Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison)

Are you thinking of starting an online store? Not sure whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce? These are the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the market with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will compare Shopify vs WooCommerce to help… Read More »

The post Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you thinking of starting an online store? Not sure whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce? These are the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the market with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will compare Shopify vs WooCommerce to help you decide the best option for you.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Since this is a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce, here’s a quick table of content:

Overview: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Before we start with our in-depth comparison of the two most popular eCommerce platforms on the web, it’s important that we cover the basics and highlight what makes these platform stand out.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.

The decision to choose between the two platforms depend entirely on your needs and skill level.

What to Look for in Your eCommerce Platform?

There are few things that you absolutely need to keep in mind when starting an online store. These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.

  • Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners.
  • Payment Methods – It should have support for multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
  • Integrations – Number of services and third party tools you can integrate to grow your business.
  • Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows.

These are the very basic requirements that all online store owners must consider. However depending on your need, you may also want to look at other options like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, etc.

Our goal with this article is to take an in-depth look at how Shopify and WooCommerce stand on these basic requirements, and which one of them is best suited for your needs.

Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Cost is often the most important consideration for eCommerce website owners. You need to evaluate the cost of getting started while also keeping in mind the variable costs for add-on services and software.

The true cost of using Shopify

Shopify makes it super easy to start your online store. Their basic plan starts at $29 per month, and you can upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79 or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month.

Shopify pricing

Each of these plans include domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting.

The basic plan comes with enough features to setup a new online store. You can add unlimited products, 2 user accounts, unlimited file storage, and more.

However, this pricing doesn’t include third-party tools and addons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level. As your business grows, these costs will start adding up, and you’ll soon be paying a lot more than the basic plan.

Payments are another factor that affects your costs. Shopify offers their own Shopify Payments solution which costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

If you want to use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account, then you will be charged a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions. You can reduce this fee to 0.5% by using the Shopify Advanced plan which costs $299 per month.

These payment processing fees are fairly steep when using external payment gateways. However if you’re just starting out and want to use the Shopify payment solution, then the fees are fairly comparable to popular platforms like Stripe and Braintree.

The true cost of using WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress). It is open source and freely available as a WordPress plugin.

However, you’ll need a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start a WooCommerce store.

Typically, a domain name costs $14.99, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month. This is not cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.

Thankfully, there are several hosting companies who are now offering specialized WooCommerce hosting plans which significantly reduces the cost.

Getting started with WooCommerce

Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.

This will help you start your online store for as low as $6.95 / month.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

As you can see, the cost of starting a basic WooCommerce store is significantly lower than Shopify. WooCommerce also doesn’t charge you a percentage fee of your transactions which is a very nice perk.

But the WooCommerce costs start adding up as you purchase paid extensions. Your hosting costs will also increase as your online store grows.

However, one clear advantage of using WooCommerce is that you can often find free alternatives to the paid extensions. You can also keep your costs in control by only purchasing the tools and plugins as you need them.

With the amount of free themes and free addons available for WooCommerce, it’s definitely the winner when it comes to cost.

Winner: WooCommerce

Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Most users starting an online store are not web designers or developers. Even users who are familiar with basic concepts need a platform that is easy to use and gets out of their way.

Let’s see how Shopify and WooCommerce stack up in terms of user friendliness.

Shopify – Ease of Use

Shopify is a fully hosted platform which means you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also don’t need to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues.

As soon as you sign up, it helps you pick a design for your website. After that, they walk you through customization, and then help you add products.

Shopify customization

Shopify comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface. Managing your products, sales, and inventory inside Shopify is a breeze.

One downside of this guided, polished, and highly optimized user experience is that it limits your control. You can only use the design and development tools provided by Shopify or addons available in their marketplace.

However, this is not as bad as it sounds. For most users, the large selection of extensions and themes available in Shopify, is more than enough to get started and grow your online store.

WooCommerce – Ease of Use

WooCommerce is not a hosted platform like Shopify. This means you will need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups, and make sure that your website is secure. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you.

WooCommerce setup wizard

WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations. You have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 50,000+ WordPress plugins. However, there is no built-in drag & drop design builder. You can use one of the WordPress page builders like Beaver Builder, but it adds to your cost.

The biggest downside of the flexibility is that it comes with a learning curve and requires a more hands-on management of your website. You also have to signup for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe / PayPal. While the WooCommerce guided setup wizard is helpful, it does not come close to the onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

Payment Methods: Shopify vs WooCommerce

There are many payment gateways that you can use to accept payments online. Some payment methods may not be suitable for you, and others may not be available to your customers.

This is why it’s important that the platform you choose offer multiple payment options. Let’s take a look at how Shopify and WooCommerce compare when it comes to payment integrations.

Payment Options in Shopify

Shopify offers plenty of payment options that you can use to receive payments from customers. It has its own payments solutions called Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) as well as all popular third party payment gateways.

Shopify Payments

The problem is that Shopify charges an extra 2% fees on each transaction made through third party payment gateways. This is on top of the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway. You can reduce the fee to 0.5% by paying $299 per month for Advanced Shopify plan.

Shopify Payments has flat credit card fees, but no other transaction fees. Credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢ for basic plan and get lower for other plans.

Payment Options in WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. It also supports all other popular payment service providers through add-ons.

WooCommerce payment methods

For payment gateways, WooCommerce even has support for many regional and less popular payment services. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.

As a self hosted platform, you are only charged transaction fees by your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce never charges you a % fee on your store transactions which is a major plus.

If choosing your own merchant account and using a third-party gateway is important for you, then you will save A LOT of money by using WooCommerce. But if you’re a small store and willing to use Shopify Payments which has the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, then it makes no difference.

Winner: Tie

Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs WooCommerce

No matter how robust an ecommerce platform is, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your store. For example, an email marketing software, lead generation tool, analytics tools, outreach services, etc.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a massive extensions directory, and they integrate with many third-party services.

Shopify Add-ons and Integrations

Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third party addons for your Shopify store. They have hundreds of apps in the store covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store.

Shopify App Store

For lead generation, they have integrations with software like OptinMonster which helps you grow your email list and reduce cart abandonment. They have apps for SEO, product reviews, discounts, countdowns, and more.

Shopify’s app store contains both free and paid apps. Free apps are usually created by third party services that have their own pricing, and the app only integrates your store to their APIs. Pricing for paid addons varies and most apps offer monthly subscriptions.

WooCommerce Add-ons and Integrations

WooCommerce extensions

WooCommerce is open source and built on top of WordPress. This gives you access to more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins and many more paid plugins.

You can use these addons to add payment gateways, lead generation, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any feature you can think of.

Due to the low barrier of entry, there are a lot more integrations and addons available for WooCommerce than Shopify. Almost all third party tools and service providers have their own plugins to seamlessly integrate with your WooCommerce store.

You can also hire a developer to create an integration or plugin just for your own website. However it’s important to keep in mind that WooCommerce is a lot easier to customize. Having personally gone through the process of submitting a plugin for WordPress and submitting an app to the Shopify store, we can say that the process is extremely harder on Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce

Scalability and Growth: Shopify vs WooCommerce

You have probably heard the term “growth-pains” from various CEOs. As your business grows, you will need more resources to handle new challenges and goals.

Shopify and WooCommerce can both be scaled to handle large amount traffic and orders, but they’re not created equal. Let’s take a look at how these two eCommerce platform compare when it comes to scalability.

Scalability on Shopify

Shopify enterprise

Shopify handles the technical parts of your store which means you don’t ever have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans.

Their infrastructure can easily handle your growing business without you having to worry about downtimes, backups, updates, or security. They also offer enterprise services as part of the Shopify Plus plan.

This takes out the painful part of the growth, but it also adds to your cost of business. Your expenses will grow, and you’ll have to plan accordingly.

The good part is that your costs will be offset by you not having to hire / manage a technical team in-house.

Scalability on WooCommerce

WooCommerce Scalability

WooCommerce is a self hosted platform which makes you responsible for maintaining updates, backups, and security of your website.

Your starter WooCommerce hosting plan would run out of resources as your store starts getting more traffic.

The good part is that you have plenty of options to manage growth as you are in full control of your website. Starting with better management of resources with caching to upgrading your hosting plan to more powerful servers.

Your WooCommerce hosting costs will increase, but you will have better control on resources, and you can make sure that you are not paying for resources that you don’t need. You can use a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or LiquidWeb to help scale your WooCommerce store.

Despite the control that WooCommerce offers, some business owners simply prefer a hassle-free solution.

Winner: Shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?

Shopify and WooCommerce are both powerful platforms to start your eCommerce store. It truly comes down to your personal skills and preferences.

Shopify is a lot easier to use. It doesn’t require you to install anything, and you can get started quickly. Setting up payments is easier, and they have easy to understand pricing plans.

The disadvantage of Shopify is that you don’t have full control of everything. Your costs can go high with transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations. Your upgrade options are limited to select plans, and you cannot manage costs on pay as you grow basis.

WooCommerce is open source and gives you full control of your website. It costs a lot lower to start an online store with WooCommerce specially with these WooCommerce hosting companies.

The disadvantage is that you’ll have to maintain the software. It comes with a bit of learning curve. However, millions of beginners are already using it, and they get over the learning phase quite quickly.

If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, and you want to have full-control of your online store, then WooCommerce is the best platform for you.

If you want something that’s completely hassle-free that has infinite scalability, then Shopify is the better platform for you.

We hope this article helped you compare pros and cons of Shopify vs WooCommerce. You may also want to see our guide on how to choose the best website builder.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison) appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Remove Parent Slug From Child Page URL in WordPress

Do you want to remove the parent page slug from child page url in WordPress? By default, WordPress adds parent page’s slug as a prefix to child page URLs which is good for SEO. However, some people may not want parent page slug in the… Read More »

The post How to Remove Parent Slug From Child Page URL in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to remove the parent page slug from child page url in WordPress? By default, WordPress adds parent page’s slug as a prefix to child page URLs which is good for SEO. However, some people may not want parent page slug in the URL. In this article, we will show you how to remove parent page slug from child page URL in WordPress.

Remove parent page slug from child page URL

What is a Parent Page Slug in WordPress?

WordPress comes with two main content types called posts and pages. Pages are hierarchical which means they can have child pages. By default, the URL of a child page in WordPress will have its parent page’s slug in the URL like:

http://example.com/parent-page/child-page/

This is a better way to organize content if you are using hierarchical page structure on your website. It is considered best practice for WordPress SEO, and it makes sense for your users as well.

Removing the parent page slug can potentially break the URL, but in some expert opinion, it also makes it less SEO friendly. Sometimes it may cause conflicts with the WordPress permalink structure.

In our experience, if you don’t want parent page slug in your child page URL, then the best approach is to not create a child page at all. Instead, you can simply create a page and use navigation menus to show that it belongs under this page.

Adding child items to a menu

However, we understand that some users may still want to use child-pages for their own reasons.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily remove parent page slug from child page URL in WordPress.

Removing Parent Page Slug from Child Page URL in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Custom Permalinks plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to edit the child page you want to change. Under the page title, you will see the option to change the child page URL.

Change child page URL

The placeholder area will show your page’s current default URL. You need to click on it and enter the custom URL you want to use for your child page.

Custom page URL

Don’t forget to save your page to store your URL changes.

After saving your changes, you can click on the view page button to view your child page URL without parent page slug.

We hope this article helped you learn how to remove parent page slug from child page URL in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of the best drag and drop page builder plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Remove Parent Slug From Child Page URL in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Building 0verkill on Windows 10 Subsystem for Linux – 2D ASCII art deathmatch game

I’m a big fan of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It’s real Linux that runs real user-mode ELF binaries but it’s all on Windows 10. It’s not running in a Virtual Machine. I talk about it and some of the things you should be aware of when sharing files …

I'm a big fan of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It's real Linux that runs real user-mode ELF binaries but it's all on Windows 10. It's not running in a Virtual Machine. I talk about it and some of the things you should be aware of when sharing files between files systems in this YouTube video.

WHAT IS ALL THIS LINUX ON WINDOWS STUFF? Here's a FAQ on the Bash/Windows Subsystem for Linux/Ubuntu on Windows/Snowball in Hell and some detailed Release Notes. Yes, it's real, and it's spectacular. Can't read that much text? Here's a video I did on Ubuntu on Windows 10.

You can now install not only Ubuntu from the Windows Store (make sure you run this first from a Windows PowerShell admin prompt) - "Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux"

I have set up a very shiny Linux environment on Windows 10 with lovely things like tmux and Midnight Commander. The bash/Ubuntu/WSL shell shares the same "console host" (conhost) as PowerShell and CMD.exe, so as the type adds new support for fonts, colors, ANSI, etc, every terminal gets that new feature.

I wanted to see how far this went. How Linuxy is Linux on Windows? How good is the ASCII support in the console on Windows 10? Clearly the only real way to check this out would be to try to build 0verkill. 0verkill is a client-server 2D deathmatch-like game in ASCII art. It has both client and server and lots of cool features. Plus building it would exercise the system pretty well. It's also nearly 20 years old which is fun.

PRO TIP: Did you know that you can easily change your command prompt colors globally with the new free open source ColorTool? You can easily switch to solarized or even color-blind schemes for deuteranopia.

There's a fork of the 0verkill code at https://github.com/hackndev/0verkill so I started there. I saw that there was a ./rebuild script that uses aclocal, autoconf, configure, and make, so I needed to apt in some stuff.

sudo apt-get install build-essential autotools-dev automake
sudo apt-get install libx11-dev
sudo apt-get install libxpm-dev

Then I built it with ./rebuild and got a TON of warnings. Looks like this rather old code does some (now, in the modern world) questionable things with fprintf. While I can ignore the warnings, I decided to add -Wno-format-security to the CFLAGS in Makefile.in in order to focus on any larger errors I might run into.

Changing CFLAGS in Makefile.in

I then rebuild again, and get a few warnings, but nothing major. Nice.

Building 0verkill

I run the server locally with ./server. This allows you to connect multiple clients, although I'll just be connecting locally, it's nice that the networking works.

$ ./server
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Running 0verkill server version 0.16
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Initialization.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Loading sprites.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Loading level "level1"....
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Loading level graphics.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Loading level map.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Loading level objects.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Initializing socket.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Installing signal handlers.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Game started.
11. 1.2018 14:01:42  Sleep

Next, run the client in another bash/Ubuntu console window (or a tmux pane) with ./0verkill.

Awesome. Works great, scales with the window size, ASCII and color looks great.

Alone in 0verkill

Now I just need to find someone to play with me...


Sponsor: Get the latest JetBrains Rider for debugging third-party .NET code, Smart Step Into, more debugger improvements, C# Interactive, new project wizard, and formatting code in columns.



© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP

Do you want to bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP? By default, WordPress does not allow you to upload media files via FTP which can be annoying for users who want to bulk upload files at once. In this article, we will show you… Read More »

The post How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP? By default, WordPress does not allow you to upload media files via FTP which can be annoying for users who want to bulk upload files at once. In this article, we will show you how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP.

How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP

Why Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files Using FTP

The default WordPress media uploader allows you to upload multiple files at once. You can do so by clicking on the ‘Add Media’ button while writing posts or by visiting Media » Add New page.

Uploading multiple files via Media uploader in WordPress

You can select multiple photos, images, audio, and even video files to upload and WordPress will do the rest.

However, this method may not work sometimes. You may see a maximum file upload size limit issues or the files may take forever to upload.

An easier alternative is to upload the files using FTP. However, WordPress doesn’t recognize files uploaded via FTP, and it will not show them inside admin area.

Luckily, there’s a way around that. Let’s take a look at how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP, and how to make them available inside WordPress.

Bulk Uploading Media Files in WordPress via FTP

First, you need to connect to your WordPress site using a FTP client. If you haven’t done this before, then see our guide on how to upload files to your WordPress site via FTP.

Once you are connected to your website via FTP, go to /wp-content/uploads/ folder.

WordPress uploads folder

Inside the uploads folder, you will see folders for years and months. That’s how WordPress stores media files by default. You can upload your media files to the current year and current month folder.

If it doesn’t exist, then you can create it. For example, 2018 for current year and inside that folder you can create a new folder 01 for the month of January.

Uploading your files may take a while depending on file size and your internet speed.

Once you have uploaded all your images, audio, video, or any other media files supported by WordPress, you are ready to import them into WordPress.

Making Your FTP Media Uploads Visible in WordPress

Even though you have uploaded the files to your website’s server, WordPress doesn’t automatically recognize them.

When you upload a file using the default WordPress media uploader, WordPress saves the file information inside the database. It then displays those files by fetching the information from your WordPress database.

Since these files were not uploaded via media uploader, WordPress does not have them stored in the database.

Let’s fix this.

First thing you will need to do is install and activate the Media from FTP plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Media from FTP » Search & Register page. By default, the plugin will look into /wp-content/uploads/ folder and display all the media files it finds inside it.

Media from FTP settings

You can also browse folders by clicking on the /wp-content/uploads/ drop down menu. It allows you to sort files by type or by extension.

Once you have located the files you uploaded using FTP, simply click the checkbox next to them and then click on the ‘Update Media’ button.

The plugin will start registering your imported media into the WordPress media library. You will see the progress on the screen as it goes through each file.

Import and register progress

Once it is finished, you can visit Media » Library page to see all your imported files.

Media files uploaded via FTP to WordPress

You can now go ahead and add these images, audio, and other media files to your WordPress posts and pages.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP. You may also want to see our guide on how to optimize images in WordPress for better speed and performance.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP appeared first on WPBeginner.

16 Best Alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack Plugin

Are you looking for the best alternatives to the Jetpack plugin? Jetpack is a powerful WordPress plugin suite that adds various features to your WordPress website. Recently one of our readers asked us to share possible Jetpack alternatives for WordPress. In this article, we will… Read More »

The post 16 Best Alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack Plugin appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best alternatives to the Jetpack plugin? Jetpack is a powerful WordPress plugin suite that adds various features to your WordPress website. Recently one of our readers asked us to share possible Jetpack alternatives for WordPress. In this article, we will show you the best alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack plugin.

Best Jetpack alternatives for WordPress

What is Jetpack WordPress plugin?

Jetpack is a plugin suite which combines essential WordPress features into one large plugin. It allows you to manage the features you want to use, and you can turn off the features you don’t need.

However as your website grows, you may want to expand beyond Jetpack. You might need advanced functionalities that are offered in other third-party WordPress plugins.

In these cases, it makes sense to look at Jetpack alternatives for specific features that you need.

Pros and Cons of Jetpack Plugin

Pros and cons of using WordPress Jetpack plugin

Like all things in life, Jetpack plugin comes with its own advantages and disadvantages that you need to keep in mind when choosing Jetpack alternatives.

Pros of Using Jetpack Plugin

These are the advantages of using Jetpack plugin on your WordPress website.

  • One plugin to rule them all. You get all essential features in one easy to manage package.
  • Jetpack is highly optimized for performance with Automattic’s (company behind Jetpack and WordPress.com) powerful infrastructure running in the background.
  • It has a nicer user interface than your typical WordPress plugins.

Cons of Using Jetpack Plugin

Following are the disadvantages of using WordPress Jetpack plugin on your website.

  • Using Jetpack requires you to create a WordPress.com account.
  • The Jetpack core is free but many of its features require a paid subscription.
  • It has limited email functionality. You cannot email your subscribers without publishing a blog post.
  • Your website becomes dependent on one plugin which makes it harder to replace in the future.

That being said, let’s take a look at the best Jetpack alternatives that you can install on your website.

1. WPForms Lite

WPForms

WPForms Lite is the best alternative to Jetpack’s feedback form. WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin, and it comes with a free lite version that allows you to easily add contact form in your WordPress website.

WPForms comes with a beautiful drag and drop form builder and ready-made form templates. Adding form into your blog posts and pages is simple with shortcode or by using the Add form button in post editor.

We built WPForms to make it beginner friendly while offering advanced functionalities like email subscription, payments, user registration, and more in the Pro version.

2. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

Jetpack comes with a built-in stats module. However it’s no where near as powerful as Google Analytics. If you want Google Analytics integration in Jetpack, then you have to upgrade to the professional plan which costs $299/year.

MonsterInsights is the top Google Analytics plugin for WordPress with more than 1+ Million active installs, and it has a free version available for all WordPress users.

MonsterInsights allows you to easily install Google Analytics in your WordPress website. It comes with beautiful reporting tools that make it easy for beginners to see where their users are coming from and what they are viewing.

3. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus

Jetpack offers automated daily backups, but they are only available for paid plans. UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins in the market and a free alternate to Jetpack’s backup feature.

It allows you to easily set up automatic backups for your entire WordPress website.

You just need to set it up once, and then it will automatically create backups. Your backups are stored in remote locations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and more. You can also restore your website from any previous backups with few clicks.

For details, see our guide on how to How to backup and restore your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus.

4. Akismet

Akismet

Jetpack has spam filtering feature for paid plans, but you will need at least the personal plan to access basic spam filtering.

Akismet is the best WordPress spam filtering plugin in the market. It automatically filters all your WordPress comments to catch spam. This significantly reduces the number of spam comments that you’ll have to moderate.

For complete set up instructions, see our Akismet guide for WordPress beginners.

5. Sucuri Scanner

Sucuri

Jetpack only scans for malware if you have professional or premium subscription plans. Sucuri scanner provides free malware scanner, blacklist monitoring, file integrity check, post-hacks security actions, and security hardening.

Sucuri is the industry leader in WordPress security and website monitoring. It also offers the best WordPress firewall which blocks suspicious activity even before it reaches your website.

6. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Jetpack offers limited SEO functionality even for premium plan users. You will need at least professional plan to access all of Jetpack’s SEO features. Yoast SEO is the perfect alternative to Jetpack’s SEO features, and it is the most popular SEO plugin in the market.

The free Yoast SEO plugin gives you complete WordPress SEO tools including site verification, XML sitemaps, SEO preview, Facebook and Twitter preview images, title and meta descriptions, and more.

For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to install and set up Yoast SEO plugin.

7. WP to Buffer

WP to Buffer

WP to Buffer plugin allows you to connect your WordPress site to Buffer and automatically schedule your WordPress posts to share on your social media profiles. It is the best alternative to Jetpack’s publicize feature, which does the same thing.

Buffer is a social media management platform that allows you to schedule your social media posts throughout the day. This saves you time you would otherwise spend on sharing your articles manually on social media.

8. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Yet Another Related Posts plugin is the best WordPress related posts plugin in the market and the perfect alternative to Jetpack’s related posts feature.

It offers more customization options and full control on how and where you display related posts on your website. It even supports custom post types and can add related posts in RSS feeds as well.

9. De:Comments

De:comments

Decomments is a paid WordPress plugin, which allows you to transform your WordPress comment area by adding more social features to it. Your users can rate comments, share comments on social media, login with their social profiles, earn badges, and more.

This offers a very engaging user experience for comments on your WordPress site. For detailed instructions see our article on how to improve WordPress comments with De:comments.

10. Envira Gallery Lite

Envira Gallery

WordPress comes with a default way to easily add image galleries. However, the default WordPress gallery is quite limited in functionality. If user clicks on a image it loads in a new page.

Envira Gallery Lite offers the free alternative to Jetpack’s responsive galleries. It allows you to easily create responsive image galleries with carousel popups.

11. Pingdom

Pingdom

Pingdom is not a plugin but a website monitoring tool that you can use as an alternative to Jetpack’s monitoring tool. Pingdom’s free account allows you to monitor 1 website.

It sends instant email notification when your website is down and notifies you when it is up again. You can also monitor your website’s historic uptime by logging into your account.

12. MailChimp

MailChimp

Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach out to your audiences. If you haven’t started it yet, then see our guide on why you should start building your email list right away.

MailChimp is one of the best email marketing services in the world and the perfect alternative to Jetpack’s email subscriptions. The downside of Jetpack’s subscriptions is that it only emails users when you publish a new post. Unlike a real email list, where you can send users weekly or monthly newsletters.

MailChimp is a paid service but they offer a free forever plan for upto 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.

13. Cloudflare

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is one of the best CDN services that offers free CDN and basic protection against DDOS attacks.

It improves your website’s speed and performance by serving static content through their global CDN. Cloudflare is the perfect replacement for Jetpack’s CDN service which serves your images through their CDN server to optimize performance. It also provides a free alternative to Jetpack’s brute force attack protection.

For detailed instructions see our guide on how to setup free Cloudflare CDN in WordPress.

14. Easy Updates Manager

Easy Updates Manager

Easy Updates Manager allows you to replace Jetpack’s automatic plugin update feature. It helps you easily manage all WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates.

From a single dashboard, you can enable or disable automatic updates. You can set specific or all plugin updates to be automatically installed. It can also automatically install theme updates.

For more details, see our guide on how to better manage automatic WordPress updates.

15. WordPress Infinite Scroll

Load More - Infinite scroll for WordPress

WordPress Infinite Scroll is the perfect alternative to Jetpack’s infinite scroll feature. Just like Jetpack, you will need to add a little code snippet into your theme.

It allows you to add a button that users can click to load more posts, you can also choose to automatically load posts as user scrolls down a page.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to add load more posts button in WordPress.

16. EA Share Count

EA Share Count

EA Share Count is one of the best social media plugins for WordPress. It is super fast and only loads a limited number of top social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Stumbleupon, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

It has three button styles, social share count, and total share count feature. It is available on GitHub (see our guide on how to install WordPress plugins from GitHub)

We hope this article helped you find the best alternatives for the Jetpack plugin on your WordPress site. You may also want to see our list of essential WordPress plugins to find other must-have plugins for your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 16 Best Alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack Plugin appeared first on WPBeginner.

Exploring the Azure IoT Arduino Cloud DevKit

Someone gave me an Azure IoT DevKit, and it was lovely timing as I’m continuing to learn about IoT. As you may know, I’ve done a number of Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects, and plugged them into various and sundry clouds, including AWS, Azure, as well…

Someone gave me an Azure IoT DevKit, and it was lovely timing as I'm continuing to learn about IoT. As you may know, I've done a number of Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects, and plugged them into various and sundry clouds, including AWS, Azure, as well as higher-level hobbyist systems like AdaFruit IO (which is super fun, BTW. Love them.)

The Azure IoT DevKit is brilliant for a number of reasons, but one of the coolest things is that you don't need a physical one...they have an online simulator! Which is very Inception. You can try out the simulator at https://aka.ms/iot-devkit-simulator. You can literally edit your .ino Arduino files in the browser, connect them to your Azure account, and then deploy them to a virtual DevKit (seen on the right). All the code and how-tos are on GitHub as well.

When you hit Deploy it'll create a Free Azure IoT Hub. Be aware that if you already have a free one you may want to delete it (as you can only have a certain number) or change the template as appropriate. When you're done playing, just delete the entire Resource Group and everything within it will go away.

The Azure IoT DevKit in the browser is amazing

Right off the bat you'll have the code to connect to Azure, get tweets from Twitter, and display them on the tiny screen! (Did I mention there's a tiny screen?) You can also "shake" the virtual IoT kit, and exercise the various sensors. It wouldn't be IoT if it didn't have sensors!

It's a tiny Arduino device with a screen!

This is just the simulator, but it's exactly like the real MXChip IoT DevKit. (Get one here) They are less than US$50 and include WiFi, Humidity & Temperature, Gyroscope & Accelerometer, Air Pressure, Magnetometer, Microphone, and IrDA, which is ton for a small dev board. It's also got a tiny 128x64 OLED color screen! Finally, the board also can go into AP mode which lets you easily put it online in minutes.

I love these well-designed elegant little devices. It also shows up as an attached disk and it's easy to upgrade the firmware.

Temp and Humidity on the Azure IoT DevKit

You can then dev against the real device with free VS Code if you like. You'll need:

  • Node.js and Yarn: Runtime for the setup script and automated tasks.
  • Azure CLI 2.0 MSI - Cross-platform command-line experience for managing Azure resources. The MSI contains dependent Python and pip.
  • Visual Studio Code (VS Code): Lightweight code editor for DevKit development.
  • Visual Studio Code extension for Arduino: Extension that enables Arduino development in Visual Studio Code.
  • Arduino IDE: The extension for Arduino relies on this tool.
  • DevKit Board Package: Tool chains, libraries, and projects for the DevKit
  • ST-Link Utility: Essential tools and drivers.

But this Zip file sets it all up for you on Windows, and head over here for Homebrew/Mac instructions and more details.

I was very impressed with the Arduino extension for VS Code. No disrespect to the Arduino IDE but you'll likely outgrow it quickly. This free add on to VS Code gives you intellisense and integration Arduino Debugging.

Once you have the basics done, you can graduate to the larger list of projects at https://microsoft.github.io/azure-iot-developer-kit/docs/projects/ that include lots of cool stuff to try out like a cloud based Translator, Door Monitor, and Air Traffic Control Simulator.

All in all, I was super impressed with the polish of it all. There's a LOT to learn, to be clear, but this was a very enjoyable weekend of play.


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© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

How to Create and Manage Ads.txt files in WordPress

Do you want to create and manage an ads.txt files in WordPress? Ads.txt file protects publishers from ad fraud, and it can potentially increase your ad revenue. In this article, we will show you how to easily create and manage ads.txt file in WordPress. What… Read More »

The post How to Create and Manage Ads.txt files in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create and manage an ads.txt files in WordPress? Ads.txt file protects publishers from ad fraud, and it can potentially increase your ad revenue. In this article, we will show you how to easily create and manage ads.txt file in WordPress.

How to create and manage Ads.txt file in WordPress

What is Ads.txt File?

Ads.txt file allows publishers to declare who can sell ads on their website. It is an initiative created by IAB Tech Lab, a non-profit focused on improving digital advertising standards.

The initiative is supported by Google’s advertising platforms like Google Adsense, Doubleclick, and Ad Exchange. It is also supported by many other leading digital advertising platforms.

Why is Ads.txt file important?

Ad fraud cost millions of dollars in damages to online advertisers and publishers each year. People with malicious intent continuously try to trick ad platforms with domain spoofing, fake clicks, fake impressions, and more.

Ads.txt file improves transparency in online advertisement by allowing publishers to declare who can sell their ad inventory. Here is how it works:

If you are an advertiser and someone tells you that they can display your ad on a particular website, then you can go and checkout that website’s ads.txt file. It will show you if the company you are dealing with has the permission to sell advertising space on that particular website or not.

Since this data is publicly available, it can be crawled, stored, and searched by advertisers, publishers, and resellers.

If you are displaying ads on your website using Google Adsense, DoubleClick, or Ad Exchange, then adding Ads.txt file is recommended.

Many other advertising platform and software also support or require ads.txt file to be declared.

How to Create and Manage Ads.txt Files in WordPress?

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Ads.txt Manager plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Settings » Ads.txt page to configure plugin settings.

Ads.txt manager settings

The plugin provides a simple text area where you can add lines to declare each individual platform or reseller. For example, you can add the following line to declare Google Adsense.

google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Don’t forget to replace pub-0000000000000000 with your own publisher ID.

As you can see, this line has four fields separated by comma. The first field is the domain of the company allowed to sell or resell your ad inventory. After that it has your publisher ID which corresponds to your account ID in the advertising platform.

The third field declares relationship type DIRECT or RESELLER. The last field is optional, and it represents an ID of the advertising platform. For all Google advertising programs, you’ll use the same unique ID.

Troubleshooting Earnings at risk Error in Adsense

A missing declaration in your ads.txt file may result in the following warning message in your Google Adsense account.

Earnings at risk – One or more of your ads.txt files doesn’t contain your AdSense publisher ID. Fix this now to avoid severe impact to your revenue.

This message indicates that your ads.txt file doesn’t have your publisher ID. To fix this message, simply go to Settings » Ads.txt page to make sure that you have correct publisher ID in plugin settings.

Note: Since ads.txt file is supposed to be in the root directory of a domain name, this plugin currently only works for root level domain like example.com. It does not work for WordPress installed in subdomain, subdirectory, or a single site in a multi-site network.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create and manage ads.txt file in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on legit ways to make money online blogging with WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create and Manage Ads.txt files in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

ASP.NET Single Page Applications Angular Release Candidate

I was doing some Angular then remembered that the ASP.NET “Angular Project Template” has a release candidate and is scheduled to release sometime soon in 2018. Starting with just a .NET Core 2.0 install plus Node v6 or later, I installed the updated an…

I was doing some Angular then remembered that the ASP.NET "Angular Project Template" has a release candidate and is scheduled to release sometime soon in 2018.

Starting with just a .NET Core 2.0 install plus Node v6 or later, I installed the updated angular template. Note that this isn't the angular/react/redux templates that came with .NET Core's base install.

I'll start by adding the updated SPA (single page application) template:

dotnet new --install Microsoft.DotNet.Web.Spa.ProjectTemplates::2.0.0-rc1-final

Then from a new directory, just

dotnet new angular

Then I can open it in either VSCode or Visual Studio Community (free for Open Source). If you're interested in the internals, open up the .csproj project file and note the checks for ensuring node is install, running npm, and running WebPack.

If you've got the Angular "ng" command line tool installed you can do the usual ng related stuff, but you don't need to run "ng serve" because ASP.NET Core will run it automatically for you.

I set development mode with "SET ASPNETCORE_Environment=Development" then do a "dotnet build." It will also restore your npm dependencies as part of the build. The client side app lives in ./ClientApp.

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\my-new-app> dotnet build

Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.5 for .NET Core
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Restore completed in 73.16 ms for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\my-new-app\my-new-app.csproj.
Restore completed in 99.72 ms for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\my-new-app\my-new-app.csproj.
my-new-app -> C:\Users\scott\Desktop\my-new-app\bin\Debug\netcoreapp2.0\my-new-app.dll
v8.9.4
Restoring dependencies using 'npm'. This may take several minutes...

"dotnet run" then starts the ng development server and ASP.NET all at once.

My ASP.NET Angular Application

If we look at the "Fetch Data" menu item, you can see and example of how Angular and open source ASP.NET Core work together. Here's the Weather Forecast *client-side* template:

<p *ngIf="!forecasts"><em>Loading...</em></p>


<table class='table' *ngIf="forecasts">
<thead>
<tr>
<th>Date</th>
<th>Temp. (C)</th>
<th>Temp. (F)</th>
<th>Summary</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr *ngFor="let forecast of forecasts">
<td>{{ forecast.dateFormatted }}</td>
<td>{{ forecast.temperatureC }}</td>
<td>{{ forecast.temperatureF }}</td>
<td>{{ forecast.summary }}</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>

And the TypeScript:

import { Component, Inject } from '@angular/core';

import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http';

@Component({
selector: 'app-fetch-data',
templateUrl: './fetch-data.component.html'
})
export class FetchDataComponent {
public forecasts: WeatherForecast[];

constructor(http: HttpClient, @Inject('BASE_URL') baseUrl: string) {
http.get<WeatherForecast[]>(baseUrl + 'api/SampleData/WeatherForecasts').subscribe(result => {
this.forecasts = result;
}, error => console.error(error));
}
}

interface WeatherForecast {
dateFormatted: string;
temperatureC: number;
temperatureF: number;
summary: string;
}

Note the URL. Here's the back-end. The request is serviced by ASP.NET Core. Note the interface as well as the TemperatureF server-side conversion.

[Route("api/[controller]")]

public class SampleDataController : Controller
{
private static string[] Summaries = new[]
{
"Freezing", "Bracing", "Chilly", "Cool", "Mild", "Warm", "Balmy", "Hot", "Sweltering", "Scorching"
};

[HttpGet("[action]")]
public IEnumerable<WeatherForecast> WeatherForecasts()
{
var rng = new Random();
return Enumerable.Range(1, 5).Select(index => new WeatherForecast
{
DateFormatted = DateTime.Now.AddDays(index).ToString("d"),
TemperatureC = rng.Next(-20, 55),
Summary = Summaries[rng.Next(Summaries.Length)]
});
}

public class WeatherForecast
{
public string DateFormatted { get; set; }
public int TemperatureC { get; set; }
public string Summary { get; set; }

public int TemperatureF
{
get
{
return 32 + (int)(TemperatureC / 0.5556);
}
}
}
}

Pretty clean and straightforward. Not sure about the Date.Now, but for the most part I understand this and can see how to extend this. Check out the docs on this release candidate and also note that this included updated React and Redux templates as well!


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© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.