44 Best Free WordPress Blog Themes for 2017

Are you looking for a free WordPress blog theme for your website? There are thousands of free blog themes for WordPress making it harder for beginners to choose from. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best free WordPress blog themes that you… Read More »

The post 44 Best Free WordPress Blog Themes for 2017 appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for a free WordPress blog theme for your website? There are thousands of free blog themes for WordPress making it harder for beginners to choose from. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best free WordPress blog themes that you can use on your new blog.

Best free blog themes for WordPress

Getting Started with WordPress

First, you need to make sure that you are using the right platform. Self hosted WordPress.org site is the perfect platform to start your blog because it gives you more freedom and control.

It is open source and comes with support for thousands of free templates and extensions that help you grow your blog faster. See our guide on why you should use WordPress for more details.

You can use our step by step beginner’s guide on how to start a WordPress blog for detailed instructions.

Once you are up and running, it is time to choose a theme for your website. You can choose a theme from our expert selection below and then follow the instructions in our how to install a WordPress theme guide to set it up properly.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the best free WordPress blog themes that you can install on your website.

1. Bento

Bento

Bento is a powerful multi-purpose WordPress blog theme with tons of features. It works great with the most page builder plugins and even recommends installing one upon activation.

For a free WordPress theme, Bento comes packed with great customization options. All of them can be accessed using theme customizer.

2. Modernize

modernize

Need a blog theme with minimalist approach to design? Checkout Modernize. It is a simple WordPress blog theme with collapsible menus and it comes in one and two column layouts.

Designed to improve readability it uses clean typography and elegantly handles featured images.

3. Nisarg

Nisarg

Nisarg is a beautiful free WordPress blog theme. It comes with a clean layout with two navigation menus and a large full-width header image. It also supports custom backgrounds and colors.

All theme options are easily customizable using the theme customizer. It also comes with multiple post formats for videos, gallery, audio, chat, aside, quote, etc.

4. Hueman

Hueman

Hueman is one of the most popular free WordPress themes. It comes with a multi-column layout and can be easily used on any kind of content rich blogs or magazine websites.

You also get support for custom headers, two column layout, full width layout, and tons of easy customization options.

5. Juno

Juno

Juno is an elegantly designed free WordPress blog theme. It allows you to easily customize colors and fonts. Juno includes features such as a slider area, masonry style blog, fully responsive design, and multiple widget areas.

It supports WooCommerce and comes with page, product, and blog post layouts.

6. Peaceful

Peaceful

Peaceful is a minimalist WordPress blog theme. It features a single column layout with large header image, a compact navigation menu, and beautiful featured images. It is quick and easy to setup and looks great on all devices and screen sizes.

7. Ajaira

Ajaira

Ajaira is a simple free blog theme for WordPress. It features a minimalist design with focus on crisp typography and beautiful featured images.

It comes with header social menu, header search bar, custom background, custom header, and colors. All theme options are easy to setup using the live theme customizer.

8. Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria is a simple WordPress blog theme with focus on beautiful typography and content. It comes with custom background, custom colors, custom header and a left sidebar.

Wisteria also has a single navigation menu on top and beautiful homepage that features your posts with custom excerpts and featured image.

9. Ribosome

Ribosome

Ribosome is a magazine style free WordPress blog theme. It comes with custom header, custom background, and unlimited colors. It has a single navigation menu and a social menu on the top.

Ribosome comes with a two column layout with sidebar on the right. It has six different Google Fonts, round or square thumbnails, two widgets areas at beginning and end of posts, perfect for displaying ads or related posts.

10. Poseidon

Poseidon

Poseidon is a free multi-purpose WordPress blog theme. Featuring a spacious layout, it comes with a full-width slider, homepage layout, and multiple page templates. The homepage layout can be easily setup using widgets.

11. SiteOrigin Unwind

SiteOrigin Unwind

SiteOrigin Unwind is a multipurpose free WordPress theme with full WooCommerce support. Designed with a minimalist style, Unwind is highly customizable using SiteOrigin Page Builder plugin. It comes with multiple layouts, custom header, background, and color support.

12. Hemingway

Hemingway

Hemingway is a clean WordPress blog theme featuring a two column layout, full width header image with parallax effect.

It supports custom accent color, custom logo upload, custom widgets (video, Flickr and Dribbble), page templates, etc. All theme options are quick and easy to setup.

13. Maxwell

Maxwell

Maxwell is a minimalistic and elegant WordPress theme. It features a clean magazine-style layout with beautiful typography. It comes with various post layouts and a gorgeous featured posts slideshow.

14. Hit

Hit

Hit is a minimalist WordPress blog theme. It features a full width header image and a two column layout. It comes with a distraction free style that is perfect for reading and showcasing your photos.

15. Writee

Writee

Writee is a free WordPress theme suitable for personal websites, travel and adventure blogs. It features a large slider on top using featured images from blog posts. It comes with multiple templates and custom widgets among many other features.

16. Libretto

Libretto

Libretto is a beautiful WordPress blog theme designed specifically to showcase long form writing, stories, poetry, etc. It uses beautiful typography with Playfair Display and Libre Baskerville fonts, an elegant color scheme, and distraction free single column layout.

17. Verbosa

Verbosa

Verbosa is an elegantly crafted WordPress blog theme. It is designed with readability and visual appearance of your content at the center. It uses a three column layout on the homepage with two columns showing your content in a beautiful grid.

18. Flat

Flat

Flat is a modern WordPress blog theme with a two column layout. It features left sidebar with navigation menu. Large featured images, custom logo, custom background and header support.

It comes with flexible customization options that can be setup using the live theme customizer.

19. Lovecraft

lovecraft

Lovecraft is a clean and simple free WordPress blogging theme. It features a full-width custom header at the top and uses bold headlines for post titles. It comes with a left sidebar and one navigation menu at the top.

20. Baskerville

Baskerville

Baskerville is a modern and stylish WordPress blog theme. It features a large full-width header image followed by your posts presented as a grid on the homepage. It comes with gorgeous templates for single posts and pages.

21. Sanse

Sanse

Looking for an incredibly fast and extremely simple WordPress blog theme? Try Sanse. This free blog theme does not support featured images and the homepage layout is just a grid of your posts with excerpts. It has three widget areas in the footer and single navigation bar at the top.

22. Magnus

Magnus

Magnus is a free WordPress photography theme for bloggers. It uses featured image on each post as the fullscreen header image. The homepage layout is just featured image with post titles.

It uses a single column layout for the single posts. It has collapsible sidebar, a navigation menu on top, and supports custom headers.

You should also consider using Magnus in combination with Envira Gallery, a powerful WordPress gallery plugin.

23. Fashionistas

Fashionistas

As the name suggests, Fashionistas is a WordPress theme for fashion and lifestyle blog. It features a light breezy design with beautiful typography and gorgeous display of featured images. It comes with two navigation menus, right sidebar, and footer widget areas.

24. Admiral

Admiral

Admiral is a magazine style WordPress theme suitable for sports blogs, magazine, and news websites. It features a three column layout with two sidebars on both sides and content column in the middle.

It comes with a featured posts slideshow, a magazine homepage template, a widgetized header area, two different post layouts and support for infinite scroll.

25. Coral Dark

Coral Dark

If you are looking for a WordPress blog theme with dark background, then try Coral Dark. It comes in one-column or two-column layout with built-in slideshow. It allows you to customize fonts and colors and comes with two widget ready areas.

26. Barletta

Barletta

Barletta is a light and elegant WordPress blog theme. It is designed for lifestyle, travel, fashion, food, and personal blogs. It focuses on improving readability and displaying your images gracefully. It has a two column layout with sidebar on the right. It supports custom headers, background, and a featured content slider on homepage.

27. Revive

Revive

Revive is a beautiful free blog theme for WordPress. It features a magazine style layout with large header image and your featured content displayed in a posts grid. It comes integrated with Font Awesome icons and supports multiple blog layouts.

28. Hiero

Hiero

Hiero is a free WordPress blog theme with a magazine style layout. It uses bold colors for header and accent. It uses a two column layout and comes with a navigation menu on top. The home page displays your latest posts with excerpts and featured images.

29. Zeal

Zeal

Zeal is a free WordPress blog theme for the creative types. It comes with a parallax Jumbotron with color filter option, featured posts, multiple widget areas, and stunning parallax effects.

It supports custom headers, background, and custom colors. It comes with multiple widget ready areas and page templates.

30. Tracks

Tracks

Tracks is a thoughtfully designed WordPress blog theme for personal, magazines, and photography websites. It includes a logo uploader, social media icons, search bar, widget ready areas, and crisp typography. The homepage features a grid layout of your posts with featured images.

31. Extant

Extant

Extant is a minimalist WordPress blog theme designed specifically for photographers and artists. It offers a clutter free design with no sidebars, or widget ready areas. Homepage is made of grid of your posts using only the featured images and post titles. It comes with a collapsible menu on top and two layout choices.

32. Scratchpad

Scratchpad

Scratchpad is an illustrative and colorful WordPress blog theme. It uses a set of patterns, drawings, and styles to create a beautiful and fun look. It supports multiple post formats and displays them beautifully. It has a sidebar on the right, and another at the bottom.

33. The Columnist

The columnist is a WordPress blog theme featuring a magazine style look. It comes with different layouts for homepage, archives, single pages, bbPress, and BuddyPress. It also includes a responsive customisable slider and four color schemes.

34. Satori

Satori

Satori is a highly customizable WordPress theme for blogs and personal websites. It features a full-width header on the homepage and comes with different page templates including support for WooCommerce, multiple widget ready areas, and post formats.

35. Nitro

Nitro

Nitro is a highly customizable free WordPress blog theme. It comes with a beautiful homepage layout with slider on top and featured content below. It has multiple widget ready areas, page templates, and supports custom headers, backgrounds, social menu, custom colors.

36. WriterBlog

The WriterBlog is a simple WordPress blog theme featuring a classic blog layout. It comes in a two column layout with sidebar on the right. It supports full-width custom header, custom background, custom colors, etc.

37. Illdy

Illdy

Illdy is a multi-purpose WordPress theme suitable for business, personal, magazine websites. It is built on bootstrap framework and features large header images, two column and full-width layout, custom background, and color selection.

38. Tecblogger

tecblogger

Tecblogger is a simple and clean WordPress blog theme. It features a classic blog look with content column and a right sidebar. It comes with a navigation menu on top and supports custom headers, custom backgrounds, and colors.

39. MadHat

MadHat

MadHat is built on Bootstrap framework, and it is a multi-purpose WordPress theme featuring a black and white layout which can be easily customized. It comes with Font Awesome icons, multiple blog layouts, and sidebar customizations.

40. Garfunkel

Garfunkel

Garfunkel is a stylish WordPress blog theme featuring a grid layout on the homepage. It supports custom headers, custom backgrounds, six post formats (including a gallery slideshow), six custom widgets, social menu, and two page templates.

41. Author

Author

Author is a beautiful WordPress blog theme for authors and writers. It features a simple two column layout with sidebar and navigation menu in the left column and content on the right. It supports custom colors, background, and multiple post formats. It is optimized for accessibility and performance.

42. Tempo

Tempo

Tempo is a modern WordPress blogging theme that can be easily used as a business website as well. It features clean crisp typography with a bright breezy layout. It supports custom header, parallax, header buttons, custom logo, custom colors, custom background, social links, left and right sidebar, and custom widgets.

43. Natural Lite

Natural Lite

Natural lite is a simple blogging theme with earthy tones. It uses large featured images, supports custom header and background. It comes with multi-column layouts and easy customization options.

44. Ignite

Ignite

Ignite is a stylish WordPress blog theme featuring a classic blog look. It comes with a two column layout, a compact top bar used for navigation menus and site title and description. It uses medium sized featured images before post titles and utilizes crisp typography for better reading experience on your blog.

That’s all for now.

We hope this list helped you find the best free WordPress blog themes for your website. You may also want to see these actionable tips to drive traffic to your new WordPress site.

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 44 Best Free WordPress Blog Themes for 2017 appeared first on WPBeginner.

5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared)

VPNs are growing in popularity due to privacy and security concerns. VPN short for virtual private network allows you to protect your privacy, secure information, and bypass censorship. If you’re looking for the best VPN services, then you are in the right place. In this… Read More »

The post 5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.

VPNs are growing in popularity due to privacy and security concerns. VPN short for virtual private network allows you to protect your privacy, secure information, and bypass censorship. If you’re looking for the best VPN services, then you are in the right place. In this article, we will explain what is a VPN, why you need a VPN, and share our handpicked list of the best VPN services for WordPress users.

Best VPN Services for WordPress Users

What is VPN and Why It is Important?

VPN is a Virtual Private Network that helps you secure your internet connection and protect your identity.

We all use internet on multiple devices, from multiple locations, and sometimes from public internet spots.

A compromised public WiFi can give hackers access to your personal information such as passwords, credit cards, browsing history, personal files, etc. They can install malware on your WordPress site, hack your social media profiles, steal your bank account information and more.

Even direct internet connection at your home or office can be used to view data transferred to and from your devices.

VPN helps you secure your internet connection and protect your identity. It allows you to browse internet privately using encryption and from different countries (IP addresses). This way you can bypass country specific content restrictions on websites like Netflix, YouTube, BBC, etc.

As a WordPress site owner, using a VPN improves your WordPress security. If you are already using SSL on your WordPress site, then using a VPN completely hides your activities behind multiple encryption layers.

How VPN Works?

How VPN works

Normally, all your internet traffic travels through different servers spread across the world. This internet traffic can be spied upon. Hackers and governments can see which websites you are visiting, and what you are doing online.

A VPN creates a private network that acts as a point to point network between your computer and your VPN server.

When you request a website from your computer using a VPN, your VPN client encrypts your request and then sends it to the VPN server.

The VPN server then requests the information from the destination website and encrypts it before sending it back to your computer.

This allows you to keep your internet connection secure and away from the prying eyes of hackers, your internet service provider, and governments.

How to Choose The Best VPN Service?

There are plenty of VPN service providers available that you can use. However, not all of them offer the same level of security, privacy, and ease of use.

Here is what you need to look for in the best VPN service:

Ease of use – You will need easy to use apps for all your devices, so you can quickly connect to your VPN, switch servers, change IPs without any technical skills.

Speed and Bandwidth – VPN services can be slow if they don’t have enough bandwidth to support faster connections for all their customers. You need to choose a company that has the infrastructure to support faster connections.

Locations and Servers – More servers on multiple locations means you can choose servers from different countries with different IPs. It also allows you to switch from a slower server to a faster one.

Privacy and Security – You need to make sure that your VPN service provider is offering the best layer of security to protect your privacy. This means not keeping logs and using layers of encryption for all data transfers.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the top VPN services and how they stack up against each other.

1. IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish is one of the most popular VPN service providers in the world. They offer the most easy to use VPN service that can be used by beginners as well as experts.

IPVanish allows you to easily connect to their private secure network. They have apps for all popular mobile and desktop platforms including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

All these apps are quite easy to use with their simple user interface. You can simultaneously use the same account on up to five devices at any given time.

They also have a huge network of 40,000+ shared IPs, 750+ VPN servers in more than 60 countries. You can use IPs from any region or country. IPVanish app will even suggest the fastest servers to chose from.

Speed is an important concern for most users. IPVanish is noticeably faster than most VPN service providers due to their robust network, bandwidth capacity, and better infrastructure.

All connections are encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption technology which is the highest industry standard. It allows unlimited P2P connections (used for torrents) with no bandwidth caps. They also have a strict zero log policy, which means they don’t keep any record of your online activities.

Pricing: Starting from $6.99 per month paid annually. WPBeginner users can use this exclusive IPVanish coupon to get 60% discount.

2. StrongVPN

StrongVPN

StrongVPN is another top VPN service provider with more than 12000+ customers around the world. Their strong network is spread across 24 countries and 47 cities.

StrongVPN offers the highest industry standard encryption with no bandwidth caps for all their accounts. They also offer StrongDNS service which allows you to bypass censorship without compromising speed or using encryption. You can use both of these together for complete privacy, or you can just use StrongDNS to bypass censorship.

StrongVPN has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. All apps are quite easy to setup and use even for non-tech savvy users. They don’t have any limit on number of devices you connect with the same account, so you can use it on all your devices.

Pricing: Starting from $5.83/month billed annually.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is a popular VPN service provider with a huge network of 765 worldwide server locations in 58 different countries.

It comes with easy to use apps for all your devices allowing you to connect to VPN instantly and switch between geographic locations without revealing your identity. You can connect up to 6 devices at a time using different servers and geographic locations.

They use the highest industry standard encryption with a double layer encryption technology for more security. This makes NordVPN perfect to be used when accessing internet over public WiFi locations.

NordVPN also allows P2P connections with no bandwidth or download caps which makes them a popular choice among VPN for torrenting. They have a zero log policy to ensure privacy of their customers. They have automatic kill switch built-in which means if your connection drops, then it will not compromise your privacy.

Pricing: Starting from $5.75/month billed annually.

4. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another VPN service provider with a strong network of 145 locations in 94 countries. They offer industry standard encryption to protect your privacy and keep your internet secure.

It comes with easy to use apps for all platforms and devices. It offers unlimited server switching, allowing you to hop from one geo-location to another with the click of a button.

You can simultaneously connect up to 3 devices using the same VPN account, which is lower than other VPN service providers on this list.

ExpressVPN allows you to use file sharing services and P2P connections without limiting downloads or speed. They also have a zero-logging policy to ensure your privacy.

Pricing: Starting from $8.25 per month billed annually.

5. OverPlay

OverPlay

OverPlay is a great VPN service with all the features you will need for rock solid online privacy and security. Their huge network consists of 650+ servers spread across 70+ locations in more than 50 countries.

They offer industry standard encryption to secure your internet access with zero-logs policy to ensure privacy.

They also offer SmartDNS service which allows you to browse internet without encryption. This is particularly helpful if you are only trying to access blocked websites.

Combining SmartDNS with VPN service makes your internet connection secure and private without compromising on speed even from public WiFi spots.

OverPlay VPN also offers unlimited peer to peer connections without bandwidth or download caps. It also has apps for all popular devices and platforms.

Pricing: Starting from $8.33 per month billed annually for VPN+SmartDNS plan.

Conclusion:

After carefully evaluating all these VPN services, we believe that IPVanish is the best VPN service currently available. They offer the best security, easy to use apps, huge network, and blazing fast speeds.

StrongVPN is the second best option in the list. They offer similar set of features as other VPN service providers with additional StrongDNS service.

We hope this article helped you find the best VPN Service as a WordPress user. You may also want to see our guide on how to properly manage your passwords.

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 5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.

5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared)

VPNs are growing in popularity due to privacy and security concerns. VPN short for virtual private network allows you to protect your privacy, secure information, and bypass censorship. If you’re looking for the best VPN services, then you are in the right place. In this… Read More »

The post 5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.

VPNs are growing in popularity due to privacy and security concerns. VPN short for virtual private network allows you to protect your privacy, secure information, and bypass censorship. If you’re looking for the best VPN services, then you are in the right place. In this article, we will explain what is a VPN, why you need a VPN, and share our handpicked list of the best VPN services for WordPress users.

Best VPN Services for WordPress Users

What is VPN and Why It is Important?

VPN is a Virtual Private Network that helps you secure your internet connection and protect your identity.

We all use internet on multiple devices, from multiple locations, and sometimes from public internet spots.

A compromised public WiFi can give hackers access to your personal information such as passwords, credit cards, browsing history, personal files, etc. They can install malware on your WordPress site, hack your social media profiles, steal your bank account information and more.

Even direct internet connection at your home or office can be used to view data transferred to and from your devices.

VPN helps you secure your internet connection and protect your identity. It allows you to browse internet privately using encryption and from different countries (IP addresses). This way you can bypass country specific content restrictions on websites like Netflix, YouTube, BBC, etc.

As a WordPress site owner, using a VPN improves your WordPress security. If you are already using SSL on your WordPress site, then using a VPN completely hides your activities behind multiple encryption layers.

How VPN Works?

How VPN works

Normally, all your internet traffic travels through different servers spread across the world. This internet traffic can be spied upon. Hackers and governments can see which websites you are visiting, and what you are doing online.

A VPN creates a private network that acts as a point to point network between your computer and your VPN server.

When you request a website from your computer using a VPN, your VPN client encrypts your request and then sends it to the VPN server.

The VPN server then requests the information from the destination website and encrypts it before sending it back to your computer.

This allows you to keep your internet connection secure and away from the prying eyes of hackers, your internet service provider, and governments.

How to Choose The Best VPN Service?

There are plenty of VPN service providers available that you can use. However, not all of them offer the same level of security, privacy, and ease of use.

Here is what you need to look for in the best VPN service:

Ease of use – You will need easy to use apps for all your devices, so you can quickly connect to your VPN, switch servers, change IPs without any technical skills.

Speed and Bandwidth – VPN services can be slow if they don’t have enough bandwidth to support faster connections for all their customers. You need to choose a company that has the infrastructure to support faster connections.

Locations and Servers – More servers on multiple locations means you can choose servers from different countries with different IPs. It also allows you to switch from a slower server to a faster one.

Privacy and Security – You need to make sure that your VPN service provider is offering the best layer of security to protect your privacy. This means not keeping logs and using layers of encryption for all data transfers.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the top VPN services and how they stack up against each other.

1. IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish is one of the most popular VPN service providers in the world. They offer the most easy to use VPN service that can be used by beginners as well as experts.

IPVanish allows you to easily connect to their private secure network. They have apps for all popular mobile and desktop platforms including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

All these apps are quite easy to use with their simple user interface. You can simultaneously use the same account on up to five devices at any given time.

They also have a huge network of 40,000+ shared IPs, 750+ VPN servers in more than 60 countries. You can use IPs from any region or country. IPVanish app will even suggest the fastest servers to chose from.

Speed is an important concern for most users. IPVanish is noticeably faster than most VPN service providers due to their robust network, bandwidth capacity, and better infrastructure.

All connections are encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption technology which is the highest industry standard. It allows unlimited P2P connections (used for torrents) with no bandwidth caps. They also have a strict zero log policy, which means they don’t keep any record of your online activities.

Pricing: Starting from $6.99 per month paid annually. WPBeginner users can use this exclusive IPVanish coupon to get 60% discount.

2. StrongVPN

StrongVPN

StrongVPN is another top VPN service provider with more than 12000+ customers around the world. Their strong network is spread across 24 countries and 47 cities.

StrongVPN offers the highest industry standard encryption with no bandwidth caps for all their accounts. They also offer StrongDNS service which allows you to bypass censorship without compromising speed or using encryption. You can use both of these together for complete privacy, or you can just use StrongDNS to bypass censorship.

StrongVPN has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. All apps are quite easy to setup and use even for non-tech savvy users. They don’t have any limit on number of devices you connect with the same account, so you can use it on all your devices.

Pricing: Starting from $5.83/month billed annually.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is a popular VPN service provider with a huge network of 765 worldwide server locations in 58 different countries.

It comes with easy to use apps for all your devices allowing you to connect to VPN instantly and switch between geographic locations without revealing your identity. You can connect up to 6 devices at a time using different servers and geographic locations.

They use the highest industry standard encryption with a double layer encryption technology for more security. This makes NordVPN perfect to be used when accessing internet over public WiFi locations.

NordVPN also allows P2P connections with no bandwidth or download caps which makes them a popular choice among VPN for torrenting. They have a zero log policy to ensure privacy of their customers. They have automatic kill switch built-in which means if your connection drops, then it will not compromise your privacy.

Pricing: Starting from $5.75/month billed annually.

4. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another VPN service provider with a strong network of 145 locations in 94 countries. They offer industry standard encryption to protect your privacy and keep your internet secure.

It comes with easy to use apps for all platforms and devices. It offers unlimited server switching, allowing you to hop from one geo-location to another with the click of a button.

You can simultaneously connect up to 3 devices using the same VPN account, which is lower than other VPN service providers on this list.

ExpressVPN allows you to use file sharing services and P2P connections without limiting downloads or speed. They also have a zero-logging policy to ensure your privacy.

Pricing: Starting from $8.25 per month billed annually.

5. OverPlay

OverPlay

OverPlay is a great VPN service with all the features you will need for rock solid online privacy and security. Their huge network consists of 650+ servers spread across 70+ locations in more than 50 countries.

They offer industry standard encryption to secure your internet access with zero-logs policy to ensure privacy.

They also offer SmartDNS service which allows you to browse internet without encryption. This is particularly helpful if you are only trying to access blocked websites.

Combining SmartDNS with VPN service makes your internet connection secure and private without compromising on speed even from public WiFi spots.

OverPlay VPN also offers unlimited peer to peer connections without bandwidth or download caps. It also has apps for all popular devices and platforms.

Pricing: Starting from $8.33 per month billed annually for VPN+SmartDNS plan.

Conclusion:

After carefully evaluating all these VPN services, we believe that IPVanish is the best VPN service currently available. They offer the best security, easy to use apps, huge network, and blazing fast speeds.

StrongVPN is the second best option in the list. They offer similar set of features as other VPN service providers with additional StrongDNS service.

We hope this article helped you find the best VPN Service as a WordPress user. You may also want to see our guide on how to properly manage your passwords.

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 5 Best VPN Services for WordPress Users (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Trying ASP.NET Core on the Google Cloud Platform “App Engine Flexible Environment”

Last week I used Zeit and “now” to deploy an ASP.NET Core app (via a container) to the Zeit cloud. Tonight the kids are asleep so I thought I’d deploy to the Google Cloud. They’ve got beta support for open source ASP.NET so it’s a perfect time. Google even has Google Cloud Tools for Visual Studio (2015).

I’ll install the Google Cloud SDK. I checked “beta” as well.

Installing the Google Cloud SDK

Install it, login to your Google account and setup/select a project. I make a new folder and put an “app.yaml” in there with this inside as a directive to the Google Cloud Platform.

runtime: aspnetcore
env: flex

Here’s a gratuitous screenshot:

App.yaml

I did a dotnet new, dotnet restore, and finally a:

dotnet publish -c Release

which makes a publish folder that will get sent up to the cloud.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I initially tried to push a .NET Core app using the .NET Core 1.1 runtime but Google Cloud’s beta support in the flexible environment is set up for the 1.0.3 runtime (using their own custom docker base image) as of the time of this blog post, so you’ll want to “dotnet new mvc –framework netcoreapp1.0” and set the “RuntimeFrameworkVersion” to get that specific shared LTS (Long Term Support) version. As soon as the Google Cloud flex runtime has the latest LTS (1.0.4, at the time of this writing) then apps would just roll forward.

<PropertyGroup>
  <TargetFramework>netcoreapp1.0</TargetFramework>
<RuntimeFrameworkVersion>1.0.3</RuntimeFrameworkVersion> </PropertyGroup>

Otherwise you’ll get errors. Fortunately those errors are very clear.

.NET Core Runtime 1.0.3 supported

The walkthrough on Google Cloud suggests you copy the app.yaml file using a standard CLI copy command. However, since you’re going to need that app.yaml EVERY publish, just add it to the csproj like this:

<ItemGroup>
<Content Include="app.yaml" CopyToOutputDirectory="Always" />
</ItemGroup>

This way it’ll end up in publish automatically. You can then publish to the “AppEngine flexible environment:

dotnet restore
dotnet publish -c Release
gcloud beta app deploy .\bin\Release\netcoreapp1.0\publish\app.yaml
gcloud app browse // THIS IS JUST TO VISIT IT AFTER IT'S PUBLISHED

NOTE: You may get an ERROR that billing isn’t enabled, or that the cloudbuild.googleapis.com aren’t enabled. You’ll need to ensure you have an active Free Trial, then go to the API Manager in the Google Cloud Platform dashboard and enable “Google Cloud Container Builder API.” I also had to manually enable the API for the “Flexible” Environment and confirm I had a valid billing account.

Needed to enable some Billing APIs in the Google Cloud

Once I enabled a few APIs, I just did a standard “gcloud beta app deploy” as above:

gcloud beta app deploy

Pretty cool stuff! Here is my ASP.NET Core app running on GCP’s Flex engine:

ASP.NET on Google Cloud

You can “tail” your app with “gcloud app logs tail -s default” and you’ll see the output from .NET Core and ASP.NET (and Kestrel) in the Google Cloud!

gcloud app logs tail -s default

Or online in the Google “Stackdriver” logging page:

Google Stackdriver Logging page showing ASP.NET Core Logging

Go read up more on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. They even support Kubernetes clusters with ASP.NE Core apps packaged as Docker containers.


Sponsor: Thanks to Redgate! Track every change to your database! See who made changes, what they did, & why, with SQL Source Control. Get a full version history in your source control system. See how.


© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

Last week I used Zeit and "now" to deploy an ASP.NET Core app (via a container) to the Zeit cloud. Tonight the kids are asleep so I thought I'd deploy to the Google Cloud. They've got beta support for open source ASP.NET so it's a perfect time. Google even has Google Cloud Tools for Visual Studio (2015).

I'll install the Google Cloud SDK. I checked "beta" as well.

Installing the Google Cloud SDK

Install it, login to your Google account and setup/select a project. I make a new folder and put an "app.yaml" in there with this inside as a directive to the Google Cloud Platform.

runtime: aspnetcore

env: flex

Here's a gratuitous screenshot:

App.yaml

I did a dotnet new, dotnet restore, and finally a:

dotnet publish -c Release

which makes a publish folder that will get sent up to the cloud.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I initially tried to push a .NET Core app using the .NET Core 1.1 runtime but Google Cloud's beta support in the flexible environment is set up for the 1.0.3 runtime (using their own custom docker base image) as of the time of this blog post, so you'll want to "dotnet new mvc --framework netcoreapp1.0" and set the "RuntimeFrameworkVersion" to get that specific shared LTS (Long Term Support) version. As soon as the Google Cloud flex runtime has the latest LTS (1.0.4, at the time of this writing) then apps would just roll forward.

<PropertyGroup>
  <TargetFramework>netcoreapp1.0</TargetFramework>

<RuntimeFrameworkVersion>1.0.3</RuntimeFrameworkVersion> </PropertyGroup>

Otherwise you'll get errors. Fortunately those errors are very clear.

.NET Core Runtime 1.0.3 supported

The walkthrough on Google Cloud suggests you copy the app.yaml file using a standard CLI copy command. However, since you're going to need that app.yaml EVERY publish, just add it to the csproj like this:

<ItemGroup>

<Content Include="app.yaml" CopyToOutputDirectory="Always" />
</ItemGroup>

This way it'll end up in publish automatically. You can then publish to the "AppEngine flexible environment:

dotnet restore

dotnet publish -c Release
gcloud beta app deploy .\bin\Release\netcoreapp1.0\publish\app.yaml
gcloud app browse // THIS IS JUST TO VISIT IT AFTER IT'S PUBLISHED

NOTE: You may get an ERROR that billing isn't enabled, or that the cloudbuild.googleapis.com aren't enabled. You'll need to ensure you have an active Free Trial, then go to the API Manager in the Google Cloud Platform dashboard and enable "Google Cloud Container Builder API." I also had to manually enable the API for the "Flexible" Environment and confirm I had a valid billing account.

Needed to enable some Billing APIs in the Google Cloud

Once I enabled a few APIs, I just did a standard "gcloud beta app deploy" as above:

gcloud beta app deploy

Pretty cool stuff! Here is my ASP.NET Core app running on GCP's Flex engine:

ASP.NET on Google Cloud

You can "tail" your app with "gcloud app logs tail -s default" and you'll see the output from .NET Core and ASP.NET (and Kestrel) in the Google Cloud!

gcloud app logs tail -s default

Or online in the Google "Stackdriver" logging page:

Google Stackdriver Logging page showing ASP.NET Core Logging

Go read up more on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. They even support Kubernetes clusters with ASP.NE Core apps packaged as Docker containers.


Sponsor: Thanks to Redgate! Track every change to your database! See who made changes, what they did, & why, with SQL Source Control. Get a full version history in your source control system. See how.



© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings on Existing WordPress Posts

Do you want to disable trackbacks and pings on your old WordPress posts? Trackbacks and pingbacks allow blogs to notify each other that they have linked to a post. However, today it is mainly used by spammers to send trackbacks from spam websites. In this… Read More »

The post How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings on Existing WordPress Posts appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to disable trackbacks and pings on your old WordPress posts? Trackbacks and pingbacks allow blogs to notify each other that they have linked to a post. However, today it is mainly used by spammers to send trackbacks from spam websites. In this article, we will show you how to disable trackbacks and pings on existing WordPress posts.

How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings on Existing WordPress Posts

Why Disable Trackbacks and Pings in WordPress?

In the early days of blogging, trackbacks and pingbacks were introduced as a way for blogs to notify each other about links.

Let’s suppose you write an article and add a link to a post on your friend’s blog. Your blog will then automatically send a ping to their blog.

This pingback will then appear in their blog’s comment moderation queue with a link to your website.

However, today this feature is mostly used by spammers to send thousands of fake trackbacks and pings. Even if you are using Akismet, some of these trackbacks may still get into your moderation queue.

WordPress allows you to turn off this feature. You can do that by going to Settings » Discussion page and then uncheck the box next to ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles’ option.

Disable pings on all new articles

However, it only turns them off on any new articles that you publish. All your old posts will still have trackbacks and pingbacks enabled. WordPress will even add trackbacks to those posts whenever you link them on your own blog. See our guide on how to disable self pingbacks in WordPress.

Let’s take a look at how to easily disable trackbacks and pings on existing WordPress posts.

Disable Trackbacks and Pings for WordPress Posts

First you need to visit Posts » All Posts page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top right corner of the screen.

Show more posts per page

Now enter 999 next to ‘Number of items per page’ option and then click on apply button.

This will reload the post’s list, and it will now show upto 999 posts on the same page.

Next, you need to select all posts by checking the box next to title label.

Select all posts on the page

After that you need to select ‘Edit’ from Bulk Actions drop down and click on the ‘Apply’ button.

Bulk edit all selected posts

WordPress will now show you a bulk edit box with all posts on the page selected.

In the bulk edit box, you need to look for the pings option and then change it to ‘Do not allow’.

Do not allow pings

Next, you just need to click on the update button to save your changes.

WordPress will now update and turn off pings on all selected posts.

If you have more than 999 posts on your WordPress site, then you need to go to the next page and repeat the process.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily disable trackbacks and pings on existing WordPress posts. You may also want to see our list of 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.

The post How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings on Existing WordPress Posts appeared first on WPBeginner.

22 Great WordPress Plugins for Managing Images (Updated)

Running a full WordPress blog can be a tricky business. If you want your blog to look great, then you need a lot of attractive images. Managing all these images can be a chore. Luckily, there are a few WordPress plugins that can greatly aid you in this task. Here are 10 that you might try.

The post 22 Great WordPress Plugins for Managing Images (Updated) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best plugins to manage images on your WordPress site? Images help bring life to your content and boost engagement. In this article, we will share some of the best WordPress plugins for managing images more efficiently on your website.

WordPress plugins to manage images

1. Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery is the best WordPress photo gallery plugin in the market. It allows you to create beautiful and mobile-responsive image galleries in WordPress with just a few clicks.

Envira is optimized for performance, so your galleries load fast. It is also the most SEO friendly photo gallery plugin for WordPress. Envira has tons of features like albums, image tagging, watermarking, proofing, and so on.

There is also a WooCommerce addon which allows you to add an online store to sell your photos.

2. Soliloquy

Soliloquy

Sliders allow you to drive user’s attention to your most important content with beautiful image slideshows accompanied by text, call to action, and animation. However, Sliders can also slow down your website speed which affects user experience and SEO.

Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider in the market today. It is noticeably faster than any other WordPress slider. It is also the most easy to use with tons of features like featured content slider, carousel, slider themes, lightbox, etc.

3. EWWW Image Optimizer

Ewww Image Optimizer

Images take longer to load than text, and this affects your website speed and performance. The best way to deal with this is by optimizing your images for the web.

EWWW Image Optimizer is the best WordPress plugin to automatically optimize your images in WordPress. It comes with powerful tools to compress images without affecting quality.

4. Imsanity

Imsanity

Imsanity allows you to set a maximum image height and width for WordPress uploads and automatically resizes large image files. It can also perform bulk resize on older uploads based on your settings.

For detailed instructions see our guide on how to bulk resize large images in WordPress

5. Require Featured Image

Require featured images for WordPress posts

Sometimes you or another author on your site may forget to add a featured image to the blog post before publishing. This may affect your site’s layout, and if you are automatically sharing posts on social media, then those sites will just pick any image from the article as post thumbnail.

Require Featured Image plugin does not let you publish a post until you add a featured image. It will remind you that you haven’t added a featured image and will disable the publish button until you add a featured image.

For more details, see our guide on how to require featured images for posts in WordPress.

6. Featured Image Column

Featured image column

WordPress does not show whether or not there is a featured image available for a post on the ‘All Posts’ screen. To see if a post has featured image, you will have to edit it.

Featured Image Column solves this problem by adding a featured image column on the posts screen. For more details, see our article on how to add a featured image column in WordPress.

7. Default Featured Image

Default featured image

As the name suggests, this handy plugin allows you to easily set a default featured image to use as fallback for posts that do not have a featured image available. Simply install and activate the plugin, and then head over to Settings » Media page to upload a default image.

For alternate methods, see our article on how to set a default fallback featured image in WordPress.

8. Featured Video Plus

Featured Video Plus

This plugin allows you to add a featured video to your WordPress instead of a featured image. Simply add the video URL, and it will automatically fetch the video thumbnail. It supports YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Soundcloud, Spotify, etc.

For more details, see our guide on how to add featured video thumbnails in WordPress.

9. Image Widget

Image widget in WordPress

Normally, if you want to add an image to your WordPress sidebar you will have to manually add it inside a text widget using HTML. Image Widget plugin adds a widget that you can drag and drop to a sidebar and then select or upload an image.

For detailed instructions, take a look at our article on how to add an image in WordPress sidebar widget.

10. Featured Images in RSS & Mailchimp Email

Featured images in RSS and MailChimp Emails

As the name suggests, this plugin enables featured images for your RSS feed. If you are using MailChimp to send posts via email to your subscribers, then those users will also see featured images for posts.

For an alternate method, see our tutorial on how to add featured images to WordPress RSS feed.

11. Regenerate Thumbnails

Regenerate image sizes in WordPress

When you upload an image, WordPress automatically saves it into multiple sizes. These sizes are defined in Settings » Media page. WordPress themes can also add their own image sizes to be used for thumbnails. If you activate such a theme, WordPress will start saving images in those new sizes as well. However, it will not recreate new sizes for older images.

Regenerate thumbnail allows you to quickly regenerate all image sizes in WordPress. For detailed instructions, please take a look at our guide on how to regenerate thumbnails and new image sizes in WordPress.

12. External Media

External Media

This plugin allows you to link or import files from Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Instagram and any other external file into WordPress. This offers you an easier way to work on images stored on your Google Drive or Dropbox accounts by accessing them directly from WordPress.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to connect Google Drive to your WordPress media library.

13. Post Thumbnail Editor

Post Thumbnail Editor

After uploading a featured image, sometimes you’d notice that WordPress has cropped it, or it is not showing up correctly with your theme. You can edit the image in your favorite image editing program, or you can use this plugin.

Post Thumbnail Editor allows you to easily crop and resize featured images from your WordPress admin area. You can also edit previously uploaded featured images. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to crop and edit WordPress post thumbnails.

14. Easy Watermark

Easy Watermark

Easy Watermark allows you to easily add watermarking to your WordPress images. You can choose to automatically watermark all images or manually add watermark to specific images.

If you are already using Envira Gallery, then you don’t need this plugin. You can use Envira’s watermarking addon instead.

See step by step instructions on using both plugins in our guide on how to automatically add watermark to images in WordPress

15. Simple Full Screen Background Image

Full screen background image

Simple Full Screen Background Image allows you to easily add full screen background image to any WordPress theme. Many WordPress themes already allow you to easily add full screen background images. However, if your theme does not support full screen background images, then you can try this plugin.

For step by step instructions, see our tutorial on how to add a fullscreen background image in WordPress.

16. WP First Letter Avatar

WP First Letter Avatar

WP First Letter Avatar allows you to show a custom avatar using the first letter of user’s name. You can show it only for users who don’t have a Gravatar image or completely replace Gravatar with first letter avatars.

Learn more about it in our guide on how to set custom avatar for users in WordPress.

17. Taxonomy Images

Taxonomy Images

Do you want to add image icons or thumbnails to your categories or tags? Taxonomy Images allows you to do just that. After activating the plugin, simply go to Posts » Categories page and click on the add button to upload your images.

For detailed instructions, check out our guide on how to add taxonomy images in WordPress.

18. Media File Renamer

Media File Renamer

Ever wanted to change the file name of an image after uploading it? WordPress allows you to change image title and alt text, but you cannot change the file name. Media File Renamer plugin allows you to easily change any file name in WordPress media library. It also automatically rename file names based on file title you enter during upload.

Renaming a file using the plugin also updates all references to the file in your WordPress posts and pages. For more details, see our guide on how to rename image and media files in WordPress.

19. ImageInject

ImageInject

Most beginners have difficulty finding copyright free images for their blog posts. ImageInject plugin solves this problem by allowing you to search Flickr for creative commons licensed photos and add them to your posts with proper attribution.

For detailed instructions, take a look at our article on how to find and add creative commons licensed images in WordPress.

20. Enable Media Replace

Enable Media Replace

If you have to replace an image in your WordPress posts, normally you’d have to edit the post to add your new image and removing the old one. If you have used that image in multiple posts, then you will have to edit all those posts to add new image.

Enable Media Replace plugin allows you to replace media files directly from the WordPress media library. Replacing an image automatically replaces it on your posts and pages where you have added the old image.

See our guide on how to easily replace images and media files in WordPress.

21. Plugin A/B Image Optimizer

A/B Image Optimizer

Featured images attract users to click on your articles. Ever wondered what kind of featured images work best on your site? A/B Image Optimizer plugin helps you figure this out. It allows you to add two featured images for a post and then it randomly shows those images to your users. You can see which featured image got more clicks by editing a post.

For more details, take a look at our guide on how to A/B split test featured images in WordPress.

22. Instagram Feed

Instagram Feed

Want to show your Instagram photos on your WordPress site? Instagram Feed allows you to easily display your Instagram feed using a sidebar widget or shortcode. Simply connect your website to your Instagram account, and it will automatically pull your feed. You can customize the feed using different display options in plugin settings.

If you’re using Envira Gallery, then you can do this with their Instagram addon.

Bonus Tools

These tools are not WordPress plugins, but they can help you improve the quality of images on your WordPress site.

23. Canva

Canva

Canva allows you to create all kind of graphics with easy to use drag and drop tools.It comes with professional looking templates that you can use as a starting point. You can also purchase stock images, icons, and other resources directly from the app.

24. Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is one of the largest online resource for stock photography, clipart, illustrations, and vector graphics. We are a customer of Shutterstock and can vouch for the quality of images.

For more tools you may want to see our list of 16 tools to create better images for your blog posts

That’s all for now.

We hope this article helped you discover great WordPress plugins to manage images on your website. You may also want to see our how to fix common image issues 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.

The post 22 Great WordPress Plugins for Managing Images (Updated) appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Create a Local WordPress Site Using XAMPP

Do you want to create a local WordPress site on your computer using XAMPP? Installing WordPress on your computer helps you try out WordPress, test themes / plugins, and learn WordPress development. In this article, we will show you how to create a local WordPress… Read More »

The post How to Create a Local WordPress Site Using XAMPP appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a local WordPress site on your computer using XAMPP? Installing WordPress on your computer helps you try out WordPress, test themes / plugins, and learn WordPress development. In this article, we will show you how to create a local WordPress site Using XAMPP.

Create a local WordPress site using XAMPP

Why Create a Local WordPress Site?

Creating local WordPress sites is a common practice among developers and site owners. It allows you to test WordPress without creating an actual website on the internet.

Local websites are only visible to you on your computer. You can try different WordPress themes and plugins, test their features, and learn the WordPress basics.

If you already have a WordPress website, then you can create a local copy of your website on your computer to try out new plugin updates before implementing them on your live website.

Important: Local website will only be visible to you on your computer. If you want to build a live WordPress site, then you will need a domain name and WordPress hosting. Follow the step by step instructions in our how to start a WordPress blog guide when you are ready to create a live website.

Having said that, let’s check out how to install WordPress locally on Windows, Mac, or Linux using XAMPP.

What is XAMPP?

In order to create a local WordPress site, you will need to set up a web server software (Apache), PHP, and MySQL on your computer.

PHP is a programming language and MySQL is a database management software. Both of them are required to run WordPress.

Installing each of these software separately is quite difficult for beginners. This is where XAMPP comes in.

XAMPP makes it easy for you to build WordPress websites locally. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux based computers.

Let’s get started.

Installing XAMPP on Your Computer

First, you need to visit the XAMPP website and click on the download button for your operating system.

Download XAMPP

Depending on your operating system, your installation wizard and the application interface may differ from the screenshots here. For the sake of this article, we will show you the Windows version of the software.

After downloading XAMPP, you will need to click and run the installer.

XAMPP setup wizard

XAMPP will ask you where you want to install the software and which packages you’d like to install. The default settings will work for most users. Keep clicking on ‘Next’ to finish the setup wizard.

After finishing the wizard, check the ‘start the control panel now’ option and then click on the finish button.

Setup finished

This will launch the XAMPP control panel. Go ahead and click on the start button next to Apache and MySQL.

Start Apache and MySQL

XAMPP will now start Apache and MySQL. You may see a Windows Firewall notification, it is important that you click on ‘Allow Access’ button for both applications to run on your computer.

Allow firewall access to Apache and MySQL

Once both applications are started their names will be highlighted in Green.

You have successfully installed XAMPP on your computer.

Now you are ready to create a local website and install WordPress using XAMPP.

Creating a Local WordPress Site with XAMPP

First, you will need to download WordPress. Visit the WordPress.org website and click on the ‘Download WordPress’ button.

Download WordPress

After downloading WordPress, you need to extract the zip file, and you will see a wordpress folder. You need to copy this folder.

Copy WordPress folder

Next, head over to your XAMPP installation folder.

On Windows it would be C:/Program Files/XAMPP/htdocs or C:\Xampp\htdocs folder.

On Mac, it will be /Applications/XAMPP/htdocs folder.

Paste the wordpress folder you copied earlier inside htdocs.

Rename WordPress folder

We recommend renaming the wordpress folder to website1. This will help you easily identify your local site.

Next, you need to open your favorite web browser and visit localhost/website1. You will see a page like this:

WordPress pre-setup

This page will tell you that WordPress needs a database name, database username, password, and host information.

Let’s create a database for your WordPress site.

You’ll need to open a new browser tab and visit localhost/phpmyadmin/. This will launch phpMyAdmin app that comes pre-installed with XAMPP. It allows you to easily manage your databases using a simpler interface.

You would need to click on Databases, provide a name for your new database, and then click on the create button to continue.

Creating a MySQL database for your local WordPress site

Now that you have created a database, you can use it for your WordPress site.

Switch back to /localhost/website1/ browser tab and click on the ‘Let’s Go’ button.

On the next screen, you will be asked to provide your WordPress database information.

Enter the database name you created earlier. Your username is ‘root’ and you should leave the password field blank. For the database host field, you need to use localhost.

See the screenshot below:

Connect your WordPress database

Once you are done, click on the ‘Submit’ button to continue.

If you are on Windows or Linux, WordPress will now store these settings in your WordPress configuration file called wp-config.php file.

However, if you are on Mac, then it will show you the contents of the file and will ask you to create it.

You will need to create this file in your website’s root folder.

After creating the file, paste the text you copied earlier inside it. Next, you need to save the file and return back to WordPress installer to continue.

In the next step, WordPress will ask you to provide information about your website. First, enter the title you want to use for this site.

After that you need to enter a username, password, and an email address for your admin account.

Enter your WordPress website info

Once you have filled all the information, click on the ‘Install WordPress’ button to continue.

WordPress will now run the installation and prompt you to login once it’s done.

You can login to your website by going to /localhost/website1/wp-admin page and use the username / password that you entered during installation to login.

WordPress login screen

Things to Try After Creating a Local WordPress Site

Now that you have created your local WordPress site using XAMPP, you can work on it like you would do on a live WordPress site.

Head over to Appearance to customize your site’s appearance or install a new theme. Here are some great free themes that you can try.

The next thing you would want to try is WordPress plugins. Plugins are like apps for your WordPress site and allow you to add cool features like contact form, photo galleries, eCommerce store, etc.

Need help installing plugins? See our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

After working on your local WordPress site you may want to move it to a live server. Head over to our step by step guide on how to move WordPress from local server to live site.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a local WordPress site using XAMPP. You may also want to look at alternate ways to create local WordPress sites on Windows using Wampserver, and on Mac using MAMP.

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 a Local WordPress Site Using XAMPP appeared first on WPBeginner.

Command Line: Using dotnet watch test for continuous testing with .NET Core 1.0 and XUnit.net

I’ve installed .NET Core 1.0 on my machine. Let’s see if I can get a class library and tests running and compiling automatically using only the command line. (Yes, some of you are freaked out by my (and other folks’) appreciation of a nice, terse command line. Don’t worry. You can do all this with a mouse if you want. I’m just enjoying the CLI.

NOTE: This is considerably updated from the project.json version in 2016.

First, I installed from http://dot.net/core. This should all work on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

C:\> md testexample & cd testexample

C:\testexample> dotnet new sln
Content generation time: 33.0582 ms
The template "Solution File" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet new classlib -n mylibrary -o mylibrary
Content generation time: 40.5442 ms
The template "Class library" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet new xunit -n mytests -o mytests
Content generation time: 87.5115 ms
The template "xUnit Test Project" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet sln add mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj
Project `mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj` added to the solution.

C:\testexample> dotnet sln add mytests\mytests.csproj
Project `mytests\mytests.csproj` added to the solution.

C:\testexample> cd mytests

C:\testexample\mytests> dotnet add reference ..\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj
Reference `..\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj` added to the project.

C:\testexample\mytests> cd ..

C:\testexample> dotnet restore
Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\mytests.csproj...
Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj...
Restore completed in 586.73 ms for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj.
Installing System.Diagnostics.TextWriterTraceListener 4.0.0.
...SNIP...
Installing Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk 15.0.0.
Installing xunit.runner.visualstudio 2.2.0.
Installing xunit 2.2.0.
Generating MSBuild file C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\mytests.csproj.nuget.g.props.
Generating MSBuild file C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\mytests.csproj.nuget.g.targets.
Writing lock file to disk. Path: C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\project.assets.json
Installed:
16 package(s) to C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\mytests.csproj

C:\testexample> cd mytests & dotnet test

Build started, please wait...
Build completed.

Test run for C:\testexample\mytests\bin\Debug\netcoreapp1.1\mytests.dll(.NETCoreApp,Version=v1.1)
Microsoft (R) Test Execution Command Line Tool Version 15.0.0.0
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Starting test execution, please wait...
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.5539676] Discovering: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.6867799] Discovered: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.7341661] Starting: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.8691063] Finished: mytests

Total tests: 1. Passed: 1. Failed: 0. Skipped: 0.
Test Run Successful.
Test execution time: 1.8329 Seconds

Of course, I’m testing nothing yet but pretend there’s a test in the tests.cs and something it’s testing (that’s why I added a reference) in the library.cs, OK?

Now I want to have my project build and tests run automatically as I make changes to the code. I can’t “dotnet add tool” yet so I’ll add this line to my test’s project file:

<ItemGroup>
<DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.DotNet.Watcher.Tools" Version="1.0.0" />
</ItemGroup>

Like this:

Adding <DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.DotNet.Watcher.Tools" Version="1.0.0" />

Then I just dotnet restore to bring in the tool.

NOTE: There’s a color bug using only cmd.exe so on “DOS” you’ll see some ANSI chars. That should be fixed in a minor release soon – the PR is in and waiting. On bash or PowerShell things look fin.

In this screenshot, you can see as I make changes to my test and hit save, the DotNetWatcher Tool sees the change and restarts my app, recompiles, and re-runs the tests.

Test Run Successful

All this was done from the command line. I made a solution file, made a library project and a test project, made the test project reference the library, then built and ran the tests. If I could add the tool from the command line I wouldn’t have had to manually touch the project file at all.

Again, to be sure, all this is stuff you can (and do) do in Visual Studio manually all the time. But I’ll race you anytime. 😉


Sponsor: Check out JetBrains Rider: a new cross-platform .NET IDE. Edit, refactor, test, build and debug ASP.NET, .NET Framework, .NET Core, or Unity applications. Learn more and get access to early builds!


© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

I've installed .NET Core 1.0 on my machine. Let's see if I can get a class library and tests running and compiling automatically using only the command line. (Yes, some of you are freaked out by my (and other folks') appreciation of a nice, terse command line. Don't worry. You can do all this with a mouse if you want. I'm just enjoying the CLI.

NOTE: This is considerably updated from the project.json version in 2016.

First, I installed from http://dot.net/core. This should all work on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

C:\> md testexample & cd testexample


C:\testexample> dotnet new sln
Content generation time: 33.0582 ms
The template "Solution File" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet new classlib -n mylibrary -o mylibrary
Content generation time: 40.5442 ms
The template "Class library" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet new xunit -n mytests -o mytests
Content generation time: 87.5115 ms
The template "xUnit Test Project" created successfully.

C:\testexample> dotnet sln add mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj
Project `mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj` added to the solution.

C:\testexample> dotnet sln add mytests\mytests.csproj
Project `mytests\mytests.csproj` added to the solution.

C:\testexample> cd mytests

C:\testexample\mytests> dotnet add reference ..\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj
Reference `..\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj` added to the project.

C:\testexample\mytests> cd ..

C:\testexample> dotnet restore
Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\mytests.csproj...
Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj...
Restore completed in 586.73 ms for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mylibrary\mylibrary.csproj.
Installing System.Diagnostics.TextWriterTraceListener 4.0.0.
...SNIP...
Installing Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk 15.0.0.
Installing xunit.runner.visualstudio 2.2.0.
Installing xunit 2.2.0.
Generating MSBuild file C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\mytests.csproj.nuget.g.props.
Generating MSBuild file C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\mytests.csproj.nuget.g.targets.
Writing lock file to disk. Path: C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\obj\project.assets.json
Installed:
16 package(s) to C:\Users\scott\Desktop\testexample\mytests\mytests.csproj

C:\testexample> cd mytests & dotnet test

Build started, please wait...
Build completed.

Test run for C:\testexample\mytests\bin\Debug\netcoreapp1.1\mytests.dll(.NETCoreApp,Version=v1.1)
Microsoft (R) Test Execution Command Line Tool Version 15.0.0.0
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Starting test execution, please wait...
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.5539676] Discovering: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.6867799] Discovered: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.7341661] Starting: mytests
[xUnit.net 00:00:00.8691063] Finished: mytests

Total tests: 1. Passed: 1. Failed: 0. Skipped: 0.
Test Run Successful.
Test execution time: 1.8329 Seconds

Of course, I'm testing nothing yet but pretend there's a test in the tests.cs and something it's testing (that's why I added a reference) in the library.cs, OK?

Now I want to have my project build and tests run automatically as I make changes to the code. I can't "dotnet add tool" yet so I'll add this line to my test's project file:

<ItemGroup>

<DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.DotNet.Watcher.Tools" Version="1.0.0" />
</ItemGroup>

Like this:

Adding <DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.DotNet.Watcher.Tools" Version="1.0.0" />

Then I just dotnet restore to bring in the tool.

NOTE: There's a color bug using only cmd.exe so on "DOS" you'll see some ANSI chars. That should be fixed in a minor release soon - the PR is in and waiting. On bash or PowerShell things look fin.

In this screenshot, you can see as I make changes to my test and hit save, the DotNetWatcher Tool sees the change and restarts my app, recompiles, and re-runs the tests.

Test Run Successful

All this was done from the command line. I made a solution file, made a library project and a test project, made the test project reference the library, then built and ran the tests. If I could add the tool from the command line I wouldn't have had to manually touch the project file at all.

Again, to be sure, all this is stuff you can (and do) do in Visual Studio manually all the time. But I'll race you anytime. ;)


Sponsor: Check out JetBrains Rider: a new cross-platform .NET IDE. Edit, refactor, test, build and debug ASP.NET, .NET Framework, .NET Core, or Unity applications. Learn more and get access to early builds!


© 2017 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

30 Best WordPress Themes for Photographers (2017)

Are you looking for WordPress themes for photographers? A WordPress theme designed specifically for photographers can help showcase your work, find more clients, or connect with other like minded photographers. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best WordPress themes for photographers that… Read More »

The post 30 Best WordPress Themes for Photographers (2017) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for WordPress themes for photographers? A WordPress theme designed specifically for photographers can help showcase your work, find more clients, or connect with other like minded photographers. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best WordPress themes for photographers that you can install on your photography website.

Best WordPress themes for photographers

Building a WordPress Site for Photographers

First you need to make sure that you are choosing the right platform to build your website. Self hosted WordPress.org is the perfect platform for photographers.

WordPress offers creative freedom with unlimited designs, thousands of apps, extensions, and integrations available to WordPress site owners.

To get started, first you will need to sign up for a WordPress hosting account. All websites need hosting. It is your website’s home on the internet.

You will also need a domain name. This will be your website’s address on the internet (for example, wpbeginner.com or google.com).

We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and official WordPress hosting partner.

After signing up for a hosting account, you will need to install WordPress. Follow the instructions in our guide on how to start a WordPress blog and you will be up and running in no time.

Next, you need to choose a theme from our expert selection below. If you need help installing the theme on your site, then check out our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the best WordPress themes for photographers that you can install on your website.

Note: All themes in this list are mobile-responsive and compatible with popular WordPress gallery plugins such as Envira Gallery. This list contains both free and paid themes.

1. Candid

Candid

Candid is an awesome WordPress theme for photographers. It comes with a two column layout, large images, and graceful mobile responsive design. With its minimalist design approach Candid makes your photos pop out.

It doesn’t ignore the text part of your website. It comes with beautiful typography featuring Abril Display, a clean and sophisticated serif font.

2. Modern Portfolio Pro

Modern Portfolio

Modern Portfolio Pro is a WordPress portfolio theme for photographers, designers, and artists. It is built on top of the rock solid core of Genesis theme framework.

Modern Portfolio uses minimalist approach to design with a focus on gorgeous display of photos. It comes with page layouts for blog, homepage, and landing pages. It is easy to setup using the live theme customizer.

3. Florence

Florence

Florence is a beautiful WordPress multipurpose theme suitable for fashion photography and lifestyle websites. It comes in 5 ready to use layouts, with a powerful theme options panel.

It uses large features images allowing you to beautifully showcase your photographs. It also comes with a built-in slider and gallery templates with tons of shortcodes to add different elements inside your posts and pages.

4. Verb

Verb

Verb is a modern looking WordPress portfolio theme for photographers, illustrators, and artists. It uses bold and elegant typography and gracefully adjusts itself for all screen sizes and devices.

It includes a portfolio template to beautifully showcase your work. It is easy and simpler to setup using live theme customizer.

5. Martho

Martho

Martho is a WordPress multipurpose theme suitable for bloggers, photographers, and artists. It comes with multiple homepage designs, and multiple templates for blog, project pages, galleries, etc.

Martho is WooCommerce ready and has portfolio post type built-in with multiple display options. It also comes with a drag and drop page builder.

6. Ambiance Pro

Ambiance Pro

Ambiance Pro is a WordPress theme for photographers to create beautiful portfolio and photography websites. It is built on Genesis theme framework and comes with beautiful layout choices and elegant typography.

It features a widgetized homepage layout and comes with multiple page templates for your blog, archives, and landing pages.

7. Camera

Camera

Camera is a minimalist WordPress theme for photographers. It comes with built-in gallery carousels with large image display, fully mobile-friendly and responsive layout.

Camera offers a distraction free viewing experience to your users with collapsible sidebars and menus. It comes with beautiful typography, quick and simple customization, and a getting started dashboard.

8. Selkie

Selkie

This beautiful WordPress blogging theme comes with a built-in portfolio, large header images with call to action buttons, and a modern layout. Selkie is full of options, it comes with two layout types, multiple menu styles, 10 different blog layouts, and much more.

It also comes with full support for WooCommerce, a drag and drop page builder, and live theme customizer.

9. Coastline

Coastline

Coastline is a uniquely designed WordPress theme for photographers. It comes with portfolio section to easily display your photos. It also comes with powerful custom widgets, and multiple layout choices.

It uses a grid layout on the homepage with a fixed sidebar on the left. It is easy to customize and looks great on all devices and screens.

10. Creativo

Creativo

Creativo is a WordPress multipurpose theme suitable for business, blogging, and photography websites. It comes with built-in portfolio content type and full WooCommerce support.

It comes with 7 skins, 3 design layouts, multiple header layouts, and unlimited color choices. It ships with page builder, slider, and a live chat plugin as well.

11. True North

True North

True North is an elegant WordPress theme suitable for photographers to build portfolio websites. It comes with a built-in portfolio section where you can easily upload your photos.

The homepage features a grid layout prominently displaying your photos. It supports custom backgrounds, large headers, and comes with custom widgets for social media profiles and content discovery features.

12. Daisy

Daisy

Daisy is a minimalist WordPress blogging theme suitable for photographers and travel blogs as well. It comes with a beautiful homepage layout allowing you to showcase your featured content in a slider and link boxes.

The blog page comes with multiple layout choices. You can also choose multiple header and menu layouts. It comes with beautiful gallery style, unlimited colors, and live theme customizer support.

13. Relive

Relive

Relive is a stunningly beautiful WordPress theme for photographers and storytellers. It is designed to created an immersive experience with the help of audio, video, images and text. It works great with long form content with beautiful scrolling effects.

14. Suarez

Suarez

Suarez is a WordPress photo blogging theme with a gorgeous design that makes your photos popout while not ignoring the text and other form of content. It comes with a ton of customization options and a drag and drop page builder.

It comes with beautiful CSS animations, Google Fonts, and a beautiful slider. Suarez is easy to set up with a live customizer panel.

15. Vignette

Vignette

Vignette is a modern WordPress theme for photographers and video makers. It has a large header where you can use a video as background or an image with call to action buttons.

It comes with gorgeous gallery templates to display your photographs and videos. It has flexible customization options with multiple layout choices, colors, and custom widgets.

16. Shape

Shape

Shape is a WordPress theme designed specifically for photographers. It comes with built-in filterable galleries with beautiful transition effects. It also comes with sections to add your services, portfolio items, clients, team members, etc.

Theme’s homepage features a grid layout which prominently displays your photos. The single post and page, gallery and portfolio items have their own unique templates.

17. Designer

Designer

Designer is an elegant WordPress portfolio theme for photographers, designers, and artists. It features a beautiful homepage with two column layout on desktop, and a single column layout on mobile. It’s minimalist approach to design offers a distraction view and more engaging view to showcase your portfolio items.

It comes with a collapsible sidebar, crisp typography, and a simpler quick setup to get you started right away.

18. Expose Pro

Expose Pro

Expose Pro is a beautifully designed WordPress theme for photographers. It comes with a widgetized homepage with four widget areas and has multiple templates for your blog, homepage, archive, and landing pages.

It has a custom gallery post format with lightbox popup of your photos. It uses large featured images to showcase the best of your work. Expose is extremely easy to setup and ready to be used right out the box.

19. North

North

North is another elegant WordPress portfolio theme for photographers with a minimalist design approach and a grid layout.

It comes with beautiful portfolio templates to display portfolio items like images, photos, videos, and audio files.

It comes with multiple color choices, supports posts formats, and can be used with third party photo gallery plugins to create beautiful galleries.

20. Memories

Memories

Memories is a stylish WordPress theme for fashion and lifestyle photographers. It comes with a gallery display to showcase the best of your photographs, designs, and other artwork.

It has multiple color schemes and layout choices, with custom widgets to add social media and content discovery features to your theme.

21. Aperture

Aperture

Aperture is a free WordPress theme for photographers. It comes with a gorgeous fullscreen slider on the homepage allowing you to display your photographs in their full glory.

It comes with fullscreen background, large featured images, and beautiful gallery style. It is also quite simple to setup and very easy to customize using live theme customizer.

22. Nico

Nico

Nico is a beautiful WordPress photography theme which comes with a filterable portfolio section. Perfect for photographers who want to build an engaging portfolio website to showcase different aspects of their work.

Nico comes with multiple color schemes and has support for custom backgrounds, headers, widgets, etc. It is easy to customize and comes with flexible options.

23. Focussity

Focussity

Focussity is a beautiful WordPress theme for wedding photographers. It comes with portfolio and beautiful image galleries. It supports fullscreen header images and backgrounds.

It also comes with a drag and drop page builder to create your own layouts. Focussity is multilingual ready and comes with beautiful parallax effects and background video support.

24. Inovate

Inovate

Inovate is a free WordPress theme for bloggers and photographers. It takes the minimalist approach to design focusing on large display of featured images and beautiful typography. It comes with a large header, custom background, and live theme customizer support.

25. Eclipse

Eclipse

Eclipse is an elegant WordPress theme for photographers and bloggers. The homepage features a beautiful slider showcasing your latest work, followed by link blocks to important pages, and then your recent posts in a grid.

It comes with a beautiful custom widget for Instagram photos and videos. It also has beautiful gallery templates, portfolio section, and is fully compatible with WooCommerce.

26. Photolog

Photolog

Photolog is a free WordPress theme with alternating ‘sticky’ featured images for bloggers, photographers, and writers. The homepage features a unique two column layout with featured images switching columns for alternate posts. This creates an engaging user experience and makes your photos popout.

27. Parallax

Parallax

Parallax is a modern WordPress portfolio theme for photographers. It comes with tons of customization options and 40 predesigned layouts. It also comes with an easy to use drag and drop page builder.

As the name suggests, it comes with graceful parallax effects and fullscreen slider, image and video backgrounds.

28. Extant

Extant is a minimalist free WordPress theme for photographers and designers. It features a clean and simple layout putting your images first. It supports third party plugins to showcase and even sell your work from your website.

It offers a distraction free viewing and reading experience with collapsible menus. The homepage comes in two layouts landscape and portrait.

29. Addison

Addison

Addison is a stunningly beautiful WordPress portfolio theme for photographers. It features a modern elegant design that puts your projects on the frontpage. It comes with a built-in post type for projects with multiple layouts.

It supports unlimited colors and live customizer. It also comes with custom widgets for social media and content discovery features.

30. Tempo

Tempo

This uniquely designed WordPress theme is created specifically for photographers and bloggers. Tempo comes with a homepage featuring a grid of your photos. It comes with 2 light and dark skins and allows you to change image orientation portrait, landscape or square.

It comes with three header layouts, social profiles menu, and full screen images in posts. It is WooCommerce ready and comes with quick and easy setup with live theme customizer.

That’s all for now.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress themes for photographers. You may also want to see our list of 17 best WordPress plugins for photographers.

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 30 Best WordPress Themes for Photographers (2017) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Thunderbolting Your Video Card

When I wrote about The Golden Age of x86 Gaming, I implied that, in the future, it might be an interesting, albeit expensive, idea to upgrade your video card via an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.

I’m here to report that the future is now.

Yes, that’s right, I paid $500

When I wrote about The Golden Age of x86 Gaming, I implied that, in the future, it might be an interesting, albeit expensive, idea to upgrade your video card via an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.

I'm here to report that the future is now.

Yes, that's right, I paid $500 for an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to fit a $600 video card, all to enable a plug-in upgrade of a GPU on a Skull Canyon NUC that itself cost around $1000 fully built. I know, it sounds crazy, and … OK fine, I won't argue with you. It's crazy.

This matters mostly because of 4k, aka 2160p, aka 3840 × 2160, aka Ultra HD.

4k compared to 1080p

Plain old regular HD, aka 1080p, aka 1920 × 1080, is one quarter the size of 4k, and ¼ the work. By today's GPU standards HD is pretty much easy mode these days. It's not even interesting. No offense to console fans, or anything.

Late in 2016, I got a 4k OLED display and it … kind of blew my mind. I have never seen blacks so black, colors so vivid, on a display so thin. It made my previous 2008 era Panasonic plasma set look lame. It's so good that I'm now a little angry that every display that my eyes touch isn't OLED already. I even got into nerd fights over it, and to be honest, I'd still throw down for OLED. It is legitimately that good. Come at me, bro.

Don't believe me? Well, guess which display in the below picture is OLED? Go on, guess:

Guess which screen is OLED?

There's a reason every site that reviews TVs had to recalibrate their results when they reviewed the 2016 OLED sets.

In my extended review at Reference Home Theater, I call it “the best looking TV I’ve ever reviewed.” But we aren’t alone in loving the E6. Vincent Teoh at HDTVtest writes, “We’re not even going to qualify the following endorsement: if you can afford it, this is the TV to buy.” Rtings.com gave the E6 OLED the highest score of any TV the site has ever tested. Reviewed.com awarded it a 9.9 out of 10, with only the LG G6 OLED (which offers the same image but better styling and sound for $2,000 more) coming out ahead.

But I digress.

Playing games at 1080p in my living room was already possible. But now that I have an incredible 4k display in the living room, it's a whole other level of difficulty. Not just twice as hard – and remember current consoles barely manage to eke out 1080p at 30fps in most games – but four times as hard. That's where external GPU power comes in.

The cool technology underpinning all of this is Thunderbolt 3. The thunderbolt cable bundled with the Razer Core is rather … diminutive. There's a reason for this.

Is there a maximum cable length for Thunderbolt 3 technology?

Thunderbolt 3 passive cables have maximum lengths.

  • 0.5m TB 3 (40Gbps)
  • 1.0m TB 3 (20Gbps)
  • 2.0m TB 3 (20Gbps)

In the future we will offer active cables which will provide 40Gbps of bandwidth at longer lengths.

40Gbps is, for the record, an insane amount of bandwidth. Let's use our rule of thumb based on ultra common gigabit ethernet, that 1 gigabit = 120 megabytes/second, and we arrive at 4.8 gigabytes/second. Zow.

That's more than enough bandwidth to run even the highest of high end video cards, but it is not without overhead. There's a mild performance hit for running the card externally, on the order of 15%. There's also a further performance hit of 10% if you are in "loopback" mode on a laptop where you don't have an external display, so the video frames have to be shuttled back from the GPU to the internal laptop display.

This may look like a gamer-only thing, but surprisingly, it isn't. What you get is the general purpose ability to attach any PCI express card to any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port and, for the most part, it just works!

Linus breaks it down and answers all your most difficult questions:

Please watch the above video closely if you're actually interested in this stuff; it is essential. I'll add some caveats of my own after working with the Razer Core for a while:

  • Make sure the video card you plan to put into the Razer Core is not too tall, or too wide. You can tell if a card is going to be too tall by looking at pictures of the mounting rear bracket. If the card extends significantly above the standard rear mounting bracket, it won't fit. If the card takes more than 2 slots in width, it also won't fit, but this is more rare. Depth (length) is rarely an issue.

  • There are four fans in the Razer Core and although it is reasonably quiet, it's not super silent or anything. You may want to mod the fans. The Razer Core is a remarkably simple device, internally, it's really just a power supply, some Thunderbolt 3 bridge logic, and a PCI express slot. I agree with Linus that the #1 area Razer could improve in the future, beyond generally getting the price down, is to use fewer and larger fans that run quieter.

  • If you're putting a heavy hitter GPU in the Razer Core, I'd try to avoid blower style cards (the ones that exhaust heat from the rear) in favor of those that cool with large fans blowing down and around the card. Dissipating 150w+ is no mean feat and you'll definitely need to keep the enclosure in open air … and of course within 0.5 meters of the computer it's connected to.

  • There is no visible external power switch on the Razer Core. It doesn't power on until you connect a TB3 cable to it. I was totally not expecting that. But once connected, it powers up and the Windows 10 Thunderbolt 3 drivers kick in and ask you to authorize the device, which I did (always authorize). Then it spun a bit, detected the new GPU, and suddenly I had multiple graphics card active on the same computer. I also installed the latest Nvidia drivers just to make sure everything was ship shape.

  • It's kinda ... weird having multiple GPUs simultaneously active. I wanted to make the Razer Core display the only display, but you can't really turn off the built in GPU – you can select "only use display 2", that's all. I got into several weird states where windows were opening on the other display and I had to mess around a fair bit to get things locked down to just one display. You may want to consider whether you have both "displays" connected for troubleshooting, or not.

And then, there I am, playing Lego Marvel in splitscreen co-op at glorious 3840 × 2160 UltraHD resolution on an amazing OLED display with my son. It is incredible.

Beyond the technical "because I could", I am wildly optimistic about the future of external Thunderbolt 3 expansion boxes, and here's why:

  • The main expense and bottleneck in any stonking gaming rig is, by far, the GPU. It's also the item you are most likely to need to replace a year or two from now.

  • The CPU and memory speeds available today are so comically fast that any device with a low-end i3-7100 for $120 will make zero difference in real world gaming at 1080p or higher … if you're OK with 30fps minimum. If you bump up to $200, you can get a quad-core i5-7500 that guarantees you 60fps minimum everywhere.

  • If you prefer a small system or a laptop, an external GPU makes it so much more flexible. Because CPU and memory speeds are already so fast, 99.9% of the time your bottleneck is the GPU, and almost any small device you can buy with a Thunderbolt 3 port can now magically transform into a potent gaming rig with a single plug. Thunderbolt 3 may be a bit cutting edge today, but more and more devices are shipping with Thunderbolt 3. Within a few years, I predict TB3 ports will be as common as USB3 ports.

  • A general purpose external PCI express enclosure will be usable for a very long time. My last seven video card upgrades were plug and play PCI Express cards that would have worked fine in any computer I've built in the last ten years.

  • External GPUs are not meaningfully bottlenecked by Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth; the impact is 15% to 25%, and perhaps even less over time as drivers and implementations mature. While Thunderbolt 3 has "only" PCI Express x4 bandwidth, many benchmarkers have noted that GPUs moving from PCI Express x16 to x8 has almost no effect on performance. And there's always Thunderbolt 4 on the horizon.

The future, as they say, is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.

I am painfully aware that costs need to come down. Way, way down. The $499 Razer Core is well made, on the vanguard of what's possible, a harbinger of the future, and fantastically enough, it does even more than what it says on the tin. But it's not exactly affordable.

I would absolutely love to see a modest, dedicated $200 external Thunderbolt 3 box that included an inexpensive current-gen GPU. This would clobber any onboard GPU on the planet. Let's compare my Skull Canyon NUC, which has Intel's fastest ever, PS4 class embedded GPU, with the modest $150 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti:

1920 × 1080 high detail
Bioshock Infinite15 → 79 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider12 → 49 fps
Overwatch43 → 114 fps

As predicted, that's a 3x-5x stompdown. Mac users lamenting their general lack of upgradeability, hear me: this sort of box is exactly what you want and need. Imagine if Apple was to embrace upgrading their laptops and all-in-one systems via Thunderbolt 3.

I know, I know. It's a stretch. But a man can dream … of externally upgradeable GPUs. That are too expensive, sure, but they are here, right now, today. They'll only get cheaper over time.

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