There's a lot of buzz on the internet recently surrounding dark mode, a toggle that allows you to set a normally white screen to a dark one that many say is easier on the eyes. And it's not just the aesthetic look, it's proven to use less power using dark mode on your mobile/tablet device.

Dark mode is already sweeping the internet with many popular apps such as Slack, Outlook, Chrome & YouTube all adding a Dark Mode. You can also find it in many gaming consoles such as Nintendo Switch and Xbox One S / X. This was all triggered by macOS Mojave introducing a dark mode.

If users request a dark mode feature in an app (they do, frequently), chances are good that it will appear at some point.

WordPress Dark Mode
WordPress Night/Dark Mode

As standard WordPress doesn't come with a dark mode, but there is a plugin called Dark Mode who's developer Daniel James has put up for adoption, hoping a bigger team can merge it with the core WordPress system one day.

How To Enable WordPress Dark Mode

If you'd like to install WordPress Dark Mode, simply follow these steps:

  1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Visit Plugins > Add New
  3. Search for Dark Mode
  4. Click install now
  5. When the plugin has installed, click Activate
  6. Visit users and hover over your username and click edit
  7. Tick the box that says Enable Dark Mode in the dashboard

Since WordPress 5.1 was released on the 21st of February it's been downloaded over 3.9 million times. The first release of 2019 was only a small part of the 9 priorities Matt Mullenweg identified for 2019. Today we're going over all the features proposed for WordPress 5.2 and what you can expect to see with them. Continue reading “Whats coming in WordPress 5.2” »

WordPress 5.1 launches today with some great new features. One of the 9 priorities Matt Mullenweg identified for 2019 was the merge of the Site Health Check plugin into the core WordPress system to help with debugging and encourage "good software hygiene."WordPress 5.1 launches today with some great new features. One of the 9 priorities Matt Mullenweg identified for 2019 was the merge of the Site Health Check plugin into the core WordPress system to help with debugging and encourage "good software hygiene." The Site Health Check plugin, formerly known as "ServeHappy" began with the goal of helping users get their site running on the best supported PHP version, but has since expanded to include other aspects of good site maintenance and debugging.

The Site Health Check project introduces a new white screen of death (WSOD) protection feature that stops the white screen showing when there are fatal errors. This allows admins to login and resolve the issue, without being fully kicked out to FTP or your control panel to check error logs and fix the issue.

In preparation for WordPress' highly requested minimum PHP version increase,  any WordPress installation running on PHP 5.1 will display a warning to users to upgrade their version of PHP. In April this is set to rise to PHP 5.6 and if all goes well (depending on feedback) this will likely be bumped again to PHP 7.0 around December 2019.

You can already see this feature by installing the Site Health Check plugin and then visit Dashboard > Health Check for a detailed overview of your site. There is also a handy troubleshooting mode that enables a vanilla WordPress session, where all plugins, themes are disabled and the default theme is used, but only for your user session at the time. This allows you to check if the fault still occurs (such as editing a post) without disrupting any of the site display for your end users.

WordPress 5.1 also has a range of other features for developers, including the ability to disable the system cron and add a custom cron handler, setting a custom location for WP_DEBUG_LOG to be written to and a new wp_blogmeta table amongst other features.

WordPress 5.1 will be released today, 21st February 2019 and is a big step by WordPress to become even more user friendly. The main enhancements of this version is that users will never be locked out when a WSOD error occurs and allows users to provider a faster, securer WordPress environment.

The release of WordPress 5.0 is just a couple of weeks away with the recent release of the 3rd beta versionof WordPress 5.0. Below is all you need to know about this release, and what to look out for. Continue reading “WordPress 5.0 What you need to know” »

WordPress has come on leaps and bounds since it's first release in 2003. It's community has grown considerably, and the growth only seems to be increasing. Continue reading “WordPress in 2018 Infographic” »

We've compiled a guide on the Best Caching Plugins For WordPress.

If you run a WordPress site, a caching plugin can dramatically effect load times for the better. Typically, when you access any website, you request information from their servers. WordPress runs of a database, and every time someone loads your site on their browser, they retrieve files in the form of CSS, images, and JavaScript.

Your Internet experience is only as fast as the websites you visit. Typically, the best websites are also the ones with the quickest load times. A slow website makes for a terrible user experience, and let’s not forget the impact that it is likely to have on your search engine rankings. Google has confirmed the same in the past.

WordPress is dynamic. While this helps keep your website up to date and live, it also slows down your website too. So, to tackle this problem, developers created caching plugins. They help produce a static version of your website and this makes your website much much faster.

In this article, we'll take you through the best caching plugins available on the WordPress market. If you aren’t already using a caching plugin, then you’ll find this an interesting and important read. If you are using a caching plugin then read on and you’ll have a few more great options to check out and find out which plugin works best for you.


WP Super Cache

With this plugin there are multiple tabs, the first one titled “Easy” is displayed first. And it is easier when you aren’t bombarded with as many options as other caching plugins.

WP Super Cache creates a static HTML file which is served to users who aren’t logged in, users who haven’t left a comment on your blog and users who haven’t viewed a password protected post on your site. That pretty much means almost every visitor to your website.

This plugin caches files in three ways:

  1. Supercached Static files – PHP is completely bypassed and it served as such to unknown visitors.
  2. Supercached Static files ( served by PHP ) – Server more likely to struggle with large increase or bursts of traffic.
  3. Legacy Caching – the slowest caching method used for known users.

The difference between super cached served by PHP and not served by PHP becomes more apparent only when there is an increase in traffic, so much so that the host’s server struggles to keep up, else the differences are imperceptible.

You can selectively choose which sections of your website get cached. The plugin also handles sudden spikes in traffic using lockdown and directly cached files.


W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is known as one of the most powerful caching plugins with a plethora of options at the disposal of the user. Its users include Yoast, Mashable, Smashing Magazine, and many other equally influential websites.

It can cache pages, the WordPress database, and objects. It can enable caching at the browser end. You can use W3 Total Cache for the minification of CSS and JavaScript. It is also compatible with dedicated servers, virtual private servers, and content delivery networks, which is probably why you can scale this plugin for use with very popular high-traffic websites.

A WordPress newbie may find it daunting to negotiate through the plugin’s many options at first, that being said, W3 Total Cache offers tips on how to best use the plugin above the plugin’s settings page on your WP dashboard.

The plugin isn’t complicated, it is merely vast with a number of options. If you can get past the clutter of options and follow suggestions as presented by the plugin below your WordPress dashboard then it can speed up your website ten times over, which is an impressive feat.


WP Fastest Cache

Fastest Cache employs a number of methods to cache your website. Mod Rewrite takes your dynamic WordPress and makes it static. The cached files are then deleted at appropriate intervals or based on events such as publishing a page or a post.

With Fastest Cache you can block cache for specific pages/posts with a shortcode. The plugin permits you to enable and disable caching for mobile devices and logged in users separately. Fastest Cache provides CDN support too.

If you know what each of the caching methods will do for you, this should be a very easy plugin to handle. Just tick your caching methods and submit.

The plugin minifies your HTML and CSS with gzip compression. It can combine CSS files, which helps reduce the number of HTTP requests to your host’s servers. Similarly, it can combine JavaScript files as well. Fastest Cache also provides browser caching, which is useful for visitors who return to your website often.


Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache only has 4 tabs on the settings page of the plugin. While this means there are fewer configuration options compared to others on this list, this works in favour of anyone who’s looking for a plugin to do the job with little or no tinkering.

With HyperCache, you can cache at specified intervals of time, enable on-the-fly compression, clean caches when a new comment is made or a new post is published, and enable browser caching.

You can set up Hyper Cache so as not to cache specific pages or URLs too, and you can cache only the most recent posts by blocking caching for posts older than a specified number of days. It provides support for CDN and mobile caching also.


Summing Up...

If you’re selecting a caching plugin, then you should consider your requirements. Is your website prone to high volumes of traffic at certain times and do you use a CDN? Questions like these become pertinent to the selection of the best caching plugin for your website. Because the differences in performance are largely imperceptible to the average user, it is very difficult to figure out which among all the plugins is the best. In our opinion, W3 Total Cache is certainly the most complete package, but all the others aren't far behind.

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