Tag Archives: plugin

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Keep your WordPress site from being hacked with automatic upgrades

I’ve already written about what to do once your site has been hacked, but let’s talk a bit about hack prevention.

I think it’s fair to say that most people manage their own WordPress installation because they have some programming background and want a little more control than you get with a hosted solution like Blogger or WordPress.org.  Webmasters like you and me usually know a bit about security and how important it is to keep things up to date.  The problem is that every minute spent upgrading your CMS to the latest version is a minute not spent writing or running your business.

So you know you should download the latest patch, make backups, disable, plugins, install… but it’s already 1 a.m. and you need to meet clients in the morning, so you put it on the back burner and your site ends up hacked.  What’s the solution?  If you’re Technorati, the solution is to motivate bloggers a bit more by threatening to delist them.  I can understand their point of view.  But how about something a bit more positive – automation.

There are two ways I’ve automated WordPress upgrades.  One is through Fantastico, which is a really cool script management system that your web host should probably provide.  I’m giving up on Fantastico, though, because it takes a long time for it to notice updates.

The second way I just tried out recently is the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin.  I’ve tried it out on three blogs now and so far so good – it hasn’t skipped a beat.  This functionality really needs to be folded into WordPress itself – with 2.5, they added the ability to automatically upgrade plugins but it seems like most security holes lately are found in the WordPress code itself.

That plugin is WordPress-only, but I recommend doing some research to see if there’s something similar out their for your blog software or CMS.  Even if WordPress never has another security bug, there’s always Joomla, and Drupal, etc…

New WordPress plugin available – put tag clouds everywhere with Altocumulus

If you’ve gone to any of my Category pages on this blog (my Academic papers, for example), you might have noticed I have a tag cloud with just the tags related to that category.  After I figured out how to do it I packaged it into a WordPress Plugin, called Altocumulus.

This goes along with my research interests into folksonomies and information retrieval.  I haven’t had the chance to study tag clouds empirically but my guess is that one giant tag cloud for an entire web site or blog might be more cool looking that useful for navigation.  I think that making use of tag relationships a bit more might show the strength of folksonomies for navigation.  So now, if you click to see my design pages, you can see the kinds of topics my designs cover.

For another example of this in action, take a look at Unsought Input, for example the Innovation page.

Go ahead and download version 0.1 now.   It requires WordPress 2.3 or higher.  This is my first WordPress plugin so I’m sure I’ll figure out ways to make it better over time.  If you have any bugs, pointers, or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.