WPMU DEV's Blog - Everything WordPressCommunity - WPMU.org http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog The WPMU DEV WordPress blog provides tutorials, tips, resources and reviews to help out any WP user Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 Easter Eggs in WordPress: What’s There to Get Eggs-Cited About? http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/easter-eggs-in-wordpress-whats-there-to-get-eggs-cited-about/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/easter-eggs-in-wordpress-whats-there-to-get-eggs-cited-about/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128193 What happened to Easter eggs in WordPress? Have they disappeared forever?

Since The Matrix Has You Easter egg surprised (and freaked out…) users in WordPress 2.6, there hasn’t been a single hidden feature in more than four years. That’s 13 versions of WordPress.

Easter eggs are fun to discover and provide a cheeky outlet for developers who have put a lot of time and work into a program and want to leave something of themselves behind. Easter eggs are silly and don’t often make sense, but mostly it’s fun finding one yourself and sharing it before your friends have stumbled across it.

Easter bunnies
Where are the Easter eggs in WordPress?

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the need for a writing style guide for core. In a recent WP Shout post, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg poo-pooed the idea, saying, “WP has always been opinionated software with a lot of personality. Every year or two people try to neuter it, remove a bit of its soul, and sometimes it gets through.”

That said, isn’t it sad that Easter eggs seem to have disappeared from WordPress? Is the WordPress personality Mullenweg jumped in to defend slowly being – as he put it – “neutered?”

Or are Easter eggs annoying and confusing for users who don’t understand what they are? Do Easter eggs just provide more work for developers who feel the need to remove them to prevent users finding them?

Should there be Easter eggs in future versions of WordPress? Have your say in our poll.

The Tradition of Easter Eggs in Software

Easter eggs – named after the Easter tradition of hiding chocolate eggs for children to find – have been part of software for 35 years.

The story goes that in the early days of software development, the identities of programmers were jealously guarded because software studios didn’t want their staff to gain celebrity status and eclipse the brands they had carefully created.

At the time, Warren Robinett, a programmer for Atari, didn’t exactly appreciate the lack of acknowledgement for his work. After failing to get his name into the manual for the Atari 2600 game Adventure, he snuck his name into the game itself.

The Matrix Has You

This Matrix-inspired Easter egg appeared when a user tried to compare two versions of the same revision in the post editor.

While the Easter egg was intended as a light-hearted bit of fun, there were some site admins who weren’t all that amused and sought out ways to remove it.

The Disable The Matrix Has Your plugin soon appeared.

In response to a Trac ticket seeking to remove the hidden feature, Mullenweg commented, “Gotta have a little soul” and “This ticket is a parody of every default argument people make in WordPress development.”

Lead core developer Andrew Nacin dismissed claims the Easter egg was unprofessional and refused to remove it from core, saying many big companies included easter eggs in their software.

If you haven’t seen the Matrix Easter egg, check out Victor Font’s video.

Adding Your Own Easter Eggs to WordPress

The Konami Easter Egg plugin allows you to add an Easter egg to your site and create a custom password to access the secret.

Only people who know the secret code will see your message. By default, the code is the classic Konami cheat code (up up down down left right left right b a enter) but you can change it to anything you like.

You can also customize the css to change the colors on your hidden page.

Easter Egg for Developers

Some would argue an Easter egg still exists in WordPress, though it’s really more a developer’s shortcut tool.

If you go to http://example.com/wp-admin/options.php?option_group_id=all (replacing “example” with your site), you’ll be taken to a hidden page in your WordPress backend with lots of extra juicy options.

Should we have Easter eggs in WordPress?

Easter eggs aren’t as popular as they once were. Back in 2009 there were four updated plugins that allowed you to add Easter eggs to your site – Customizable Konami Code, WP Cornify, WP-Konami and Konami Easter Egg. Only Konami Easter Egg has been updated in the past two years.

So what do you think? Should we have Easter eggs in WordPress? Tell us below and don’t forget to vote in the poll.

Image credits: James Nash.

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Automattic Acquires Incsub (and WPMU DEV!) http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/automattic-acquires-incsub/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/automattic-acquires-incsub/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:01:14 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=126867 Big news to share with everyone today, Incsub, the parent company of this site, has been acquired by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com!

dev+auto

I know it may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but to us, and as I was saying to Matt the other day during our weekly Turkish bath, it’s really been on the cards since the start – in fact, as we shared a sweaty handshake on the deal, he commented that the news would, in many ways, come across as ‘the sound of inevitability’.

An artists's impression of the event
An artists’s impression of the event

So, why were Automattic interested in us?

Well, besides us being the premier plugin developers on the web, having the largest read blog in the area and coming out with products that in many ways look like the future of WordPress, in fact this is more of an ‘acquihire’ – here’s how the deal breaks down.

WPMU DEV Blog Team To Take Over Haiku Production

Joe, Rae and Chris were of particular interest to the Automatticians, and will, as of today be moved entirely off writing duties here on the WPMU DEV blog, and into the critical operation of producing Haikus for various Automattic related projects.

Commenting on the move, technical expert Chris D Knowles commented:

Haiku nirvana,
Like the perfect tech wedding,
Needs patience and a beard

You can now get all your WP goodness at WP Pravda Tavern, just like God Matt intended originally.

Support Team To Attack WP.org Forums

The full force of the WPMU DEV Support team is to be thrown directly at the WordPress.org forums.

cattle-prod-development

Upon initial posting, every user will be congratulated and thanked for using the forums in under-an-hour response times, unpaid volunteer plugin and theme developers will now be harassed continually through Asana, Helpscout, Email, IM, Phone and in person until they resolve those bloody tickets.

News that WPMU DEV enforcer Timothy Bowers would be prowling the globe, cattle prod in hand, to ensure proper attention to detail and quality, was greeted with mixed emotions by existing forum volunteers.

Automattic Developers To Join WPMU DEV Team – Switch To Premium Plugins

While WordPress.com has been a successful project, clearly it hasn’t quite reached the heights of premium plugin development, and as a result Mullenweg stated that the new company would be pivoting entirely towards the production and support of premium plugins.

“It’s not quite as sexy as being a top 5 website”, Mullenweg didn’t comment, “but I feel like it’s the future, I mean without reliable, safe, always updated and improved premium plugins, how could WordPress succeed beyond being a simple blogging platform for individuals.”

WordPress.com will be quietly phased out over the next decade as the focus shifts to WPMU DEV.

Farmer To Become Audrey CEO

“Look, there’s nobody I’d trust more, or feel I’d work better with, than James – and that’s why I’d like to entrust my baby to him” Matt failed to mention when asked about probably the most exciting news so far to come out of the deal.

“I really feel that so far the company has just been flailing about, engaging in vanity projects, investing on some sort of power trip just to give me a profile” he absolutely didn’t state. “James will be able to come in, give us focus and direct our activity towards a more worthwhile and practical goal, he’s exactly the man we’ve been looking for to help me stop wasting my millions” we completely made out up afterwards.

When asked how long the transition would take, Farmer’s new deputy, Toni Schneider, suggested that it’d probably be complete ‘within the day’, before bashing off a quick email to the company lawyer.

We’ll keep you updated :)

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35+ Resources to Become a Kick Ass WordPress Developer http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/35-resources-for-kick-ass-wordpress-developers/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/35-resources-for-kick-ass-wordpress-developers/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=126338 There is a low barrier to using and working with WordPress. In fact, anyone with knowledge of PHP or with design skills can start using WordPress immediately and see results.

But if you want to really succeed with WordPress, build a strong business and gain respect, you need to be an over-achiever. Why? Because there are plenty of other WordPress developers out there who are also vying for clients and trying to earn a buck.

Luckily, there is a plethora of information available so you can move beyond the basics of tweaking a site so you can start calling yourself a fully-fledged WordPress pro. It also helps to pay attention to what the actual pros – the WordPress core developers and contributors – are doing.

So if you’re ready to kick some serious ass, read on.

WordPress Codex

codex

It goes without saying that every good developer who wants to be great references the Codex. The Codex is, essentially, the WordPress bible.

If you’ve never used the Codex before, even for the basics, like setting up a Multisite installation or for reading up on detailed information on a function, then you’ve probably been living under a rock or in a dark, dank cave, with only a generator to power your MacBook Pro.

Make WordPress Core

make-wordpress-core

Make WordPress is the official blog of the core development team for WordPress.

The site features regular updates on new features for upcoming version of WordPress. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening in WordPress, this is the place to be.

WordPress TV

wordpress-tv

If you can’t get along to WordCamps, WordPress TV is the next best thing. WordPress TV features recorded videos from WordCamps held around the world.

It’s easy to search through the site for videos on any topic, plus watching someone give a presentation can be a lot more engaging them simply reading a blog post.

WP Beginner

wpbeginner

Let’s start easy. If you think you’re too good to read a beginner site, think again. Syed Balkhi’s site is the largest unofficial WordPress resource on the web and is updated daily with new tutorials and how-tos.

While many of the site’s posts may seem too easy, and even trivial for advanced users, there are often interesting tips and tricks that are helpful for any good developer.

Tuts+ WordPress

wptuts-plus

If WP Beginner is too easy for you, then Tuts+ is the place for you. Since Tom McFarlin recently took over the editing gig at Tuts+, the site has gone full throttle with advanced topics, such as object-oriented programming in WordPress and using WordPress for web application development.

Tom McFarlin

tom-mcfarlin

Speaking of Tom McFarlin, his personal blog is a thoughtful and informative extension of his work at Tuts+. The topics he writes about are heavily geared towards programmers, but these are interspersed with posts on discussions such as The Hate and Vitriol of WordPress and Developer Distractions: The Available Tools.

Smashing Magazine

wp-smashing-magazine

Smashing Magazine is one of the first web development/design blogs I remember reading. The WordPress articles are posted almost monthly, but the site contains a large back catalog of articles by some recognisable WordPress personalities, such as Siobhan McKeown and Tom McFarlin.

The posts are usually in-depth and well-researched.

WP Mayor

wp-mayor

WP Mayor regularly publishes how-tos, just like WP Beginner. The posts are usually a mix of beginner and intermediate level stuff, with a few promotions thrown in for good measure.

ManageWP Blog

ManageWP.org

ManageWP is another regularly updated WordPress blog featuring, tips and tricks, how-tos and reviews.

The site has a lovely mix of intermediate level articles, as well as information on third-party plugins and themes.

Paulund

paulund

Blogger and web developer Paul Underwood maintains a fantastic collection of tutorials, snippets and other resources on his personal site.

His blog is a great place for intermediate and advanced level, including cool topics like Create A Clock In CSS and how to Programmatically Add Menu Item.

Pippins Plugins

pippins-plugins

If you haven’t heard of Pippins Plugins, you’ve probably just finished a stint serving time in solitary confinement. Pippin Williamson has coded so many plugins, his products alone could fill the WordPress Plugin Repository and Code Canyon. Well, almost.

Pippin’s blog is a great mix of thoughtful reviews, tutorials on advanced topics and how to use features such as the WordPress heartbeat API.

Konstantin Kovshenin

konstantin-kovshenin

Konstantin Kovshenin is a developer for Automattic and in his spare time he is… a developer for WordPress core. There isn’t much about WordPress this guy doesn’t know.

He regularly updates his blog with posts on advanced topics like Understanding _n_noop() and more reflective stuff relevant to all plugin developers like Lessons Learned from Building and Supporting a (Fairly) Popular WordPress Theme.

Otto on WordPress

otto-on-wordpress

Otto’s blog is where I go when I want to feel completely out of my depth. His blog focuses on advanced WordPress topics like Making a custom control for the Theme Customizer and Theme/Plugin Dependencies.

While his blog is updated sporadically, it’s a great place to go if you want to get stuck into the nitty gritty of code. Otto is also a great proponent of internationalization, and some of his posts look at how to make themes and plugins translation ready.

Mark Jaquith

mark-jaquith

While Mark Jaquith doesn’t post all that much on his blog, his posts are an interesting take on WordPress development from a core developer. Hopefully we’ll see more posts from Mark soon.

Andrew Nacin

andrew-nacin

Core developer Andrew Nacin rarely posts on his blog, but when he does he’s got a lot to say. Take his latest post for example, The qualities of a great WordPress contributor, which comes in at a lazy 2869 words. It’s a great read if you’re thinking about contributing to WordPress.

Hongkiat

hongkiat

Hongkiat’s WordPress category features a regularly updated stream of how-to and list posts covering everything from how to install WordPress locally and 20 WordPress Shortcodes and Plugins You Might Want To Try.

The site is well worth reading for tips and tricks or theme inspiration.

WPLift

wplift

Much like WP Mayor and ManageWP, WPLift offers a varied collection of tutorials, guides and WordPress round-ups.

WPLift posts a great weekly round-up of new, tutorials and resources published on third-party sites.

Matt Report

matt-report

Matt Medeiros’s site focuses on the business of WordPress, with a mix of interviews, tips and reflections on working in the WordPress ecosystem.

Matt is also well-known for his Matt Report podcast and in-depth interviews with WordPress personalities.

Chris Lema

chris-lema

Chris Lema’s site completely veers away from the development site of WordPress, instead focusing on the entrepreneurial aspects of using the CMS.

WP Kube

wp-kube

WP Kube is in the same vein as WP Lift and WP Mayor with its mix of list posts and how-tos.

This site is more targeted at intermediate level developers who are looking for curated information on plugins and themes.

WP Explorer

wpexplorer-blog

WP Explorer is another how-to site, with interesting content on topics such as creating a WordPress theme and customising the admin user interface.

Carrie Dils

carrie-dils

Genesis developer Carrie Dils blogs about all things WordPress, such as How to Run a Successful Affiliate Campaign Without Being a Douche to How To: Add a Logo to a Genesis Theme.

Carrie’s blog is a great mix of development and reflective articles with an emphasis on Genesis.

WPMU DEV

wpmu-dev

I would be remiss to dismiss this very site, WPMU DEV Blog! We post daily on everything from the best free themes available to reviews on plugins and WordPress services.

On Saturdays and Sundays we publish Weekend WordPress Projects, an ongoing series of quick projects you can complete in under an hour to improve your WordPress site.

WordPress Development Stack Exchange

stack-exchange

Stack Overflow is a fantastic question and answer site for programmers who are stuck and need a hand with frustrating code. The site’s dedicated WordPress area, WordPress Development Stack Exchange allows you to search through questions and tags and post your own question for other developers to answer.

Reddit

reddit

Reddit features two dedicated subreddits – WordPress and ProWordPress. The ProWordPress forum is targeted at advanced users and offers a community for developers to exchange ideas. Brad Williams from WebDevStudios creates ProWordPress, which he moderates along with Travis Northcutt and Michael Beckwith.

ProWordPress isn’t a place for beginners, so much as it is a place for developers to ask questions, seek advice and talk code.

Advanced WordPress

advanced-wordpress

With almost 5000 members, the Advanced WordPress group on Facebook is a popular place for WordPress developers to meet, share ideas and knowledge about advanced features and functionality. This is definitely not the place for beginners.

WP Tavern

wp-tavern

WordPress Co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s news site is updated daily with articles on new WordPress plugins, themes, services and events.

ManageWP.org

managewp-org

Vladimir Prevolac launched his WordPress news curation experiment, ManageWP.org last year. The site encourages WordPress users to share articles in return for up votes and community cred.

The site offers an easy way to stay on top of the latest articles published about WordPress.

wpMail.me

wpmail-me

You’re not a member of the WordPress community if you’re not subscribed to wpMailme. This weekly newsletters it published weekly and includes a curated round-up of WordPress news and articles, themes news and releases, plugin news and tutorials.

Post Status

poststatus

Post Status is another dedicated WordPress news site. It featured curated links to announcements and articles, and sometimes posts on community topics.

Torque

torque

Web host WP Engine launched its news site, Torque, last year at WordCamp San Francisco to much fanfare. The site publishes a mix of articles on WordPress and non-WordPress topics by contributing writers.

Codeacademy

codeacademy

Codeacademy offers free coding classes in languages such as PHP and JavaScript. It’s a great site if you’re learning how to code or just need to brush up on your skills.

Tree House

tree-house

Like Codeacademy, Treehouse offers online classes. The site has been gradually adding to its collection of courses and in January announced a new beginner’s course in the WordPress track. The site has since added six other WordPress courses, including How to Build a WordPress Theme and Local WordPress Development.

Wprecipes

wprecipes

Wprecipes features quick code snippets to help developers make the most of WordPress, such as How to change the title attribute of WordPress login logo and Easily delete WordPress post revisions using your functions.php file.

WPSNIPP

wpsnipp

WPSNIPP is another great code snippet site, featuring 622 snippets and counting. The great thing about this site is the accompanying comments where developers often discuss ways to alter a piece of code or add extra functionality.

WP-Snippets

WP-Snippets

WP-Snippets offers a collection of more than 200 snippets designed to make WordPress development easier.

CSS-Tricks

css-tricks

CSS-Tricks provides a comprehensive collection of snippets, tips and tricks to help developers tweak WordPress. The site contains a dedicated WordPress category, as well as sections for PHP, Javascript and CSS.

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Shh! Top Secret Feature in WordPress 3.9 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/secret-feature-wordpress-3-9/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/secret-feature-wordpress-3-9/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=125197 WordPress 3.9 lead developer Andrew Nacin has hinted there will be a secret feature in the upcoming release.

Now that features-as-plugins are the norm, core features are usually known about weeks before a new release. They are ever picked apart in great detail during public core development meetings.

But this time, Nacin has a surprise up his sleeve. During the latest #wordpress-dev IRC meeting meeting, Nacin casually mentioned there would be a secret feature, but didn’t elaborate further.


Do you know what the secret feature is? Tell us in the comments below.

Secret
What is the secret feature planned for WordPress 3.9?

WordPress 3.9 has been scheduled for release during the week of April 14, with the first beta expected on February 26.

While details of this secret feature are scarce, there has been a lot of talk about other improvements planned for this release:

A New Widgets Interface

Widget Customizer
The Widget Customizer plugin allows you to make edits to widgets and preview changes before hitting Save and Publish.

There are two widget-related feature plugins proposed for WP 3.9 – Widget Customizer and Better Widgets.

Designer/developer Shaun Andrews has previously posted about Better Widgets, while Weston Ruter, who is leading work on the Widget Customizer plugin, has put together his own very detailed proposal this week. Ruter’s proposal at Make WordPress Core includes a great video demo of how the plugin works.

The idea behind Widget Customizer is cool. Each widget gets its own panel in the Customizer (Appearance > Customize) settings and you can edit, move and preview what widgets look like before you hit Save and Publish.

Ruter points out that when making changes to a widget, it could be completely broken and everyone visiting your site would see this because there’s no way to preview changes before saving them. The Widget Customizer Plugin offers a solution.

During this week’s development meeting, Nacin asked the Widgets Customizer team to think more on the widgets UI before a decision is made on whether to incorporate the plugin into core.

TinyMCE Improvements

TinyMCE 4 has been earmarked for inclusion in core. The latest version of TinyMCE will provide an improved UI, an inline editing mode and a more stable core structure to the Post Editor.

The changes will also improve editing and positioning images after they have been added to the Post Editor.

A Better Themes Experience, Part Two

WordPress Themes Experience
An even better themes experiences has been proposed for WordPress 3.9.

THX38, a reimagining of the theme installation experience, was incorporated into WP 3.8, offering up a more slick UI for theme installation.

WP 3.9 is expected to take that experience a step further with support for multiple screenshots when previewing themes. It’s not clear yet what other improvements could be included in this upgrade.

Upgrades to How Media Are Handled

In the next version of WordPress, the image editor could be moved into the media manager. Other planned improved include enabling users to drop an image or other media directly onto the post screen without having to click the Add Media button.

Greater Audio/Video Support

Scott Taylor, a musician and software engineer at the New York Times, is leading work on proposed audio/video features in WP 3.9 he has code named “Disco Fries”.

There are a bunch of ideas he was to see realized: new icons, better documentation of the “new” media code introduced in WP 3.5, subtitles for video, the ability to generate metadata for audio/video files on demand, and audio and video playlist shortcodes.

Other Improvements

UX designers Jen Mylo and Mel Choyce will be auditing the admin settings in WP.

Improvements to Multisite are also in the words, though it’s not clear exactly what that will involve.

Javascript and CSS improvements have been proposed, such as breaking wp-admin.css into modules, merging color.css into other CSS files, introducing Grunt tools for patches and inline JavaScript documentation using JSDoc.

Nacin has also started working on a taxonomy roadmap for meta and post relationships, which he expects will evolve over five or more releases of WordPress.

What do you think of the features planned for WordPress 3.9? Do you know what the secret feature is? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credit: Katie Tegtmeyer.

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Free WordPress Themes: The Ultimate Guide http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-themes-ultimate-guide/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-themes-ultimate-guide/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=124630 There are so many free WordPress themes out there it can put your head in a tail spin. So in an effort to help you sift through the good and the – let’s face it – crap, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to free WordPress themes.

This post is your one-stop, all-you-can-eat resource for information about free WordPress Themes.

There’s an overwhelming number of free themes available – just search Google. It’s easy enough to just download the first free theme that catches your eye. And why wouldn’t you? They’re free!

Why should you fork out your hard-earned cash for a premium themes when there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, available for free?

And you’re right. Why should you pay for something you can get for nothing? Downloading a free theme instead of a premium theme seems like the obvious choice.

But like most things that are too good to be true, free themes come with a catch. You risk downloading malicious code, struggling to customize a poorly written theme or finding out the hard was that you’re all alone with no support when something goes wrong. What might be free now, you’ll pay for later in frustration, time and money.

Stick around, but in this very comprehensive look at free themes, I’ll let you in on everything you need to know about free themes and where you can find safe and reliable options.

Work desk

In this post we’ll cover:

  • What is a Free WordPress Theme?
  • Advantages of Free WordPress Themes
  • Disadvantages of Free WordPress Themes
  • Free WordPress Themes Versus Premium WordPress Themes
  • Should I Use a Free Theme or a Premium Theme
  • Where You Can Find Reliable and Free WordPress Themes
  • Searching for Free WordPress Themes on Google
  • How to Check Your WordPress Themes for Potentially Malicious Code
  • Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Free WordPress Theme

What is a Free WordPress Theme?

A free theme is, well, free.

Some developers create free themes to build their portfolio or just for fun. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of themes shops out there and some, like WooThemes and Graph Paper Press, also create free themes, often to attract users to their site in the hope they’ll empty their wallets for premium content.

If you’ve searched Google for free themes, you’ve no doubt stumbled across WordPress.org and its Theme Repository, the largest collection of free WordPress themes available online.

WordPress software is licensed under the GPL and all themes uploaded to the Repository are also required to be 100 per cent GPL-licensed, or use a GPL-compatible license. This includes all PHP, HTML, CSS, images, fonts, icons and everything else.

What’s the GPL?

GPL
The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works.

The GNU General Public License, according to its preamble, is “intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software – to make sure the software is free for all its users.”

When referring to free software, the GPL means freedom, not price. The GPL is designed to ensure you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service, if you wish), and that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new, free programs.

The GPL was the first copyleft license made available for general use.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses are another type of public license, which is free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.
Some WordPress themes, which are not part of the Theme Repository, are licensed under Creative Commons rather than the GPL.

Free Themes Are Not All Created Equal

Back in 2009, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg sought to clarify licensing for free themes. The US-based Software Freedom Law Center gave the legal opinion that PHP in themes must be GPL, while artwork and CSS may be licensed under GPL, but it’s not required.

When downloading any theme it’s important to understand how it is licensed and what you’re legally allowed to do with it.

Advantages of Free WordPress Themes

What’s not to like about something that’s absolutely free? There are many advantages to using a free theme:

Free Themes Are Free!

Free
The awesome thing about free WordPress themes is that they’re FREE!

Free themes aren’t going to burn a hole in your pocket. You can simply download the theme you want and starting using it.

Premium themes can be expensive and if you buy a theme and later decide you don’t want it, or discover that it doesn’t work well with plugins you really need, it can be difficult to get your money back.

Also, why hire a designer and developer to create a site for you when you can simply download one for free?

Community Support

While free themes often come without support, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started with a free theme you’ve just downloaded or with any advanced customizations you may want to make. The WordPress Support Forums are the first port of call. We’ve also got a rocking support team at WPMU DEV.

Experimentation

If you’re like me, you quickly spot a theme you like, download and activate it and then decide it’s totally wrong for you site. Rinse and repeat.

This can get pretty expensive if you’re buying premium themes at $45 a pop. With free themes, since you don’t have to pay for them you can download as many as you like without compromising your budget. You can experiment with as many themes as you like until you find the right one that suits your needs.

Disadvantages of Free WordPress

While there are many good reasons to download free themes, they do have their limitations and disadvantages.

Not Unique

There are a plethora of blogs out there (including ours) that regularly publish lists of the best free themes, so the best ones are quickly picked up and promoted.

The best free themes can be download hundreds, if not thousands, of times, ensuring your site is about as unique as a banana.

Twenty Thirteen
The Twenty Thirteen default WordPress theme has been download 288,929 times. That’s a heluva lot of sites using the same theme.

Poorly Coded

Many free themes are put together by amateurs who have poor coding skills, leaving your site open to security vulnerabilities if you decide to use the theme.

Poorly coded free themes are also less likely to be localization-ready if you want to translate your site into another language, or SEO-optimized to help your site load faster and perform well in search rankings.

Lack of Features

Free themes usually offer very basic features. The premium theme market is an incredibly competitive place – just look at Theme Forest. Themes need to offer responsive design and dozens of customizations to get ahead of competitors. Free themes more than not have a very limited number of features.

Lack of Support

Free themes often don’t come with customer support, so if you run into a problem you’re on your own.

Rarely Updated

Malicious code
Free themes are notorius for containing nasty code and other bugs.

WordPress is constantly being updated. In fact, the latest version of WordPress, 3.8, was released just two months after WordPress 3.7. It’s important your themes are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. When you use a premium theme, the onus is on the developer to release timely updates. But when you’re using a free theme, you could wait months for an upgrade or not even see one at all.

There are themes in the WordPress Theme Repository that haven’t been updated in more than two years.

Malicious Code and Encrypted Footer Links

Free themes are notorious for being a conduit for malicious code, encrypted spammy links and link injections for malware or whatever else.

Since the Google Penguin update, Google has cracked down on sites that have spammy and encrypted links. Hell, we were even unfairly penalised for it.

Free Themes Versus Premium Themes

It’s important to weigh up what you want to actually achieve with your site. Small personal blogs or portfolio sites may benefit from a free theme because it’s a quick and inexpensive way to get a site up and running. Small businesses that require e-commerce, agencies and large companies would do better with a premium theme. Don’t even think about using a free theme for a complex corporate site.

Premium themes offer many features that are worth paying for and free themes simply can’t compete. If you do decide to use a free theme, it’s important to acknowledge its limitations and accept them.

What is a premium theme?

Theme Forest
Theme Forest is the largest online market place for premium WordPress themes.

Premium themes are themes which have been professionally designed and developed and include advanced features and functionality, such as sliders, e-commerce, styling options, and custom widgets, among other things.

Premium themes are usually sold at a fixed cost or as part of a membership. You’re look at around $45 for a theme at Theme Forest or $99 for a standalone theme at WooThemes. When you buy a theme, it usually comes with support and regular updates for a fixed period of time.

When you hand over money for a premium theme, you can expect a higher standard and quality compared to free themes, as well as a greater selection of theme designs and functionality.

Unfortunately, there are nasty people out there who manipulate and distribute free WordPress themes containing dodgy links and malicious code. Unless you know what to look for in a theme’s files, using these free themes can negatively affect your site’s efficiency and search engine trust and rankings.

Premium themes can give you the peace of mind that a theme is clean and optimized to make your site perform at its best.

Should I Use a Free Theme or a Premium Theme?

When you’re just starting out, it makes sense to download and experiment with free themes so you can get a sense of how WordPress works and how to makes customizations.

If you’re a blogger, a free theme is ideal. Not only is it low cost, but it is unlikely you will need advanced features that comes with premium themes.

Hipster
If you want to set up a site for your hipster photography, why not download a free WordPress theme?

When your site starts to get more popular, it’s probably time to start thinking about buying a premium theme

Free themes are best for:

  • Bloggers

Premium themes offer features more suited to

  • Popular blogs
  • Small businesses
  • Corporate sites

When making a decision about what kind of theme to use, it’s also worth considering what kind of look and feel you want to project to your visitors. If you use a free theme with a footer link displaying the name of the site where you downloaded it from, it tells people you don’t put much effort into your site.

Where You Can Find Reliable Free Themes

It’s important to remember that malicious code isn’t the defining characteristic of free themes. In fact, there are many quality free themes out there.

Rather, malicious code is a problem of unsafe sites offering those themes. This is why it’s important to download free themes from reliable sources like the ones mentioned below.

WordPress Theme Repository

WordPress Theme Repository

The Theme Repository really is the largest collection of free themes available online (where else would you find it? :)

At last count there were 2216 themes in the repository, which have been download 89,271,832 times. (Remember what I said about the uniqueness of free themes…?)

The Repository has a fantastic feature finder, while allows you to search for themes based on their tags. So if you’re looking for a pink theme with a right sidebar, a fixed layout and a feature header for the holidays, you can search for and find just that.

As I mentioned above, all themes uploaded to the Repository are 100 per cent GPL and are throughly tested by the Theme Review Team, so themes should be free of malicious code.

120 Free WordPress Themes from Premium Theme Developers

Free Premium WordPress themes

Our very own Joe Foley put together this amazing list of premium themes that are also 100 per cent free.

Not only are these themes free, but you can trust that they have been created and released with clean code. Many theme shops don’t provide support for free themes, so it’s a good idea to check this out if you do decide to download a free premium theme.

Free Premium Themes

While theme shops really just want you to buy and download their premium themes, many also release free themes to entice new customers.

Here are just a few:

Themes Kingdom

Themes Kingdom

Themes Kingdom offers six free themes, including a charity theme. The themes features clean designs that come with support.

WooThemes

WooThemes

WooThemes offers a collection of 16 free themes, including e-commerce, blogging and business designs.

Graph Paper Press

Graph Paper Press

Thirteen free themes are available at Graph Paper Press, a theme shop aimed at photographers, artists and small businesses.

Wpshower

Wpshower

Wpshower offers seven free themes that come with features such as custom widgets and a jQuery-powered featured post carousel. The theme shop’s site includes a forum where users can ask questions about free themes.

Themify

Themify

Themify offers three free themes, which come with features such as responsive layouts, sliders and child theme support.

Searching for Free WordPress Themes on Google

A few years ago, a simple Google search for “free wordpress themes” was very different to what it is today. Back in 2011, a search turned up a gaggle of dodgy, theme websites littered with themes containing malicious code and hidden, spammy links:

Google 2011
A Google search for “free wordpress themes” circa 2011.

Times have certainly changed since then! Since Google’s Penguin update, the search engine has cracked down on spammy links and link schemes. In 2014, a search for “free wordpress themes” brings up a very different set of search results:

Google 2014
A Google search for “free wordpress themes” this year.

I should also add that the top 10 results change daily, albeit slightly.

So what are all these sites? Let’s go through each one and check their credibility.

WordPress Theme Repository

It makes sense the WordPress Theme Repository, the largest collection of free WordPress themes available, ranks highly. In fact, both first and second.

The repository is one of the safest places to find and download free themes. A volunteer Theme Review Team reviews and approves themes submitted for inclusion in the repository. Theme reviews are a way to control the quality of themes that are available in the repository. The team doesn’t review designs, but it does look at the quality of code, ensures themes meet a strict set of guidelines and can handle test data.

WPExplorer

WPExplorer offers a collection of free and commercial WordPress themes and plugins sourced from third-party sites, such as Theme Forest. The sites makes money from affiliate links.

According to the site’s terms and conditions, many of the themes available for download on the site are not hosted on the WPExplorer domain, and those that are hosted on the same domain may include a footer link back to WPExplorer.

Importantly, the terms and conditions also specify “any free theme downloaded from WPExplorer.com is done at your own risk and the owner of WPExplorer.com will not be liable for any problems caused from such activity.”

WPMU DEV Blog

WPMU DEV Blog
Our blog is an awesome source of WordPress information.

The fourth search listing is the very blog you are reading right now! Back in 2011, we reviewed the top 10 search listings for “free wordpress themes” and found the majority offered themes containing malicious code. The subsequent post, Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes, was a huge eye opener for WordPress users who had never bothered to look into the code of the free themes they were downloading.

But 2011 was a lifetime ago in the online world so we’re bringing things up-to-date in this post.

Design Razzi

Design Razzi calls itself a design magazine, but it’s really just a collection of lists, i.e. 125+ Free Responsive WordPress Themes 2014, 150+ Best Free Photoshop Text Effects Tutorials, 5+ Best Responsive WordPress Video Themes. The site is crammed with ads.

The WordPress themes section offers lists of themes hosted off-site, such as 125+ Best WordPress Photography Themes and 75+ Best Personal Blogging WordPress Themes. There’s no terms and conditions section. When you click on a theme you are taken to a third-party site where you can download or demo a theme.

My recommendation: download themes from Design Razzi at your own risk.

Smart Magazine WordPress Themes

Smart Magazine Themes offers a huge collection of free and premium themes. The site’s themes are available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license – another type of license, similar to the GPL in its aims – which means anyone who downloads a theme can share it or adapt it, but they must give attribution to the theme’s creator. This means that every theme must display a link in the footer to the Smart Magazine WordPress Themes site.

While all of the themes are free, you need to cough up some cash if you want to get rid of footer links or use any themes for client sites.

Web Designer Depot

WebdesignerDepot.com
WebdesignerDepot.com is a popular online magazine about tips and techniques for web designers and developers.

The seventh entry is Web Designer Depot, a blog about web design and development. The link displayed in Google search is a round-up of themes, The Best Free WordPress Themes, December 2013. The themes listed are all hosted off-site. Many are available on the WordPress Theme Repository, while others are hosted on sites belonging to a theme’s developer.

While the site has terms and conditions, there is nothing related to the free themes promoted on the site. Themes that are available on the repository are generally safe, but you may want to check the files of any free themes you download from other sites. I’ll go into how to check free themes for malicious code later in this post.

Towfiq I.

Towfiq I. is a theme shop run by Bangladeshi developer Towfiq, offering free and premium themes. Obviously, Towfiq has been working hard on his SEO!

I downloaded a bunch of free themes from the site and scanned them for potentially malicious or unwanted code using the Theme Authenticity Checker plugin (I’ll go into more detail about this plugin later in this post). I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, only links back to the Towfiq site. The fact this site ranks on the first page for this search term makes me wonder how he boosts his SEO?

Hongkiat

Hongkiat is a popular design and blogging site that features articles and tutorials on Photoshop, HTML/CSS, WordPress, photography and design. The site’s WordPress section features tips and tricks, much like the WPMU DEV Blog.

The link that appears in Google search is for a list post, 40+ Free Responsive WordPress Themes. A lot of sites, such as our blog, publishes these list posts, which are designed to spark inspiration and provide a handy look at what’s out there.

The posts in this list are all hosted off-site on theme developer sites, so download at your own risk.

Torque Mag

Last but not least, Torque Mag comes in 10th in our Google search. Torque is a WordPress news site run by managed WordPress host WP Engine.

The link, Best Free WordPress Themes from 2013, offers a list of 25 free themes released during 2013. Like other list posts, the themes are all hosted off-site, so download at your own risk.

How to Check Your Theme for Potentially Malicious Code

It’s a good idea to scan new themes of malicious code if you’re not 100 per cent satisfied that the code is clean.

Luckily, there was a few great programs to help you out – and they’re all free, no less.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

Theme Activity Checker
The Theme Authenticity Checker plugin let’s you quickly check your themes for malicious code.

TAC searches the sources files of every installed theme in your WordPress install for signs of malicious code.

It’s simple to use – just install and activate the plugin. A new menu item will appear in your admin area – Appearance > TAC. If bad code is found, TAC will display the path to the theme file, the line number and a small snippet of the suspicious code.

Exploit Scanner

Exploit Scanner
Search your site for suspicious files and code with Exploit Scanner.

Exploit Scanner searches the files on your site, as well as the posts and comments tables of your database, for anything suspicious. It also examines your list of active plugins for unusual filenames.

This plugin is also easy to use – just install and activate it and go to Tools > Exploit Scanner to run a scan.

Sucuri Security – SiteCheck Malware Scanner

Sucuri
Sucuri provides a basic plugin that allows you to quickly scan your site for malware and blacklisting.

Sucuri scans your site for malware, spam, blacklisting and other security issues like. htaccess redirects and hidden eval code.

Like the plugins mentioned above, just install and activate the plugin. Sucuri Free will appear in the admin sidebar with various options for checking your site’s security.

The plugin available in the WordPress Plugin Repository is free, though Securi also offers premium plans.

Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Free Theme

When choosing a free theme, only you know what your needs are so it helps to write them down keep them in mind when searching for a theme.

  • What features do you need? Do you need a slider? A portfolio? A great free theme should meet your present and future needs.
  • Is the theme easy to customize? Whether you’re a coding king or a WordPress newb, it’s important to keep in mind what customizations you may need to make to your site if the original design doesn’t meet all your needs.
  • Does your site fit a particular genre? If you are putting together a site for a specific purpose, such as a portfolio, photography or restaurant site, searching for themes available for your genre may help you save time.
  • Is there support available for the theme? Free themes often come without support, though some theme developers are happy to help. It’s a good idea to check on this before you download a theme.
  • Is the theme regularly updated? As I mentioned above, there are themes in the WordPress Theme Repository that haven’t been updated in more than two years.
  • How old is the themes? Following on from my last point, check how old a theme is before you download it because it may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Where do you go for free and reliable WordPress Themes? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credits: WikiMedia CommonsAlan O’Rourkejurvetson, Unsplash.

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Help Us Help You – Fill out the WPMU DEV Blog 2014 Survey http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/2014-blog-survey/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/2014-blog-survey/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=124814 It’s a new year – and a new opportunity for us at WPMU DEV to bring you awesome WordPress news, tutorials, resources and reviews.

So, please take a moment to fill out the WPMU DEV survey below. You can complete it in less than two minutes, honest (although you are welcome to spend longer and give us better answers!).

Help us to provide you with the best in WP in 2014, and to sweeten the deal we’ll be giving away an annual WPMU DEV membership worth $588 to one lucky respondent. Good luck!

If the embed isn’t working for you, visit the survey directly using this link.

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Advent Calendar: Useful WordPress Snippets ‘Til Christmas http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/advent-calendar-wordpress-snippets-til-christmas/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/advent-calendar-wordpress-snippets-til-christmas/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:30:49 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=123924 Elliot Richmond over at Square One Marketing & Design has been getting into the Christmas spirit.

Advent Snippets
WordPress Tips and Tricks are being released everyday in the lead up to Christmas as part of WP Snippets Til Christmas.

The designer and self-confessed WordPress geek has set up WP Snippets Til Christmas, a fun and festive WordPress advent calendar.

Everyday until Christmas, a new code snippet is released on the site. So far there have been snippets on topics such as Properly Enqueuing Script and Styles in WordPress, how to Create Your Own Registration Form in WordPress and how to Add a Custom Post Type Submenu to an Existing Custom Post Type Menu.

A bunch of developers well-known within the WordPress community have contributed to the holiday project, including Tom McFarlinBrad Williams and Konstantin Kovshenin.

Snippets are also delivered to your email inbox daily if you sign up to the project’s newsletter.

Richmond has created a cute Christmas-themed site for his project, which uses a parallax effect based on a site developed by Brett Taylor.

This is the project’s second year after a successful run in 2012. Hopefully we’ll see it again next year.

Have you found any of the snippets helpful? Tell us in the comments below.

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Free WordPress Expertise: WordSesh 2 Presenters Announced http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-expertise-wordsesh-2-presenters-announced/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-expertise-wordsesh-2-presenters-announced/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:30:27 +0000 http://wpmu.org/?p=123632 Twenty four hours of round the clock WordPress talks will return on December 7 (UTC).

More than 40 speakers have been announced for WordSesh 2, a free full day of presentations from all over the world streamed live online.

WordSesh is a great opportunity to hear live presentations by well-known people in the WordPress community you would only otherwise get to see at WordCamps.

WordSesh feature image

Some big names presenting include WordPress co-found Matt Mullenweg, WooThemes co-founder Adii Pienaar, WebDevStudios partner Lisa Sabin-Wilson, the Matt Report’s Matt Medeiros and plugin developer Pippin Williamson.
There will also be talks by WPMU contributor Josh Pollock and former WPMU writer Siobhan MeKeown, who now writes for Audrey Capital.

The event will include 24 sessions, with one on every hour. Details on the presentation topics will be released closer to the date.

The first WordSesh, held on April 13 this year, offered up a variety of talks catering to every type of WordPress user, from beginners to advanced developers on topics such as becoming a successful WordPress freelancer, building greater profits into your WordPress business and everything you ever wanted to know about BuddyPress.

All of the sessions were recorded and are available on YouTube.

WordSesh is the brainchild of WooCommerce’s Scott Basgaard and WebDevStudios co-founder Brad Williams.

I couldn’t help but notice there are so few women presenting – just six of the total 46. Hopefully organisers will keep this in mind for the next WordSesh.

For more details about WordSesh 2, and upcoming information on presentation topics, check out the WordSesh site or Twitter.

Do you think you could you stay up for 24 hours to watch all of the presentations? Did you watch the first WordSesh last April? Tell us in the comments below.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing With WordPress http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/what-to-do-when-you-dont-know-what-youre-doing-with-wordpress/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/what-to-do-when-you-dont-know-what-youre-doing-with-wordpress/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 13:00:56 +0000 http://wpmu.org/?p=123329 No matter what level of WordPress user you are, from WordPress newbie to official Level 7 Rock Star Ninja Developer, you are going to get stuck from time to time.

This happens to everyone. You should never be ashamed to admit when you need a little help. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to get more involved in the WordPress community.

The internet is filled with helpful places to get support with whatever WordPress issue is plaguing you. That said, one of the problems is there are so many places to got to, and each with their own set of house rules. Knowing the best place to ask your questions and how to go about asking can be a problem in itself.

Whether your problem is a coding problem, a question about marketing strategy or SEO-related, you can get connected with someone happy to answer your question.

I learned everything I know about WordPress, PHP, CSS and jQuery by Googling the answer or asking a question about my problem in various places. In this post I’ll share what I’ve learned and hopefully help you find solutions to questions that can’t easily be solved by a simple Google search.

Man engaging in a double faceplam

Avoiding XY Problems

Before asking any questions, it’s important to consider whether you are actually asking the right question. Often before asking for help, you try to solve the problem yourself and fail. That’s okay, but it leads to asking about how to make your solution work, instead of asking about your original problem.

But what if the solution you tried to implement, and are now focusing on, wasn’t the right solution? In addition to your original issue you might have developed what’s called a “XY problem”.

Instead of asking about how to solve problem X, you ask how to make solution Y work, making it likely that you will only get responses related to solution Y and not X, your actual problem.

So how do you avoid creating XY problems?

When asking your question, be sure to explain why you were doing whatever it was you couldn’t get to work. Put the problem into context and keep things broad.

Don’t ask why get_post_meta() didn’t solve your problem. Instead, explain what information you were trying to return, why you chose get_post_meta(), how you used it and any error or non-useful information that was returned. This allows people reading your question to consider answers that don’t involve using get_post_meta() at all, which is awesome if get_post_meta() can’t actually do what you are trying to make it do.

Where To Ask Questions

Stack Overflow and The WordPress Stack Exchange

Help crowdsource a massive WordPress FAQ by asking or answering a question on the WordPress Stack Exchange.
Help crowdsource a massive WordPress FAQ by asking or answering a question on the WordPress Stack Exchange.

Stack Overflow is one of the best question and answer sites for computer programmers on the internet. StackOverflow is part of the Stack Exchange network, which focuses on dozens of different topics from startups to science-fiction and of course there is a highly active WordPress Stack Exchange, which is a great place to ask questions about WordPress development.

When posting on the WordPress Stack Exchange or Stack Overflow, it is important to focus your question properly, which begins with the right title. Most importantly, you must be asking a question.

It’s best not to title your post “I can’t get wp_list_pages() to work!” You should also avoid making the question specific to your site with a title like, “Why doesn’t wp_list_pages() work on my site?”

It’s better to make the problem general so others can benefit from reading your question later. For example, “How to use wp_list_pages() to show pages in reverse order of publication date?” should prompt the most useful answer because it states your goal, which opens up the possibility of receiving an answer that suggests a strategy other than using wp_list_pages(). It is also more broadly applicable, which will make your question more attractive to other users who might have an answer.

Remember, Stack Exchange isn’t just there to answer your questions, but to crowd source knowledge about a subject in FAQ form. No matter what you do, before posting a question it’s a good idea to search the site.

Choosing where to post a coding related question can be a little tricky. While Stack Overflow does have a WordPress tag, most WordPress questions are better suited for the WordPress Stack Exchange. That said, questions about PHP, CSS and jQuery with WordPress, are sometimes better suited for StackOverflow. Figuring out whether to post on StackOverflow or the WordPress Stack Exchange can be tricky. For the most part, if your question has to do with a specific WordPress function, not the mechanics of PHP, it belongs on WordPress Stack Exchange not Stack Overflow.

One other thing – don’t ask for a plugin recommendation on the WordPress Stack Exchange. Some people find this restriction annoying, but keep in mind that a plugin recommendation may still be a valid answer. By limiting your options to a plugin recommendation you may be missing simpler, cheaper and more efficient solutions to your problems.

Facebook Groups

The Advanced WordPress Facebook group is a great place to get answers to technical and non-technical WordPress questions.
The Advanced WordPress Facebook group is a great place to get answers to technical and non-technical WordPress questions.

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to WordPress, but in my humble opinion the best one is Advanced WordPress. The group is full of smart people from across the WordPress world who are willing to answer questions from a diverse range of topics.

While the name of the group says advanced, I think it’s safe to think of the group as intermediate and above. Don’t be afraid to ask for plugin recommendations or some other simpler question that can’t be quickly answered with a quick Google search. Advanced WordPress is not just for development questions, but also for discussing the state of WordPress, blogging, SEO and all other aspects of the WordPress ecosystem.

For more basic questions you may want to check out WordPress Help and Share or WordPress for the Non-Technical. Both are good places to ask for any type of new user help. Facebook – as well as Google+ – have many specific WordPress groups, including ones aimed at business,  SEO and startups, as well as many regional groups.

Reddit

WordPress on Reddit

I know a lot of people don’t get Reddit, but I promise you it is simple to use and you will “get it” pretty quickly.

The WordPress Subredit, is one of my favorite places to get help. It’s a subreddit with the perfect amount of traffic – not so little that no one bothers to pay attention, but small enough that when there are a few challenging questions people will jump all over a decent topics.

Questions in /r/WordPress range from development, to content marketing, to WordPress.com, and it is generally a safe place for total beginners to ask questions before getting started.

Reddit is also home to /r/phphelp, which is a good place to get answers to tricky PHP problems. Also, you might want to consider seeking help in /r/SEO, /r/jQuery, /r/css and /r/web_design, all of which can be helpful resources in the right situation.

When To Seek Professional Help

One of the most amazing things about WordPress is that pretty much anything is possible if you have the time to figure it out. The last part of that sentence is important – before putting too much time into trying to solve a problem yourself, you need to ask yourself if the time involved is worth it.

An epic quest to solve a difficult issue may be a great learning experience. The knowledge you gain during your quest with may be something useful in the future or you may never use it again.

That’s why it’s important to ask yourself – if you’re a writer, marketer, business owner or some other non-technical WordPress user – do you really need to learn how to do everything with WordPress yourself? Conversely, if you are an expert developer but not great with the non-coding side of things, maybe you should leave that to someone else.

wpmudevsupportnarrow

The resources outlined in this post should point you in the right direction when seeking help, but you will still need to do the work to implement any answers you get. There is also only so much you can ask of someone helping you for free. Sometimes the solution is to ask someone you are paying. You may want to hire a site manager who can deal with all of the little issues that pop up on your site or join a WordPress support service, such as WPMU DEV. WPMU DEV membership offers support forums, regular chats for different types of WordPress support and access to the WPMU DEV job board, along with helpful plugins that solve many of the challenges that come with running a successful and profitable WordPress site.

Sometimes it’s more efficient and profitable in the long run to hire someone and spend the time you save doing what you do best, whatever that may be. The more you do with WordPress, the more likely it is that you will need to find a good developer, graphic designer, content editor, SEO-expert, etc. to compliment your skills. Finding the right person can be tricky and is one of the reasons you really should get involved in the discussion in some of the sites I’ve listed above.

Asking questions is about more than just getting answers. It’s about getting involved in the conversation and learning and finding out who knows what they are talking about and who doesn’t.

A Beautiful Thing

Asking for help, as well as answering other people’s requests for help can be an amazing thing. There is something beautiful about how the internet can connect us to people all over the world with similar needs and dreams. More than that, when we know where to look for help, it allows us to do things well beyond our own capabilities, and that is truly awesome.

What are your go-to sites when you’ve got a WordPress problem you just can’t figure out? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credit, for first image: Zach Klien, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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WordPress 3.7 “Basie” Now Available http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-3-7-basie-now-available/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-3-7-basie-now-available/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 02:42:59 +0000 http://wpmu.org/?p=122990 WordPress 3.7 has dropped.

In a short and sweet post at WordPress News, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg today announced the latest release was now available to download or update from the WordPress dashboard.

Mullenweg said version 3.7 featured “some of the most important architectural updates we’ve made to date.”

William "Count" Basie

Version 3.7 has been named “Basie” in honor of American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader and composer William James “Count” Basie.

WordPress core developers share a love of jazz music, and since version 1.0 all major releases of WordPress are named in honor of jazz musicians.

WordPress 3.7 Major Features

Automatic Updates: Maintenance and security updates are now automatic so you don’t have to manually update your WordPress install. Most sites are now able to automatically apply these updates in the background. The update process has also been made even more reliable and secure, with dozens of checks and safeguards. Just to clarify, automatic updates are for minor updates of core, so from 3.7 to 3.7.1, not 3.7.1 to 3.8.

Stronger Password Recommendations: The password meter has been strengthened using Dropbox’s zxcvbn library. Engineer Dan Wheeler developed the open source estimator as an independent Dropbox hackweek project. The estimator catches common patterns and doesn’t penalize sufficiently complex passphrases like “correcthorsebatterystaple”. Wheeler’s post on the Dropbox Tech Blog offers a detailed rundown of how the estimator works and how it compares to estimators used by sites like Facebook, Gmail and Yahoo!

Better global support: Localized versions of WordPress will receive faster and more complete translations. This version adds support for automatically installing the right language files and keeping them up-to-date, which is fantastic for everyone out there who uses WordPress in a language other than English.

Other WordPress 3.7 Features

There are other features in this release that didn’t get a mention in the official announcement:

Improved Search Results: Search results are now ordered by how well the search query matches a post instead of ordered only by date. So if your search query matches the title of a post, that result will be pushed to the top.

Advanced Date Queries: Developers can now query for posts within a date range or that are older than or newer than a specific point in time, i.e. search for all posts written on Friday afternoons.

Multisite Improvements: wp_get_sites() allows developers to easily get an array of all the sites on your network without resorting to a direct database query.

The 3.7 development cycle also focused on cleaning up more than 3500 open Trac tickets. So far, only a few hundred have been closed, but many, many more have been looked at and this cycle has certainly gone some way to tidying up Trac.

The Quickest Release Cycle in WordPress History

This cycle has been the quickest turnaround between major versions – just 86 days – in the history of WordPress. WordPress 3.6 was released on August 1.

Mullenweg said this was also the first release using the new plugin-first development process he flagged during his State of the Word address at WordCamp San Francisco.

He said WordPress 3.8, due out in December, will continue this plugin-led development cycle, which gives more autonomy to plugin leads and allows core developers to “decouple” feature development from a release.

Mullenweg gave props to 211 contributors for this release, but lead developer Andrew Nacin and co-leads Dion Hulse and Jon Cave deserve most of the credit for this release.

Have you downloaded WordPress 3.7? What are your first impressions? Tell us in the comments below.

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