Top 5 WordPress Plugins for 2017

WordPress is an all-time star. Whether you want it for a simple or complex website, the functionalities of WordPress make  any site look great.

New tools for adding and extending this functionality are coming up every year. It varies from site to site as to which plugins you should have on yours – however, there are some plugins that every WordPress site needs. Plugins will make your life easier, they are handy and replaces lots of work on your side. With about 47, 000 plugins and counting, WordPress lovers have a lot to choose from!

In this post, we bring forward 5 must-have WordPress plugins for your website in 2017.

1. Jetpack (FREE)

This is a powerful plugin that is a must have for every WordPress website. It provides a superb list of features for your website to be fast and optimized. Jetpack takes care of your site’s security, performance, traffic growth, image optimization, website appearance and a lot more.

It also features strengthened distribution which automatically shares your published content to third party services like search engines which also helps to increase your reach and traffic. Additionally, it creates sitemaps so that search engines can easily index your website. Further, it protects your site’s security from brute force attacks through monitoring and instantly notifies if attention is needed.

2. Google XML Sitemaps (FREE)

For Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes, Google XML Sitemaps is a very useful plugin for WordPress. It helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo to better index your site with a special XML sitemap.

Once you activate the plugin, it will automatically create an XML sitemap for your site which enables it to index. A sitemap allows the search engine bots view the complete structure of your website and collect the results more efficiently and with accuracy. It also notifies the major search engines every time you publish something on your website.

3. Social Icons (FREE)

With social media platforms taking over in recent years for being an effective medium of content marketing, it is essential to use this platform in optimized form. With more number of people using social media these days, both news and information is curated through these platforms which needs to be paid attention to. To support and boost your social media marketing, you can use a social media plugin like Social Icons.

Social Icons is a free WordPress plugin. It provides a convenient way to display popular social icons on your website with options to add social media icons to the pages or the posts through widgets or shortcodes. It offers customization options such as, resizing of the social media icons, icon backgrounds, drag and drop icon sorting, etc. You use use hundreds of popular social media platforms through this plugin given it’s easy-to-use design.

4. BJ Lazy Load (FREE)

Images are tricky – if your website is image dependent then it might take hours to load. This annoys users and might result into higher bouncing rates for your site. BJ Lazy Load solves this quite easily.

With a placeholder, the plugin replaces all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes. It then loads the content as it gets close to entering the browser screen. It displays the content (images) only when a user scrolls the page. Hence, your site loads faster as well as it saves bandwidth. Further, it works with text widgets, embedded videos from YouTube, Vimeo etc. and can also help with website performance optimization and SEO.

5. W3 Total Cache (FREE)

W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration. It is currently the only web host agnostic WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework recommended by countless web developers and web hosts.

W3 helps in improving search engine result page rankings, especially for mobile-friendly websites and sites that use SSL, browser caching, conversion rates, overall site performance  as well as optimized pages, reduced page loading time, web server performance which helps sustain high traffic periods. It also can provide up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds.

WordPress can open a world of opportunities through incredibly diverse themes and plugins. These not only makes your website content pretty amazing, but accessible and organized. With options for countless free plugins, it will fit right into your budget too.

Dive in today!

Why invest in SEO?

SEO is often considered to be complicated and confusing with a dozen of to-do’s and information out there. In reality, it is a bit of rocket science.  An essential aspect of enabling startups as well as giants to grow steadily and with high value, SEO is not instant magic. There are a few things to consider before investing in SEO to get results that are impactful and of high return to your investment.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of bringing improved visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine without any ads – it  is referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. The higher ranked the page is on the search results page as well as of higher  frequency, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.

Patience is virtue

Invest with the right amount of energy and time. Though some companies might not be able to afford to wait and requires immediate results, it is absolutely necessary to plan ahead and have some time allocated to rank those perfect keywords. Further, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can deliver immediate results while determining simultaneously whether a keyword is worth ranking for.

Content, content everywhere

One thing marketers get stuck with is the continuous surge of quality content which is needed to get Google’s attention. To be viewed as a resource, you will need relevant and timely content which in turn makes the path to ranking for target keywords easier. Important to keep in mind, not every organic search visit will convert. You might need to protect the search position of a keyword that converts.

Your Profit > Your Investment

In order for you to receive a positive return on your investments, it is important to consider a few other things first.

Take note of the competition around you in your industry. SEO can be a very competitive issue in some industries – in that case, a thorough research will help you understand your place among those controlling the top 20 search positions. How does your website stand up to the competition? How much would it actually cost you to overtake them?

A few other investment related pointers you should take notice are: what are the expenses of doing business through your website? These costs should include the cost of the team who will do the majority of the work. They would assist you in providing key insights into your return on the investment.

Next, you should look into how much these returns are converting into increased profits. Given the points above, how much of sales does your business need to accumulate over a year to be profitable? Considering the competition and the duration it will take to rank a target keyword along with the salary of the SEO professional to get the job done – the final question is, will it all be worth it?

SEO has proven to be of high value to those who have been patient and strategic which has resulted into them receiving high-converting keywords. Make sure you have got a functional, good-looking website that your customers would prefer to spend time on once they have landed on the homepage (here’s a list of some essential plugins for WordPress sites to help you with).

As the facts stand today, mobile search have surpassed desktop search which has led to major search engines such as Google to develop mobile search as the future in all of its products. In response, many brands are beginning to take a different approach to their internet strategies. Hence, make sure you know your market before you invest your energies into the evolving world of SEOs.

Types of Hosting Services

Be it your booming online business or your client’s, web hosting needs can be complex depending on the content you have along with the growth of visitors/website traffic. It is a reminder to you that you need to beef up your web server.  The list here consolidates major hosting plans that you can consider for stepping up the game.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is what it is. The website is hosted on a server shared by other websites, which also means shared costs. However, there’s a risk involved – another popular site might affect the performance of your own site.

Sharing a super server at a very low price can be a great way to go for new businesses since the initial traffic would not be much.

Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller hosting is a shared hosting service with extra tools to help you resell hosting space. They have some incredible technical control and billing software for invoicing clients and all; such as, free website templates, technical support from the hosting company and private name servers.

If your business is to sell web hosting, then this is what you are looking for.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

In virtual private servers, you share one physical server but it seems like multiple, separate servers. This is the beginning to getting your own dedicated server where each VPS shares hardware resources while being allocated with a dedicated part of the computing resources. Your hosting neighbors will not be interfering anymore, and it’s cheaper than a dedicated server.

WordPress Hosting

WordPress is popular, and it’s not going anywhere. As a web building platform, many web hosting servers are what is known as, “Managed WordPress Hosting”. It will keep your WordPress installation updated which in turn will protect your site from security threats from hackers. Not as inexpensive as shared web hosting, this is still a good option for both startups and giants.

Dedicated Web Server

When you have a dedicated server, it basically means you have one whole physical server to yourself from the hosting company. No need to worry about other websites and traffic management. If you are confident that your business has adequate growing traffic and revenue to afford the highest level of server available, then go for your own machine along with a dedicated system administrator to maintain technical aspects.

How Do I Keep My Site From Going Down?

When your computer hangs the easiest thing to do is just restart it. But what do you do when your website doesn’t load.

Maybe you get a blank white screen. Maybe you get an internal server error.

Or maybe you get the dreaded not found message.


We’re sure it’s happened to you once or twice. It’s scary, and it’s frustrating. It’s happened to us too. Remember you’re not alone in the struggle, even massive sites like Facebook and Twitter do experience occasional outages from time to time.

Here’s what we do to solve a website going down.

How to get your site back up?

There are a number of reasons a website might go down, and finding the root cause is essential to getting it back up again.

First, verify the site is down through http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/. Check out your site on a different browser, or your mobile phone. Ask a friend if they can pull up your site and see if they get the same error.

We’ll go over the most common ones, and what you can do about them below:

1. Server Maintenance

It’s your host’s fault. They’re updating their servers and had to take your website offline. Nothing to worry about, it’ll be back online very soon.

Any good host will warn you in advance that your site might go down, and will do maintenance in non peak hours. A great host will keep find a way to keep your site up (albeit with slower bandwidth).

Solution: Contact your host’s support. If this happens frequently, switch to a host that guarantees good uptime (99%+)

2. Overloaded Server

Your website somehow made it to the front page of reddit and you’re currently experiencing a traffic tsunami. Just like a real tsunami, it’s clogged the servers and your website won’t load.

Even the biggest websites face this issue from time to time.

It’s happened with Apple so many times they even have a dedicated page to track when something is down.

However, a site can also be down if you’re utilizing a shared hosting plan and other sites on the same server are experiencing a traffic surge. That can be a big problem.

Solution: Contact your hosts right away, and ask why the site is down.

  1. If you’re experiencing a traffic surge, it’s time to move on to a higher bandwidth plan. Congratulations. In the meantime throw up a funny 404 page for your visitors so you don’t ruin your impression.
  2. If one of your hosting neighbors is experiencing a traffic surge, leave a complaint with your web host and wait. They will identify and move the other website to a different ip. Most web hosts try to stop this from occurring, but it’s still possible if the rush was sudden.

3. Site Coding Mistake

You were editing something on the site and it just broke. This is easy to do on just about every website program there is. If you’re getting a blank screen, or a an error message that isn’t related to your server, then it’s probably a coding mistake, a plugin conflict.

Solution:

  1. If the site is completely down you need to restore it from a backup. You can restore your site from the backup, or just replace the file you were editing in the file manager on your cpanel.
  2. If only the front end, or part of the front end is down then it’s probably a theme or plugin issue. Start by deactivating your plugins one at a time to see if your site comes back.

4. Site Attack

Hackers might be after you.

Relax! Unlike hackers from Hollywood these guys aren’t coming at you with guns and a seal team. Probably.

Someone probably targeted you with a DDos attack, which sends a flood of traffic to your site in order to bring it offline.

If you’re seeing something else in place of your website (i.e. not a 404, blank screen, or website down notice) then you must have left a door open for hackers on your backend, allowing someone to take control of your website. Hackers like to show off, and will typically leave something to indicate that you’ve been hacked.

Solution: Call your web host and ask for help.

  1. For a DDos attack they can use a technique called data sampling to identify the malicious traffic and block it.
  2. In case a hacker took over your website, they can block the account and help you restore it.

5. You forgot to renew your domain and/or hosting

A surprising number of websites go down simply because the owner hadn’t gotten around to renewing the domain. Or the hosting. Or both even.

Solution: Your domain provider and host should send you reminders before they expire. In case you miss them, set your domain and hosting to auto-renew.

How to Prevent Your Site From Going Down in the First Place

Alright, you’ve gotten your site back up. Now how do you keep it from going down again?

1.Get a reliable Host  

Your host plays a huge role in your up-time. If you choose a low quality host you will risk going offline. Your host needs to be able to handle either a steady traffic volume or huge spikes in traffic.

2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, and the origin of the webpage. It will help visitors see a cached (saved) version of your site even when it’s down. They also speed up the website by loading it from a location closer to the visitor.

3. Keep Your Site Updated

Update every piece of software and plugin you use on your website. Most common security flaws are addressed in updates, so you’re much less vulnerable if you’re updating both your themes and plugins on a regular basis.

Always keep your audience updated by notifying them of your issue through email and social media. A simple “Our website is down but we’re working on it” is enough, and much better than leaving them in the dark.

And remember, if you’re not sure what’s happened you can reach out to your host anytime for support.

What is VPS hosting anyways?

Now if you go to our website you’ll notice a bunch of different packages, each created to serve  a different need. The most basic package, which is shared hosting is $1/month, while the most expensive, dedicated hosting is $175/month. Somewhere around the middle is VPS hosting, at $1.5 to $20/month.

Now, you might be wondering what VPS is, and what it actually helps you achieve. We believe, if you’re on a shared plan and can afford to spend a bit more, it’s worth upgrading Today we’ll show you why it’s worth upgrading.

1. What is VPS hosting?

VPS is a relatively new form of hosting which uses something called a Virtual Private Server. Essentially, a dedicated server that is built within a server environment.

So, while the data is housed in a shared physical hard drive, in a shared data center, you get your own dedicated space within that hard drive. Which means you get your own operating system, disc space, and bandwidth.

In other words you get almost the same level of customization at a fraction of the cost, kind of like the pool at the gym might have lanes for each swimmer. You’re still sharing the pool, but you get your own interruption free lane.

2. How is VPS hosting different?

Because it sits between shared and dedicated hosting, it gets the best of both worlds.

With dedicated servers you’re renting out the entire server. This can get expensive, and you have to buy space in blocks. Think of it as having your own private pool.

With shared hosting you’re getting parts of a server with other users, meaning there are limits the amount of CPU and memory you can use, as the server has to be usable by everyone. Think of it as the community swimming pool.

With VPS hosting, you have a single server that is partitioned into different pieces. It’s a bit like how your computer has a single physical hard disk, but if you go to “My Computer” or “This PC” you’ll probably see multiple drives. Because you’ve got your own drive, you’ve got a guarantee of a minimum level of resources (i.e. swim as fast as you want in your lane), with more available at a moment’s notice if you get a traffic spike.

3. How does VPS hosting work?

You ever dual boot a computer? Install both linux and windows on it. Or maybe you’ve seen someone install windows onto their Macbook?

It’s similar to that. You take a single large server, and partition it by installing multiple versions of the OS, each with their own dedicated resources, all of them running simultaneously. So you’ve got multiple programs acting like independent servers all running from the same machine. Rent out one of these servers and you may as well have your own dedicated server. Almost.

4. Is there more than one kind of VPS?

Our VPS packages start from $1.5 and go up to $20. These prices are mostly based on the amount of resource you expect to consume. Beyond that there are 2 kinds of VPS servers – managed and unmanaged.

In a managed VPS we’ll take charge of configuring your server, doing routine maintenance, keeping your environment secure, and more. In an unmanaged one you’ll have to do all of that. What that means is with an unmanaged VPS you’ll need to have some technical chops.

5. What kind of software can I run on a VPS?

Pretty much any kind as long as it is compatible with the operating system you’ve chosen and your total memory allocation.

That means if you’ve got unique needs, or require a unique hosting setup, then you could almost always achieve that with a VPS server.

Because it’s operating independently, it’s also more secure.

6. So who should get VPS?

If you’re interested in having your website be atleast 20 times faster, need more control over your host space, and have a bit of technical knowledge then this is the option for you. Our VPS servers are cheaper than anything else out there and only a little more expensive than our shared servers, so it’s well worth the upgrade.

Take a look at our KVM VPS and OpenVZ VPS options to learn more.

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

All of us use content delivery networks (CDNs) in one way or another without ever realizing it. These are content distribution systems that help deliver web content and web pages to users according to their geographical locations, as well as the content delivery server and the webpage details.

CDNs serve a crucial role in delivering website content in extremely fast speeds to maximize global reach, especially of content that have extremely high traffic numbers. Using a CDN has important applications for ensuring smooth and effective delivery of content to your customer base.

This post is a guide to all you need to know about CDNs and the ways in which it can offer you great use.

How CDN Works

CDN are being utilized by a variety of industries and for a number of purposes including e-commerce, mobile, healthcare, higher education, advertising, media and entertainment, and its secret lies partly in the way it works. CDNs help reduce the gap between the server of a website and its visitors. It does this by storing the content in various geographical locations in the form of points of presence in its cache and delivers it to various places simultaneously. This allows all the users to view the content from their respective locations without the problem of too much traffic.

For example, if someone in Australia wants to access your US-hosted website, it will be done through the local Australian CDN instead of the content being passed to all the way to US and back. This makes CDNs very effective for delivering content quickly and accurately to multiple users at once.

Benefits of Using CDN

Although CDNs are useful on a large scale, it also has several uses for your business. Firstly, CDN can offer you greater scalability that is not possible with even the most effective web hosting services. It may be that the web hosting service provided by Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google. With a CDN, you can achieve higher global reach along with lower packet loss and network latency.

Secondly, CDNs serve as useful distributed data centers that are easily accessible to users from a certain locality. This makes connection and distribution of content a lot faster, especially if you wish to use your e-commerce website to sell products and services to customers from different countries.

Furthermore, CDNs come integrated with usage analytics and reporting tools that can help boost visibility and transparency of your content management operations. A CDN can inform you how customers perceived your videos and text content and use it to improve your marketing strategies.

Lastly, CDNs are extremely cost-effective. They can provide a substantial boost to performance by distributing high loads at incredibly low or no rates. With it, you can save a significant amount of bandwidth and minimize your current web hosting package costs.

In short, CDNs play a crucial role in distributing content to multiple users from different geographical locations quickly and efficiently. They are used by a number of organizations and also serve a number of advantages for business use.

We provide CDN and security by Cloudflare in all our plans. Cloudflare has one of the most reliable global networks and FastWebHost customers can easily use its benefits along with their hosting account.  All our plans include a free Cloudflare CDN and easy access to all other speed and security features provided by Cloudflare.  With FastWebHost you can manage your Cloudflare settings right in your hosting panel, thanks to our special integration of the service.

Elementor – Page Builder for WordPress Review

You bought a new hosting. Great! Now, you are ready for the online adventure using WordPress. For starters, using WordPress themes(paid or free) work well as they offer good customization. However, they are not customizable to the core and this is where page builders come in.

In this article, we will review Elementor page builder from Pojo which is a free and open source.

Building a website from scratch requires a lot of work including time and money. Generally, it goes like this. You hire a developer for the work and then he delivers in iterations the final website. Even though customizing your site from the scratch is a good thing. However, it is possible for businesses just starting their online presence.

Elementor page builder gives them the ability to do just that — all free! You can edit your homepage, contact us page, blog pages, and align according to your business philosophy.

Elementor – Page Builder for WordPress Review

Elementor is a great page builder due to its fluid live editing experience. It enables anyone to design their WordPress site without any coding knowledge. All you need to do use the drag and drop feature and build your site accordingly.

Elementor is a great starting point for anyone who has a limited budget. It’s popular and has already been downloaded more than a million times! You can also get started by download it from their official page.

Elementor Features

So what makes Elementor amazing? Let’s discuss the main features below.

  1. Pre-made templates: A blank canvas can be a hard place to get started. That’s why Elementor comes with pre-made page templates so that you can customize it according to your requirement. Right now, it offers more than 35+ templates. Furthermore, you can create templates from the ground up and save them for future use.
  2. Responsive and SEO optimized:  All the pages created using Elementor are responsive and SEO optimized. This is very important for a modern website as being responsive, and SEO optimized are must have for any business out there. Not only it improves user experience but also helps gain Google rankings.
  3. Widgets: Elementor comes with a lot of widgets including content locks, text, videos, buttons, dividers, etc. These widgets are amazing when it comes to building pages using drag and drop functionality. Want to add a video? Just use the video widget.
  4. User Interface: Setting up and working with Elementor is a breeze. It is simple, intuitive and powerful at the same time. Even new users will find it easy to use. For those who are having a hard time understanding how it works, there is plenty of good documentation available online.

Pricing

It’s free! Yup.

You can download it from their official website or WordPress repository.

However, there is a PRO version available as well. The PRO version offers more features than the free version. For example, you get Pro widgets such as portfolio, price table, flip box, etc.

The PRO version is available in three packages. You can get personal, business and an unlimited version for $49, $99 and $199 respectively.

Conclusion

Elementor is one of the best free drag and drop plugin in the market. The fact that it is free makes it even better. With it, you need zero coding skills. Support for responsive design makes it compatible with all the modern WordPress themes.

Another aspect that makes Elementor worth is its fast and fluid user experience. The plugin can also be useful for developers who are looking to customize some aspect of their page and don’t want to fiddle with the site’s code. Overall, the plugin is highly recommended for anyone who wants to design their page using drag and drop plugin.

You should also look at the PRO version if you are impressed with the free version.

Worried where to get managed WordPress hosting? Check out our managed WordPress hosting packages. You can also get started using our shared hosting services which completely supports WordPress.

This brings us to the end of the review. What do you think about it? Comment below and let us know.