All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #441 here.
It’s Episode 441 and I’ve got plugins for Site Security, Media Recovery, Setting Appointments, and ClassicPress Options, all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: It’s Episode 441 and I’ve got plugins for Site Security, Media Recovery, Setting Appointments, and ClassicPress Options, all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
WordPress, it’s the most popular content management and website solution on the internet. And with over 80,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join us for a weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins from A to Z.
John: Well good morning, good afternoon, or good evening wherever you happen to be hiding out there on the globe today. Coming to you direct from the Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I am John Overall.
And I have a usual great show for you and this is the first episode of 2020. Now, I’d like to start off by saying according to the Mueller Report, you are listening to WP Plugins A-Z, the best ClassicPress/WordPress podcast in the universe. If you don’t understand that, you’re gonna have to look it up.
This show is a value-for-value show, and I look forward to everyone providing some value back. Be sure you are subscribed to the Newsletter for additional information and get out there and hit everyone in the mouth. Spread word about WP Plugins A-Z and catch it live every Thursday at noon on my YouTube channel. The link is in the Show Notes or just go to wppluginsatoz.com/youtube.
All right, so we’re going to do things a little different. This is a new format. Welcome to a new year and a new decade! This is the first of 52 episodes that I will be producing this year. I’m going back to my roots of this show. I’ve been messing with it off and on over the last couple of years and this last year, I must’ve done something wrong. It wasn’t all that great for show downloads. It could be the show has reached the end of its life, but I’m going to give it until the end of 2020 to find out, and this is where you the Producers step up and step in and help this show survive and continue forth.
I’m looking for more participation from you, my Producers, this year. And if I don’t see that participation by the end of the year, I will just retire this show. It has been eight long years that I have been doing this show. I’m at Episode 441, so add in another 51 episodes after this, so we’re looking at 492 is where this show could end up. I may not make it to 500, but I need your help to do that.
The biggest thing is over this last nine months, I have had very little in the way of feedback on this show. I’ve had almost no one reaching out to me. I’ve had a few; I’ve got a few die-hard fans that reach out regularly, help support the show. Thank you out to Angel, thank you out to Jezweb, thank you out to CodePotent, thank you out to all the people who have become really good fans of the show and support me regularly with feedback. But I’m looking to all you quiet people out there, the ones that listen to the show and think, “Eh, it’s okay,” or, “I liked it or not,” but I would like to see more feedback.
I’m going to be trying to produce a better show for you. You know, is it sound? Audio? I thought that was cured ages ago. I haven’t heard complaints about my sound and audio in ages, so I know occasionally it gets a little off. But for the most part, I’m pretty sure it’s good. You know, I don’t know if people like it aside from the downloads. And as I said, the downloads have been off this year; they haven’t been as high as they used to be, so it could be that they’re just no longer interested or there’s just so many podcasts out there that I no longer rate in the top of what they want to listen to.
So at any rate, we’re going to be doing all that and I’m going to try to do – well no, I’m not going to try – I’m actually going to do a better job of bringing you more information and news. Unfortunately, I am starting on January 2, 2020 and this is the new year and we’re still in the holiday week, and it’s still very quiet in the WordPress news. I’ve got some stuff coming down later for ClassicPress. And as far as WordPress news, eh, there’s not much happening aside from the usual year in review stuff and it’s mostly about Gutenberg and what they’re planning, etc. There’s more coming and I will make sure I am on top of bringing that to you.
Right off the bat though, we’re going to take this show and it is brought to you by…
Save time and money managing multiple WordPress websites. If you have several WordPress websites to manage, either for your clients or for yourself, then you know how much time it can take managing them all – time that is spent on mundane administrative tasks and then losing that time for your important business tasks. CMS
Commander is an online service that solves this problem and makes managing multiple WordPress websites fast and easy, as simple as controlling a single site.
By placing all your websites in one powerful dashboard, CMS Commander makes it possible to update, backup, and manage them all at the same time in one place. Features of CMS Commander include one-click updates of plugins, themes, and WordPress Core for all sites, automatic scheduled website backups, website cloning and restoration, uptime monitoring and analytics integration, bulk posting, and automatic content.
Sign up now for your 14-day trial at CMScommander.com and access all the features that will allow you to manage more websites and save time.
Absolutely – fantastic plugin system for managing your websites. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been using the plugin for about eight or nine years, give or take, and please use the links in the Show Notes to go sign up there. And it is an affiliate system, so please – I look forward to having people help me out in that area there.
So this show, also supported by you, the Producers, as a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, then give some value back by becoming a producer and helping the show out. You can do that by donating money to help the show. Donations of $50 and over are credited with an Executive Producer credit and in the Show Notes, and their note is read out on the show.
You can submit artwork via the WP Plugins Art Generator. Submit articles, news, and information. Submit plugin suggestions for reviews. You can also create a monthly donation via my Patreon, which is starting to undergo a revamp. I’ve been working on it; it’s going to be doing some changes there and I’ll bring those forward when I accomplish them.
I like to acknowledge the Producers who have supported the show in various ways. You know, right off the top, let’s give them the credit they deserve for what they do. And first off, I want to give the credit off to Angel Lemus of Koa Digital, who supplied the art – very nice piece of art this week with an astronaut, talking about our new dawn. You know, I really like the art he’s provided me and he’s been providing it now for three or four months. And if anyone out there wants to, just go to the WP Plugins Art Generator and click on the links. You can download my logos – everything you need to produce the art, except the art itself. Send it in and submit it and I will get it up in the show.
I’d love to have multiples to choose from.
This week we have no Executive Producers. I would really love to see those pop back up to what they were. They were doing quite well for a little while, but actually it was doing quite well from one fellow, and that’s all right. And a big thank you to all the producers who came in under $50. You know who you are. You’ve set up weekly subscriptions; they remain anonymous. Thank you very much. These small subscriptions do help the show out, and that includes those from Patreon.
A big thank you to those who hired me because of the podcast. Thank you very much! That’s as good as donating to the show.
And we’ve got a little note from Hemdien. Hey, I’d love to have some people and interaction on the live show. “It doesn’t have a lot to contribute but very simple site.” Hey, I’m glad your primary source of WordPress news – if you’ve got any news or information for me, Hemdien, please email it to me. Contact it. It can be news, information, plugin suggestions – anything that you come across. Anything that helps me get the work done or spread more information. I try to catch lots of stuff but I don’t always, so thank you very much, Hemdien. I appreciate all of your support, too.
Okay, so that takes us. It is time for us to jump into the meat and potatoes section of the show. This is something on how I used to do it.
Although I’ve changed it up just a little bit, what we’re going to start with is we’re going to start with ClassicPress.
ClassicPress is a fast-growing fork of WordPress. It’s a little over a year and a few months old, and it is growing very, very well. The community is excellent, the people there have been fantastic, and I’m loving to see what’s happening.
I’ve got some news from them already into the new year.
First off, a little bit of news from CodePotent, who has added some custom tweaks for the new ClassicPress security page. Now if you haven’t used ClassicPress, ClassicPress has a page in there that gives you security information.
Now, CodePotent has added up some code here. The link is in the Show Notes to it. It’s some stuff you copy/paste into your functions PHP file and it adds a couple of new entries for securities in the top level admin menu. You have to read all the information in there, but it’s some added information for you in the ClassicPress security page.
A little bit more out of CodePotent; he tweeted out a great link that you’ll want to check out this link here, and it is a master list of bots to be blocked on your website. You can add this list to your HT Access or a plugin that accepts it if you’re running it. Just follow the link in the Show Notes, go and download the .zip file, unzip it, and you have everything you need. Very useful tool for those of you looking to block all the bad bots from hitting your website.
This is another level of security on your website. And granted CodePotent’s all about the ClassicPress, it will work in your WordPress website also.
So what do we have here for ClassicPress plugins? It seems Simone has produced an extension to one of CodePotent’s plugins for ClassicPress. CodePotent created a plugin for ClassicPress specifically that is an update manager plugin, and you can get that off CodePotent’s website. The link is in the Show Notes and it’s an update management plugin that helps you painlessly push updates to your ClassicPress plugin users. It’s got a lot of information, a useful plugin if you’re developing plugins that you need to push updates to your clients on.
But what’s happened here is Simone has made an extension to add a menu to the update manager with the count of active installations for the plugins you are serving. Kind of a useful tool if you’re a plugin developer, so you know how many people are actually using your plugin, and this one here will be a great one to add into your plugin that you’re creating for ClassicPress. So this is something to have a good look at and see how it’s going.
Now, a lot of you might see that when I’m recommending ClassicPress plugins and extensions and other bits and pieces, you’re having to go to GitHub for information or occasionally I’ve seen BitBucket. But what that is is that’s kind of reminiscent of when WordPress was in its early years in that they didn’t have a repository for dealing with it.
I don’t know for certain, but I have heard the rumours that ClassicPress is working on a repository. I’ll have to dig through it and see if that rumour has any truth, but I really hope they are because that’ll make a world of difference to ClassicPress is having their own repository for plugins and making it easy from the backend to just install plugins with one click. Back in the early days, I do remember having to go download my plugins from GitHub and other places and then manually upload them. It’s a little more work but if you’re a developer, it’s not that much of a big deal.
Now this one here is kind of a really big piece of information for ClassicPress. The ClassicCommerce Alpha 1 has been released. If you want to have a look at this, follow the link in the Show Notes. Alpha 1 means it’s ready for testing; don’t put it on a live site because you might not like the result. But this is a way for them to get feedback on the functionality and seeing how it is. What this is, this is a fork of WooCommerce that they are working on, and they’ve removed all the crap that Jetpack and WooCommerce’s services has in it and gotten rid of nags, upsells – all the miscellaneous stuff that’s an irritant in WooCommerce. ClassicCommerce, I believe once it hits beta and then it gets to a release candidate, it’s going to be big for ClassicPress, because that is one of the big things for developers and business developers is to having an e-commerce platform for their website. So go check this information out on ClassicPress. It can be of very big use for you.
Of course, I still have the usual stuff for ClassicPress, the ClassicPress Club information, and this is an alternative to the forums at ClassicPress, and it’s got information, they put articles in here. Elementor dropped support for WordPress 4 – uh-oh. ClassicPress, uh-oh. That’s gonna be a problem. That one’s new; I didn’t catch that. That was in early December. That’s gonna put a dent in mine. It looks like I’m going to be having to switch to BeaverBuilder.
Oh, that’s gonna suck wind because – well, it’s not so bad. My license is up for renewal. All right, that’s where we are at there. I hope to hell they pick it up and do something or at least continue to support ClassicPress.
So there’s a good reason to pop into the ClassicPress Club. He manages to pop information in that is useful to everyone.
There’s the usual must-have plugins list from ClassicPress of the plugins that have been developed and where they’re at and what plugins can be used for the different things you need. It’s a good list to refer to from time to time. The list of ClassicPress-specific plugins that have been made, and this is a list managed and maintained by CodePotent. It’s still got 42 on it, so it hasn’t increased any recently, so it’s something to check from time to time to see if there’s anything there. And then of course there’s the ClassicPress plugins directory from CodePotent, where he’s got his plugin that he’s producing and getting up there for everyone. So go check that out.
Okay, so that covers up all the ClassicPress news and information I have for this week. Let’s roll right into WordPress plugins. So what do I have for WordPress plugins this week? Well, first one up is called Silent Warning, and this one here is a nice security plugin. It adds an additional layer of security. It’s similar to the File Monitor Plus plugin that I use in some aspects. But what this plugin does for you is once you install it, it monitors the file sizes of your index file, your WP chron file, the free space you have available in your server account, any required updates that you have. If you suddenly get an increase in the number of administrators added to your account (which is a sure sign of having been hacked) and it also monitors your database size and you can set this information on the settings page for the plugin.
And then what it does is if it notices any of these things, it sends you an email immediately for you to deal with the information, and it’s something you’ll want to pay attention to if that email ever comes across the table. The other thing this does for you is it deletes the ovlasdel.html – I don’t recognize that file at all. It deletes the ReadMe and the license text file and the license text file from the WordPress installation, which is a good thing because I always delete those anyway. They’re pretty much unneeded files just taking up space, even if it is teeny bits of space.
So all in all, this looks to be a pretty decent plugin for helping adding to the security level of your site. It sets up pretty easy and it’s kind of innocuous in what it does. It runs an hourly chron job to automatically check every hour to see if any of this stuff has changed. So you’ll get within an hour’s notice of when something has changed or updated on your site that is unexpected. So go check this one out. I give Silent Warning a 4-Dragon rating.
Okay, so next one up I have for you – the next plugin – is called WP Media Recovery. And WP Media Recovery, this one here – I thought it was interesting when I saw it and I thought, “Well, let me check this one out and see what it is.” And what it does for you is if you delete media from your media library, most of the time you don’t delete the actual file. What it does delete is the database information from your system and leaves the files still intact in your WordPress uploads directory.
So what this one does is it goes in, it scans your uploads directory, looks for images that are not in your database, and it allows you to recover those images and by clicking a button and entering a code (and I have no idea what the code is for). That one there kind of – I’m curious about. But once you enter that, it then recovers that information and now that image is now available in your media library that you can then use to put that media back into any other posts that you might be creating. It doesn’t restore the media to an old post or whatever, but it does restore the file information so you can then use that file in regular posts.
A pretty decent plugin; sets up really well and fast. It did give me a bit of curiosity in that the company that sets it up is – what’s their name again? – Developry. What they do is they set up a mini dashboard for that plugin in there in that you can download their other plugins. It’s kind of a unique way I’ve seen on how to upsell you on their other plugins. So not a bad thing in and of itself; the curiosity about the code there is one that kind of bugs me and I don’t know exactly what that does. But the plugin does work, and it works pretty decently, so it may be something that you might want to go check out. It is called WP Media Recovery and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Okay, the final plugin I’ve got for you today – this one is a revisit back to a plugin I reviewed back in Episode 264.
I’ve also done a training video for this plugin. It’s one of my most visited videos I have up at wwpluginsatoz.com’s YouTube channel. The video I did – and this has been a couple of years – and I wasn’t certain. I thought I’d check it out and the reason it comes back is because I recently had someone asking me about a recommendation for an appointments plugin, something that they can set up appointments for and to use it for multiple different types of things.
And I remember Easy Appoints was a very excellent plugin when I went through and review it. I did give it a 4-rating back then, but I decided to re-review it and check it out and see if they’ve kept it up to date, and they have. They’ve been keeping it up to date. I mean, the last updates you can see on the screen here is one week ago. You know, it was updated a week ago so they’re keeping it up to date, and I did note that they now have an extension to the plugin.
The extension to the plugin allows you to hook into things such as your Google Calendar with two-way sync, you can hook it to iCalendar, Twillo, WooCommerce integration, and PayPal integration. So there’s way to make these appointments more usable than they were before.
It’s a really nice plugin in how it sets up. It is a bit convoluted in its setup. I’m going to redo my training video for this plugin now that it’s two years later and of course everything has changed. That will start to answer some of the questions I’ve been getting on the training video. I still get questions about once a week on this and I really don’t answer them because I just don’t know; it’s been so long. I can only give them so many answers and after I do a training video, it’s – they’re really only valid for about six months to a year after I do the video because of the fact that things change. Developers change, other things change with it.
I’ve got a little bit more on this one coming later, where I had some feedback from one of the users of the video. So at any rate, a really great plugin, Easy Appointments. Go check it out if you’re looking for an appointment calendar system for your website that is independent of other calendar systems. But if you need it to connect to your Google
Calendar to push stuff to your calendar, this could be useful. I mean, they’re priced for the extensions only, like $35, so it’s not that bad. It’s right in line with everyone else. Anyway, Easy Appointments, and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Okay, and I mentioned at the top of the show, listener feedback. I really want to get listener feedback this year on how the show is sounding, how the show is being received, whether the content is any good or any valid to you, whether or not I’m doing anything useful, if I’m not doing anything useful, if it’s sounding like crap, if I’m way off in the weeds on what I’m reviewing – any of that stuff. Send me some info. Send me feedback. I’ll take that feedback. I like my feedback and if you’re just gonna harass me, well send me that feedback too and then I can use it to mock you and make fun of you. You know, please send it along. You know – but the feedback I’ve got this week here comes from Thomas, who was a questioner on the – he actually sent the questions through my Facebook page instead of sending them through the site – through the YouTube channel.
He was having some issues getting the Easy Appointments plugin to send out the emails properly and be received.
What he discovered before I had a chance to even look at it or do anything, he discovered that he needed to update the PHP version on his website from 5.6 to 7.2, and once he did that, it started sending the emails just fine. He did have a suggestion for an additional plugin that I’ll be bringing into the next episode, so listen for that plugin. It’s a companion plugin to the Easy Appointments, which he found really helps deal with the email issues on the site. So tune in next week for that little bit of information, so thank you very much, Thomas. I appreciate your question. I don’t know if you listen to the show at all but if you do, thanks for that. Thanks a lot.
And people, please reach out and contact me. I am always willing to listen.
All right, well that covers up most everything and this is where at the end of the show I’ll be placing the contest information, or I could be moving things around. I’m still reworking how I’m going to lay this stuff out. But the one big change to the show is going to be all the plugins in one block versus breaking them out. You know, that seemed to work well years ago when I did it, so I’m going back to that.
The contests of course are still powered by Simple Giveaways, who kindly provide us with the premium version for our contests. And this week here, I do not have a contest yet. I still haven’t made the time to get that done. I had a few issues over the holidays getting anything accomplished. It was just a rough holiday season for me for numerous reasons, health and sorted other things were along the problems in it. I don’t generally go into my health issues here, so if you want to hear more about that, go follow me on my other channel.
So closing out this episode, the plugins I covered were Silent Warning, which I gave a 4 to; the WP Media Recovery, which I gave a 4 to; the Easy Appointments, which I gave a 4 to; and the ClassicPress options and the new alpha version of ClassicCommerce. And I don’t have a rating for that as I have not used it yet.
A couple of quick reminders, the next WordPress Meetup in Victoria will be February 25th of 2020 in Victoria. The topic, meh, is still to be determined. I will have that up on the next show because I have a couple of suggestions and I think I’m going to pick one, so I’ll have that definitely for the next show. And the location will probably be announced soon too, so check out more information on that by going to wppluginsatoz.com/meetup.
As I said, if you want to know more about me, you can follow my journey at theroguestavern.com, where you can check out my adventures into the wild, searching for gold, hiking, camping, out on the gun range, and more.
And that’s pretty much all I’ve got for you, so I’m going to cut it out there and if you want to chat afterwards and I’ll answer a couple of quick things that came in through notes here after the credits, so I’ll let my girl take us on out of here.
Reminders for the show: All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the newsletter for more useful information directly to your inbox. WP Plugins A-Z is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins created by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and set the donation level that fits your budget.
Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store. You can also leave us a review on our Facebook page using wppluginsatoz.com/facebook.
You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe and hit the bell to get notifications of all new videos. Follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz.
John can be reached at his website, JohnOverall.com, or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.
Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.