How to create and edit an email template for WooCommerce Follow Ups

Here is a quick tutorial on how to create and edit an email template for WooCommerce Follow Ups. Newsletter templates use html tables and the oldest CSS lying around so they can be compatible with a maximum amount of email clients.

In order to create or edit a template for Follow Ups, you should start by creating a new template and then copy over the markup of one of the three default ones.

Create a new template

First get the markup:  Continue reading “How to create and edit an email template for WooCommerce Follow Ups”

How to choose a secure password for WordPress

Understanding the WordPress password system

WordPress makes use of the zxcvbn code to estimate whether a chosen password is strong or not. The code is courtesy of Dropbox and hosted here on Github. Dropbox published a very nice blog post in 2012 explaining its concept. My following explanations are based on its content which were eye opening to me. I encourage you to give it a read, if you are interested in the subject. The author also provides a test tool that you can use to gauge password strength in a very informative manner. Additionally I needed to familiarise myself with the term Entropy which I did via Wikipedia here (Entropy in computing) and here (Entropy in Information Theory).

How passwords are hacked

Unless you are worth their time, no hacker will attack you personally. Almost every attempt at your credentials is executed by a machine. A computer uses sources like dictionaries and precomputed tables, for example the famous Rainbow table, to simply guess your password. A machine has infinite patience and will keep trying all possible variations until it finds a match. How long this will take depends on your set password and the computer’s resources. Entering your password into the zxcvbn test tool gives you an overview of the amount of time and attempts a machine requires to guess your password right.

What is a secure password

I will not explain how a passwords structure is deemed secure exactly (you can learn about this using the links above), but instead recommend you follow these rules to create one:
  • Minimum length: 14 characters
  • Minimum amount of symbols: 1
  • Minimum amount of capital letters: 1
  • Minimum amount of numbers: 1
In conclusion this is a very secure password: MyDoglikestoeat2bowls! and this is is pretty weak: Q/_&gSD This is what surprised me the most, when I learned about password strength determination. I thought that more symbols, more capital letters and less readability make a difference, when in fact they don’t matter at all. What matters is length and minimum amount. And readability is of less importance, but minimum length is very important.

How to create your own password system

Many people struggle with password creation and management. I personally use a password manager that creates very long and cryptic passwords for me. There is only a handful of passwords that I know by heart and currently the majority of my passwords I have never seen or written. However I am trying to change this and here is how. In order for a password to work for you in needs to be two things. Secure and easy to recall. For it to be easy to recall you need to be able to (re)construct the password on the fly. You can do this by creating your own password logic using a fixed and variable key. The fixed key makes your password secure and is something you can easily remember. It should fulfil all above rules, but does not need to meet the minimum length requirement alone. Here is an example : sUperword= The variable key is something that is always available to you when you need to enter the password and it makes the password unique to the subject (Do not use the same password twice). For example: The website URL address. So if you were to create a username for this blog your password structure would be:
  • fixed key:  sUperword=
  • variable key: conschneider.de
  • final password: sUperword=conschneider.de
While this password is already quite secure, this kind of fixed key is readily available to everyone. In order to make it available only to you you need to apply a rule that modifies the fixed key effectively. For example: The website URL address. But always without the first 2 vowels. This modifies the fixed key in a way that is only accessible to you. Your password structure now:
  • fixed key:  sUperword=
  • variable key: cnschnider.de
  • final password: sUperword=cnschnider.de
This creates a password for you, that is both secure and easy to recall. Once you have created your own password system, test it out a few times to be sure its consistently applicable for your use cases. I hope this helps you to be on better terms with your own secure password policy.
 
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How to edit PHP values in WordPress and WooCommerce

PHP code is managed by your servers PHP settings

WordPress and WooCommerce PHP code can fail due to your servers PHP configuration. Some plugin’s PHP code require certain configuration values to be active, while some hosting providers may configure your servers PHP environment in a way that impairs execution. Developers test their code using their configured local environments. Their server configuration often differs from what your hosting providers deems necessary. If you run into a problem situation where blame is being directed at your hosting provider, chances are that it is not the hardware, but the software (PHP, MySQL) version or configuration. While I am an advocate of solid hosting, many issues can be resolved by checking configuration settings alone.

How to check your servers PHP settings

Your PHP environment is configured using a .ini file. It is usually called php.ini oftentimes a version number is included such as php5.ini. PHP itself provides a function which sole purpose is to output information about the present PHP configuration. Copy and paste the code visible under example 1 and open the file in your browser will give you all relevant information. You can also use one of the many WordPress plugins to display this information. Me personally I like using WP-ServerInfo.

How to edit PHP settings

A frequent example from Woo support is to increase the script runtime for PHP. For this you need to edit the value: max_execution_time
  • Open the php.inidirectly, look for the value and change it via a text editor. Sometimes your hosting provider grants you access via the admin panel or FTP. You can also ask your hosting provider to change the value for you.
  • Open your wp-config.php and use it to overwrite the value: @ini_set( 'max_execution_time', 1234 );
  • If your server runs on Apache you can use the .htaccess file to try and overwrite the file like so: php_value max_execution_time 1234
  • I also like using a plugin for this: PHP Settings.

Track your changes manually

Editing your PHP configuration is not something you can restore via a WordPress backup. This happens on your server directly so do keep tabs on what you do so you can revert the changes, if you edit something that you need to undo.... Read More

How to troubleshoot login problems with you WooCommerce.com account

This is a bit off topic, but does come up so frequently, I thought I should post it here. If you are having trouble logging into your WooCommerce.com account, it is probably because you have not yet created a WordPress.com account yet. WooCommerce has changed their login structure a bit, so you need you to signup for a WordPress.com account.
  1. Navigate to the WooCommerce.com login form.
  2. Scroll down to “Not on WordPress.com?” and click on the blue “Create an Account”
Here is how to do it. [WPGP gif_id="1396" width="600"]... Read More

Plugin: WooCommerce Unique Selling Propositions (Woo-USP)

Remind your customers why they should order your products right when they might need a push – on the single product page. With this plugin, you can:
  • insert up to 5 Unique Selling Propositions (USP)
  • display them right underneath the „Add To Cart“ button on WooCommerce single product pages
  • choose a fitting icon for each USP
  • color the icons so they fit your theme/design
My fiancée Anna Werner made this. I only contributed. Download: [su_button url="https://wordpress.org/plugins/woo-usp/" style="flat" background="#2d39ef" size="2" icon="icon: wordpress"]Download from WordPress.org[/su_button]... Read More

How to choose WooCommerce / WordPress hosting

A frequent question of many shop builders and shop owners is the question of how to find good hosting for your WordPress or WooCommerce site. Hosting offers are usually presented in clear criteria, so lets jump right in. Here is my current formula:

Software requirements

  • Run PHP 5.6 or higher, this site runs on PHP 7.0.x – I tend to go for the most recent PHP version with the most extended set of functions.
  • MySQL 5.6 or higher – many hosting companies provide different flavours of MySQL, they are usually all ok. Do not settle for MySQL versions below 5.6.

Hardware requirements

  • Private dedicated server, no virtual hosts. You are setting up a complex, database driven eCommerce software platform. Do NOT save on your hardware.
  • Processor: Intel® Xeon® E5-2680V4 or better.
  • RAM: 24 GB DDR4 RAM (ECC) or better
  • Disks: 120 GB SSD / 960 GB SAS – RAID 10

Sidenotes

  • Access to the php.ini file so you can quickly adapt your PHP settings.
  • External database access to your MySQL.
  • Check whether caching is superimposed. Many WordPress specialised hosting companies do this, but they hardly talk about it.
  • allow_url_fopen -> trueallowed. Some plugins who communicate with third parties require this.
  • A common blog such as the one you are reading requires about 1GB of disk space and about 10 MB of MySQL database space. Every product is a post. Running a WooCommerce store with thousands of products is like running a very, very large WordPress site.
  • Whatever you are calculating for a WordPress site, triple for a WooCommerce store.
Good hosting such as this will be in the price range between 50-100 EUR/month in Germany. This is my starting point of reference. Happy Hosting to y’all.  ... Read More

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