Category Archives: Technology

How To Test Your Internet Speed

Internet seem slow these days?

You swear Youtube buffers constantly?

Scared that the internet you pay for isn’t as fast as advertised?

Good news, checking the speed of your internet is not only ridiculously easy these days – but also completely free! Most service providers have their own speed tests (Verizon, Comcast, etc) however, I find that the third party guys typically give you the most accurate results. My two favorite (because it’s always good to get a second opinion right?) are Speedtest.net and DSLReports.com.

 

  1. Speedtest.net: My favorite tester these days, recently edging out everyone else offering similar services. Why? Because I get the best speeds, and they make it as easy as eating Chef Boy-R-Dee from a can: Step 1 – go to website, step 2 – click begin test. That’s it! Even Grandma can figure this one out (with you helping her over the phone of course). They choose your test server by pinging a bunch and choosing the closest and I haven’t had a problem with their system yet.
  2. DSLReports.com: My old time #1 just got bumped down. To be clear – these guys are still great; and if you need something more specialized (mobile testing, ultra high speed testing etc) this is where you want to be. I suppose it’s a matter of preference, but when I’m troubleshooting the last thing I want to do is worry about how may people are connected to the server that I am and if that’s what’s affecting my speeds and not my ISP. Little things matter so that’s why Speedtest gets the top spot, but DSLReports is a close second for all those wanting something a little more advanced.

 

Hope this helps you guys out! As always, if you’ve got a site you like better let me know in the comments, I’m always looking for the next thing.

-Fink

How To Fine Tune Your Google Search and Avoid Ads

There are many ways to fine tune your Google search so that you find the information you are looking for in the top results and avoid all of the meaningless advertisements.

Keywords: With Google, it is most important to understand the keywords that are going to zone in on the information you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for information about George Washington, the President, in is important to put the keyword President in the search. This will avoid all hits related to Washington State, Washington D.C. etc. If you are looking for biographical information then use the keyword biography or bio (Google will usually find equivalent forms of the word. Be as precise and exact as possible in defining all of the search words.

Operators: You can further refine your query by using Google Search Operators.   For example, in order to find and exact phrase, e.g. “To be or not to be”, put the full phrase in quotations. An * can be used anywhere in the phrase as a placeholder for any word. So if you are not sure of the exact word in a phrase just use an * in its place. Continue reading

How to Stop WordPress Spam with the Best Free Security Plugins – Part II

In Part I of this blog we discussed the basic foundation for a secure WordPress blog. Now, we will continue by discussing individual WordPress plugins that you can use to further secure your blog from spam attacks, viruses, trojans, and other malware.

Before continuing, remember to backup your WordPress database before installing any plugins. There are several good free backup plugins that you can use. One that is widely used is WP-DBManager which optimizes the database for performance, repairs the database if damaged, can backup/restore database with automatic scheduling, drop/empty tables in the database, and can execute selected queries. For this plugin, you will need to move an htaccess file into your backup directory so that the backup directory is hidden. Remember to rename the file to .htaccess.

Specific security plugins that you can use to harden your site are: Continue reading

How to Stop WordPress Spam with the Best Free Security Plugins – Part I

This is Part I of a two part blog on How to Secure a WordPress blog. Part II can be found here.

Most bloggers welcome comments and new registrations from visitors since comments create interest in the blog and greatly increase traffic to the site. But anyone new to WordPress blogging quickly discovers there are far more visitors interested in leaving spam on the blog, which are frequently links to advertisements and other nefarious sites,  than there are visitors interested in leaving good comments. So, immediately there is a question of how to stop spam.

Another security problem is bots that roam the Web and install all types of viruses, trojans,  and malware on the WordPress blog that can create havoc for a WordPress blogging site as well as visitors. A WordPress blog that has the appropriate security plugins in place keeps a WordPress blog running with the minimum amount of problems and provides the best experience for all visitors. The following How To guide describes some of the best practices and best WordPress security plugins that will harden any self-hosted WordPress blog against spam, trojans, viruses, bots,  and other types of malware. Continue reading