All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #494 here.
Flying High It’s Episode 494 Time Tracking, Shortcodes, Brute Force Prevention, Unique Images, Changing Text, Passwords …, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: You think I’m getting senile or something. All right. Off we go into the meat potatoes into the depths of plugin depravity. All right. ClassicPress, now, I do have a little bit of news for ClassicPress this week. This refers back to the news I was talking about earlier. ClassicPress has made a minor announcement. I couldn’t find a major announcement. There was just a quick tweet out that I found, and that they’ve been making massive progress on their developer portal for ClassicPress. And to me, that’s going to be a game-changer. The developer portal is going to be along the lines of what WordPress has for their developer portals, meaning the theme repository, the plugin repository, and other bits and pieces. When ClassicPress gets all those things tied together, it’ll make it even easier for the average user to use ClassicPress versus how — it’s not overly hard, but it’s not super easy to use at the moment. And I feel that’s going to make a world of difference in ClassicPress as it comes down the pike and as it matures. It’s coming into its third year now, and you have to think even WordPress. It took four or five years before the world even notice they existed. I mean, I noticed they existed somewhere around year five or six of their existence. And at that time, it was pretty raw. So you got to think about it. ClassicPress, I feel is going to be a contender for WordPress if they don’t do what every other big tech has done and try to smash their competition for whatever reason they can come up with. All right. And that’s really all I’ve got for ClassicPress this week aside from the usual links and everything else.
Time to dive into the WordPress plugins I do have for this week. And the first one I have for you out the gate is WordPress Unique Headers. Now, this one here I tripped across when working on a client site, and they had this installed in there. And when I went and looked into it, it’s like, oh, okay, that’s why they have all the different header images all across their pages. This is a plugin that you add to your site. And what it does, it allows you when you’re creating a poster or a page, it has a spot for you to create a unique header image, separate and apart from all of your other header images on your site, and it’s supposed to override them. I don’t know how well it works with Elementor yet. The site I was working on had an old theme on it that this was installed. Really cool idea, if you’re running a site such as a cycling club, or running club, or something else, and you want to showcase different headers of beautiful places to ride or cycle or run. So this is a really interesting plugin one. You’ll want to go check out if you’re looking for something along this style. So go check it out. It’s called unique headers, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: It’s pretty cool; probably a lot of fun to set up too.
John: Yeah, might be.
Amber: First one I’ve got is WordPress Shortcodes Plugin – Shortcodes Ultimate. As you know, the first part of that name isn’t long enough.
John: Yeah. And they needed to say shortcode twice to make it short.
Amber: Yeah. So this is actually a pretty fantastic one, if you’re into using your own CSS, and prefer to use the built-in WordPress Editor rather than something like Elementor. Once you download and activate it, you go into settings and simply add your CSS into the provided text box. It supports paragraph, short code and classic, and you can enable where the short codes will actually be able to take effect. At least that’s my understanding of it. Be sure to enable the insert shortcode button in the selected blocks when using this though, otherwise, it’s not going to work for you. This is actually quite easy to use, and it seems to work pretty well, and it’s a total freebie too. I rate it at five dragons.
John: Excellent. Go check that one out, folks. Okay, the next one I have for you here is one that was sent in to me — to us by Aron Thomas. He sent this plugin in, and it is called Text Filtering. And it seems like an interesting one. It’s similar to one I covered a few episodes back that replaces text in your site except this one’s a little more thorough, I think. And it’s one you may want to go check out if you’re in need of replacing text in your site because if you go through, find the words that you need to be replaced in your site, then you list the words to replace it with. And the interesting thing about this is it can search through categories of your posts, or just all the posts at once. So if you have a specific category of posts where you know these words exist, and you might have them outside those categories, but you don’t want to change them outside those categories, but just inside that category, this plugin will help you streamline to do just that. Very interesting plugin. So, filters out the text, replaces them with your preferred phrases, and it does that during the page load across all your posts or the specific categories, and it’s an absolute freebie, and, of course, I’m going to give it a five-dragon rating.
John: Go check it out, Text Filtering.
Amber: I have to ask, what would you use that for, like, for a word that’s not supposed to be there anymore?
John: Well, you could use it for a word that’s not supposed to be there anymore, or a word that’s changed this meaning. You could use it for a date that you’ve put into the site, you need to change that date, like if you put 2020 in across the site, now everything needs to be 2021. Or in this case here, you know, maybe you wrote corona, and you want to correct it to be COVID-19, you know, instead of using the old bad word to corona, you know, so the people stop thinking about the beer, and they start thinking about the disease or whatever. So it’s basically there to find a word you mistakenly used across multiple pages, and now you need to correct it. Or something that —
Amber: That makes sense.
John: — something that change meaning, I mean, words change meaning. I mean, they keep changing the meanings of, you know, everyday words nowadays. So, I don’t have a sample in my head right now.
Amber: Well, next one I’ve got is password policy manager, Password Manager. I didn’t realize how many I chose that have like a super long double name.
John: Double names, man. All right. It could be simpler to say, you know, the password policy manager. They didn’t need to say Password Manager again. Okay.
Amber: So, this is done by miniOrange, which I — I just think that’s a cool name for your group.
John: Yeah, it’s a really decent company too. I actually pay for one of their software for a specific website; I do their two factor authentication plugin.
Amber: Well, this one is actually pretty cool. You can probably be really mean with this too. What it does is it forces your users to use passwords other than abc123.
John: That’s a good thing to do. You really don’t want people using abc123.
Amber: Which it seems like a lot of people really do tend to stick to those really easy, simple password.
John: And they wonder why everything gets hacked.
Amber: Yeah. And I mean, for people who want to stop that from happening on their sites that they work so hard on, you grab this, download and activate it, and then you just go over to settings on the left-hand side under miniOrange. From there, you can make the password requirements up to 25 characters long, that require both upper and lowercase letters as well as a number, or you can just choose one of those, or even leave them all blank. And you can even require a special character. You can also make the password expire between 1 and 28 days. You could be so mean with this.
John: That would be quite annoying. I’ve been on websites where they expired my password, and it just drove me mental.
Amber: Yeah, it works for everyone right off the get go rather than you having to set up to work for specific types of users or anything.
Amber: Another neat little feature they have there is the option to disable the password policy there in the setting, so you don’t have to deactivate the plugin to stop it from doing its thing to everyone. I do appreciate that option being there just makes it that much easier, you know,
John: It does.
Amber: And another neat little thing that I’ve never seen before is on the right-hand side of the settings page, there’s this little message box where email is already filled in where you can shoot off a message if you need any support immediately. So you don’t have to go crawling through their site in order to figure out any kind of contact info; it’s right there ready for you.
John: And their support is pretty good. I’ve had to use their support in the past for the other plugin.
Amber: So there is a premium version which does bring this down a dragon, but the free version does offer up all the needed little bits to make your site more secure. So I rate this at four dragons.
John: Absolutely, really great plugin. Okay. Next one I have for you here today is another one that was sent in by one of our wonderful producers out there. This was sent in by Steve, and it’s called WordPress Brute Force Protection – Stop Brute Force Attack. See you’re addicting — it’s your fault that I did this. We got several of these plugins with these double names.
Amber: It’s my fault, right?
John: Yeah, you know, it’s absolutely your fault. All right. So let’s move it along anyway. This is a really interesting plugin, and this is the write-up that Steve sent in to me. It’s like, “Hi, John. I love the podcast and wondered if you’d be interested in reviewing a new plugin from Guard Giant. It stops hackers by way of limiting login attempts, but without impacting the user experience. When a genuine user makes a successful login to their account using the mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Guard Giant starts treating their device as trusted. Failed login attempts from trusted devices are directed towards lost password forms rather than being subjected to account lockouts or additional countermeasures. Users receive an alert when anyone logs into their account from an unrecognized device or browser. This is the same security approach as many large websites such as Facecrack, Google, and is a much more viable method than the limit login attempts plugin that is popular in WordPress sites. It stops hackers, but it does not lock out genuine users. There is also a rather nifty login activity log to track it, and there’s a link here in the show notes where you can download it from WordPress, and then, it’s like thank you for taking a look. I’d love to hear what you think. Kind regards, Steve.” Well, Steve, I haven’t used it, but just skimming over it. It does look like a very nice useful plugin for preventing hack attempts, and it sounds like one that I will have to give a try and my next build out of a site to see how it goes, at least get it on a dev site to see what’s happening with it. I mean, my poor sandboxes are constantly under attack so they’re a good place for me to test stuff like this. So it does look like a great one. And just based on his write-up on it, and it does seem to be a bit of a freebie over here, I’m going to label it up a five-dragon since he didn’t label it up. So we give it a five-dragon rating.
John: Thanks, Steve.
Amber: I love the sound of that plugin. That’s the kind of experience I think every company should do for their logins, man.
John: Strive for making life easy for the average user who doesn’t really want to understand what goes on in the backend. They just want it to work. They want it to work with minimum amount of fuss.
Amber: Over the longest time, I kept using these fancy passwords, and then, I write them down — I’d lose the booklet where I write them down, right? And so I always end up getting locked out. And my goodness, if you get locked out of your Gmail, it is a pain to get in if you can’t remember your password.
John: Oh, yeah.
Amber: So the last one I’ve got here is Work Time Allocator. Hey, look, a normal title.
John: Hey, look, you broke the cycle.
Amber: I did. So this can be a very useful plugin for people who have multiple workers on any given site, or also for people who are rather forgetful in setting down how many hours they’re putting in. It’s a bit of a production to set it up, which can be a little irritating, but once it’s set up and going, it’s fine. You plug it in, activate it, then go through about eight different stages to set it up or eight different steps to set up rather — starting with allocating which user is an employee, then you have to go to the plugin settings and set the employee up, put in the information for the client, and there’s like four or five more steps. One of the cool things though, is that when you set up someone as an employee, that doesn’t mean that they have to lose their role as an administrator or whatever role they may have. So this is an addition not a replacement for the role, which I found really useful. You also need to choose what sort of currency you’re working with. The options are a little limited though. There’s only three to choose from; Dollars, Pounds, or Euros. And then you enter in the short code that which they give you, in so whichever page you want to keep track of the hours spent. It shows up on the pages as a proper login form, kind of like ‘90s style, but it only shows up to the employees and the administrators. So, anybody else looking at that site does not going to see it. So you don’t have to worry about the ‘90s-looking sign-in sheet showing up all of your customers or people who are coming to check it out. It’s useful, but it only keeps the last 10 Records in stock for you. So unless you’re regularly copy and pasting, it only has the last 10 signings to go off of for your work history and employee history. Though it’s easy for workers to use — and when the job is done, simply choose the option ‘done’ in the settings for that job, and the sign-in form disappears on the page it was on. I see a lot of potential here honestly. It’s a rather new plugin, so got less than 10 activations — and I see a lot of potential. It seems a little limited as it stands right now though.
John: Yeah, maybe as they build it out, it’ll become more relevant and useful.
Amber: Yeah. I look forward to keeping an eye on it and seeing if they actually expand it into what the plugin is capable of. As it stands right now, I rate it four dragons.
John: Absolutely cool. Yeah, this is a nice one. There’s been so many time tracker plugins and stuff over the years I’ve seen. I’ve tried so many different ways of tracking my time for development that this one here could actually save a lot of time for people for those that aren’t ready to spend money on time tracking. That’s the big one. All right. Well, that wraps up all of those, and we got a little bit. This show is currently brought to you by,
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John: And that’s definitely — one of the biggest things I do is I limit the number of websites per server allowing the servers to run at their maximum capacity for all the other clients that are there. So it gives you a high quality hosting at an affordable price. All right. And we are on to listener feedback. We don’t really have any this week. It’d be nice if some folks out there can kick us some listener feedback, tell us if we’re doing good, bad, indifferent, you know, kick us some information, you know, ask us some questions, get some free advice if you’re looking for it, all of that great stuff. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from any of you producers out there in this area of the show. So please send us some stuff. Just go to the website wppluginsatoz.com/contact to send us all that great stuff.
Now, we do have contests — and we need a contest jingle. We don’t have the contest jingle yet. We’ll have to find one here. And nothing I’ve got here through everything I was playing with today.
All right. But we do have a contest. And there are only five days left to enter our current contest. Next contest ends next week, and winner will be drawn for the next show. I do like to thank Charlie for coming to the aid of the show and getting our contests all organized so that we’ve had a regular continuous flow of contest to all of you. Our producers of the show giving away licenses, man. These licenses are donated by the developers. Yes, they get some promotion for it. No, we don’t get anything else for it. They give us the license, we give it to you. Sometimes they offer me a license. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t need your plugin at the moment, but there are people out there that do,” those of you that are listening to the show. You might like this one here. This one is wpadminpagespro, a really great plugin. I did a great interview with Arindo Duque, and we talked about WP Admin Pages Pro and their other plugins. So go check out the interview. And this is a plugin to help you build out your custom admin pages using your favorite page builder. A really great plugin for white labeling and customizing your WordPress development site for your clients to give them the information they need, not all the extra stuff they don’t need. A really great tool, go check it out. This is an unlimited lifetime license for WP Admin Pages Pro. So just go into your wppluginsatoz.com/contest to enter this contest and win it. All we need is your email address, so we can send you – oh, no, not spam. We don’t send spam — all we do is send out our weekly newsletter to you. If we have some other thing come up this important, we’ll fire that off too, but it’s usually just our weekly newsletter talking about this show and other bits and pieces of news and information we have. So go into the contest. folks.
All right. And I covered up in this show — the plugins I covered was WordPress Brute Force Protection – Stop Brute Force Attacks, Text Filtering, the first one I gave a five to, Text Filtering, which I gave a five to, and the Unique Headers, which I gave a four to.
Amber: And I covered Worktime Allocator, which I gave a four to. Password policy manager – Password Manager, which I gave a four to, and WordPress short codes Plugin – Shortcode Ultimate, which I give five to. It sounds better when I make it sound more exciting.
John: Yes, this is going to make more exciting, you know, liven them a bit. All right. A couple of quick reminders before we head into the Q&A segment because we get these out of the way because halfway through the Q&A segment we run the end credits for the show, and then we continue the show after that for the YouTube listeners. All right. First off, no meetups planned yet. That is coming. Next up, If you’re not getting enough of hearing me and Amber talking chatter, you can join us for a new podcast and live stream of the Rogues Tavern shooting shit at the Rogues tavern. It’s every Tuesday evening at 9 pm Pacific Standard Time. It’s over on the roguestavern.com; you can find it all there. There will be a link for the roguestavern.com/live, and I will get that done before the next show, but go check that out, and maybe subscribe to the podcast, download and listen to it, and find out what we’re chatting about when we’re not talking about WordPress plugins and all the other WordPress stuff that we talk about here. If you’d like to be on an interview show, simply connect at wppluginsatoz.com/interview. And again, I was just talking about the Rogues Tavern, so I’ll just browse over that one there. If you’ve got any suggestions for plugins or news or anything else you want to submit to the show, just go to wppluginsatoz.com/contact to submit all that stuff. Let’s move it along, it is now time.
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: So, I was looking at the questions here. You put the wrong questions in.
John: Did I?
John: How did I manage that trick?
Amber: You put in the questions from last week.
John: No, this isn’t the ones from last week. That wasn’t ones — this one — let me go —
Amber: Oh, from a couple of weeks ago actually.
John: Okay, well then.
Amber: From Episode 493. So, not last week, but the week before. There we go.
John: shows 494. Oh, I don’t know how that happened. All right. Well, let’s fix that real quick.
Amber: And for some reason —
John: Back out of there for a second. Let me pop your questions in here. And that means I have to go correct my show notes too that are already .
Amber: Some reason you’re missing one of the questions that I put down. I guess I didn’t sync it up properly. That would be on me.
John: It could be anything along that line. All right. And if I put them in here, let me sync that up again.
Amber: We’re having a glitch.
John: Glitch, glitch, glitch. Yeah, technical errors. We are having technical challenges at the moment. All right. So, go look in the show notes. Is your first question —
Amber: There we go. That’s right.
John: Okay. All right. Let’s move along with the — let’s do that again.
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: Okay, so the first question I’ve got for you is what’s going on with the site when some pages are working properly, but others are not through CSS? For instance, some pages have one blue paragraph and the rest is black when it should all be blue?
John: Okay, well, that’s semi-straightforward, but we need to break that question out, so it’s a little more comprehensive because you read it as almost as a run-on sentence to me. You should have went, what’s going on with the site when some pages are not working properly, but other pages are? And they’re not working correctly through the CSS?
Amber: Oh, that’s two separate questions. I thought that was kind of, you know, one idea.
John: Yeah, it was one, but it came across as confusing to my brain. At any rate, what it is, is you’re talking there, is CSS is a hierarchy — a massive hierarchy? And the CSS that is applied to a page is the CSS that is closest to the element that the CSS has been implied to. And what can happen sometimes is back further though, there’s one thing that happens, and it’s called the important tag. I can’t even get that right, ‘important tag.’ Because they dropped the T; the T doesn’t exist anymore. The important, it’s important. At any rate, there’s a tag called important, and that tag can get applied several layers up, and you might not know what’s there. But what it does, it overrides everything that’s further down the page. And it can be applied accidentally, people can apply it for a reason. That’s one thing that can happen with it. It all comes down to the hierarchy of the CSS, and what happens is, in particular happens with clients who try to apply CSS to their text right in the text itself, or they try to change the text itself, when they’re doing the editing versus letting the CSS take care of it. And sometimes the CSS wants to override that text even though it’s not supposed to. And it makes a nightmare of things. And usually, you have to end up writing a new piece of code yourself to force an override over the overrides of the overrides, just to make it work without having to tear the entire thing apart and figure out where it’s at. And it just basically comes down to the hierarchy of the CSS and where it’s applied at — is how it brings it all down.
Amber: And because of how much CSS there is, it’s kind of hard to find to figure out where that code is overriding. It’s strange that it would happen to like one paragraph of a page, and the rest isn’t affected. Or it’s like one paragraph isn’t affected and the rest is affected, rather, is what I meant. Okay, so next question is, how come some pages, or is it all pages don’t translate properly from Elementor to WordPress when you initially made it in WordPress? One would think that those pages could properly translate and go back and forth rather easily?
John: Okay, can you translate that question for me? What do you mean when create from WordPress to Elementor or vice versa? What do you mean?
Amber: Okay. So a page is created in like the little WordPress page — when you create a new post, for instance, you just create it right there. And then later on, you try to edit it in Elementor, so it translates from that to Elementor. You can’t then go back and edit it in the first one, that’s actually WordPress, without having to then also edit it in Elementor. You have to do them both. You would think that you could switch back and forth between the two of them. Why can’t you?
John: Okay? Well, that’s because — okay, WordPress sets its own coding. It creates its own HTML blocks and other code places for the code. And when you flip it to Elementor, Elementor goes, “Oh, I want everything that’s inside the text block and let’s put it inside our own custom text blocks with our own custom HTML wraps.” And when you try to take it back from Elementor to WordPress, WordPress, “I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me here. I don’t recognize all this. I’m just going to treat it all as if it’s text, and not just –“ And so basically, WordPress doesn’t understand the reverse, whereas the page builders understand only grabbing the code that’s in, or the text that’s inside the text blocks versus WordPress trying to grab the entire text block Elementor users. And that happens across multiple types of themes. That’s been happening long before WordPress went to Block Builders. And when I use — I’ve used multiple different styles, page builders over the years. I’ve used — I can’t remember the names of them now. WP Bakery was a page builder I used for a while. I’m trying to remember — there’s several different page builders. And the page builders, they create their own dev tags to wrap the text in. And that’s what WordPress does. And even with the WordPress Block Builder, it creates its own dev tags for everything to tell everything where it’s going to be. And so, it just doesn’t understand the going back and forth. You have to choose one or the other. Once you choose something outside of WordPress, you’re pretty much stuck with it without a lot of work to go back the other way.
Amber: Oh, okay, so it’s kind of like trying to run up as a waterslide.
John: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, same thing. It just doesn’t work. And it’s just something that is a limitation that I’ve run into over the years, and I’ve just learned to accept that and live with it.
Amber: So is there a way to translate it from Elementor back? Like, can you delete the Elementor version?
John: I’ve never tried. I don’t know. Since I’ve started using Elementor, I have not wanted to go back. I mean, I’ve been really happy with Elementor. The only thing that made me sad with the Elementor was when they quit supporting ClassicPress. And that was when I considered leaving Elementor, but I was already buried into their ecosystem, which is why I’m doing so much stuff in WordPress versus having fully made the transition to ClassicPress. It’s because I like Elementor over Beaver Builder. While Beaver Builder is good and they support it, I just wasn’t ready to flip licenses because Elementor cost me 150 bucks a year. Beaver Builder cost me 150 bucks a year. Well, I’m not going to pay for two licenses. And I’ve already learned the hard way; I don’t try to understand more than one development tool. If you do, you mix them up, and it confuses things. So you get one developing tool you’re happy with, and just build in that, and get very good at it.
John: All right. You have one more question. We’ll let you read it out. And then, we’ll play the credits, and we’ll roll it on into YouTube.
Amber: Okay, translations of plugins, API’s and translatable strings from your source code, can you explain what this means? I came across a plugin that was talking about being able to do these things, and I’m honestly at a bit of a loss, so what it was saying it could do?
John: Okay, well, if you want the answer to that, folks, those listening on the podcast, jump on over to the YouTube channel and roll up towards the end and find out where it’s at. I’m going to play the credits, let my girl take us out of here, enjoy my shot, and we will be right back.
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