or is it time to cut Google+ out of my social media strategy and only continue to use it for SEO and to engage my circles?

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Easy Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate Installation via cPanel Now Available For All Hosting Accounts https://skookummonkey.com/blog/lets-encrypt-ssl-certificate-installation/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/lets-encrypt-ssl-certificate-installation/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 20:00:09 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2089 At the beginning of this year, we announced that free SSL certificates were available for all Skookum Monkey hosting accounts upon request. Now, you can install a free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate on your own via cPanel. This is available to all Skookum Monkey hosting clients. No more need to submit an install request, unless of course you need help.

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free dedicated ssl certificate

 

UPDATE 2017: All Skookum Monkey hosting accounts now come with AutoSSL. If you installed WordPress before 2017, read this tutorial about how to add SSL to WordPress

At the beginning of this year, we announced that free SSL certificates were available for all Skookum Monkey hosting accounts upon request. Now, you can install a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your own via cPanel. This is available to all Skookum Monkey hosting clients. No more need to submit an install request, unless of course you need help.

Once upon a time, you needed a dedicated IP address in order to use an SSL certificate. Thanks to rapid changes in technology, Google favouring sites with SSL certificates, and Let’s Encrypt’s mission to make the entire web 100% HTTPS, making your site secure is now really simple.

Let’s Encrypt is highly trusted, with sponsors including Mozilla, Automattic (WordPress), Cisco, and more. It’s also free and has automatic renewals.

Below are the instructions to install your own Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate via cPanel, and how to make the necessary changes to WordPress if you already have WordPress installed.

How To Install Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate via cPanel

1) Log in cPanel

2) In the security section, click “Let’s Encrypt”

 

Let's Encrypt SSL Cetificate cPanel

 

3) Click “New SSL Certificate”.

 

Let's Encrypt SSL Cetificate New SLL Certificate

 

4) Choose the domain you want to install the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. You can install one certificate for each domain in your account. Repeat the necessary steps below for each account. You will get a “installation successful” message once it is done.

 

Let's Encrypt SSL Cetificate Choose Domain

You’re done! Now, you need to make some changes to WordPress if you’ve already installed it.

How to Make the Necessary Changes to WordPress After Installing the Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate

1) Login your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings – General.

2) In the General Settings tab, change the “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)” fields from http:// to https://

Let's Encrypt Update URL in Settings

3) Scroll down to the bottom and click, “Save Changes.”

4) Go to Plugins – Add New.

5) Search for “Really Simple SSL” and install it and activate.

6) A message will appear at the top of the screen. Click the “Go ahead, activate SSL!” button.

really simple SSL screenshot-1

7) If you have Jetpack installed, you’ll need to go into “Plugins – Installed Plugins” and deactivate and reactivate it. Then you’ll have to go into Jetpack – Jetpack to reconnect Jetpack to your WordPress.com account. If you do not do this, Jetpack will no longer work.

You are almost there! If you installed WordPress via Softaculous, there is one more change you need to make.

How to Update Your Softaculous WordPress Installation After Installing the Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate

1) Login to cPanel.

2) Go the Softaculous section in cPanel and click the WordPress icon.

Let's Encrypt Softaculous changes

3) Scroll down to the “Current Installations” section. Click the edit pencil beside the installation you want to update.

Let's Encrypt Edit Softaculous Current Installation

4) In the “Installation Details” section, edit the url from http:// to https://

Let's Encrypt Update URL Softaculous

5) Scroll down the bottom and click the “Save Installation Details” button.

Let's Encrypt Softaculous Save Installation Details

And now you are done!

Repeat the above for every site to which you want to add a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. We strongly recommend that you do it for all of your sites that are hosted with Skookum Monkey.

As always, if the above seems daunting to you, just send us an email and we’d be happy to install the certificate for you!

If you are not already hosting your website with Skookum Monkey, there are other benefits that come with choosing to host us.

Learn more about our various hosting packages.

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5 Reasons to Host Your WordPress (or Other) Site With Skookum Monkey https://skookummonkey.com/blog/5-reasons-to-host-your-wordpress-or-other-site-with-skookum-monkey/ https://skookummonkey.com/blog/5-reasons-to-host-your-wordpress-or-other-site-with-skookum-monkey/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 19:00:09 +0000 https://skookummonkey.com/?p=2076 Skookum Monkey offers a personalized touch when it comes to hosting your website. Below are five reasons to host your WordPress--or other--site with Skookum Monkey; services you may not find elsewhere.

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Finding a host for your website can be difficult. Everyone has their recommendations. There are a lot of website hosts out there who have been around for a long time, and have a lot of clients, so they are considered trusted. Switching to a hosting service like Skookum Monkey can, understandably, come with some reservations. Because of our size, Skookum Monkey offers a personalized touch when it comes to hosting your website. Below are five reasons to host your WordPress–or other–site with Skookum Monkey; services you may not find elsewhere.

1. Automatic Updates to WordPress Core and WordPress Repository Plugins

Whether you choose our Assisted WordPress Hosting package, or choose one of our Basic Hosting packages and install WordPress yourself via our easy Softaculous installer in cPanel, we make it easy for you to keep your site secure and up-to-date, leaving you more time to create content and less time worrying about security.

2. Help Transferring Your Website

If you are switching your hosting to Skookum Monkey, then we’ll transfer all of your data for you. We will also walk you through backing up your current email and moving them to your Skookum Monkey hosting environment, if you are using domain email addresses instead of a service like Gmail. We can even walk you through moving your email from Gmail to your domain email, and vice versa.

Not only did Skookum Monkey save me from having to pony up a ridiculous amount of cash per month just to keep using my personal email account, they walked me through the entire process step-by-step so that I didn’t lose a single byte. Also, after trying, and failing, and panicking, when I tried to move my own site (which prompted me reaching out to them to begin with), it was an enormous relief to have everything transferred over for me. Long story short? I wouldn’t go back to my previous host if it was free. Plus – no downtime! Not even a hiccup since everything was spun up on their servers. SM has earned my loyalty.
Anthony Karcz

3. Extra WordPress Help

We are WordPress experts and offer a variety of personalized paid WordPress services. But, we also offer some free services to our clients, like theme and plugin recommendations. It’s as easy as sending us an email. We can also quickly answer your questions about anything WordPress or point you to videos and other resources. We are also currently doing a WordPress basics newsletter series to help you make better use of your website.

You can say goodbye to call centers, impersonal email responses, or being told to visit WordPress forums for help.

4. Email Storage Is Only Limited By Hosting Package

A lot of website hosts limit email storage to 200 MB. When you sign up for a Skookum Monkey hosting plan, we never place a limit on your email storage. The only thing that limits that storage is your overall hosting storage.

5. Personalized Services

This point may be already obvious based on the above, but we do offer a more personalized touch. It’s always just an email away. There are a lot of hosting companies that offer WordPress services, but the support isn’t always there when needed or it’s very generic. It’s really easy from a hosting perspective to setup automatic updates to WordPress core and plugins. It’s easy for the hosting provider to install a plugin. But, how well do they know WordPress? Are the able to make recommendations? At Skookum Monkey, we can because we’ve spent years using WordPress and developing WordPress websites, so we know the ins and outs.

But, with Skookum Monkey, you’re not limited to just WordPress. Each hosting package comes with Softaculous, allowing you to easily install a variety of different services to help you build and manage your website.

Skookum Monkey has been hosting my site for a while now – every time I have had a question they have been fast with a response, and very patient. I recommend Skookum Monkey to anyone looking for web hosting!
B Beyea

Have any questions? Feel free to contact us at any time and we will be more than happy to answer your questions about Skookum Monkey hosting packages or any other service we offer.

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