Google Chrome and Firefox marking regular HTTP sites as insecure or otherwise alerting the user the connection is not encrypted has been inthe works for a while. I never paid much attention to the proposal until noticing Chrome showing a little information alert icon next to regular HTTP pages instead of the usual globe icon.
For reference here are the icons:
Old globe icon.
New info icon for HTTP sites.
This is the standard green pad lock for HTTPS sites.
Eventually standard HTTP sites will have this icon.
As a webmaster it feels a bit heavy-handed. However moving over to SSL is a good idea in general. The more regular people are aware of secured vs unsecured sites the better off we all are in general.
You can get 100% valid and trusted SSL certificates for free these days from Let’s Encrypt. One of my hosts, MDD Hosting (affiliate link) includes a cPanel plugin to generate your own free Let’s Encrypt certificates for any domain or sub-domain hosted with them. It’s point and click simple. There’s no excuse not to do it.
Let’s secure every website and service we can with SSL certificates. What do you think about ‘warning’ people they’re browsing a standard HTTP site?
Our friends at Cloud Living have written up a great tutorial for migrating WordPress to SSL. It’s very easy to follow similar to the method I’ve used for multiple clients over the last 18 months. Do give it a read.
Self Hosted WordPress is all the rage these days, in fact this is what we run here at Almost Geek. However there are other options for hosting a blog on your own domain, Blogger is one of them. WordPress and Blogger are two of the largest blogging platforms on the internet. What many people don’t realize is they’re able to run a Blogger blog on their website should they desire which is great for business sites as your not sending your traffic offsite to a blog hosted on a blogger sub-domain.
There are some distinct advantages to using self hosted Blogger over WordPress they are:
Blogger requires little technical knowledge there are no upgrades to preform as there is with WordPress.
Blogger can hosted pretty much anywhere as it doesn’t require PHP or a database.
With advantages of course comes disadvantages:
Blogger has no add-ons to change the functionality of your site. WordPress has an entire site of plugins.
Your pretty much limited to Blogger’s default templates unless you know how to edit CSS which more than likely out of your realm of expertise if your considering Blogger.
The decision is yours; Blogger is simple and easy to use set and forget. WordPress has a bit of a learning curve and requires regular security pataches but is infinitely customizable.
For the scope of this tutorial we’re going to work cPanel with putting your blog on a subdomain. A subdomain is simply something.yourdomain.com, you probably want your blog to be blog.mydomain.com The reason for this is to future proof the blog, should you decide to use mod_rewrite in the future or you already are we don’t want your blog in a sub directory of your main site as it will cause conflicts. Most hosts allow your to make sub-domains, if you don’t see the add sub-domain option in cPanel email your host’s support.
Login to your domain’s control panel @ yourdomain.com/cpanel and click on subdomains. You may want to add the sub-domain then go to bed and setup the rest of blogger in the morning, this way the new sub-domain has time to register with the DNS system (this doesn’t cost you a dime).
Next your want to name your subdomain, I choose blogger.almostgeek.com. After choosing the name you want to change the Document Root to /blog or whatever you feel is best. Be careful here as by default cPanel adds /public_html/, you have to change it and remove the /public_html section. As mentioned above in order to future proof you don’t want it under your current website’s directory, public_html.
Now we head on over to Blogger and register @ Blogger.com if you already have a Google or Gmail account sign in with that. The process is pretty self-explanatory here are some screenshots to follow along with.
In the following screenshot you will want to click “Advanced Setup Options” drop down and choose setup a custom domain.
Here on middle of the page, you will want to click ‘Already Own A Domain? Switch to advanced settings’
On this screen you need to put in the sub-domain you made in cPanel, ex. blog.yourdomain.com. This is where waiting overnight to complete this process will pay off, if you do it too soon you will get an error.
<rest of the sign up process including FTP information>
The cavets only are the method mention will overwrite everything so if have a custom favicon or file they will be overwritten. Mike suggested downloading the package to your computer first, removing any files you don’t want changed, and re-zipping everything, then uploading the ZIP to your sever and following Michael’s tutorial. Sounds like a good plan to me. Why I didn’t think of that, I don’t know but I frequently use Michael’s method when installing new sites.
Filezilla is my FTP client of choice. It is a free and open source FTP client that works on Windows, Linux and Mac it can be downloaded from here. Filezilla has many features, one of the nicest features is called “Site Manager” where it saves the server information along with your user name and password so that you can connect to it quickly. If your a webmaster with many websites and random passwords this is a definite time saver. If you are like me and a lot of other webmasters you have a regular computer and a laptop for the road. The tutorial will show you how to setup all your FTP accounts in Filezilla on one computer then copy the settings over to your other computer(s) so that you don’t have to reenter your details again.
Filezilla’s site explorer settings resides in your appdata folder on Windows, a hidden directory within your home directory on Linux, and your user’s library folder on OS X. This posts assumes your copying from settings Windows to another Windows machine as that’s what most people use. I will show you where the folder in on Ubuntu and OS X the file is the same on all platforms and can be copied between systems without issue.
UPDATE Sept 2016:
Starting a couple versions ago I noticed import/export functionality in Filezilla. Simply go to File > Export and select what you would like to export. The most important is the Site Manager entries. On the target computer simply do File > Import. You may get a warning stating the the export was created using a newer version of Filezilla (especially going from Windows to Ubuntu), from what I can tell it’s safe to ignore this warning. The rest of the article tutorial still works too.
First things first, Open Filezilla and click open the Site Manager. Site manager is the leftmost icon, I’ve highlighted it in the screenshot below.
This is the Site Manager. Click “New Site”, name it and put in your host, select “Logontype” normal from the drop down and input your user name and password. Repeat for the rest of your sites. Connect to each account to make sure it works then close Filezilla.
Now Windows navigate to your appdata folder. For instructions on how find your app data folder click here (new window). This is your app data folder, open the Filezilla folder.
This is your Filezilla’s app data folder. Now you want to copy the sitemanager file to a thumb drive or perhaps email it to yourself. Keep this file secure! The passwords are stored in plain text anyone can open the file in any text editor and view all your account information. As of a few versions ago Filezilla hashes passwords. Alternatively you can copy the whole Filezilla folder to your thumb drive to save all the program’s settings.
Now you have the file and can place it in Filezilla’s app data folder on another Windows machine. Be sure to install and run Filezilla first on the second machine so that it create the Filezilla folder under appdata. Alternatively you can install Filezilla and don’t run it then if you copied the whole folder just drag and drop it to appdata.
Bingo! Your done. 🙂
Other operating systems:
UPDATE Sept 2016:
Starting with Ubuntu 16.04 it appears Filezilla’s settings are now stored in ~/.config/filezilla. All other directions remain the same.
You can install Filezilla by running ‘sudo apt-get install filezilla’ without the quotes from terminal or clicking here on your Ubuntu system.
In Ubuntu Filezilla’s settings are stored in ~/.filezilla. This is a hidden folder (click to learn how to show hidden files in Ubuntu) in your home directory. If you copied the whole folder just drag the folder off your thumb drive to your home folder and rename it to .filezilla then launch Filezilla and all your sites will be there. If you just copied the sitemanger.xml file. First launch Filezilla by going to Applications > Internet > Filezilla then close it. We launched it just to create the configuration folder. Copy sitemanager.xml to ~/.filezilla and relaunch all your sites will be there.
Mac OS X:
Show hidden files by following this tutorial then copy sitemanager.xml to .filezilla in your home directory. Alternatively you can copy the Window’s folder from your thumb drive and rename it to .filezilla then drop it into your home folder.
If you have any questions leave them in the comments please.