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Welcome again to our regular Friday Lunchtime Live Q&A! Geoff joined Gary on the couch again today to answer all of your WordPress questions. Don’t forget, we’re live on Facebook every Friday lunchtime, so send in your questions and we’ll see you next Friday!

Today the team talk about:

  1. How to backup your WordPress website,
  2. Securing WordPress so it can’t be hacked, and
  3. Our favourite contact form plugin!

As always, if you have any WordPress questions that you’d like us to cover, get in touch and we’ll answer them on our next Lunchtime Live Q&A session.

Gary Weis: [00:00:00] Good afternoon folks! Gary here, and today again, I’ve got the magnificent Geoff Franklin with me. Yeah that save Geoff campaign…

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:11] Really worked, thanks guys. Thank you.

Gary Weis: [00:00:13] Thanks to Geoff’s mum. Saved him, saved him. Nah all those that voted in and said “Save Geoff!” thank you very much. Yeah, we’s on the couch this week and we’ve got Andrew behind the camera. So thanks to all those that saved Geoff. You’ve got a fan base out there. Fantastic. Okay. Just a couple of things. If you will looking for any sort of help at all on your WordPress website, please just visit wpbutler.com.au and if you’re in urgent need of help, there’s a big fat “Buy Ticket” button at the top of the website.

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:49] Can’t miss it.

Gary Weis: [00:00:50] You can’t miss it. Big yellow, big fat “Buy Ticket” button. And there’s also, if you need to chat to us and talk about your problem, you can also feel in the form that’s on the website or there’s a phone number, and there’s also live chat at the bottom of the page. So there’s no reason for not getting in touch. So wpbutler.com.au. Alright, jumping straight into it.

Geoff Franklin: [00:01:14] What have we got?

Gary Weis: [00:01:14] What have we got today? Ok.

Geoff Franklin: [00:01:18] You got questions, we got some answers for you.

Gary Weis: [00:01:19] George. George in Sydney asks “I’ve got a blog I need to backup… or start backing up. How can I backup my website. Geoff how can he backup his website?

Geoff Franklin: [00:01:30] Well as you’re probably guessing. Is there a plug in for that? Well there is. and the plugin we love to use is called UpdraftPlus. And right out of the box it has a lot of features that just do the trick. And – without going to the whole shebang about how to set it up – once you’ve got UpdraftPlus, assuming you know how to install a plugin, you know you log into your website, and the plugins section and add a new plugin and search for UpdraftPlus and add in there. Out of the box, once you activate it, it actually has a quite a nice walkthrough tour. So “Click here to get started” and that kind of thing. So it’s quite self-explanatory, really great. And the thing to really take note of, out of the box what it will do is it will run backups onto your server. Perhaps not a great idea because if something does happen to you hosting, the whole point of the backup is to have that backup in a safe place. So what I recommend you do is set up a third party solution to send your backups off to. And right there in the settings, you’ll see a bunch of different options. Like you may be aware of Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 buckets which is what we like to use. It’s really quick, it’s a really really cost effective way to manage your backups offsite. Like I said, it’s quite quite self-explanatory, the instructions in there. And we, as as part of our SiteCare plans that we have, we offer a backups, security and maintenance, and that kind of thing.

Gary Weis: [00:03:15] Perfect. Just a word of advice there too. It’s one thing to have a backup, it’s another thing to actually be able to restore the backup and also understand the integrity of that backup. Because just because you’ve got one, doesn’t mean that the actual backup itself is going to do its job when you need to do the backup. So what we recommend doing is always testing a backup periodically just to make sure. That may be loading it just on a dev server or some staging site just to make sure that everything’s okay with your backups too because, don’t assume that your backup is going to be okay. And again, as Geoff said, we’ve got SiteCare plans so head on over wpbutler.com.au/sitecare and check out the packages there. There’s going to be something there for everybody. And we might actually do a Q&A on that one Friday and run through the different options that you’ve got. But thank you for that Geoff. All right. Hope that helped George? Trish from Hobart says “My website got hacked recently and I had to restore an old backup…” Jeez there’s a lot of hacking and backing up!

Geoff Franklin: [00:04:19] At least she had a backup right?

Gary Weis: [00:04:19] “…and I had to restore an old backup from months ago. How do I protect my site moving forward now?”

Geoff Franklin: [00:04:26] Okay. So we’ve had a few situations like this where we’ve had people come to us, same boat. So you’re not alone Trish. So what we typically do in this situation is we have this great security plugin and it’s free, and there’s a premium option, but the free one’s a great place to start. So it’s called Wordfence. So typically what we do is, once we’ve gotten the access we need to your hosting, we set up Wordfence, run a scan across all the files that make up your WordPress site, and it spits out a report and it tells you the affected files, what can be fixed, what can’t be and just basically some actions to take to address the situation with your site. So that does the cleaning up and Wordfence also is a great firewall plugin, essentially and it’s got a bunch of other great little features that block spam and a few other things. Again, I can go on about it, but basically Wordfence is the plugin we love to use here and it’s part of, again I guess, our SiteCare plans that we have. We use with Wordfence as one of the core security plugins and there’s a bunch of other features we set up as part of that care plan as well to stop hackers from getting into the site and making sure it’s all safe and sound.

Gary Weis: [00:05:55] So again, if you want to check out and learn a little bit more about what’s involved in not only backups, but SiteCare also includes security, maintenance and performance. So go and check at wpbutler.com.au/sitecare. All right. Next one, Bruce in Melbourne says or asks “What’s your favourite contact form plugin and why?”.

Geoff Franklin: [00:06:21] Huh. That’s a great question. So I’ve used lots and lots of contact form plugins and there’s lots of great ones out there but the one we really love here is called GravityForms. It’s the most popular contact form, inquiry form, plugin on the market. Really affordable and really powerful. What I’ve found over the years, a lot of the other plugins that I’ve used, there’s been other plugins that I’ve had to use to get to work inline with that particular contact form plugin to get the same bits and pieces that GravityForms has straight out of the box. An example of that is conditional logic. What that means is, just say someone’s filling out your form and you have say there’s three or four different… let’s just say three different people you want that enquiry form to go to, depending on specific bits of data that are entered into the form. So you’re all able to essentially route the enquiry to different people, depending on what option is selected in the form. So that’s just one of the functions that GravityForms has. It has built-in spam protection and you’re able to also integrate like Google reCAPTCHA which is again another spambot protection. There’s just so many features to it and we’ve really only scraped the surface of what GravityForms can do. It just does so much, like I said it’s super powerful. We love it. I’ve even used it, in an instance, for like an online calculator so it can do a bunch of formulas and really tested me on my mathematics, that kind of thing, but it’s it’s so good. It’s really great. Yeah.

Gary Weis: [00:08:12] Yeah that conditional logic featuring there is an absolute killer. It can do an amazing amount of things, that GravityForms. So again, if you want to have a look at GravityForms or if you want us to have a look at your contact forms in general, head on over again to wpbutler.com.au and just submit a ticket or fill in the form or jump on chat and we’ll help you out. One of the big things we are saying with contact forms – and doesn’t matter what you’re using – is that it has to have that CAPTCHA code on it. That’s going to stop at an enormous amount of spam coming through your website because it stops the automated bots submitting junk, spammy email. And we’ve seen some enormous cases of spam coming through forms. So once the bots gets a hold of you, you’re in trouble. So let’s not make that happen from day one and let’s put a CAPTCHA code on it. That’s all we’ve got today in terms of questions. So Geoff, what have you sort of seen this week in terms of news all about WordPress? What’s grabbed your attention today? Or this week, I should say?

Geoff Franklin: [00:09:27] Well I guess to just to add to Wordfence, they’ve officially released Wordfence Central. So in a nutshell, what that is is it allows you to basically set up a login to one place in a Wordfence I guess dashboard essentially and you’re able to monitor the security and performance and all of that good stuff of multiple sites, all in one place. That’s a really great way to monitor your sites and what’s going on and look at reports. So they’ve officially released this week. I haven’t had a look at it yet but it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool just to know that that kind of thing, you know that kind of technology is being released in the WordPress space. It’s just exciting.

Gary Weis: [00:10:10] Yeah. And something we were talking about today amongst all the WP Butler stuff was the repository, the new Block’s repository for good ol’ Gutenberg. If you haven’t had a look a Gutenberg, go and check it out. Or if you’re having trouble with Gutenberg, give us a call. Give us a call and we’ll help you out. But what we thought we might do is, we’re actually stockpiling a whole pile of Gutenberg questions so we thought we might do a Gutenberg special here on Facebook Live. So stay tuned for that one. But until next week. Yes.

Geoff Franklin: [00:10:50] Say hi to your mum for us.

Gary Weis: [00:10:51] Be good. And if you got any questions, reach out – wpbutler.com.au. See you. See you guys. See you next week.

Andrew Marks

Author Andrew Marks

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