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Why Dreamhost Is Like Web Hosting on Training Wheels

Why Dreamhost Is Like Web Hosting on Training Wheels

Easy for Beginners/New Bloggers and Those New To WordPress

For someone new to hosting and WordPress Dreamhost is the perfect place to start out. Their documentation and auto-installers make getting started with WordPress easy as pie and depending on your setup, you can have them automatically update your wordpress installation as upgrades become available. All the other common web hosting features are included in their shared hosting package.

 

Tech Support

Dreamhost’s customer service/tech support is also pretty good. They are available by the forums and email which is a lot more than I can say about some of the other providers and the wait isn’t that long at all. Online chat is also available but it costs extra if you are on a shared server. If you upgrade to their virtual private hosting, chat support is free.

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7 Basic Plugins No WordPress Blog Should Be Without

If you are just staring out with WordPress and wondering which plug-ins to use, listed below are a few you may want to consider.

Prevent comment spammers with the Akismet plugin. Most web hosts are smart enough to include Akismet by default with their WordPress automatic installers. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend you get it.

W3 Total Cache enhances the speed/performance of your blog exponentially.  Though it can be a bit server resource heavy. As an alternative you can use WP-Super Cache.

Broken Link Checker checks broken links across your blog on a regular basis. This will be very helpful to have as your site changes over time.

Contact Form 7 allows you to create a customized contact form on your WordPress site. All entries are sent to an email address of your choosing. The best thing about this plugin versus others is that it is AJAX based. So it loads faster and easier on the server. A faster blog is a stickier blog that visitors will stay on for longer periods of time.

You can use WP-DBManager to send you regular backups of your blog by email or save them directly to the server. This is a very important part of managing a WordPress blog. WordPress hacks/accidents aren’t as common as they used to be but they still can happen. You can use Vaultpress as another alternative but it’s a paid service.

If you know nothing about making your WordPress blog more secure then WP Security Scan is an excellent plugin to help you figure it out. It also provides protections of its own.

WPtouch makes it so your website/blog is formatted for any visitor using a mobile device (iPhone, Android, iPad etc.) In this day and age, more and more people are visiting websites from mobile devices so its an important consideration to keep in mind.

 

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What You Should Always Check Your Previously Owned Domain For

I learned a while ago that one of my domains was already registered with a Google Apps account by a previous domain owner. So I wrote to Dreamhost (my webhost at the time) requesting that they set me up with an email alternative. They responded right away saying that I needed to take care of the issue right away with Google. When I thought about it for a moment longer I realized this situation was not acceptable. If someone was using my domain for email purposes they could possibly send spam, and I would be held responsible.

 

So I went back to the the Google Apps website and asked for a password reset. Luckily Google provided ample options to prove I was the rightful domain owner.

Once I logged into the Google Apps control panel I could see the email accounts that previous owner prior owner used. A quick glance showed that they weren’t very active and that he was using it to forward mail to one of his other domains. In any case, I deleted these accounts right away. I also changed all account settings so he could not reset the password and take over the account. ¬†This didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy inside but nor did finding out accidentally that someone was using my domain to send and receive emails.

I never mentioned to this anyone, but after reading a Dotsauce.com article referencing expired domains and identity theft risks in connection with Google Apps, I decided to mention it here.

So let this be a lesson to you, if you are planning to let your domain expire make sure to cancel any Google Apps domain account you have associated with it first. Secondly if you registered a domain that was previously owned or if you aren’t sure, make sure to check if its registered with Google Apps even if you have no plans on using it.

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