How to Install Wordfence and Why You Need it?

WordPress is THE most used Content Management System in the world, it is second to none. The unmatched popularity of WordPress attracts bad people, like hackers.

If you a WordPress developer, or WordPress designer who prefers the flexibility of the CMS must have heard about security plugins. And if you are like me, you might have heard about tens of security plugins.

Installing every possible security plugins you have come across wouldn’t help your efforts, and it will do just the opposite of what you intent.

There are a few good WordPress security plugins like SecuPress, Sucuri, Malcare and Wordfence. In this article, I chose to walk you through the Wordfence plugin and why it matters.

Wordfence is developed by world leaders of WordPress security, Defiant. Defiant is based out of Seattle, WA. Wordfence is installed on more than 3 millions of WordPress websites and they properly protect those sites.

If you are planning to install this plugin on your website, you must know about their free and paid plugins. As a security plugin, it works by scanning your website for viruses, malware, adware, trojans, and other suspicious links at regular intervals throughout the day. Most of the security plugin does the same. Defiant, with their experience of working with this plugin for so long, has made it lightweight and almost foolproof.

Installing Wordfence

First of all you need to go to your WordPress dashboard. The navigate to Plugins -> Add New. Search for Wordfence. Install Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan. Avoid installing plugin files acquired from non-official sources.

Click install, and depending upon your server setup, it will finish installing in a couples of seconds. Once it is installed on your server, you will see the Install Now button showing “Activate Now“. Click on it to complete activation of the plugin.

Once activated, you will see a prompt to enter your email address. The entered mail will receive security updates related your website.

The next prompt screen will request you to enter your Premium Key, you wouldn’t have one unless you have purchased the premium version. Click on the No Thanks link to proceed.

You can now head on to the Wordfence dashboard by clicking on the Wordfence link on the sidebar.

In the dashboard, you will be welcomed with Firewall and Scan circular progress bars.

Tip: WAF means Web Application Firewall. It will stay in Learning Mode for a few days.

Tools

Live Traffic

This is a screenshot from one of our client websites where an attempt was made by a malicious end user. Wordfence blocked the attempt in realtime.

Live traffic show you what is happening realtime in your website. Hack attempts, user-logins, and requests that were blocked by Wordfence Firewall.

Whois Lookup

Whois lookup helps find the details about the IP addresses and domains that are attempting malicious activities on your website.

Firewall

In the free version, the applied Firewall Rules will be Community ones. Brute force protection is automatically setup for you, by Wordfence itself.

Firewall also has options to delay IP and Country blocking until after WordPress plugins has loaded. With the firewall, you can also rate limit crawlers. You can also rate limit Google’s crawlers. Although, it would be a very bad idea to do so.

Scan

In the free version, the malware signatures that are used to validate the checks are community ones, which is delayed by 30 days than the premium version. Which is fine if your website is not dealing with financial transactions.

The scan results display issues that are pertaining to the website. Which needs your attention.

You can also choose low resource scanning to reduce server load by lengthening the scan duration.

Login Security – 2 Factor Authentication

Wordfence also allows you to set up extra login security, by activating 2 Factor Authentication on your website. It will reduce brute force attacks to the absolute minimum.

Premium version of the plugins comes with extra options, and also country blocking.

10 CDNs for Extremely Faster Websites

In an era where every business is going online, competition is getting fierce, and every second starts to matter. Every microsecond started to become extremely important, success started to get defined by margin of a microseconds. 

As a website owner, you have taken extreme care when choosing your web host. You might have chosen the best onshore web hosting, and might have opted for the absolute best VPS available at the time. Yet, if your business grows beyond the borders and your business starts to serve a fraternity that is in the opposite part of the world, you need to keep your performance intact. 

This is where CDN (Content Delivery Networks) starts to play. CDNs are a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. Their goal is to provide high availability and performance by distributing services spatially relative to the users. CDN came into existence during the late 1990s, when the internet started to become mission critical for businesses, to alleviate the performance bottleneck.

What are the benefits of having CDNS?

  1. Improving website load times – distributing contents closer to website visitors by using a nearby CDN server can highly reduce website loading time. Improved website loading time can highly reduce the bounce rates, and increase the amount of time people spend on the site. In simple words, a faster visitor attracts more visitors and they stick around longer.
  2. Reducing bandwidth costs – The server costs increase proportionally with visitors, and with the type of hosting Stakque Infotech uses for the client, it is important to use caching and other optimization that CDN employs. CDNs can efficiently reduce bandwidth costs.
  3. Increasing content availability and redundancy – When compared to origin servers, CDN servers can withstand more incoming traffic, thanks to their distributed nature. Although, CDNs can be an SPF (Single point of failure).
  4. Improving website security – CDN may improve website security by several optimizations and may be by employing DDoS mitigation etc. Also, since the end-users are interacting more with the edge servers for the static content, the origin server has a reduced chance of catching errors and becoming prone to attacks

In this list, we uses the CDNPerf‘s ranking to order the list of the CDNs. CDNPerf ranks the CDNs according to the query speed.

Google Cloud CDN

Google Cloud CDN leverages Google’s globally distributed edge caches to accelerate content delivery for websites and applications out of Google Compute Engine. Google’s expertise in the building the best servers helps the websites to consistantly reduce the server costs by offloading origin.

Akamai CDN

One of the oldest CDN provider, operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Akamai has been one of the fastest CDN provider throughout their service history. Their edge CDN provides 100% uptime service-level agreement gives a peace of mind of their clients.

jsDelivr CDN

Unlike other CDNs in this list, this CDN only delivers javascript files for popular npm, GitHub, WordPress plugins, and custom endpoints for several other projects with special requirements. They are supported by 4 famous CDN providers including Cloudflare, Stackpath, Fastly, QUANTIL and 2 DNS providers. Which makes it a solid CDN to use to speed up your WordPress plugins.

Verizon (Edgecast) CDN

Verizon acquired the Edgecast CDN in 2013, which continues serve customers with the same might as Edgecast CDN used to. Now known as Verizon EdgeCast Content Delivery Network is world’s only native multi-CDN intelligence layer. Verizon uses a partnership model which enables them to serve from thousands of different locations which reduces the “hops” your data has to make.

CDNetworks

Originally based out of Hong Kong, a two decades of experience providing impeccable CDN services to their clients. CDNetworks served high profile clients like Hyundai, Forbes and Samsung. CDNetworks is now providing a free traffic usage for up to $50, with no commitment, no credit card. This is a best way to test their services.

Azure CDN

Providing deep integration like no other with Azure services like Web Apps, Media Services, Storage, and Cloud Services. According to Microsoft, the providers of Azure CDN, they invest 1 Million USD on security research and that makes them a safe bet for business owners searching for a good CDN provider. Azure CDN also integrates with Akamai(Another impeccable CDN provider) and Verizon.

Cloudflare CDN

Cloudflare provides a host of web performance improvement services like free CDN, DDoS mitigation, preemptive security measures, WAF (Web Application Firewall) and excellent integration with CMS of our choice, WordPress.

For people who use WordPress, Cloudflare also provides free SSL. Cloudflare also supports HTTP2/Server Push which can gain massive performance improvements.

AWS Cloudfront CDN

If your web application is built on Amazon’s cloud, look nowhere else. Amazon CloudFront is integrated with AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Route 53, and AWS Elemental Media Services. AWS Cloudfront has a massive 217(at the time of writing) point of presence (PoPs) across the globe, which helps with the availability and performance of the websites with them.

Fastly CDN

Fastly describes their services as edge cloud computing platform, which means web owners can extend their core cloud computing service to the edge servers, closer to the users. Founded in 2011, Fastly became one of the most prominent CDN providers in the world. Giants like Google has partnered with Fastly to realize their CDN infrastructure.

BunnyCDN

BunnyCDN is the CDN of our choice, Stakque Infotech Pvt. Ltd. has their CDN system integrated with the BunnyCDN. Although they are relatively newer entrants to the CDN business. They perform well.

Best WordPress Caching Plugins For 2021

From hundreds of caching plugins, only a few do it well. 

How fast does your website load?

You might think that your website is fast – but, this 2020 and almost every website competes for that extra microsecond advantage. More than 40% of internet users need the website they are visiting to load in two seconds or less. 

As the WordPress matured, the introduction of hundreds of new themes and plugins, the total page size started to grow exponentially. It became extremely important to optimize the websites built with WordPress. 

It is expected that most of the users abandon a website if your website doesn’t load under 3-4 seconds, and it is expected that 40% of people abandon a website if it isn’t quick. And a large portion of those abandoned users never return. If you are an e-commerce site, and for every user lost, you will incur lots of monetary damage.

Fortunately, there are a lot of free and premium Caching plugins that actually work. 

What is Caching?

Every time when a user visits a webpage, the server actually processes every request before the pages are served to the visitors. Depending upon the arrangement of your website, the loading time varies. Without caching enabled, your server charges will be increased due to extra work your server has to do. 

Why do you need a WordPress caching plugin?

Without a caching plugin, every time a visitor requests for an element, the webserver has to process it even if it was already served to the visitor. The caching plugin will generate a static HTML version of the pages. The generated HTML pages are lighter when compared to the PHP pages. 

There are probably hundreds of caching plugins, which claims to increase the loading speed. But, honestly speaking, it is extremely dependent upon the website content, and server environment. For example, Litespeed Cache increases the loading speed of the webpages in a Litespeed server environment, which results in faster loading time than other plugins like WPRocket, and Swift Performance Cache. 

The Absolutely Best 5 WordPress Caching Plugins

  1. WPRocket
  2. Swift Performance
  3. Litespeed Cache
  4. Borlabs Cache
  5. WP Fastest Cache

WP Rocket

WPRocket is one of the most beginner friendly caching plugin out there. With their intuitive user-friendly dashboard that can enable both beginners and experience alike to customize the settings. 

From our experience of using WPRocket for several client sites, WPRocket is the best when it comes to reducing the requests by combining files. WPRocket effectively combines CSS files, and JS files for a reduced number of requests. 

Cache preloading, GZIP optimization, Browser caching, Database optimization, and Google Font optimizations enables the WPRocket to deliver an exceptional loading speed for the sites it is installed. 

For the websites that have installed Cloudflare, WPRocket integrates well and synchronize the settings with Cloudflare to deliver smooth interoperability between the two technologies. 

With a pricing of $49 for 1 users for 1 year, it is not cheap. But, for the value it provides, this is one of the best bet.

Swift Performance

Unlike WPRocket, Swift Performance has a free version that can be downloaded and installed from the WordPress repository. 

Swift has a plugin organizer and an intelligent caching system, which can even cache AJAX requests and dynamics pages. 

The setup is fairly simple since it has a wizard screen that automatically finds the best possible settings for your hosting environment.

Litespeed Cache

Litespeed cache is compatible with server technologies like Apache, Litespeed, and Ngnix. Although the Litespeed exclusive features require OpenLiteSpeed, commercial LiteSpeed products, LiteSpeed-powered hosting, or QUIC.cloud CDN. 

Litespeed cache supports HTTP/2 Push for CSS/JS (on web servers that support it) and Load CSS/JS Asynchronously. All these settings combined has the power to accelerate your website to a very quick loading speed. 

Borlabs Cache

A relatively unknown and fairly new entrant to the cache plugins list, Borlabs cache is based out of Germany and is powering a famous German audiophile blog which has over 15,000 articles in total. This cache plugin successfully preloads almost 6000 pages per day in this specific case scenario. Borlabs cache also has fragment caching, which will be hugely beneficial if your website has ads or other dynamic content, which shouldn’t be cached. It is fairly easy to set up individual cache lifetimes with this plugin. We use Borlabs cache in a few of our projects. This cache plugin also helps to improve your Pingdom tools, GTMetrics, and Pagespeed scores, which is helpful for SEO. 

WP Fastest Cache

With over a million downloads from WordPress repository and over 50000 paid users, WP Fastest Cache proves to be one of the absolute best amongst the caching plugins. From our experience with WP Fastest Cache Premium plugin, we can confidently claim that this caching plugin gave us the least amount of Javascript errors. The developer of this plugin is fairly helpful and his support is excellent from our personal experience.