Because Titus Says So

I am gonna sit here an write this because Titus told me to I don’t know why. I don’t know why I’m writing or what to write about.

I don’t believe in blogs anymore. There are too many blogs. Blogs are dead. Blogs are news magazines. Blogs are old news. Some blogs are fake news. I can remember when there were no blogs. People used to sit and write in their journals and keep shit to themselves. Now we have to tell everyone and it’s become increasingly difficult to find anything worth reading. I’ve returned to books. 

I don’t have anything to say. At least nothing that someone else probably hasn’t said already on one of the 350 million Tumbler blogs alone on the internet. More WordPress blogs. Blogspot. Blogger. Blot. Squarespace. Millions. Millions of words and people who want to be heard. Are they getting what they want? What they need? Do they know?

I’ve felt compelled lately to start writing and posting to my blog again. My glob. My glob of words and nonsense. I don’t know why. Few people will read it. I’m not interested in stats. I’m not interested in page views. I’m not really interested in validation through comments. Or confirmation. Or trivial argument. Or “yeah, I feel you dude’s”. This is not an affront to my past commenters, it’s just that social media picked up that comment thread – literally – and wore it the fuck out. For all intents and purposes comment threads are the dumpster of the internet. I’m convinced it’s the worst possible way to engage with anyone on a serious level. You want discourse, email me – and let’s get it on – old school style. Make sure you bring some well thought out and fully composed sentences and paragraphs. Check your damn spelling and punctuation. REREAD what you’ve written for clarity and content. Make sure it MAKES SENSE. If I wanted sentence fragments spouted from your thumbs while you’re in the process of taking a dump I’d have stayed on Twitter. 

I’m not interested in my old posts. No one is really. No one goes back and reads old blog posts. I don’t anyway. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. When was the last time you did? We don’t have the time. We are about now. About economy. About disposability. We’ve got notifications to attend to. We read words and if they don’t instantly capture us, we dump them and move on. We don’t even read whole blog posts anymore unless they are confirming what we already believe, filling a need, creating a warm fuzzy feeling or in some other way validating us. If you don’t have your reader by the short and curlys in the first sentence. You’ve lost them. They’re gone. They just went and bought something online. They’ve forgotten about you. I think I will start making posts just a sentence long. And overwriting the previous one. It’s there, then it’s gone. You either get it or you don’t. It’s an instant. 

Maybe Titus is right. I just start writing with no idea at all and came up with an idea. Just because I felt like I needed to write. I had some ideas whirling in my head earlier today thatI thought were going to compose a post and none of them made the cut. I don’t know where they are now. Really, when you think about it, that’s about all there is really, to life maybe. One sentence at a time. Call it an experiment. Call it lazy. Call it an idea that someone else on the internet has probably already come up with – but I’m too lazy to look for it. 

Secure your WordPress websites, kids.

I’ve spent the last two weeks putting out fires and restoring/rebuilding WordPress websites for clients due to a recent rash of new WordPress hacks and attacks. Securing and maintaining client WP sites has suddenly jumped to the top of my To-Do list.

WordPress is arguably one of the most popular online blogging and content management platforms and continues to grow. As of February 2015, it is powering more than 60 Million online websites and 23.3% of the top 10 Million blogs are powered by WordPress including sites run by Tech Crunch, Variety, ESPN, The New Yorker, Time and Reuters. While this is great news for most of us, it does mean that hackers now specifically target WordPress and are honing their skills and tools for hacking WordPress sites more and more each day. It is now more important than ever to keep your WordPress site up-to-date to keep it secure, as well as create backups in the instance that something undesirable does happen.

Many of our clients already have hosting when they come to us, but for those that don’t I’ve been referring them to IBS Ltd. for hosting. I’ve developed a good relationship with Gary Nightingale there and he stays on top of security issues pertaining to WordPress and is very proactive with regards to securing WordPress installs and hack prevention. He has taught me a few things as well. An added bonus is that he’s local to me and most of my clients and it’s nice to keep the business in the community.

I’ve only been developing WordPress sites for a few years now and I’m even less familiar with the security side of things, but here’s a few things I’ve learned and/or am doing now to try to stay one step ahead of the game.

  • Core and plugins have to be kept up to date. They don’t issue these updates and security fixes for no reason folks. These developers know a lot better than me what needs fixing and whats vulnerable and if they say I need to update, I update.
  • Back, the hell, up. Make sure your hosting provider is running regular backups and is willing to or has an apparatus whereby you can restore your site easily from a backup. If they want to charge you for this service (some do, some offer it free), pay for it. It’s worth it. If they don’t – take advantage of one of the dedicated WordPress backup plugins out there to do it for you. I’ve taken to using Backup Buddy. It’s easy to set up, and offers live, continuous backups to either your existing server, your local machine or services such as Google Drive, DropBox, etc.
  • Take out the trash. Delete anything you’re not using on your server. Plugins, Themes, data, images, whatever. If you don’t need it, nuke it. Anything extemporaneous is a possible doorway in for someone looking to do no-good. Plugins and themes especially. You can always install/download it again if you think you might want to re-use it.
  • Password is not a password. Shouldn’t need to be said, but for real’s, use a decent password yo. C’mon. There’s a ton of sites on the web that will even generate ’em for ya.
  • Get some help. Take advantage of some reputable plugins to help you secure your site against hackers. There are all kinds out there. The three main ones I’m using are WordFence, Stealth-Login and Limit Login Attempts. They’re all great for their various uses. I discovered WordFence through online research and in addition to providing a great suite of tools for site protection and monitoring (even with only the free version), they have a great blog that is constantly on top of new threats and issues facing WP users. Stealth-Login and Limit Login Attempts are two plugins that were suggested to me by Gary as must-haves and go into every one of my WP installs now. In addition, if you have a WordPress.com account, the Jetpack plugin offers some nice tools for site protection and monitoring as well.
  • Pay attention. You can’t expect to become a security expert, but you can stay informed. Pay attention to WordPress security trends online and take a few minutes once in a while to read up on current issues and best practices. Be informed. Do what you can. Don’t assume that your hosting provider is going to take care of it for you. That said, it doesn’t hurt to develop a good relationship with your provider either so that when you have questions or issues, you know you can count on them to be responsive.

I’m no security expert, but I’m learning. And one thing I’ve learned is that the playing field is ever-evolving so you have to be alert, stay focused and adapt with the changes and challenges. What I’m doing is working for me so far (knock wood), but if you’ve got thoughts, suggestions, or tools you’re using you dig, feel free to leave ’em in the comments. Always good to hear new ideas.