Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons)

Recently, one of our readers asked us if it’s ok to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins? Nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of premium WordPress products. In this article, we will explain why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins, specially if… Read More »

The post Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Recently, one of our readers asked us if it’s ok to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins? Nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of premium WordPress products. In this article, we will explain why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins, specially if you’re serious about your website.

Why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins

What are Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins?

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins are pirated copies of paid WordPress themes and plugins distributed unethically on the internet.

The folks redistributing nulled items argue that because WordPress and any derivative works (like plugins and themes) are licensed under GPL, it’s completely ok to copy and distribute it.

While that’s true, often this comes with big cost. Not only does it cause good WordPress companies to lose money, but most importantly it compromises the security and integrity of websites using these nulled WordPress themes and plugins.

Yes often these nulled themes and plugins are the reason why your websites get hacked.

Here are some of the top reasons why you must avoid using nulled WordPress plugins and themes on your website.

1. Security

WordPress security

Nulled WordPress plugins and themes are extremely dangerous for WordPress security. They are known to carry malware.

The malicious code can spread across different files to disguise itself which makes it hard to detect and fix when your website is hacked.

You could also lose your site data in the hack process. Last but not least, your site may get de-indexed from search engines for distributing malware.

2. Privacy

Privacy

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can have different kind of malicious code hidden inside. This can include code that steals information from your WordPress site and makes it available to hackers on the dark web.

This information may include your username, email address, and passwords. If you run an online store or membership website, then the personal information of your customers can also be at risk.

These kind of hacks are hard to detect and may go unnoticed as your WordPress site keeps functioning normally.

3. Bad for SEO

Bad for SEO

Pirated WordPress themes and plugins can destroy your WordPress SEO completely. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can add spam links to your website or hijack your users and redirect them to bad websites.

These activities are hard to detect by human eyes as the links are well hidden in the code. You will likely not be redirected when you are logged in to your WordPress account. However, search engines will be quick to notice that and penalize your website by dropping your search rankings or de-indexing your website completely.

You will have to spend months to recover your website’s SEO rankings and sometimes you may even have to make a new website from scratch.

4. Legal Issues

Legal issues

Many WordPress themes and plugins are open source, but some of them are sold with mixed licenses. This means that some parts of the code are protected by copyright laws and if you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you don’t have legal permission to do so.

Pirated WordPress themes can result in data theft, data loss, or distribution of illegal material. All of these can lead to legal proceedings where you may end up paying huge sums to lawyers.

5. No Access to Updates

No access to updates

Most WordPress themes and plugins regularly release updates to fix bugs, add new features, and close security issues. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins cannot receive those updates because they don’t have a valid license key.

This leaves your WordPress site with an outdated version which may be buggy and insecure. WordPress itself regularly releases new versions and sometimes themes and plugins need to be updated to remain compatible with the latest changes. Since nulled theme or plugin can’t be updated, your website may start misbehaving or become inaccessible.

For details on WordPress updates, see our article on why you should always use the latest WordPress version and how to manage WordPress updates.

6. Support & Documentation

No access to support

Even the most experienced WordPress users need support and documentation to properly use premium WordPress themes and plugins.

Developers of these products spend a lot of their time on providing support and creating documentation for their users. They even hire support specialists to answer questions and regularly add new tutorials.

If you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you are on your own. You cannot ask the developers to help you out when you need help. You also don’t get access to documentation and tutorials because those are only available to paid customers.

7. Access to New Features

No new features

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress themes and plugins are updated regularly and often these updates include new features. If you are using a pirated WordPress product, then you cannot get automatic updates, and you wouldn’t even know that there are new features available.

These new features can significantly improve your website and help you make more money online. However, you will be totally unaware of these changes and will be stuck with an outdated version.

8. Unethical use Discourages Innovation

No innovation

Now some may argue that it is a tiny piece of software, and I am doing this because I cannot afford to pay for it at the moment. However, this tiny piece of code is the result of someone’s skill, talent, and hard work. By using a nulled software, you are taking away money from those developers.

Developers not only spend their time on writing code, they also have to provide support, create documentation, make a website, hire support staff, and spend a lot of money to run their business. Using nulled software hurts their business, and they end up losing money.

These unethical practices may discourage developers from creating new innovative products that can benefit millions of users.

9. The Abundance of Free Alternatives

Plenty of free WordPress themes and plugins

There is no reason for anyone to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins. No matter which WordPress theme or plugin you choose, there is always more than one suitable free alternative available for them.

In fact, many premium WordPress plugins have limited free versions to help you get started. Need a contact form? Get started with the free version of WPForms Lite. Need Google Analytics? Try the free version of MonsterInsights.

For WordPress themes, take a look at our expert-pick of the best free WordPress themes that are just as good as a premium theme.

WordPress.org has thousands of free plugins and themes. Some of them are even better than many premium products. Most importantly, you can use them legally with no burden on your conscience and without affecting WordPress community negatively.

We hope this article helped you learn why you must avoid nulled WordPress plugins and themes. You may also want to see our article on the cost of building a WordPress website with tips on how to save money.

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 Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons)

Recently, one of our readers asked us if it’s ok to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins? Nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of premium WordPress products. In this article, we will explain why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins, specially if… Read More »

The post Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Recently, one of our readers asked us if it’s ok to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins? Nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of premium WordPress products. In this article, we will explain why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins, specially if you’re serious about your website.

Why you must avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins

What are Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins?

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins are pirated copies of paid WordPress themes and plugins distributed unethically on the internet.

The folks redistributing nulled items argue that because WordPress and any derivative works (like plugins and themes) are licensed under GPL, it’s completely ok to copy and distribute it.

While that’s true, often this comes with big cost. Not only does it cause good WordPress companies to lose money, but most importantly it compromises the security and integrity of websites using these nulled WordPress themes and plugins.

Yes often these nulled themes and plugins are the reason why your websites get hacked.

Here are some of the top reasons why you must avoid using nulled WordPress plugins and themes on your website.

1. Security

WordPress security

Nulled WordPress plugins and themes are extremely dangerous for WordPress security. They are known to carry malware.

The malicious code can spread across different files to disguise itself which makes it hard to detect and fix when your website is hacked.

You could also lose your site data in the hack process. Last but not least, your site may get de-indexed from search engines for distributing malware.

2. Privacy

Privacy

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can have different kind of malicious code hidden inside. This can include code that steals information from your WordPress site and makes it available to hackers on the dark web.

This information may include your username, email address, and passwords. If you run an online store or membership website, then the personal information of your customers can also be at risk.

These kind of hacks are hard to detect and may go unnoticed as your WordPress site keeps functioning normally.

3. Bad for SEO

Bad for SEO

Pirated WordPress themes and plugins can destroy your WordPress SEO completely. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can add spam links to your website or hijack your users and redirect them to bad websites.

These activities are hard to detect by human eyes as the links are well hidden in the code. You will likely not be redirected when you are logged in to your WordPress account. However, search engines will be quick to notice that and penalize your website by dropping your search rankings or de-indexing your website completely.

You will have to spend months to recover your website’s SEO rankings and sometimes you may even have to make a new website from scratch.

4. Legal Issues

Legal issues

Many WordPress themes and plugins are open source, but some of them are sold with mixed licenses. This means that some parts of the code are protected by copyright laws and if you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you don’t have legal permission to do so.

Pirated WordPress themes can result in data theft, data loss, or distribution of illegal material. All of these can lead to legal proceedings where you may end up paying huge sums to lawyers.

5. No Access to Updates

No access to updates

Most WordPress themes and plugins regularly release updates to fix bugs, add new features, and close security issues. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins cannot receive those updates because they don’t have a valid license key.

This leaves your WordPress site with an outdated version which may be buggy and insecure. WordPress itself regularly releases new versions and sometimes themes and plugins need to be updated to remain compatible with the latest changes. Since nulled theme or plugin can’t be updated, your website may start misbehaving or become inaccessible.

For details on WordPress updates, see our article on why you should always use the latest WordPress version and how to manage WordPress updates.

6. Support & Documentation

No access to support

Even the most experienced WordPress users need support and documentation to properly use premium WordPress themes and plugins.

Developers of these products spend a lot of their time on providing support and creating documentation for their users. They even hire support specialists to answer questions and regularly add new tutorials.

If you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you are on your own. You cannot ask the developers to help you out when you need help. You also don’t get access to documentation and tutorials because those are only available to paid customers.

7. Access to New Features

No new features

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress themes and plugins are updated regularly and often these updates include new features. If you are using a pirated WordPress product, then you cannot get automatic updates, and you wouldn’t even know that there are new features available.

These new features can significantly improve your website and help you make more money online. However, you will be totally unaware of these changes and will be stuck with an outdated version.

8. Unethical use Discourages Innovation

No innovation

Now some may argue that it is a tiny piece of software, and I am doing this because I cannot afford to pay for it at the moment. However, this tiny piece of code is the result of someone’s skill, talent, and hard work. By using a nulled software, you are taking away money from those developers.

Developers not only spend their time on writing code, they also have to provide support, create documentation, make a website, hire support staff, and spend a lot of money to run their business. Using nulled software hurts their business, and they end up losing money.

These unethical practices may discourage developers from creating new innovative products that can benefit millions of users.

9. The Abundance of Free Alternatives

Plenty of free WordPress themes and plugins

There is no reason for anyone to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins. No matter which WordPress theme or plugin you choose, there is always more than one suitable free alternative available for them.

In fact, many premium WordPress plugins have limited free versions to help you get started. Need a contact form? Get started with the free version of WPForms Lite. Need Google Analytics? Try the free version of MonsterInsights.

For WordPress themes, take a look at our expert-pick of the best free WordPress themes that are just as good as a premium theme.

WordPress.org has thousands of free plugins and themes. Some of them are even better than many premium products. Most importantly, you can use them legally with no burden on your conscience and without affecting WordPress community negatively.

We hope this article helped you learn why you must avoid nulled WordPress plugins and themes. You may also want to see our article on the cost of building a WordPress website with tips on how to save money.

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 Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins (9 Reasons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

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

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

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

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

Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

Overview: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

What is Shopify?

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

What is WooCommerce?

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

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

What to Look for in Your eCommerce Platform?

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

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

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

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

Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

The true cost of using Shopify

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

Shopify pricing

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

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

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

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

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

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

The true cost of using WooCommerce

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

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

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

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

Getting started with WooCommerce

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

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

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

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

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

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

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

Winner: WooCommerce

Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

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

Shopify – Ease of Use

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

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

Shopify customization

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

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

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

WooCommerce – Ease of Use

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

WooCommerce setup wizard

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

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

Winner: Shopify

Payment Methods: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

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

Payment Options in Shopify

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

Shopify Payments

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

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

Payment Options in WooCommerce

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

WooCommerce payment methods

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

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

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

Winner: Tie

Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

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

Shopify Add-ons and Integrations

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

Shopify App Store

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

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

WooCommerce Add-ons and Integrations

WooCommerce extensions

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

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

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

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

Winner: WooCommerce

Scalability and Growth: Shopify vs WooCommerce

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

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

Scalability on Shopify

Shopify enterprise

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

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

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

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

Scalability on WooCommerce

WooCommerce Scalability

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Really Need a VPS? Best WordPress VPS Hosting Compared – 2017

Are you looking to compare the best VPS hosting services for WordPress? Finding the best VPS hosting for WordPress can be overwhelming with so many different options in the market. Sometimes VPS isn’t even the best option for your needs. Just because your website has outgrown… Read More »

The post Do You Really Need a VPS? Best WordPress VPS Hosting Compared – 2017 appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking to compare the best VPS hosting services for WordPress?

Finding the best VPS hosting for WordPress can be overwhelming with so many different options in the market. Sometimes VPS isn’t even the best option for your needs. Just because your website has outgrown shared hosting doesn’t mean that you need a VPS.

Maybe you need managed WordPress hosting or even a dedicated server.

It’s extremely important to understand the Pros and Cons of VPS hosting, so you can make the right decision for your needs.

WPBeginner is the largest independent WordPress resource site that receives millions of pageviews per month. Having helped 100,000+ users and years of experience with WordPress hosting companies, we have created the most comprehensive guide that will help you understand everything you need to know about VPS hosting as well as compare the top VPS hosting companies, so you can choose the best VPS hosting service for WordPress.

Read the full comparison here.

The post Do You Really Need a VPS? Best WordPress VPS Hosting Compared – 2017 appeared first on WPBeginner.

Sucuri vs CloudFlare (Pros and Cons) – Which One is Better?

Due to an increased emphasis on website security in today’s digital landscape, one of the most common requests we’ve gotten from readers is to do a pros and cons analysis of Sucuri vs CloudFlare to explain which one is better. Sucuri and CloudFlare are online… Read More »

The post Sucuri vs CloudFlare (Pros and Cons) – Which One is Better? appeared first on WPBeginner.

Due to an increased emphasis on website security in today’s digital landscape, one of the most common requests we’ve gotten from readers is to do a pros and cons analysis of Sucuri vs CloudFlare to explain which one is better. Sucuri and CloudFlare are online services that offer website firewall, CDN, and DDoS protection services. In this article, we will compare Sucuri vs Cloudflare with pros and cons to find out which one is better.

Sucuri vs CloudFlare (Pros and Cons)

Even the most secure websites on the internet are vulnerable to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), hacking attempts, and malware injection.

As a WordPress site owner you can use some security best practices like password protecting admin directory, limiting login attempts, adding two factor authentication, etc.

However these tips only work on software level which leaves your website mostly open to other types of attacks. These attacks can cause financial damage, data loss, poor search rankings and bad user experience.

Sucuri and CloudFlare offer a website application firewall (WAF).

This means that all your website’s traffic goes through their server scanners. If a request looks malicious, then the firewall would block it before it even reaches your website.

On the surface, these two services look nearly identical, but there are some key differences.

In this comparison, we’ll focus on:

  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Malware Removal Service

By the end, you’ll know exactly which platform is best for you.

Ready? Let’s compare Sucuri vs Cloudflare.

Features

In this section, we will look at the features offered by Sucuri and CloudFlare.

It’s important to note that both services offer different plans that come with different set of features.

As a user, make sure you’re not a victim of their marketing site because not all plans come with all the features.

CloudFlare Features

CloudFlare is best known for their free CDN service. They specialize in mitigating DDOS attacks using their Website Application Firewall product. CloudFlare keep your site available to users during an attack or under heavy traffic when your server is not responsive.

Their website firewall blocks suspicious traffic before it even reaches your website. The firewall also extends to form submissions which protects your website from comment spam and registration spam.

CloudFlare website firewall

CloudFlare also offers free and custom SSL certificates with all their plans. Free and pro plans only allow you to use CloudFlare issued certificate. For custom certificate you will need to upgrade to their Business or Enterprise plan.

While CloudFlare offer a free option that includes CDN, most other features including their Website Application Firewall require a paid plan.

CloudFlare doesn’t offer server scanning service to detect malware. It also doesn’t offer a malware removal guarantee if you were to be hacked on their watch.

Sucuri Features

Sucuri is one of the most reputable website security and monitoring service. They offer comprehensive website monitoring, scanning for malware, DDoS protection, and malware removal services.

Sucuri offers CloudProxy, a website firewall and load balancing service. It blocks suspicious traffic from reaching your website by effectively blocking DDoS attacks, code injection, bad bots, and other website threats. See our case study of how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 attacks in 3 months.

Sucuri offers integration with the free Let’s Encrypt SSL for their basic plan. You can also use custom SSL certificates with their professional and business plans.

Sucuri CloudProxy

Sucuri scans your website regularly for file changes, code injection, and malware. They clean up hacked sites, with support for all popular CMS software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.

Winner: Sucuri is a clear winner because they offer a better combination of tools and services (Website Firewall + Load Balancing + Malware Cleanup / Hack Repair).

Pricing

Pricing is an important factor for many small businesses.

Here, we will compare the different pricing plans offered by CloudFlare and Sucuri, so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

FREE is not always better :)

CloudFlare Pricing Plans

CloudFlare offers a free CDN service for all. They don’t charge you for the bandwidth which means you will be able to use their free CDN regardless of your traffic volume.

However, this free plan does not come with the website application firewall. Your website may benefit from CDN, but it will not be properly protected against DDoS attacks, spam, bad traffic, etc.

For their web application firewall, you need the Pro plan which costs $20 / month (this is what you need for improved security).

This pro plan does not include advanced DDoS mitigation and custom SSL. For those features, you will need their Business plan which costs $200 per month.

Sucuri Pricing Plans

Unlike CloudFlare, Sucuri doesn’t offer a free plan. Their website security stack plan starts at $199.99 for an year, which is cheaper than CloudFlare’s pro plan.

This basic plan includes full website monitoring, website application firewall, DDoS protection, malware removal, and free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate.

Instead of excluding features from lower level plans, Sucuri uses priority as an incentive for their higher paying plans.

For example, malware removal estimated time for basic plan is 12 hours, 6 hours for professional plan, and 4 hours for business plan. However, the actual cleanup timings are way faster than that for all customers.

They offer 24/7 support as part of all plans. Their business plan subscribers can also use the Live Chat support.

Winner: Sucuri is an obvious choice for small businesses when it comes to pricing. CloudFlare Pro costs $240 / year vs Sucuri cost $199 / year and offer more features. To unlock same features, you’d have move up to CloudFlare’s $2400 / year plan. Sucuri’s most expensive plan is at $499 / year.

Malware Removal Service

Apart from denial of service attacks, malware and code injections are the most common threats faced by WordPress site owners.

Let’s see how both services protect your website against those common threats.

Website security and malware removal

CloudFlare – Security and Malware Removal

CloudFlare free version is basically a content delivery network which helps make your website fast.

The website security firewall comes with their paid plan. It includes CloudFlare’s ready to use custom rules set. These rules protect your site from common code injection hacks, XSS JavaScript exploits, and form submissions.

However, they do not offer file change detection, malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, and many other security features. You can add third-party apps for malware scanning, but these services will cost you additional fees.

Sucuri – Security and Malware Removal

Sucuri is a security focused company. They specialize in monitoring websites and protecting them against malware and other attacks.

Sucuri’s website application firewall protects you against DDOS, SQL injections, XSS JavaScript injections, comment and contact form spam.

However, if something crosses all those security barriers and somehow reaches your website, then Sucuri offers to clean up your website (for free).

If you already have a website affected with malware, then Sucuri will clean that up as well.

Winner: Sucuri – For combining website application firewall with monitoring, malware protection, and clean up services.

Conclusion

CloudFlare and Sucuri both offer protection against DDoS attacks on your website. CloudFlare does a little better in the content delivery network area.

Sucuri fares better in the overall features, better security monitoring, and lower prices. If you are using a CMS like WordPress, then Sucuri is what you need.

We hope this article helped you compare pros and cons of Sucuri vs CloudFlare. You may also want to see our list of 7 best WordPress backup plugins.

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 Sucuri vs CloudFlare (Pros and Cons) – Which One is Better? appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons)

We are often asked by users why they should use WordPress instead of other free blogging services like Blogger, Ghost, Tumblr, etc? Medium is a fast growing free blogging platform that allows anyone to create stories and have their own personal space on the web.… Read More »

The post WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by users why they should use WordPress instead of other free blogging services like Blogger, Ghost, Tumblr, etc? Medium is a fast growing free blogging platform that allows anyone to create stories and have their own personal space on the web. In this article, we will compare WordPress vs Medium with the pros and cons of each platforms.

WordPress vs Medium - Which one is better?

Important: Please note that this comparison is between self-hosted WordPress.org sites and Medium, not WordPress.com vs Medium. Please see our guide on the difference between self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.

1. Ownership of Your Content

Medium is a free online community where anyone can share their stories. It is easy to use, reliable, and has built-in social networking features.

However, you do not own Medium. It is owned by ‘A Medium Corporation’, and they can decide to shut it down, announce new pricing plans, or cancel your account at anytime.

On the other hand, WordPress allows you to own your own content. Since you host your own website, you have full control over your data and who you share it with.

2. Growing into Your Own Brand

Medium brand displayed on a Medium publication

When you are using Medium, you are promoting their brand along with your stories. You don’t get paid for that. If you are not a famous author, chances are that Medium users would remember reading a story on Medium without even remembering your name.

Medium is also a network which means content from other authors often get displayed as next stories below your own story. Taking your users away to read articles by other brands and authors.

On WordPress, you have full control on how you want to promote your brand. As your site grows in popularity, you alone decide how to capitalize on your content and brand recognition. Your content and ideas are recognized by your name alone.

Since you have full control of your WordPress site, you can do a lot more to increase the time users spend on your site.

3. Design Possibilities

Medium allows you to choose a layout for your publication. You add your own logo, background color, or image to the header. For layout you can choose grid or stream based layout. This drag and drop editor is very easy to use and offers multiple customization options.

However, still your publications appearance is limited to the choices available in Medium. You cannot choose your own design and layout for your website.

On the other hand, there are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available. These themes are designed by professionals with innovative designs and unlimited customization options.

WordPress themes offer unlimited design possibilities

WordPress gives you the flexibility to build a site that looks uniquely yours. If you can spend a little more, then you can hire designers and developers to create any kind of website imaginable.

4. Freedom to Move

Moving your blog

Medium allows you to export your data in HTML format. This makes it difficult to export your data into other platforms like WordPress. Responses and likes on your articles cannot be exported.

Setting up redirects from Medium to WordPress is nearly impossible. Even if you are using a custom domain on Medium, you will still have to manually setup a redirect for each story on your new platform.

As an open source platform, WordPress gives you freedom to move all your content. You can import/export your data from WordPress using importer plugins.

You can also import/export users and comments. WordPress also comes with amazing backup plugins that allow you to restore and migrate your site to a new host or even a new domain name.

5. Support Options

Medium comes with extensive documentation and a ticket based support system. Currently, support is free for all users. Answers are provided by Medium staff and their response time depends on the number of support requests they have in pending.

WordPress is a community driven project. It powers more than 26% of all websites on the internet. Free community support is available through WordPress.org website. (See: why is WordPress free?)

WordPress.org support

Apart from that, you will find WordPress support on countless third-party platforms like StackExchange, YouTube, SitePoint, etc. See our guide on how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.

WPBeginner itself is the largest WordPress resource site for beginners. We have hundreds of how-tos, tutorials, videos, and step by step guides to create any kind of website with WordPress. See our guide on how to make the most out of free WPBeginner resources.

6. Security

Medium is a fully hosted platform, which means you don’t need to worry about the software. Your content is served by highly secure Medium servers. Your private information is kept secure using the industry standard security measures.

WordPress is a self hosted platform. This means that you are responsible for safety and security of your website. WordPress is well-known for its quick response to security issues with immediate updates that are automatically installed on millions of WordPress sites.

WordPress security

At WPBeginner, we use Sucuri to protect our site against malicious attacks. Take a look at how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 of attacks in 3 months.

8. Future

Medium is a private company owned by ‘A Medium Corporation’. Currently, the company has limited monetization options offered by partnerships with select brands for fewer publishers. We don’t know for sure what the future holds for Medium. It can survive and make money, or it may disappear like dozens of other free content hosting services before it.

WordPress is an open source project, managed by a community of thousands of independent developers and users. WordPress Foundation protects the legal freedoms of WordPress which ensures that the project will continue even if core developers leave the project.

It has been around for more than 13 years and has grown into the largest content management system in the world. It is safe to say that WordPress is going to be around for years to come.

For more details, see our guide on who owns WordPress and how does WordPress make money?

We hope this article helped you compare the pros and cons of WordPress vs Medium. You may also want to see our guides on the most common misconceptions about WordPress and Why is WordPress free?

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 WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack – Which is the Best WordPress SEO Plugin?

Are you looking for the best WordPress SEO plugin? If you are, then you have likely narrowed your choice down to the two most popular WordPress SEO plugins: Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. At WPBeginner, we’re often asked which one is better?… Read More »

The post Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack – Which is the Best WordPress SEO Plugin? appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best WordPress SEO plugin? If you are, then you have likely narrowed your choice down to the two most popular WordPress SEO plugins: Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. At WPBeginner, we’re often asked which one is better? In this article, we will compare Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack to find out which one is the best WordPress SEO plugin.

Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO - Which one is best WordPress SEO plugin

About Our Contenders

Both All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO plugins have devout userbase, and they are among the most popular and most used WordPress plugins of all time.

All in One SEO Pack was created in 2007 by Michael Torbert and Steve Mortiboy. Since then it has earned a massive user base and has become one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time.

Yoast SEO, started out as WordPress SEO by Yoast in 2010. It was created by Created by Joost de Valk. With persistent and continuous improvements in the plugin, it soon became the major rival of All in One SEO. .

These are both excellent plugins and offer all the must have features you need to get maximum SEO benefits on your WordPress site.

Having said that, let’s compare Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO to find out which one of them is the best WordPress SEO plugin.

Installation and Setup

It takes a lot of training and practice to understand and successfully implement the concepts of SEO into websites. A WordPress SEO plugin should make it easy for beginners to setup SEO best practices without any special skills.

Let’s see how these two plugins stack up when it comes to installing and setting up basic SEO settings on WordPress websites.

Yoast SEO

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

Yoast SEO is a powerful plugin, and it has a lot of options that you need to go through one by one. We have made this easy for you, take a look at our guide on how to install and setup Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress.

Upon activation, Yoast SEO shows a prompt to start the tour. This tour walks user through different settings available in Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO tour

The settings section of Yoast SEO is neatly divided into pages where each page has different tabs for respective settings.

This makes it easy for users to locate an option in the settings.

Yoast SEO Settings

On screen help is available on all pages of Yoast SEO settings. Just click the purple Help button on the top, and it will expand to show video or text about the options on the page.

Yoast SEO - on screen help

Neatly organized settings, tour for beginners, and on screen help options make it super easy for beginners to setup Yoast SEO on their WordPress site.

All in On SEO Pack

First, you need to install and activate All in One SEO Pack plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you will find the All in One SEO menu item just below the Dashboard. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

All in One SEO Pack, has all the settings on a single page. This makes it look a bit overwhelming, but some users may find this approach easier and faster than the multi-page settings of Yoast SEO.

The settings page is divided into different sections. Each section deals with the settings of a particular area or feature, for example: homepage settings, title settings, display settings, etc.

There is a help icon next to each option. Clicking on the icon shows a short description and sometimes a link to additional documentation. This makes it easy for beginners to understand what they are doing.

Here is our user’s guide for All in One SEO Pack, which will help you properly setup the plugin.

Once you have carefully gone through general settings, you are ready to use All in One SEO on your WordPress site.

Conclusion:

Both Yoast SEO and All in One SEO has a lot of options. This makes the setup look a bit intimidating. Both plugins try their best to simplify things and make it easier for users to setup their SEO settings. We feel that Yoast SEO does a slightly better job than All in One SEO with their multi-page and tabbed settings.

Winner: Yoast SEO

Day to Day SEO Tasks

SEO is an ongoing process, and each new post or page you add to your website has its own SEO score. This means, you will be using your SEO plugin to optimize your content for search engines as you add it. See our guide on how to optimize your WordPress blog posts for SEO.

Let’s see how our contenders stack up when it comes to performing day to day SEO tasks on your WordPress site.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO comes with a powerful content analysis tool that helps you optimize every single post or page on your website.

Just below the post editor, you will find Yoast SEO metabox with a snippet preview, focus keyword field, and content analysis.

Yoast SEO meta box in WordPress

The snippet preview shows how your site’s title and description will look in search engines. Yoast SEO automatically uses your post title as title and excerpt as description, but we recommend you to change it by clicking on the edit snippet button.

Entering focus keyword in Yoast SEO will allow the plugin to analyze your content for that particular keyword.

The analysis is shown in the content analysis area, where Yoast SEO will make suggestions on how you can improve your posts SEO score.

The Yoast SEO meta box has two more sections. You can click on the gear icon to switch to the advanced view.

Advanced post settings in Yoast SEO

The advanced view is something that most beginners should never use unless you know what you are doing. It allows you to stop search engines from following or indexing the post/page.

Second, is the social icon that displays the social settings for your post.

Yoast SEO social settings for posts

This is where you can set an article image for Facebook and Twitter. You can leave description and title bank because Yoast SEO will use your main title and description in the open graph meta tags.

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO comes with a similar metabox to edit SEO settings on a post by post basis. Simply edit a post and below the post editor you will find the All in One SEO meta box.

All in One SEO metabox for single posts and pages

Unlike Yoast SEO, this meta box is very simple. You can edit the title and description, but there is no content analysis or SEO scoring.

All in One SEO does offer advanced tools for each post which allow you to control indexing and following by search engines. It even has an option that turns off All in One SEO for that particular post or page.

For social features, you will need to enable Social Meta addon by visiting All in One SEO » Features Manager page.

Adding social features to All in One SEO

Enabling this addon will add a Social Settings tab in All in One SEO meta box below post editor. This addon allows you to set custom images and descriptions to be used by Facebook and Twitter.

Social settings in All in One SEO to add open graph meta data

Conclusion

Both plugins make it easy to edit SEO settings on a post by post basis. All in One SEO Pack takes a lean and clean approach allowing users to add additional fields if they want to.

Yoast on the other hand goes with decisions over options approach and add the features they believe is essential for all sites.

However, we feel that content analysis, focus keyword, and SEO scoring gives Yoast SEO a big advantage.

Winner: Yoast SEO

Additional Tools and Features

On page SEO is a comprehensive process that’s why both of these plugins come with additional tools and features aside from just meta tags.

These features are there to eliminate the need to install several other SEO plugins and give you a true all-in-one solution.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO comes with a comprehensive set of features that cover most aspects of on-site optimization. Some of these tools are:

  • XML Sitemaps
  • Breadcrumb Navigation
  • Open Graph Meta Tags
  • Importing Data from Google Webmaster Tools
  • Built-in robots.txt and .htaccess editor
  • Import/Export SEO data

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO also comes with tons of features but some of them are not activated by default. You will need to visit All in One SEO » Features Manager to activate them.

  • XML Sitemap
  • Robots.txt
  • File Editor
  • Bad Bot Blocker
  • Open Graph Meta Tags
  • Import and Export SEO Data
  • Performance Manager

Conclusion

Both plugins offer nearly the same set of tools and features. All in One SEO does not have breadcrumbs navigation and importing data from Google Search Console features. However, not having these two features wouldn’t have any drastic impact on your site’s SEO.

We also like how All in One SEO allows you to activate functionality only when needed.

Winner: Tie

Support and Addons

Even though both plugins are fairly easy to use and come with extensive free documentation, your free support options are very limited.

Let’s see how both plugins handle professional support and addons.

Yoast SEO

The basic free Yoast SEO plugin comes with no support, and you use it at your own risk. While you can ask questions at WordPress.org support forums and find help from other users, you are not guaranteed an official response from team Yoast.

For professional support, you will need to buy Yoast SEO premium. Pricing for a single site license is $69, and it goes up as you add more sites.

The premium license also comes with some additional features like multiple focus keywords, and a redirect manager.

Yoast SEO also offers some paid addon plugins available for niche sites with specific SEO needs. These addon plugins are:

  • Video SEO
  • Local SEO
  • News SEO

All in One SEO Pack

The free version of All in One SEO comes with no support. The All in One SEO Pack Pro version comes with one year of professional support.

License for the pro version costs $79 per year for unlimited sites. WPBeginner users can get 50% OFF using our All in One SEO Pro Coupon.

The pro version of All in One SEO is usually one major version ahead of the free plugin. It also comes with extra features like support for WooCommerce products, category SEO options, video XML sitemap, etc.

Conclusion

Yoast SEO license is cheaper if you need it for just one site. However, prices go up as you add more sites. On the other hand, a single license of All in One SEO can be used on unlimited sites.

Winner: All in One SEO Pack

Our Verdict

All in One SEO and Yoast SEO are both great plugins so any comparison between the two plugins has to be very close.

We personally use Yoast SEO on all of our websites and find it to be the best WordPress SEO plugin. It has more features to offer like importing data from webmaster tools, breadcrumb navigation, Your Info section, social features, etc.

But the best feature is content analysis which we think helps a lot of beginners understand how they should write post titles, descriptions, and use keywords in their content.

We hope this comparison of Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack helped find the best WordPress SEO plugin for your site. You may also want to see

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.

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Does WordPress Need a Notification Center? We Think So, How About You?

WordPress allow plugin and theme authors to display notices in the admin area to keep users informed about new features and updates. However at the speed WordPress ecosystem is growing, the admin notices can get out of control. Updating your plugins and seeing half your… Read More »

The post Does WordPress Need a Notification Center? We Think So, How About You? appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress allow plugin and theme authors to display notices in the admin area to keep users informed about new features and updates. However at the speed WordPress ecosystem is growing, the admin notices can get out of control.

Updating your plugins and seeing half your screen covered with admin notices is extremely annoying.

Notifications in the admin area of a WordPress site

However, it’s even more frustrating as plugin authors because we’re the ones that get blamed for it.

Then of course there are plugins who misuse admin notices for promotional purposes. Some that you can’t even close. After seeing Jeff’s article on WPTavern and reading some of the comments, we felt compelled to write about this topic and offer a suggestion that can possibly fix the problem.

If you think admin notices are getting out of control, then you should know that it’s only going to get worst (unless something is done about it).

Currently there 44,000+ WordPress plugins in the official plugin directory. Not including thousands that are hosted on Github or commercial WordPress plugins.

As more developers enter the WordPress ecosystem and new plugins are created, you can imagine that there will be a time when you update 5 plugins and see 5 different admin notices.

So what’s the solution?

A centralized Notification Center.

You see, when we converted OptinMonster from a WordPress plugin into a software as a service (SaaS app), one of the first things we built was a notification center to keep our users notified of new changes.

OptinMonster Notification Center

This was very well received by our audience. Users can mark a notice as read and they can always go back to read previous notices. It’s unobtrusive and serves its purpose well. Those who want to stay updated read the notification, others can ignore it by marking it as read.

At Awesome Motive, we have had several internal discussions about building our own notification system for our suite of WordPress plugins.

But that’s not feasible considering we have so many plugins. If we ever have to update a potential bug in the notification center, then we would have to simultaneously update all our plugins.

A better solution would be if a notification center was added into WordPress core, and there was a standardized way that all developers would follow.

There’s a nice proof of concept available in the form of a WordPress plugin that Barry Kooij created called WP Notification Center (we wrote about it here).

WordPress Notification Center

Currently that plugin doesn’t have the option to dismiss the notification or read the full details. But it’s a great start to solving this problem.

How many of you would like to see a notification center built into WordPress core?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.

The post Does WordPress Need a Notification Center? We Think So, How About You? appeared first on WPBeginner.

36 Reasons Why Having a “Free Website” is a Bad Idea

The thought of getting free website is tempting. The internet is full of companies offering free website hosting even for self-hosted WordPress. You’re probably wondering what’s the catch? Why isn’t everyone else using a free WordPress website? In this article, we will share 36 reasons… Read More »

The post 36 Reasons Why Having a “Free Website” is a Bad Idea appeared first on WPBeginner.

The thought of getting free website is tempting. The internet is full of companies offering free website hosting even for self-hosted WordPress. You’re probably wondering what’s the catch? Why isn’t everyone else using a free WordPress website? In this article, we will share 36 reasons why having a free website is a bad idea and something that you should AVOID at all costs.

Why free website is a bad idea

What Do We Mean by Free Website?

Most beginners who want to start their own website want to keep the cost low which is understandable.

So you typically Google the term free website and find many companies offering free website hosting services for free.

The thought of having free web hosting and building your site without paying anything is tempting.

Until you get a reality check. Once you sign up to these so-called “free website services”, you slowly start discovering the limitations and many of them turn out to be not free at all.

If you or your friend is thinking about getting a free website, then stop now.

And read these 36 reasons why free websites are almost always a bad idea.

1. Extremely slow websites

Most free website hosting providers put hundreds of websites sharing the same server. This makes all their websites load at very low speeds. Slow websites create bad user experience and are bad for SEO.

2. Unprofessional web address

Having a website address like mysmallbusiness.Freewebsite.com does not look professional at all. Visitors to your website and potential customers would find it quite difficult to take your website seriously when you don’t even have a proper domain name.

And when you ask these companies for a custom domain, you usually have to pay a premium – something like $19 – $25 for a domain which normally costs $10.

3. Trial Service is Not Really Free

Many of these free website services often turn out to be limited trials. After a while you are asked to pay for it. In most cases, this price is usually way higher than normal WordPress hosting services. If you added a credit card during signup, then they can charge you without giving you any warning.

4. Hidden charges for free website

Like any other business, these free website companies need to make money too. Some of them charge their users for additional services like image hosting, email accounts, FTP access, website transfer, etc. These charges are often outrageously high.

5. They can lock down your data

Many users who start with a free website and then want to move to a paid service, find it impossible to move their website data. These service providers do not offer any tools to easily migrate your site. Users end up paying freelancers to manually export their content which can quickly increase your bill.

6. Irrelevant advertisements on your website

Most of these free website services are supported by advertisements. You create content and build your website, but they get paid for the ads. Often these ads are distracting, intrusive, and look ugly.

The worst part is, sometimes your savvy competitors can then pay these free website hosting companies to advertise on your website. Talk about sabotaging your business.

7. They can shut down your website

The terms and conditions of these services clearly state that they can shutdown your website at anytime without providing you a reason. If they shutdown a website, they usually don’t give your data or provide you a way to save your content.

Site not found

8. These companies can disappear at anytime

At any time, the free website company can decide to pack up their business and go. They would simply shutdown their servers, and you will loose your website and all the data. Their terms of service give them full legal protection to do so.

9. You will lose your site address

If they decide to close the service or shutdown your website, then you will loose your web address. Most of the time it is a subdomain associated with the service. You cannot replicate that address or redirect users to your new site elsewhere.

10. They can sell your information

Remember that these services need to make money somehow to remain in the business. A good rule of thumb is if you are not paying for it, then you are the product.

These companies find other ways to make money such as selling your email address, personal information, and your website address to other companies. Their terms and conditions which no one really reads provide them total legal immunity.

11. No site building tools

Unlike a real web hosting service, these companies offer very limited tools and services to their users. Using these tools the website you will create will look even more unprofessional.

12. No WordPress

Many of these free services do not allow you to install WordPress on your free website. WordPress requires a little more resources than a free website service can afford.

13. Limited WordPress

Even if they allow you to host WordPress, their servers are simply not capable of running it. You will come across many errors, and it will ruin your WordPress experience.

14. Malware distribution

Free website services are notorious for distributing malware. This could be due to their poor security, or they could be doing it for monetary benefits. In either case, it hurts your website’s reputation and SEO.

15. You may become part of a link farm

The reason why these services keep disappearing and then reappearing is because they try to generate money using unethical methods. Building link farms is one such practice where they sell thousands of pages created by their users to spammers, fake drugs and gambling sites, online scams, etc.

16. Limited bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from server to user browser. It costs money and most free websites come with a very limited bandwidth caps.

17. Low disk storage

Free website companies host hundreds of websites sharing same server and hard disks. They usually give you very limited storage to store your data. When you reach that limit, you are often asked to pay for more storage.

18. Vulnerable to hacking attempts

Hacked websites

Due to poor security, free websites are often more vulnerable to hacking attempts. If your site is hacked, it will be a lot more difficult to get it recovered because these companies give you very limited access to your own files and data.

19. HTML only sites with limited number of pages

Some of these free website companies offer only a limited number of pages on your website. If you want to add more pages, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan.

20. Low credibility among your users

When your site is hosted on a free service, your users will feel less inclined to trust it. If users are not comfortable sharing their information, then it will kill the whole purpose of you creating a website.

21. Limited design choices

Design and layouts

Unlike a self-hosted WordPress site where you can choose from thousands of WordPress themes, free websites offer only a handful of poorly designed templates. You cannot use your own designs or use any other design from the web.

22. No help or customer service

These free websites offer no help to users. You will have to setup your site on your own with the help of very limited and poorly presented documentation. You are pretty much on your own if you can’t figure it out.

23. You can’t run advertisements or make money

Even though your free website company runs their own ads on your website, they do not allow you to run ads or make money from your website. You will not be able to add affiliate links or add Adsense to your website.

24. There are no backups

There is no concept of regular backups on these free websites. They do not backup your data and if something bad happens to your site, there is no way for you to restore your data.

25. Difficult to get rid off

The companies offering these services often make money from content created by users like you. They intentionally make it difficult for you to delete your own website. This means your website will remain on their servers, and you will have a hard time removing it.

26. No statistics or decent analytics

With a good hosting company, you can get free statistics about your site’s visitors. You can even install Google Analytics or any other traffic counters. On free websites, they do not allow you to add Google Analytics because they run their own analytics code on your website.

27. You will be targeted with email offers

Remember that these companies need to cover their costs by making money using alternative methods. They will continuously email you with special offers. Not to mention that they could sell your email address to other marketing companies as well.

28. No support for mobile devices

You cannot update your website from your mobile or hand-held devices. Free website companies mostly have their dashboards designed for desktop. This will make it harder to update your site from mobile.

29. No responsive designs

Most free website companies offer website designs that are very old and do not work on mobile phones. Mobile users make a significant portion of internet traffic. By not having a responsive design you will lose all those users.

30. No branded email

You cannot create email accounts with your own domain name. This means you will have to use your gmail or hotmail email account which does not look very professional.

31. No contact forms or email forwards

Every website on the internet needs a good contact form. These free website companies do not have a way for you to add custom contact forms. You also don’t get to forward emails received on their own poorly configured form scripts.

32. Limited file upload features

With paid hosting companies, you can upload unlimited files to your site using an FTP client or media uploader in WordPress. Free website companies only offer you a web based interface where you can upload one file at a time.

34. No way to setup redirects

With WordPress you can set up redirection in many different ways. This is a very useful way to maintain your site’s SEO scores. With free websites, you cannot setup any kind of redirects at all. Even if you move to a paid service later, you will not be able to redirect users from your free website.

35. Investing time on free website is unwise

If you have any serious intention of building something on the web, then you should never start with a free website. As you have read in this article, they are unreliable, unsafe, difficult, and severely limit your growth options.

36. Not even for practice

Free websites are terrible, even if you just want to practice.

Good Alternatives to a Free Website

The best alternative to a free website is of course a paid website. There are plenty of hosting services offering WordPress hosting at very low costs.

You can start with BlueHost, they offer shared website hosting service and are one of the official WordPress hosting services. For WPBeginner readers, they offer 50% additional discount and a free domain.

If you don’t want to pay at all and just want to learn, then you can practice on your own computer. You can easily install WordPress on your Windows computer using Wamp or Mamp for Mac.

We hope this article helped you learn why having a free website is a bad idea. Here are some great reasons explaining why you should use WordPress.

Also it would be helpful for you to read: Why is WordPress free, what are the costs, and what is the catch?

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The post 36 Reasons Why Having a “Free Website” is a Bad Idea appeared first on WPBeginner.