5 Best WordPress Appointment and Booking Plugins

Do you want to allow your customers to make an appointment directly from your WordPress site? Whether you are a dentist, hair salon, consultant, or manage a hotel, being able to book an appointment is essential for business. In this article, we will show you… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit 5 Best WordPress Appointment and Booking Plugins on WPBeginner.

Do you want to allow your customers to make an appointment directly from your WordPress site? Whether you are a dentist, hair salon, consultant, or manage a hotel, being able to book an appointment is essential for business. In this article, we will show you the 5 best WordPress appointment and booking plugins.

Booking Plugins

These WordPress appointment plugins are good for making appointments, managing reservations, and even rentals. However, if you are interested in a complete hotel booking management plugin, then check out our tutorial on how to add a hotel room booking system in WordPress.

Having that said, let’s take a look at the booking plugins that will make it easy for your users to book an appointment directly from your website.

1. BirchPress

BirchPress is a comprehensive WordPress booking plugin. It allows you to add a professional online booking management system into your WordPress site. Your users can book appointments from your website and pay for it using their PayPal account or Credit Card.

BirchPress booking and appointment view

BirchPress syncs your booking calendar with your other calendars such as Google Calendar, iCal, Android, Outlook, etc. It has a customizable email notification and reminder system to keep you and your clients informed about the booking.

2. Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar Plugin

Booking Calendar is one of the oldest free WordPress booking plugin in the market. It is simple, easy to use, and well documented. It comes with a calendar view for both you and your website visitors. You can easily add your booking / appointment form into any WordPress post or page.

While it is simple enough for beginners, it is also very powerful and comes with a whole range of options that can be configured from the plugin’s settings page. It comes with built-in captcha to prevent spam, email notifications, jQuery effects, etc. You can even customize the booking form with your own custom fields.

3. Appointment Calendar

As the name suggests, Appointment Calendar allows you to add an appointment booking management system into your WordPress site. Simply add the service you offer and then add the plugin shortcode into any WordPress post or page.

Appointment Calendar

It allows you to set available time slots that users can book. You can add business hours, lunch breaks, and meeting hours so that users can book according to your availability. It comes with an email notification for you and your clients. You can even export your appointments to a CSV file and use them anywhere else.

4. WP Simple Booking Calendar

WP Simple Booking Calendar

WP Simple Booking Calendar is another straight forward WordPress booking plugin. Simply create a calendar and then it to a post or page using the shortcode. It only allows users to book an entire day. This means there are no hourly time slots.

If you were looking for something very simple and basic for rooms, accommodation, or other per day offerings, then this plugin will do the job. For more complex items, look at the plugins we mentioned above.

5. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is one of the best contact form plugin for WordPress. It is famous for its ease of use with the drag-drop interface.

If you already own the plugin, then you can easily create your own booking form with it. Gravity Forms has built-in support for notifications, so you can send appointment confirmation email automatically. Since Gravity Form stores your form data, all your appointments will be stored on your WordPress site as well.

Connecting Gravity Forms with Zapier

You can also connect Gravity Forms with anything using Zapier. This way you can connect your booking form to Google Calendar and then add that Google Calendar in a WordPress post or page.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you find an appointment and booking plugin for your WordPress site. You may also want to look at these 9 best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

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

To leave a comment please visit 5 Best WordPress Appointment and Booking Plugins on WPBeginner.

43 Beautiful Free WordPress Blog Themes

Are you looking for beautiful free WordPress themes? One of the best thing about WordPress is the large collection of beautiful free WordPress blog themes available. In this article, we hand-picked a list of top 43 most beautiful free WordPress themes for your blog. 1.… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit 43 Beautiful Free WordPress Blog Themes on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for beautiful free WordPress themes? One of the best thing about WordPress is the large collection of beautiful free WordPress blog themes available. In this article, we hand-picked a list of top 43 most beautiful free WordPress themes for your blog.

1. Slipstream

Slipstream

Developed by premium WordPress theme shop ThemeLab, Slipstream is a free mobile-friendly WordPress theme. It is highly optimized for speed and allows you to customize your site using theme customizer.

2. Stargazer

Stargazer

Stargazer is a beautifully designed free WordPress blog theme. Built on the rock-solid foundation of Hybrid Core theme framework, Stargazer is strictly adheres to the best WordPress coding standards without compromising features and appearance.

3. Sparkling

Sparkling

Built on Bootstrap 3, Sparkling is a free responsive WordPress theme suitable for different kind of websites. It comes with a full-screen slider, social icon integration, author bio, popular posts widget and improved category widget.

4. Hueman

Hueman

Hueman is one of the most popular free WordPress themes. It comes with multiple page layouts giving you the option to choose between two or three column layouts. It also allows users to toggle sidebars. Hueman has a theme options panel which allows you to fully customize it to match your needs.

5. Dazzling

Dazzling

Dazzling is a powerful but simple free WordPress theme. It can be used as a free magazine theme, portfolio theme, WooCommerce or any other eCommerce theme. It comes with a featured slider, call to action buttons, flexible widgets, and unlimited color choices.

6. Medium

Medium

As the name suggests, Medium is inspired by the popular blog publishing platform of the same name. With its minimalistic design approach Medium looks great on all devices and screen sizes.

7. Zerif Lite

Zerif Lite

Zerif Lite is a powerful free WordPress landing page theme. It is built on Bootstrap framework with parallax support. You can set a full screen background image with parallax and add call to action buttons, portfolio, or even use it as a free WordPress blog theme.

8. Make

Make

Make is an awesome drag and drop page builder which allows you to design your WordPress site just the way you want. Its fully mobile-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about how your site will look on mobile phones and tablets.

9. Hathor

Hathor

Hathor is a multi-purpose free WordPress blog template. It comes with a featured slider, two recent post layouts, and all the usual bells and whistles you will need from a quality WordPress theme.

10. Cirrus

Cirrus

Based on Bootstrap 3, Cirrus is a multi-purpose free WordPress theme for blogs and business websites. It comes with lots of customization options which make it very easy to use.

11. Customizr

Customizr

With nearly a million downloads, Customizr is one of the most popular free WordPress blog theme. It is fully mobile responsive and comes with great customization options. It has a featured slider, custom logo, multiple page layouts and multiple color choices.

12. Vantage

Vantage

Vantage is a multi-purpose free WordPress blog theme. It can be used for business, personal, portfolio and even as a WooCommerce theme. It is fully responsive and can be used with the Page Builder plugin which adds drag and drop page layout builder to your WordPress site.

13. Enigma

Enigma

Enigma is a business and multi-purpose WordPress blog theme based on Bootstrap. It is fully responsive and comes with tons of customizations. It also supports featured slider on the homepage with multiple sidebars and page layouts.

14. Colorway

Colorway

Colorway is a simple and beautiful free theme with great set of features. You can add your own background color, add analytics support, customize pages and layout. It also comes with dummy content that helps you setup the theme just like it looks in the demo.

15. Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Boardwalk is a uniquely designed free WordPress photography theme. It is designed to be scrolled horizontally which makes it an ideal photography or portfolio WordPress theme for mobile and other hand-held devices. It looks equally great on desktop and comes with easy to use customization options.

16. Arcade Basic

Arcade Basic

Arcade is a light-weight fully responsive WordPress theme. It comes with support with for post formats, bbPress and BuddyPress support, header image, and custom layouts.

17. Pinnacle

Pinnacle

With its flat design and responsive layout Pinnacle is a bold-looking modern WordPress theme. Designed to be a multi-purpose theme, it is equally suitable for business, portfolio, and personal websites.

18. Modern

Modern

As the name suggests, this free WordPress theme offers a fresh modern design. With its full screen featured slider, bold color choices, and beautiful styles, Modern is perfect for a portfolio, business or personal WordPress blog. It has a beautiful grid layout where all blocks are perfectly aligned to match users screen size and device.

19. SinglePage

SinglePage

It is a one page free WordPress landing page template designed with Bootstrap CSS. It has four pre-designed sections on the homepage which you can configure. It also offers parallax image background support for each section. It is easy to customize and setup and ideal for small business sites.

20. Codium Now

Codium Now

Codium now utilizes WordPress featured images and a grid based layout to create a stunning looking free WordPress blog template. Its minimalistic design approach allows you to fill in the canvas with your own featured images and layout.

21. Origin

origin

Origin is another beautiful and responsive WordPress theme. It utilizes the minimalistic design approach to create easy-to-read WordPress sites. This makes it ideal for magazine, personal and portfolio sites.

22. Start Point

Start Point

Start Point is a one-page free WordPress blog template. It comes with several built-in options which allow you to easily setup your business homepage using WordPress. You can add your own logo, images, and content as you setup the template.

23. Storefront

Designed a developed by WooThemes, Storefront is the free WooCommerce WordPress theme. It is fully responsive and allows you to quickly and easily setup your eCommerce store using WooCommer and WordPress. It comes with several color options and layout choices, custom widgets, and multiple page layouts.

Storefront

24. Fruitful

Fruitful

Fruitful is an HTML5 compliant, responsive, multi-purpose free WordPress theme. It comes with powerful customization options, and full support for WooCommerce and WPML plugins.

25. Raindrops

Raindrops

Change fonts and theme options, colors, and header image individual pages. This powerful feature alone gives you an unlimited set of possibilities. By default the theme comes in a dark color scheme with bold font choices.

26. Twenty Fifteen

Twenty Fifteen

Twenty Fifteen is an official WordPress theme and is shipped with each WordPress installation by default. Twenty Fifteen uses google’s Nato font family which aims to support every language in the world. Twenty Fifteen has a simple two column layout for desktops. It is fully responsive and comes with features like header images, background images, unlimited color choices, and page templates.

27. Enlightenment

Enlightenment

Enlightenment is based on a theme framework of the same name. It is a multi-purpose, responsive, and free WordPress theme.

28. Gridsby

Gridsby

Girdsby is an elegant Pinterest style WordPress theme. It comes with a unique feature that allows you to post photos to a front-page gallery. It is fully responsive and mobile-friendly WordPress theme.

29. Semicolon

Semicolon

Semicolon is a responsive free WordPress magazine theme. It uses a grid based layout utilizing the featured images. It is designed for clean readability, provides beautiful page templates for your blog and other pages.

30. Spacious

Spacious

Spacious is a clean looking responsive theme. Designed to be a multi-purpose theme that can be easily used for a business, corporate, portfolio, or personal site. It comes with custom widgets, multiple sidebars and page templates.

31. Onetone

Onetone

Onetone is a single page WordPress template for business websites. It comes with a comprehensive admin panel which allows you to add unlimited options to your page. It supports custom background, logo, favicon, parallax background images, background videos, etc.

32. Moesia

Moesia

Moesia is clean business theme with parallax support. It comes with 11 predefined blocks which you can use to build your homepage. Each section can have its own parallax background creating beautiful scrolling experience for your users.

33. Sueva Free

sueva

Sueva is a free Tumblr like WordPress theme. It is fully responsive and mobile friendly and comes with a two column grid layout. Ideal for users moving from Tumblr to WordPress.

34. Full Frame

Full Frame

Full Frame is a full-width responsive theme with tons of customization options. It utilizes the built-in customizr to setup and customize your WordPress site. It comes with featured slider, call to action button, custom widgets, and multiple page layouts.

35. Zerius

Zerius

Ideal for a corporate, portfolio, or business websites, Zerius is a versatile multi-purpose WordPress theme. It is a child theme of Zerif Lite so it inherits all its features.

36. Quill

Quill

Quill is a free WordPress theme for law firms in particular. It comes with easy to add sections where you can add information about past cases, client testimonials, and build your homepage.

37. Panaroma

Panorama

Panorama is a beautiful free photography theme for WordPress. It comes with a 5 large slides on the homepage, two layout choices, and tons of customization options.

38. Farben Basic

Farben

Farben is a simplistic and versatile WordPress theme. It is beautifully designed and allows you to modify your site using the built-in customizer. You add custom background, header, site logo, change colors and site layout.

39. Engrave Lite

Engrave

Featuring a full-width featured slider on the homepage, Engrave Lite is an ideal free WordPress blog theme for business, personal, or magazine sites. It comes with its own customization panel and offers powerful features to create unique sites.

40. Flat

Flat

Inspired by the Metro design of Windows 8, Flat is a beautiful two column WordPress blog theme. It allows you to choose sidebar color, add custom background, logo, and favicon.

41. Blogly Lite

Blogly Lite

Blogly is a colorful and yet sophisticated free WordPress blog theme. It utilizes theme customizer to easily change colors and add custom background image.

42. Gridster Lite

Gridster

Gridster lite is another pinterest like WordPress theme. It is designed for photography and portfolio sites but can be easily used as a blog theme as well.

43. Saga

Saga

Designed beautifully for writers and authors, Saga is a bold free WordPress theme. It focuses on beautiful typography and clean layout. Comes with easy to use customization options so that you can configure it to your own needs.

We hope this article helped you find the perfect WordPress blog theme for your website. You may also want to checkout our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog.

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.

To leave a comment please visit 43 Beautiful Free WordPress Blog Themes on WPBeginner.

Toward a Better Markdown Tutorial

It’s always surprised me when people, especially technical people, say they don’t know Markdown. Do you not use GitHub? Stack Overflow? Reddit?

I get that an average person may not understand how Markdown is based on simple old-school plaintext ASCII …

It's always surprised me when people, especially technical people, say they don't know Markdown. Do you not use GitHub? Stack Overflow? Reddit?

I get that an average person may not understand how Markdown is based on simple old-school plaintext ASCII typing conventions. Like when you're *really* excited about something, you naturally put asterisks around it, and Markdown makes that automagically italic.

But how can we expect them to know that, if they grew up with wizzy-wig editors where the only way to make italic is to click a toolbar button, like an animal?

I am not advocating for WYSIWYG here. While there's certainly more than one way to make italic, I personally don't like invisible formatting tags and I find that WYSIWYG is more like WYCSYCG in practice. It's dangerous to be dependent on these invisible formatting codes you can't control. And they're especially bad if you ever plan to care about differences, revisions, and edit history. That's why I like to teach people simple, visible formatting codes.

We can certainly debate which markup language is superior, but in Discourse we tried to build a rainbow tool that satisifies everyone. We support:

  • HTML (safe subset)
  • BBCode (basic subset)
  • Markdown (full)

This makes coding our editor kind of hellishly complex, but it means that for you, the user, whatever markup language you're used to will probably "just work" on any Discourse site you happen to encounter in the future.

However, one thing I have really struggled with is that there isn't any single great place to refer people to with a simple walkthrough and explanation of Markdown.

When we built Stack Overflow circa 2008-2009, I put together my best effort at the time which became the "editing help" page:

It's just OK. And GitHub has their Markdown Basics, and GitHub Flavored Markdown help pages. They're OK.

The Ghost editor I am typing this in has an OK Markdown help page too.

But none of these are great.

What we really need is a great Markdown tutorial and reference page, one that we can refer anyone to, anywhere in the world, from someone who barely touches computers to the hardest of hard-core coders. I don't want to build another one for these kinds of help pages for Discourse, I want to build one for everyone. Since it is for everyone, I want to involve everyone. And by everyone, I mean you.

After writing about Our Programs Are Fun To Use – which I just updated with a bunch of great examples contributed in the comments, so go check that out even if you read it already – I am inspired by the idea that we can make a fun, interactive Markdown tutorial together.

So here's what I propose: a small contest to build an interactive Markdown tutorial and reference, which we will eventually host at the home page of commonmark.org, and can be freely mirrored anywhere in the world.

Some ground rules:

  1. It should be primarily in JavaScript and HTML. Ideally entirely so. If you need to use a server-side scripting language, that's fine, but try to keep it simple, and make sure it's something that is reasonable to deploy on a generic Linux server anywhere.

  2. You can pick any approach you want, but it should be highly interactive, and I suggest that you at minimum provide two tracks:

    1. A gentle, interactive tutorial for absolute beginners who are asking "what the heck does Markdown even mean?"

    2. A dynamic, interactive reference for intermediates and experts who are asking more advanced usage questions, like "how do I make code inside a list, or a list inside a list?"

  3. There's a lot of variance in Markdown implementations, so teach the most common parts of Markdown, and cover the optional / less common variations either in the advanced reference areas or in extra bonus sections. People do love their tables and footnotes! We recommend using a CommonMark compatible implementation, but it is not a requirement.

  4. Your code must be MIT licensed.

  5. Judging will be completely at the whim of myself and John MacFarlane. Our decisions will be capricious, arbitrary, probably nonsensical, and above all, final.

  6. We'll run this contest for a period of one month, from today until April 28th, 2015.

  7. If I have hastily left out any clarifying rules I should have had, they will go here.

Of course, the real reward for building is the admiration of your peers, and the knowledge that an entire generation of people will grow up learning basic Markdown skills through your contribution to a global open source project.

But on top of that, I am offering … fabulous prizes!

  1. Let's start with my Recommended Reading List. I count sixteen books on it. As long as you live in a place Amazon can ship to, I'll send you all the books on that list. (Or the equivalent value in an Amazon gift certificate, if you happen to have a lot of these books already, or prefer that.)

  2. Second prize is a CODE Keyboard. This can be shipped worldwide.

  3. Third prize is you're fired. Just kidding. Third prize is your choice of any three books on my reading list. (Same caveats around Amazon apply.)

Looking for a place to get started? Check out:

If you want privacy, you can mail your entries to me directly (see the about page here for my email address), or if you are comfortable with posting your contest entry in public, I'll create a topic on talk.commonmark for you to post links and gather feedback. Leaving your entry in the comments on this article is also OK.

We desperately need a great place that we can send everyone to learn Markdown, and we need your help to build it. Let's give this a shot. Surprise and amaze us!

[advertisement] Stack Overflow Careers matches the best developers (you!) with the best employers. You can search our job listings or create a profile and even let employers find you.

6 Best WordPress Plugins for YouTube Publishers

Are you a YouTube publisher? Wondering which are the best WordPress plugins for YouTubers? In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best WordPress plugins for YouTube publishers. These plugins will help you improve the display of your YouTube videos on your WordPress site,… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit 6 Best WordPress Plugins for YouTube Publishers on WPBeginner.

Are you a YouTube publisher? Wondering which are the best WordPress plugins for YouTubers? In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best WordPress plugins for YouTube publishers. These plugins will help you improve the display of your YouTube videos on your WordPress site, guaranteeing more user engagement on your website.

1. YouTube Channel Gallery

To embed a YouTube video in WordPress, you need to copy and paste the video URL. What if we told you that you can automatically display latest videos from your YouTube channel on your site in a nice gallery view?

Simply install and activate the YouTube Channel Gallery plugin. Upon activation, you can go to Appearance » Widgets to drag and drop the YouTube Channel Gallery widget in your sidebar.

YouTube latest videos widget

You can also add your YouTube channel gallery into a WordPress post or a page using the shortcode [Youtube_Channel_Gallery user="wpbeginner"].

Make sure to replace WPBeginner with your own channel name. For more detailed instructions take a look at our guide on how to show latest videos from YouTube channel in WordPress.

2. Record and Upload YouTube Videos from WordPress

Did you know that you can record and upload your videos straight from WordPress. You can use YouTube Upload Widget plugin to record a video using your webcam directly from your WordPress site and upload it straight to YouTube.

See this tutorial about how to record and upload YouTube videos directly from WordPress for more information.

Capture and upload YouTube videos from WordPress

3. Add Thumbnail for YouTube Videos

Many popular news sites display a thumbnail image of their videos on the front page of their websites. When a user clicks on the image, they are taken to a WordPress post containing the YouTube video.

Showing thumbnails for your YouTube videos is easy. All you need to do is install and activate the Video Thumbnails plugin.

A preview of video thumbnails set as featured images in WordPress

Upon activation, go to Settings » Video Thumbnails to configure the plugin. Most options there are quite self-explanatory and default settings would work for most sites. After saving your settings, you can simply paste a YouTube video URL into any WordPress post, and the plugin will automatically generate the video thumbnail along with setting it as featured image for the post.

For more detailed instructions take a look at out step by step tutorial on how to add thumbnails for YouTube videos in WordPress.

4. Automatically Post Videos From YouTube to WordPress

If you embed your YouTube videos to your WordPress site, then there are some easy tools that can help you automate the process.

First tool is a plugin called Automatic YouTube Video Posts which allows you to automatically create a new WordPress post containing the YouTube video as soon as you publish the video on your YouTube channel.

Automatically Post YouTube Videos as WordPress posts

The second tool is a web based service called IFTTT (if this then that). It allows you to create a recipe which automates the whole process for you. Check out our tutorial on how to how to automatically create WordPress posts from YouTube videos using IFTTT.

5. Allow YouTube Video Embeds in WordPress Comments

WordPress uses oEmbed protocol to embed content from third party services like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc. This allows you to just paste the URL of an item and WordPress will automatically embed it for you.

By default oEmbed is only enabled for WordPress posts and pages. By installing oEmbed in Comments plugin, you can enable this feature for comments too.

Your users will be able to simply paste the URL of a video to share it in comments. For detailed information, take a look at our guide about how to add videos and more in WordPress comments with oEmbed.

6. Add a YouTube Subscribe Button

When people are viewing videos on your website, you may want to provide them options to subscribe your YouTube channel directly. Simply install and activate the YouTube Subscribe Button plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Widgets and drag YouTube Subscribe Button widget to a sidebar.

YouTube Subscribe Button widget settings

Next, provide your channel name or ID, choose layout and theme. Currently there are two layouts normal and full. Using the full layout the subscribe button will display your YouTube avatar as well. There are two color schemes light and dark to choose from.

YouTube subscribe button in WordPress sidebar

We hope this article helped you introduce to some new WordPress plugins for YouTube publishers. You may also want to checkout our other useful YouTube tips to spice up your WordPress site with videos.

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

To leave a comment please visit 6 Best WordPress Plugins for YouTube Publishers on WPBeginner.

Beginner’s Guide to Creating Redirects in WordPress

Are you trying to create a redirect in WordPress? Not sure what is a redirect and why is it important? Don’t worry, we have got you covered in this beginner’s guide to WordPress redirects where we will cover what is a redirect, how to create… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit Beginner’s Guide to Creating Redirects in WordPress on WPBeginner.

Are you trying to create a redirect in WordPress? Not sure what is a redirect and why is it important? Don’t worry, we have got you covered in this beginner’s guide to WordPress redirects where we will cover what is a redirect, how to create a redirect in WordPress, why do you need, and when is the good time.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Website Redirects

What is a Redirect in WordPress?

Redirect is a way for your website to send a quick message to your reader’s browser and tell them that the page they want to visit has been moved, so their browser can automatically point them to the new page of your choice.

There are various different types of redirects such as 301 redirect, 302 redirect, 307 redirect, etc.

However to keep this article simple and useful, we will only cover 301 redirects as that’s the most important.

Let’s take a look at why it is important by understanding the use case.

When do you need a 301 redirect in WordPress?

The primary reason to use 301 redirects is when your site or a page on your site has been moved, and you want to point the user to a new page instead.

This article idea came to us when one of our readers asked us for a way to redirect users from an old post to a new post.

– You need to create a redirect when you are planning on deleting a post or page in favor of new content.

– You need to create a redirect when you are planning on changing the permalinks of your post or page.

Why? Because not creating a redirect will cause your users to see a 404 not found error. Which is not only bad for users, but it can also impact your site’s SEO and hurt your search engine rankings.

That’s when 301 redirects become very important.

It allows you to tell search engines and your user’s browser that the page they are trying to reach has been permanently moved to a new location.

This allows for all your old page’s traffic and backlink (SEO) strengths to be transferred on to the new page.

Now that we have covered the why and when of redirects, let’s take a look at how you can create 301 redirects in WordPress using the different methods that are available.

How to Create Redirects in WordPress (using Plugins)

An easier approach to create and manage 301 redirects is by using one of the many WordPress redirect plugins. This allows you to setup redirects without ever writing a single line of code.

1. Redirection

The simplest way to add and manage redirects in WordPress is by using the Redirection plugin. Install and activate the plugin. Once activated, visit Tools » Redirection to setup your redirects.

Setting up WordPress redirects using Redirection plugin

Redirection plugin not only allows you to setup redirects, it also helps you find out 404 errors on your WordPress site. You can then redirect those URLs to an appropriate destination. See this tutorial on how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.

2. Page Links to

Sometimes you may want to keep a post/page, but redirect it to another post or page. This is where Page Links to comes in handy. This simple plugin adds a meta box on your post edit screen where you can enter the address of the new location where you want to send your users.

Adding redirect link in post editor

3. Simple 301 Redirects

Another easy to use plugin is Simple 301 Redirects. As the name suggests, it makes 301 Redirects simple. Simply install and activate the plugin and then visit Settings » 301 Redirects to add your URLs.

Adding redirects using Simple 301 Redirects plugin for WordPress

Now while setting up 301 redirects using a WordPress plugin is easy, it has some minor performance setback. Based on your WordPress hosting provider, your WordPress redirects maybe a bit slower by some microseconds.

If you want to make your redirects faster, then you can do so by using the code method and .htaccess file.

Setting Up 301 Redirects in WordPress using .htaccess

Using the web server configuration file .htaccess, WordPress users can set up 301 redirects that are fast.

Please keep in mind that a small mistake in your .htaccess code can make your WordPress site inaccessible, and it may start showing Internal Server Error.

That’s why it is important that you backup your .htaccess file before making any changes.

To edit your .htaccess file, you will need to connect to your website using an FTP client. The .htaccess file resides in your WordPress site’s root directory.

If you can’t see your .htaccess file there, then you need to force your FTP client to show hidden files. (See why you can’t find .htaccess file on your WordPress site.)

You can edit .htaccess file in any plain text editor like Notepad.

Here is a simple redirect, where we are trying to send a user visiting an old post to a new post.

RewriteEngine On
Redirect 301 /a-very-old-post/ http://yoursite.com/a-very-new-post/

You can add the code above preferably at the end of your .htaccess file.

That’s all we hope this beginner’s guide to creating WordPress redirects helped you setup redirects on your site.

You may also want to check out these 9 most useful .htaccess tricks 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.

To leave a comment please visit Beginner’s Guide to Creating Redirects in WordPress on WPBeginner.

How to Put a Stop to WordPress Trackback Spam

Are you struggling with WordPress trackback spam? WordPress trackback spam can become a serious problem for many site owners. In this article, we will show you how to put a stop WordPress trackback spam. If your spam solution is not working for you, then one… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit How to Put a Stop to WordPress Trackback Spam on WPBeginner.

Are you struggling with WordPress trackback spam? WordPress trackback spam can become a serious problem for many site owners. In this article, we will show you how to put a stop WordPress trackback spam. If your spam solution is not working for you, then one of the tricks below will surely help you get rid of trackback spam.

Where The WordPress Trackback Spam Comes From?

Pingbacks and trackbacks spam is generated by spammers who use automated scripts to send millions of trackbacks to websites all over the world. Just like comment spam, trackback spam is not directed to your site personally.

What these spammers hope to achieve is that they could leave their links on a website where trackbacks are not monitored. Most of these spam links point to illegal activities like selling drugs, running scams, distributing malicious code, etc.

Get rid of Trackback Spam

How to Completely Get Rid of Trackback Spam Completely?

The easiest and quickest way to deal with trackback spam is to completely turn it off in your WordPress settings. All you need to do is visit Settings » Discussion page and under the default article settings uncheck the box next to ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)’.

Disabling WordPress trackbacks and pingbacks

This will disable trackback and pingback spam on your new articles. However you still need to disable trackbacks on existing WordPress posts. You can do so by following this tutorial on how to disable trackbacks and pings on existing posts.

If you do not want to turn off trackbacks and pingbacks, then here is how you can combat trackback spam.

Akismet

Akismet

Akismet is one of the two default plugins that come bundled with every WordPress site. The plugin actually connects your website to Akismet anti-spam service.

This is a massive spam filter monitoring millions of sites to catch spam comments and trackbacks. We use Akismet on WPBeginner to monitor comments.

It generally believed to be just a comment spam moderation tool, but it is also very effective against WordPress trackback spam. If you are not already using Akismet, then you should activate it right away. See our guide on Akismet and why you should start using it.

Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker

Simple trackback validation plugin allows you to stop trackback spam by running simple tests on each incoming trackback. At first it automatically blocks any trackbacks originating from topsy, which is a social search tool used for trackback spam.

It then checks whether the trackback is actually originating from the site it claims to be from. Lastly, it checks if an actual link to your site exists on the trackback source.

Hide Trackbacks

This plugin is not a spam protection plugin, but it provides a feature that some site owners might need. As the name suggests, it completely hides WordPress trackbacks and pingbacks from appearing in the comments on the front-end of your website.

It is particularly useful for sites where hundreds of spam trackbacks get published accidentally. You can activate this plugin to hide all spam trackbacks from public and then go to comments section in WordPress admin area to delete all the trackbacks spam.

That’s all we hope this article helped you block WordPress trackback spam. You may also want to take a look at these 12 vital tips and tools to combat comment spam in 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.

To leave a comment please visit How to Put a Stop to WordPress Trackback Spam on WPBeginner.

How to Optimize Your WordPress Robots.txt for SEO

Do you want to optimize your WordPress robots.txt file? Not sure why and how robots.txt file is important for your SEO? We have got you covered. In this article, we will show you how to optimize your WordPress robots.txt for SEO and help you understand… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit How to Optimize Your WordPress Robots.txt for SEO on WPBeginner.

Do you want to optimize your WordPress robots.txt file? Not sure why and how robots.txt file is important for your SEO? We have got you covered. In this article, we will show you how to optimize your WordPress robots.txt for SEO and help you understand the importance of robots.txt file.

Recently, a user asked us if they need a robots.txt file and what is the importance of it? Your site’s robots.txt file play an important role in your site’s overall SEO performance. It basically allows you to communicate with search engines and let them know which parts of your site they should index.

Understanding robots.txt  importance in WordPress SEO

Do I Really Need a Robots.txt File?

Absence of a robots.txt file will not stop search engines from crawling and indexing your website. However, it is highly recommended that you create one. If you want to submit your site’s XML sitemap to search engines, then this is where search engines will look for your XML sitemap unless you have specified it in Google Webmaster Tools.

We highly recommend that if you do not have a robots.txt file on your site, then you immediately create one.

Where is the Robots.txt file? How to Create a Robots.txt file?

Robots.txt file usually resides in your site’s root folder. You will need to connect to your site using an FTP client or by using cPanel file manager to view it.

It is just like any ordinary text file, and you can open it with a plain text editor like Notepad.

If you do not have a robots.txt file in your site’s root directory, then you can always create one. All you need to do is create a new text file on your computer and save it as robots.txt. Next, simply upload it to your site’s root folder.

How to Use Robots.txt file?

The format for robots.txt file is actually quite simple. The first line usually names a user agent. The user agent is actually the name of the search bot you are trying to communicate with. For example, Googlebot or Bingbot. You can use asterisk * to instruct all bots.

The next line follows with Allow or Disallow instructions for search engines, so they know which parts you want them to index, and which ones you don’t want indexed.

See a sample robots.txt file:

User-Agent: *
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /readme.html

In this sample robots.txt file for WordPress, we have instructed all bots to index our image upload directory.

In the next two lines we have disallowed them to index our WordPress plugins directory and the readme.html file.

Optimizing Your Robots.txt File for SEO

In the guidelines for webmasters, Google advises webmasters to not use robots.txt file to hide low quality content. If you were thinking about using robots.txt file to stop Google from indexing your category, date, and other archive pages, then that may not be a wise choice.

Remember, the purpose of robots.txt is to instruct bots what to do with the content they crawl on your site. It does not stop bots from crawling your website.

There are other WordPress plugins which allow you to add meta tags like nofollow and noindex in your archive pages. WordPress SEO plugin also allows you to do this. We are not saying that you should have your archive pages deindexed, but if you wanted to do it, then that’s the proper way of doing it.

The proper way of adding noindex to archive pages in WordPress

You do not need to add your WordPress login page, admin directory, or registration page to robots.txt because login and registration pages have noindex tag added as meta tag by WordPress.

It is recommend that you disallow readme.html file in your robots.txt file. This readme file can be used by someone who is trying to figure out which version of WordPress you are using. If this was an individual, then they can easily access the file by simply browsing to it.

On the other hand if someone is running a malicious query to locate WordPress sites using a specific version, then this disallow tag can protect you from those mass attacks.

You can also disallow your WordPress plugin directory. This will strengthen your site’s security if someone is looking for a specific vulnerable plugin to exploit for a mass attack.

Adding Your XML Sitemap to Robots.txt File

If you are using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin or some other plugin to generate your XML sitemap, then your plugin will try to automatically add your sitemap related lines into robots.txt file.

However if it fails, then your plugin will show you the link to your XML Sitemaps which you can add to your robots.txt file manually like this:

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/post-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/page-sitemap.xml

What Does an Ideal Robots.txt File Should Look Like?

Honestly, many popular blogs use very simple robots.txt files. Their contents vary, depending on the needs of the specific site:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/post-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/page-sitemap.xml

This robots.txt file simply tells all bots to index all content and provides the links to site’s XML sitemaps.

Here is another example of a robots.txt file, this time it is the one we use here on WPBeginner:

User-Agent: *
Allow: /?display=wide
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /readme.html
Disallow: /refer/

Sitemap: http://www.wpbeginner.com/post-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.wpbeginner.com/page-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.wpbeginner.com/deals-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.wpbeginner.com/hosting-sitemap.xml

That’s all. We hope this article helped you learn how to optimize your WordPress robots.txt file for SEO. You may also want to see our guide on 9 Best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

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.

To leave a comment please visit How to Optimize Your WordPress Robots.txt for SEO on WPBeginner.

What’s Coming in WordPress 4.2 (Features and Screenshots)

After the release of WordPress 4.1, the development of the next major release started in full swing. WordPress 4.2 will be the first major release of 2015, and it is planned to be released by end of April. There are a lot of exciting things… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit What’s Coming in WordPress 4.2 (Features and Screenshots) on WPBeginner.

After the release of WordPress 4.1, the development of the next major release started in full swing. WordPress 4.2 will be the first major release of 2015, and it is planned to be released by end of April. There are a lot of exciting things happening around it. In this article, we will show you what’s coming in WordPress 4.2 with features and screenshots.

You can try out the beta version on your computer or on a staging environment by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

WordPress 4.2

New and Improved Emoji Support

Do you use Emoji’s in your text messages, facebook statuses, etc? Well, now you can use it in your WordPress blog posts as well.

Emojis are cool and fun way to express your feelings in a text-based communication. WordPress had basic emoticons for a long time, and even though it was possible for users to add emoji support to WordPress, it was not supported by the core.

With WordPress 4.2 your WordPress sites will have built-in emoji support. If you are using a mobile device, you can easily add emojis to your posts, comments, categories, and in most places where you can write text. This includes post slugs as well.

Native support for emojis in WordPress 4.2

Switching Theme in Customizer

WordPress 4.2 will bring improvements to the way you install, browse, and preview themes using the WordPress customizer. You will now be able to switch, preview, and activate themes from the theme customizer screen.

Theme switcher in WordPress 4.2

You can also click on the ‘Add New’ button to browse and install new themes.

Faster Plugin Installation and Updates

Plugin installation will be streamlined in WordPress 4.2. Now users will be able to install plugins directly from the ‘Add New Plugin’ or search results.

Faster plugin installation in WordPress 4.2

Plugins will not only be installed, but they will also be activated. This will reduce one step and two page loads from the plugin installation process.

If you want to install a plugin and not activate it, then you will have to go back to Installed Plugins screen and deactivate the plugin.

Same goes for the updates, users will be able to update plugins from the Installed Plugins screen without leaving the page.

New and Improved Press This Button

Press This is a little-known tool in WordPress that is gaining a rebirth in WordPress 4.2. There are two major improvements.

Press This in WordPress 4.2

The first one is the bookmarklet that you can drag and drop to your browser’s bookmarks bar. Simply click on the Press This bookmark when you want to post about a topic you are viewing on the web. It will open your WordPress post editor inside a popup, and it will automatically fetch the page title, image, and an excerpt from the page with a link back to the original source.

Press This popup in the upcoming WordPress 4.2

You can use it anywhere on the web. If you are on an oEmbed enabled site like YouTube, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram, then it will automatically fetch the embed code as well.

The second Press This tool is a simple link which you can open in your mobile browser and add it to your home screen / bookmark it.

Adding Press This to your Home Screen in mobile devices

Under The Hood Improvements

There are some minor changes in the default color scheme for the WordPress admin area. (#31234)

Shared terms across different taxonomies will now split when one of them is updated. This will resolve the issue of shared terms showing updates from different taxonomies. (#5809)

New feature in wp.a11y.speak() function will allow screen readers to be able to read response generated by JavaScript. (#31368)

We hope this article gave you a glimpse of what’s coming in WordPress 4.2. Let us know which features you are excited about, and what you would like to see in the future release of 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.

To leave a comment please visit What’s Coming in WordPress 4.2 (Features and Screenshots) on WPBeginner.

How to Expire Posts or Partial Post Content in WordPress

Have you ever wished that you can set an expiration date for your blog posts? Perhaps you have timely content such as deals or giveaways that have been outdated which you want to automatically expire? In this article, we will show you how to expire… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit How to Expire Posts or Partial Post Content in WordPress on WPBeginner.

Have you ever wished that you can set an expiration date for your blog posts? Perhaps you have timely content such as deals or giveaways that have been outdated which you want to automatically expire? In this article, we will show you how to expire posts and pages in WordPress. We will also show you how to schedule part of your post or page content to be expired after a specific date.

Expire Post Content

When would you want to expire posts or partial post content?

The primary use case of post expiration is to expire time-sensitive content such as special deals, coupons, giveaways, and event announcements.

In certain cases, you may want to keep the post active on your site because it is helpful, but only expire partial content such as a special limited-time discount coupon which no longer works..

First let’s take a look at how to expire posts, then we will look at how to expire partial post content.

How to Expire Posts in WordPress?

There are ways to customize the WordPress loop with PHP codes and utilize custom fields to make this happen, but that is too much work. Let’s take a look at an easier solution: Post Expirator plugin.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the plugin. Once activate, go to edit any WordPress post or page, and you will see a new metabox like this:

Post Expirator - WordPress Plugin

You can enable the post expiration and select the date / time that you want this post to expire on.

You are probably wondering what happens to the post once it is expired. Well, you get to decide that. There are several options to choose from.

You can either make it a draft (unpublish it), set it to private, delete the post altogether, or you can change the post category.

You also have additional settings that you can configure from the settings page found under Settings » Post Expirator.

Post Expirator Settings - WordPress Plugin

You can choose the date and time format along with the default expiration category. You also have the option to add the post expiration date at the end of your content to let your users know when this post or page will be expiring.

Post Expirator Footer Settings - WordPress Plugin

Another plugin that offers similar functionality is called Simple Post Expiration.

How to Expire Partial Post Content in WordPress

The above method shows you how to expire the entire post or page, but in some cases that is not what you want. You may just want to remove part of the post or page content after a certain time. Well in that case, the plugin called Scheduled Content is your best solution.

This plugin allows you to schedule part of your post content to be published and expired based on the dates you specify.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the plugin. Once you have done that, there are no additional settings. All you need to do is wrap your content with the shortcode and set the date/time you’d like it to expire on. When that time arrives, this content will disappear and no longer be visible to your users.

[schedule on=’2014-12-01′ at=”10:01″ expon=’2014-12-01′ expat=”13:15″] the content you want to hide here [/schedule]

The date has to be set in yy-mm-dd format, and time has to be set in the 24 hours format.

The time is compared with your blog’s time zone settings, so make sure you have the right time zone by going to Settings » General.

You can also add shortcodes inside this schedule shortcode as well.

We hope this article helped you learn how to expire posts in WordPress and expire partial post and page content in 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.

To leave a comment please visit How to Expire Posts or Partial Post Content in WordPress on WPBeginner.

How to Disable Automatic Updates in WordPress

Did you know that WordPress can automatically update your website? Yes that include plugins and themes too. Despite the security benefits, there is a slight chance that it can break your website. In this article, we will show you how to disable automatic background updates… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit How to Disable Automatic Updates in WordPress on WPBeginner.

Did you know that WordPress can automatically update your website? Yes that include plugins and themes too. Despite the security benefits, there is a slight chance that it can break your website. In this article, we will show you how to disable automatic background updates in WordPress.

Note: This post was originally published on Oct 25, 2013, but we have updated it to add more insights and make it more comprehensive.

Background auto updates were introduced in WordPress 3.7 in an effort to promote better security. By default it is limited to only minor releases however in special cases WordPress may update your plugins and themes.

If you are one of the millions of websites that are using Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, then your site was automatically updated about a week ago without any notification!

Automatic updates are great for WordPress security because many users never update their plugins or their WordPress installs. However it can break your site which we will highlight below.

First let’s take a look at how to disable WordPress auto updates.

Configuring and Disabling Automatic WordPress Updates

The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating Disable Updates Manager plugin.

Go to Settings » Disable Updates Manager to configure your settings.

Disable Updates Manager

Alternatively, you can disable automatic updates in WordPress by adding this line of code in your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

This will disable all automatic WordPress updates.

However if you want to receive minor core updates, but disable theme and plugin updates, then you can do so by adding the following filters in your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

Disable automatic WordPress plugin updates:

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_false' );

Disable automatic WordPress theme updates:

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_false' );

Now that you know how to disable automatic updates in WordPress, the question is should you disable it?

On our sites, we have disabled automatic plugin and theme updates while keeping the minor core updates enabled.

We are listing the pros and cons of automatic updates below to help you make the decision that’s best for you.

Pros

You don’t have to worry about updating minor WordPress releases which are pushed out for maintenance and security purposes.

This is something that you only got if you paid for managed WordPress hosting, but now it’s available for everyone (at least for minor releases).

You also have the benefit of knowing that if there was a crucial security issue with WordPress or a popular plugin, then WordPress will automatically update even if you are on a vacation, so your site is secure.

Cons

There is a slight chance that automatic updates can break your site. In our experience, the minor releases haven’t broken any of our sites yet.

But that’s because we are following the best practices and not modifying any core files. If you modify WordPress core files, then these automatic updates can override them.

Although it hasn’t happened yet, but if WordPress ever felt necessary to push a security update for a theme you are using, then there is a chance that it will break your website specially if you have modified your theme files.

Similar to that, automatic plugin updates can break your site as well because there are just too many variables (different server environments, plugin combinations, etc).

Now it’s important to know that these updates will not break majority of websites, but considering WordPress powers millions of websites, a small percentage can still be a lot of sites.

For example, the recent Yoast SEO update broke two of our sites: WPBeginner and ThemeLab.

On WPBeginner, the issue was very edge-case. For some odd reason, our permalinks broke. That meant every page except our homepage was returning a 404 error. One of our users reported it, and we fixed it fairly fast. All we had to do was go to Settings » Permalinks and click Save Settings to rebuild permalinks.

WPBeginner Broken Permalinks

On ThemeLab, Yoast SEO was deactivated without our knowledge. Apparently when the auto update happened something went wrong with the process which caused the plugin to deactivate.

Since this was such a subtle change which didn’t affect the site’s functionality, we didn’t catch it for a few days. Yoast SEO is crucial for search engine optimization because it handles your meta information, sitemaps, etc. All of that functionality was gone.

Google Webmaster Tools was showing a sitemap error because our sitemap URL now returned a 404.

Sitemap 404 Error

Worst, our broken meta titles started being indexed which we are not sure how long it will take to recover from.

ThemeLab Search Results

This issue was reported by several users in the comments of Yoast’ blog post.

Yoast Comments

The worst part about this update was that the core team did not communicate with site-owners. So there is a very good chance that some people haven’t even realized that their SEO is at risk because of a security update that possibly deactivated their main SEO plugin.

Final Thoughts

WordPress automatic updates for core is new, and automatic security updates for plugins has only been done TWICE … ever!

Normally when WordPress core updates, there is an announcement that follows with it.

However with the past two automatic plugin updates, we haven’t seen a blog post or an email from WordPress.

We fully support the efforts of improving security, but site owners should be notified of every change that is made to their site.

It would be nice to have the WordPress team send an email when they push out security updates to a plugin. Also there should be a way to notify the site owner if the update wasn’t successful, so they can fix the issues as soon as possible.

We hope that there is better communication and more transparency in these security updates in the future.

What are your thoughts automatic updates? Would you keep them enabled or use the above method to disable them? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

To leave a comment please visit How to Disable Automatic Updates in WordPress on WPBeginner.