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Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Wonders of WordPress that I Never Realised


For a very long time I thought WordPress was just a blogging platform because we used it once on a site we had running and that was all it was at the time. However, when Soph and I rebuilt our website (WittegenPress.com) we found out just how wrong we were.

WordPress is not simply a blogging platform, it's a whole content management system with wonderful plugins and everything you could possibly need to build a site quickly, easily and in just the way you want. We were using Joomla before and compared to that WordPress is a dream.

If you would like to know the details of how we rebuilt WittegenPress.com then we created a post on that site about exactly how we did it: How We Built This Site (wittegenpress.com) With WordPress.

However, I'd like to talk about some of the advantages I've found with at least one of the plugins, other than the obvious that they let us do what we wanted to do.

We used iThemes Security, which is a plugin which greatly enhances the security of your site. I would recommend it to everyone using WordPress. However, one of the features I had no idea it had when I first installed it, that I have found very useful is the 404 lockout option, and not just because it prevents people from randomly trying to find ways into our site.

What the 404 option does is lock out users who bring up too many 404 errors too quickly in succession, which might be an indication of them trying to find a security weakness to your site. It has many customisation options so you can make sure it doesn't happen when it shouldn't, for example you can make certain files like images, ignored by this functionality. However, what it also does is log all those 404s. This is incredibly useful because we migrated our site from one platform to another and have used .htaccess to reroute requests for pages that no longer exist.

I thought I had been very thorough in making sure I had all the redirects we needed, but the 404 log showed me just how wrong I was. There were whole sections I simply hadn't though about because they weren't URLs I ever used. Over the last few days I have been watching the 404 logs and then adding required URLs to the .htaccess file so that all URLs which are still current go to the right places.

It also showed me that part of the SEO plugin we were using wasn't working and allowed me to fix it.

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