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Inspired Magazine by Inspired Mag Team - 2w ago

Every website designer and developer should consider site hosting. There are many advantages to be gained from doing so. If you’ve been ignoring this possibility because you think the task is too time consuming and technical, this article will explain why it’s actually very easy and quick, provided you go about it in the right way.

1. The basics

It’s still possible to simply by a server, connect it to a router, connect to the Internet and start hosting your site right from your own office. This gives you some small advantages, but a lot of disadvantages compared to the alternative. The advantages include having direct access to the hardware, plus having full control and responsibility. The disadvantages are too numerous to list.

Most companies and individuals offering hosting services are reselling services from gigantic server farms. It’s possible that they can be resellers of resellers, and the chain could stretch back quite a long way before you get to the actual hardware provider.

Becoming a reseller yourself is easy. Simply find a hosting company you’re comfortable with and purchase a reseller account from them. If you know in advance that you’re going to be hosting a lot of sites a dedicated server will be the way to go, but for most people the best choice will be a virtual private server (VPS).

That name is confusing because it implies that you don’t really have a private space, but actually you do. You get your own dedicated partition, isolated from all the other resellers in every way. The operating system and all the hardware can be configured any way you want without affecting other reseller accounts.

What you’ll be selling to your customers is not VPS but shared hosting, meaning they don’t have the same degree of control and isolation that you have, but only as much as you award to them.

The hosting market is so competitive right now, and so large, that it’s very difficult to make money just from selling hosting. You will most likely be adding value through the other services you provide.

2. Choosing the operating system

You may be offered a choice between a Windows server and a Linux server. Unless you have an absolute, non-negotiable need for a Windows server, you’re better off choosing Linux. This will be much less expensive, more flexible, more secure, and easier to administrate.

This is why nearly every site on the Internet is hosted on Linux. A very small number are hosted on Windows, and an even smaller number are hosted on anything else.

3. WHM – for creating and managing accounts

 Each “account” on your server is actually a domain space. This is all the term “account” means in this context. The owners of each individual site you set up on the server as accounts will define their own user accounts, which in this case will actually mean users, or individual people (not domain spaces). A domain space is any space that can be accessed through the successful resolution of a DNS entry.

If you have chosen a Linux server, the tool you will use for this purpose is called Web Host Manager (WHM). You don’t have to use WHM, because there are other ways to achieve the same ends, but why make things difficult for yourself when there is a really simple way to get everything done?

 

It is important to understand the difference between WHM and cPanel. WHM is used at the server administrator level to create and manage user accounts, but does not give access to individual features within each account (such as setting up email accounts for the domain).

cPanel is used at both an administrative and user level. You have one top level cPanel account from which you can micro-manage all the features of any domain space on the server. The individual site owners, if you grant them the keys to the kingdom, can also manage their own domain space.

4. Security and server configuration settings not covered

Due to the high level of risk involved in making changes to your configuration and security settings, and the massive amount of explanation that would be required to ensure you don’t create a problem for yourself, we’re not going to cover any of that stuff. If you have a need to make those kinds of changes, you already know enough not to need our help anyway.

5. Setting up hosting packages

Before you can create any new accounts, you’ll need hosting packages defined. These packages are feature sets that allow you to decide what features and resources are available for the domains on your server. This also allows you to upgrade and downgrade accounts according to need.

It is generally best practice to not allocate more features and resources than an individual domain space needs. If you find that a site’s needs change in the future, you can silently upgrade it in the background.

You set up packages by selecting Packages in the left menu, and then selecting Add a Package from the main panel.

 

It’s all very easy to understand. You give your package a name, and then set the limits you want for each resource. Most of the items can be left on the default unlimited setting, but the items you will definitely want to restrict are Disk Quota and Monthly Bandwidth. Because the settings are in MB, to get nice round numbers in GB you’ll need to set your values in multiples of 1024. In the example below, disk quota is set to 5 GB, and bandwidth is set to 10 GB.

 For some reason the number of add-on domains and parked domains defaults to a limit of 0, and there is no logical reason why you’d want to prevent add-on and parked domains from being created, so you should consider raising the limit or even setting it to unlimited.

CGI access is enabled by default, but the need for it in the present time is quite rare, and CGI is a favorite access point for many types of malware. If you don’t develop CGI software, or otherwise have a known need for it, you may wish to disable it.

When all the settings for your package are correct, click the Add button to save them.

6. Add an account

Once you have one or more packages defined, you are then able to add accounts. Most of the time, especially if you’re successful, this will be the only other WHM task you need to perform other than creating packages.

To access this feature, select Account Functions in the left menu and then select Create a New Account from the main panel.

This screen has seven sections. The first section shows you your reseller account limits and how much you’ve already used.

 

The next section shows you how many sites you can still create based on which package type you select. 

 

The next section will be where you actually enter the information about the domain account you are creating. The domain you create here does not have to be already registered, and it’s important to understand that this process does not actually register a domain, which is a separate step.

 

There are five fields to complete, and a password strength indicator. There’s an option to use a password generator, but you should not use it because you’ll get a weak password that the system incorrectly identifies as strong. Instead, you should manually create a strong password that you could never forget, and which also follows all the rules of using numbers, letters, mixed cases, and special characters (because if you don’t follow all the rules, the password may be identified as weak, even if it is strong).

The username field will be created for you based on the domain name. You may want to change it for security reasons or because there would be a conflict with another username already in use.

The final field is the email field, which is the email address where administrative emails connected with the account should be sent. This should be an email address under your direct control. Below is an example of all the fields completed.

 In the next section, you simply select a package from the drop-down box. After you have selected a package, the background of the field will turn green, a green check mark icon will appear, and if you hover your mouse over the magnifying glass icon, you will see the details of the selected package so you can be sure it is correct.

 The next section allows you to configure cPanel settings. CGI Access should only be enabled for accounts where CGI is necessary (it’s usually not necessary). Change the locale from English to another one if necessary. Usually you will want to leave the Apache SpamAssassin setting enabled. You would normally only disable this if you knew it would create a problem.

 The next section is for the DNS settings. You won’t normally want to change these settings from the default settings unless you have a special reason.

 The next section is for mail routing settings. You won’t normally change these from the default selection unless you have a reason.

 Click the blue Create button to create the account. You’ll see instant confirmation on the screen, and also receive an email to the account you nominated at section 3.

7. Other things you can do with accounts

 

Adding accounts is really all you’ll normally need to use WHM for. There could be a few special situations that come up, so for those situations, here are the possible things you can do:

  • Force Password Change. If you have some special reason to force your users to change their passwords, this is the option that allows you to do it. It’s not really recommended to do this unless there is a pressing need.
  • Manage Account Suspension. If you ever need to suspend or unsuspend an account, this is where you do it from.
  • Password Modification. If you want to change the password for a site yourself (that is, you don’t want to leave it up to the client to choose a password) this is where you do it. You’ll normally use this action after a suspected security breach has occurred.
  • Skeleton Directory. Not as exciting as it sounds. This simply allows you to specify a default index page and directory structure for the newly created accounts. You can’t actually change anything here, it is just notifying you of where to look on your server for the skeleton directory template so you can manually make changes there if you want.
  • Terminate Accounts. If you are sure that an account is no longer required, you can remove all traces of it by using this feature. It’s only necessary to activate it once you start running out of room to create new accounts. Otherwise suspension is effective enough, along with not renewing the domain.
  • Upgrade/Downgrade an Account. All accounts can be upgraded or downgraded. You select the domain to be upgraded or downgraded, and then click the Modify button.
  • Web Template Editor. This is only for creating default pages to be shown when an account has been deleted, moved, or suspended; or where the site has a connection problem.
9. Everything else in WHM

All the other things you can do are advanced features that you will only need to concern yourself with if you encounter the kind of circumstances that would require you to. When that happens, it is best to consult the official documentation for guidance on those advanced topics.

10. Perform all your lower level administrative tasks in cPanel

For the even more basic and site-specific stuff like setting up email accounts, creating databases, installing software, and setting add-on or parked domains, you will use cPanel. All of these features are also self-explanatory.

header image courtesy of Alaina Johnson

The post Getting Started in Site Hosting appeared first on Inspired Magazine.

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Are you looking to add some peace and tranquility to your life? Well, look no further! The Yoga and Mindfulness Icon Pack from Flaticon is beautifully designed to bring a sense of tranquility into your life.  Each icon comes in three versions and what’s more, you can edit the colours! Free for personal and commercial use!

Download the icon pack from here.

The post Exclusive Freebie: Yoga and Mindfulness Icon Pack appeared first on Inspired Magazine.

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Of all tech topics, security is possibly the most complex, and certainly the most important. This is because security is always evolving. It is a forced evolution, as we must adapt to constantly emerging threats.

There are various levels of security that we’ll have responsibility for. The first level is ourselves or the organization we work for. The second level is our clients. And the third level is the users of the websites or applications we develop for our clients.

Despite our best efforts, clients will always find ways to undermine the protections we provide for them. They rely on us as IT professionals to help them stay safe, but paradoxically also rarely follow the safety advice we provide them with. Most users really are their own worst enemies.

What we need to do, then, is make it as difficult as possible for clients to compromise their own security, while also making it as easy as we can for them to do the tasks they need to do. Achieving both goals to perfection may be impossible, but in this article we’ll cover some things you can do to cut down the risks of a security breach occurring.

gif by Patswerk

Protecting your own devices and data

You are the first line of defense for yourself and your clients. If your systems are compromised, then everyone you work for could be at risk. Here are some recommendations for the minimums you can do to avoid operating in an increased risk environment:

  1. Use a secure desktop operating system. This is the single most basic upgrade you could make, if you’re not already using a secure operating system. The most secure operating systems are Linux, Unix, and BSD. You should be using one of these operating systems as your primary desktop operating system.
    The bonus for both developers and administrators is you get access to a much larger library of free development and security tools, and most of them work better than their Windows or OSX equivalents. To really operate in paranoid mode, choose the more secure Linux distros such as Parrot, Qubes, and Tails.
  2. Maintain separation between the operating system and your data. If you’re running Linux or Unix, this is easy. You simply make sure that you have created a partition or separate hard disk to host your home partition on. Then all user files will survive any number of operating system installations, and as a bonus can be accessed from multiple operating systems on multi-boot systems.
  3. Use a journaling file system to help prevent data loss if your system crashes or is halted unexpectedly.
  4. Mirror your home partition. Regularly back up important files and use file versioning to avoid unintentional overwrites.
  5. Consider using cloud backup (not to be confused with cloud sync, which is nowhere near as safe and secure as a genuine backup). Sensitive data should be encrypted before being uploaded.
  6. Keep your system up to date, never ignoring security patches. Systems that use rolling updates have the advantage that you’ll always know when patches are available, what needs patching, and why.
  7. Train people within your organization to be alert to social engineering methods that may be used against them to gain access to your systems.
  8. Avoid running software from unverified sources. When downloading software from trusted sources, verify file signatures to be certain you have an authentic copy.
  9. Maintain the physical security of your computers, especially when traveling. Carrying your laptop everywhere may not be practical, but it’s better than letting some evil maid corrupt your BIOS. If it’s really not an option to carry your computer, lock it up in a lockable case and secure that case in a safe or otherwise as best you can.
  10. Always remember it’s better to be paranoid than to be an idiot who got hacked.

illustration by Phantom Points Creative

Protecting clients

Keeping clients safe from IT threats is difficult, because they don’t all understand the scale of the threat they face. Many will also have the view that if their site is compromised, then it’s your problem to sort out, not theirs.

Many sites have been exploited for years without the site owners being aware of it, because most malicious attacks against sites are not supposed to let their presence be known. You therefore can’t rely on the clients to inform you of problems. You’ll need to take a proactive approach.

  1. Try to educate your clients about the risks. Most of the problem is due to ignorance that there is any risk to be on guard against.
  2. Inform corporate clients that the greatest threat they will face is insider threats created by their own employees and contractors (often inadvertant, but not always so). Also make sure they’re aware of problems like social engineering, shoulder surfing, and dumpster diving.
  3. Keep servers patched. Perform regular backups.
  4. Scan for evidence of back door exploits or other malicious activity. Designing the file and folder structure for the site to be as simple as possible will help make detection easier. Know which files should be in each folder. If you see new files that are not familiar or seem to have computer generated names, that’s a serious red flag.
  5. Know what files should be in the cgi-bin folder (for most sites, that will be no files), because this is a favorite location for stashing malicious programs.
  6. Periodically check the htaccess file to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.
  7. Code that you write is unlikely to make extensive use of encoding and decoding strings, or to contain heavily encrypted content. If PHP files contain unusual code, it’s not very likely that those are legitimate files. Unusual character encoding instructions are also a giveaway. It’s not likely that your legitimate files will be encoded in Windows-1251 encoding, for example.
  8. After confirming a breach, change your passwords. Check file permissions are set correctly for all files and folders. Monitor signs the intruder has returned. Even after changing your password, the attackers may have a way in. You’ll need to be sure they don’t. Set your server to inform you by email when any changes are made to the server.
  9. Help your users choose passwords appropriately by explaining the rules to them in a way they can understand. This is how most people like to set their passwords: 

    jenny23This is how system administrators usually advise them to set their passwords:

    n@^2z`jGAnd the problem is the first password can be cracked in seconds, while the second password can be cracked in a few hours. Also there is no hope whatsoever that the user will remember the more complex password. Here’s an example of a password that would take several lifetimes to crack and could never be forgotten:

    Ialwaysfly@40,000feetCharacteristics of the above password include: Over 20 characters in length, mix of upper and lowercase characters, includes both numbers and letters, includes non-alphanumeric characters, easily memorable. A similar example might be:

    fishingeverySunday@10amOr:

    asImove^inlife,Iwillnever4getwhereIstartedThere’s really no limit to how creative you can get with passwords, and there is so much more advantage with

    asImove^inlife,Iwillnever4getwhereIstarted compared to n@^2z`jG. The first example (41 mixed characters) would take until the end of time to crack and is easy to remember, while the second example (8 mixed characters) can be cracked in under six hours and is almost impossible to remember.Don’t think you can just string words together and everything will be fine, because the hackers are onto that. You still need to mix cases and use non-alphanumeric characters, but certainly length is more important than complexity as things stand now. Combining both gives you an edge over those who use only one or the other.

    Most dictionary based attacks focus on English because it’s the most widely used language and most of the best sites to target (in terms of the value of what they can yield) are sites managed by people who speak English. If you know another language, use it when creating your passwords.

    As excellent as 

    asImove^inlife,Iwillnever4getwhereIstarted is, it’s still not as perfect as aMedidaQue^enLaVida,nuncaolivdarededondecomence because this adds yet another layer of complexity, forcing the cracker to resort to brute force.Learning another language just to create better passwords may be a bit much, so the other thing you could do is just become (or stay) really bad at English when you design a passphrase. For example:

    asImoov^inlyfIwillnevar4getwhereIstarted 

    For the ultimate, you could use badly spelled foreign language words and replace all the vowels with Leet vowels: 

    4M3d1d4Qu3^3nL4V1d3,nunc40l1vd4r3d3dond3c0m3nc3 

    I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have the patience to type that. Still, it is a very secure password, and forces the cracker to do an insane amount of work (to hopefully then discover that all they’ve accessed is a collection of cat pictures).

  10. Make sure clients understand the dangers inherent in sending sensitive information by email, Skype, etc.

gif by Hoang Nguyen

A special note for developers

A quick and easy cultural shift for developers to adopt that would prevent countless security breaches each year is simply to minimize the external dependency chain of their sites. We are needlessly connecting to third party hosted scripts. Many of these scripts may have their own external dependencies. All for the sake of saving a few bytes.

Whenever possible, we should try to host all our scripts ourselves. A popular third party hosted script is a tempting target for an attacker, because by gaining control over the script, it is possible to run exploits on thousands of computers.

Concluding remarks

Computer security is a never ending challenge, and there is big money to be made on both sides of the challenge. The stakes are very high, and no one is completely safe, even those who believe they have nothing to hide. Winning is mostly a matter of using common sense and staying alert, never allowing yourself to become complacent.

header image courtesy of Josh Warren

The post Security Essentials for Site Developers and Admins appeared first on Inspired Magazine.

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Meta: This Brizy Page Builder review covers everything you need to know about the WordPress plugin, with focus on how it would potentially impact your business.

Well, of course, we love WordPress for its usability, and most importantly, its wide array of third-party plugins optimized for pretty much everything to do with websites.

Come to think of it, we could spend a fortnight comparing different plugin categories, debating about the most essential one. However, if you’re honest, you’d acknowledge that nothing comes close to web design plugins especially when it comes to ecommerce sites.

Consider this. The first impression visitors have of your website is 94% related to its overall design. That’s according to a study conducted by Northumbria and Sheffield Universities. The University of Surrey, on the other hand, released a separate report revealing that users’ assessment of your business’ credibility is 75% based on the website design.

And that explains why a well-designed web interface is capable of boosting your standard conversion rate by 200 to 400%.Design comes first before other supplementary site elements pick up from there to optimize the conversion process.

That’s why I’ve always been crazy about web building plugins. Leveraging good ones is one way to lay a solid foundation for a seamless experience with other plugins and site elements.

That said, I’ll admit that I’ve used quite a couple of extremely effective plugins in this space. But, as expected, I’ve also seen my fair share of poor ones.

Above everything, I’ve always found it exciting to try out the newest entrants. Mostly because some of them come out with all guns blazing. They are seemingly never shy to challenge even established competitors with trendy, exciting features at comparatively cheap rates.

And that’s how I was quick to notice Brizy Page Builder. A new kid on the block, but certainly one of the most notable entrants.

So, what exactly does it come with? And is it any different from its predecessors?

Well, let’s find out. This Brizy Page Builder review covers everything you need to know about the WordPress plugin, with focus on how it would potentially impact your business.

Brizy Page Builder Overview

Barely two months ago, in May, was Brizy launched as a page builder for WordPress-based sites. It was essentially developed to eliminate all the coding mumbo-jumbo, and consequently help users design and set up web pages without hiring developers.

Now, let me take a wild guess here. I assume you’ve heard that same description numerous times by now. So many that it has almost grown into a cliché.

Of course, it’s understandable that you might be thinking “another page builder?” What does Brizy gain from a space that’s already seeing a steady influx of tools on a regular basis?

Well, according to the team behind Brizy, it turns out that it’s not just a standard page builder. They acknowledge that indeed there are tons of page builders out there, but claim that Brizy will change your entire perception of visual page editors.

Top on the list of things its creators boast is a new revolutionary approach, which simplifies the whole editing process by availing only the tools that matter. Through Brizy, they also attempted to do away with what they call restrictive design elements.  Instead, the tool now supports extensive customization to empower site owners to do exactly what they want.

Now that only scratches the surface. There are loads of other features its developers say you’ll not see in other page builders.

Sounds impressive, right? Well, to be fair, this could possibly be marketing fluff to set the ball rolling. But then again, get this. Over the past couple of weeks, Brizy has grown to well over 100,000 downloads with a corresponding active user base of more than 20,000.

To top it off, the company is right on the verge of launching a whole new version of the tool- Brizy Pro.

Now that’s not a bad run. Quite remarkable as a matter of fact.

But are its features worth the hype?

Let’s take a closer look…

Brizy Page Builder Reviews: Features Premium Themes

A bland outlook is one way to approach your page design, especially if you believe that graphics could be distracting.

But, let’s look at facts here. Going by research conducted by Adobe, 38% of your traffic will bounce off immediately your store’s website loads without appealing imagery or layout.

To help you entice your users, Brizy has outsourced theme designing to the real experts- Themefuse. This renowned group of professionals has designed a wide range of attractive and elegant premium themes, which are principally available on Brizy Pro.

And to avoid distracting users, the templates come with simple, clutter-free layouts. They are sleek, with minimalistic arrangements to help site visitors navigate around without any problems.

Clean Interface

While it might be exciting to see a wide range of editing tools when you’re working on a web page, let’s face it. Even for extremely complex pages with dynamic elements, you’ll only be able to use a limited number of tools at a time. Consequently making the rest redundant and bothersome.

Brizy addresses this problem by eliminating the crowd of editing tools we’ve seen with the bulk of other page builders.

However, make no mistake about it. The tools are not abolished completely.  Instead, Brizy avails only what you need for the specific task at hand, and hides the redundant options.

The result? Well, apart from a well-streamlined editing process, you get to enjoy a smart, clean interface.

Extensive Design Elements

Availing only the necessary editing options is quite commendable. But, admittedly, the subsequent clean editing interface could get you worried that Brizy might have very limited design elements.

Well, could that be the case with this WordPress plugin?

To comprehensively assess Brizy’s capabilities, I went beyond the standard options. I tried creating a web page with multiple elements, all dynamically linked within a single interface.

Thankfully, Brizy systematically provided a wide range of elements to design just the right page. In addition to maps, Brizy supports videos, icons, images, buttons, text, and many more.

Among its provisions is over 4,000 different icons, available in both Glyph and Outline versions. It also offers more than 150 pre-made page design blocks, which can be conveniently added to your web page to set its structure.

Recently, its creators further introduced entrance animations to the whole editing package.  You can now take advantage of more than 40 animation types to create an intuitive scrolling experience.

That said, here’s the kicker. While Brizy has covered all the fundamental design elements, it’s fairly limited when it comes to advanced elements. But the silver lining is the fact that the team behind it continues to improve the editing environment with additional web page design elements.

Global Customization

Embedding all those elements with their default parameters would ideally shorten the page building procedure. But, it would also result in a boring, unappealing web page. Different pages would possibly share more or less the same outlook.

Since every site is unique in its own way, Brizy found it critical to expand its editing options to facilitate extensive customization. That way, you can comfortably adopt your entire website to the specific business branding strategy.

But, how does this work exactly?

Brizy essentially allows you to adjust multiple aspects and parameters of the individual page elements. When you need to set positions within the page, for instance, you could capitalize on the intuitive drag and drop feature. It helps you conveniently move the elements to their desired position by simply choosing, clicking, dragging and dropping them anywhere within the page.

If the columns seem to be disproportionate, you could resize them by moving a mid-handle. You might especially find the corresponding percentage values displayed up top quite handy in ensuring accuracy.

And guess what? Customizing the columns doesn’t affect the content. Everything simply readjusts to adapt to the new dimensions.

And speaking of content, Brizy also comes with a smart text editor, which is optimized for changing text alignments, fonts, and colors. You can also extend the color scheme to the rest of the page layout with a single click to edit template properties.

And you know what? You’re free to be creative and experiment with multiple design options. You can always click to undo or redo any edit.

Mobile Optimization

A typical internet user today is pretty versatile. A report by Adobe revealed that 83% of customers worldwide, on average, surf on multiple screens using 2.23 devices at the same time.

Yes, you’re dead right. This includes smartphones and mobile tablets.

As a matter of fact, users love their mobile devices so much, that 74% of them say that they may never attempt to revisit a site if they found it to be poorly optimized for mobile surfing. I guess our addiction to surfing on-the-go might have everything to do with this widespread preference.

Now, one thing’s for sure. Such entitlement by internet users is not going anywhere. Quite simply adapt your site or go home.

Fortunately, Brizy provides a Mobile View mode with just the right tools to optimize your web page for mobile devices. Shifting to this window allows you to design all the elements for smaller screens.

Brizy Page Builder Reviews: Pricing

You’ll love this.

At the moment, all these features are available for free. You’re not going to pay even a dime to leverage them.

Developers are working now on an extended version (Brizy Pro) that will offer much more features aimed at web professionals and marketers.

What you are buying now is a pre sale for the Pro version, but the catch is that this is a one time payment only, lifetime deal. Once the Pro is out, the lifetime will be gone and you’ll pay yearly.

Brizy Pro

Brizy Pro is basically standard Brizy on steroids. According to the developing team, some of the additional features it will introduce include:

  • A/B Testing- You’ll be able to review and compare two distinct versions of the same web page with varying parameters.
  • Advance Forms-While the free version supports standard forms, Brizy Pro supports advanced forms with additional design options.
  • Role Manager-This allows you to set access and editing privileges for different parties you’ll be collaborating with.
  • Pop-up Builder- To boost your conversion rate, the pop-up builder facilitates the design and setup of call-to-action windows, pop-up banners, and more.
  • Third-Party Integration- Brizy Pro will support the following third-party services; Drip, SendGrid, AutoPilot, Mailer (Lite), HubSpot, Zapier, Unsplash, Salesforce, AWeber, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, TypeKit, plus more.

Who Should Consider Using Brizy Page Builder?

To recap, here are the crucial takeaways:

  • Top on the list of things Brizy’s creators boast is a new revolutionary approach, which simplifies the whole editing process by availing only the tools that matter.
  • Over the past couple of weeks, Brizy has grown to well over 100,000 downloads with a corresponding active user base of more than 20,000.
  • Developers are working on a parallel version, Brizy Pro, which will offer much more features at a price. If you’re interested, you could pay $247 for a lifetime package of Brizy Pro once it launches.

Going by the current provisions, Brizy is quite decent for personal projects and basic websites. It can also suffice for small businesses and startups, but only for non-sales web pages.

Heavier users with high business ambitions have no choice, but to hang on until Brizy Pro is ultimately launched. And from the few features that have been leaked, I have to say that we expect it to make a substantial impact in the WordPress page building space.

For now, paying for the lifetime package seems like a pretty safe bet. Especially considering the fact that Brizy’s developers have already proven what they are capable of over the long haul.

Otherwise, let’s wait and see how it pans out. And maybe, I might hit you with a comprehensive Brizy Pro review in the near future.

The post Brizy Review: Visual Page Building Reinforced appeared first on Inspired Magazine.

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Everyone working in development is bound at some time to discover they’ve been shelling out good money for hosting an old website that has been forgotten about.

Rather than letting this investment go to waste, you could actually revive the old site by updating it. What you do with it after that is entirely up to you. You could sell it on to a new owner, monetize the content with advertising, use the site to promote a new product or service, or simply keep it as a portfolio example of your work.

The longer the site has been sitting around, the more work you will need to do to getting working well. What follows are the basic things you’ll need to check and basic steps you can take to correct any problems you encounter.

1. Make sure you actually own the rights to the site

This is not always as simple as it seems. Sometimes you may have developed the site on behalf of somebody else, in which case they may be the legal owner of the site under most circumstances.

It gets complicated if:

  • the business that contracted the original site ceases to exist
  • the client never pays for the work
  • the site was developed in partnership, and the other partner withdrew from the partnership

If the site was one you developed entirely on your own and entirely for yourself, you can do as you please. In all other cases, you should check your ownership.

2. Scan for any trademarked or copyrighted content

This is similar to the above. You don’t want to have a problem from somebody else claiming you have infringed their copyright or trademark. Also you’ll want to know if somebody else has stolen your content and is using it on another site.

illustration by Kyle Anthony Miller

3. Check for broken or outdated links

The web is a dynamic place and sites come and go all the time, and site owners sometimes move content around without redirecting properly. Broken links can be frustrating and detract for the user experience, so we should always attempt to fix broken links when we find them on our sites.

These are the steps to take when you discover a broken link:

  • Try to discover the new home of the content the link was supposed to point to
  • Try to find an alternative content source that would be sufficient
  • Search the Wayback Machine to discover if there is an archived version of the content you can link to.
  • If all else fails, remove the link.

Obviously also you should make sure the link is still relevant to whatever purpose you originally included it for, which brings us neatly to our next tip.

4. Make sure content and links are contemporary

If your original content was all about getting ready for the 2014 Singapore Film Festival or an article extolling the virtues of XHTML as the perfect development language, or recommending Flash as the perfect online animation tool, you’ll want to update that content and the links that go with it.

The site for the 2014 Singapore Film Festival may still be online, so the link might not be broken, but it would normally be of more value to include a link to the upcoming or most recently completed Singapore Film Festival.

Likewise there may still be a few dinosaurs making sites in XHTML instead of HTML 5, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are extolling the virtues of technologies that most coders consider to be virtually obsolete, it runs the risk of you appearing to be obsolete.

Keeping your content contemporary and fresh is important, and an often overlooked requirement. It’s most noticeable if you’re talking about technologies, scientific theories, health issues, and so on.  New discoveries can make your site content stop being factual, and as a publisher you have a responsibility to not present wrong information.

5. Don’t forget about social media

There are two ways you can have problems about social media in relation to your websites. The first, and most common, is that your site doesn’t link to your social media (and your social media doesn’t link to your site). This is simple enough to correct.

The second problem you could face is that your site might point to the wrong social media. For example, you may have had a Facebook page back in 2012 and your site pointed to that, but since then you no longer have control of that Facebook page even though it still exists.

illustration by Csaba Gyulai

That’s a problem because the traffic flow isn’t working for you, it’s working for someone else or it’s working for Facebook. You should fix these kinds of problems.

You should also consider creating a new social media presence specifically for this site, as that can give you the most value from traffic flow.

6. Fix security and privacy flaws

There are things we used to do, like putting our plain-text email address on a page, that we really shouldn’t be doing now. You may also have published content in a more innocent age that today would be considered a serious privacy risk to yourself.

You should check for this kind of stuff and remove or censor it. There are definitely better ways of allowing users to contact you than publishing your email address in plain text, and that image of your car showing the license plate number really should be doctored to obscure the number and any other features in the image that might put you at risk.

There’s no need to be paranoid, but sensible precautions certainly won’t do any harm. Failing to take precautions, on the other hand, has been known to create problems for some people.

illustration by Hurca

Giving your old site a new lease of life can be a good thing

The decision about whether to delete a site or revive it depends on a lot of factors, and it’s not always best to keep that old site up and running.

On the other hand, if you’ve been paying to host it, it has some half way decent rank on Google, and gets a reasonable amount of incoming traffic, it would feel wasteful to squander the opportunity reviving that old website represents.

You can benefit from that positive traffic and relatively good Google rank, and possibly your old site can bring new traffic to other sites you want to generate interest in. It may be prudent to hesitate before hitting the delete button, and think about the potential value your old site still holds.

header image courtesy of Mansoor

The post Breathing New Life into an Old Website appeared first on Inspired Magazine.

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