Have I been Pwned?

No that was not a typo. There is a website that has access to data breach information. It is not clear whether it lists all data breaches in the public domain, or a select few of them. The website asks you to enter an email address into the site, it will check through the information it holds and will respond if a match is found. 

I tried one of mine and it returned several results indicating that my email address and an associated password to access an online account is in public circulation. It also shows if your email address is in spam lists as well. 

I have seen two sets of results on data breaches, one indicated your email address exists in a list somewhere that is in circulation, (typically a junk mailing list). You cannot do anything about this. The other case tells you the website and your email AND a password is in circulation. In the latter case you should be concerned about it if you were previously unaware. 

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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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Get a bear

I am adding a link behind this image at the bottom of new sites. Admin’s can click on it to go to a special admin page.

This is especially for Divi based websites. I have revised my training for new websites, and am now running the training for Divi based sites within the template environment. My tutorial is based on an ordinary post or page layout. 

If you think it will be helpful, I can add a special private page and post to your website. These can only be seen by an administrator who is logged into the site, the general visitor cannot see them. 

The Admin page has a general description on the relevance of Sections, Rows and Columns; these are elements within the Divi Template. It also talks about the differences between pages and posts.  There is a section with links back to my training videos and other education resources. 

I also include a Template Post which has guidance built into it to help you to remember what to do. It is explained at a very detailed level, and I would anticipate it would help to ensure you cover every step.  I also include a guide built into the website as well. The guide includes screenshots. You can see a copy here. 

Access to this area is through a small bear in the footer of your website. Or for those of you with more adult rather than family content I can use a different icon. The point being you click on it when you are logged in and it takes you to the Admin page with all of the tips on. 

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Featured Image Posts in Divi

If you have a Divi website there have been quite a few changes to the template and organisational structure. On new sites I have created a template which can be loaded by the editor. The template contains the instructions and tips on what you need to do to create your news item. 

The guidance is all built in for you. You delete the guidance before publishing. 

It makes it all a bit easier, and will help you to achieve consistency, because you don’t do the editing on the site all of the time. I have also created a cheat sheet which contains the steps in more detail and screen shots. You can download it here:

If you want a template added to your Divi based site to help you, drop me a line, and I will make some additional changes to the way the blog or news sections work to make them more interesting to view. 

Other Divi Resources

The downloadable link below is for a PPT presentation in PDF format which explains how the layout features in Divi work. You may find this useful as well. 



Following my offer to review and upgrade sites to provide improved security for GDPR (see this item) and the inclusion of a Privacy Statement or Policy from the organisation I have modified 17 sites out of 130 sites.

Many organisations do not appear to have done anything, and one could argue after the GDPR deadline, not much has happened. If you have not taken any action, I would encourage you to do so. Most of GDPR applies to what you do behind the scenes in your internal operations. I cannot help you there. But there are parts that can affect your website which I can help you with.

Contact me for more help.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Need a Facelift?

The past three months have been very busy at my end handling GDPR requests and building three new sites.

This is a reminder for those of you with older sites that upgrades and facelifts are available, please contact me to find out more.  You can click on the images below or follow the provided links to view the sites.

Parkinson’s Aylesbury

Nearing completion, started in May of this year. This is my fifth website for Parkinson’s groups around the UK. This one was built from scratch working closely with the organisation. Continue reading Need a Facelift?Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Gutenberg is coming

WordPress version 5 is due out over the next couple of months, probably within a month. You may be unaware that when WordPress updates it often introduces new functionality.

New editor is coming

We are currently on version 4.9, and the move to version 5 is likely to cause a stir in the community. For the past year the WordPress users community has been complaining about a new proposed editor called Gutenberg. It has been under test for around 1yr, possibly longer.

The current editor in use in WordPress is very simple, and has been around for years. It is called TinyMCE. Gutenberg offers the possibility of taking greater control over the layout space with the ability to create blocks, and add in specific types of media. This level of complexity is possibly a step closer to what the Elegant Themes Divi template does now. Continue reading Gutenberg is comingFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Google Maps behaviour

In June of this year Google changed the map service (and many other services as well) which we use on our websites. For most of you  it does not make too much difference, in some cases however you may see grey screens where a map should be present, or comments over a map. If you see this let me know please.

It depends on whether the plugins in use on your site are using a Google API (Application Programming Interface), these now require keys to be generated. That is not such a problem, but now you cannot create them without the key being assigned to an account with a credit or debit card assigned to it.

The following is from a Google Developers website, note the text in the orange section below:

Click on the image to see a larger version

You can view the page with this and other info on here.

The mapping information used to be free and very useful. It is still free provided the number of calls (aka visitors) to the map does not exceed a credit limit which is being provided by Google. I am understandably not happy about having my credit card associated with your site in this way because I have no control over it. At the moment each call to create a map is 0.7cents (USD) which equates currently to 28,000 views per month.

It looks as though Google is offering a £100 credit, or $200 depending on where you look on the API type on each account. I need to figure out how to manage that so that the number of calls never exceeds £100 in any billing period otherwise I start to get charged.

I guess Google have placed a lot of time and money in the development of the APIs and now they have us all hooked they are choosing to monetise them, which is not so surprising.

In some cases I have embedded maps into your websites, and in others they are generated through plugins such as Modern Tribe Calendar. Check them and if there is a problem let me know.

There is a risk that the credit being offered by Google is just a transition to full billing in the future. Time will tell.

Right now, I am looking at this problem in detail on new developments. So more to follow later when I have figured it out.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

News Round Up for June 2018

GDPR preparation and support have taken up a lot of my time over the past month. If anyone needs help let me know. I have upgraded around 12% of the sites I am looking after, some people have done it themselves. Looking around generally there seems to be a very wide interpretation of what is needed on a site in terms of privacy statements.

What many do not seem to realise, is it is more about your internal processes and getting those in shape to meet the requirements of GDPR and any privacy statement you publish. It is not simply a case of updating and publishing a Privacy Statement, especially if you have not carried out a Privacy Impact Assessment, or documented your processes in alignment with your policy.

There still seems to be a lot of small organisations that have not done anything yet.

Technical Support Enquiries

I have now reached over 200 support tickets raised with the hosting company in a little over a year. There are a few things worth noting, I am not sure whether they are wholly new, the hosting company are getting better and keeping people informed, but there were a few surprises for me over the past 4 weeks.

Some of these are important if you manage the control panel interface, and set up email accounts. If your email is with an external provider they will not be relevant to you.

1). All web interfaces to email boxes now have the ability for the email owner to set or reset their password. Caution though, poor passwords should be discouraged. But it means that once an email account has been set up the user can change their password to one of their own choosing.

2). Out of Office (Responder) is also now available to all users through the web interface for email. Because an out of office responder works from the server, this is the way to reach it through https://stackmail.com, or through the control panel. The user interface is very simple. The last thing anyone needs to do before they go on vacation is go into their webmail, locate Settings and look for Responder. Add a subject line, add some content, add a forwarder (or forwarders) to redirect any email that comes in. As soon as it is saved it becomes active within 30 minutes and will remain active until it is turned off. So as soon as anyone returns from their extended absence, go back in and turn it off first before they do anything else.

3). All new email accounts are defaulted to send only 50 emails a day for the first week. After the first week they revert to 200/hr. I was unaware of this. The reason is to stop people abusing the system and sending junk mails on new accounts. It is possible to override this. If you need it overridden tell me what the email address is and I will raise a support ticket on it and get the restriction cleared.

Something off the wall

Apart from technology, I have two other passions, one is photography, the other is music. I know that many of you hold fundraising events with bands, so I am offering you a band for your event. Obviously the venue would need to be a reasonable distance away, and none of us are full time musicians, but the offer is there if you are interested. Below is a video sequence with clips from 12 rock numbers the band Over Time debuted at a recent event in my local village.  I am playing bass and as my wife told me inappropriately dressed as an Australian Sheep Farmer, and not a rock musician at all.  Anyway we are open to gigging opportunities if anyone is interested.

Put your cursor over the image below and click on the play button. Do note however if you are in a quiet office it is loud, and it is rock music!

It is also available in full HD if you go to here (15 minutes)

The full 1hr set is also available here if you want to skip through.

Adobe Stock Images

If you have any promotions going on and need some stock images for your website I have a surplus at the moment, so let me know. I can provide a couple for free if you need them.

There are millions to choose from, and they can make the difference between an amateur and professional promotion. Drop me a line if you want one, let me know the reference number for it. You can view the available images by going to here:  https://stock.adobe.com/uk/ (opens in a new window). You can put your search terms into the box and it will return related images.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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