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Updates

Celebrating Ten Years of Website Solutions

Many of my Facebook friends have taken the “Ten-Year Challenge” where they post a picture of themselves from ten years ago alongside a current picture. Well, I have a different kind of “Ten-Year Challenge” and it works to your organization’s advantage!

I have been developing website solutions for Ten Years now. Admittedly, the look of my own website hasn’t been updated (much) in those ten years. That will change soon as I update the theme and layout to be more modern and responsive.

So let me ask: When was the last time you updated your website? Have you ever updated your website? How well and how often is your website maintained?

My clients receive software updates to their WordPress websites as often as several times a day. This protects them against bugs and vulnerabilities. Updates need to be installed as often as possible because no one wants their website hacked to redirect their visitors to someone else’s website or to display nefarious content uploaded by someone else!

So here’s my “Ten-Year Challenge”. It’s very simple: For a limited time, take advantage of my company’s Ten Year Anniversary Celebration with a special 10% discount on my services.

What services do I offer? That’s a GREAT QUESTION!

I don’t sell websites. I offer affordable, custom website solutions for small organizations like churches, non-profits, and small businesses. I use the most popular Content Management System, WordPress, which powers almost one-third of the websites on the Internet.

This means that I don’t just create a WordPress website and hand it off to my clients, wishing them “good luck” as they go their merry way to try to figure out how to manage their website on their own. I want my clients to know that their website is actively monitored, backed up and protected from hackers. That makes for great peace-of-mind!

Your website is one of the first impressions your prospects have of your organization. Don’t gamble with your organization’s website!

Contact me for a free website evaluation! Let me take a look and make suggestions for updating and maintaining your WordPress website. And take advantage of this limited-time “Ten-Year Challenge” at a 10% discount!

All of Our Organizations’ Websites have been Updated

All of the organizations that we work with are running the latest version of WordPress (5.0). Everything seems to be working properly. You may not see much difference since the Classic Editor is still set as your Default Editor. However, you may notice a slight speed increase.

As I said last week, there are some good introductory videos on the new editor, Gutenberg. I highly encourage you to watch a few of them to familiarize yourself. I will hold off until January before making Gutenberg available for you to use (unless you want to jump in now, in that case just let me know).

Videos:

  • WordPress for Non-Techies released this video six weeks ago using a pre-release version of Gutenberg on WordPress 4.98:
  • This short video was released earlier today with WordPress 5.0: 

New WordPress Update December 6, 2018

Gutenberg

This is a much-anticipated major update and it includes several enhancements, most notably a new visual editor called Gutenberg. The release date has been very fluid with the date pushed out a little more and a little more as developers worked to fix the reported software bugs. For instance, the update was supposed to be released the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but because of the holiday, it was pushed out further. Many people were expecting Automattic (the company that develops WordPress) to push the release date into January.

However, I was very surprised to read yesterday that WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg will be released tomorrow, perhaps in a lead up to this week’s keynote address at WordCamp US by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

Because this is a major update and the perceived issues with client confusion regarding Gutenberg, many developers will postpone the update until the New Year. Others are allowing their clients’ websites to update tomorrow, but without the Gutenberg Editor enabled.

Rather than automatically rolling out all of my clients’ websites at once, I have backed up everything on your website and I will manually install the update on each website over the next few days, individually ensuring that the update runs smoothly.
For those of you who do not log into your website to update the content, all of this is just academic. But for those of you who do update your own content, Gutenberg will take some getting used to.

For this reason, I will install the WordPress update without initially enabling Gutenberg. Unless you advise me otherwise, I will plan to enable the new editor in January. But before that, I’ll email some links to some introductory videos so you’ll have an idea of what to expect.

Note: You do have the option to not install the Gutenberg Editor. I believe that Automattic is planning to continue to support the Classic Editor “for many years to come“. Please let me know if you do not want Gutenberg installed. However, I recommend that you try the new Editor at some point. After getting past the learning curve, I think you’ll find an easier editing experience.

I’m sorry to have taken so much of your time. I will keep you updated on the WordPress 5.0 rollout.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

In the meantime, here is a good preview of Gutenberg.


WordPress at 30%

Happy 30% WordPress

Several sources reported yesterday that WordPress runs on a whopping 30% of the top 10 Million most popular websites on the entire Internet.  Also, WordPress currently powers 60.2% of those websites that run a Contact Management System (CMS). One of the sources notes that my alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill has recently moved its website to WordPress!

This means several things:

  • WordPress has a very high brand recognition.
  • WordPress is powerful enough to run some of the most popular websites.
  • WordPress is secure enough to run some of the most popular websites.
  • WordPress continues to grow in popularity.

This is great news! It’s also chilling news. Why?

Just as we have seen with Microsoft Windows over the years, being the “800lb gorilla” means that a lot of hackers are going to take aim at discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities. And just because WordPress is powerful and secure enough to run some of the most popular websites doesn’t mean that all of those WordPress installations are as secure as they can by, including running the most recent version. And there’s the rub.

Plugins and Themes are the most vulnerable vector for malware attacks. The WordPress Core is securevery secure… at least the most recent version is. And that is true with every new version of WordPress. Automattic, the company that writes and maintains the WordPress Core pushes out minor updates of the Core files very quickly whenever a new vulnerability is discovered in the WordPress Core. So long as the website administrator has enabled automatic updating, the website will be secured when the update rolls out. That was until the February 5, 2018 release of WordPress 4.93. The day after 4.93 was released, 4.94 was released that fixed a “serious bug” in 4.93 that disabled automatic updates.

But if your WordPress website administrator hasn’t run the 4.94 update, your website will never be automatically updated! Never.

Unfortunately, many people who have written Plugins and Themes are not as diligent with their updates as Automoattic is; some developers have completely abandoned their Plugins or Themes, either because they aren’t around anymore, they aren’t writing code anymore, or they don’t care anymore. If there is any exploitable code in the Plugin or Theme, all a hacker needs to do is find the website and load it with malware.

“But why would anyone want to hack my website?” I can tell you that many of my websites — even those that have very few visitors every month — are probed for vulnerabilities more often than they receive legitimate visitors! I have witnessed this nafarious probing increase a great deal in the past few weeks on all of the websites that I maintain.

Unless you have a static HTML “business card” webite that very rarely has changes, you need to step up to the WordPress platform! WordPress allows you to make your own content changes, letting you keep more of you money since you don’t have to call a “web guy” and pay him/her anytime you need to make content updates. Please contact me! Let me save you some serious money!

If your website is already running on WordPress and you don’t know if you’re running the most recent version of the WordPress Core, Plugins, or Themes, please contact me! Your WordPress website may already be infected with Malware!

Let me take a FREE quick look “under the hood”. If I find something, it may need a quick fix, and for a small fee ($30) for the small fix, you’ll be on your way (and I’ll even install some security measures to protect your website in the future!). If it’s more involved and needs a larger fix, we’ll need to talk for a few minutes about how much (or little!) I’ll need for the larger fix. I also offer WordPress Maintenance packages that keeps things updated for an entire year. Contact me if you’re interested!

WordPress is now powering 30% of the web. How high will it go?

 

Uh Oh!

WordPress 4.9.3 was released on February 5 and included several bugfixes. The next day, WordPress 4.9.4 was released to fix a "severe bug" in the previous day's bugfix. If your WordPress website was automatically updated to version 4.9.3, you must manually update your website to version 4.9.4, otherwise your website will never automatically update again. If you don't know how to do that, it's time to call your webhost or developer! And you may have to part with some of your hard-earned money!

However… if your website was developed and maintained by All-In Web Services, your website was updated within a few hours after these WordPress maintenance releases rolled out. We've got you covered! And we will continue to keep your website running the latest, most secure version of WordPress.

Wordfence has more information here.

New Computer Vulnerabilities Affect Almost All Computers

News was released in the past couple of days about two computer vulnerabilities that affects just about all computers (including tablets and smartphones) made in the past twenty years. Yes, you read that correctly!

One security website says, “Both of these vulnerabilities are hardware level vulnerabilities that exist because of a flaw in CPU architecture. They are very serious vulnerabilities because they are operating system and software independent. The long term fix for both of these issues will require that CPU makers change the way their chips work, which means redesigning and releasing new chips.” (see the link at the end of this post for more information about the Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities.

Malicious hackers could use the vulnerability to access private information inside your computer. The vulnerability can be exploited if you simply visit an infected website that downloads a malicious file to your computer.

CPU chip manufacturers (Intel, ARM, etc) are working diligently to close this major security flaw. AMD, an Intel competitor claims their CPUs are not affected.

So what should you do?

Most of these recommendations are good “best practices” you should already be doing.

  • First of all, make sure that your computer Operating System (Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, etc.) is up-to-date. You may have to manually install an update because some antivirus software may not allow the automatic update to download and install.
  • Make sure that your antivirus and security software is up-to-date.
  • Make sure that your internet browser software (Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.
  • Discontinue Internet Explorer if you are still using it for accessing the Internet. Instead, use one of these other browsers because Microsoft has discontinued support for IE.
  • Make sure that you have good backups of important files (documents, financial information, passwords, pictures, etc.).
  • Update any hardware firmware updates that your computer manufacturer releases.
  • Be extra vigilent and cautious about clicking links in your email. Before clicking on a link in an email, even if it appears to come from a friend or financial institution, hover your mouse over the sender’s email address and make sure that the link is the same as the actual sender’s email address. Also, hover over the link and look at the bottom of your screen on the status bar to see where the link is pointing. Or just pick up the phone and verify that it is a valid link.

Again, these are very serious vulnerabilities and affect almost all computers made in the past twenty years. Don’t panic, but be careful.

For more information:

https://www.defiant.com/meltdown-spectre-impact
https://www.cnet.com/news/spectre-meltdown-intel-arm-amd-processor-cpu-chip-flaw-vulnerability-faq/
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-protect-your-pc-against-the-intel-chip-flaw/

Another Update

A new version of WordPress Core is available (4.4).

If you have not already updated, please do so as soon as possible. Many WordPress hosting companies do not automatically update your WordPress Core, Plugin and Theme files. In addition, many hosts do not backup their clients’ files and databases. Before updating your WordPress website, remember to backup your database. While you’re at it, don’t forget to configure your WordPress installation to maintain periodic backups.

All of our clients have already been backed up and updates for WordPress Core, Plugins and Themes have been installed. You’re welcome!