Bulletproof blog

HackedI’ve had an interesting few weeks fixing my blog. It was hacked. I suspect – though I have no direct proof – through my domain host CPanel account. Reading around the Internet, the host that I had chosen and had been happy with for a number of years had been victim to a server attack since early in the new year, and the account details of customers had been posted online somewhere. My CPanel password was relatively strong and not guessable (it wasn’t a dictionary word) yet a file was uploaded to my account via CPanel file upload. When I asked my domain host about it and how they think my account was hack they simply said via an unsecured script, and didn’t elaborate whether it was in my WordPress install or on their server. Anyway, after much cleaning and reinstalling – thank goodness I paid for routine site backup – I’m now back online with a clean site.

As a result of all this unwanted excitement I’ve made a few changes. Most importantly I’ve changed my domain host. I’m now with Bluehost, one of the few hosts recommended by WordPress themselves. I couldn’t be happier. It was an easy switch and I’ve now got more control than ever before over my CPanel account. I’ve also paid for BulletProof Security Pro plugin. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you’re a serious WordPress user. I used the free version for a while and liked it. The Pro version is just terrific and for the first time I feel safe in my WordPress bed at night. The owner Ed Alexander is so helpful. Please do seriously consider this plugin if you manage your own WordPress installation.

As an extra layer of security I now also use CloudFlare. I’m completely new to the word of content delivery networks and web application firewalls. It’s early days to know whether I’m benefitting from the claimed security and performance improvements, but the basic version is free with Bluehost so I’m giving it a go.

If you have any WordPress security tips and favourite plugins please let me know in the comments.

Weblog client that supports WordPress custom fields

Does anyone know if there’s a weblog client, ideally for Mac, that supports WordPress custom fields? I’ve tried popular editors such as Ecto and MarsEdit but I’ve not yet found a client that allows you to specify custom fields. I think custom fields are a killer feature of WordPress because you can store metadata separately from the post itself and do the kinds of cool tricks my Technotags plugin allows such as geotagging and adding reference links at the foot of posts.

Geotag your WordPress posts

If you’d like to geotag you WordPress posts you can do so using my Technotags plugin. The plugin does two things. It allows you to add metadata to your posts including geotag coordinates and it automatically creates a link to Google Maps to show the location of your coordinates.

Get the latest version of the plugin here.

To use this geotagging goodness simply add a custom field key called ‘gmap’ to your post and enter the latitude and longitude in decimal format as the value. Coordinates must be in decimal formal e.g. 52.4509934727,-1.93881244894 rather than as degrees, minutes and seconds e.g. +52° 27′ 3.57", -1° 56′ 19.72" for this to work. Most if not all GPS devices will give you coordinates in decimal format.

The custom fields from an example geotagged post will look like this…

WordPress Custom Fields

Your post is now geotagged! By adding coordinates to your post’s metadata you will be future-proofing your geotags because any future applications that can use latitude and longitude data will be able to extract these without affecting the post itself.

To help your readers visualise the location specified by your geotag coordinates the Technotags plugin creates an link to Google Maps using your coordinates at the end of your post. Because you entered coordinates using custom fields, the Google Map link is separate to your post, like all good metadata should be.

The Technotags plugin does other cool things like create links to Flickr and Technorati tags and much more. Check it out!

Have fun and let me know how you get on. Happy geotagging!