In this tutorial I walk you through the entire process, from beginning to end, of setting up a cloud server, pointing your domain to it, and using a SAAS (Software As A Service) cloud server management solution like ServerPilot to complete the process. The cloud server I use in this tutorial is Vultr, but others like Linode or DigitalOcean will do. I also use Hover (domain registration service), but of course you can use whatever you like.
The basic ordered rundown of the process is as follows:
Point your domain Nameservers to your cloud server. (Note: This is important to do first so it has time to propagate.) For Vultr that would be: ns1.vultr.com for primary and ns2.vultr.com for secondary. For DigitalOcean it would be: ns1.digitalocean.com | ns2.digitalocean.com | ns3.digitalocean.com. For Linode it would be: ns1.linode.com | ns2.linode.com | ns3.linode.com | ns4.linode.com | ns5.linode.com (usually the first two will do, but some hosts suggest 3 or more like DO and Linode).
Deploy a new cloud server through your cloud host of choice.
Use the new cloud server credentials to set up ServerPilot to install its own stack of server software and manage your Linux installation (i.e.. keeping the server software up-to-date, monitoring server health, providing stats, etc…).
Go back to your cloud host admin and setup the DNS for your domain.
Login to your server via SFTP and upload either WordPress or whatever web app or platform you want to work with (or in my case our Instant IDE software so that I could then install WordPress through the IDE itself and have full control of my new server through my browser).
If you’ve installed a website platform such as WordPress then you can now run through the setup process. First, however, you’ll need to go back to ServerPilot to create a new database, and then you’ll be able to complete the WP setup process.
Finally, if you’ve upgraded your ServerPilot installation to the “Coach” plan for $10/mo you can enable SSL for your domain.
At this point it’s just a matter of setting up your WordPress website the way you want it. I would suggest an SSL Plugin like Simple SSL to ensure that your site works properly with that SSL certificate from ServerPilot. But of course other Plugins like an anti-spam tool, security such as WordFence, and some solid SEO solution comes to mind.
Here’s the full tutorial:
For some further setup information you may find the following useful:
After several requests for such a resource I went ahead and created a screencast that compares and contrasts three of our main DEV Plugins, looking at not only how each tool differs and what unique features it brings to the table, but also how each can be combined to create a seriously powerful WordPress Development Environment! So if this is something you’re interested in learning more about then grab some popcorn and check out the screencast below…
A few months ago we presented a small portion of the WordPress community with a unique take on a new kind of IDE. This was a completely portable development environment that could be installed in an instant and yet provides some of the most powerful features found when developing a WordPress-powered website. We called it Instant IDE and it truly lived up to its name.
Fast-forward to the beginning of the New Year and we’re now closer than ever to offering up the Ultimate WordPress IDE for the freelance developer. I present you with Instant IDE 1.1.0, the next step in achieving this goal!
It’s easy to throw around terms such as “Ultimate” in this arena of Premium WordPress DEV Tools, but in the case of Instant IDE the pursuit is real and the claim is legit. Right out of the gate Instant IDE proved to be both unique and incredibly useful to those who need full access to their WordPress installation, anywhere and at any time. But we’re not stopping at good enough.
What Does 1.1.0 Bring To The Table?
First, let’s start with the actual IDE as that got the most upgrades and refinements. Since 1.0 we’ve added things like easy double-click file unzip, more refined file uploads and file-tree browser drag-n-drop, and tweaked the session cookie code to allow for sub-directory WordPress installations. But with 1.1.0 you’ll find the following improvements:
Improved file/folder create/rename functionality by incorporating SweetAlert2 name input feature.
These new features and refinements are not only meant to improve the general functionality and benefits of this awesome WP IDE, but to move it ever closer to WordPress development perfection! Don’t get me wrong, in software development there is never “perfect”, but there is definitely that sweet spot where an app just does things right, and that’s our goal with Instant IDE.
So let’s talk about a few of these new features. First, you can now right-click any folder and click “Install WordPress” to essentially one-click install the latest WordPress files into that particular directory. So whether you’re installing WordPress for the first time in the root of your web server’s htdocs folder or want to create several sub-installs inside specific sub-directories, you can now do this with a few mouse clicks.
That leads me to the next new feature which is the ability to use the “Site Preview” feature to preview any sub-folder. What this means is that if you have a sub-folder install of WordPress, for example, and would like to bring that sub-site up in the Instant IDE Sire Preview feature you can do so by just right-clicking that folder and then selecting “Preview Folder”. And from there you’ll be able to test out the front-end of your sub-sites right there inside Instant IDE.
In addition to the above two features we’ve added a few refinements to the Site Preview feature itself as well as greatly improved the create and rename functionality for files and folders, all by upgrading to the newer version of a powerful message popup script called SweetAlert2. Now, when you create a file or folder you no longer have to create it with the default name text and then rename it to what you want. Instead when you create a new file or folder a popup allows you to provide a name before the file or folder is created. This removes a few extra steps in the process and just makes Instant IDE feel that much more intuitive and efficient. Also, renaming a file or folder incorporates this same popup and makes the renaming process feel more polished.
What About The Instant IDE Manager Plugin?
Instant IDE Manager got a few nice refinements as well, but the main feature to mention is the ability to password protect its admin area. So when you view the Instant IDE Manager admin page you’ll now see a place to add a pin number. If you leave this blank then it will remain disabled, but if you add a pin you’ll then be presented with a simple “login” form with each view of that admin page.
I implemented this new feature for those scenarios where you’re working with Instant IDE on critical client or business sites where you don’t plan on having your WordPress Dashboard compromised, but if it were to happen you’d know that your Instant IDE Manager admin would be protected. For dedicated dev sites, test sites, and localhost environments this would be unnecessary, but for important live sites I felt it was a nice bit of extra security for that much more peace of mind.
So that about covers it for now. I hope you enjoy these new features and watching this powerful new WP dev tool evolve into its envisioned capability. And if you’d like to see all this for yourself be sure to check out my latest Instant IDE screencast below:
It’s been a busy couple of months to say the least, but I have some exciting new tools and features to show for it! So without further ado let’s get straight to it…
Instant IDE And The Instant IDE Manager Plugin
Last month we started beta testing my latest dev tool called Instant IDE. This is a powerful web-based development environment that works completely outside/independent of WordPress, giving you full control over your WP-powered websites. It’s actually so independent that you can use it on ANY website, not just those running WordPress. Having said that, our target market has always been WordPress freelance developers and that hasn’t changed with Instant IDE. And that’s where the Instant IDE Manager Plugin comes in.
The Instant IDE Manager Plugin is actually the “vessel” that we’ll be distributing Instant IDE, as well as the means by which we push out auto-updates and allow easy install/uninstall capability. So the IDE itself is the focal point of the product, but the Manager Plugin really makes using it that much more intuitive.
To learn more about Instant IDE and the Instant IDE Manager Plugin checkout the main product page HERE.
And you can see this exciting new dev tool in action below:
Dynamik Website Builder 2.3.0 Update = MUCH More Intuitive Customization
For quite some time there have been requests for Dynamik to receive the ability to implement its options in a more intuitive manor. Yet because of the many ways in which Dynamik allows such custom design control it was difficult to find a solution that not only executed on the idea, but allowed for the FULL functionality of Dynamik to remain in play. So recently I decided to work with some iFrame preview ideas to see what I could come up with.
Pretty quickly it became apparent that this was a great “best of both worlds” kind of solution! Not exactly “real-time” changes, but close to it, this new Site Preview feature allows you to tweak ALL of the styles, and in the way you’re used to, while never leaving the page to see the changes. Simply click the save button, or even better just use the new cmd/s keyboard combo, and Dynamik will automatically refresh the Site Preview window, revealing the latest design state of your site. And what’s great is that you have the same functionality on the Custom Options page as well! So tweaking a Custom Hook Box position or content or editing a template file, or even your custom CSS/PHP/JS code, will reveal the updated changes the moment you save them!
Check out this new Dynamik feature below:
A Note To Current Members…
Dynamik users can go ahead and update to 2.3.0 and check it out now!
Cobalt All Access members will be able to access not only this new Dynamik update, but Instant IDE as well!
I see it all the time. The angst that comes from that age old question…should I use a Child Theme for my WordPress web design projects? And the answer is about as long as it is multifaceted with many caveats. But I think I can tackle the basics in about a paragraph or two, so let’s jump right in.
Not A Yes Or No Answer
Clearly this is not a black and white matter. It really just depends on what kind of web development project you’re working on, as well as the kind of theme you’re using, and even your development style and preferences. For one, if you aren’t using a traditional theme framework, but something more unconventional like some of the “All-In-One” theme solutions out there, then it may just be redundant to use a Child Theme. Or if your needs are very basic then a Child Theme might be overkill. But if you’re working on a WordPress powered website and plan on creating code and template customizations then you’re likely to run into the need for such a sub-theme.
I would say that in most cases it’s simply a good idea to build your web design projects on top of the foundations of a Child Theme. It can’t hurt and if you do run into the need to compartmentalize your customizations then it will be there, ready to go. But before I get into our solutions for Child Theme creation and development let me list off a few notable points:
Child Themes provide custom coding and template compartmentalization, keeping your dev work separate from the theme framework.
Child Themes keep your customizations safe when the parent theme is updated.
Child Themes allow you to semi-white-label your theme for clients, by using custom naming conventions. Not quite a white labeled setup, but close enough for most scenarios and better than tweaking the parent theme’s core code and breaking future auto-updates.
Child Themes encourage conventional development “best practices” such as direct interaction with theme files/code, the use of actual template files, etc…
How Cobalt Apps Addresses This Need
There are several solutions to be found here at CobaltApps.com that provide WordPress DEVS of all skill levels with the ability to work more efficiently and customize more effectively.
To start we have our free Child Themer Lite Plugin which simply provides the ability to create custom Child Themes in seconds.
Next we have a premium solution that not only houses the Child Theme Creation feature found in Child Themer Lite, but many other Child Theme development solutions to enhance your customization capability while inside your WP Dashboard. From a full blow theme editor, Child Theme Image Manager, hooks map, and front-end Dev Tools, our Themer Pro Plugin is a must have for those serious about Child Theme development!
Finally, our Extender Plugins would be my one serious suggestion for those seeking a way around the need for a Child Theme. These framework extending DEV tools offer pretty much everything you need to get some serious web development done, all without the need for a Child Theme. From the powerful custom styles, functions, and script editing tools, to the custom template creator, as well as front-end CSS Builder and custom content functionality, these Plugins allow for all kinds of DEV work to be accomplished without the presence of a Child Theme, yet fully independent of the parent theme, meaning your customizations remain safe and sound!
So it’s not always a matter of right and wrong, but simply knowing your options and then deciding on the best tools and techniques for the job at hand. Here at Cobalt Apps we try and provide solutions for just about any scenario and need, so it’s really just a matter of deciding your preference and then going from there.
A Few Notable Closing Points…
Child Themer Lite and Themer Pro don’t just create generic Child Themes for the activate framework, but specifically support certain framework themes so they can create exactly the same Child Theme as offered by the framework developer. This ensures that you’re working with the intended Child Theme codebase and not some kind of “one size fits all” solution. To see which framework themes these Plugins support checkout THIS PAGE.
Though our Extender Plugins were presented above as an alternative to using a Child Theme they also work great WITH Child Themes. This means that they also work very well with our Child Themer Lite and Themer Pro Plugins.
If you want to learn more about these conventional “best practices” approach to WordPress web design, you should checkout our Freelancer Framework. It’s a simple, yet rock solid approach to pure framework goodness!