WordPress Plugins – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Strategy

This post is a part of the WordPress Plugins discussion thread and focuses on Plugins that focus on Search Engine Optimization.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (known as SEO) is complicated.  Any help to you, the Web Master, is greatly appreciated help, and will go a long way in making your site SEO friendly.

At this time one of the tools that I am using is the free version of “Yoast SEO By Team Yoast“, and I recommend it. I’m happy with the tool, but I will admit I’m not sure of other tools that are out there.  I’ll be investigating other tools in the future.

Impact analysis

I used Google Analytics with my code slung sites, and I wanted to continue to use Google Analytics with WordPress.  If you remember back in the “olden days” of building basic Content Management System web sites with Dreamweaver, you had to include a unique and special piece of Google code on every page.  Is there a way to do that through a Plugin instead of managing the code itself?  I mean, the reason we moved to CMS is to cut our set of managed code, right?

Searching for “Google Analytics” on our WordPress Plugins website [reference: Plugins] offers up nearly 1500 plugins as of this writing.  Searching the web for “Best Google Analytics WordPress Plugin” is a help in the right direction with 2.5 million hits (no, don’t read them all!).  Adding “free” to the search reduces our hits to 1.5 million.

Here are a few I tested

  • “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP”.  Free.  What’s not to love?
  • “Google Analytics+”, not free, don’t even bother with it (there is a free trial, I’m not interested)
  • “Analytify”.  As of this writing, the landing page had security issues, offering up a warning that “Your connection is not private, Attackers might be trying to steal your information from wp-analytify.com”.  Didn’t sound so hot, wasn’t really interested in figuring out what is wrong with their site, moving on.
  • “Google Analytics by MonsterInsights”, not free ($39/year for one site), not interested
  • “Google Analytics By ShareThis”, free (yay!), but as of this writing is only tested to 4.7.7 and hasn’t been updated for 8 months.

When I opened my first WordPress several years ago, I was using “Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights”. I no longer recommend that plugin. Why?  Because the complete package is not free (there is a “Pro” paid version available), and more specifically, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is free.  Why not just use the free version?

I chose “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) By Alin Marcu“.  Being released under GPLv2 identifies that it is free for all to use for both commercial and personal web sites.   So far, I haven’t found any significant limitations with GADWP.  I’ll post back if I wind up changing the plugin for something else.

 

WordPress Plugins – Interact with your visitors

Interact with users

This post is a part of the WordPress Plugins discussion thread and focuses on Plugins that help you interact with your visitors.

Interacting with your visitors

Why did you create your site?  Sure, some folks might have created their site for their own personal use, but most of us have created sites so that we can either share something with people, or sell something to people.  Either way, other people are the focus, and we need to do what we can to make sure other people can interact with us the way they want to.  This section helps to explore some of those opportunities.

Contact form

The easier you make it for folks to send you feedback, the better.  In my case, I set up a special Contact Form for folks to respond to me (see the menu, Contact).

For the Contact Form, I wound up selecting a highly deployed solution that is free called “Contact Form 7 By Takayuki Miyoshi“.  Again, I support the open source community, and however the developers are supporting themselves, I’m going to do my best to use their tools.

Of note, be sure to update your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records so that Contact Form can send mail properly!

[See Reference: Contact Form 7]

Emails

How about folks who want to sign up for your newsletter?  This becomes a little more complicated, since you’ll need to find a solution that allows people to sign up, and allows you to send messages, all for free.

Mail Relay

As a mail relay, for mail I send to my users (and my friends!), I’ve chosen MailJet that offers up to 2000 signups and 6000 total outbound emails per month for free (200 per day). I’ve tested MailJet extensively.

One very positive note, MailJet does not add a disclaimer to the bottom of emails that I’ve sent while in Mail Relay mode.  This is a very nice free feature, and one of the criteria for acceptance.

There have been some issues with mail delivery, and (as of this writing) I’m still working with MailJet customer service to resolve the problems.  That said, MailJet has been responsive to trouble tickets.

You can read more about my decision here.

[See Reference: MailJet]

Mail Campaigns

For mail campaigns, MailChimp is a possible contender, with the following promise:  “If you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. No expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.”  But, I’ve not thoroughly tested MailChimp.

<<<To add to this review, how about Like button, Share button>>>

 

 

Email marketing tools

Email marketing, email blasting software

What we’ll look for

The largest number of “Free” contacts allowed

The largest number of “Free” emails per month

Easy email blasts

Statistics on the blast

WordPress Integration with a Plugin

Export capability

Tools we’ve evaluated

 

 

https://mailrelay.com/en/pricing

“SEND UP TO 75.000 EMAILS FOR 15.000 SUBSCRIBERS FOR FREE”

 

 

Constant contact

Just say no.

ConstantContact

Free trial for your first 60 days.

No risk. No credit card required. Get full access to all our email marketing tools, as well as live expert help and online resources. Start your free trial!

 

 

Send In Blue

Sendinblue is a contact

FREE
Getting started with SendinBlue
9,000 emails / mo.

 

AWeber

Just say no

AWeber

Try AWeber Free for 30 Days

 

CleverReach

 

FREE trial

 

Manage up to 2,500 recipients and send up to 10,000 emails per month absolutely free! The free plan has no fixed term. There is no setup fee and no contractual obligation.

 

Benchmark

A reasonable contender!

Our Free Starter Plan
Send email campaigns to up to 2,000 of your subscribers for $0 per month. Upgrade whenever you’re ready and gain access to additional enterprise features.

2,000
Subscribers
14,000
Emails per month
Free
Cost per month

 

 

Mail Chimp

A reasonable contender!

Mailchimp

Free Plan
Forever Free
Up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month

 

Verticalresponse

 

There are cheaper ones.  Just say no.

Free

Send 4,000 emails per month to up to 300 contacts for free

 

 

 

Mail Jet

 

 

Creating free WordPress backups

As most of us know, backups are critical.  One day you’ll wind up having a hardware failure, or power outage that causes hardware problems, or a corrupt installation, or you’ll wind up breaking your deployment and you’ll need to restore your installation.  For a myriad of reasons, backups — and of course the restoration of that backup — are critical.

This article will continue to grow with each backup utility that I try.  I’ll go forward with testing “another” when there is something flawed with the PlugIn I’m testing.  Now, off to the races!

Criteria

A few criteria for the chosen plugin.  These criteria are apt to grow while I better understand the options that are out there.

    1. Free.  Must be free, completely free, to both backup and restore. 
    2. Must be recent.  Continuous updates are desired.  The plugin must have been updated within the last 90 days.
    3. Unattended backups.  Must be completely autonomous once configured.
    4. Backups stored on free drives, such as Google Drive.
    5. Bonus points for the ability to restore to a different domain. 

PlugIn candidates

Let’s get right into the plugin candidates.

JetPack

JetPack is a comprehensive plugin that provides a lot of free services…. except for free backups.  The paid version provides the following: “Security essentials
Daily backups, one-click restores, spam filtering, and 30-day archive.”  However, one of our top priorities is Free for unattended backups.  JetPack does not meet the criteria we are looking for.

Duplicator

“Duplicator gives WordPress users the ability to migrate, copy, move or clone a site from one location to another and also serves as a simple backup utility. Duplicator handles both serialized and base64 serialized string replacement. Standard WordPress migration and WordPress backups are easily handled by this plugin as are zero downtime migrations.”

DUPLICATOR

  • Move, migrate or clone a WordPress site between domains or hosts with zero downtime
  • Manually backup a WordPress site or parts of a site
  • Perform a full WordPress migration without struggling with messy import/export sql scripts

DUPLICATOR PRO

Duplicator Pro takes Duplicator to the next level with features you’ll really appreciate, such as:

  • Scheduled backups
  • Cloud Storage to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and FTP

Duplicator performs perfectly for manually migrating web sites from one host to another, and from one domain to another.  However, the automated backups are not free.  

Duplicator does not offer free unattended backups.

 BackupBuddy

 Was not able to discover a plugin available in the Plugins download area.

BlogVault

“BlogVault is the most reliable backup and restore plugin. Trusted by 220,000 sites and counting, it ensures a stress free WordPress backup and security solution in a single dashboard.”

Backup and Restore

Automatic Daily and Real Time Backups

 

One-click Site Restoration

 

Efficient, Incremental backup

365-day Backup history

Backup to Cloud & Dropbox

Migrate

One-click Migrations

Copy or clone sites

“You do not need to provide your card details to sign up for the free trial.” Lots of promise, but BlogVault does not meet our Free requirement.

UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

“UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. It is the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over a million currently-active installs. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click!”

Great!  Free, and scheduled backups available

“Backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Openstack Swift, Updraft Vault and email. The paid version also backs up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.”

Great!  UpdraftPlus Free will backu to Google Drive, FTP, and email.  Perfect.

Let’s try it out.

 

 

Finding a Free Mail Relay

You've Got Mail

Let me ask you a question.  Would you rather be doing business with “bobrx153@hotmail.com” or “bob@randolf.com” ?  Which one looks more professional?  Which one looks more trustworthy?

Now that you have your  web site configured, it is time to configure your mail agents to send “as” someone from your domain.  This increases the value of the emails you send.  

Testing criteria

Every decent evaluation starts with some type of criteria.  This evaluation is no different! Here are a few artifacts that we’ll be reviewing.

Free only!

Free!
Free!

In this article, we are only going to be considering mail relays that offer free long term plans.  Companies that provide “test” accounts that are limited to some fixed number of days or some fixed number of total emails may be listed, but immediately discounted.  Only companies that offer “free” plans will be considered.  For example, companies that offer “the first 10,000 messages per month” will be included.

No odd headers or footers in the free plan

Look ma no header
Look ma no header

Some companies will provide a relay if and only if you allow them to brand their own company on every one of your outgoing emails.  While this may be okay for your specific circumstance, it is generally a bad idea.  

No unreasonable limitations on sending emails

After reviewing one of the companies, I found it necessary to updated the “acceptable relay” criteria.  This is one of those additional criteria.  What happened is that one of the mail relay companies said that “personal” emails were not part of their core business.  In their opinion, using their mail relay to send emails to your friends and family is outside the scope of a mail relay’s accepted use.  Instead, only “Transactional” and “Bulk Marketing” emails are allowed. 

To explain a few terms that you may run into while looking through the different mail relays, here’s a few definitions. 

  • Transactional emails are based on transactions initiated by a visitor.  According to Wikipedia, “Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer’s action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications’ primary purpose must be “to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender” along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging”
  • Direct emails (which may also be known as Bulk, Marketing, Commercial emails) are “sent in bulk … to family, friends, subscribers and customers such as party invitations, group messages, forwarded messages, announcements, newsletters, promotions, marketing tools and tips, classified ads, and direct email marketing campaigns. “

Software as a Service “cloud” offering

Cloud server
Cloud server

An additional criteria for the mail relay is to be completely cloud based, with no installed portion of the application.  Why?  Because the cloud is the future.  Trust me in this, you want to focus on your business, you do not want to be distracted by managing the servers and infrastructure required to do this on premise.  For what it is worth, I recommend cloud based services for everyone.   For more information on “The Cloud”, check out this article

Relay Candidates and initial findings

Finding candidates was easy!  Finding acceptable candidates that had reasonable “free monthly” plans was equally easy, just a little more time consuming.  Testing each of the candidates proves somewhat time consuming.  It takes awhile to configure the relay, to configure your mail client, to get used to the specific user interface, and to send a sufficient number of emails to make the test worthwhile.

That all said, I started my search in the typical manner, with a google of “free smtp relay”, and went from there.  As time goes on and more specifically I find limitations with a company, I’ll add to the list.

SendGrid — Not recommended

SendGrid Google Advertisement
SendGrid Google Advertisement

SendGrid was at the top of the SEO list because they pay for placement.  Certainly, paying for advertisement may make a compelling reason to test the product.  Let’s see what you get for free.

SendGrid free offering
SendGrid free offering

The free plan is 100 emails a day forever.  Before I actually took SendGrid for a spin, I decided to look at what some of the other companies were offering for the Free plan.  As it turned out, the next few listed in the general Google search were all 200 emails per day for the free plan.  Since that is double the number of emails available through the free SendGrid account, I decided to spend my time on one of the other free companies instead.

MailJet — Best so far but now (probably) Not recommended

Mailjet.com was an immediate contender, with

  • A promise of 6000 free emails per month (up to 200 per day)
  • A fast registration for the free account, with no credit card necessary
  • A clean, easy to use interface
  • A free SPF & DKIM test and configure utility
  • Free “email tracking” that monitors Sent, Delivered, Opened, Clicked, Bounced, Blocked, Spam reported, and Unsubscribe requests

About a week into testing, I noticed almost all emails were delivered in a timely manner.  But, there were two emails that wound up not being delivered.  The emails showed up as “sent” and “delivered” from the GUI, but the emails never made it to the destination — not to the primary inbox, nor any SPAM folders. 

I consulted the MailJet professional staff, and was told that there was a recent outage that caused problems with some emails, but the issue had been resolved.  Okay, hey, all companies have issues from time to time, it just so happened this one particular company had an issue while I was testing.  Two emails out of around 100 were affected.  

But then the unexpected.  The MailJet personnel described that they do not support what they are calling “personal email”.  Here’s the response:

A transactional email is an expected message and its content is information that the client wishes to check or confirm, and not “discover”. This means that these email can not manually send by you, it can only trigger from the recipient side.

Common examples of transactional emails:

Account opening
Shipment tracking and order status
Order shipment confirmation
Account termination
Payment confirmation
Invoice

The email you have sent is considered as personal communication which is not Transactional email. ISPs like (gmail, hotmail, yahoo…) often mark these email as spam as it is not pure Transactional email or Marketing email.

At the moment, Mailjet support two types of emails which are pure Transactional email and Marketing email. We do not support for the personal communication email yet, if you sending this type of email, some of they will have deliver issue.

Although MailJet showed great promise as being a permanent and comprehensive email solution, I cannot recommend them at this time due to two facts. 

  • First, there were emails that were eventually marked “bounced” although from all indications it had something to do with problems on their mail server that was not fully described.  I did ask for more information, but was not provided an answer.  I’m unclear what they are doing to prevent the issue from happening again, especially the fact that the emails were marked “delivered” when in fact they later showed up as “bounced”.  
  • Second, MailJet does not allow sending “personal” email.  I will admit, “personal email” was not a category of mail that I understood at the beginning of this writing.  I’m not sure if this is going to be an issue with other mail relays.  I will certainly explore that with other companies before recommending them.

To wit, prior emails to the same addresses were delivered through MailJet with no problems, and later emails to the same recipients were delivered through MailJet with no problems.

That all said, there is enough concern about the validity of using MailJet as to at least consider other solutions.  I’ll be searching for a new solution shortly.

Concluding remarks

I must say, it wasn’t as nearly as easy as I expected to find a reasonable free SMTP Relay.   

As of this writing, I am not recommending MailJet, only because the MailJet team has identified their servers are not to be used for “regular” mail.  I have an open ticket with them trying to figure out (1) what happened with the email failures early on in the testing, and (2) what is going on with their recommendation against using their service for “personal” email. 

I’ll be searching for other mail relays in the coming weeks, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Available tools

  1. “This test will list MX records for a domain in priority order”, http://www.mxtoolbox.com
  2. “Build Your DMARC Record in 15 Minutes”, https://blog.returnpath.com/build-your-dmarc-record-in-15-minutes-v2/
  3. “DMARC Deployment Tools”, https://dmarc.org/resources/deployment-tools/
  4. “How to Setup DMARC records in cPanel”, http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/email/fighting-spam/dmarc-setup
  5. “DMARC Check”, https://stopemailfraud.proofpoint.com/dmarc/?lookup=marksatterfield.com

The story of the “as a service” sisters — SaaS PaaS IaaS

As a Service

Cloud service providers are in the news every day.  Whether it be that Disney or the NFL is “moving to the cloud”, or that a vendor is forcing Cloud adoption with their offerings, Cloud is newsworthy.  And be it Microsoft’s Office365, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Cloud Platform, (three of the main players), Cloud Computing is here to stay. 

But how did we get here?  In the beginning, there was the data center.  Next came time-sharing.  Then  distributed computing supported by the desktop.

IT as a Service
IT as a Service

This article will begin by exploring some of the many cloud computing advantages and disadvantages (for there are some!).  Next, we’ll define the three primary “as a service” technologies.  Finally, we’ll apply Cloud Computing architecture and describe how real, live businesses use “the cloud”. 

Advantages of Cloud Compute models

Cloud computing
Cloud computing
  1. On-demand.  In Cloud Compute models, the services are “on demand”.  This means that instead of having to rent a physical location, apply for permits, purchase physical servers, standing up those servers in a physical data center, and hiring engineers and staff to run the data center, the Customer can focus on speed to market and stand up the cloud on demand.  This reduces the large capital outlays and even reduces the risks with associated with long-term leases.
  2. Rapid elasticity.  Rapidly expanding and rapidly retiring services is straightforward in Cloud Compute models.  This reduces the concerns for oversizing or undersizing equipment purchases.
  3. Business Continuity Planning and disaster recovery.  Cloud compute offers location abstraction, where the Customer does not have need to control the geographic deployment area.  In fact, if properly deployed, Cloud Computing models supply most of the computing infrastructure required to solve business continuity (BCP) and disaster recovery — all built into the deployment. That is, disaster recovery and business continuity are “built-in” by deploying multiple geographically distributed compute solutions — all without standing up independent physical locations.  Although this does not solve the entire Business Continuity plan (click here for a more comprehensive discussion of BCP), it goes a long way in the right direction.
  4. Security.  The Host company provides the physical security to the servers and data center.  Depending on the solution, the Customer is responsible for various levels of data security.
  5. Improved mobility.  All forms of cloud computing offer improved mobility for the workforce by centralizing the compute stack into a remote addressable solution.  There is no longer a need to create and protect a DMZ – if your employees have an internet connection, they’ll have access to the CSP.  

Disadvantages of “Cloud Service” models

Sorry no Internet
Sorry no Internet

The cloud compute model is highly effective, and there are many reasonable advantages of moving to a Cloud Service Provider (CSP).   That said, there are disadvantages to any solution, and CSP is no different.  As with any solution, it is important to consider the CSP risks before fully embracing the architecture. Here we’ll explore some of the disadvantages.

  1. CSP Outages.  Unfortunately, like all cloud stacks, cloud providers also suffer outages.  If an outage does occur, the Customer may feel helpless in relying on the CSP in bringing the system back online.  That said, overcoming Outage risks is easily structured by building multiple cloud stacks with multiple CSP’s providing distributed geographic deployment. 
  2. Network outages.  Network outages do and will occur.  In a purely on site solution, Internet Service Provider (ISP) failures do not impact the business.  However, in a cloud solution, the ISP is a primary point of failure.  Managing these risks is straightforward by employing multiple ISPs.
  3. Security.  While CSP’s offer tremendous Security value, there is a risk that policies are not followed.  Depending on the type of business you are running, contractual language can transfer some of those risks.  For example, in a healthcare environment Business Associates Agreements transfer some risks associated with breaches.  
  4. Vendor lock in.  Vendor concerns exist with shrink wrapped software, and even more concerns exist for cloud services.  As you engage with a vendor, remain cognizant of vendor lock in risks.  For example, the customer should have mitigation plans in place if a vendor goes out of business, or if a contract ends unfavorably, or if the contract becomes unaffordable.  Test Vendor lock in plans regularly to confirm that all data is recoverable and the business is able to continue unabated.  

Types of “As a Service” solutions

Types of cloud
Types of cloud

As you start searching, you’ll noticed there are many marketing descriptions for Cloud Services.  While the marketing can become quite confusing,  remember that all cloud services are really one of three primary “As-A-Service” models.  Here are the three models.

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Infrastructure as a Service is the most basic “as a service” model.  IaaS is a solution where the customer is responsible for provisioning storage, networking, processing, and other basic computing components.   The consumer does not control the underlying cloud infrastructure, but does control the operating system and applications.  The Hosting company controls the data center including physical access to the infrastructure, heating and cooling, insurance, and other infrastructure costs. 
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS).  Platform as a Service is a solution where the Customer is controlling the platform from the point of view of the Operating System.  In PaaS solutions, the Hosting company provides Platform Deployment Templates.   For example, a PaaS hosting company supplies templates for Windows 10 or Linux with a specific number of CPUs, specific amount of RAM, and specific hard drive capacity.  The Customer has full control over, and full responsibility, for configuring the Operating System and any associated applications.
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS). Software as a Service is the most controlled “As a Service” solution.  In this environment, the Customer purchases access to a hosted software package.  The hosting company controls the platform and infrastructure.  Typically, Web browsers provide access to SaaS solutions.  Application configurations are tightly controlled, and not associated with the Platform (the operating system) nor the Infrastructure (such as the number of CPUs).   Capacity planning in SaaS is normally focused on Transactions per Second, or other volumetric measures, and are not related to “the number of CPUs” or “the amount of RAM”.

Real life examples

Example
Example

We’ve covered Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Service Providers versus owning your own data centers and platforms.  This section explores business cases where CSP excel.

  1. Say you own a retail store.  The company regularly serves 100 customers per day, but on Black Friday you have absolutely no idea what kind of traffic to expect.  Through a CSP model, you can rapidly expand the services to handle a potential customer surge, then tear down the services after the rush.  No hardware purchase and deployment is necessary, just lease the potential CPU cycles to accommodate the potential surge.
  2. Employing cloud services reduces the costs, risks, and unknowns of building out a full data center.  In this way, the business owners can focus on the business instead of managing a data center and the staff to maintain it.
  3. In a SaaS environment, a business does not have to be concerned with regular software updates.  Instead, the CSP host will maintain the SaaS environment, and the business can focus on the business needs.  Security risks are also reduced since the most recent software package is regularly deployed.
  4. If a business experiences a recession or other cut backs, the cloud expenses can quickly be reduced.  Due to rapid elasticity, the business is not at risk of purchasing and maintaining large unused data centers.

Where to go from here

What's next
What’s next

As with any solution, it is a good idea to outline the specific benefits and concerns that you will have as you explore cloud computing.  As a recommendation, I’d say jump to Cloud early and often.  Cloud is an excellent risk reducer.  That said, business and technology risk plans should still be fully vetted and regularly tested.

Reach out to me with any specific questions.  As always, let’s be careful out there! 

 

 

Key acronyms and technologies

  1. AWS – Amazon Web Services
  2. CSP – Cloud Service Provider
  3. ISP – Internet Service Provider
  4. SaaS – Software as a Service
  5. PaaS – Platform as a Service
  6. IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

References

  1. The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing“,  http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/Legacy/SP/nistspecialpublication800-145.pdf
  2. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing”,  http://www.levelcloud.net/why-levelcloud/cloud-education-center/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-computing/
  3. “Google Cloud Platform”, https://cloud.google.com/products/
  4. “Benefits of cloud computing”, https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/learn-more/benefits-of-cloud-computing/
  5. “11 Advantages of Cloud Computing and How Your Business Can Benefit From Them”, https://www.skyhighnetworks.com/cloud-security-blog/11-advantages-of-cloud-computing-and-how-your-business-can-benefit-from-them/
  6. “Cloud Computing and Is it Really All That Beneficial?”,  https://www.lifewire.com/cloud-computing-explained-2373125
  7. “Why Move To The Cloud? 10 Benefits Of Cloud Computing”,  https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2015/11/why-move-to-the-cloud-10-benefits-of-cloud-computing.html

WordPress Post Revisions

Have you notice that WordPress saves post revisions for you?  It is a great utility!  

Try it out yourself.  Edit a post, click “Update”, and voila, you have Post Revisions!

Post Revisions
Post Revisions

But sometimes, post revisions can seem to get out of hand.  Do you really need or want hundreds of revision histories?

Well, WordPress is here to help you.

First, let me mention that revisions take up space — usually a lot of space.  Each revision is held as a separate entity within the database.  Therefore, unlimited revisions is usually not a great idea.  But having revisions is usually a very good idea, as you may already know.  

There are a few settings available to modify how WordPress will be handling revisions for you.  They are all contained in the wp-config.php hosted in the main directory of your WordPress instance.

Defining the number of revisions

Revision count is set in the line 

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, REVISIONS );  
Where REVISIONS is 

  • true or -1: This is the default option in WordPress.  WordPress will store every revision of every post
  • false or 0:  This eliminates all revisions.  The only version retained is the most recent saved version.
  • Any number greater than 0:  This limits the number of revisions to a specific number and automatically deletes all other revisions.

Defining the Autosave interval

WordPress will automatically save posts for you after a defined number of seconds.  

define( ‘AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL’, SECONDS ); // Seconds
Where SECONDS is interval at which an autosave will occur.

A word of warning. 

Optimally, you may think that setting AutoSave to a very low number of seconds is the best!  This would mean that even if the power goes out or the Internet becomes unavailable, you haven’t lost any work.  And this is true!

But consider this also, each version that is AutoSaved potentially takes a lot of space.  This might not be optimal.

So then you might consider, okay, just make the REVISIONS a reasonably low count, and your site will be fine again!  Well, maybe.  Consider it this way.  If REVISIONS is set to say 15 (which sounds like a reasonably high number), and AutoSave is set to 60 (seconds), then regardless of whether you have explicitly saved a copy of the page, the revision history disappears after fifteen minutes.  

That might not be optimal for you.

I don’t have a magic answer for you here, other than to say, be aware.  For me, I’ve set my AUTOSAVE to 120 seconds (I normally save more often than this). and I’ve set my REVISIONS to 50.  In my case, I’m running my own server farm, and I have potentially unlimited database space, so retaining many revisions is not a big deal.  Your situation may be different.