Intro to Web Development Course (Free)

Accessibility

Recently Web Services has been working with Credit Union staff who are aspiring web developers.  It’s great seeing our clients get more tech savvy.

This particular article came across my news feed this week and I wanted to share it.  It looks like a good set of fundamentals for what a web professional does every day.

I have not read the entire series (it’s pretty long), but I definitely like the metaphor describing what is being taught in this series:

Creating a website is like building a house.  You need tools:  your editor, your browsers, your command line.  You need building materials: HTML language.  And then you want to make it look nice:  CSS, JavaScript and Images.  (From the Overview).

Check out this series.  It will give you some insight into what we do every day as web developers, or if you are an aspiring developer, it’s a nice series to get your started on the basics.

Intro to Web Development by Brian Holt

All Hosted WordPress sites Updated to Latest 5.3 release

WordPress

As part of your WordPress Managed hosting with CU*Answers Web Services, we have automatically updated all websites to the latest WordPress 5.3 release.  This helps keeps your website secure and tracking along with the other system level components.  CU*Answers Web Services regularly updates your WordPress core and plugin files.

With WordPress 5.3 you will notice cosmetic updates to the WordPress Dashboard, including some changes that improve accessibility.  Other notable improvements are updates to the Gutenberg editor (which we’re exploring with a few clients) and large image handling.  The large image handling will certainly help some client website’s performance if they are unable to optimize their banner images before uploading.

For more behind the scenes details, check out WP Tavern’s coverage of WordPress 5.3.

DNS Crash Course for Web Developers

Connecting the Internet Graphic

The Domain Name System (DNS) can be confusing.  It’s the phonebook of the Internet and what maps friendly human names (like cuanswers.com) to their actual Internet addresses (IP address) like 216.206.109.129.  To get your website actually online, you need to register your domain name with a Registrar and then set up DNS to point the domain to your web hosting provider.  You have to keep all these pieces wired up correctly and don’t forget your email services too.  DNS is the glue that binds it all together.

Here’s an 10 part Twitter thread that offers a quick crash course on what the parts of DNS are and why you need them.

 

Chris Achard on Twitter: “Confused by DNS Records? A, CNAME, ALIAS… Me too 😬 Let’s change that! (cheatsheet at the end) 🔥 DNS Record crash course for web developers 👇” / Twitter

Take a look.

One-third of the web!

WordPress

You know we love WordPress.  Even though it was a few years ago, it feels like just yesterday we were celebrating that WordPress powers over a quarter of the websites on the web.

Well, just this month, WordPress is reporting (via W3Techs) that WordPress now powers over 1/3rd of the top 10 million sites on the web.

Check out the article.  It’s pretty amazing to read about the growth of WordPress.

18 Email Safety Tips Every User Should Know

We just published this article on CU*Secure.org for your members, but this article from MDaemon Blog is a great list of tips for all email users.

Email security isn’t just the email provider or administrator’s responsibility. It’s everybody’s responsibility. While the mail server’s administrator may have tools to help block spam, phishing and other malware, they can’t stop or prevent everything. As the mail server’s tools get better, the bad guys just up their game.

Are you educating your email users about safety and security?

We’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of spam being sent to our clients as well as an increase in the number of drive-by scans on the server.  It’s important that everyone remains aware and security conscious.

Check out these tips on the MDaemon Blog.  Share them with your fellow email users.

 

Ways We Set Our Clients Up for WordPress Success

Speckboy Web Design Magazine released an interesting article entitled “Ways to Set Yourself Up for a WordPress Disaster”.

We love WordPress. We believe in supporting open source software and the WordPress platform has proven to be a worthy tool for rapid website development. Its content management system base allows for our clients to be able to take control of their site without needing to become developers themselves. With that said, as seasoned WordPress developers and WordPress host, we have a good understanding of the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Here’s how we set your website up for WordPress success:

We Use Plugins Sparingly

We know that WordPress has the advantage in that it has an active developer community. So, there are many plugins to choose from that will extend the functionality of a website as needed. However, sometimes, those plugins present security holes if they aren’t updated frequently. Sometimes, the plugin code conflicts with the theme or other plugins and therefore the site breaks.

Our solution is to build the site with everything our client needs to effectively manage their content. Plugins are great for adding very complex functionality but for simple features, adding a plugin is overkill.

We Don’t use Stock Themes

Stock themes or premium themes are typically built with a wide array of target audiences in mind. We custom build our themes specific to the client we are building for. We build your site specific to your vision and your needs.

We Backup Often

For the client sites that we also host, we have a strict backup and maintenance schedule. We do not take chances with our clients’ websites.

We Take Every Security Precaution

If your site is hosted by CU*Answers Web Services, then you can rest easy. We have several layers of security protection from your website all the way up to the server and network.

We’re Proactive

We have our clients on a weekly maintenance schedule, where the WordPress core, along with plugins and themes are updated. We also stay alert to any critical security updates that may fall outside our weekly maintenance schedule, so that we can get everyone up to date.