A Cynics Guide PT 1 — WordPress, Firewalls & more.
WordPress, Firewalls, SLAs, The Cloud, If none of that interests you, scroll to the bottom for a picture of a kitten.
WordPress — Easy website builder
Responsible for 27% of internet websites today, it is an incredibly easy to use and easy to get started with tool for building and managing a website.
Known as a content management system (CMS) WordPress is one of the most popular and widespread CMS tools you can use. With a huge number of plugins, large number of integration options and countless templates, themes and help available, why do it any other way?
The problems come thick and fast. WordPress is slow, difficult to maintain and hard to keep secure. But by using it it allows non tech end users to make changes to their own websites quickly and easily.
If you are really serious about your website, you might go for a completely bespoke site, which will be faster, be built the way you want it but you will not have as much control, relying on website developers to make simple changes.
WordPress is not the best solution for every website, ask any technical developer or coder and they will freely tell you the problems with it but it is often the cheapest & most user friendly platform available.
Firewalls (The computing kind, not for real fire)
When information leaves a computer, it has to go through something called a port, most website traffic uses port 80 or 443. When it arrives at the destination, it needs to enter through the correct port on the other side.
A firewall quite simply, is used to either close the port or open the port based on particular rules, one of them could be that if a computer coming from a particular country tries to connect on port 80, to block it but to allow computers in all other countries to connect.
They are built into almost every computer and every internet router/hub available. So if a firewall is built into every device, why do you need to buy anything else?
Because there are devices which do more than simple port opening/closing based on rules, you might have seen a term called UTM (Unified Threat Management) which bundles a firewall along with other security tools inside a single box. They do completely different things.
Service Level Agreements
These are a key item to pay attention to.
Most of the time, these agreements (SLAs) are used by marketing/sales to convey the reliability and resilience of the product. They are also used as a protection for the company, Let us assume that a company gives you a 1 hour SLA for a response.
Meaning all they have to do, is reply to your email within 1 hour and they have met their SLA.
You need to pay attention to the language used in the agreement, does the agreement specify compensation or liability if the provider messes up?
Be cynical and suspicious with SLAs, 9/10 they are for marketing and do not protect you as the end user.
The Cloud (Magic Buzzword Bingo)
Amazon Web Services, you might not have heard of it but this is the father of cloud computing as we know it, everyone else in the market has been playing catch up to Amazon Web Services (AWS) since the launch.
They are the world leader in security, reliability and compliance. Netflix runs on AWS servers across the world to give you one example.
The problem is that the cloud does not actually mean anything. When someone says “My email is in the cloud” it means they are paying a specific provider for space on a server somewhere to host emails.
Hosted services have been a thing for decades before Amazons marketing department coined “The Cloud”
Keep an eye out for part 2.
- Web Hosting Costs
- GDPR (Think data protection on steroids)
- Choosing the best AntiVirus
- VOIP Phones
- Sabotage yourself in 3 steps