Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 3

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In the second blog post in this series on how to build a Self-Hosted WordPress site, I explained how to fix some basic error messages that arose when you installed the initial list of plugins and also how to configure the most important of the plugins. Now it’s time to configure the rest of those plugins. These plugins need no further changes at this time:

avatar-manager
block-bad-queries
broken-link-checker
category-tag-pages
easy-pie-maintenance-mode
enhanced-media-library
media-item-url
menu-customizer
post-types-order
quick-cache
remove-query-strings-from-static-resources
system-snapshot-report
tinymce-advanced

[In the remainder of this post, all plugin settings will be found under the Settings menu, unless otherwise advised]

Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - Cookie Notice SettingsBuild a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - Global Hide Toolbar SettingsBuild a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - Heartbeat Control Settings

EU law, and other countries as well, require a warning such as that provided by Cookie Notice to advise new users of your website that your site uses ‘cookies’. As most sites have their site logo and menu across the top of the screen, Cookie Notice can be set to be at the bottom of the screen. The choice of options will vary according to your needs. I change the ‘Ok’ to all capitals ‘OK’, position to ‘Bottom’, button style as needed (I actually use ‘None’ and style my buttons to match the theme I am using) and ‘Text Color’ and ‘Bar Color’ to match the theme also. Save any changes you make.

The Global Hide Toolbar plugin is another one that I have included that should bin in the WordPress core, and is not yet. Only one setting is need to switch the WordPress toolbar off in the front end for all users, by checking the box for ‘Hide Toolbar on Front End for Logged In Users’. The other setting (Hide “Show Toolbar when viewing site” on Your Profile users page) is in beta testing, so do not use this. This plugin also install a sister plugin called ‘Global Hide Toolbar Bruteforce’. You cannot remove this without deleting the main plugin, so leave it deactivated.

One problem/benefit with WordPress is the autosave option, called the Heartbeat API. Great because it does autosave the posts that you are writing, problematic because it adds many seconds to the load time of every page on your website. The Heartbeat Control plugin seeks to limit the damage. I have mine set to ‘allow only on post edit pages’ and set to the slowest, 60 seconds, frequency. Don’t forget to save your settings.

Hierarchy is a tool that I intend to explore separately in its own post, so more of that later. Similarly, if you are lucky enough to have a host that has provided you with nginx, either as the web server software, or as a reverse proxy for Apache, you might want to use the nginx helper plugin. Its settings are pretty much obvious, so not a lot to say, other than it cannot be used unless nginx is correctly installed on your server. The WordPress SEO plugin, by Yoast, is a complex and useful tool. Opening the SEO admin menu option gives you the option of taking a tour. I would recommend following that. There are also quite a few good guides to this plugin on YouTube, so use Google and go searching. I have also written WordPress SEO by YOAST for Beginners.

Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - WP Mail SMTP SettingsBuild a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - WP Optimize Settings 1Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site - Part 3 - WP Optimize Settings 2

I shall now move on to emails within WordPress. WordPress by default uses the php mail() function, and as such any email you send will most likely be treated as spam or junk. Instead, I have suggested that you install the WP Mail SMTP plugin. This allows WordPress to use your server’s SMTP mail functionality, which, if you have configured it correctly, will most likely not be treated as spam or junk. Follow these steps:

  1. Let us assume that you have cPanel installed. Have you set up Email Authentication? If not, do this first. In cPanel follow the link to Email Authentication and enable both DKIM and SPF. HostPresto have a guide on doing this.
  2. You will also need to create an email account specifically to be the sending account for WordPress; do not use a pre-existing one unless you had already created one for this purpose (I prefer to name mine something like customer.services@…). Knowledgeaspire have a guide on how to create an email address. Their guide is good because it shows you how to find the Outgoing Server information that you will also need. In the screenshot shown in their guide, on the left (in mine it is a gray panel) are the Secure SSL/TLS Settings; it is these that you will need.
  3. In the plugin settings panel:
    • From Email: is the email address you made or have already
    • From Name: the name you want to use (e.g. Acme Customer Service)
    • Mailer: select SMTP
    • Return path: selected
    • SMTP Host: the outgoing server name
    • SMTP port: the outgoing server port
    • Encryption: SSL
    • Authentication: Yes
    • Username: same as the from email setting above
    • Password: as you set it.
  4. Save, then test it by sending it to an email account you have. You should get a long list of information, but most important at the top should be bool(true) and you should receive an email.

The last plugin to setup is WP Optimize. The purpose of this plugin is to perform all those housekeeping jobs on your database that never get done. Note that it cannot optimize InnoDB tables themselves (that is mostly what WordPress and plugins use) but it does a good job of clearing up other stuff. The first screenshot of the two for this plugin (above) shows the default settings screen, and nothing needs changing on that. Go to the Settings tab and set the Auto Clean-up Settings to on, and keep the last 2 weeks of data. OK, that’s it for now. The next blog post will run through the basic settings for WordPress.

Also in this series of posts:

Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 1
Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 2
Build a Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 4
WordPress SEO by YOAST for Beginners
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 2
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 3
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 4
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 5 – Breadcrumbs
Ultimatum Theme for your Self-Hosted WordPress Site – Part 6 – Bootstrap Breadcrumbs
Uploading Images to Your Self-Hosted WordPress Site
Customizing Ultimatum Theme and WordPress
Fix for mysql_get_server_info() bug/error in Ultimatum 2.7.3
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Categories: WordPress.