CloudFlare + Favorite self-hosted WordPress software and plug-ins

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

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Today I’ll be talking about my favorite WordPress software and plug-ins.

For clients, I recommend to embrace:

CloudFlare

Here’s a new free service worth trying out – CloudFlare. The basic service is free and it protects you from bad bods and spammers. It also caches pages for you, in servers around the world.

Here’s some articles testing it:

XXX is one of the few hosting companies working with this and the basic CloudFlare service costs us nothing. CloudFlare has servers around the world, which helps better serve out international audience. I’ll been testing it for a client and it works great. XXX also has mod_security installed, so this acts as the second line of defense.

There’s also an Apache module (i.e. mod_cloudflare) and a WordPress plug-in available.

Caching of WordPress Pages

I initially installed W3 Total Cache and tried testing it. After reviewing the article at W3 Total Cache versus WP Super Cache , I went back to WP Super Cache and disabled W3 Total cache.

To get W3 Total Cache to work, you need Memcatched or APC. Unfortunately, you need an account with Unix root access to install them.

Actually, the combination of WP Super Cache and DB Cache Reloaded works just as good as W3 Total Cache. W3 Total Cache – according to the article – requires supporting software not available on most hosting accounts. All you really need to do is cache the pages and database queries.

SPAM Control

Akismet is a solution that WordPress offers.

  • Somewhere they mentioned that it is succeeds 90% of the time. That means that it has a 10% error ratio of returning false positions.
  • Mollon is another service, but it has a build in recaptcha challenge, in case it detects spam. It claims only 2% of legitimate users will be issued a recaptcha challenge.
    Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...

    Image via Wikipedia

See How Mollom Works How Mollom works

Fortunately, there’s a plug-in to add recaptcha to Akismet. It’s called Conditional Captcha. There’s an option to insert a Google Recaptcha, which I highly endorse.

  • Akismet is probably better than Mollon – at least, it gets more stars in the WordPress plug-in community.
  • If you need a captcha challenge, then Google is your best choice

I have a philosophy I called layered filtering.  My client’s software security and spam hierarchy operates in the following order:

I would look at the plug-in Secure WordPress (Secure WordPress). Recently, this has passed from the developer to a company.

So if a comment is flagged as SPAM by Akismet (i.e. 5th level down), via a plug-in, the spam bot has 10 minutes to solve the Google recaptcha and prove they are human.


What spammers write about

For one client, I looked at the track back and the golfing article is in an article repository on nuclear secrets and nuclear submarines. Maybe it has something to do with golf, but I can’t see the connection – so I accepted the Akismet spam recommendation.

SEO

Most SEO is built into theme templates, like Genesis and Thesis. But a good SEO plug-in I like is WordPress SEO (WordPress SEO).

Mobile and Backup

I recommend Mobile Detector (Mobile Detector) for WordPress mobile and ADrive (ADrive) for remote FTP backup.

Analytics

There’s analytics aplenty here, with the setup I describe. 

  • CloudFlare offers statistics.
  • There’s mobile statistics with Mobile Detector and Google Analytics.  
  • XXX offers log analyzer stats via AWStats (my preference) and Webalizer.
  • For WordPress, there is wordpress.com stats and Google Analytics. I would also look at the Woopra system (Woopra) and its corresponding WordPress plug-in.

There are two items to remember with web analytics:

  1. The free commercial packages limit your log size.
  2. Packages hosted on your web server eat up system resources.

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3 Responses

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