How To Add A Payment Form To Your WordPress Website

How To Add A Payment Form To Your WordPress Website

The simplest way to start accepting money through your WordPress website is by creating a payment form. A payment form is an interface that allows your visitors to make payments to you. You can use WooCommerce to have a full-fledged online store that includes multiple payment gateways. However, you can still accept payments without installing the WooCommerce plugin. What do you need for that? A payment form.

In this article, we will explain how to add a payment form to your WordPress website. We will review a few plugins that make it easier to create a payment form. 

What Should A Payment Form Include?

1. Product Information

A payment form should clarify which products or services are included in the price. Your customers should have a clear idea of what they are getting in the exchange of payment. Maybe you are selling a T-shirt, a PDF ebook, or accepting donations, let your customers understand what they are paying for. Always provide a description of what you are offering in exchange for the payment. 

2. Customer Information

You need to have information about your customers. You can add form fields like Name, Address, Email, etc., to get information about your customers. This information will be useful for accounting purposes. You can use customer information for running email campaigns and offering perks to your customers. A payment form is a very easy way to get to know your customers better. So include all the relevant fields in the payment form you create.

3. Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is the most critical part of any payment form. A payment gateway functions as an internet portal through which financial transactions are executed. The payment gateway acts like a commercial channel through which money is safely transferred from the buyer to the seller for the purchase of a product or service.

What are the payment gateways that you can use? There are popular options like PayPal, Stripe, Square, among others. Here is the list of 15 most popular payment gateways

Now that you know the three essential features of a payment form, we can review a few plugins with which you can create a payment form for your website. 

Payment Form With Forminator

Forminator is a form builder plugin created by the WPMU DEV team. It is a versatile plugin that you can use to create order forms, polls, quizzes, calculations, and more. Creating a payment form is very easy with Forminator. 

Install Forminator from the official WordPress plugin repository. Once installed, activate the plugin to start using it. With a few clicks, you will be ready with your payment form. You can add details such as First Name, Last Name, Address, Payment Mode, Email, Phone, etc.

Forminator wp plugins

You can play with customization settings. You can quickly build a beautiful payment form with this plugin. You can add Google reCaptcha to prevent spam and authenticate transactions. 

Forminator is a Stripe Verified Partner. You can accept payments through Stripe and PayPal with equal ease. 

Payment Form With WPForms

WPForms is a multipurpose drag-and-drop form builder. You can create contact forms, feedback forms, subscription forms, marketing forms, donation forms, and payment forms with pre-built templates. These forms are responsive, meaning they look great on all devices. All forms are optimized for speed. Since every element can be put in place with the drag and drop interface, you can create any form on your own. 

Here is a sample form.

Formidable Forms The WordPress Forms Plugin

You can add PayPal and Stripe as payment gateways. There is a PayPal Standard addon that you can use. It allows you to easily integrate your WordPress site with PayPal so that you can accept payments from anywhere in the world. A Stripe addon is also available. There is one more additional feature: support for Authorize.Net payment gateway. 

Payment Form With Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms is a popular drag and drop form builder. It has more than 1 million active installations. There is no need for any coding skills at all in order to create payment forms with this plugin. You can create beautiful custom forms on your own with the intuitive interface of Ninja Forms. This is a beginner-friendly form builder. 

How To Add A Payment Form To Your WordPress Website

You can create payment and donation forms. Ninja Forms supports PayPal, Stripe, and Credit card payments.  You can use versatile payment options like single payments or subscriptions, fixed, variable, or user-entered amounts. 

Payment with Formidable Forms

Formidable Forms claims to be the most advanced WordPress forms plugin. It has over 300,000 active installations. It works with WordPress Version 4.7 or higher. 

Formidable Forms allows you to create complex forms quickly. All the forms are 100% mobile responsive. Forms are optimized for speed and performance.

How To Add A Payment Form To Your WordPress Website

You can create a payment form and accept credit card payments right from your WordPress website. The plugin offers seamless integration with PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. You can create an order form, donation form, or purchase form with the drag & drop functionality.

WooCommerce PayPal Checkout Payment Gateway

WooCommerce is the best way to run an online store with WordPress. We will now consider this plugin offered by the WooCommerce team. The plugin is called the ‘WooCommerce PayPal Checkout Payment Gateway’. It has more than 800,000 active installations.  The plugin offers a simplified checkout experience for your customers.

This plugin uses in-context checkout without affecting the WordPress theme you are using. Payment is made on a modal window, which is hosted on the PayPal servers. With overlaying checkout forms, users can securely enter the account and payment details. 

You can accept all credit and debit card payments. 

WooCommerce PayPal Checkout Payment Gateway

We have reviewed a couple of plugins to add a payment form to your WordPress website. We have also discussed the essential features of payment forms. Which plugin are you using to create payment forms? Are you having difficulty with any WordPress issue you are facing? Do reach out to us. As WordPress experts, we would be glad to help you.

7 Tools To Check Theme and Plugins of Any WordPress Website

7 Tools To Check Theme and Plugins of Any WordPress Website

One of the fascinating things about using WordPress is the number of customizations you can use. With different themes and plugins, you can create amazing variants of a single site. That’s the reason why some sites are remarkable and others are not. Naturally, you would want to know what theme and plugins are used by that awesome site that you liked so much. Thankfully, with the availability of online tools, finding the WordPress theme and plugins is now easy. In this article, we will explore 8 different tools that can help you find which WordPress theme and plugins are used by the website of your interest.

Let’s get started,

1. SoftwareFindr Theme Detector

theme and plugins detector for wordpress
SoftwareFindr Theme Detector

Software Findr is a very simple and straightforward tool that can detect the WordPress theme. You just need to enter the URL of that website in the search box and the tool detects the WordPress theme.

However, this tool does not give expected results all the time. If the theme is heavily modified, then this tool cannot find the theme used by that particular website. If it is successful in identifying the theme, you will also get relevant information about that theme such as theme name, author name, theme version, theme description, and more.

2. WhatWPthemeisthat

Theme and Plugins of Any WordPress
What WordPress Theme Is Tht

The name of this tool says it all. It finds the WordPress theme of the website you are looking for. It can also find parent and child themes. With theme detection, the tool also offers a plugin identification feature. This tool also prompts is the website is not using a WordPress theme. 

This tool does not work reliably, though. You may witness that this tool does not identify the WordPress theme even if the site is clearly made with WordPress.

3. ScanWP

Scan WP WordPress Theme Detector
Scan WP WordPress Theme Detector Plugin Detector WP Detector

ScanWP is a popular theme detection tool. You can also identify plugins that are used on the site of your interest. This is a very useful tool that can give accurate results for most queries. All you have to do is to enter the URL in the search box.

You can also get the following information by using this tool:

  • WordPress Theme Name
  • The Theme Price
  • Theme Screenshot
  • Theme Tags
  • Name of the vendor
  • Theme version
  • Percentage of Theme Usage
  • Link to Buy the Theme
  • List of all the Plugins Used
  • Price of each plugin
  • Percentage of Plugin Usage
  • Link to Download the Plugin

This is a high-quality plugin that you can rely on for results. 

4. WPThemeDetector

WordPress Theme Detector
WordPress Theme Detector

WordPress theme detector is a very popular tool that gives you comprehensive information about the theme of any WordPress site. You just need to enter the URL of the WordPress website and the plugin immediately fetches information about the WordPress theme of that site. Apart from the theme name, it also shows the theme version, theme description as well as the statistics about the theme. You also get information about theme tags and theme provider.

WPTheme detector also gives information about the plugins used.

5. WP Plugin Checker

WordPress Plugin Checker
WordPress Plugin Checker

If you are interested in finding out which plugins are used by the WordPress website of your interest, this is the tool for you. This tool only finds plugins not themes. You can other theme detectors on this list to find information about themes used. 

The first thing this tool does is to check whether the site is built on WordPress. Then it proceeds to fetch information about the plugins that are used by the website. You get useful information about each plugin that is listed. 

WP Plugin Checker is very useful when you are specifically looking for plugins. 

6. WordPress Theme Detector Chrome Extension

WordPress Theme Detector and Plugins Detector
WordPress Theme Detector and Plugins Detector

If you find it hard to look up for plugins and themes through other tools, then this chrome extension will certainly make that easier for you. WordPress theme detector and plugin detector is available as a chrome extension. Once activated, you can find the theme and plugin information whenever you visit a WordPress website. No need to enter URLs in the search box. Information is presented in a popup. The extension turns on whenever you are browsing a WordPress website. Theme and Plugin information is easily accessible by clicking on the extension icon.

7. Theme Detector by Satori

Theme detector by satori
Theme detector by satori

Satori Studio offers a very elegant WordPress theme detector tool. Just paste the website URL and the tool shows all information related to the WordPress theme used by that site. The focus is on the essential details only. 

This cannot detect a WordPress theme if it is heavily modified or if the website uses a custom-built stylesheet.

So these were the 7 effective tools for finding out which WordPress theme and plugins are running on a WordPress website of interest. We hope you continue to explore different themes and plugins. Here are the top 70 Free WordPress themes if you are looking for a free theme. Check out this article on WordPress paid themes to know the benefits of using a paid WordPress theme.  If you have questions related to any plugin or theme, do reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

10 Types of Security Attacks Every Website Owner Should Know

10 Types of Security Attacks Every Website Owner Should Know

You got your website up and running. Congratulations on that! It is very likely that you learned a lot many things in this process – even if you didn’t do everything on your own. It is doesn’t hurt know about security issues as well. After all, security is an essential aspect of running your website. You cannot afford to neglect it. It is, therefore, beneficial if you educate yourself about it. In this article, we will explain a few security issues and what they mean.

Why Is Security important?

What do you do when you purchase a new car, a home, or even a new mobile phone? You take care of these assets so that they are protected. Taking care of their security means you invest money in insurance, adopt safety measures, and also change your behavior if it puts your assets at risk. Similarly, your website is the asset that you should actively protect. You will have to pay more for financial losses if your asset is attacked. Time and frustration have no fixed monetary value but they cost huge. Your best option is to save your website before it gets attacked. Website security is important in this regard.

Who will attack your website? For starters, there are millions of hackers storming the internet every day and millions of websites do get hacked. Your website doesn’t to be a popular one or old one to get attacked. Just launching your website is enough to attract hackers. There are several automated scripts that run across the internet looking for security vulnerabilities. If your site is having one, hackers can easily break into your website.

What can hackers do? There is no limit to what a hacker can do once he has access to your website. They can steal all sorts of data that can include customer data, your financial information, and other credentials.

Apart from stealing, hackers take complete control of your website, leaving you completely powerless to do anything. There is a chance that you will lose all your data permanently. Think about all the hard work you put in. All of it can vanish in thin air once your website is hacked. 

Therefore, website security is very important. There are many ways your website can become vulnerable to security threats. You need to make sure that there are adequate measures in place to address such threats.

What are the types of attacks you should be aware of? Here are the top 10 security attacks explained. 

Let’s get started. 

  1. DDoS
  2. Brute Force Attack
  3. Malware
  4. Path Traversal
  5. File Upload Vulnerabilities
  6. Remote File Inclusion
  7. SQL Injection
  8. Password Attack
  9. Cross-Site Scripting
  10. Phishing

1. DDoS

DDoS stands for “Distributed Denial of Service” attack. The purpose of a DDoS attack is to make the target website inaccessible to users. A successful DDoS attack means the website under attack is no more available online. DDoS is a non-intrusive type of attack. Here, the goal is not to breach into the website but to attack it with multiple requests and take it offline or slow it down by flooding the network.

How is this attack carried out? For the sake of understanding, let’s a web server can handle 1k requests per minute. Hackers then send 5k-10k requests to the web server, which it obviously cannot handle. Another way is to send bogus requests. Either way, the website is then not available to legitimate users. As a result, the website is as good as offline since users can no longer access it. Hackers use compromised computers, systems, websites, and an army of zombie devices called ‘botnets’. These botnets attack the target website and take it down. They do these by overloading the system.

What are the effects of a successful DDoS attack? With DDoS attacks, hackers cannot steal the website data. The goal is to affect website traffic by making the website inaccessible. Once the DDoS attack is successful, there can be the following harmful consequences to your business that include but are not limited to the following:

  • The site will not be accessible by you or your visitors.
  • You will lose loyal web users during the attack.
  • Users will not be able to access any of the content on your website.
  • If you are having an online store or WooCommerce shop, you may lose a lot of money due to disrupted business.
  • If your website offers services of various kinds, there will be a disruption of services.
  • If you are a blogger, you will lose revenue from ads and content distribution.
  • The credibility of your website and in turn, your business is affected.
  • You need to hire security professionals to get back your site back online which adds additional expenditure.

You can take preventive measures against DDoS attacks. Communicate with a security expert to know what can be done to avoid this kind of attack. You can also reach out to us. Our team of experts can guide you.

2. Brute Force Attack

Brute Force literally means the use of force without using much intelligence. And these attacks are indeed like that. A brute force attack is like “guesswork”, where a lot of guessing of the right username and password combination takes place. Once the attacker has the right combination of username and password, he/she can access your website and all the data in it. It is very difficult to catch the perpetrator once he gains access to your website. The best time to stop such attacks is when it is in process.

How does this attack take place? The attacker takes the help of a bot (a computer, a piece of code, or artificial intelligence) and it then tries various credentials until it finds the right one. This process is similar to trying plenty of keys to the lock in the hope of eventually finding the one that fits. In a basic attack, the attacker uses a dictionary of common passwords and tries it on the targeted website. An 8 character alphanumeric password – capitals and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters – can be cracked within two hours. You might be surprised then how easy it is to crack weak password – username combinations.

How to prevent brute force attacks?

There are a couple of ways you can strengthen your security against brute force attacks. Here are a few things you can try for yourself:

Have a longer password: More characters in a password make it hard to crack the password. Longer passwords take more time in brute force cracking.  

Make the password more complex: More options for each character also increase the time to brute force crack. Complex passwords are hard to crack

Limit login attempts: You can limit login attempts with the help of a plugin. Brute force attacks increment a counter of failed login attempts on most directory services – a good defense against brute force attacks is to lock out users after a few failed attempts, thus nullifying a brute force attack in progress.

Implement Captcha: Captcha is a common system to verify a human is a human on websites. Captcha or ReCaptcha can stop brute force attacks in progress.

Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication adds a second layer of security to each login attempt that requires a human intervention, which can stop a brute force attack from success. There are many two-factor authentication plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository that you can use for your WordPress website.

There is no such thing as a full-proof password. With a brute force attack, any password can be cracked. The only question is how much time it takes to crack the password. You can certainly have a password that will take months to be cracked. Adopt adequate security measures for your website, and you should be fine from these attacks.

3. Malware

Malware is short for ‘malicious software’. Malware is a threat to your cybersecurity. Such software can be installed on your system without your knowledge. Malware is used to gain access to confidential data, credentials, financial information, customer data, and the website’s administrative privileges.

There are a few types of malware that you should know. 

Virus: Viruses can corrupt your system and make it inaccessible. A virus can also be used to steal information, create botnets, harm computers, networks, and systems, steal money, render advertisements, and more. A virus can copy itself and spread to other computers.

Worm: Worm is a common malware that takes advantage of security vulnerabilities. A Worm is a standalone program that replicates itself to infect other computers. Unlike a virus, a worm does not need human interaction to spread. Worms can delete files on a host system, encrypt data for a ransomware attack, steal information, delete files, and create botnets.

Trojan Horse: Trojan horse is a type of threat that takes place when a malicious code enters your system disguised as a normal, harmless file or program to trick you into downloading and installing malware. The moment you install a Trojan, cyber criminals can get access to your system. Once a cyber criminal has successful access to your website, he or she can steal data, install more malware, modify files, monitor user activity, destroy data, steal financial information, conduct denial of service (DoS) attacks on targeted web addresses, and more. 

Spyware: As the name suggests, this type of malware spies on you. It tracks your browsing, keystrokes, and other activities that occur on your website. This information can then be used against you. Spyware takes advantage of security vulnerabilities and can often come bundled with a trojan horse. 

Ransomware: These are one of the ugliest types of malware. Ransomware literally asks ransom from the victim. This type of malware holds your precious data and threatens to destroy it if the ransom is not paid. During ransomware attacks, access is restricted and many of the files are encrypted to bar access. The system restores to the original state only after the ransom is paid.

What can you do to prevent a malware attack? You need to continuously monitor your website and your system for malware. There are many security plugins for WordPress that provide malware scanning. Using antivirus software is also effective in detecting malware on your system.

4. Path Traversal

Path Traversal, also known as ‘Directory Traversal’, “directory climbing”, and “backtracking”, is an attack that attempts to access files and directories that are outside the web root folder. Such directories may include administrative directories such as ‘config’ or other crucial files.  With Path Traversal, the attacker can gain access to restricted directories and files. It is also possible to execute commands outside of the web server’s root directory when this type of attack is successful. 

The web server itself can have security vulnerabilities that can make it susceptible to path reversal attacks. You can web vulnerability scanner to check if your web server is vulnerable or not. 

5. File Upload Vulnerabilities

File upload vulnerability is a major problem commonly associated with web-based applications. This type of vulnerability allows the attacker to upload a file with malicious code that can be executed on the server. Ultimately, the attacker can access the system. For this, a simple PHP file that is uploaded to the server without any restrictions can suffice. Many times, websites do not validate the type of file being uploaded to their web server. Attackers take advantage of this negligence.

6. Remote File Inclusion

Remote File Inclusion or RFI, for short, is a tactic that exploits web applications that dynamically include external files or scripts. The attacker’s goal is to exploit such vulnerabilities to insert malware into your system and gain access to your website. Like other cyber attacks, Remote File Inclusion can result in information theft, website takeover, or compromised servers. A dedicated security solution is needed to mitigate such attacks. Many experts advise never to include files based on user input. This may not always be possible. Therefore, It is advisable that you have a security check of your website for vulnerabilities.

7. SQL Injection

SQL injection is a common hacking technique. In this method, a malicious code is injected into your database using different techniques or methods. SQL databases include MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, among others. Once the attackers get access to your database, they can modify, add, or delete data. It is also easier to gain access to the user credentials once SQL injection succeeds. In some cases, this type of attack can also be used to perform a denial of service (DoS) attack. The attackers can also get access to all the data on the database server. This can pose a significant risk of damage if there is financial data on your database server.

8. Password Attack

The name says it all. A password attack means an attack that is performed by using your password. This is the most common type of attack. The method by which password can be obtained may vary but the outcome is always the same: the attacker has your password and it can be used to gain access to your system and website. A password attack usually does not require malware. A brute force attack is also a method to find the password.

How can you prevent a password attack? Here are some tips that can help:

Secure Passwords: Keep your passwords safe and confidential.

Use Strong Password: Create a strong password by using a combination of characters that includes upper case letters, lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. 

Never repeat a password: Never use a password repeatedly. It means no two websites should have the same password. Use a different password for each place. Having a common password will help the attacker to breach into your other accounts as well. 

Don’t Use Common Passwords: Google ‘most commonly used passwords’ and do not use any variations of those as your password. 

Frequently Change Your Passwords: Do not keep the same password that you used months ago. Ideally, you should change your password every 30 days. Modern financial institutions make it mandatory to change passwords every 3 months. 

A password attack is a simple but effective type of security attack. Once the perpetrator succeeds in gaining access to your user account, all hell can break loose. You can lose your precious data and your website.

9. Cross-site Scripting

Cross-site Scripting is also referred to as an XSS attack. This is a type of injection attack (like SQL injection) where trusted sites are injected with malicious code. Malicious code is often sent in the form of a browser side script which is then delivered to the user at the other end. The browser has no way of verifying if the code is malicious as it comes from a trusted source. The malicious script can then access any cookies, session tokens, or other sensitive information retained by the browser. These attacks are most common with JavaScript but are also possible with are possible in VBScript, ActiveX, Flash, and even CSS.

10. Phishing

When you go fishing, you throw a bait to the fishes, and eventually one of them goes for it and you grab your fish. Phishing, although it sounds like fishing, is somewhat different. It is similar to fishing in that the attacker uses bait to lure users into submitting their information. The only difference is that the bait is a digital one, mostly in the form of a website that poses as an authentic and trusted one. Deception is the core of phishing attacks. These types of attacks often use emails as well. 

Most of phishing scams are related to bank emails. You receive an email that looks like from your bank. Once open the link you are taken to a fake portal where your credentials are asked. This way, the criminals get your information. Phishing is one of the most widespread cyber attacks. 

How to avoid phishing attacks?

Simply don’t open email links that ask you to enter your credentials. Never visit banks or financial websites from your email links. Make sure you have visited the authentic website. Careful browsing can prevent you from being a victim of phishing attacks. 

So this was our list of common security attacks you should be aware of. We hope this article added to your knowledge. If you are concerned with the security of your WordPress website, you can reach out to us. We would love to help. Leave us a comment if you have anything more to add.

What Is Staging? 6 Plugins You Should Know To Create WordPress Staging Environment

What Is Staging? 6 Plugins You Should Know To Create WordPress Staging Environment

While browsing for managed WordPress hosting services, you must have come across this term called ‘staging’. If you did not understand this feature or got puzzled about what it really means, here is your chance to learn about it. In this article, we explain what staging is, why it is important, different methods of staging and finally we review 6 WordPress plugins to create staging environments. 

Let’s review a common scenario with your WordPress website. Whenever you make some changes to your website, there is a chance that something can go wrong. This can happen when you update your theme or install a plugin and do something with code.

When such changes create an undesirable outcome (from a temporary glitch to facing downtime), it is often difficult to get your site functioning again. You might as well regret the changes you make. But let’s face it: change is part and parcel of running a website. Our concern is how we make changes safely? Staging is the answer.

Let’s get started with understanding staging. 

Here are the things we will discuss:

  • Understanding what staging is and why it is so important
  • Staging with Managed WordPress hosting
  • Using localhost for staging
  • 6 WordPress Staging Plugins to safely create staging environments
  • WordPress Multisite staging
  • Summary 

Understanding what staging is and why it is so important

The word staging derives from ‘stage’, a place for drama. What happens on stage has no consequences in real life and we can try out different stories on stage. This is possible in the stage environment. Similarly, in real life, we need to make changes to our website without affecting the live site. How do we make this possible? By using a staging environment. Thus, staging is a process of creating a copy of a website where we can safely make changes to our site and try out different things before we make those changes live.

Whenever we are satisfied with a change and we see that this change has no undesired effects, then we can safely choose to apply these changes to our live site. This process is called pushing. We can push changes from the staging environment to the live site.

Staging is important because it allows us to test updates, new plugins, and theme installations and see their effects on our site. Since we create an exact replica of our site, making changes in staging gives the most accurate picture of what would happen if we make those changes on the live site. If staging hadn’t been there, we would have no way of safely seeing the consequences of our additions or updates to the website.

You will understand how important this is when you consider the maintenance costs when something goes wrong with your website. Many times, the damage is done and it is too late to recover the losses. Staging is a preventive measure that helps you avoid blunders on the live site.

Staging is also important to catch compatibility errors early on. It can save you from huge frustration later on. Given the benefits of staging, it is worth your time and money to utilize staging environments.

Let’s see how we can create staging environments. 

Staging with Managed WordPress hosting

The easiest and most effective way to handle staging is to have a web host that provides a staging environment with the hosting package. Nowadays, many hosting providers offer staging environments as part of their service. If you happen to have a staging environment with your web hosting plan, then you are good to go. If you don’t have staging included in your hosting package then you ask your web host to provide you one. It is worth the extra money.

The most important benefit of having a host-provided staging environment is the ease of use. Plus, you get the support. This isn’t always the case with staging plugins. Therefore, we would highly recommend a hosting package that comes with a staging environment.

Many managed WordPress hosting providers include staging in their hosting packages. Nestify, a premium managed WordPress hosting provider, provides staging for free with every hosting plan.

Using localhost for staging

In case you don’t have a staging environment from your web host, you can also test your site locally. You can use localhost for this. Since this is done locally on your system, you do not require server space and resources from your web host. This also saves you the extra money needed for a hosting plan with staging.

However, you need to remember that using localhost is not same as staging environments. Staging most accurately reflects how changes would affect your real site. This is not the case with localhost testing. The same plugins and themes that work on your localhost may not work the same on your live website.

That said, using the localhost is useful for experimentation, development, and learning purposes. You can try out plugins, themes, custom settings, and whatever you wish using the safe environment of your localhost without affecting your live site. 

If you want to know how you can manually test sites on localhost, here is how you can do it:

You need two things: 

  1. XAAMP: This is a very popular solution for creating localhost. It has MariaDB, PHP and Perl. It is available for Windows, Linux and OS X. You can download it for free from the official XAAMP website. 
  2. WordPress Core: You need a copy of the WordPress core. You can get it from the official WordPress website.

Once you have these two on your system, you can proceed with the following steps:

Step 1: Install XAAMP

Step 2: Move the ‘wordpress’ folder to the htdocs directory within your XAAMP installation

Step 3: From the XAAMP control panel, launch phpMyAdmin

Step4: Create a new database for your WordPress installation

Step 5:  To access your local WordPress website, type in your web browser http://localhost/wordpress  In case you have renamed your WordPress folder to something else, put that name in place of ‘wordpress’ in above url.

Step 6: You can now follow the guidelines on the screen to get started with WordPress on your localhost.

It is possible to import your live site’s database and files using a migration plugin. We will review a few migration plugins in our list of staging plugins for WordPress.

Review of 6 WordPress Staging Plugins

When you don’t have a staging environment with your web host and using localhost is not something you want to do, then using staging plugins is another option you can opt for. Here we review 6 popular WordPress plugins that you can use for staging.

1. WP Stagecoach

staging environment wordpress
WP Stagecoach

This is a full-fledged plugin with a complete set of features for a staging environment, at least as close as a staging plugin can get. It can work with any web host and as they proclaim, it does not override your database during import. This is possible as it uses a unique ‘database merge’ feature.

You get to create temporary staging sites with this plugin. This means that once you use your staging environment to experiment with your site and decide upon a final version, you can push the changes to your live website. Once you do that, the plugin reminds you to delete the staging site. You can always create a new staging site when you need it.

Let’s have a quick look at the features of WP Stagecoach. 

Features: 

  • One-click staging site creation
  • Password protect staging sites
  • SSL is available on all staging sites
  • The Plugin merges databases. You won’t lose your content by copying your staging site to your live domain
  • You can choose files or database imports, or both
  • One-click, advanced or manual import options

Pricing

There are three subscription plans available; Freelancer, Business, and Agency. Monthly and yearly subscription is available. Freelancer plan is priced at $120 per year, the Business plan costs $200 per year and the Agency plan is offered for $450/year. Monthly billing has different pricing. It costs $12 per month for the Freelancer Plan. The Business plan costs $20 per month and the Agency plan is priced at $45 per month. You can opt for the 5-day trial to test this plugin for yourself.

2. WP Staging

WP Staging - One Click Cloning of Your WordPress Website
WP Staging

WP Staging is a useful migration and cloning plugin. It helps you create a private and secure staging environment. This is a duplicator plugin that allows you to create an exact copy of your entire website for staging or development purposes. The process is very fast and you can get going with staging in seconds. WP Staging creates a clone of your website into a subfolder of your main WordPress installation including an entire copy of your database. The plugin can work with any web host.

WP staging manages to be fast by performing all the time-consuming database and file copying operations in the background. Entire search & replace of all serialized links and paths is done automatically. This enables you to quickly start with staging environment.

The plugin is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository. It has received more than 50,000 active installations. The pro version is also available with advanced features.

Features:

  • You own all data and it stays on your server.
  • The plugin is easy to use. Just install it and click on “CREATE NEW STAGING SITE”.
  • No server timeouts on huge websites or/and small hosting servers
  • Staging website will be available from example.com/staging-site
  • Execution is very fast – the migration process takes only a few seconds or minutes, depending on the website’s size and server I/O power.
  • Only administrators can access the staging website. Login with the same credentials you use on your production site.
  • The plugin is SEO friendly: The staging website is unavailable to search engines due to a custom login prompt and no-index header.
  • The admin bar on the staging website will be orange colored and shows clearly that you work on the staging site.
  • All database tables will be duplicated and get a new prefix beginning with wpstg(int)_.
  • By default, the staging website will be copied into a subfolder.
  • Extensive logging features
  • Supports all main web servers including Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS
  • You can choose a separate database and select a custom directory for cloning
  • You can make the staging website available from a subdomain like dev.example.com
  • You can push & migrate plugins and themes to the production website.
  • You can define user roles that should receive access to the staging site only. For instance, clients or external developers.
  • Migration and cloning of WordPress multisite is available. 

Pricing

The Basic version of the WP Staging plugin is available in the official WordPress plugin repository for free. You can search it by clicking on the ‘Add new’ button in the plugin dashboard and searching for ‘WP Staging’. 

The Pro version is offered with 4 subscription plans: Personal, Pro, Developer, and Agency. 

The Personal plan provides a lifetime license of the plugin for $96 for a single website. The Pro plan works with 5 active sites and it is priced at $150. The Developer version allows you to have 30 staging sites and costs $259. The Agency plan is priced at $540 and serves 100 active sites.

3. Blog Vault

WordPress Backup Plugin - BlogVault
BlogVault

If you are thinking that Blog Vault is a backup plugin and why it is included in this list, then you probably didn’t notice that this offers free staging as well. This is a versatile solution for bloggers, business owners, freelance developers, and even agencies that need a multitasking plugin in addition to staging.

Features:

  • It allows you to safely test your website updates and changes.
  • Staging site runs on our cloud servers.
  • Staging comes completely free with the plugin.No extra cost for anything.
  • One-click Merge to push changes to live site.
  • Compatible & approved with 5,000+ web hosts.
  • Incremental backups
  • Perform full Restore even if your website is offline

Pricing:

There are three subscription options available as Personal (single site), Small Business (5 sites), and Developers (20 sites). The Agency plan comes with custom pricing with more than 20 sites. Each plan is further divided into three tiers: Basic, Plus and Advanced. For Example, for the Personal Plan the pricing for Basic is $89/year, for Plus it is $149/year, and for Advanced it is $249/year. 

For Small Business plans, the prices are $199 per year, $359 per year, and $549 per year for Basic, Plus, and Advanced tier respectively. On the same note, the Developer plan is priced at $499 per year for Basic, $799 per year for Plus, and $1499 per year for Advanced tier.

4. WP Time Capsule

Staging Environments
WP Time Capsule

WP Time Capsule is another WordPress backup plugin that provides staging features. It can be seen as a competitor for the Blog Vault plugin we discussed earlier. It offers incremental backups. With incremental backups, only the files and database entries that have changed are backed up instead of backing up the whole site every time. Staging is offered as a free add on functionality.

Features: 

  • Creates an independent clone of your live production site 
  • One-click staging feature to clone your live site and create a staging site with just a click
  • Apply your updates in the Staging site and once confident, apply them to your live site
  • Test Restores in Staging
  • Save time by moving the staging site to the live site after a test update or restore. You do not have to apply the same updates all over again in the live site

Pricing: 

There are three subscription plans available; Business, Freelancer and Agency. The Business Plan costs $49 per year and serves up to two websites. The Freelancer Plan is priced at $99 per year for 10 sites. The Agency Plan allows unlimited websites for $199 per year.

5. Duplicator

WordPress staging plugin
Duplicator Pro

Duplicator is a migration plugin. If you want to create a staging environment on a subdomain you have, then you can use the migration feature to move a copy of your website to a subdomain.

Features:

  • Move, migrate or clone a WordPress site between domains or hosts with zero downtime
  • Pull down a live site to localhost for development
  • Transfer a WordPress site from one host to another
  • Manually backup a WordPress site or parts of a site
  • Duplicate a live site to a staging area or vice versa
  • Bundle up an entire WordPress site for easy reuse or distribution
  • Perform a full WordPress migration without struggling with messy import/export SQL scripts
  • Scheduled backups
  • Cloud Storage to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon S3, and FTP/SFTP
  • Multi-threaded to support larger web sites & databases
  • Migrate an entire multisite WordPress network in one shot
  • Install a multisite subsite as a new standalone website
  • Database and user creation in the installer with cPanel API
  • Connect to cPanel directly from installer
  • Email notifications

Pricing:

There is a basic version of this plugin available in the official WordPress Plugin Repository for free. It has received more than 1 million active installations. The premium plans are divided into 4 tiers: Personal, Freelancer, Business, and Gold. The Gold Plan receives lifetime support and costs $359 for unlimited site licenses. The Business plan also allows unlimited site licenses at $129 with 1-year of support. The Freelancer Plan is priced at $79 for 15 site licenses. The Personal plan allows use for 3 sites and costs $59.

6. All-in-One WP Migration

WordPress staging plugin
All-in-One WP Migration plugin ServMask Inc

All-in-One WP Migration is a migration plugin just like Duplicator. The difference is in the pricing. This plugin makes the migration task intuitive and easy.

Features: 

  • exports your WordPress website including the database, media files, plugins and themes with no technical knowledge required
  • Upload your site to a different location with a drag and drop into WordPress
  • There is an option to apply an unlimited number of find and replace operations on your database during the export process
  • fix any serialization problems that occur during the find/replace operation
  • Mobile device compatible
  • works with all versions of PHP from v5.2 onwards

Pricing:

The plugin is available for free download in the WordPress plugin repository. It has received more than 2 million active installations. The plugin charges different extensions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, URL extension, Unlimited extension, FTP extension, Multisite extension, OneDrive extension, and others. The cost of each extension is different. Each extension comes with premium support.

WordPress Multisite staging

Problems with WordPress updates can become complex with WordPress multisite networks and errors often affect a lot more than a single site. Fortunately, staging can also be done for WordPress multisite.

We will now discuss how WordPress multisite staging can be done. You need to remember that you need a custom domain to store your copy of websites as WordPress multisite staging does not work with a subdomain.

The first option is to check if your web host provides multisite staging. If you can avail this through hosting then it is the best option. otherwise , you will have to use plugins. In this list, WP staging pro and BlogVault support multisite staging.

If you are using migration plugins like Duplicator or All in One Migration, then make sure that you keep files on a custom domain.

Summary

Staging is an important process of testing changes and updates on a website without affecting the live site. We have seen what staging is and why it is so important. Staging prepares you for worst-case scenarios before they occur on your live website. We have discussed various ways to have staging environments.

Many web hosting providers offer staging environments. When you don’t have staging with your hosting package, you can choose to deploy staging using plugins. We have reviewed 6 WordPress plugins that can help you use staging for your website. Finally, we have discussed how we can also use staging for WordPress multisite as well.

We hope you now understand staging and ways to avail staging for your website through this article. Feel free to reach out to us in case you have any questions or WordPress issues. We are happy to help.

To know more about important WordPress things, Don’t miss out this article about the WordPress Maintenance Cost.

13 WordPress Themes To Check Out For Business Websites

13 WordPress Themes To Check Out For Business Websites

Are you creating a website for your business? Then you must have a lot of things in your mind; how it should look, what functions it should have, and how users would experience it. Well, this is what your web designer would be considering for your website. Still, what should you expect from your website? In this article, we will look at some of the best WordPress themes that offer stunning designs for a business website. You will get a good idea of how your business website should look like and what features it should have. You can even select one of these themes for your WordPress website.

Let’s get started.

1. Astra

Astra Theme
Astra

Astra is a performance-focused theme that lets you build a fast business website. It requires less than 50KB of resources. It loads in less than 0.5 seconds. Astra uses default WordPress data and follows the coding standards to ensure that every piece of code is optimized. There are plenty of customizations and layouts to choose from.

The Pro version of Astra offers features such as sticky headers, mobile headers, mega menu, integrated custom typography and colors, layout like boxed, full width, padded and fluid. The Pro version is priced at $47.

2. Avada

Avada
Avada

Avada is a trendy theme provided by ThemeFusion. It has more than 5,84,000 sales on ThemeForest. It features an array of fantastic features that range from a Footer Builder to the option to design and build custom single post, Portfolio post, archive, search, and 404-page layouts.

It comes with the Avada Theme Builder that consists of 70+ design elements. It features a dynamic content system that you can leverage for branding purposes. You get 61 pre-built websites ready to use for the business type you decide. Avada supports WooCommerce out of the box. This is a premium theme that costs $60 on ThemeForest.

3. Noor

Noor Theme
Noor

Noor is a versatile, responsive, high performing WordPress theme. It is optimized for AMP, PWA ( Progressive Web App ) and WooCommerce, EDD, Buddypress, and bbpress. It offers live page building with visual composer.

One interesting feature is the full control over the layout. You can control sidebar width, sidebar position, sticky sidebar, display/hide sidebar, container width, section height, section width, floating section, etc. The theme comes more than 300+ design elements. The theme is available for the regular license of $59 at ThemeForest.

4. Okab

Okab Theme
Okab

Okab is a multipurpose WordPress theme. It is a fully responsive, clean, creative, user-friendly, and fast-loading theme.  Its modern design makes it very suitable for any type of website ( Business, Finance, Consulting, Corporate, Personal, Agency, Portfolio, Blog, Shop, Photography, Events, Restaurant, Hotel, Magazine, Construction, Creative, Startup, Small startups, RTL, etc.)

The theme has more than 275 stylish elements. It features a Visual Page Builder with Infinite page layout possibilities and Pixel perfect design. It supports the Arabic language right out of the box. Okab is available on ThemeForest for $59.

5. Creativo

Creativo Theme
Creativo

Creativo is a multipurpose WordPress theme that lets you create pixel-perfect websites without coding anything. Its powerful page builder has more than 100 elements. You can use drag and drop to position your elements anywhere on the page.

It allows multiple header layouts. The theme supports WooCommerce. It has a block feature that can mix different sections from different templates without importing any template. The theme features beautiful CSS3 animations. Creativo is available at the mojo marketplace. The single domain license of Creativo costs $59.

6. Potenza

Potenza Theme
Potenza

Potenza is a single-page WordPress theme with an attractive look and stunning features. You can build the homepage you like with just drag and drop. It has custom content widgets. Multiple columns and layout variations offer flexible layout design. You can customize with custom background, images, animations, parallax modules, etc. 

Full-color control allows you to change the color of headings, buttons, links, paragraphs, background colors, and more. The theme is translation ready. The standard license of the theme costs $48.

7. Lefkada

Lefkada theme
Lefkada

Lefkada is a theme built for small businesses. It can create a clean and professional website in no time. The theme boasts of amazing header and footer designs with more than 50 customizer options. You can fine-tune everything from menu position to footer columns, colors, typography, and more. The theme supports all popular page builders.

Lefkada offers seamless WooCommerce integration. You can sell your products right away on your WooCommerce store. The advanced customizations for colors, typography, and layouts ensure that you can create a unique website that speaks for your brand. Lefkada is available on cssigniter for $48 (standard license)

8. Convert 

Convert theme
Convert

Convert has all the elements a business website can ask for. The sheer number of 30+ customizer controls just for the header section will give you an idea of the complete control this theme offers. It supports all popular page builders. The theme supports 7 custom post types right out of the box; Portfolio, Careers, Events, Testimonials, Services, Case Studies & Team Members. 

Convert offers rich layouts like 1 Column, 2 Columns, 3 Columns, Masonry, Filterable portfolios, Custom heroes per page, among others. The theme offers complete customization for typography and colors. The theme costs $48 for the standard club license. 

9. Decorist

Decorist theme
Decorist

If your business sells physical products, then Decorist might just be the theme you are looking for. Decorist is a minimal WooCommerce theme geared towards selling products online. It will suit home product stores, decoration product stores, fashion-related product stores, or any other store that sells physical products.

This theme integrates well with the Elementor page builder. It is optimized for WooCommerce. You can choose from multiple settings for product layouts, element visibility, and even sidebars or drawer displays for your product filters. From layout management to header visibility, color customization, social network integrations, the theme offers more than 100 customizer options. The standard club license for Decorist costs $48 on the cssigniter website.

10. Neto

Neto theme
Neto theme

Neto is another powerful theme for businesses. It can help you create an online megastore. Neto is built for WooCommerce. The theme offers powerful customization options that include layout options, post listing options, WooCommerce, colors, typography options, widgets, social networks, footer options, static front page options, among others. 

Neto offers integration with popular page builders like Elementor, Visual Composer, etc. This allows you to create custom product layouts. This theme uses the must-have features only to focus on speed. Neto costs $48 for the standard license.

11. Talon

Talon theme
Talon

Talon is a multipurpose business theme offered by aThemes. It’s equally suited for both freelancers or companies and features an optimum level of customization options. An example of this would be the header options. You get to choose the header you want. It can either be a slider, a static image, or you can remove it completely. The theme includes access to Google Fonts. 

Talon includes a page builder developed by siteorigin. You can load more icons if you are not satisfied with the ones that come bundled with the theme. This theme is translation ready. You can try out the features of this theme. Talon is a free theme.

12. Astrid

Astrid theme
Astrid

Astrid can help you create an awesome business website. All the features you need are waiting for you in this business theme: color options, fonts, full-width header image, custom widgets, blog options, and many other interesting and useful options.

Astrid features a full-width header image that you can easily customize for your business. The layout options are optimized for a professional business website. The theme has a responsive design that looks great on mobile devices. You can use this theme for free.

13. OceanWP

OceanWP theme
OceanWP

OceanWP is one of the most popular free WordPress themes out there. It has more than 500,000 active installations. This theme is lightweight and highly extendable. You can create almost any type of website such as a blog, portfolio, business website, and WooCommerce storefront with a beautiful & professional design. 

OceanWP is a very fast, responsive theme. It is  RTL & translation ready. The theme boasts of best SEO practices, unique WooCommerce features to increase conversion and much more to be suitable for business. This theme works well with the most popular page builders as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Visual Composer, Divi, SiteOrigin, etc. You should check out OceanWP before building your business website. The theme is available for free in the WordPress theme repository.

So these were some of the best WordPress themes for business websites. Make sure you give them a try before finalizing your website. Many of these themes have some features that are unique to them. We hope this list helps you in your journey to build a website for your business. Have any questions? Please ask in the comments section.

If your website is hacked or if you have any doubt you must read this article for help.

5 Things Your Audience Want To See From Your WordPress Store

5 Things Your Audience Want To See From Your WordPress Store

Online audiences are fickle and picky. You may have a brilliant business idea, with excellent branding and a clear target audience. However, if your website is missing a certain set of elements you risk marking yourself as somewhere undesirable to shop. To avoid being tarnished with that brush and make yourself as appealing as possible to first-time visitors, here are a couple of things you need to include in your WordPress store.

Social proof

Customers trust the opinion of other shoppers more than anything else. If you want to try and convince first-time visitors to shop with you, you need to harness the power of the social proof phenomenon. Social proof can take many forms, but customer reviews are the most common and effective. Every time someone shops with your store, you should send an automated email asking them to leave a review. You can manage these through your own internal review service, but it’s much more convincing to use a trusted review website such as Trustpilot. Once you’ve accumulated enough reviews to give yourself an impressive positive score, you should present it prominently on your website, throughout major landing pages and as part of your branding. Another convincing form of social proof audiences will look out for is testimony from customers and businesses you’ve worked with. Ask some customers to write about their experience on top of giving a star rating. You can cherrypick the best to complement your overall score. When you work with a recognized brand or business ask them to write something about your business that you can post on the website. Mixing these two kinds of social proof helps you to cover the bases of all types of customers who will visit your website.

Team profiles

Customers love to know there’s a human face behind the website they’re shopping with. Websites with little personality may get some customers, but they’ll very rarely convert them into loyal shoppers who have a vested interest in the brand. Profiling your team and giving a peek behind the scenes are two great ways of giving your audience a greater idea of who you are and make for easy content marketing ideas that will bring your website to life. Your team is no doubt full of interesting people with different backgrounds. Harness that idea by uploading Q&A videos with them that tell their story and gives audiences greater insight into who is helping them through the customer service or curating the website. Think about traditional customer service, the kind you’d get in a local store. When you step inside you have a friendly face greeting you, giving you product advice and serving with a smile. This is harder to achieve online. Chatbots may be getting more sophisticated, but being able to put a face to the name is priceless. Content-based around your team is an essential step to doing that.

Video

The internet wants video content more than anything else. Just like the introduction of television saw it dominate the media landscape, users today are swarming the web for as much video content as they can possibly find. 55% of internet users will watch at least one online video every day. They’re a serious draw. If your website is lacking in video content it will make it difficult for you to keep users onboard. There are lots of opportunities you may not even initially think of to place video content throughout your website. You don’t need to invest in a big video project series that you also roll out across social media. You can simply shoot little videos of your packaging and delivery process to give your users a clearer idea of the process they’re buying into. Likewise, you can use video to complement your product pages. Static product pages with a bit of copy and some generic stock images don’t tell new visitors much about the product or allow you to bring any sense of your own brand personality into the sale process. By shooting some videos for key products you can give a clearer picture as to their benefits.

Security

Nothing is a bigger turnoff to new customers visiting your website for the first time than a clear lack of security. If it looks like you haven’t made the effort to make your website secure or the customer has an inkling you’re a scam website, they will vacate as soon as they can.
There are a couple of key security measures you need to hit no matter what creative design ideas you have for your website. First of all your website needs an SSL certificate. This is a digital certificate that makes it clear to your visitors that the data transmitted between them and your store is safe and secured. These are relatively simple to add to your WordPress website. Even if you don’t have a very techy audience, these are so familiar that it has become second nature to look for them. You also need to make sure your payment gateway is secure. This is the point in the buying process where the shopper will be most attentive to security concerns and cautious of any possible issues. This service authorizes and processes payments, so make sure it’s secure and obvious to the customers.

Social media activity

Not strictly on your website, but something the average user will want to see your brand doing. Social media interaction is an essential brand-building activity that gives your business more personality and helps establishes you with new audiences. A consistent stream of social media content is a great way to tell new audiences that you are a real business with genuine, creative people behind it. In many ways, it’s an amalgamation of everything we’ve talked about so far. It’s a place to show your creativity with content and assure you’re a safe place to shop with. For many people checking social media is an essential part of the buying process, so treat it as equal with your website. Your website should be present across multiple channels, allowing you to show off as many different facets of your content and marketing strategy. If possible, work this feed into your website. This kind of integration can be a signal to first-time visitors that you are active and have a responsive community behind you. While there is no ‘right’ way to do a WordPress store, there are definitely certain conventions beginning to emerge that any store looking to succeed needs to follow. These are just a few, there is always a lot more you can do. As always, remember to add a sprinkling of your own personality across everything you do on your website.