Foundation for E-mails

It had been awhile since I went through the painful process of developing HTML e-mails. I generally try to avoid it when possible (because Microsoft Outlook). I was recently tasked to create one for a client and I decided to give Foundation for Emails a try. It makes the process infinitely less painful.

WordPress: “HTTP Loopback Connections Disabled”

You get a WordPress error that says, "HTTP Loopback Connections Disabled."

It took me awhile to figure this one out. I was getting it on a BuddyPress install (and other have reported seeing it with BackupBuddy, among others).

Most of the web sites had pointless or ineffective solutions. Some said to add define('ALTERNATE_WP_CRON', true); to wp-config.php, which was completely irrelevant, uneffective and annoying.

This is what worked for me.

Snippet: Disable WordPress Enqueued Script Caching

This code snippet will show you how you can disable caching of enqueued scripts in WordPress in your development/staging environment(s) but not in your production environment.

Add Environment Variable

  1. Edit the wp-config.php for each of your instances.
  2. Add the following (if it doesn’t already exist):

(replace ‘development’ with whatever label you want for each environment, such as ‘staging’, ‘production’, etc.)

Add/Modify Code to Enqueue Your Custom Scripts

We’re now going to tell our enqueued scripts to either:

  • If WP_ENV is ‘production’, when append the theme version to the script.
  • If WP_ENV is anything else (like ‘development’ or ‘staging’), append a timestamp to the script link.

Carbon Fields

 
It is rare that I find a plugin/framework that gets me so excited. One of these days I will have to publish a list of my favorites. Today I am here to talk about Carbon Fields for WordPress.

Let me begin by saying that Advanced Custom Fields Pro is one of my favorite plugins, and I probably use it more than any other (maybe on par with Redis Object Cache). I have a developer’s license for it. It is amazing and also a bargain! I wish that I could use it for everything!

That said, some of the things that make ACF Pro amazing, like Repeater field and Options pages, are not redistributable for free (as in beer) plugins. I totally understand and respect why – I would do the same thing. However, there are times when I make a plugin that I just want to give …

Comparison: AWS, DigitalOcean, Vultr & Linode

Over the years, I have used several dedicated and cloud hosting companies. I thought that I would share my opinions on them (as far as the features that I’ve used among them).

Although I have tried Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform, I preferred the interface of AWS and/or the price of other options, so I did not give them much of a trial. As a result, they will not be included much in this article. I also do not have a DevOps background so I will not be discussing HA or load balancing a lot.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I used to be a die-hard promoter of AWS (I still use them for some of their specialty services, and recommend them depending on infrastructure needs).

Pros:

  • Speed – I have always gotten impressive transfer speeds while using Amazon’s

Streaming Video Devices

I’ve tried several of the video streaming devices on the market and I thought that I would share my recommendations for those in the market for one.

Units that I have tried include:

Amazon Fire TV

Price: $49 and up

Amazon Fire TV StickI was excited when the Amazon Fire TV came out. At the time, I was an exclusive Roku user, but Roku had not updated their units in quite some time and they were beginning to feel sluggish. The Fire TV promised a significant speed boost, and it delivered in that respect. However, it was disappointing for other reasons.

Pros:

  • Speed – The unit was pleasantly fast.
  • Vendors – Supports Amazon Instant video and Prime
  • Voice – It was the first streaming unit (to my knowledge) that offered voice commands.
  • Apps – It supports most

A Comprehensive SSL/TLS Guide

I’ve seen a lot of sites that don’t use HTTPS by default. I’ve heard the argument, “We don’t need it. We’re not e-commerce.” This is absurd thinking:

  1. You are probably using some sort of CMS product, possible a popular one like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc.
  2. There is a good chance that you are not keeping them as updated as you should, but for arguments sake, let’s assume that you are (or pretend to be).
  3. All of these products have default administrative login paths. If you monitor your logs, you will notice that bots from all over the world are hitting this default path constantly.

Read more: Why HTTPS? Here Are the 5 Reasons Folks

Note: If you are using WordPress, consider forcing HTTPS using the WP Force SSL plugin or modifying your wp-config.php.
WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting

Step 1: Change your default admin path!

If you are on WordPress, there are several …