SiteGround: fast, secure WordPress hosting

SiteGround SuperCacher controls

SiteGround is an excellent WordPress-optimized shared host. They’re fast, secure, and reliable, yet inexpensive. They’re the host I most frequently recommend to small business and nonprofit clients.  From firsthand experience, I’ve found their plans to be superior to similar hosting plans from GoDaddy, Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostmonster, HostGator, iPage, and small local hosting companies. For clients with larger and/or […]

What does a small business WordPress website need?

Catching up on e-mail

“What does a small business website need?” This was one of the many questions asked at the Small Business Tech Panel at the Warehaüs, a co-working space in Holland, Michigan in March 2014. Here’s an expanded version of the answer I gave. The items (in no particular order) are as follows: Effective content (text, images, video) Mobile-friendly […]

Why update WordPress, plugins, and themes?

WPBeginner Upgrade WordPress infographic

Clients often ask me, “Do I need to install updates for WordPress, plugins, and my theme?” The answer is an emphatic “Yes!“, and it’s because updates do the following: Increase security Fix bugs Add features and functionality Web apps such as WordPress are software, so you need to update them just like you update your […]

Secure, memorable passwords

xkcd password strength

Disclaimer: I’m not a security expert. The advice in this post is based on recommendations from security researchers and consultants. I use two methods for creating passwords: Use software to create and store passwords. My favorite is LastPass. Use a scheme to create and remember passwords myself (without software). The rest of this article tells […]

Information Technology Careers (presentation slides)

Chad Warner OptimWise Information Technology Careers 1

I had the privilege of speaking to students of Covenant Christian High School for their Career Day 2013. First, Drew Looyenga spoke about IT support and software development. Next, I gave the presentation below. How could I improve this presentation for next time? Tell me in the comments.

Wordfence Security plugin: WordPress firewall & anti-malware

Wordfence Security Scan Summary and Scan Detailed Activity

I’ve been impressed by the Wordfence Security plugin after running it on several sites for a few months. Here are some of my favorite features of this plugin: Scans core files, themes and plugins against repository versions to check their integrity. Lets you see how files have changed, and optionally repair changed files. Scans […]

Increase WordPress security with CloudFlare; block hackers & spammers

CloudFlare threats

Since I started using the CloudFlare (free plan) on a few sites a few months ago, it’s greatly reduced comment spam and contact form spam. According to my CloudFlare dashboard, it’s also blocked many botnet zombies and other threats, reducing the risk of my sites being hacked. It also serves as a CDN (content delivery […]

WP Security Scan plugin checks WordPress permissions & database security

WP Security Scan initial scan

You can never be too security-conscious with WordPress, so let’s look an excellent security plugin: WP Security Scan. I found out about this plugin from the WordPress 3: Developing Secure Sites course on This plugin does several things, but I especially like the initial scan, permissions scanner, and database prefix changer. Initial Scan Provides […]