Password Protected Pages in Divi

On many Home-Start sites, and some of the regional charity websites I have included one or more password based pages. You can add these yourself, it is controlled in the editing view of the page or post on the right handside where it refers to Visibility. You have the following available:

  • Public
  • Public (and stick to the front page)
  • Password Protected 
  • Private

Items are normally set up as Public. If you use Public and stick to the front page, check what it does first. It may not work as you expect it to work because it relates to the template. 

Password protected pages in Divi

There is an annoying problem with password protected pages in Divi, if you try to enter one the first time you will see small writing on the left and a button on the right. On a wide screen these look totally disconnected, and not obvious. If you have a non Divi based website, you are unaffected. 

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Google Recaptcha version 2

Personally I use Chrome for most of the work I do from a computer. I may use MS Edge (rarely) or Firefox to test outside of the Google Chrome environment. While doing some of that testing I was surprised to see that it can be difficult to enter some information to get past this Google Recaptcha 2 screen below.

Sometimes I have had to go through 3 iterations to get through. I have noted in Continue reading Google Recaptcha version 2Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Check your contact forms

Some time ago I mentioned that my preferred form manager of choice had been withdrawn from the WordPress plugin library. This plugin was called FS Contact Form. At the time I had not found a suitable replacement that did everything that the FS Contact Form manager did. I have resolved that now. If you have it in your installation you can check in the plugins page, or check under Settings. If you can see FS Contact Form you have it on your website.  If you can see Contact Manager in your plugins list that is even older. Also should be replaced.

There has been one instance where the FS Contact Manager plugin had stopped working. I am not sure why, it could have been related to another plugin conflicting with it. I want to encourage all of you to test your forms once per month by sending a message to yourself.  That way you can be sure it is working. Continue reading Check your contact formsFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Bug in Apple iOS

This problem may go away shortly, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. In some cases I have been moving away from Fast Secure Contact form because it is no longer supported, and has been removed from the WordPress plugin list. It is however still one of the best form managers around. I have been searching for something equivalent.

I found Contact Form 7 which is also very popular, and started to use it. I have found some enhancements so that it can do most of what Fast Secure Contact form did, but it is not a 1:1 replacement.

I found out that while it worked perfectly on IE, Edge, Firefox and Chrome, not all aspects of the form was working for Apple devices if there was an attachment for the form, or the recaptcha function (reduces spam) was present it behaved inconsistently. I made an enquiry with the plugin author and found out there is a problem with WebKit which is used in Apple’s iOS. I expect it will be fixed very shortly, in fact I noticed my iPhone has an update pending right now.

One of the symptoms was that if there was the ability add an attachment you could not send the form if you were using an iPhone or Safari (web browser on Mac devices). In another case I found that after posting a message into the form (where the form subsequently presented some new information in the form area), the screen jumped to the top of page. If the form was not visible within the screen area then you would not see the message.

Do check your forms

I recommend testing your forms at least once a month to make sure they are working. There is no reason why they should stop working, but there have been cases where that has happened due to some other problem in the website. Also check them on a mobile device to make sure that works as well. It is good insurance.

If you find a problem, please let me know immediately.  If your site is using an SMTP plugin, then there will be a mailbox associated with anything sent from the website. You can check that to see if there are any bounce back messages in there. These often indicate whether there is a problem or not.

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Do You Send Newsletters?

New recommendations for Newsletters

Some of you are using Mailpoet on your websites to generate newsletters. I have run into a lot of problems sending out my newsletter this month, I have had to send it three times. I checked through my logs and found that a very small number came out last month as well. I have been investigating what has happened.  The top two entries in the image below show there is a problem because rather than a 65%+  opening rate, there is a 4% opening rate.

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New Guidance on Contact Forms

On many sites there are one of two contact forms used, one is called Form Manager (generally very old sites) and the other is called FS Contact Form. Neither of these form handlers are available now through the WordPress repository. Neither of them are supported any more by their authors. It is very much in your interests to replace them.

I am recommending the removal of the existing contact forms on all websites and replacement with Contact Form 7 and another plugin called Contact Form Redirection.

Both of these are supported contact forms and have current versions compatible with WordPress version 4.9.5.

By using these two plugins it will be possible to achieve the following:

  • Contact Form similar in appearance to your current form
  • Ability to upload an attachment
  • Supports Google Recaptcha version 2.00 (to reduce spam).
  • On screen message to sender to confirm message has been sent
  • Redirection to a Thank You page
  • Ability to format the message that is returned to your organisation
  • Send a copy of the submitted message to the author to confirm submission

It can probably do many more things, but these are a superset of what we are currently supporting on the most advanced sites.

The downside is Contact Form 7 is not that intuitive to use if you are a novice user compared to the former versions. However it is one of the most popular plugins for managing user forms.

Contact me if you need some help. Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

IP Geolocation and why it may be important

I frequently use something called IP Geolocation to find out where a user is located for forms, enquiries, or any log evidence of someone doing something to try to establish if they are who they say they are.

It does not work 100% but I would say it works in 99% of cases. The router or gateway you use that your network/ computer is plugged into has an address allocated to it by your service provider (BT, Talk Talk, NTL, etc). For most of us the IP address changes from time to time and is referred to as dynamic. They do this to make sure it is hard to run your own web server from home. If and when you reset your router, when it comes back online it will likely have a new IP address. You can find out what your IP address is by clicking on this link. Continue reading IP Geolocation and why it may be importantFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

More on Fast Secure Contact Form

Many of the newer sites use Fast Secure Contact form. This plugin was withdrawn last weekend following the discovery that someone who had acquired it had attempted to manipulate it to show adverts for payday loans and other things. In this case it never got to the stage where it showed adverts, and everyone that has come back to me has confirmed their site has been upgraded to remove the advertising (or spamvertising as it seems to be called) code.

This is a great shame because the original plugin by Mike Challis worked really well and had a few side benefits from the earlier form manager I used about 6 years ago.

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Ajax Event Calendar no longer supported

Over the past month I have found out that the Ajax Event Calendar is no longer available and no longer supported by the author.

If your site uses this plugin you may continue to use it unless we find a reason not to, such as a vulnerability has been found in it.

How do I know if I have Ajax Event Calendar installed?

It looks similar to this one below from a users point of view:

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Electronic Forms

Using Google Sheets for online forms

form-elements

I have been looking at using Google Docs which are a set of online web based applications. Currently you can create forms, spread sheets, presentations and text based documents online. They do not offer everything that is available with MS Office however they offer greater flexibility to website users because you do not need to have MS Office installed on your computer or device.

You can download a PDF version here.

The main problem is that if you have a moderately complex form it will generally mean it has to be presented in one of the following formats:

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