The Managed WordPress Hosting 6-Point Check

The Managed WordPress Hosting 6-Point Check

Our Managed WordPress Hosting service has features such as emergency data restoration and software updates. An important block of the Service includes a 6-point check for items that are often red flags to deeper problems. Managed WordPress HostingFor example, checking Google for blacklisting or hacked status tells us that the website has further problems to investigate and address.

This is an example of such a case. Google and other search engines aren’t compelled to contact you or to help you if your website is in a compromised state. Google’s Webmaster Tools can be used to declare ownership of the website. In this case, you are likely to receive an automated email but it must be set to do so. This is all you will receive. Just an email and you must take further action. If your website is compromised your search engines results will pay for it. This will increase in severity as time passes. Eventually, the website is blacklisted and completely removed from Google. Ouch.

In my article detailing the Top 3 Reasons You Need A Managed WordPress Service, I discussed the importance of having a human that regularly monitors the status and health of your website.

Our 6-point check includes:

  1. Search engine health
  2. Changelog scans
  3. Internal Malware scanner
  4. External Malware scanner
  5. User Account Checks
  6. Pages/Posts Checks

Again, the 6-point check is in addition to our deeper maintenance routine and is an additional layer of protection for our clients websites.

Changelog Scans

The Changelog scans give us an insight into suspicious activity on the system. Changelog analysis often assist us in discovering malicious activity on the webservers. They help us to identify vulnerabilities as well. Hackers and their script bots are relentless in ferreting out any little opening that they can exploit. System administrators must be diligent and ever watchful. If a hacker penetrates a system, he/she can wreak havoc. This will cost a website owner quite a lot of time and money. Not to mention the possible damage to the brand of the business.

Defend your website(s) with our Managed WordPress Hosting Service!

 

Managed WordPress Hosting Service

 

Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

I was asked recently, what kinds of work do you do for your clients.Website, WordPress, PHP Custom Application Development Boise

The short answer is “Matraex, Inc provides Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise to small businesses

Below I describe our services in more depth.

Contact me to discuss what we can do for you – Michael Blood – 208.344.1115 x 250

Matraex, Inc – Nationwide Web Services

  • We design online presence websites in WordPress.
  • We custom build web applications for businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals with ideas.
  • We create custom automation and time saving software using the web.
  • We support, refresh, repair and enhance existing websites and custom applications.
  • We provide Managed WordPress Hosting services.
  • We build, host and support custom scale-able hosting environments.

Matraex, Inc – Basic consulting and technology list

Matraex Inc, – Boise, Idaho Web Services:Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

While we work for clients nationwide. A large percentage of our clients are from here in Boise, Idaho. When items become complex we are able to work directly with clients in our office onsite at our client’s office. We communicate via skype or just on the phone.

WordPress Website Developmentwordpress-development

WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP.  WordPress allows Matraex, Inc to quickly create a beautiful online presence for your business and the give you the ability to login and make simple updates to your site.  It is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS)

We offer WordPress  Website Development solutions that are compatible with all business models and industry verticals. Our team of WordPress developers provides WordPress CMS development, plugin development. Also theme customization and maintenance services as well as ongoing security and update services through our Managed WordPress Hosting.

When you engage Matraex, Inc  to build or enhance your online, unless you have another tool in place. We will likely recommend that we develop your marketing presence using the WordPress Content Management System.  Depending on your vertical and your website needs we will either find existing WordPress plugins. We also build new plugins which add the needed custom touch to your website.

WordPress Plugin Development

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.  Matraex, Inc builds custom plugins such as this,  any time that our client needs are not met with the base WordPress Package.

In each of these situations,  Matraex, Inc relies on its deep knowledge of WordPress. Also the WordPress SDK and the PHP programming language to implement new and innovative website features.

Legacy WordPress Plugin Repair and Replacement

In many cases we have customers with existing WordPress websites with plugins which are out of date. Even some what wont work with newer versions of WordPress,  in these cases we can:

  • Find an up to date WordPress Plugin which replaces the functionality of the out of date plugin
  • Make changes to the WordPress Plugin code to bring it up to date or
  • Build a replacement plugin made for the current version of WordPress.

Custom Web Application DevelopmentWebsite WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

Matraex, Inc works with entreprenuers, business owners and individuals with ideas to define innovative Web based applications and solutions which solve real world problems.   Our team takes stakeholders through a process to define problems and craft potential solutions.  From this we build a project that  our clients want and the Matraex team can commit to.  We then work closely with the client to get constant feedback throughout the development process to implement a fabulous product.  Each of our Custom Web Application projects are implemented into a production hosting environment,  where we continue to support them as needed.

Web Task Automation

Most people that work within a small business recognize problems and issues within their industry that need to be fixed.   Small tasks which take up more time,  than the value they provide.  They often know that if they had the software,  the task could be automated.   Matraex, Inc builds the custom software that provides this automation.   We work with our clients,  the industry professionals who understand the issues. We create software which reliably accomplishes and automates the tasks.   We periodically followup on the process to confirm that the software continues to accomplishes what has been intended or whether it could be improved.

PHP Developmentphp-development

PHP Powers nearly 70% of websites and has emerged as the most preferred & widely used server-side language.  Historically, 90% of our development projects have been done with PHP. All new development projects are done using PHP, whether it is within the WordPress CMS. The laravel Framework, uses other composer packages. Or a custom frameworkless PHP project using a homegrown library of functions.

Matraex builds PHP websites using MySQL, Linux and Apache which is popularly known as the LAMP platform.   We are able to launch new LAMP shared or dedicated development and production environments in minutes at one of our two redundant Data Centers (Involta and Fiberpipe)

Our company’s PHP Development Services offer multipurpose solutions that encapsulate the following:

  • PHP Web Development
  • PHP Application Development
  • Custom PHP Development
  • PHP Software Customization and Integration
  • PHP Porting and Migration
  • Packaged PHP Applications
  • PHP Professional Services
  • PHP Outsourcing

MySQL and Postgres Database Administrationmysql-database-administration

The custom applications that Matraex, Inc develops integrate with a database to store persistent application data.  Some applications like WordPress automatically setup and  manage all aspects of the MySQL database architecture. But our custom applications require database administration (DBA) services for setup and maintenance.   Matraex, Inc has Oracle Certified MySQL Administration experts to address the Database needs of these custom applications.

Matraex, Inc internally follows very stringent Database Naming conventions which we have used for more than 10 years.  These standards allow our development team to very quickly create custom relationships.  We also area able to easily read and understand relationships in existing applications we have built.

Website Overhaul and Repair

Websites get old,   designs get tired and software gets outdated.  Matraex, Inc breathes new life into websites by either a small simple change. Or a complete website overhaul.  Depending on the client need we address goals and budget to recreate websites which perform.

Matraex offers Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise.

Remove WordPress Generator Tags: Powered by Visual Composer – drag and drop page builder for WordPress

Remove WordPress Generator Tags: Powered by Visual Composer – drag and drop page builder for WordPress

When using a WordPress theme that uses the ‘Visual Composer’,   a meta tag

  • Powered by Visual Composer – drag and drop page builder for WordPress

Is displayed on the output of each of your pages.

You can  use a tool like our WordPress Website Tool to see what generator meta tags are exposed by your WordPress installation

Since one of our initiatives here at Matraex, Inc while optimizing WordPress websites, is to remove the telltale signs of a WordPress installation,  we need a way that we can easily remove these tags.

We already have a plugin that we install into each of the WordPress websites that we manage which helps us to optimize each of them so we had a quick place we could add custom code to handle the removal.

This gives us a more reliable way to customize the output, without having to worry about the settings within different plugins.

We added the following code which removed the Visual Composer Generator Tag

add_action('init', 'optimize_fixwp_head', 100);
function optimize_fixwp_head() {
   remove_action('wp_head', array(visual_composer(), 'addMetaData')); 
}

Once you have added this,  you can do a very quick check to see that the meta tag has been removed using our WordPress Website Tool .  
The tool will also help you identify whether you have any other common WordPress exposure issues.

 

In researching the way to implement this thanks to :

 

 

Website Owners 6 Free Speed Security and SEO Tools

Website Owners 6 Free Speed Security and SEO Tools

6 Free Speed, Security and SEO Tools Matraex, Inc Uses

6 speed security and seo tools-used by matraexThere are a plethora of tools out there to help you evaluate your website.   We have built a few ourselves that help us manage multiple websites.  The following list is geared towards a website owner and should help you to understand some important aspects of your website.

If you should ever need anything part of your website changed,  contact us here at Matraex for fast effective help.

1) Pingdom Webspeed Test pingdom

A good,  full page speed load tester,  it gives a score and suggestions for improvements – http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

 

pagespeed2) Google PageSpeed Insights

A phenomenal resource for understanding how you can improve the load speed and experience of your website.  Google gives you a Mobile and Desktop Grade and then gives suggestions and advice with downloads.    – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
[
Matraex Website Performance Assessment Log – saves results from tools 1 and 2 above to help users ‘watch’ the effect that changes have on their performance]

 

3) Qualys SSL Labs test   ssllabs

A great free test to check that your SSL certificate on your site does not have any vulnerabilities,  The site gives your SSL certificate a grade and describes any problems.   This is a great repeatable test if you have a site looking to become PCI compliant – https://www.ssllabs.com/

 

jitbit4) Jitbit SSL

Scan your https:// site to see if you have any insecure content.  This test can help identify images, style sheet, javascript and other linked content which runs over an insecure (http://) connection – https://www.jitbit.com/sslcheck/

5) Securi Site Scan securi

Run a scan on your WordPress website with securi,  this will help identify malware or hacks on your site. – https://sitecheck.sucuri.net

 

semrush6) SEMRush SEO Evaluation

Find how your site is performing – SEM Rush gives you a single overview page with almost too much information.   Take a look at your results for organic search backlinks and keywords.  The initial report is free however SEM Rush charges for more frequent and advanced reports.  Their free report gives you a good general idea to allow you to decide whether you want to get more indepth – https://www.semrush.com/

 

 

We of course want to include a link to our free tool as well,   our tool helps us to take an even smaller, faster look at a WordPress Website’s speed, security and exposure,   take a look if it fits your type of site – https://www.matraex.com/website-check.php

If these tools gave you a good idea about how your website is performing for you, but you would like more info or you would like to improve it,  contact us or give me a call to discuss your website – Michael Blood 208.344.1115 x 250

WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

When working with WordPress websites, there are three main areas we assess within the first few seconds, speed, security and exposure. To help us quickly do this, we built a tool, WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas, which pulls this information quickly and puts it into a single interface.

WordPress Website Check – http://matraex.com/website-check.php

While each of the three areas of speed, security and exposure go much deeper than this small scan, we are able to see some very important metrics very quickly.

Three Checks

Speed

We can see the download speed,  the size of your home page,  the number of external CSS files and the number of external scripts.   This helps us to see how well the site has been optimized.  Typically wordpress websites are made up of a Theme with enabled capabilities,  as well as a number of plugins.  Each of the capabilities and plugins will often have their own stylesheets and script files which can add up to a bloated website.

Security

WordPress websites are the subject of frequent hack attempts.  Website scanners quickly find WordPress sites that have their admin and login scripts exposed.  The scanner identifies the scripts.  If the scripts do not block access after a number of failed attempts (with the username ‘admin’ and then with a random username)  the script fails.

Exposure

WordPress websites often publish their version number as well as details about which plugins it uses.  This information ideally is private and if possible should be kept private.  When vulnerabilities in these tools are found,  this is an advertisement to exploit your site.

The results can be saved and a link will be sent to your email so you can permanently have access to the results

The tool is our way of checking a site within seconds,  and we offer it free.   Our hope is that others find this useful ad will come to Matraex, Inc for their Website Development, Design, Hosting and Security needs.

Matraex, Inc
208.344.1115

 

 

WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

Preg_Match Visual Composer PHP Error

We started getting a preg_match Visual Composer PHP error that was: Warning: preg_match() expects parameter 2 to be string, array given in /wp-content/themes/bridge/vc_templates/vc_empty_space.php on line 12.

visual-composer-icon

I was able to determine that when using the empty space feature for managing site contents in the design, if you saved “px” in the pixel value for the size of the empty space, WordPress results would throw this error. For example, if I saved 16px for the size, we would get this error message. However, if I went back in and just saved the value as 16 the system would work as expected.

This is only a slight fix, I have discovered that in a recent update to Visual Composer, the issue was resolved. So be sure you have updated to (at this time) v4.8

Here is a quick link to the Visual Composer plugin.

 

 

Multiple XSS Vulnerability Update For WP Bakery Visual Composer

Their is a Multiple XSS Vulnerability Update For WP Bakery Visual Composer that was released today. This is a free update from WP Bakery. I have not been able to find the details of the XSS vulnerabilities discovered and patched but I have one client with an older version of the Visual Composer that has been hacked a few times. I suspected this was the culprit and now we have an update for it.

The update is a free download from Code Canyon. Performing the update is easy if you have FTP, just download, extract, and copy over the existing folder /js_composer folder in your WordPress plugins.

If you don’t have FTP access you should be able to upload the .zip file via the plugin updater in the WordPress plugin area.

This webpage is not available ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED – PHP ob_start() ob_gzhandler – Trailing spaces after closing ?> in WordPress Plugin

This webpage is not available  ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED – PHP ob_start() ob_gzhandler – Trailing spaces after closing ?> in WordPress Plugin

Recently we ran into an issue where a website would not load.   We traced the problem to a line in the code which attempted to pass all content to ob_start(‘ob_gzhandler’).

This basically words to zip up all content and send it to the browser.  However an error was being thrown ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED,  which showed up in the browser window and in the browser console.  After some detailed debugging in PHP using some die commands()

die("die: ".__FILE__.":".__LINE__);

I found that the issue came from an rogue blank character which displayed before the ob_start(“ob_gzhandler”) function could be called.

There were a couple of ways I could deal with this,  first I could simply put an ob_start() at the top of the code,  and then put an ob_get_clean(); just before the ob_start(‘ob_gzhandler’),  however this felt a bit sloppy,  so I went in search of the rogue character.

The application that this was in,  was one that simply included the wordpress load file so that it could integrate with a WordPress installation,   and I found that the characters was coming from the WordPress install.   Using a hunch I decided d to look for a recently updated plugin and I quickly found a plugin that had an end php tag “?>” with an extra line after it.

I quickly fixed this and then decided I would figure out a way to quickly identify issues like this.  While there are many ways to address this and figure out how to over come it,   the issue seems to identify an need to figure out whether plugins conform to some best practices (such as omitting a closing ?> php sign)

If we identify this need,  we will write a free plugin to put on the WordPress site,  which will go through all plugins on sites to confirm that they use some best practices such as this.


			

Configure Google Analytics Conversions Track Events Contact Form 7

How To Configure Google Analytics Conversions Track Events Contact Form 7

Tracking conversions in Google Analytics using Contact Form 7 requires setup on Google Analytics Conversion Goals control and in the Contact Form 7 contact form Additional Settings.

The Additional Settings tab requires you to customize your button event to send Google Analytics the expected values.

This setup was quite a challenge for me to overcome because their were several factors preventing success that I had to work through. Apparently, this is a common need for many WordPress administrators but an even more common problem getting to work. I will explain in three steps:

  1. Obtaining your Google Analytics tracking code
  2. Preparing your Google Analytics account to track incoming data
  3. Configuring your Contact Form 7 “send” button to send Google Analytics the data
  4. Testing/Verification

Step 1:

Google has a javascript function for you to send the data. This is probably already on your site for general statistics tracking. Open an Incognito Window, open your website, then right click your page and View Page Source, then perform a Find or Search for “analytics” and you should jump to the javascript code. If you found it, then you can go to the next step, otherwise check out this article for adding the GA code.


Step 2:

In your Google Analytics account, click Admin, Goals, +New Goal. Now Custom, enter a name for the Goal, Event for type,

  1. Category (Equals to) “contact form”
  2. Action (Equals to) “submission”
  3. Label (Equals to) “my contact form”
  4. Create Goal to save

Configure Google Analytics Conversions Track Events Contact Form 7

 


Step 3:

Edit your contact form, click the Additional Settings tab, and add this code:

on_sent_ok: "__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'contact form', 'submission', 'my contact form');"

Now here is where many admins seem to be having trouble and I did as well. The issue is determining what your Google Analytics function is then making sure it is used here. In this case, __gaTracker is the function.

You will find your function back in Step 1. Perform your View Page Source search again for “analytics” this time at the end of the javascript look for the function name. Common names I’ve seen are “ga”, “__gaTracker”, “gaq.push”, and “gaq”. Just replace __gaTracker with the function name you happen to have.

gaq.push is a little different:

on_sent_ok: "_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'contact form', 'submission', 'my contact form']);"

Testing/Verification:

In Google Analytics, at the top, click Reporting, expand Real Time, and click Conversions. This interface is displaying real-time data that GA is receiving from your website. So in another window, goto your Contact Form, fill it out, and hit send. Switch back to your GA, Real Time tab and you should see a hit!

If you see a hit then you’ve properly configured your form! Congrats! If not, please re-read the steps to verify you did everything and check that you didn’t overwrite a ( or ‘ in the button tracker code.

Many WordPress administrators have the need to track Contact Form 7 conversion data in Google Analytics. Configuring the button code to use the proper javascript function is vital.

Tips: When I was working through my troubleshooting, I eventually took the Contact Form 7 out of the formula by making a simple html page that had two things: 1. The GA javascript in the <head> and 2. a hyperlink with the GA tracking code. Here is an example:

<html>
<head>
<script type="text/javascript">
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','__gaTracker');

__gaTracker('create', 'UA-34343434-34', 'auto');
__gaTracker('set', 'forceSSL', true);
__gaTracker('require', 'displayfeatures');
__gaTracker('require', 'linkid', 'linkid.js');
__gaTracker('send','pageview');

</script>

</head>
<body>
<a href="/c.html" target="_blank" onClick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'contact form', 'submission', 'my contact form');">Test</a>
</body>
</html>

The idea is to have a test link that I could use to verify that my tracking code and function were even working because I had the suspicion (I was correct) that the Contact Form 7 code needed tweaking. If you use this example, you MUST change the UA-343434′ line with your Tracker ID, check your View Source for this or you can find it in Google Analytics, Admin, Tracking Info, Tracking Code.

Finally, you should be aware that it takes a day or two for GA to start displaying your conversions in the normal area where you can run reports and analysis (not the Real-Time area).

Thanks for reading How To Configure Google Analytics Conversions Track Events Contact Form 7

 

One Line WordPress Install

One Line WordPress Install

To install the latest version of WordPress to your current working directory in Linux you can run this command

#wget -O - https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz |tar --strip-components=1 -xvzf - wordpress/

Just make sure you are in your install directory when you run it

#cd /var/www/html


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