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Joomla or WordPress? Finding the right script to power your website.

WordPress and Joomla are both content management systems, and while both have been around for years, WordPress has surged ahead of Joomla in popularity and add-on functionality.

Look at the numbers. With nearly 2 billion (that’s billion with a B) sites online, WordPress controls 30% of those, and approximately 60% of sites built with content management systems. Where is Joomla? In second place at 7%, followed by Drupal at 5%.

Both are available for quick installs via Softaculous.

Softaculous is a great auto-installer having 446 great scripts, 1115 PHP Classes and they are still adding more. These scripts cover most of the uses a business owner or entrepreneur could ever use. It covers a wide array of Categories so that everyone can find just the right script to power their website.

Why Joomla? How will it help your business?

Joomla is an open source platform on which Web sites and applications can be created. It is a content management system (CMS) which connects your site to a MySQLi, MySQL, or PostgreSQL database in order to make content management and delivery easier.

Joomla 4 new features:

  • Bootstrap 4 Integration
  • More friendly Back-end User Interface
  • Coding improvements
  • New front-end template and back-end template
  • New Media manager
  • Simplified installation process
  • Faster page loading times
  • Features to improve Search Engine Optimization

Why we recommend WordPress.

WordPress was designed for everyone, not just developers. That’s HUGE! You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it, so forget stressing over learning code. Do you want the ability to tweak your website after its initial development? Compared to Joomla, WordPress shines in this department. It’s user friendly, it’s versatile and it flat out works. One word of caution – hackers love WordPress, so keep those themes and plugins up-to-date, and install some sort of security software.

 

WordPress 4.9.8 Features

The talk of the day is Gutenberg (a new editing environment) and while it still doesn’t hold ground against Elementor, prepare yourself as it is soon to become part of the WordPress core. Gutenberg lays the groundwork for incredibly exciting developments.

Gutenberg is at stage one of a three-pronged roll-out strategy. First, WordPress will get a redeveloped editor, and after that the project will focus on page templates, then in the final stage it will become a full site customizer. As you can imagine, this will empower developers with endless possibilities.

Two free Softaculous scripts that will make your life easier

Softaculous V3Open source software, like the scripts offered by Softaculous, is widely used by companies in a broad range of industries from retail to wholesale, and from finance to automotive. Why? Obviously free helps, but many of these scripts are used by millions of businesses for reasons other than cost. They improve productivity, workflow and a myriad of assorted value-add functionalities across multiple industries.

Over 400 free scripts are available via Softaculous

No, you don’t need to know any code to install these scripts. Softaculous scripts can typically be installed with just one click. We obviously can’t review 400+ scripts here, but we will discuss a couple of popular scripts that are designed to make your life much easier (more in future newsletters).

If you’d like a full list of the scripts that are available via Softaculous, head on over to our Cloud Website page. We’ve divided these scripts into categories like e-commerce, blogs, gaming, ad management and others. Each of these categories can be expanded to display the scripts that are in that category. Each of those is linked to extensive information about that script, including reviews, screenshots, ratings and features.

1First up, an e-Commerce script called PrestaShop

“The PrestaShop e-Commerce Solution was built to take advantage of essential Web 2.0 innovations such as dynamic AJAX-powered features and next-generation ergonomy. PrestaShop guides users through your product catalog intelligently and effortlessly, turning intrigued visitors into paying customers.”

We’ve selected to feature PrestaShop based on it’s popularity and rating, as it has scored 4.52 stars out of a possible 5 from 2452 voters. What we hear quite frequently from entrepreneurs/solopreneurs are queries about launching online stores. What differentiates PrestaShop from other shopping programs is its front and back office features. 

Front-office

  • Featured products on homepage
  • Top sellers on homepage
  • New items on homepage
  • ‘Free shipping’ offers
  • Cross-selling (Accessories)
  • Product image zoom
  • Order out-of-stock items
  • Customer subscription & user accounts
  • Payment by bank wire
  • Google Checkout module
  • Cash-On-Delivery (COD)
  • Pre-configured for Paypal
 Back-office

  • Unlimited categories & subcategories, product attribute combinations, product specs, images, currencies, tax settings, carriers & destinations
  • Real-time currency exchange rates
  • Inventory management
  • Unlimited languages & dialects
  • 100% modifiable graphic themes
  • Newsletter contact export
  • Alias search
  • SSL encryption
  • Visitors online
  • Customer groups

Of course, if you’re selling to a local market, you wouldn’t need unlimited languages and dialects, but good to know that’s available. Being pre-configured for PayPal is huge, simply because PayPal is a highly recognizable payment solution trusted by millions worldwide.

On the flip side, you’ll likely have to purchase several (often expensive) add-on modules to integrate different software programs to add functionality to Prestashop. If you have limited tech knowledge, you might consider investing in a web developer to help you through the rough spots. The good news is that once it’s set up, day-to-day operations are a breeze.

2Next up is a customer support script called osTicket

“osTicket is a widely-used open source support ticket system. It seamlessly integrates inquiries created via email and web-based forms into a simple easy to use multi-user web interface. Easily manage, organize and archive all your support requests and responses in one place while providing your clients with accountability and responsiveness they deserve.

osTicket is an attractive alternative to higher-cost and complex customer support systems; simple, lightweight, reliable, open source, and easy to setup and use. The best part is, it’s completely free.”

osTicket ranks 4.6 stars out of 5 based on 225 voters, essentially because it simply works AND it’s free.

Its features:

Web-based Platform : osTicket is a web-based multi-user customer support platform. No local installation required. Access it anytime – from anywhere.

Customer Portal : All support requests and responses are archived online. User can login using email and ticket ID. No user account or registration required to submit a ticket.

Autoresponder : Configurable automatic reply sent out when a new ticket is opened or a message is received.

Email Integration : Tickets can be created via email, online forms or phone (created by staff). Flexible configuration and mapping.

Role-based Access : Control staff’s access level based on assigned groups, departments and teams.

Collision Avoidance : Ticket locking mechanism to allow staff to lock tickets during response and avoid conflicting responses.

Ticket Assignment : Assign tickets to a staff or a teams. Assignment notes are logged as internal notes.

Ticket Filters : Apply conditional rules to route incoming tickets to the right departments or staff members, and action triggers.

Service Level Agreements : SLA support allow you to track tickets and due dates without the hassle. Get overdue alerts and notices on missed due dates, and priority escalation.

Ticket Transfer : Transfer tickets between departments to make sure it’s being handled by the correct staff.

Due Dates : Set due dates on individual tickets and overwrite default grace period. Get overdue alerts and notices on missed due dates.

Alerts & Notices : Staff and clients are kept up to date with email alerts. Configurable and flexible settings.

Dashboard & Reports : Get system overview and basic historical statistics on tickets count and status per department, staff and help topics.

Canned Responses : Predefined responses for frequently asked questions. Ticket variables supported for personalized responses.

Internal Notes : Add internal notes to tickets for staff. Activity logs let you see events or what actions have been taken, when, and by whom.

Attachment Support : Allow web or emailed attachments. Configurable file type whitelisting to enhance security.

Email Templates : Manage and configure email templates used for auto-reply, alerts, notices and responses. Ticket variables supported for personalized messages.

One review by a Guest says, “It just worked out of the box. It does all the basics extremely well and is highly stable and reliable. I have a small support team (including contractors) and this product does all the things I need and does them very nicely. Highly recommend you give it a try, I am confident you won’t be disappointed.”

Other than being FREE which obviously helps keep your cost down, it offers enough features to run a decent sized business support department successfully.

Cyber Security Month – 5 Tips for Better Cyber Security

October is Cyber Security Month, a notion that Hostirian holds very near to our hearts. Cyber Security is at the crux of what we believe in, and sentiments for stronger security are ones we strongly align with. Of course, there are many ways for one to go about ensuring they are secure, and it’s highly recommended that one takes the time to review just how safe they are and how safe they can be – in the meantime, we’ll start with 5 important tips for making sure you are on the right track to being safe and secure online:

  1. USE STRONG PASSWORDS
    I’m sure we’ve all read this one time and time again – told it even more times, yet it can’t be said enough. Password security is pivotal for cyber security, and by far the easiest to manage, but often times the most vulnerable. Remember, your passwords aren’t just meant to be bits of memorabilia for fond memories or a relative’s birthday, they are your protection from letting random people access your data. Make sure you are using a relatively complex password, and if need be are storing it in a secure location in case it has slipped your mind (albeit, having a hint rather than the password outright is far more advisable).
  2. KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UPDATED
    This one is as simple as it comes, and should be the easiest to keep track of. Often times, the software companies and teams are finding the vulnerable spots in their apps, and are constantly providing updates when they do to ensure they are putting out a safe product. Don’t overlook these updates!
  3. USE ANTI-MALWARE/ANTI-VIRUS PROTECTION
    Another common bit of advice, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Being safe and cautious won’t do you as much good if you aren’t also making sure you have those slips and cracks covered, and that’s where your anti-malware and anti-virus software come in handy, but which ones should you be using? It’s not as straightforward of an answer as some might make it seem, as some software offer different versions that cover more or different malware than another, so really it comes down to what your needs are. I’ve found that this write-up offers a great breakdown on what each company offers and what their software scans for, and be the perfect starting point for you if you are shopping for anti-malware/anti-virus products.
    To make sure you are fully protected, even when using anti-malware/anti-virus software, we also heavily advise having two security software. Have one to run in the background, and another to have ready for any on-the-spot moments to make sure nothing might have been overlooked or managed to slip its way through. Just remember to disable the one you have running in the background, lest you risk them interfering with one-another.
    Footnote: Make sure you are also using a Firewall and keeping it updated as well. You can never be too safe.
  4. BE WEARY OF ATTACHMENTS AND DOWNLOADS
    This one is going to mostly be related to your email usage, but it is by no means less important. Attachments and downloads are what most people recognize malware as, and they aren’t wrong for doing so. People are getting more creative in the malware they put-out, but email has still remained an effective means for them to do so. When you go to open an attachment, make sure you are aware of the source, the purpose of the attachment, and that you are expecting it. One of the biggest trends of late is spoofing – where someone will send an email under what appears to be another’s email address. This allows them to cover themselves up as, say, someone from your own contacts list, in order to gain your trust in what they are sending you. If you receive a suspicious email from someone you know, check with them to make sure they really did send it before opening.
  5. KEEP ALL IMPORTANT DATA BACKED UP 
    Last, but certainly not least, back. up. your. stuff. Humans are infallible, and sometimes mistakes happen. Maybe it was on your end, maybe it was on the company behind your anti-malware, maybe it was neither…either way you should always be prepared and be ready to get all of your data back up (pun absolutely intended) in case something does end up happening. I’ve said it once here, I’ll say it again: you cannot be too safe. Even if it only happens once, even if it never happens, the investment in making sure all your data is secure for you is definitely greater than the risk of losing it all.

-Trevor Newman

Improving your Business Security with Colocation

With market research estimating a drastic increase in demand over the next few years, managed service providers are working very hard to make sure that their colocation services are up to par with market competitors, resulting in better security and features for businesses looking to outsource their IT infrastructure. With the anticipated increase in demand comes an increase of malware and cyber attacks. This has significantly influenced managed service providers to work on increasing the quality and robustness of their services. 

Colocation can improve a company’s security capabilities in several ways.

  1. Preventing physical access
    1. Gone are the days where companies hold their servers in their closets, causing an increased risk of security. MSP’s that offer colocation can focus more resources on security and provide solutions that can go a long way toward supporting data protection goals.
  2. Avoiding data loss
    1. With cyber attacks anticipated to significantly increase over the next coming years, data backup and prevention is more important than ever before. Colocation providers can offer redundant power and network systems, facilities built to withstand natural disasters and relatively easy access to backup resources.
  3. Network Security
    1. Colocation providers offer customers a secure network link between the third party data center and corporate headquarters. This adds a layer of protection from hackers and other threats. Colocation data centers also are physically off the premise of the business, making them well protected from physical wiretaps.

A company looking to grow and sustain success in the current and future state of the marketplace will undoubtedly come to a fork in the road with their IT infrastructure. It is likely that businesses will need to make decisions on whether or not they can keep their IT in house, and deal with the overhead that comes along with that, or if they will work with a managed service provider that will manage and provide consistent security and upkeep of their important data files. Protection against cyber attacks and outsiders will continue to rise as technology advances, forcing businesses  to fully submerge themselves into the digital age. So our advice to businesses? Invest in your IT, and hire a provider that knows what they are doing. 

 

About Historian:

Hostirian is a global market managed service provider, specializing in colocation, website hosting, social media management, and custom web/software development.  The company’s dedication to the industry, and their clients have given them the honor of working with some of the largest companies in the market. Hostirian’s team of developers, techs, and executives are dedicated to protecting and managing all things IT so that their client’s can focus on what matters.

Hostirian provides complimentary audits of businesses IT infrastructure. The strategy that Hostirian develops for each client is unique to the specific needs and goals of the respective company. Get in touch today.