Get the Most out of WordPress

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Valuable Plugins and Resources for WP Installations

Open-source blogging platform, WordPress, relies on having a stable, reliable host much like running any Web software application. And while there are only a few recommended Web hosting companies listed on the WordPress.org website, there are thousands of potential providers. Thanks to the extensibility of WordPress though, bloggers can step it up a notch and leverage one of the many plugins available.

Many plugins are available that ensure bloggers get the most from their installations; from those that help reduce the amount of bandwidth and disk space consumed, to those helping to control user experience as well as keeping track of important hosting related metrics. The following plugins are a few such examples that will help you get the most from your WordPress installation.

The Dreamhost Shared Hosting CPU Usage (DHSHCU) plugin enables bloggers to easily track CPU Usage of their Wordpress powered blog. The plugin retrieves a file from DreamHost with the CPU Usage and inputs it to the WordPress database to display the last seven days collected. Another option for tracking your Web host and its WP install is the Hosting Monitor plugin by WebHostingSearch.com which displays vital system information (uptime, load averages and current users), hardware information (Cache size and CPU speed) and memory usage.

Yejun Yang’s My CDN plugin enables bloggers to offload JavaScript, CSS and theme files to their own CDN network. It is important to note this plugin only handles URL rewriting not actual file transferring but is useful because it supports excluding certain URL patterns, with multiple destination URLs, to increase page loading speed. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the My CDN plugin is it works well out of the box with SimpleCDN’s Mirror bucket and Amazon CloudFront.

Another option is Joe Tan’s Amazon S3 plugin, which allows bloggers to use Amazon’s Simple Store Service (Amazon S3) to host media. Bloggers need an S3 account, a WP installation and run PHP5 on their server. From there bloggers can browse hosted files, upload new files and create new folders without leaving the WordPress edit screen.

For bloggers who are interested in reducing costs by lowering bandwidth fees, then a simple plugin like WP Super Cache is ideal. The plugin generates static HTML files from dynamic Word- Press blog pages. After an HTML file is generated, your Web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.

When Web users clamor for your blog content, more demands are placed on your server. Being able to control what users can see is a valuable power to yield, and using plugins such as the IP Host Blocker and Restrict Login By IP do the job nicely. IP Host Blocker lets bloggers redirect unlogged-in users depending on which IP they are coming from. For example, redirect all users from a certain proxy to the login page or a customized page, making anonymous visits from that proxy impossible. Plugins that monitor and control activity coming from certain IP addresses do so by modifying the htaccess file, either limiting control or redirecting users to custom messages.

While WordPress provides a reliable and easy to use platform out of the open-source box, its ability to be extended with the use of plugins can make every install a powerful way to control costs and improve engagement with users.


Great Hosting, Great WordPress
If you’re only interested in testing the blogging waters, you should probably consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com. For those who want a little more from their blogging experience, WordPress does recommend a few providers. Since one of the decision points will ultimately be cost, below you’ll find information on the best values of the offerings provided. Keep in mind the more you expect from your hosting provider, the more you’ll ultimately pay for additional disk space, bandwidth, databases, e-mail accounts, etc.

  • DreamHost ($6.95/mo)
  • MediaTemple ($20/mo)
  • GoDaddy ($4.95/mo)
  • JustHost ($3.95/mo)
  • Laughing Squid ($8/mo)

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07-15-2009 1:40 PM

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