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My Latest Articles

Step into the mind of a long-time developer, long-time server manager, and full-time geek 🙂

Like most good hosting support folks, security tops the list of my priorities. While a good firewall, and true Web Application Firewall are the best means for helping with this, sometimes shared hosting services will not change the configurations they have in place to support the necessary security for a Wordpress website. In steps the iThemes Security plugin. iThemes acts like a WAF, in that it can detect (via a vast network) bad bots, known hackers, and most known vulnerabilities in Wordpress. I will lay out what I use on all of the sites I manage hosting for (note, this number as of today, is in the thousands), as well as enabling the necessary configuration needed to allow iThemes to do it's thing when you…

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Wow!  It's been a little while since I have had the time to post another article.   Well, here I am again, back at it. This time, I will show you an optimal way to keep your site secure utilizing a bit of nginx configuration.  You will need to do some work before implementing this, so please do not attempt to simply copy/paste this and expect it to work out of the box. # Default security headers add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains; preload"; # enable, cache, and preload subdomains add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN" always; # generally only allow SAMEORIGIN frame sources add_header X-Xss-Protection "1; mode=block"; # protect against Cross-Site Scripting add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always; # no sniffing allowed! add_header Referrer-Policy "strict-origin"; # protect agains cross-linking add_header X-Download-Options "noopen";…

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Many people think securing a website with SSL (SSL encryption) is necessary only if they’re selling products or services via their website and collecting credit card or payment information. What many website owners do not realize is that SSL encryption has other very important benefits for small business owners. To understand the benefits of having an SSL certificate installed for your website, it helps to understand what SSL is and actually does. What exactly is SSL encryption? SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is an encryption technology that creates a secure connection between your website’s server and your website visitor’s web browser. This allows for information to be protected during transmission between the two. Without SSL encryption any computer could intercept the transmission from…

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In part I, I walked you through my server setup to achieve a 1 second load time for my site.  It is a Wordpress site, with a custom theme I developed. I gandered at the possibility of by-passing Wordpress's front-end engine, however, I found myself needing some of the built-in functionality Wordpress offers.  Items like custom posts, pages, and even posts are simple sql queries, however; widgets, shortcodes, and most plugins then become unavailable. So, I delved into the realm of research and found Wordpress core functionality offered the functionality I required, with very little performance hit; so I decided to simply extend some memcached functionality when pulling my pages/posts/widget/etc... The only thing I found that I lost was time, and in the end drastically improved the…

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I have successfully managed to get under a 1 second load time on my Wordpress site, While getting 250 concurrent users over a 1 minute test period.  (Source: https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.westernmasshosting.com/I858GlQs & https://loader.io/tests/f3cb1673bbecf7176954d39be612f838) This was done with a combination of items, stemming from the server install up to Wordpress theme development.  Here is how I did it, so maybe you can too. Server Setup Here we will start from the ground up.  Items you will need: VirtualBox, Ubuntu 16.04 64b Server ISO, Time My virtual machine is setup with 4G of RAM, using 2 CPU's, with 80G SSD, and a Bridged Networking adapter Boot to the ISO, and start the installation process.  Everything can be setup how you wish, however, I custom partitioned, as well as, only…

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