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What’s New In WooCommerce 3.3

Since we first added WooCommerce hosting to our lineup of performance-optimized eCommerce hosting options, we have seen huge demand from retailers looking to combine the user-friendliness of WordPress with WooCommerce’s simple yet powerful eCommerce experience. We’re delighted that so many retailers have embraced our unique spin on WooCommerce hosting, which is capable of supporting stores of any size.

Towards the end of last month, WooCommerce 3.3 was released. As a minor release, there are no big new features, but, in typical WooCommerce style, there are plenty of small enhancements that add up to an easier workday for retailers.

We’re going to have a look at a few of the enhancements that arrived in WooCommerce 3.3, but before we get to that, I’d like to talk about the little hiccup that disrupted the usually smooth release process.

One of the goals of WooCommerce 3.3 was to increase compatibility with third-party themes. However, the changes caused problems on some third-party themes, which lead to the removal of WooCommerce 3.3 from the WordPress Plugin Directory. It was a small issue, affecting the display of categories in some themes. The issue was soon resolved and WooCommerce 3.3.1 was released, which is the version you’ll get if you update WooCommerce today.

New Features In WooCommerce 3.3

  • An improved order screen.
    • The order screen has been given a facelift, with larger buttons that display an order’s status on the order screen itself, saving users from having to click through to the order’s details to see its status.
  • A new stock status.
    • WooCommerce 3.3 includes a new stock status for items that have stock management turned on. When a store’s stock levels reach critical, WooCommerce will show the item is “Backordered” or “Out of stock”, making it easier to see at a glance the status of specific products.
  • On the fly thumbnail regeneration.
    • This one solves a minor but long-standing annoyance for retailers: from WooCommerce 3.3, image thumbnails will be automatically regenerated on-the-fly when new product images are uploaded.
  • Broader theme compatibility.
    • Usually, WooCommerce retailers use WordPress themes that have WooCommerce support built-in. Ordinary WordPress themes have been known to cause problems. WordPress 3.3 adds improvements to allow just about any WordPress theme to work well with the eCommerce plugin, which means WooCommerce users can choose from a much bigger pool of themes.

Since the mixup with theme support earlier in the month, you might be tempted to hold off on updating to WooCommerce 3.3(.1). But, it is generally a good idea to install new versions of WordPress plugins as they become available. In addition to adding new features, releases typically include security fixes to close vulnerabilities in the software. If you don’t install the new release, you don’t get the fixes. The most recent version of WooCommerce has been tested on dozens of themes, and everything looks great so far.

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WordPress Release Introduces Automatic Update Bug

Last week, WordPress 4.9.3 was released. It brought the usual variety of minor enhancements and security fixes, but it also introduced a nasty bug that may prevent your WordPress site from updating itself properly in the future.

The bug is in the automatic update system. WordPress is able to automatically update itself for minor releases, those that increment the last number in 4.9.3, for instance. WordPress sites have happily upgraded themselves to WordPress 4.9.3, but because of the bug a in that version, WordPress sites may not be able to automatically update to future minor versions.

If your site updated automatically to WordPress 4.9.3, you may have to manually update to WordPress 4.9.4, which was released the next day to fix the problem.

The bug was introduced while the automatic update system was being modified to reduce the number of API calls it makes during updates, but those changes were, apparently, not properly tested, and stopped automatic updates working altogether on some WordPress installations.

If you aren’t using automatic updates, this isn’t something you need to worry about; apply the updates manually as you normally would. If your WordPress site is running a slightly out-of-date version, you are probably not affected either since the automatic update system only does minor version updates (although you should think about how safe it is to run outdated versions of WordPress in the first place).

In general, automatic updates are good for WordPress users, although they were met with some skepticism from WordPress professionals when they were first introduced with the release of WordPress 3.7. Most WordPress users aren’t professionals. Out-of-date WordPress sites cause security problems for site owners and visitors. Professionals can turn off automatic updates and manage the risk themselves, but for ordinary users, automatic updates are the most secure option.

A bug that disables automatic updates is a serious problem because WordPress users who assume that updates are being handled automatically by the system are unlikely to check for every minor release: their sites may be vulnerable through no fault of the user.

In fact, the only WordPress sites that are affected by the bug are those that have been manually updated to the most recent major version. Only security-conscious WordPress users are in the crosshairs on this one, which is why it’s so important to make sure WordPress users check their sites.

If you haven’t updated your site to WordPress 4.9.3 or 4.9.4, you might want to reconsider. Although a minor maintenance release to the WordPress 4.9 ‘Tipton’ line, it includes a variety of fixes and enhancements, including 34 bug fixes for Customizer changesets, widgets, the visual editor, and PHP 7.2 compatibility.

If you’re worried about the bug in the automatic update system or want to update to the most recent version of WordPress, select the ‘Updates’ category in the Dashboard and click ‘Update Now’.

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January 2018’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

Now that we’re well into the New Year, let’s take a look at what’s been trending so far so we can stay on top of the game! Check out this month’s roundup and if you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and…

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Google Has Issued the Official Warning—Encrypt by July or Else

The move by browsers to warn visitors of web pages served via HTTP as “Not Secure” has been in the works for a while. Preparing for the inevitable has also probably been dead last on your to-do list. Unfortunately, pretending there’s no fire doesn’t mean you won’t eventually get burned.

Implementation has been gradual and the end date has been moved out a few times. According to today’s announcement by Google you’ll need to get an SSL certificate for all your webpages, not just the ones with login requirements or forms, by the time Chrome 68 launches. Starting July 2018, Chrome will universally alert visitors landing on any HTTP webpage. What began as a nudge from Google and Mozilla has become a no-exceptions requirement. I’m guessing the “Your connection is not secure” message isn’t what you want your visitors to see.


HTTP served internet users well for many years. Given today’s cybercrime-ridden web it has one crucial flaw. HTTP is just not secure. HTTP data in transit can be stolen or manipulated.

HTTPS is secure and shows visitors https:// in the browser bar indicating encryption is authenticating the server and protecting transmitted information. It’s easy to understand why web browsers are now requiring it as a standard.

HTTPS also helps you leverage the faster performance enabled by HTTP/2, gives you up to a 5% boost in search engine visibility, providers a more seamless user experience and unlocks popular mobile options.

How do I get HTTPS?

SSL certificates enable HTTPS. The sooner you install one on all your webpages the better. Remember, website security is about more than encrypting data. Ensuring who’s on the other end of the data transfer is equally, if not more, important . Having the right level of identity validation is crucial. Choosing the right SSL certificate can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Hostdedi is here to help you sort through your options. Together we’ll find the most cost-effective way to meet the July 1 deadline, and boost your bottom line.


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WordPress Is Essential In Supporting Independent Journalism

In almost every country there are independent journalists who use the freedom of the web to bring stories to audiences ranging from the hyper-local to the global. Independent journalists need a publishing platform that they control: social media networks are vital for cultivating awareness and connecting with an audience, but they are not independent of the interests of their owners. WordPress allows independent journalists to be truly independent. WordPress is free, open source, and, most importantly, platform independent.

Independent journalism covers everything from local events to global happenings, and from the experience of a single person to stories that impact the lives of millions. Independent journalists are often ordinary people caught up in events they feel compelled to document and communicate. They are essential voices in a world dominated by competing interests and fractured perspectives.

Traditional news media outlets and large online publishers have the resources to deploy custom content management systems. And some do, but many turn to WordPress because it has the flexibility and scalability to support even the largest sites. But the great thing about WordPress is that it makes all that power available to everyone, for free.

Unlike “publishing platforms”, WordPress is a web application anyone can download and install on a hosting account or server under their control. Once the code has been downloaded, it’s up to the site’s owner what they do with it. The WordPress organization can’t tell an independent journalist to stop using WordPress or to take down an article that they don’t like.

WordPress is open source. That means both that the code that underlies a WordPress site can be examined by anyone and that anyone can change the code if they want to and distribute their changes. That code is written by a collective of companies and independent developers — no single organization calls the shots. In the unlikely event that were to change, WordPress could be forked: the code could be used to start a new project that keeps WordPress free.

While we’re discussing abstract freedoms, we shouldn’t forget about the practicalities. Every user of WordPress has access to thousands of free themes to shape the design of their site. There are tens of thousands of plugins to choose from, each of which extends the functionality of a baseline WordPress installation.

Social media networks are a powerful tool for independent journalists, allowing them to build an audience of followers, to publish content, to communicate with sources and readers. Without social media, independent journalism wouldn’t be as influential or as effective. Social media networks are also easy to use even for people with no technical knowledge.

So why would an independent journalist need a site of their own?

Once again, we return to control and ownership. For those who choose a premium managed WordPress hosting company to host their site, many of the technical challenges are taken care of. The result is a site entirely owned and controlled by the journalist, who is not beholden to anyone for permission to publish. And, as I alluded to at the beginning of this post, a WordPress site can easily be migrated to a different hosting provider. WordPress is platform independent.

WordPress is used by corporations, small businesses, eCommerce retailers, and giant publishing enterprises, but it was designed and built to give a voice to everyone.

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