Next Level Ops Podcast: Modern Web Development Tools with Brian Richards

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back with the tenth and final episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. We’re already at the close of the season and we’d like to thank every single one of our guests and listeners, as well as our host for being a part of Next Level Ops! In this installment, Superhost Joe chats with Brian Richards, Creator of WPSessions, about essential web development tools for modern web developers.

In This Episode: jQuery Turns 14, Brian’s Toolkit for Web Development, and Leveling Up

What coding tools are there for the everyday web developer? With a great amount of web development tools out there, how do you decide which ones to have in your toolbox? How can you level up your skills and find new tools to use? All of this and more in this episode of Next Level Ops.

“Knowing which tools to look for is the entire battle. So, where do you find the tools that help make your job easier? How do you know that they actually work as advertised? Why should you trust them? When can you trust them?”

Brian Richards, Creator of WPsessions

Use Code Linting

First of all, you can start with some concepts to get familiar with. For example, code linting helps you find errors in your code while you’re writing your code. It shows you where you’ve inserted a character that breaks your code depending on the language you’re coding in.

Configure Your Code Editor

Second, Brian recommends that you find a code editor that you love. Moreover, you can configure the code editor of your choice to be more productive for you by changing short codes and adding code completion and formatting. A few changes like this and it will customize your code editor to be the best choice for you. Keep in mind that instead of looking for the next shiny product, use the tools that work for you and stick to them. Keep reading for recommended code editors and local development tools below. 

Follow Coding Standards

Additionally, for coding it’s important to adapt some kind of coding standards and making sure that you follow them. Following standards should help you avoid running into bugs. Learn about local development environments that help you build projects for the web while offline. There are many tools specialized for the platform and languages you want to work with.

Love the Command Line

And last but not least, become familiar with and begin to love the command line. So, read on to find the key takeaways of recommended tools and strategies from Brian to orient your web development. This list is a must-have for web developers so better bookmark this page!

Key Takeaways

A List of Great Tools

  • Free and open-source code editor: VSCode
  • Code sniffers that can check your code for compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Github needs little introduction. Use it for testing, deploying and peer-review.
  • Laravel Valet is a fast local, development environment for Mac with minimal resource requirements.
  • Use Local by Flywheel for local WordPress development.
  • Lando is a local development dependency management and automation tool.
  • Know and love the Command Line:
  • Wait at least two years before adopting a new library. And if you’re picking up a code library, don’t forget to follow the coding standards set by the library.

Choose Your Learning Battles

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear all the details. If you’re interested in hearing more from Next Level Ops, check out the rest of our podcasts. This was the last installment this season, so keep checking in to find out our future plans!

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Brian Richards

Brian is the Creator of WPsessions and an independent web developer.

Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops.  Until next time, stay safe.

Next Level Ops Podcast: Working with Self-hosting Email with Christian Mollekopf

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back with the ninth episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. Only one more to go and we’re already at the close of Season 1! In this installment, Superhost Joe and Christian Mollekopf from Apheleia IT talk about working with self-hosting email.

In This Episode: Choosing An Email Hosting Provider, Reputation Management and Taking Back Control

What should you consider when choosing an email hosting provider? What are some of the options users have when searching for good email providers, especially if you also want to look at enterprise options? Is it good enough to opt for what your web host offers or to use a service like GSuite? What are some of the things you should think about when going the self-hosting route? In this episode, Joe and Christian discuss how to address options and issues surrounding email hosting. 

“I think usually it [email] is something that you are going to use for quite a long time. It’s like a very central part of your infrastructure typically. So, I think it’s definitely worth considering a couple of options,” says Christian. When choosing the right hosting provider, it’s worth considering things like what are the features you require, whether it’s simply email or also calendars and tasks, whether you need shared folders and calendars, and which type of client do you want. Another factor to consider is vendor lock in – just in case you want to transfer to another hosting provider and how easy will it be for you to migrate your data to another system. 

If vendor lock in is an issue of concern for you, then the question arises whether you can self-host your email. What happens when you do that? Some common issues to watch out for are to make sure that other servers can distinguish between genuine email coming from your server and spam coming from other servers, pretending to come from your server, to ensure that your server doesn’t send spam, and reputation management of your domain. To read some of the best practices of self-hosting email, go here.

Key Takeaways

  • What should someone consider when choosing an email hosting provider? Your email is probably going to be a central part of the infrastructure and you’ll use it for a long time to start out by keeping this in mind. The second thing is to consider the features you need, such as a calendar, for example. Do consider your email’s interoperability and vendor lock-in. You should be able to migrate away if you want to.
  • What are the benefits of self-hosting over using a service like Gmail? One word: Control. You maintain control over your solution. If you self-host, you have more control over your email.
  • As a hosting provider, what are some of the pitfalls of hosting email? The biggest pitfall is reputation management. Other services that receive email have to fight a lot of spam. Track the reputation of domains and IP addresses.
  • What features in Plesk help with email hosting? SPF, DMARK, DKIM are built-in. Other UIs for important measures like rate and message size limits and the Plesk Email Security extension with anti-spam. Find out more about the features here.

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear the rest. If you’re interested in hearing more from Next Level Ops, check out the rest of our podcasts. We’ll be back soon with our last installment.

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Christian Mollekopf

Christian is a Senior Software Engineer at Apheleia IT.

Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops.  And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Next Level Ops Podcast: Solving the Most Common WordPress Problems with Lucas Radke

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back with the eighth episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In this installment, Superhost Joe and Product Wizard Lucas Radke talk about common WordPress problems and what hosting providers and users can do about them.

In This Episode: Noisy Neighbors, Fixing WordPress Problems, and What Hosting Providers Can Do

What are the most common WordPress problems for hosting providers? In what domains do common WordPress problems fall for most users? How much does WordPress itself mitigate these problems and what can hosting providers and users do? In this episode, Joe and Lucas discuss the three main areas under which WordPress problems usually fall — performance, updates, and security. You can have noisy neighbors when an environment is shared by too many users, impacting your website’s performance. 

Frequent updates are also often a pain point as non-updated plugins and themes can lead to security issues. Hosting providers should ideally provide solutions for this, otherwise it can lead to backdoors that compromise websites. For instance, tools such as Smart Updates for Plesk WordPress Toolkit analyzes WordPress updates and identifies and performs changes without breaking the production site. It also notifies users of any potentially critical updates. 

It’s essential for users to be proactive about potential issues from their side, especially non-savvy tech users. What can users do to ensure that they are taking the right precautions? The first thing is to make sure that they use a trusted web hoster who provides them with a secure hosting environment. Recently, WordPress has also had an increasing emphasis on security and recommends some basic security protections. For example, to make sure that access is limited, keeping backups, regular updates, and installing plugins and themes from trusted sources. For WordPress, security is about risk reduction.

“The great and terrible thing about WordPress is the amount of freedom you have. The freedom to set up whatever website you want considerably cheaply. But also the freedom to cause problems for either yourself, your client or your hosting provider,” says Joe, “Because if you’re on a shared host and your website is compromised, then it’s possible that other websites are compromised as well.”

Key Takeaways

  • What are some of the actions hosting providers can take to fix common WordPress issues? Hosting providers are responsible for how well the site performs. Users may expect high performance without paying the price for it. Many users install plugins to help with the performance or security of their website. The hosting provider has to make sure that plugins are updated and to make sure that there are no open doors for hackers. It’s also essential that hosting providers have a properly trained support team, specialized in solving WordPress issues.
  • What can users do to minimize some frequent WordPress problems? Being proactive is very important for users. Along with being informed about what’s happening in the community from a security perspective. Which plugins are having potential issues? What are some of the security issues coming up in the WordPress community? Trying to get the information that helps users reduce security risks should be a priority, especially for non-tech savvy users.
  • To what extent does WordPress mitigate these problems? WordPress has had a recently increased security focus. It’s forcing stronger passwords; it’s verifying email addresses; it has a site Health Checker and Troubleshooter performing checks on users’ WordPress installations; and other criteria for running WordPress sites securely.
  • Which plugins can mitigate some of the issues? iThemes Security is a useful plugin. Smart Updates for Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit has some cool features. WordPress Toolkit checks for updates for plugins, themes, and core. It can automatically perform updates if you choose to do so. Smart Updates makes sure that the proper changes are identified and implemented without breaking the live site.

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear the rest. If you’re interested in hearing more about WordPress hosting, check out this Next Level Ops episode. We’ll be back soon with the next installment.

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Lucas Radke

Lucas is a Product Manager at Plesk.

Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops.  And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Next Level Ops Podcast: Tips for Scaling Your Hosting with Jan Loeffler

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back with the seventh episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In this installment, Superhost Joe welcomes back Jan Loeffler, Plesk’s CTO and Tech Mage, to talk about optimizing and scaling your hosting.

In This Episode: the TikTok Effect, Jan’s Downtime Checklist and When to Scale

What do we mean by scaling and why should you be thinking about it? What do you do if you suddenly become popular on TikTok and visitors are streaming to your website? Before you scale online, what is the first thing you should be doing? Jan and Joe answer these questions and more in the latest Next Level Ops episode.

Avoiding downtime is the first thing you should be considering, according to Jan. “Downtime is the worst problem for your business. Because that means that customers are not able to visit your site anymore,” says Jan. “Most of the downtime is not happening due to the hosting stack or the hosting infrastructure. Usually, downtime happens more often from the user.” 

Before you consider scaling and performance tuning, make sure that you have a process in place for:

  • Disaster recovery and creating regular backups.
  • Not making changes on a live site and using tools that provide you with test environments.
  • Making sure that your website is fast because businesses lose revenue when sites take more than 3 seconds to load.
  • Not using “too poor” hardware and always making sure that you have enough server capacity left.
  • Profiling your server and site activity by using performance monitoring tools to find out where your bottlenecks are.

To get the best out of scaling your hosting, make sure you follow Jan’s Downtime Checklist above. And remember, “It’s also like running a marathon. You shouldn’t always run at the limit because afterwards you’ll get a cold.” says Jan. 

Wise words. 

To check out Jan’s previous feature, go here to learn all about optimizing your website (and get bonus training tips for your next big marathon).

“Downtime is the worst problem for your business. Because that means that customers are not able to visit your site anymore. Most of the downtime is not happening due to the hosting stack or the hosting infrastructure. Usually, downtime happens more often from the user.” 

Jan Loeffler

Key Takeaways

  • What’s the Downtime Checklist? Before scale and tuning websites, make sure that the user is not contributing to downtime. Have access to regular backups, test environments, good hardware and monitoring tools.
  • Speeding up your website and caching. Everything that helps you reduce database calls is your first priority. The second priority is to reduce processing PHP. It’s even faster when you don’t need to call up your web server. This is possible through the Content Delivery Network (CDN). You can use the Speed Kit to speed up your website.
  • Scaling your website. A website should usually be able to handle 200 requests per second. If you’re scaling your business or brand, make sure whether you need a static or a dynamic website. If you run an ecommerce website, then you need horizontal scaling.

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear the rest. If you’re interested in hearing more about site optimization, cloud services and WordPress hosting, check out the rest of our Next Level Ops episodes. We’ll be back soon with the next installment.

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Jan Loeffler

Jan is the Chief Technical Officer at Plesk.

As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops. And stay on the lookout for our next episode!