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Getting Started With a CMS

Ready to build a website? Leverage a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal to build sites that are both powerful and easy to use.

Content Management Systems Spotlight10

Secure Your Drupal Sites After Heartbleed With the "Password Policy" Module

Monday April 14, 2014

Drupal logo

Your Drupal site was probably affected by Heartbleed, the encryption bug that opened security holes on sites across the Internet. Although the bug had nothing to do with Drupal, you still need to do two things to secure your site.

  • Step 1 is straightforward: check with your hosting company to see whether they've secured your server, and whether you need to do anything. They may tell you to get your security certificate reissued. If so, follow their instructions.

  • But Step 2 could easily be missed. After you've followed all the instructions from your hosting company, here's one more step: force a password change for all your users.

If your server was vulnerable to Heartbleed, all those user passwords could (in theory) have been tidily collected somewhere. Again, this vulnerability isn't specific to Drupal, it's just all part of the tasty, slightly post-apocalyptic delight we're calling Heartbleed.

Not all sites out there are forcing password changes, but why not? The tiny hassle is a small price to pay.

Drupal doesn't come with a built-in mechanism for forcing a password change, but when has that ever stopped us? Check out the excellent Password Policy module. With a couple clicks, you can force a one-time password change for every single user.

Seriously. Go do this now. Internet-wide security breaches don't happen that often. Wipe those old passwords before one of them wipes out your site.

Learn more about the Password Policy module.

Save Money by Avoiding These WordPress.com "Premium Upgrades"

Monday April 7, 2014

WordPress logo

WordPress.com lets you host a WordPress site for free, but they offer certain "premium upgrades". Some are worth paying for, but you can usually save money by avoiding most premium upgrades.

Every site is different (and in fact, some WordPress sites should never be hosted on WordPress.com). In general, though, you can probably skip:

Most of the other upgrades can usually be skipped, too -- you can review the list to be sure.

Don't be too cheap, though. With a few "must-have" WordPress.com upgrades, you can leverage WordPress.com to get excellent, professional-looking, maintenance-free hosting for your WordPress site.

Related Articles: When Not to Host Your WordPress Site on WordPress.com | Skip the VideoPress Upgrade | Skip the Premium Themes Upgrade | "Must Have" WordPress.com Upgrades

Theming Your CMS Website Just Got Easy...Okay, Easier

Friday March 28, 2014

WordPress logo Drupal logo Joomla logo

Some people love theming their website. Others would rather comparison shop life insurance. In multiple languages.

Wherever you fall on the theming spectrum, making your CMS look good just got easier and quicker. In a few short articles, I've covered essential concepts of choosing or designing a theme. Are you agonizing over whether to try paid themes? Wondering what the basic parts of a "theme" even are? Read on.

These articles apply to almost any CMS, whether it's WordPress, Drupal or even Joomla. (I'm biased towards Drupal over Joomla, personally.) They explain the general concepts that you'll need to wrestle with themes (or templates) in any CMS.

Get More Theming Joy

Are you planning to use an existing theme? Check out "Choosing the Right CMS Theme or Template. "

Are you more concerned with getting a custom theme to look just right? Save time and money with "Designing a Custom CMS Theme or Template."

If you avoid the pitfalls, theming can be (mostly) a splendid pleasure. I hope you learn to enjoy it as much as I (usually) do.

How to Make WordPress and Drupal "Responsive"

Monday March 24, 2014

WordPress logo Drupal logo

You want your website to work on phones and tablets, right? To be "responsive"? You may be thinking that you'd like to use a popular CMS like WordPress or Drupal, but you're not sure whether it'll be "responsive". Good news: any quality CMS can be used to build a responsive website, because "responsiveness" happens in the theme.

It's true that some CMSs can't be themed to be responsive, but their theming potential is so limited that you'd probably want to avoid them anyway. A good CMS can look like anything, and this certainly includes both WordPress and Drupal.

So when you're shopping around for themes (such as free WordPress themes or Drupal themes), check whether each theme is responsive. Not all themes are.

A responsive theme will often boast this fact (although responsiveness is fast becoming a requirement, not a feature, for new themes). But you can also use a free tool in Firefox to easily test whether a theme is responsive at different screen sizes.

Learn more:

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