Follow these security tips to keep your Mac safe

Contrary to what you may believe, cyberthreats target not only Windows computers. Macs are also vulnerable to internet-based risks, and it’s critical that every Mac user protect their devices from such threats. Keep your Mac secure by following these steps.

Check your privacy settings

Make sure that your Mac settings are set up properly to keep your data safe. Manage the information your Mac makes available across the internet or on a network by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. From there, you can choose which information to share and with whom. For example, you can specify which apps are allowed to see personal information, such as your location, contacts, photos, or music.

Take advantage of the firewall

A firewall protects your Mac from unwanted contact initiated by other computers on a network or the internet. It protects your computer by allowing only authorized services and apps to communicate with your Mac, so be sure to enable macOS’s built-in firewall.

To do so, just go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy Then, click Firewall. If the padlock icon at the bottom left is locked, click it and key in your username and password. Enable the firewall by clicking Turn On Firewall.

To modify Firewall settings, click on Firewall Options… just below the “Turn Off Firewall” button. You will find a list of services and apps that are allowed to receive inbound connections. If you want to add an app or service to the list, just click the “+” button below the list itself. However, we recommend keeping this list as short as possible, as the apps listed can be exploited by cybercriminals.

Another useful feature to enable is stealth mode. This option will make your Mac more difficult to find, thus keeping hackers and malware at bay. For instance, if you are in a coffee shop and connected to its unsecured Wi-Fi, enabling stealth mode will make your Mac invisible on that public network. To turn on this feature, just tick the box next to “Enable stealth mode” in Firewall Options. A dialog box will pop up, and you can click on the “Enable Stealth Mode” button.

Set up a firmware password

Every new Mac today has the FileVault encryption automatically enabled. This means that your device already encrypts the hard drive by default, and the only way your data can be accessed is by logging in. Keep in mind, though, that this feature won’t necessarily save your account in case someone reinstalls the operating system or uses a memory stick to boot the Mac and remove all data from your hard disk.

To increase protection, set up a firmware password. Do this by restarting your computer, then pressing and holding down Cmd+R before the Apple logo shows up on the screen. You can let go of the keys once the progress bar pops up.

When the utilities window appears, click on Utilities in the menu bar, then choose Startup Security Utility or Firmware Password Utility. Click on Turn On Firmware Password… and simply follow the succeeding instructions.

Finally, quit the utilities window, then choose Apple menu > Restart. Make sure to never forget or misplace your firmware password, because only Apple technicians can recover it.

Ensure that your confidential data remains private by performing minor tweaks on your Mac’s system settings. It takes only a few minutes to ensure lasting online protection. If setting up a firewall or firmware password sounds a little too advanced for you, or if you need to set up more advanced defenses, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts.

This post was originally published on this site

Follow these security tips to keep your Mac safe

Contrary to what you may believe, cyberthreats target not only Windows computers. Macs are also vulnerable to internet-based risks, and it’s critical that every Mac user protect their devices from such threats. Keep your Mac secure by following these steps.

Check your privacy settings

Make sure that your Mac settings are set up properly to keep your data safe. Manage the information your Mac makes available across the internet or on a network by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. From there, you can choose which information to share and with whom. For example, you can specify which apps are allowed to see personal information, such as your location, contacts, photos, or music.

Take advantage of the firewall

A firewall protects your Mac from unwanted contact initiated by other computers on a network or the internet. It protects your computer by allowing only authorized services and apps to communicate with your Mac, so be sure to enable macOS’s built-in firewall.

To do so, just go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy Then, click Firewall. If the padlock icon at the bottom left is locked, click it and key in your username and password. Enable the firewall by clicking Turn On Firewall.

To modify Firewall settings, click on Firewall Options… just below the “Turn Off Firewall” button. You will find a list of services and apps that are allowed to receive inbound connections. If you want to add an app or service to the list, just click the “+” button below the list itself. However, we recommend keeping this list as short as possible, as the apps listed can be exploited by cybercriminals.

Another useful feature to enable is stealth mode. This option will make your Mac more difficult to find, thus keeping hackers and malware at bay. For instance, if you are in a coffee shop and connected to its unsecured Wi-Fi, enabling stealth mode will make your Mac invisible on that public network. To turn on this feature, just tick the box next to “Enable stealth mode” in Firewall Options. A dialog box will pop up, and you can click on the “Enable Stealth Mode” button.

Set up a firmware password

Every new Mac today has the FileVault encryption automatically enabled. This means that your device already encrypts the hard drive by default, and the only way your data can be accessed is by logging in. Keep in mind, though, that this feature won’t necessarily save your account in case someone reinstalls the operating system or uses a memory stick to boot the Mac and remove all data from your hard disk.

To increase protection, set up a firmware password. Do this by restarting your computer, then pressing and holding down Cmd+R before the Apple logo shows up on the screen. You can let go of the keys once the progress bar pops up.

When the utilities window appears, click on Utilities in the menu bar, then choose Startup Security Utility or Firmware Password Utility. Click on Turn On Firmware Password… and simply follow the succeeding instructions.

Finally, quit the utilities window, then choose Apple menu > Restart. Make sure to never forget or misplace your firmware password, because only Apple technicians can recover it.

Ensure that your confidential data remains private by performing minor tweaks on your Mac’s system settings. It takes only a few minutes to ensure lasting online protection. If setting up a firewall or firmware password sounds a little too advanced for you, or if you need to set up more advanced defenses, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts.

This post was originally published on this site

What to look for when buying a business projector

When it comes to business presentations, using a projector is one of the most effective ways to make an impact on your audience. Bright and vibrant projections allow you to deliver your message to your audience while keeping them engaged and entertained. However, there are myriad business projectors on the market. If you’re unsure about what to look for in your next projector purchase, this list will help you choose the best product for your needs.

Brightness and light output

A projector cannot display bright images without enough light output. Even if you dim the lights in the room to compensate, images will appear muddy and blurred if the light output is too low.

To find out if a projector’s lamp has the correct brightness for your needs, look for its ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Lumen rating. It will tell you how much light that particular projector can put out. Projectors that have 1,000 ANSI lumens or more are relatively suitable for the job, but other factors like ambient light, the distance or size of the screen, and the size of the room will also impact the need for fewer or more lumens.

Connectivity options

Some projectors in the market are more affordable because they’re equipped with only VGA and USB ports to connect to a TV or computer. You may have to spend more money on a projector that has multiple connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI inputs. If you want more flexibility, buy a projector that is compatible with various audio and video formats as well.

Front or rear projection

Many projectors can now be set up to project images from either the rear or the front of the screen, and can be mounted on the ceiling instead of just stationed on a table or flat surface. Front projection is the easiest to configure, and the most common setup for projectors.

Contrast ratio

This setting determines the variance between the darkest black and the brightest white, so the higher the contrast ratio, the clearer the images. Projectors with good contrast ratio figures will allow you to enhance the quality of text on screen and the depth of displayed images. For typical meeting rooms, the contrast ratio can range from 3000:1 to 20000:1. Any contrast higher than 20000:1 will intensify the presentation quality but bump up the price of the projector as well.

Resolution

Because high-resolution images and videos are so readily available these days, you may want your projector to have 1080p or full HD as a native resolution. But if you can afford the 4K models, you will have the capacity to show off a comprehensive data image on screen. The caveat here is that your resolution will depend on the specs of your source media player.

Our customers often forget to utilize one of our most useful service options: hardware consulting. If your organization is ever in the market for new equipment, or needs advice on how to get the most of what you currently have, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re an office full of gadget geeks who love the opportunity to talk about the latest and best that the industry has to offer. Contact us today!

This post was originally published on this site

What to look for when buying a business projector

When it comes to business presentations, using a projector is one of the most effective ways to make an impact on your audience. Bright and vibrant projections allow you to deliver your message to your audience while keeping them engaged and entertained. However, there are myriad business projectors on the market. If you’re unsure about what to look for in your next projector purchase, this list will help you choose the best product for your needs.

Brightness and light output

A projector cannot display bright images without enough light output. Even if you dim the lights in the room to compensate, images will appear muddy and blurred if the light output is too low.

To find out if a projector’s lamp has the correct brightness for your needs, look for its ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Lumen rating. It will tell you how much light that particular projector can put out. Projectors that have 1,000 ANSI lumens or more are relatively suitable for the job, but other factors like ambient light, the distance or size of the screen, and the size of the room will also impact the need for fewer or more lumens.

Connectivity options

Some projectors in the market are more affordable because they’re equipped with only VGA and USB ports to connect to a TV or computer. You may have to spend more money on a projector that has multiple connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI inputs. If you want more flexibility, buy a projector that is compatible with various audio and video formats as well.

Front or rear projection

Many projectors can now be set up to project images from either the rear or the front of the screen, and can be mounted on the ceiling instead of just stationed on a table or flat surface. Front projection is the easiest to configure, and the most common setup for projectors.

Contrast ratio

This setting determines the variance between the darkest black and the brightest white, so the higher the contrast ratio, the clearer the images. Projectors with good contrast ratio figures will allow you to enhance the quality of text on screen and the depth of displayed images. For typical meeting rooms, the contrast ratio can range from 3000:1 to 20000:1. Any contrast higher than 20000:1 will intensify the presentation quality but bump up the price of the projector as well.

Resolution

Because high-resolution images and videos are so readily available these days, you may want your projector to have 1080p or full HD as a native resolution. But if you can afford the 4K models, you will have the capacity to show off a comprehensive data image on screen. The caveat here is that your resolution will depend on the specs of your source media player.

Our customers often forget to utilize one of our most useful service options: hardware consulting. If your organization is ever in the market for new equipment, or needs advice on how to get the most of what you currently have, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re an office full of gadget geeks who love the opportunity to talk about the latest and best that the industry has to offer. Contact us today!

This post was originally published on this site

Here’s how to choose the right VoIP solution for your SMB

Many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) turn to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as their telephony solution. VoIP allows them to make calls either through traditional desk phones (hardphones) or software-based phones (softphones). Find out the pros and cons of both phone options so you can decide which one fits your business best.

What’s a hardphone?

A hardphone functions like a normal phone, but it’s connected to your business’s IP network instead of a telephone line. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at an affordable price. More advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens for video calls, eliminating the need for separate equipment for video conferencing.

What’s a softphone?

A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software application that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into phones that can make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone or through a headset with a microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.

Which VoIP phone is for you?

When choosing between hardphones and smartphones, consider the following questions:

Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company take pride in offering top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need.

Why choose hardphones?

Nothing beats the voice clarity and noise cancellation features of hardphones since they are designed specifically for voice calls, unlike softphones that share power with other programs on a device. They also let you make and receive calls without being disrupted by poor PC performance or malware.

Because you have to purchase actual phones, the initial setup costs for hardphones are greater than those for softphones, but the monthly phone bills are more affordable. Not only that, softphones may be more costly in the long run, as they require separate headphones and microphones that may need to be replaced or maintained frequently.

Why choose softphones?

If your company has a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be the way to go. Softphones feature call routing, which allows you to divert calls to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your company. This is most useful in a contact center environment. Transcribed voicemail messages are another helpful feature, as this enables you to receive messages promptly, even if you’re in a meeting or on the road.

Our experts are available 24/7/365 to answer any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are right for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today.

This post was originally published on this site

Here’s how to choose the right VoIP solution for your SMB

Many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) turn to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as their telephony solution. VoIP allows them to make calls either through traditional desk phones (hardphones) or software-based phones (softphones). Find out the pros and cons of both phone options so you can decide which one fits your business best.

What’s a hardphone?

A hardphone functions like a normal phone, but it’s connected to your business’s IP network instead of a telephone line. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at an affordable price. More advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens for video calls, eliminating the need for separate equipment for video conferencing.

What’s a softphone?

A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software application that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into phones that can make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone or through a headset with a microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.

Which VoIP phone is for you?

When choosing between hardphones and smartphones, consider the following questions:

Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company take pride in offering top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need.

Why choose hardphones?

Nothing beats the voice clarity and noise cancellation features of hardphones since they are designed specifically for voice calls, unlike softphones that share power with other programs on a device. They also let you make and receive calls without being disrupted by poor PC performance or malware.

Because you have to purchase actual phones, the initial setup costs for hardphones are greater than those for softphones, but the monthly phone bills are more affordable. Not only that, softphones may be more costly in the long run, as they require separate headphones and microphones that may need to be replaced or maintained frequently.

Why choose softphones?

If your company has a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be the way to go. Softphones feature call routing, which allows you to divert calls to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your company. This is most useful in a contact center environment. Transcribed voicemail messages are another helpful feature, as this enables you to receive messages promptly, even if you’re in a meeting or on the road.

Our experts are available 24/7/365 to answer any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are right for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today.

This post was originally published on this site

Time to upgrade your Excel skills

With Microsoft Excel’s new features being so incredibly user-friendly, there’s no excuse to remain basic. Upgrade your skills with our three tips today!

Take advantage of Ideas in Excel

If you’re not sure which type of chart best tells a particular story out of a table of data, don’t worry — Excel’s artificial intelligence has got your back. Just click any cell in a data range, then go to the Home tab and click the Ideas button. A task pane will appear, showing recommendations for what data visualization you can use. Here’s a quick reference for what some of the most popular charts are for:

  • Column/Bar chart – Compares categories with one another by depicting their numerical standing in terms of column height (or bar length, in the case of bar charts) side by side (think of lining children up and looking at how tall they are)
  • Line chart – Shows how data changes over time or another variable that continuously increases at a regular rate
  • Pie chart – Sets items as being parts of the same whole to depict and compare how much each contributes to or partakes of that whole
  • Scatter diagram – Sets two variables as axes on a Cartesian plane and plots data as points on that plane to show whether a relationship exists between the two variables, and if so, what kind of relationship they have with one another

Intelligent answers for questions about your data

Thanks to natural language processing, users are able to ask a specific question or make a visualization request to Ideas, and Ideas will respond by providing a chart that answers that question or fulfills that request. For instance, if you have sales data for shirts, sweaters, boxers, briefs, jeans, and socks, and you ask for “total sales for boxers, briefs, and socks,” Ideas will show you a pie chart showing how much those three items contributed to their total sales. You can thereafter revise the label of that chart to “Total sales for underwear.”

Save time by using dynamic array formulas

For the longest time, Excel users had to enter one formula in a cell to have something returned in that particular cell only. If, for instance, you opted to use formulas (instead of the Remove duplicates command) to obtain unique values from a list containing repeating names, you’d have had to nest all sorts of functions that only increase in complexity for every succeeding cell that you use. This is no longer the case, thanks to dynamic array formulas.

Simply put, dynamic array formulas let users obtain multiple results that “spill” over multiple cells by just executing a single formula. Plus, just like how a single-cell formula result changes when that formula’s source reference changes, the results of the entire array also stay in sync with the changes in the source reference.

To illustrate, let’s say that you use the Unique function to obtain a list of non-repeating names from a list that mentioned the name “Eric” a lot. The resulting array will be a list that mentions “Eric” only once, but if all instances of “Eric” were deleted from the source list, then “Eric” will be taken out of the results array.

Besides Unique, these are some of the other functions that showcase the dynamic array feature:

  • Filter – Extracts all records that match the criteria that the user set (e.g., a list of names of people with green eyes)
  • Randarray – Generates a table full of random whole numbers or decimals between two values that are provided by the user
  • Sequence – Creates a table full of numbers that begin at a specified value and increase by an increment set by the user
  • Sort – Extracts unique values from an array and rearranges them into a new array according to the ascending or descending order of a chosen column index (e.g., a list of billionaires and their respective net worth, sorted from lowest to highest net worth)

Make data extraction easier with XLOOKUP

Let’s say you have a table that records the meals that Mark, Martha, and Marion ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on May 5, 2020. The names of these three individuals are in Column A, while what they had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are in Columns B, C, and D, respectively.

 

May 5, 2020

NAME Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Mark Scrambled eggs, bacon, and home fries Pork chop and mashed sweet potatoes Shrimp and vegetable tempura with rice
Martha Avocado toast Aglio olio Salad Nicoise
Marion Pancakes and sausages Fried chicken and cheese grits Roast beef with baked potato

 

Finding out what Mark ate for lunch is easy enough to do manually, but now imagine his name among those of 20,000 other people, in a list that’s randomly ordered, in a table spanning the year 2020. Instead of driving yourself crazy, you can retrieve that information efficiently through Excel’s XLOOKUP function.

Extracting data that corresponds to other pieces of data is what lookup functions are for. The very first to be rolled out was Vertical Lookup or VLOOKUP, a function that goes row by row to look from left to right to retrieve your desired information. Next came Horizontal Lookup or HLOOKUP, which did the same thing, except it went column by column to look from top to bottom.

The latest and best iteration of the lookup function is XLOOKUP. It combines both VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP and improves them by being able to go right to left and bottom to top as well.

Let’s go back to our 2020 meals table example above. With XLOOKUP, you can find out who ate roast beef with baked potato on April 2. However, if many people ate that meal that day, you’ll only be able to retrieve either the first or last match in the table depending on whether you specify that the search be done from first to last or in reverse order. Returning multiple matches is possible, but only by integrating other functions with XLOOKUP.

Despite XLOOKUP’s inability to return multiple matches on its own, it can return multiple values from a single match (a la dynamic array). To illustrate, let’s limit our example table to just one day, and we want to extract what Marion ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you choose to use the older VLOOKUP function, you have to perform it three times — once for every meal. With XLOOKUP, you only have to do it once. This is such a huge time-saver, especially if you want to extract entire rows or columns of data from your source table.

Excel is now more user-friendly than ever before. To take full advantage of the best features Excel has to offer your business, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Time to upgrade your Excel skills

With Microsoft Excel’s new features being so incredibly user-friendly, there’s no excuse to remain basic. Upgrade your skills with our three tips today!

Take advantage of Ideas in Excel

If you’re not sure which type of chart best tells a particular story out of a table of data, don’t worry — Excel’s artificial intelligence has got your back. Just click any cell in a data range, then go to the Home tab and click the Ideas button. A task pane will appear, showing recommendations for what data visualization you can use. Here’s a quick reference for what some of the most popular charts are for:

  • Column/Bar chart – Compares categories with one another by depicting their numerical standing in terms of column height (or bar length, in the case of bar charts) side by side (think of lining children up and looking at how tall they are)
  • Line chart – Shows how data changes over time or another variable that continuously increases at a regular rate
  • Pie chart – Sets items as being parts of the same whole to depict and compare how much each contributes to or partakes of that whole
  • Scatter diagram – Sets two variables as axes on a Cartesian plane and plots data as points on that plane to show whether a relationship exists between the two variables, and if so, what kind of relationship they have with one another

Intelligent answers for questions about your data

Thanks to natural language processing, users are able to ask a specific question or make a visualization request to Ideas, and Ideas will respond by providing a chart that answers that question or fulfills that request. For instance, if you have sales data for shirts, sweaters, boxers, briefs, jeans, and socks, and you ask for “total sales for boxers, briefs, and socks,” Ideas will show you a pie chart showing how much those three items contributed to their total sales. You can thereafter revise the label of that chart to “Total sales for underwear.”

Save time by using dynamic array formulas

For the longest time, Excel users had to enter one formula in a cell to have something returned in that particular cell only. If, for instance, you opted to use formulas (instead of the Remove duplicates command) to obtain unique values from a list containing repeating names, you’d have had to nest all sorts of functions that only increase in complexity for every succeeding cell that you use. This is no longer the case, thanks to dynamic array formulas.

Simply put, dynamic array formulas let users obtain multiple results that “spill” over multiple cells by just executing a single formula. Plus, just like how a single-cell formula result changes when that formula’s source reference changes, the results of the entire array also stay in sync with the changes in the source reference.

To illustrate, let’s say that you use the Unique function to obtain a list of non-repeating names from a list that mentioned the name “Eric” a lot. The resulting array will be a list that mentions “Eric” only once, but if all instances of “Eric” were deleted from the source list, then “Eric” will be taken out of the results array.

Besides Unique, these are some of the other functions that showcase the dynamic array feature:

  • Filter – Extracts all records that match the criteria that the user set (e.g., a list of names of people with green eyes)
  • Randarray – Generates a table full of random whole numbers or decimals between two values that are provided by the user
  • Sequence – Creates a table full of numbers that begin at a specified value and increase by an increment set by the user
  • Sort – Extracts unique values from an array and rearranges them into a new array according to the ascending or descending order of a chosen column index (e.g., a list of billionaires and their respective net worth, sorted from lowest to highest net worth)

Make data extraction easier with XLOOKUP

Let’s say you have a table that records the meals that Mark, Martha, and Marion ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on May 5, 2020. The names of these three individuals are in Column A, while what they had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are in Columns B, C, and D, respectively.

 

May 5, 2020

NAME Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Mark Scrambled eggs, bacon, and home fries Pork chop and mashed sweet potatoes Shrimp and vegetable tempura with rice
Martha Avocado toast Aglio olio Salad Nicoise
Marion Pancakes and sausages Fried chicken and cheese grits Roast beef with baked potato

 

Finding out what Mark ate for lunch is easy enough to do manually, but now imagine his name among those of 20,000 other people, in a list that’s randomly ordered, in a table spanning the year 2020. Instead of driving yourself crazy, you can retrieve that information efficiently through Excel’s XLOOKUP function.

Extracting data that corresponds to other pieces of data is what lookup functions are for. The very first to be rolled out was Vertical Lookup or VLOOKUP, a function that goes row by row to look from left to right to retrieve your desired information. Next came Horizontal Lookup or HLOOKUP, which did the same thing, except it went column by column to look from top to bottom.

The latest and best iteration of the lookup function is XLOOKUP. It combines both VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP and improves them by being able to go right to left and bottom to top as well.

Let’s go back to our 2020 meals table example above. With XLOOKUP, you can find out who ate roast beef with baked potato on April 2. However, if many people ate that meal that day, you’ll only be able to retrieve either the first or last match in the table depending on whether you specify that the search be done from first to last or in reverse order. Returning multiple matches is possible, but only by integrating other functions with XLOOKUP.

Despite XLOOKUP’s inability to return multiple matches on its own, it can return multiple values from a single match (a la dynamic array). To illustrate, let’s limit our example table to just one day, and we want to extract what Marion ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you choose to use the older VLOOKUP function, you have to perform it three times — once for every meal. With XLOOKUP, you only have to do it once. This is such a huge time-saver, especially if you want to extract entire rows or columns of data from your source table.

Excel is now more user-friendly than ever before. To take full advantage of the best features Excel has to offer your business, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Hacks to speed up your WordPress site

Ten years ago, we didn’t mind waiting five seconds for a website to load, but today, we’ll click away if it doesn’t load immediately. If you want to speed up your WordPress site, then try the following tips.

Keep WordPress and plugins up to date

Updating your WordPress version and plugins will not only keep your website secure but also speed it up. Therefore, you should install those updates as soon as they become available.

Choose a website host wisely

Your website’s host can make or break your website, so before you select one, carefully compare the details of their service plans — especially the website speed and uptime — against those of other vendors.

While it may be tempting to opt for shared hosting because of its low cost, know that it’s also going to offer the slowest speeds because many websites are simultaneously relying on the same server for bandwidth. In contrast, a dedicated server will provide the best speed, but it may be too costly for many small- and medium-sized businesses.

A great mid-performance, mid-price alternative is a virtual private server (VPS). A VPS acts like a dedicated server in terms of functionality but still technically uses a shared server. It will speed up your site better than the typical shared hosting without breaking the bank.

Keep your site lean

The leaner your site is, the faster it will be. To create a lean site, be mindful of these four aspects:

  1. Theme – While the promise of a versatile theme can spark the imagination, implementing one can set you back in terms of speed. When a theme has a ton of features, the huge amount of code that powers those features can bog down your site. Avoid this by testing the theme demos to see how long they take to load. If the loading time is more than three seconds, look for another theme that loads faster.
  2. Design – Design elements can also dramatically slow down your site. Simple sites are faster, so carefully consider the ads, images, and extras that you’re thinking of adding.
  3. Plugins – Not all plugins are created equal; some run fast and others slow. To tell one from the other, use special plugins that show the impact a plugin has on your site’s load time. What’s more, think twice before installing a plugin because having fewer plugins translates to a faster site load time.
  4. Images – While many raw images are around 3,000 to 4,000 pixels wide, most featured images are only 600 to 800 pixels wide. To reduce image weight and thus gain a faster site, resize your site’s images to the exact size they’ll appear on screen.

Leverage speed-boosting plugins

Use plugins that speed up your site. Cache plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache can provide more speed by caching every aspect of your site, thereby reducing its download times.

Another helpful plugin is Lazy Load. It boosts your site’s speed by loading the elements at the top of the website first, then loading subsequent elements as one scrolls down. But before installing the Lazy Load plugin, make sure to check your Theme Options to see if it’s already included.

Use redirects sparingly

Web pages that point to your old URLs can really slow down your site, so make sure to avoid or limit them. Also use the Redirect mapper tool or similar alternatives to uncover redirects that you don’t need.

Implementing some or all of the tips above will surely speed up your WordPress site’s speed. But if you need more help optimizing your website or in other IT matters, just give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Hacks to speed up your WordPress site

Ten years ago, we didn’t mind waiting five seconds for a website to load, but today, we’ll click away if it doesn’t load immediately. If you want to speed up your WordPress site, then try the following tips.

Keep WordPress and plugins up to date

Updating your WordPress version and plugins will not only keep your website secure but also speed it up. Therefore, you should install those updates as soon as they become available.

Choose a website host wisely

Your website’s host can make or break your website, so before you select one, carefully compare the details of their service plans — especially the website speed and uptime — against those of other vendors.

While it may be tempting to opt for shared hosting because of its low cost, know that it’s also going to offer the slowest speeds because many websites are simultaneously relying on the same server for bandwidth. In contrast, a dedicated server will provide the best speed, but it may be too costly for many small- and medium-sized businesses.

A great mid-performance, mid-price alternative is a virtual private server (VPS). A VPS acts like a dedicated server in terms of functionality but still technically uses a shared server. It will speed up your site better than the typical shared hosting without breaking the bank.

Keep your site lean

The leaner your site is, the faster it will be. To create a lean site, be mindful of these four aspects:

  1. Theme – While the promise of a versatile theme can spark the imagination, implementing one can set you back in terms of speed. When a theme has a ton of features, the huge amount of code that powers those features can bog down your site. Avoid this by testing the theme demos to see how long they take to load. If the loading time is more than three seconds, look for another theme that loads faster.
  2. Design – Design elements can also dramatically slow down your site. Simple sites are faster, so carefully consider the ads, images, and extras that you’re thinking of adding.
  3. Plugins – Not all plugins are created equal; some run fast and others slow. To tell one from the other, use special plugins that show the impact a plugin has on your site’s load time. What’s more, think twice before installing a plugin because having fewer plugins translates to a faster site load time.
  4. Images – While many raw images are around 3,000 to 4,000 pixels wide, most featured images are only 600 to 800 pixels wide. To reduce image weight and thus gain a faster site, resize your site’s images to the exact size they’ll appear on screen.

Leverage speed-boosting plugins

Use plugins that speed up your site. Cache plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache can provide more speed by caching every aspect of your site, thereby reducing its download times.

Another helpful plugin is Lazy Load. It boosts your site’s speed by loading the elements at the top of the website first, then loading subsequent elements as one scrolls down. But before installing the Lazy Load plugin, make sure to check your Theme Options to see if it’s already included.

Use redirects sparingly

Web pages that point to your old URLs can really slow down your site, so make sure to avoid or limit them. Also use the Redirect mapper tool or similar alternatives to uncover redirects that you don’t need.

Implementing some or all of the tips above will surely speed up your WordPress site’s speed. But if you need more help optimizing your website or in other IT matters, just give us a call.

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