Things You Need to Know Before You Get Started with Joomla!

Joomla

These days, it is no longer an argument on whether individuals or companies should be creating their websites. Almost everyone, from novice bloggers to startups, to large companies and government agencies, build and manage their own websites. Now the big question is, what is the right CMS platform to use that will put your website among the top performing sites?  

Information is overwhelming. Of the many websites created using CMS, 60% are powered by WordPress, followed by Joomla! with 6.4% market share, and then Drupal with 4.6%. The remaining part of the pie is shared by the hundreds of other content management systems.

Over the years, businesses, big and small, have realized that a good content management system is necessary to easily manage their websites. What with the WYSIWYG editor, you don’t need to rely on an expert to update the content of your website.

What Is Content Management System or CMS?

CMS is software that enables you to build and manage a fully functional website without learning languages like HTML, CSS, or Javascript. In fact, you don’t need to know coding at all to build and manage your website based on a CMS. It allows easy updating and publishing of content. In this environment where content is King, having a good CMS platform is as good as half the battle won!

Interestingly, Joomla!, the focus of this article, is a CMS platform with a pretty huge following. With its core features, templates and extendable, easy content updating and publishing, great core functionalities, and strong global support, most everybody agrees that Joomla! is a platform to watch out for.

Let’s take a closer look at what millions of users have been raving about Joomla!.

Essential features that you can’t help but love.

Joomla! is free and open source.

It is a user-friendly platform that is flexible and multilingual. Millions of websites worldwide use Joomla! in building their corporate and small business websites, intranets, online magazines, government, and personal websites.

Customizable design features.

Joomla! allows you to create your own template as far as your imagination can take you and use its template overrides. Its Extension Directory has over 8,000 extensions available should you need to add specialized functionality to your website. Overall, it is a great choice for those who need a quick and easily built framework.

Content management made easy.

Content updating and publishing is pretty straightforward. It provides capabilities to create, edit, publish, archive, and organize your content.

Once you get the hang of it, managing becomes easy.

Strong global support.

Thanks to the millions of Joomla! lovers worldwide who provide support to improve the platform, it is a solid solution to both experienced users and newbies. The community of developers and volunteers make sure that Joomla! is better than what you think and so much more.

Now, are you ready to get started with Joomla!?

Setting up a Joomla! website is not difficult. First, you have to have a hosting service and a domain name is highly recommended. Once your server is up and running, you download and install the software package, install and configure a database and tune the system.

It is really simple for experienced IT/DevOps users but not so much for the novice.

However, when you order Joomla! and a domain name from Westlinks Online, the process will be even easier because we do it all for you. We install the latest stable version of Joomla! on your personal VPS instance. You can start using your website instantly for as low as $10/mo (after installation and domain name purchase) with no contracts or obligations. Get started today!

How to Install WordPress the Easy Way

WordPress

We live in an exciting time where most everybody reads blogs, owns blogs, or would love to own a blog. But for the longest time, their attempts were thwarted by what platform they should use that would give them the most benefits. That is, until now! With all the innovative and wonderful technologies happening around us, there are a lot of good blogging and CMS platforms lying at our fingertips. And to add a cherry on top, these applications are open source, meaning, they are free. They just have to install the software and, voila! They can start using their blog instantly.

One of the most familiar blogging products out there is WordPress. As this platform has been dubbed as the most popular content management system, I am sure everybody and their mother has been hearing great things about it. WordPress started as just a blogging platform popular among bloggers and novice users, but through its straightforward and customizable templating system, it eventually transformed into a complete CMS platform.

Installing WordPress takes only a little time. What with their famous 5-minute install technology feature, you would think you suddenly turned into an installation ninja! To install the app, you need a web host which supports WordPress’ requirements:

    1. PHP: version 7.2 or greater
   2. HTTPS support
   3. MySQL: version 5.6 or greater

Steps to installing WordPress depends on your host. It usually takes a few clicks here and there, hit the one-click installer, and set up your domain settings.

It may not be rocket science but there is no guarantee you will not hit bumps along the way.

However, if you order WordPress from Westlinks Online, the process will be even easier because we do it all for you. We install the latest stable version of WordPress on your VPS instance. You can start using your blog instantly!

 

WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, Concrete5: Which Should You Choose

software installation, custom software

WordPress. Drupal. Joomla!. Concrete5

Open source. User-friendly. Customizable

These would best describe the popular open-source content management systems we have today.

For so many years, only tech people fluent in the languages of HTML, CSS, or Javascript could create a fully functional website. Thanks to technology, you don’t need to be an expert to build and customize one that meets your requirements. This is particularly true if you pick the right platform and you know what you want for your website.

Unless you have been living under a rock, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that traditional coding has been replaced by user-friendly CMS platforms. The old-school concept of coding has been overshadowed by CMS.

Individuals and business owners are becoming independent with the help of these technologies. They can do the customization: change themes, add new pages, or edit the content of web pages whether they know how to code or not.

While it is true that these CMS are the most popular, does not mean that you should randomly choose one without some comparison. There is no one size fits all solution. One should not be pitted against the others either. There are functionalities that are distinctive and unique to each. And it is important to understand each feature to establish the best platform that fits you or your business.

Before you pick the right platform, you should establish first what you need. Are you a blogger who needs to share his content with the world? Are you looking to open an eCommerce site? Or a business owner who needs a corporate website?

Here is an overview of the most popular open source CMS platforms that will help you pick the best fit for you:

WordPress is a favorite among bloggers and novice users. In fact, it is the most popular open source CMS used by around 75 million websites worldwide.

It may have started as just a blogging platform. But through its powerful CMS backend and highly customizable templating system, it transformed into a complete website management platform. Its interface is simple and user-friendly. The dashboard is pretty straightforward making customization effortless. WordPress has thousands of free themes and plugins that are simple to self-install.

Since it is an open source, it is free. You can set up an account on WordPress.com or self-host. To self-host, it is best to buy and use a domain name and run it on a virtual machine (VM) host. Installing it is not rocket science and only needs a little time using their famous 5-minute install technology. When you order WordPress from Westlinks Online, it’s even easier because we do it all for you!

Its prevailing attribute is the community of users worldwide who are working on it and willing to share tips with fellow users.

Drupal is a more advanced CMS platform suitable for business websites with a large volume of traffic. It is known as the most secure open source CMS.

Like WordPress, Drupal is free. It also has an active developer community that creates free and paid themes and plugins and provides technical support to users.

Joomla! is designed for people with more coding knowledge who are building more professional and interactive websites. It is ideal for corporate and eCommerce websites.

Joomla! has the functionalities of a standard website and add-ons needed in a business website.  

Concrete5 bridges the gap between building and running a website. It is one thing to build a good site, it is another to run a great one. But so far, Concrete5 has done both. As the saying goes, with Concrete5 you get the best of both worlds.

Concrete5 is free and is open-source. It has a lot of themes and add-ons to help you get started. It is simple. Its point and click function make adding and/or editing a page on a website easy. The community of users is growing and will continue to grow as Concrete5 will be around for a long, long time.

So whether you want a simple blog or a complex website, there is an ideal CMS platform that fits for you. Here at Westlinks Online, it is a simple push of the button option. We install it on a VM server of your choice and configure your domain name to it (existing or new one). You will have your site set up and ready to go in just a few minutes.

Things We Love About The Cloud

cloud hosting

What is “in the Cloud”?

We may not have noticed it until now, but the cloud is always there. Though, many still have reservations about this technology. It is our innate fear of giving out information that’s holding us back. What others don’t realize is that cloud computing impacts our everyday life.

The Cloud is everywhere. Our daily interactions happen online. We use the cloud when we post and share images and videos on our social media networks. It is there when we send emails through Gmail, or when we call our friends on Skype and on WhatsApp. Our day-to-day activities rely on the cloud. We do bill payments, online shopping, banking and even book flights on the internet.

Simply put, when we use the internet, we are in the cloud!

Cloud is not a fad, it will not die down any day soon. In fact, an article from Forbes mentioned a projected increase of $162 billion for cloud computing in 2020. Small and big businesses are now moving their operations to the cloud.

What’s not to love?

It eases communication.

Interactions get done anytime and anywhere as long as there is an online connection. People will not miss out on anything or on anyone. Companies get to bring their remote employees together and be updated.

It offers flexibility.

Gone are the days where we can only go online using the computer. Now in the cloud, we can access applications and our data on smartphones or mobile devices.

For businesses, several hosting providers offer different plans. A company can custom-fit a plan suitable for their business needs. Then, later upgrade if they need more space and bandwidth or even increase speed.

It is automated.

Cloud computing makes data management a walk in the park. Access to data is only a swipe or tap of a finger away.

It is cost effective.

Companies save on hardware and maintenance spending. It is also time-efficient since cloud computing is easier and faster to deploy.

The transition to a remote operation is beneficial to a company and its employees. The company spends less on office expenditures. At the same time, employees enjoy the benefits of telecommuting.

It makes collaboration effortless.

Before, project planning and monitoring were done in face to face meetings and emails. This made it hard when schedules did not match or inboxes were flooded with updates. Cloud collaboration and project management tools allow team members to collaborate easily and efficiently. They get the project done faster together.  

It promotes remote operation.

Several years ago, nobody would think that a business of any size could move its operation to the internet, more so, have its entire employee workforce work remotely. Companies like Zapier have done it.So can others!

Cloud is on the rise. As a business gets bigger, data gets bigger. A company can get the bulk of its data stored and managed safely in the cloud through the many cloud hosting providers. Here at Westlinks Online, we specialize in efficiently managing cloud services for companies. Whether you are just getting started or have an existing infrastructure, we are here to assist you. Let us do the hard part while you have peace of mind running your business.

App focus: WordPress

 

Simply put, WordPress is awesome. It’s simple to use for the user and yet has a  very powerful backend architecture.  The popular app has been around for years and is still in active development. This ensures that it is kept up to date with bug fixes and a constant mitigation to vulnerabilities.

So with that as a starting point, what can you do with WordPress? Well, out of the box it is a wonderful blogging tool. It is pretty much the go-to blogging tool in my opinion. That’s what it was designed for and it continues to be it’s primary purpose.

But many people have discovered that it’s powerful CMS backend and highly customizable templating system allows for it to be transformed from a blogging platform to a complete website management platform with the blogging part completely hidden. In fact you may be surprised just how many websites that you frequently visit are actually built on WordPress.

So whether you want a simple blog or a complex website, why not give WordPress a try. It’s a simple push of a button option here at Westlinks Online. We install it on a server of your choice and configure your domain name to it (existing or new one) and you will have your WordPress site set up and ready to go in just a few minutes.

Become a Member

Like many platforms, there are many features and functions available to logged in members that are otherwise invisible. One of the obvious features available to members-only on Westlinks Online is the ability to search for domain names.

Additionally, members automatically get a dashboard which provides detailed visibility to all services in their account including access to invoices and transaction histories.

The user profile allows members to upload an avatar to provide some identity and manage personal information such as mail preferences and credit card info (coming soon).

For those members who have active services such as servers with websites and domain names, you will see your inventory listed throughout the site giving you instant feedback wherever you are.

So please sign up today  and take full advantage of the platform and all its features. Plus, signing up is totally free! We welcome your feedback and feature requests. Please send us a note in the contact section.

A New Westlinks Online

We are proud to announce a brand new Westlinks Online website. Thanks to the hard work of our development and design team, our platform is stronger than ever and has a great new look.

Originally built on Laravel 5.2, Talgat, our skilled Laravel developer started by upgrading the back-end from 5.2 -> 5.3 -> 5.4. This involved identifying and resolving several expected upgrade-related issues. Finally he did a thorough line-by-line review and refactoring operation which resulted in a cleaner, more efficient codebase.

While the backend was being done, Maria our talented UI designer delivered this striking new layout/design which we think presents our products and services with a much nicer look and feel.

So as we settle into the new look take a short breather, many plans are already in place to improve many of the existing features and add new ones. We invite you to explore the platform and discover all the fun things you can do!

UPDATE 2-Sep-2017: When Laravel version 5.5 was released during the last week of August, 2017 we did that upgrade as well which also involved upgrading PHP to version 7.x.