WP Engine Cyber Weekend

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Guys, just a quick post to confirm that if you’ve been waiting for an especially good deal to start hosting your blogs with WP Engine – this is it:

WP Engine Cyber Weekend Promotion – 5 Months Free on Annual Shared Plans

I’ve been a happy customer for more than a year with my Unix Tutorial blog and should probably be upgrading to their next hosting plan soon due to explosive traffic growth.

Think this offer is active for a week or so, so don’t wait too long.

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Trying WPEngine DevKit

Seems DevKit, a new offering currently in beta by WPEngine, is getting stronger by the day. I joined the beta a few months ago and couldn’t set it up easily enough, but this time around it seems to be much easier.

What is WPEngine DevKit?

DevKit takes your git-based WordPress development to the next level! It’s a software automation available to WPEngine customers that lets you spin up local copies of your WordPress environments in a matter of minutes.

WPEngine DevKit uses Docker and builds a mini infrastructure to run each environment: a load balancer, a caching layer, a PHP processor, a web server and a database server. Latest version of your website and database are downloaded to your laptop or desktop with just one command:

$ wpe clone unixtutorial

After all is done, all you need to do is cd into directory and start local webserver:

$ cd unixtutorial
$ wpe start 

Here’s how the list of Docker containers looks for one of the websites:

greys@macos:~/proj/wpengine/unixtutorial $ docker ps | grep unixtutorial
7e0269af4942 wpengine/devkit_memcached:0.15.7 "docker-entrypoint.s…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 11211/tcp unixtutorial_memcache_1
e5d9ee9354de wpengine/devkit_mailhog:0.15.7 "MailHog mysqld --ss…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 1025/tcp, 0.0.0.0:32782->8025/tcp unixtutorial_mail_1
50d7921d39ed wpengine/devkit_nginx:0.15.7 "nginx -g 'daemon of…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 0.0.0.0:32781->80/tcp unixtutorial_nginx_1
be03695720b2 wpengine/devkit_php_7_3:0.15.7 "/entrypoint.sh php-…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 9000/tcp unixtutorial_php_1
282468464aee wpengine/devkit_mysql_5_7:0.15.7 "docker-entrypoint.s…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 33060/tcp, 0.0.0.0:32780->3306/tcp unixtutorial_db_1
c8723b7f4b70 wpengine/devkit_mitmproxy:0.15.7 "docker-entrypoint.s…" 18 minutes ago Up 18 minutes 8080/tcp, 0.0.0.0:32778->8081/tcp unixtutorial_proxy_1

Pretty cool! I’ve just downloaded 3 of my websites in under 20min, just need to get comfortable with making updates back to the WPEngine hosted copies now!

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Multi-language Widgets in WordPress with WPML

WordPress

WordPress

I have recently launched a Unix Tutorial RU, Russian language version of my Unix Tutorial blog. After careful consideration, I have decided to use WPML plugin for managing translated copies of pages and posts.

How Multi-Site Works with WPML

From what I can see, WPML is a redicretion and page query parameters based magic. It allows you to host multi-language sites from a single hosting setup, so essentially it’s just one WordPress installation with WPML plugin helping it manage multiple translated copies of the same pages and posts.

In my setup, I chose to use a separate domain: www.UnixTutorial.RU with Russian translations of www.UnixTutorial.org pages.

Multi-Language Support in WordPress Widgets

Turns out, it’s very simple to manage multi-language sidebar content.

Step 1: Add another instance of same widget to sidebar

Create a copy of your existing sidebar widget, by selecting the same widget type and adding it to the same sidebar. I ended up with having two widgets like this:

Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 10.55.52.png

Step 2: Populate new widget with translation

Edit to make sure the newly copied widget contains the desired translation:

Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 10.56.00.pngStep 3: Select when to show new widget (pick a language)

Select a new language for the template:

Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 10.56.07.png

This means that new sidebar widget will only be shown on the translated version of my website.

That’s it, enjoy!

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Firefox Quantum Becomes Firefox Browser

Seems Firefox will change its name with the Firefox 70.0 release, a nightly build of that version was just released and it’s sporting both new logo and a new name.

Here’s how the look compares between the versions I got on my Macbook: most up-to-date Firefox Quantum versus the latest Firefox nightly build.

Firefox Quantum 68.0.2

Screenshot 2019-08-17 at 11.28.53.png

Firefox Browser 70.0a1

Screenshot 2019-08-17 at 11.56.08.png

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Get Started with Brave Browser

Brave Browser

I have discovered Brave browser a few months ago and it’s now my default browser across macOS, Ubuntu laptop and Windows workstations.

What is Brave Browser?

Brave is based on the Chromium project, so it looks and works very similar to the Chrome browser you’re probably familiar with.

Brave brings a number of important privacy features with it, aimed at blocking ads and trackers natively (without additional extensions).

Brave is also using the Basic Attention Token (BAT) to introduce ways of rewarding content creators by tipping them in this BAT cryptocurrency. In the future BAT will also allow you to decide that you want to allow certain ads in your browser and to be rewarded with BATs for doing so.

Saving Time and Traffic with Brave

Every time you start Brave browser, it shows you a summary of its activity and how it translated into improved experience for you:

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 09.28.37.png

These are the lifetime stats – so this shows the number of ads and trackers blocked since the Brave browser install on your system.

Installing Brave Browser

Simply go to the Brave.com website to download browser for your platform, or use my referral link: start using Brave.

I’ve also written a few installation guides on Unix Tutorial if you want to compile Brave from source:

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20% discount: WordPress.com and Jetpack

WordPress

WordPress

Just got an email from Automattic announcing that WordPress.com and Jetpack plans will be available with a 20% discount until March 10th, 2019.

If you’re looking for super-comfortable hosting solution for your blog, you should check out WordPress.com. I’m usually self-hosting and so Jetpack offering makes more sense for me:

  • blog backups
  • improved performance
  • free image hosting
  • Akismet spam protection
  • Traffic and visitors stats
  • Activity log

I’ve started blogging much more regularly in 2019 and find activity log super-useful for keeping track of all changes made to the blog – plugin updates, posts and pages updates, new posts and image uploads.

In short, both WordPress.com and Jetpack come highly recommended. If you’re in the market for them – check them out. Don’t forget to use the DISCOUNT20 code for 20% off any prices at the checkout!

Challenge Yourself to Post Daily

You might now that I’ve spent most of 2018 centralizing my technical blogs – migrating key content over to Unix Tutorial blog and stopping regular updates on Solaris Blog, Nuxified and Desktop Virtualization.

In 2019 I decided to aim for a daily posting on Unix Tutorial:Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 10.24.10.png and it definitely looks and feels a lot better according to website traffic:

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 10.22.59.png

January isn’t the best month, because traiditionally it gets highest traffic of the year anyway, but we’re halfway into February and it seems traffic is still growing!

We’ll see how long I can keep this up, but daily posts is among the best decisions and changes I made in my blogging in a long time.

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Make WordPress admin panel use HTTP

Quick but super useful tip for WordPress development: when you’re coding your website locally on your desktop or laptop, this wp-config.php option will help you accept HTTP logins to WordPress admin panel:

define( 'FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', false );

Took me whole 5 minutes to figure out why local website worked fine but admin panel was not connecting.

Now it looks much better:

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 18.51.29.png

pS: if you’re using an old WordPress installation or just kept auto-updating it in the last few years without a full reinstall, the option name could be slightly different for you:

define( 'FORCE_SSL_LOGIN', false );

aHrefs SEO toolbar

I’m testing the freshly released Firefox 64 and just realised that this means I can finally download and test the SEO toolbar from my search engine optimisation tool of choice: aHrefs.com

2018-12-12_10-34-38.png

The toolbar is pretty neat and does exactly what I expect it to:

  • shows backlinks to current page and root domain
  • shows number of referring domains (RD)
  • shows estimates of monthly search traffic (seems lower number than what I’m actually getting in my website stats)
  • highlights the number of keywords (KW) that the page is ranking for

Overall, pretty cool and a nice extension to the already awesome aHrefs toolkit. Keywords is a particularly useful thing – when clicked it opens an aHrefs dashboard page where I can select and bookmark certain keywords for later targeting.

In addition to the toolbar, this add-on seems to be updating Google SERPs with similar information – so when I’m researching a technical topic for my Unix Tutorial blog it should help to assess quality of backlinks much quicker:

2018-12-12_10-40-07.png

True 2FA for Namecheap!

Finally! 

Good thing Namecheap are flagging new features in their dashboard now and then, because I’m not subscribed to their blog and would have missed the big news: as of a week or two ago, it is finally possible to use a proper two-factor (2FA) mechanism like Authy for accessing Namecheap account.

It’s not that using SMS for 2FA is not secure. It’s also that it’s quite a pain: I work on laptop most of the time and don’t necessarily have my smartphone nearby. I’m a MacBook user and Apple have steadily improved handover functionality in the past few years: I can accept phone calls on my laptop if it’s on the same WiFi network with my iPhone. I don’t need to have the iPhone right next to me to answer an unexpected call.

Haven’t been a frequent user of Namecheap dashboard – but every time I wanted to visit it, I had to first find my iPhone. Now it’s a thing of the past – just configured and tested Authy for Namecheap TOTP 2FA and it works as expected.