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How to increase the security of your WordPress site?

If you care about your website, you need to make WordPress security important. Because WordPress is by far the most widely used platform for building a website, currently accounting for over 30% of the web. For this reason it becomes even more vulnerable to security attacks. Even in this case, the core WordPress software is designed to cope with such attacks.

One of the main features that make WordPress the most popular CMS is its multitude of features, themes and plugins. But even though these features are great for customizing your online commerce platform, they are also extensions that make it vulnerable to hackers.

Every day, more than 40,000 websites are targeted. This should give you pause for thought, as internet users avoid shopping online on unsecured sites that do not offer information protection.

Whether sites are powered by WordPress or another content management system, the hosting provider that keeps your company’s servers secure will make the difference.

Constant update, malware scanning, back-up and restore, DDoS protection are just some of the benefits you will enjoy, so essential for the security of your website data.

You may be wondering how you can have a more secure WordPress site?

Themes and plugins that are purchased or downloaded for free from third party developers can present security risks that can affect an entire website. Developers or designers must ensure that this does not happen. To avoid this, it is necessary to keep extensions up-to-date and only install extensions from reputable sources. Keep up to date with updates, themes and plugins in use. Even though installed plugins bring useful features to your WordPress site, they can also bring unwanted risks if poorly coded.

Compromised login credentials are the most common problem. If you have a strong password, you can be sure that a malicious actor does not gain access to the site. You can also set a limit on the number of login attempts and when this number is exceeded you will receive a notification giving the user’s IP address. WordPress offers a plugin to limit login attempts. It would also be advisable to restrict access to the site and other users’ attributes if you have multiple user accounts and to enable two-factor authentication.

Activating a firewall for your website will create a force field around your website. This way you will keep your website safe even when you forget to keep up to date with updates or when you encounter a DDoS attack on your website.

There is no exact answer to the WordPress security question, it all depends on how much you are willing to invest in security. As users of the platform you own a significant part of the security concerns of your website and you need to make wise choices when managing your website.

Nowadays, nothing is 100% secure on the internet and no website is 100% secure, even the most secure website from the most influential company can at some point become the victim of a malicious attack. The correct way to avoid such situations is to be cautious and proactive and take the necessary measures that concern you personally, and leave the rest to the experts.

How to fix syntax errors in WordPress?

I assume you found this article because of the WordPress error message that is on your website, take a deep breath and put on your developer hat (coffee is optional).

Yes, there is a problem, but it is possible to fix it. Your website didn’t disappear into thin air. It’s still there, behind that error message. The problem may be something as simple as a missing semicolon in a PHP file. WordPress syntax errors aren’t common, but they do occur and are relatively easy to fix.

In this article, we’ll explain what a syntax error is, along with some common causes. Then, we’ll walk you through the steps to locate and fix the error. Let’s get started!

What is a syntax error?

A syntax error occurs when a command is not written correctly. This may include the presence of a grammatical error, a misspelled word or a missing symbol or incorrect punctuation in your website code. In WordPress, this is usually a PHP error.

Why WordPress syntax bug fixes matter?

A syntax error indicates that something is not correct in your website code. This problem can make your site inaccessible, leaving you with an unpopulated page or an error message.

If your website is down or inaccessible, it will obviously affect the user experience (UX). As well as affecting your traffic and conversion rates, if you have a blank page where your website should be, you can know that it will affect your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

WordPress syntax error messages can be worrying, especially if you’re not familiar with website code. Fortunately, as you’ll see, most syntax errors have a simple fix.

Common causes of syntax errors in WordPress

A syntax error may occur when you pasted the code incorrectly. Maybe you missed a part when you copied the code or maybe there is an extra closing tag at the end of the script.

This is an open PHP tag <?php, and this is a closing tag ?>.

When you copy and paste a piece of PHP code, it often includes the open tag, causing a syntax error. Since you are probably pasting the snippet into existing code, it is not necessary to include the open tag. You may also get a syntax error when editing your theme in WordPress Customizer. If this happens, you will generally know what the problem is or at least where the file is located. If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You can locate the error by making a few changes to the wp-config.php file.

Another reason you might see this message is because of an update or plugin installation. The extension may not be compatible with your WordPress version or there may be other issues at play. If you are updating or installing a plugin when the error occurred, this is most likely the source of the problem.

How to fix a syntax error in WordPress via FTP

When a syntax error occurs, you can fix it by either removing or correcting the code containing the error. Either way, you will need access to the file where the problem occurs. If you are not logged into the WordPress admin panel, you can access this using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client.

FileZilla is a good option. Note that you will always want to connect using the more secure Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) than FTP. This will ensure that the data transferred is encrypted.

You will need some information to connect to your website via SFTP:

Server / Host Name

Username

Password

Port

You can find this information by logging into your web hosting account.

From the account management area, search for FTP users (or FTP accounts, depending on your web host) and select Manage Users to view the host settings, username and port. Then open the FTP client and enter your login details. Once connected, in the directory of your WordPress site, you will see the wp-admin, wp-content and wp-include folders and a list of other files. A good practice is to keep a backup of the files you are about to edit, better safe than sorry!
If your screen looks similar to the example above, you’re in the right place! Now it’s time to enable debugging to get more information about the syntax error.

Enable DEBUG to view the location of the syntax error. If you were working on your website when the error occurred, you should have a good idea of where to look for the problem. However, if you are not sure, there is no need to guess. Troubleshooting will show you the exact location of the error. To enable debugging, you can add the following code snippet to your wp-config.php file:

define ( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );

Make sure you put the code before / That’s all … * / towards the bottom of the file.

After you save the file and refresh your site in the browser, you should see a text string indicating the location of the error, including the file, name and line number.

Be sure to disable debugging after you have fixed syntax errors, as leaving this feature is not recommended for live websites. You have now located the syntax error. Once you notice the information, it’s time to start working on the fix. You can use the instructions below to fix the error depending on its location.

Fix a syntax error caused by a plugin

If you install, update or edit a plugin file when the syntax error has occurred, the simplest and quickest solution is to disable the plugin. That’s what we’ll do first.

Access your website via SFTP. After logging in, go to the wp-content/plugins directory and find the plugin folder with the error. While you’re there, you can disable the plugin or correct the file containing the error – if you know what’s causing the problem. If not, you can disable the plugin by renaming its folder in the plugins directory.

If you go to your site’s URL and reload the page, your site should look normal. However, if you want to continue using the plugin, you will need to fix the error instead of simply disabling it.

To fix the plugin error, find the file and line number in the error message. Identify any missing or incorrect code on that line. If you’re not sure what’s causing the error, you can insert the snippet into a code editor to help you identify it. You can always disable the plugin as a short-term solution. Then you can reactivate it later once the error is corrected. This may be the best approach, especially if the plugin is not essential to the functioning of your website.

Fix syntax error caused by incorrect editing of a theme file

To fix an error that occurred while editing your theme, access the website via SFTP and navigate to the wp-content/themes folder. Open the appropriate theme folder and locate the file with the error – usually the functions.php file.

Edit the file and correct the error. Again, the syntax error code should display the line number. If the problem occurred when you pasted a piece of code into the file, delete the changes to restore the file to its stable version.

If you don’t see what is causing the problem, you can use a code editor to identify the error. Once you have corrected the problem, open a browser window and navigate to the URL to check that your site is back up and running.

Use a code editor to identify syntax errors

There are several code editors available for free online, such as Sublime Text and Atom. You can use any of these tools to help diagnose and fix syntax errors, these programs will automatically point out syntax errors.

How to avoid syntax errors in the future?

Using proper syntax can help you avoid errors in the future. PHP is a simple, flexible language. You can invest a little time to learn the basics. Then, when you paste code or modify your site’s files, you’ll know how to correct errors as you work.

As another option, you can keep a code editor handy to check the syntax before pasting code onto your website. This is a smart practice to make sure a piece of code is correct before adding it to files on a live site.

Another way to prevent problems is to enable debugging when you make changes to your website, to flag errors before applying them to the live version. This is the ideal time to make sure everything is compatible with your WordPress core files and working as it should. Finally, we suggest deleting any unused plugins and themes. Not only can this help prevent syntax errors, but it’s also a good security measure.

Are you ready to fix this syntax error?

Nearly 40% of all websites are built on WordPress, making it the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s a stable and secure platform, but even so bugs can occur.

These are usually simple to fix, but it’s better to take steps to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, such as using a staging module and debugging periodically.

And if you want quality, custom WordPress website hosting, you can trust the WordPress hosting packages we offer. You benefit from the hottest security and performance tools, and in case you run into difficulties, you’ll have the best technical support available.

How to make a WordPress website without hosting

How to make a WordPress website without hosting

Websites provide a good way of displaying information online. It’s a great way for your customers or followers to find you on your platform which you can post and update content on.

Building a website doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t need to be a software developer to build a great website. WordPress is a great platform that allows you to have a website without learning about software development. It also allows you to have a website without incurring the cost of hosting it since it can host it for you. We will take you through the steps of making a WordPress website without hosting it.

Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com is a sub-domain version of WordPress and hosts your website for free but as a sub-domain. By sub-domain, it means that your website will be yourname.wordpress.com instead of yourname.com. But you still have control over your website including designing it, updating content, and managing it. I’d compare it to renting an apartment or home, you don’t own the home but have control over it while staying there. With WordPress.com, you won’t have to pay for any hosting.

WordPress.org on the other hand won’t be hosted on WordPress and it requires you to host it yourself instead. You’ll need to get a web-hosting service and the IP address will be without the wordpress.com sub-domain. With WordPress.com, you can have a running website and let WordPress take care of hosting it and managing SEO for you.

Steps to make a WordPress website without hosting

  1. Signup at WordPress

The first thing to do is to create an account on WordPress and start. Open a browser on your PC and type in wordpress.com in the address bar and hit enter. Do not go to wordpress.org. On the landing page, find and click on the ‘Get Started’ button on the top-right corner to get started. It will take you to the signup page that will require you to enter your credentials and sign up for an account. Enter your email and select a username. Finally, create a password and then click on ‘Create your account’. Instead of entering these details, you can sign up by using your Google account or Apple ID.

  1. Choose a site type

Once you’ve successfully signed up and logged in, a screen asking you to choose the kind of site that you want to build will display 4 different options for you to choose from. These options include a Blog, Business, Professional or Online Store. All the first three options are free with the fourth one requiring a purchase. Depending on what you want your website to display, choose one of the options to proceed.

A blog is great for someone that wants to share their personal experiences online, update their content frequently get to discuss ideas with others online. If you are a small business and you don’t have a budget for hosting, then the Business option is ideal for you. You can promote your goods and/or services online and reach a wider audience.

As professionals, we want to showcase our work online. Freelancers and people seeking employment especially creatives can share their portfolio and showcase what they can do. This can help a hiring manager or client to make a decision based on what they see. Blogs are the easiest and quickest to build, so we will choose Blog for today.

  1. Set up your blog

On the next screen, choose a topic depending on what your blog is about. There are several topics to choose from. You can type one in and search or select the popular list displayed and then click on the arrow icon to proceed. The next page is about your blog’s name. Enter your preferred name for the website and click the arrow icon again to proceed.

  1. Choose a domain name

A domain name is simply what people that want to visit your website will need, i.e. yourname.com.

People will go to their browsers and type in yourname.com to visit your website. Enter your preferred domain name and wait for the filter results. WordPress will search and give you a list of names with different extensions. From the list, find the one written ‘Free’ in front of it and click the ‘Select’ button also in front of it.

  1. Select a plan

On the next screen, you need to choose a payment plan. Since you want to have a website running for free, click on the ‘Free’ link just right below the page’s title and wait for WordPress to finish setting up things for you. And after a few minutes, your site should be ready for customization.

  1. Customize your site

 Your site needs work from you before it can be published for viewing by your audience online. It needs things such as a log, tagline, landing page, etc. On the screen, there are about seven steps with checklists that you may need to complete. Follow the steps by checking the checkbox on the step’s title on the right of the step and ensure that you check all of them.

  1. Publish your site

You’re now on your site’s control panel where you get to see and control everything that happens on this site. Navigate to the top-right corner on the WordPress screen and click on ‘My Site’ with a WordPress logo next to it. Your site is now ready to be shared. You will notice that the name of your site which can be found under the ‘My Site’ is greyed out before clicking on ‘My Site’ and after, it is now clickable. You will see your site’s stats including the number of visitors, Comments, Likes, and Views. To visit the site, click on the website’s name on the top-right corner just below the WordPress logo and then click on the ‘Visit Site’ button that appears on the left side of the screen at the top. You should be able to view the website as a normal viewer. If you want to edit your website further, you can go back to the control and customize it further to your desired taste.

IssueHow to
Making a WordPress website without hostingGo to wordpress.com on your PC and sign up. Follow the prompt steps to set up your website. Choose a type of site you want to create, a name and domain name for it, a free plan, and then customize your website. Finally, make sure that you complete the given checklist to be able to publish the website.

FAQs

Can people access my website without a domain name?

It’s possible but not easy for someone to access your website without a domain name. This is because domain names are originally displayed as a string of numbers which computer can understand but it will be difficult for a human being to remember these numbers. It’s best to have a domain name if you want people to find your website easily.

Is WordPress a hosting site?

It depends on whether you choose the wordpress.com or wordpress.org version of WordPress. With WordPress.com, your website will be hosted on WordPress as a sub-domain.

WordPress Hosting

WordPress is the most widely used website builder and content management system in the world it’s been launched in 2003 and since then it’s been crucial to website making WordPress is super popular 35% of all the web sites and 38.03 percent of top hundred thousand websites are WordPress based however

WordPress still remains a battle zone between a huge community of supporters and contributors who like WordPress because it’s free open-source easy to learn and has more than hundred thousand themes and plug-ins for everything and millions of doubters and haters who mainly criticize WordPress because of its low speed bad security and low Google rankings but what if I tell you there is a hosting especially optimized to better meet WordPress performance and security called WordPress hosting is one of the most important but commonly overlooked aspects of running your website WordPress has been designed for flexibility and scalability on a variety of platforms so you can run your website in any type of host the only technical requirement for running your website is MySQL 5.0. 15 or higher and PHP 5. 2.4 or higher but this does not mean that you should host your website to anywhere processed without a high quality host your website will surely load slowly have high downtime and be less secure by choosing the quality WordPress host you will greatly improve the performance of your site and receive a ton of additional advantages the common advantages are one-click install that allows quickly installed WordPress to your website automatic updates to the WordPress core and WordPress centered support team that can handle any question related to WordPress the two main types of

WordPress hosting are shared hosting and managed hosting shared WordPress hosting is the cheapest form of WordPress hosting you will ever find and this is mainly because you share server resources with other web sites hosting wordpress on a shared server can be an affordable choice for new business owners and smaller sites but for those who are looking for more speed security and support will need managed WordPress hosting managed WordPress hosting takes the stress out of hosting and managing your site usually managed WordPress hosting will use a dedicated server but it can also be configured with VPS hosting cloud hosting or even a shared server environment with managed

WordPress hosting you get high levels of security incredibly fast speed up-to-date server high level of uptime WordPress centered support team the prime drawback of managed hosting has always been high pricing which is already sold with BMFHost a managed WordPress hosting platform powered by

Google Cloud at BMFHost we offer managed hosting with the price of shared hosting the annual pricing starts at $10 a month for one website and can go as low as six dollars for one website in case of 10 websites being hosted so normal shared hosting besides affordable prices BMFHost offers a ton of additional advantages which makes WordPress hosting a hundred percent worth it when you create a webpage on BMFHost or migrate your existing site from elsewhere it will automatically get 95 plus PageSpeed score BMFHost’s backup service is the real time differential backup which automatically backs up your website and keeps it in a very secure AWS s3 storage space also you’re able to automatically schedule your backup BMFHost offers you an elastic scaling in order to handle your traffic spikes with every extra 10,000 visitors or five gigabyte SSD storage you will be charged extra $2.00 at the end of the billing month with BMFHost you will save your time hosting managing and building your websites from a single dashboard where you can manage all your websites with a few clicks with every BMFHost plan you get drag and drop website builder based on Elementor 40 beautiful and mobile-friendly website templates 50 premium plugins for everything security scanners and SEO service BMFHost offers you a 14-day free trial with no credit card required if you just want to try and see so we are sure that BMFHost is the best hosting choice for you and time to sum up so what is WordPress hosting it’s a host that’s been optimized to run

WordPress is it worth it absolutely with WordPress hosting you have tons of advantages for speed security support and much more already wondering whether to choose shared hosting or managed hosting wait well why settle down with bad quality shared hosting if you can get a managed hosting with the same price right as already said BMFHost offers you a 14-day free trial that can help your decision a lot.

WP Hosting Explained – Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated vs Managed

We are going to discuss the four main types of WordPress hosting – dedicated, VPS, shared, and managed hosting. And we will try to understand which one is best for your website.

Now let’s get started! The first type of hosting that we’ll be discussing is shared hosting.

Shared Hosting is basically the communism of hostings. You and a bunch of websites – because there are so many out there – are going to share a single space which in this case will be a server. And the thing is with shared hostings that you don’t have any idea what kinds of websites sharing space, this can be a pet barbershop in Utah or a poetry slam website. And each of these websites has certain limitations on their storage, and traffic set by the host, which in our case will be the landlord of this commune. Now let’s talk about the advantages of shared hosting.

Shared hosting is very cheap, which is a huge advantage for newcomers to website ownership and management. It can cost you from $3 to $12 per month to host your website on a shared hosting platform. Another major advantage for newcomers is the fact that a lot of technical aspects of maintaining your website is covered by the shared hosting platform. However, you should keep in mind that there are lots of websites that they need to take care of and maintain so this might not be the best type of website maintenance that you will receive.

This is why if you’re going to pick shared hosting, you better be sure that you can trust this shared hosting company. Now let’s move on to the disadvantages of shared hosting.

Signing up for a shared hosting platform, you may encounter the following problems.

One of the main disadvantages is that your website is going to be very slow in case you hosted with shared hosting. And it is going to be a lot slower than dedicated hosting providers or managed hosting. And this is not only bad because you will lose a lot of potential users coming to your website, and getting tired of it loading very slowly and then leaving, but it is also very bad because you will have lower chances of ranking high on Google. And ranking high on Google is essential because you want to have more traffic and grow your business through that traffic.

Problem 2. Remember we discussed that you will be sharing your server with a bunch of other websites? Well the problem with this is that if one of the websites that sharing the space with is getting hacked, your website will be compromised as well. Share a server, share an issue, right?

Problem 3.

Because you’re sharing space with other websites, and one of the websites suddenly gets a huge amount of traffic coming to their website, your website might be compromised by this. Because its performance might become slower or even it can become unavailable.

Also, even if your website is getting more traffic, your website performance may still not be perfect.

And Problem 4. is the distinct lack of scalability. You’re basically stuck with whatever resources your hosting platform gives you and if you want to have more resources, you simply need to upgrade. There are no scalability or elasticity options for you.

Who should choose shared hosting? I’m tempted to say no one, since it’s the 21st century and we have other accessible options, I don’t think anyone should go with shared hosting. However, if you are an absolute beginner and don’t need a lot of resources, and a great amount of performance, then you might want to start with shared hosting because later on, you are still going to wise up and change your hosting platform. Now Let’s move on to the second type of hosting, which is VPS, short for Virtual Private Server! It is something in between shared and dedicated hostings. And let me explain to you how it works. So you basically have your very own server, which is isolated and placed within a bigger server. So all the websites you share space with are going to have their separate servers isolated and placed within a big server.

You see how this is a bit like shared hosting?

However, it’s also quite a bit like dedicated hosting because you do have this sense of responsibility and illusion of having your own server. However, it is still different.

These are all the advantages of VPS:

Number 1: You have root access and way more options of customization in both hardware and software. Second, VPS offers you better security than shared hosting: meaning the performance of other websites that you are sharing the space with are no longer a concern of yours. Next, VPS typically costs less than dedicated hosting.

Per month you would basically pay about 30 to 40 dollars for VPS hosting. In all technical aspects, including website performance, a VPS is a lot better than shared hosting. Now let’s move on to the disadvantages of a VPS:

The first disadvantage is that you will need more technical knowledge if you are going to choose VPS. If you are not a tech-savvy or you aren’t willing to learn any technical aspects of maintaining, running a website, then VPS is certainly not for you.

Number 2 even though you’re largely isolated from your neighboring sites, you’re still not 100% protected from whatever’s happening in the server that may have an impact on your website. And, finally, of course, you do get some sort of responsibility and ownership of your server. However, this flexibility is not close to what you would get with dedicated hosting. The third type of hosting that we’re going to discuss today is dedicated hosting.

So, what’s dedicated hosting? It kinds of lives up to its name. It is a hosting/ it is a server dedicated to one owner “One server – one owner” is the rule.

Here you get more freedom and responsibility for your server: however, maintaining and setting up the server is not an easy task.

If you’re a major tech nerd, developer, or business owner who has a whole IT team dedicated to that task then you would be fine.

There are plenty of advantages to dedicated hosting:

Firstly, if you switch from shared hosting or VPS to dedicated hosting your website performance will improve a lot , and Google and your visitors will highly appreciate that. Second you get so many choices: Linux or Windows? What software to use? If you know a thing or two about tech, it’s always nice to decide. And of course, those shared hosting worries about other websites’ security, messing up your website security or speed will be long gone. As great as an unmanaged hosting is, there are a couple of disadvantages:

For example, believe it or not, there is a lot of server maintenance and setting up that you will need to do, most people could not have cared less about this. And setting up and maintaining the server is a lot! There are the backups, performances, software, etc, etc. and most business owners prefer to focus on growing their business and growing their traffic rather than focusing on maintaining and setting up the server.

Here comes the biggest disadvantage: Dedicated hostings are surely more expensive than both shared and VPS. Usually, it’s around 150 or 250 dollars a month. Plus, if you ever mess up and need help, the hosting provider will also charge you for that. Pretty hefty, no?

So, dedicated hosting is perfect for big business owners who have their separate IT departments, and want everything done exactly they want and don’t care even for the cost.

And the last type of hosting is Managed WP hosting.

Managed hosting is when all your worries about all your server and website maintenance – just poof, vanish.

It’s like having your own IT staff but for a dismal fee: speed, security, it’s all taken care of by the host. And on top of that, you have your very own isolated environment, meaning you get all the advantages that you would get with the dedicated hosting with none of the disadvantages.

You may be wondering, “What about the cost?” and that is true. Before managed WP hostings would cost you more than dedicated hostings but now – and this one’s a secret for most of the world – you can get managed hosting at the price of shared hosting. Meet BMF Host, the perfect managed WordPress hosting platform powered by Google Cloud.

BMF Host will cost you only $10 per month and usually on average managed hosting costs start at $30 a month.

And you would definitely not be able to find a great managed WordPress Hosting platform with the price of $10 per month. Because if you pay $30 per month, you will also have to pay additional amounts for the rest of plugins and services, and you would need to pay an extra amount for building your website.

However, $10 per month includes all of the plugins, services, website building tools, and widgets, and everything else that you will need for creating and maintaining your website. So basically $10 per month for everything that your website might need. But we’re rushing ahead. Here are the main advantages of managed hosting and BMF Host are:

First of all, BMF Host will make your website a lot faster than any of those other hosting types. I mean Lightning fast. I mean a Google PageSpeed score of 95+ fast! Secondly, you just get more out of everything: more bandwidth and storage, more customization options, more security, 24/7 support, and privacy.

And just everything is great with managed WP hosting. Thirdly, if you already have a website hosted elsewhere, don’t worry. Because you can migrate your website to BMF Host with only one click. The final and most important advantage is the price. With BMF Host you can host your site on the servers of Google Cloud for just $10 per month if you have one website. And it can get as low as 6 dollars a website if you have 10 or more websites. And you can be sure that your website performance is going to be phenomenal. No more shared hosting Also check out the link in the description below to find out more about BMF Host and be able to sign up for a 14-day free trial. As for the disadvantages of managed hosting.

I’m finding it hard to come up with a real disadvantage since the question of high price is already resolved. Okay, let’s face it: There are no negatives about hosting your site on a server that is only dedicated to you, and the resources only dedicated for you and with the price of shared hosting.

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website [GUIDE]

So my buddy Marius messages me and he’s like: “Hey, can I hire you to speed up my WordPress website?”

And I was like:

“Dude… Just do A, B, and C, and I’m pretty sure you’ll see a huge performance boost.”

A few days passed and he said:

“The speed tips you gave me worked perfectly.”

So today, I’m going to show you how to speed up your WordPress site with three simple steps, and take your site speed from something like this… to this.

Google has used site speed as a ranking signal for desktop searches since 2010.

And as of 2018, page speed became a ranking factor for mobile searches too.

And even though speed improvements will only affect a small percentage of slow websites, faster page load times lead to better user experience and ultimately, more revenue.

In fact, a study by Google shows that as page load time goes up, bounce rate rises with it.

Now, there are numerous reasons why your website might load slowly.

But the most common reasons that I’ve seen are due to slow connectivity, caching, page size, and sometimes more technical reasons like render-blocking JS.

But if you’re anything like Marius, who’s not exactly the most technical person, then the three steps that I’m about to show you should help you get better performance from your site.

Now, before we get started, it’s important to note that the things I did for this site won’t necessarily translate perfectly to your site.

There are tons of things to consider when it comes to WordPress site speed like your theme’s code, specific plugins you might be using, server configuration, image file sizes, and more.

So as we go through the tutorial, I’ll try and explain the more technical reasons behind poor performance, so you can hopefully diagnose further issues yourself.

Alright, so let me give you a background on the website we’ll be optimizing and we’ll start with some benchmark speeds.

This is a brand new affiliate site built on WordPress using the free WP Astra Theme.

He’s activated seven plugins, many of which will contribute to page load time in big and small ways.

Now, to keep things simple, I’ve run a single post, which has text, images, and a video through three page-speed tools.

PageSpeed Insights shows a mobile score of 45 and a desktop score of 79.

Pingdom shows a load time of 1.72 seconds, page size of 1.7mb, and 63 requests.

And GTMetrix, fully loaded in 4.3 seconds with a page size of 1.55 megabytes and 61 requests.

Now, since these tools only allow you to view one page at a time, I ran a full crawl using Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool.

And if we look in Page Explorer, you’ll see there were a total of 23 pages with a load time of 1 second or longer, which is basically all of the site’s pages.

So there’s definitely some room for improvements.

So the first thing we did was to switch DNS providers to Cloudflare’s free DNS service.

Now, in order to understand why we used Cloudflare, you need to understand how the web works, at least at an elementary level.

Websites are just files on a computer that are made accessible through the Internet.

Now, each device that’s connected to the Internet has an IP address, including the server that hosts your website.

So if your server is located in Los Angeles, California, and your visitor is in Las Vegas, these two IP addresses need to create a connection in order to download the file contents to the device.

Now, IP addresses are tough to memorize and I doubt many people would key in an address like this to visit your site.

That’s where DNS comes into play.

DNS stands for Domain Name System.

And it’s often referred to as the “phone book of the world wide web.”

In short, DNS maps domain names to IP addresses so people can type in a domain name to visit a website.

But the thing with this is that when someone types in the domain name in their browser, a DNS lookup occurs to find the IP address of the server.

So that takes time.

And usually, free DNS providers from your domain registrar are usually slow to respond, creating slower page load times.

Cloudflare’s DNS on the other hand is pretty darn fast, considering it’s free.

But again, your mileage may vary depending on the DNS provider, you’re currently using.

So to set this up, sign up for a Cloudflare account and then click Add a site.

Enter your domain name, select and confirm your plan, and after a few seconds, Cloudflare will give you a chance to review your DNS records.

Click Continue and you’ll be asked to change your nameservers, which is something you’d need to do with your domain registrar.

Boom! Step one is done.

The next thing we did was purchase and install the WP Rocket plugin.

WP Rocket is an all-in-one site speed optimization plugin for WordPress.

And they make it super-simple to make technical optimizations even if you have no clue what you’re doing.

The plugin handles common page-speed optimizations like caching, preloading, compression, and lazy loads images to name a few.

After activating the plugin, you can access the WP Rocket settings from the top navigation bar.

Alright, so let’s go through some of the important settings starting with caching.

If you’re unfamiliar with caching, it’s basically a way to temporarily store copies of files, so it can be delivered to visitors in a more efficient way.

And because this site is a basic blog that’s responsive, I enabled caching for mobile devices.

Next is file optimization, which is where you’ll spend the majority of our time.

For the Basic Settings, I chose to minify HTML and optimize Google Fonts.

Minification just removes whitespace and comments from code, which will reduce file size.

And smaller files load faster than larger ones.

I also chose to optimize Google Fonts since the theme uses them.

The next section is about optimizing CSS files.

Again, I minified CSS files and also chose to combine them.

You already understand the benefits of minification, so let’s touch on combining files.

WordPress sites often include multiple CSS files.

Some will be for themes, others for plugins, and you might have added some custom ones too.

Now, whether you choose to activate this option or not will mostly depend on how your server delivers the files.

Generally speaking, your files will be loaded either using HTTP 1.1 or HTTP 2.

With 1.1, your files will be loaded consecutively, meaning, one file needs to fully load before the next one starts loading.

So combining your CSS scripts can help reduce the load time because fewer CSS files will need to be loaded.

Now, with HTTP 2, the files can load concurrently.

Meaning, if you have multiple CSS files, they can begin loading at the same time, so combining them won’t necessarily be as impactful.

To see if your site uses HTTP 2, you can use Key CDN’s tester and key in your URL.

The final option we enabled is to optimize CSS delivery.

Basically, this option will generate CSS needed for content above the fold and asynchronously load other CSS files so they don’t block the rendering process.

Now, these concepts can be quite technical so I won’t expand on these but in general, these are page speed optimization best practices.

Alright, let’s scroll down to the JavaScript files section.

So first, I removed jQuery Migrate, which is a file that’s been added to WordPress since version 3.6.

Now, since there weren’t any issues with jQuery for this theme or any plugins, I chose to disable it as there’s no point in loading an additional script without purpose.

Again, we chose to minify JS files as we did with HTML and CSS and combined our JS files since there were no conflicts or issues.

And the last option we enabled is to defer loading of JavaScript.

This option will basically delay the loading of JavaScript files so the most important content like your HTML and CSS can be delivered to your visitors first.

And then the JS will load.

And this will in most cases, fix the “eliminate render-blocking JS” issue that you may have seen in PageSpeed Insights.

Now, it’s important to note that if you choose to minify, combine, and/or defer your JavaScript files, things may break on your site.

So it’s important to actually test your site’s functions before permanently leaving it on.

Alright, let’s move on to the Media category.

Here, I’ve chosen to lazyload all media files.

LazyLoad improves page speed because it defers the loading of images and videos until they’re visible on the screen.

In fact, WordPress 5.5 will lazy-load images by default, so you won’t necessarily need a plugin if you just want this feature.

Next up is Preloading.

Preloading allows you to define essential resources so that browsers know the priority of files that should be loaded first.

For example, let’s say that your

HTML code looks like this:

Based on this code, the JavaScript file would need to load first simply because of hierarchy.

Of course, you could edit the code, but that can get messy and confusing if you don’t have coding knowledge.

But if we add another link tag to preload the stylesheet, and this would tell browsers to load the CSS file with a higher priority than the JS file.

And that’s exactly what this option in WP Rocket does for you.

Now, the last thing I want to talk about here is using a CDN.

And it’s easiest to understand how these works if we look at our first example of how devices connect to web servers.

So again, if the server is in LA and a visitor is in Las Vegas, it probably won’t take very long for the two devices to connect, seeing as they’re relatively close in proximity.

But what happens when someone from Germany, India, Australia or Singapore tries to connect to the web server?

It’s going to take longer.

And that’s where CDNs can help.

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.

And that’s exactly what it is.

A network of servers located all over the world that delivers content to visitors as fast as possible.

By using a CDN, you’re essentially caching files on multiple servers globally.

Then when a visitor tries to access your site, it’ll connect them to the one that’s closest, creating a faster connection between the user and the content.

So if your site attracts a global audience, then it might be worth signing up for a CDN service, enabling the option in WP Rocket, and adding the appropriate CNAME.

Now, there are other free caching plugins that have a lot of these features like Autoptimize and W3 Total Cache, but I personally prefer to pay a small fee for WP Rocket as I’ve had the best results with them.

And the final step in this site speed optimization tutorial is to optimize your images.

Now, since we’ve already added LazyLoad to images, this will solve a lot of problems.

But if you’re using featured images that are above the fold on load, then lazyload isn’t going to help.

Plus, smaller images will save you with storage space.

So the simple solution is to compress your images using lossy or lossless compression.

And there are some great plugins that’ll do this for you like ShortPixel and Imagify.

Now, to give you an idea of how much image compression can help, take a look at the WordPress media library here.

You’ll see that ShortPixel has reduced the image sizes by quite a lot, which will help improve pagespeed.

ShortPixel also has a feature that lets you serve images in the WebP format, which basically lets you compress images even further without compromising quality by much.

Just go to Settings and choose ShortPixel.

Then click on the Advanced tab.

From here, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve checked this box so ShortPixel creates a WebP version of your images.

So now that we’ve done the three main optimizations for WordPress sitespeed, let’s run the PageSpeed tools and compare them with our original benchmarks.

On PageSpeed insights, the page previously scored a 45 on mobile and now has a score of 95.

It had a desktop score of 79 and now has a near-perfect desktop score.

On Pingdom, the page previously loaded in 1.72 second with a 1.7mb page size and 63 requests.

With the new speed test, you’ll see there was a significant decrease on all three metrics.

Page size is just over 900 kilobytes, load time came in at 200 milliseconds, and the number of requests have shrunk by nearly 3X.

And you’ll see the same pattern for GTMetrix and improvement across the board.

Finally, I ran a new crawl of the site with Ahrefs’ Site Audit, and as you can see every single page loaded in under a second.

Now, these are the steps that worked for Marius’s site and I’ve used it for other sites with success.

But remember, each WordPress configuration will be different since you might be using a clunkier theme, more resource-consuming plugins, have inferior hosting, or you have tons of third-party tracking scripts.

So if you’re still unhappy with your site speed after making these optimizations, then you’ll likely need more custom work done for you.

So you may want to consider removing plugins and scripts, switching themes, or hiring a developer to make the appropriate fixes.

Top 5 FREE WordPress Plugins

When building your WordPress website, it seems like it’s really never finished. Sure, you can finish the pages and menu items needed on the site, but you’re always looking to improve your site by making it faster, rank better on Google and be more secure. Today I thought it’d be fun to share my top five free WordPress plugins I highly recommend you try.

Let’s get right into it with Yoast SEO. Yoast is a free search engine optimization plugin that lets you change how page titles and descriptions appear on Google and other search engines. Without a plugin like Yoast, you can’t control this information on your Google result and Google just guesses out what it thinks you want there and adds a nice … to the end it’s not very pretty. Yoast allows you to change this and put exactly what you wanna be there, your website, title description, all the key words to increase your chance of ranking higher. Yoast also make sure Google has the correct metadata for your site so you can get that nice page structure under your listing to help people get directly to the page they need. Whether it’s about contact, FAQ, you get the idea they can just click straight through under your website listing and go right to the page.

If you’re a blogger, Yoast totally changes how you write content. It helps you include keywords to reinforce your target search phrase, make posts long enough for the Google Algorithm to take it seriously and make it easier for readers to digest, which increases time spent on your page when people can read easier which in turn helps SEO. It’s really brilliant how it all works together. Yoast does offer a premium version, but I’ve never paid for it. I find that the free version serves my needs just fine and I’d recommend trying it for your website. Next is a simple one, but one I can’t live without. Duplicate Posts does exactly what it says. It duplicates a post or page so you can make a copy to work off. I find it so crazy that WordPress still doesn’t offer this feature natively, but Duplicate Post is free and does the job perfectly.

There’s a few reasons you might wanna do this or I’ll sometimes use it to do a Save As for a page and be able to make changes to a copy of that page without permanently changing the only version that exists, or sometimes I’m working on a landing page and simply want to duplicate an existing one to use it as a template for my second one, that’s all there is to it. It’s a simple plugin that does exactly what it says it lets you duplicate a post for page easily and work off of that copy to do whatever you need to do. Next, let’s take a look at WP Mail. This one’s a bit obscure on the surface and it seems very technical, but let me explain what it does and why you need it. By default. When any email is sent from your WordPress website, it sent through the IP address of your web server.

If you’re on shared hosting, the shared servers IP address commonly gets blacklisted as spam due to other web hosting accounts, getting compromised and hackers, utilizing it to send spam mail. Fun factory you, I bet you didn’t know that the overwhelming majority of creepy spam mail you receive comes from GoDaddy Shared Hosting servers or Bluehost or DreamHost or any of the shared hosting companies. Most of the spam mail you get in your inbox comes from compromised web hosting accounts. So what does this mean in English? Well, using the default mail settings in WordPress, there’s a good chance of email being sent from your website, getting sent to your spam folder.

This is a problem if you have a contact form on your site or receive emails, when people leave a comment on your blog posts for approval, because if you don’t regularly check your spam folder, you could miss an important inquiry. If you’re a freelancer, you might miss someone who wants to hire you because you don’t have your WordPress configured correctly to send mail the right way. WP Mail allows you to change how WordPress sends mail and it allows you to link directly to a transactional mail service like SendGrid, Amazon SES, or Sendinblue.

Again what does that mean in English? Well, you know how you use a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to send your marketing emails to your email list, you wouldn’t send a mass email from your Gmail account and CC everyone, probably because it would get sent directly the spam and it’s just ghetto. You don’t do it, You use a professional service like MailChimp. If you’re doing an email list and you want to do email marketing services like MailChimp and Constant Contact have special ways of sending mail to ensure a low chance of it getting sent to spam. And that’s exactly what services like SendGrid, Amazon SES, or Sendinblue do for transactional emails. Transactional emails are emails to reset your password or email such as getting a new contact form submission or new comment on your website.

I personally use Spark Post and I use the SMTP option within WP mail SMTP to connect it accordingly. Spark Post lets you send up to 500 emails per month for free and I’ve never exceeded the free limit. Using a setup like this make sure you don’t miss important emails, including security alerts from Wordfence, which is the next plugin I’m highlighting. Wordfence is a free security solution that features a Live Firewall Brute Force Protection against common attacks, email alerts for new admin logins and optional two factor authentication.

I speak from experience in saying that WordPress is not secure on its own without a proper security system. So I would advise installing Wordfence on your site immediately. Seriously, it’s totally free if you don’t have it installed, pause this video right now, hit that link in the description and go install it on your site. It’s that important. They do offer a premium version, but I’ve always used the free version and been happy with it. I won’t talk about it too much since I made a dedicated video on it here, but I will have the link in the description to all the plugins mentioned. Last let’s talk about Really Simple SSL.

I recently talked about how you can get an SSL certificate for free, but when you install it on your web server or set up Cloudflare, sometimes WordPress has trouble enforcing HTTPS on your website. Really Simple SSL is a basic free plugin that all your content on your website loaded over HTTPS and a redirect is forced. So visitors will always see that lovely lock icon. Every time they visit your site, and SSL will be configured correctly. It’s really simple to activate install it and click a few buttons and you’re set. So if SSL is working fine on your WordPress site, you don’t really need Really Simple as SSL, but if you’ve had trouble setting it up or you notice that sometimes it’s not HTTPS, I would go ahead and install it. I just install it on all of my WordPress site as a general rule i figure why not?

It can’t hurt anything. And because of that, I’ve never had trouble with my SSL configuration. So those are my top five essential WordPress plugins, but I do have two honorable mentions. Sumo and Smush. Sumo is a free exit intent popup I’ve talked about before and Smush is a free plugin that automatically compresses and downsizes images when you upload them to WordPress, it doesn’t affect the quality much, but it makes the file size smaller. This helps your site load faster, which not only boosts your SEO, but it also saves you storage space on your web hosting account.

As previously mentioned, I’ll have links to all of these plugins description below. Now I’ve gotten a few questions lately regarding drag and drop Page Builder Plugins like Elementor or WPbakery. And since this is a video talking about my essential WordPress plugins, someone’s going to ask it. They’re going to be like Christian, why did you not talk about a page builder? That’s pretty essential to WordPress. So I’ll make it simple. I wouldn’t recommend buying or using the free version of Elementary or WPbakery on their own because they’re included in good quality WordPress themes. And I think it’s best.

If you get a good word, press theme, that’s integrated and designed to work with the Page Builder Plugin directly, which would mean that the page builder plugin is included and you don’t need to find one or install one because it’s bundled with the plugin. Now here’s the thing. The WordPress theme you pick for your site can dramatically change your website, building experience. It can change based on the backend of the theme, the developer chooses to use which Page Builder Plugin they include. There’s a lot of variables that really affect how your website building experience goes just based on the theme you pick.

So if you’d like me to make a video about my top WordPress themes, drop a comment below, I think that would be an interesting video. And if it sounds good to you do be sure to let me know about that. Also if you missed it, last week I announced the launch of Craylor Academy. Craylor Academy is my new website for online courses and my new course building a WordPress website from start to finish is launching on Craylor Academy later this year.

I’ll be covering all of this juicy information in great detail including which WordPress theme you should use and a step by step guide from start to finish on building your first WordPress website, using the link in the description. You can sign up for my email list and get the course for $19 when it launches. And that’s $19 one time, by the way, no subscriptions, no upsells, no ads. If that’s something you’re interested in, be sure to hit up the link below and join the list. So what are your essential WordPress plugins? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Should You Use WordPress?

If you’ve been looking to build your first WordPress website, chances are you opened Google, searched for WordPress, and saw this result right here, WordPress.com create a free website or blog. You probably thought, oh, that must be it, WordPress.com. This is that WordPress platform, everyone keeps talking about. And that is the source of so much confusion in the WordPress community. What is WordPress.com?

Do you have to build your WordPress website through WordPress.com? What about WordPress hosts? Can’t I build my WordPress website through other companies, too? Well, it’s important for us to take a step back and understand what WordPress is. WordPress is an open source website builder that can be installed on any server and any web host. Because it’s open source, that means it’s completely free to use, so you can download the code and install it on any web server. If you go to WordPress.org, this is the official site for the WordPress platform. WordPress can be installed anywhere. You could have a server room in your attic and run WordPress on it for free. So at this point you might be saying, well, wait a minute, what is WordPress.com? It looks so official and legit. So WordPress.com is owned by Automattic. Automattic is a company that was formed by the co-founding WordPress software developer.

So to make a long story short, the founder of Automattic first registered the trademark to WordPress, and even though he has since donated it to the WordPress foundation, his company still has special privileges to use the WordPress.com domain and branding for their web host. WordPress.com is essentially a blessed WordPress host from a branding perspective, as they get to use the WordPress brand and come across as the official hosting option. So if WordPress.com seems so official, does that make it the best option for your WordPress website? I tried it for myself and the experience was different than I expected.

You can actually create a website totally free on a branded subdomain, like yourwebsite.WordPress.com. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with blogging, I think WordPress.com is a great place to do this. Their free plan gives you all the tools you need to make posts, add pages, and get a basic website together, for friends and family to view. It’s a watered-down, modified version of WordPress that doesn’t let you install plugins or third-party themes, but it’s functional, nonetheless. And I can’t think of a better way to get serious, reliable hosting free for a basic blog. But if you’re serious about building a brand, you want your website to have a custom domain. You want your website to be on your website.com, instead of yourwebsite.WordPress.com.

And that’s you when you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Seems pretty fair, right? Well, this is where things get interesting because the $4 and $8 a month plans do allow you to connect your own domain name, but there’s still that watered-down version of WordPress that you get with the free plan. That’s right, even for $8 a month, you cannot install plugins and you can’t install third-party themes.

This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is. If you’ve never used WordPress before, take my word for it. You will want to install plugins and you will want third-party themes. These are core, essential parts of WordPress that you need to build a great website for your business, and it’s something that you really are going to want. Unfortunately, with WordPress.com, getting the full, true version of WordPress will cost you $25 a month. And to make matters worse, all of these plans are billed annually with no monthly option available. So you actually need to shell out $300 at one time for a year of hosting.

This brings us to today’s sponsor, Porkbun, your go-to platform for the lowest price domains and simple hosting services that help you cohesively build your brand. If you’re currently exploring hosting options, consider the world beyond WordPress.com. A simpler, faster, streamlined option awaits. Porkbun’s Easy WordPress offers the speed and reliability you’d expect at a price you can’t beat. Custom-built with security and performance as the number one priority. A third of the web uses WordPress, but the savviest customers use Porkbun’s Easy WordPress, it’s in the name. Your fancy new domain name deserves a trustworthy host, so once you’ve snagged your domain at the industry’s lowest price, you heard that right, lowest price, try Easy WordPress free for 15 days.

Then with monthly costs as low as $10, a price and a product perfectly fit for big businesses and growing personal brands. Head over to porkbun.com for a refreshing take on the domain industry, with the tools you need to showcase your skills. Along with finding superior products, you’re bound for a laugh or two. Enjoy, and huge thanks to Porkbun for supporting the channel. I just registered my new domain name for my upcoming online course at Porkbun, and I can’t wait to share that with you guys soon. So getting back to WordPress.com, I really would not recommend paying $300 a year for hosting when there are alternatives like Porkbun’s Easy WordPress hosting for a $120 a year.

Not to mention the fact that Porkbun offers a 15-day free trial with no strings attached, and they also have a monthly billing option for $12. You may be thinking that WordPress.com might be more reliable or just have better support because it just feels so official. But I can assure you the experience is just as good, if not better, at other web hosts. And I always recommend buying hosting month-to-month when you’re getting started so that way it’s easy to switch hosts if you aren’t having a good experience. Or you can cancel your hosting, if your business or blog doesn’t work out. Now, in fairness to WordPress.com, I need to give credit where credit is due. For $300 a year, they do give you 200 gigs of storage, which is pretty impressive when compared to other hosting plans that typically give you 10 to 20 gigabytes of storage.

However, WordPress itself, only takes a few hundred megabytes of space, so the only reason you would ever need more than 10 to 20 gigs of storage is if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos hosted directly on your WordPress website. And if you do require that type of storage, there are a number of workarounds.

Let’s take Amazon Web Services S3 storage solution. You could set this up to upload all your pictures and media from your WordPress site to be stored on AWS S3, instead of your main hosting account, and Amazon charges around $5 a month for 200 gigabytes of data storage. This is completely modular, as well, and you get billed down to the megabyte. So if you need 30 gigabytes of storage, 200 gigs or two terabytes of storage, a solution like this is infinitely scalable.

Hmm, let’s see, $10 a month for web hosting, $5 a month for 200 gigs of storage through Amazon, that puts us at $15 a month for the same amount of storage as the $25 a month plan at WordPress.com. WordPress.com also gives you 24/7 live-chat support, but I was unable to try it for myself as I don’t want to shell out $300 to try it. So in the end, should you use WordPress.com for your website? Well, I’d say if you’re wanting to use the free version, or if you’re looking for a basic blog, and that’s your only goal, to get a basic blog with your domain name, that’s simple and easy to use, I think the $4 a month plan can be a great option to connect your domain name and have that simplified, watered-down experience. One thing I wanna make clear is that this watered-down experience is proprietary to WordPress.com and you won’t find it elsewhere.

It’s a modified version of WordPress.org that isn’t part of WordPress itself, so that can be a blessing and a curse, depending on your needs. If you’re just looking for a carefree, easy interface to use for a basic blog, I actually think you’ll enjoy the experience at WordPress.com. It’s simpler than the normal WordPress interface, which can be a good thing if you don’t need plugins and third-party themes. However, if you’re building a website for your company, an eCommerce store, or anything beyond a bare bones, basic blog, I would highly recommend getting hosting elsewhere, such as from our sponsor, Porkbun.

Not only is there better value elsewhere, but you don’t have to be locked into a year and you can find a solution to fit your needs. Whether it’s simple hosting, complex hosting with staging environments and development environments, or renting a dedicated server, if that’s your thing. There’s a massive sea of options outside WordPress.com, and I encourage you to look around before making a decision on where to land. So what do you guys think of WordPress.com? Are you going to use it for your website? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Don’t Buy WRONG WordPress Theme!

When it comes to picking a WordPress theme, it may seem like you can just pick a theme that visually looks great, install it, and be on your very way with building the perfect WordPress website. That’s what I thought too when I started developing WordPress sites, but today, I’m gonna break down why the visual look is one of the last things you should consider when buying a WordPress theme. I know what you’re saying, “What do you mean? “I want site that looks clean and modern. “And that’s why you buy a WordPress theme. “You need one that looks great “and represents your brand well.” And that’s right.

But there’s a critical side to WordPress themes you may not think about, and that’s the backend. So if you just wanna know what WordPress themes I recommend, go ahead and check the description below. But let me take a second to explain why the WordPress theme you pick will have a huge effect on your entire website building experience and how it can be the difference between a great WordPress experience and a nightmare.

So at its core WordPress is a blogging platform. I know some will argue with me over this because WordPress has evolved greatly over the years. With the introduction of Gutenberg, it’s starting to feel more like a complete drag and drop website builder. But let’s be real, WordPress was structured with blogging in mind. And because of this, we have two main components of vanilla WordPress.

When I say vanilla WordPress, I’m talking about a fresh install of WordPress with no third party plugins and the default theme. When we install WordPress, we’ve got the Posts section and the Pages section. It’s really pretty simple. If you’re posting a blog, you go to the Post section. If you need to create a page on the website, you go to the Page section. So if you look at vanilla WordPress, you’re probably going, “Man, this is really simple.

“I can’t imagine how people make complex WordPress websites “with sliders, rich visuals, and complex layouts.” And that’s because any serious WordPress website uses a third party theme with its own backend and plugins that modify the WordPress editing experience. And that is why picking the right WordPress theme is critical. I’ve used some terrible backends before that make no sense, are very limiting and just make an overall terrible experience to use. Each theme usually comes with a different set of instructions to modify things like the global colors, logo on the menu, font size, et cetera.

So what’s my stance on picking themes? Focus on the backend editor and credibility of the theme developer first, then take a look at visuals. The WordPress theme should be seen as a framework for your website, a set of buttons, controls and layouts you can use to build your site, but more importantly, a backend for you to build your site. I’ll talk about this more later. But now I wanna highlight my three picks from my top WordPress themes. First, we’re looking at my new personal favorite, Salient. This theme is a best seller on Themeforest and for a good reason. First released in 2013, this theme has seen a lot of updates.

The developers are committed to making it the best WordPress theme on the planet. And it’s their one and only WordPress theme they currently offer on Themeforest. Just by looking at a demo of Salient, you’re sure to be impressed. Elements have a clean and modern feel, and there’s over 330 section templates to choose from. This right here is a big reason I fell in love with Salient. Most WordPress themes will let you import the demo sites, meaning they will import all of the demo pages, the full Home page, About page, Pricing page, et cetera. This gives you a good starting point and lets you modify the site as needed and make it your own.

However, Salient takes this a step further. They have modular section templates that you can mix and match to build your own page so you can pick and choose which sections to use. This lets you build a killer page without spending hours designing it from scratch. If you wanna design it from scratch, you can do that as well. Salient uses the WPBakery Page Builder plugin, which is my personal favorite plugin and where I’ve invested a lot of my time to learn how it works. Salient has a lot of flexible options for many layouts.

This was important to me when I was searching for a new theme, because I find that themes are often restrictive and don’t give you many options over how menus are structured. With Salient, you can do full screen menus, menu items centered, left-justified or right-justified and much more. The theme gives you a flexible Settings page to easily adjust fonts, colors, and blog post styling. Salient has a great set of documentation and tutorials and you can open support tickets to speak to their team for help if you can’t figure something out. At its $60 one-time price point, Salient is seriously a killer WordPress theme.

If you want a theme that is headache-free, reliable and has a lot of options, I highly recommend Salient. I’m using it to rebuild my app company website, and I’m really happy with the results so far.It includes the WPBakery Page Builder, has documentation and support, and has a lot of demos to import. As of the latest update, you also have access to Gem Blocks, which is the same concept from Salient where you can import sections of demo pages to assemble your own page with different pre-made modules. TheGem was originally released in 2016, and is one of seven themes offered by its developer. And if you like the design, I highly recommend checking it out. Last is gonna be an honorable mention and that’s Divi. Now first, I have to give a huge disclosure.

I haven’t used Divi for a website in years. It’s another mega theme that has been refined and redone for years and years. So it’s not even close to the theme it was when I used it back in the day. With that being said Divi is a flexible, powerful theme from Elegant Themes that uses their own proprietary page builder. Elegant Themes has been around for a long time, and they’re the first company I bought WordPress themes from when I first started playing around with it. I can’t say much about Divi, because it’s been years since I’ve used it. So I wanna be clear here. This isn’t a personal recommendation from me, I’m just mentioning it since it’s a popular, powerful theme that many people are happy with.

I would love to give it a shot and try it for a website. So if that’s something you wanna see, drop a comment below and I’ll consider making a review. So you might be surprised that I didn’t have more themes to recommend. But that’s because of what I mentioned earlier about why picking the right WordPress theme is so important. You see, I used to see WordPress themes by their demo pages. I would look for the perfect demo that exactly fit what I had in mind. I’d say oh, this is a great theme, it’s exactly what I’m looking for, the demo looks amazing. I buy it, then I would discover that the backend editor was absolutely atrocious.

Seriously, picking the wrong WordPress theme will cause you so much frustration. And if it’s your first time building a WordPress site it might make you never wanna use WordPress again. So I need to stress this. Do not judge a WordPress theme by its cover. Don’t look at the Demo page and say, “Oh, this is shiny and pretty, I need this theme.” Demos can look great, then when you see how horrifying or limiting the backend editor is, you’ll wanna quit. So what should you look for in a WordPress theme? Well, first you wanna find a theme that supports your preferred website builder plugin. I personally use and recommend WPBakery.

So I like to look for themes that include WPBakery and have tight integration with it. Salient and TheGem both check that box. I’m not telling you that WPBakery is the only option. Some of the big themes like Divi offer proprietary editors, and you may also see Elementor offered as well. This is all fine and dandy, but just make sure that if it’s a proprietary editor, it’s from a large theme developer that has sold many thousands of copies of the theme and people are happy. I’ve gone down the path so many times of buying a nice-looking theme with some cheap proprietary editor from a newer theme developer, and these always turn out to be the worst WordPress experiences. Once you have the page builder plugin narrowed down, look at how many people have bought the theme, what the reviews say, how detailed the documentation is, and what kinda support the theme developer offers. See if you’re actually able to find examples of real live websites that use the theme. How do they look?

Do they seem flexible? Would you want your site to look like that? When looking for a theme, my favorite place to search is themeforest.net. They have a huge selection, a lot of filters to narrow down supported website builder plugins, and some helpful stats like how many people have bought the theme, reviews, et cetera. And if you’re getting into freelance website building with WordPress, I’m gonna recommend that you just stick to one, maybe two, maybe three themes and that’s all you use. I used to make the mistake of having the client pick the theme, and guys don’t make that mistake, don’t tell your client, “Hey, just go to Themeforest, “send me a theme that looks nice, I’ll get it for you, “and I’ll put it on your site and I’ll build your site.”

Do not do that, that was the biggest mistake that I made and it cost me so many hours of headache, frustration and lost revenue. Really, you wanna stick to one to three WordPress themes that you know so well, you know like the back of your hand, and they’re super flexible, and you’ll get confident in how the theme works so you can actually build out a design and a layout for your client and say, “Hey, I got it.” They don’t even need to know what a theme is. Clients get confused by that. They don’t need to know what themes are or hosting is.

That’s why they hire you. So come up with one to three WordPress themes that you really know and love and you’re good at and then just put that on the client’s site, build the layout to their requirements, and they will be much happier just saying, “I give you money, you give me website.” Now you may be asking, “Why do I need to buy a WordPress theme at all? “Can’t I use one of the many free ones “in the Themes section of WordPress?” And you definitely can. It’s really a you get what you pay for situation. If you’re making a basic blog and you don’t need rich hero sections or homepage elements, I think you can reasonably get by with a free theme. If you’re wanting to build a quality website for your brand, a free theme will probably be too limiting for your needs.

They’re often just a lite version of a paid theme. And you can easily get suckered into upgrading to the paid version because you’ve already built half of the site using the free version, if you really want the full functionality. You then didn’t have an opportunity to research the theme reputation, features, documentation or anything else, but you just spent money on it to avoid having to start over and build the site again. This usually ends up being a frustrating WordPress experience, so I can’t stress this enough, pick the theme for your site carefully.

Don’t lose sleep over it and don’t make it rocket science, but make sure you know what you’re looking for. Do your research and you’ll have an awesome WordPress experience. Speaking of having an awesome WordPress experience, how would you like to have a step by step tutorial for building your WordPress website from start to finish? I’m talking where to buy your domain, which web host is right for you? How to set up WordPress on a variety of web hosts?

And every detail to build a great WordPress website from start to finish. I’m in the process of making my comprehensive WordPress online course, and you can sign up in the description below to be notified when it goes live later this year. You’ll get the opportunity to purchase the course outright at $19. That’s one time, no ads, no upsells, no just any kind of scaminess. $19 one time, that’s it. If that sounds interesting to you hit up the link in the description below and join the list. So what’s your favorite WordPress theme? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.