Bootstrap Themes for WordPress

Going to be looking at ‘bootstrap’ themes for WordPress. Combined with plugins such as Calls To Action, powerful sales or squeeze related pages can be created.

Twitter Bootstrap is another powerful and intuitive responsive front-end-framework available for faster and easier web development. Opencodez Team came up with responsive wordpress theme based up on this framework. The theme has all the features of premium themes and most important its available for free.

openstrap

Ultimate Bootstrap

ultimatebootstrap

Brockhall Village Internet

Brockhall village, a small gated community in Lancashire, was not well served when it came to broadband availability, but 3G/4G might now offer a secure, reliable alternative.

Brockhall Village is a gated community in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, England and home to the training facilities for Blackburn Rovers F.C. The village is close to Billington and Langho and is 7 miles (11 km) north of Blackburn.

Sadly when it was built it was BT did not serve it well with faster ADSL broadband which mean’t many in the village had to rely on a small wireless provider.

However looking at the EE coverage maps, I wonder how 3G and 4G compare with the traditional wireless services?

brockhallCapture

According the map the area now seems bathed in good 3G and 4G reception, but has anyone tried it? However the area isn’t well served by 3G/4G base stations, with a clutch of 4 masts towards Walley.

walley3GCapture

I was last in the village over two years ago, and didn’t have any issues picking up 3G reception in the car (can’t remember which part I was in). However I have to say it wasn’t fastest phone reception I’d ever experienced (and would be even worse in a house, without some fiddling about) but then again I wasn’t really trying.

Would be interested with working with anyone looking at using 3G/4G in Brockhall Village as an alternative to using existing services, whether Wireless of fixed line Broadband. 4G networks offer complete privacy, security and safety, and I always have concerns using traditional ‘Wifi.’

SEO Forecast for 2014

Gazing into our crystal ball we see the following developments on the SEO front.

1. Emphasis on social signals which started in 2013 and we feel that social signals are going to become progressively important during 2014. The more likes / follows you have the better. What we’re starting to see are the quality of your likes / follows making a difference. A little bit like the evolution of back link quality we are now seeing this with like and follow quality. You need visitors to build more visitors before Google sits up and notices

2. On-site content. Quality not quantity. Our feeling is that press releases are a waste of time unless you are press releasing for the right reason. If you really do have some news then a press release is great but the days of press releasing in order to build relevant backlinks are over. These are not being taken in to account as much by the search engines.

4. The search engines what to rank sites higher that people are talking about. Therefore, links that are embedded in to forum / blog postings are being treated as high quality It’s also very organic as long as the link is relevant to the conversation. This is now our rapid backlinks can be built.

Proxy Hide Script For Piwik

This script allows to track statistics using Piwik, without revealing the Piwik Server URL. This is useful for users who track multiple websites on the same Piwik server, but don’t want to show the Piwik server URL in the source code of all tracked websites.
Requirements

To run this properly you will need

  • Piwik server latest version
  • One or several website(s) to track with this Piwik server, for example http://hostwey.net
  • The website to track must run on a server with PHP5 support
  • In your php.ini you must check that the following is set: allow_url_fopen = On

CheapVPS & Names.co.uk

I’ve been thinking of getting some UK based VPS (for geographic IP targetting – must of my VPS’s are hosted on Amazons EC2 cloud in North America.

I was looking at cheapvps.co.uk offerings (I’m sure I used to have that domain, or maybe it was some variant, can’t remember now) and its interesting how things in the hosting turn around.

CheapVPS is a trading name for Simply Virtual Limited which is part of the Names.co.uk group, which in turn is part of Dada Pro. Where do I come in?

Well in a past life over ten years ago, I used to work as Technical Manager for Simplynames Limited, which after a few judicious domain name acquisitions mutated into Simply.Net Limited and eventually Simply.Com Limited. The company was owned and operated by the Coulson family, but they eventually sold out to Namesco around 2005.

So I’m very glad the Dada/Namesco management have massively developed the Simply name which was associated (without me sounding arrogant and I’m blowing my own trumpet) kinda started with me. I started playing around creating virtual machines, which I think started with UML or User Mode Linux back in 2001/2.  My first Plesk Virtual Private Server ran on UML (which was slow, but it worked).

Then later we on moved onto OpenVZ and Virtuozzo which were Parallels/SW Soft operating system level virtualization products. Prior to be being taken over by Namesco, virtually all of Simply’s hosting stack was hosted on Parallels virtualisation platform.

After the takeover the Namesco techs migrated most of the Simply hosting platform onto their Zeus based platform which to be fair was more robust (though it has other problems).

I left Namesco because I felt they didn’t have much faith in the whole ‘VPS’ thing – I don’t think they got it. And we were left just running a few private VPS’s for customers, or some Plesk hosting for users who’s ‘stuff’ wouldn’t work on Zeus, or were reluctant to move. There was also some internal politics at the time and a general reluctance to sell VPS, and a desire to sell ‘real servers’ instead.

Then what happens. Another regime change and out with old. Namesco are acquired by Dada, who also purchase Amen from Claranet, Pound Host and a few others. Also somewhere along the line a whole new customer datacentre gets built in Maidenhead, and from what I can see the re-branded Names.co.uk is thinking the unthinkable and replacing Zeus with Apache (hey how about Nginx guys?) ;o)

But after all that, its good to see Virtualisation associated with what remains of the ‘Simply’ brand (Simply.Com is used for something else by Dada). Maybe I left too soon? Oh well thats another one that ‘got way’ ;o) I should have got into Bitcoins sooner too.

Shared Hosting Or VPS?

What are the benefits of say choosing a VPS (virtual private server) over shared hosting?

A VPS can clearly outnumber a shared host in performance and freedom, but not in pricing. Price can only be matched when the VPS is an unmanaged instance, meaning you have to ‘drive’ it (or someone you hire -like me ;o)). You have to take care of all the configurations, the server management, the monitoring – and often even the operating system install itself (though this is often templated and relatively painless)

For most people this sounds horrible and finding a cheap but good system operator can be a nightmare. The problem is, that on a shared host you are limited to what your hosts system provides.

There are very few good hosting providers which allow switching between web servers, or even switching different PHP versions, and what’s worst: you clearly are not allowed to tweak any of the services. It very much is a case of ‘one size fits all’ with shared hosting.