09 Jan 2019
26 Feb 2018

Configure WordPress to use your SSL Certificate

It is recommended that every website uses an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts data transmitted between the users computer and the website that has the certificate installed. Google will penalise you in search results for not having an SSL certificate, and popular browsers are now presenting users with increasingly stark security warnings when visiting a website that doesn’t use SSL.

Do I already have an SSL certificate?

Have a look in your browser address bar. If the web address begins with https:// rather than http://, you already have a certificare installed. You may additionally see a message from the browser showing the site is secure:

 

 

How do I get an SSL Certificate?

Speak to your webhost who will provide and install the SSL certificate for you. The price will vary, depending on the host and the certificate but for an average site expect to pay between £0 – £100 per annum.

Configure WordPress to use your SSL certificate

Once your webhost has confirmed that the SSL certificate has been instaled, you will need to configure your WordPress website to do this:

1. Update the Site URL and Home URL

Navigate to General > Settings and change your website web address from http:// to https://

This will automatically configure WordPress to use the SSL certificate.

2. Update internal site references

If you use images on pages or posts (rather than featured images), you will need to update the links within the image tags to use https:// too. Doing this manually can be a laborious process so we recommend the Better Search Replace WordPress plugin for this.

  • Backup your database! If you make a mistake, you WILL break your website and recovery may be difficult without a backup.
  • Install better Sarch Replace from the WordPress Repository
  • Navigate to Tootles > Better Seach Replace
  • Search for your existing web address and replace with the new https:// version. We recommend you search in the tables wp_options, wp_posts and wp_postmeta.
  • Turn off the ‘Dry Run’ option
  • Run Search / Replace

In most cases, your website will now show the secure padlock next to your web address. If it is still missing, you may need to search in additional tables. Contact us if you need help with this, and we will configure your webite to use SSL for a small fee.

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16 Nov 2017
15 Nov 2017
02 Aug 2017

Change the URL of your WordPress Website

Sometimes you may need to change the URL of your WordPress website. If you attended one of our WordPress training courses for example and used a temporary URL.

This process is quite straightforward but you can break your site so proceed with caution and Backup your WordPress website first!

Your domain needs to be up and running and pointing to your existing website.

Step 1 – Backup your database!

There’s a separate guide on how to do this here

Step 2 – Install Better Search Replace Plugin

You can do this from your Plugins menu. The plugin is also available in the WordPress repository here.

Step 3 – Tell WordPress about the new URL

You can do this under Settings > General. You will need to set the Home URL and the Site URL which will usually be the same thing.

This will automatically update any internal links within menus, locations of featured images etc, but you will still need to replace the url where it is used within inline images or other content areas

Step 4 – Search and Replace your database

This bit is destructive – proceed with caution!

  • Open the Search and Replace plugin page from the Tools menu
  • Search for your old URL and replace with your new URL
  • Select the tables to search. Start with wp_options, wp_posts and wp_postmeta
  • You may wish to test with a dry run initially, if so leave the Dry run box ticked

If you need assistance changing the URL of your WordPress website, you can submit a WordPress support request here

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31 Jul 2017

Setup Subdomains in eXtend Control Panel

If you are using our standard eXtend hosting packages, you can easily setup a subdomain on your webhosting using the eXtend Control Panel. This will allow you to set up different website or webapps on teh same hosting account

For example:

  • www.wtddemo.co.uk – Your main website and accessible using the www.
  • intranet.wtddemo.co.uk – A custom web application accessible with a different subdomain.

Step 1 – Sign into your Watch the Dot Hosting Account

For instruction on how to do that, see this guide

Step 2 – Navigate to Web Tools

You can expand or collapse sections within your control panel using the +/- signs at the top of each section

Step 3 – Configure your subdomain

  1. Type in your subdomain
  2. Enter the directory where you want the additional website to reside. This will be beneath the public_html directory

You can sample our eXtend based web hosting on our hosting demo site at www.wtddemo.co.uk

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30 Jul 2017

Switch PHP version in eXtend Control Panel

If you are using our standard eXtend hosting packages, you can easily password protect a directory using the eXtend Control Panel to protect an area of your website from unauthorised access

Step 1 – Sign into your Watch the Dot Hosting Account

For instruction on how to do that, see this guide

Step 2 – Navigate to Web Tools

You can expand or collapse sections withinb your control panel using the +/- signs at the top of each section

Step 3 – Select your preferred PHP version

We recommend version 7, but if your website is incompatible with PHP 7 (older WordPress themes for example occasionally utilise functions that were removed in PHP version 7), you can step back to an earlier version. WordPress 5.2 (due in April 2019 requires a minimum of php 5.6)

Step 4 – Check .htaccess

Some installations of WordPress additionally force the use of older version of PHP in the file .htaccess. To check this, select File manager in your control panel and navigate to the public_html directory. Locate the file .htaccess, right click to edit and change:

SetEnv DEFAULT_PHP_VERSION 53 

to

#SetEnv DEFAULT_PHP_VERSION 53 

You can sample our eXtend based web hosting on our hosting demo site at www.wtddemo.co.uk

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26 Jul 2017

Password Protect a Directory on your website

If you are using our standard eXtend hosting packages, you can easily password protect a directory using the eXtend Control Panel to protect an area of your website from unauthorised access

Step 1 – Sign into your Watch the Dot Hosting Account

For instruction on how to do that, see this guide

Step 2 – Navigate to Web Tools

You can expand or collapse sections withinb your control panel using the +/- signs at the top of each section

Step 3 – Configure Password Protection

  • Select the Password protection icon
  • Enter the directory name
  • Enter a new username
  • Enter a new password
  • Select Add protection

You can sample our eXtend based web hosting on our hosting demo site at www.wtddemo.co.uk

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21 Jul 2017

Adding a new user in WordPress

Adding a new user in WordPress is very simple. You will need to be able to login to your WordPress dashboard and you will need to have create_user permissions. These are usually reserved for users with the Administrator role.

Step 1 – Login

Login to Your WordPress Dashboard.

Step 2 – Select the User Menu

Select ‘Users’ from the left hand menu, followed by Add New. There are a number of places where you can select Add New, two of them are shown in the screen shot below

Step 3 – Fill in user details

As a minimum you need to provide a username and an email address.

You may optionally add first name, last name and website. WordPress will choose a strong password automatically, but you can change this by clicking on the Show Password button.

Tick the box to send a notification to the user.

Finally, select the user’s role. If you are adding someone to assist with your website management (eg a member of Watch the Dot support) you should select Administrator. If you are adding someone to assist with content posting, then Editor would probably be sufficient.

Step 4 – Click Add User

Once you have filled in all the information, you can select Add New User button.

You will be returned to the All Users page and you should see a notification that the user has been added. The new user should shortly receive an email advising of their new password.

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16 Jul 2017

Manually Backup your WordPress Website

There’s lots of WordPress backup plugins available that will help you back up your WordPress installation, either on a one-off basis or to a set schedule, but sometimes I feel most secure knowing I’ve made a manual backup which I can archive off somewhere.

In this post, I’ll show you the process I use to backup my WordPress installations on our standard web hosting using the eXtend Control. The steps may vary from host to host but the concepts and steps are essentially the same.

With WordPress, any changes you make to the website files outside of a blank WordPress install will be made within the wp-content directory. As it’s always possible to download a fresh install of WordPress from wordpress.org, I generally only backup the wp-content directory. All of your content such as pages, posts, comments and products are stored in the WordPress database.

The general principle then is

  1. Backup wp-content directory
  2. Backup WordPress database

Step 1 – Login to your webhost control panel and navigate to your files

If using Watch the Dot hosting, details on how to login to your hosting account can be found here

Step 2 – Navigate into the public_html directory and compress wp-content

You can compress a directory by right clicking and selecting pack. Select the .zip file type.

Step 3 – Download your wp-content.zip file and archive

After a few moments you should have a file called wp-content.zip within your file structure. You can click on this to download and save offline<

Step 4 – Navigate to your database

Within your Watch the Dot control panel, navigate to “Web Tools” > “MySQL Databases” > “Manage”

Step 5 – Select your WordPress database

You should now be within the phpMyAdmin tool for managing your MySQL WordPress database. You will need to select your WordPress database. If you only have one WordPress install, this is likely to be the one that isn’t called INFORMATION SCHEMA. (note: If you have more than one install or a number of databases, you will need to look inside your wp-config.php file within the public_html directory to determine which database your WordPress install uses).

Step 6 – Export your database

Once you have selected your database, select the tab marked ‘Export’ along the top row. This will open the Export screen. You can select the defaults and hit Go. This will automatically download a file to your local PC.

You should now have two files – your wp-content.zip back up file and you database backup. You can now archive these away somewhere safe. Note that any changes made to your website after this backup has been made will not be saved in this backup!

If you need assistance backing up your WordPress install, you can submit a WordPress support request here

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