All posts by Tim Willbanks

Tim is a second year student at Clark College working on a degree in Web Design and Development. He has a passion for all things technology including networking, programming, and web design. He currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest city of Vancouver, Washington.

Web Accessibility: Using the Web With No Eyesight

Almost everyone uses the internet. Browsing websites, purchasing products online, checking bank account balances, or just chatting with friends using social media, are activities that sighted people take for granted. But, how would you accomplish these tasks if you were blind?

Different Modalities

When a sighted person uses the web, they use their eyes to scan the page, and then make a decision where to click their mouse or where text needs to be input such as on a form. Buttons and links are easily discerned. For a blind person, navigating these simple tasks requires an extraordinary amount of time in comparison and relies on whether the website being used is in compliance with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) guidelines and international law. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Using the Web With No Eyesight

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WordPress News: Using MainWP to Manage Multiple WordPress Sites

If you are a WordPress website developer, then one of the tasks that must be accomplished is managing the websites of your clients. This usually entails logging-in to all of them, one at a time, if you need to publish posts, edit pages, or even do a periodic back-up. If you have ever encountered this problem, a self-hosted, open-source utility named MainWP can help.

MainWP is a back-end manager that blends seamlessly with WordPress allowing management of multiple sites from one back-end.

Setting-up MainWP

  1. Set-up a fresh install of WordPress on your preferred host (recommended).
  2. Keep the install fresh from outside plugins.
  3. Install MainWP Dashboard plugin.
  4. Install MainWP Child plugin on every site that you want to manage through MainWP.
  5. Add the URL, site name, user admin name, and any groups you want to assign it to.

The following video explains the process:

Beyond the Basics

MainWP is full featured allowing for the use of WordPress themes and plugins through the “Trusted” options. By default, none of your themes or plugins will be automatically updated unless you select the trusted option. If you do, then whenever it has an update available, it will automatically install. Another useful tool available from MainWP is the ability to do back-ups of all of you managed sites in one step. These back-ups can be scheduled on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and allow the choice of doing a full back-up or a database only back-up.

For more information on using MainWP

WordPress Words: DNS

DNS translates internet domain and host names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converts the names we type in our web browser address bar to the IP addresses of the web servers hosting those sites. Bradley Mitchell – About Tech

Used in a Sentence

When I type wordpress.com into my web browsers address bar, DNS translates what I entered into an IP address on a WordPress server and then serves me the content stored on that server.

About the Word

The term DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS can be thought of as a translator between where a human thinks they are going to access information and what a computer needs to know to access the requested information. The DNS database is not stored on only one server, but is divided between many different servers that work together to resolve where to find information. A DNS server called the Root Server coordinates requests and resolves them to other DNS servers. Barry Brown explains the process in the following video.

What Is a Domain?

Before delving deeper into DNS the term Domain must be defined. A domain is part of every website address and contains many levels. The web address clark.edu/student/studentfile.html has the following levels: clark is the domain, student is a directory, and studentfile.html is a file within the student directory. The next level up divides the internet into domains based on the TLD or Top Level Domain. In the example of clark.edu/student/studentfile.html, .edu is the TLD. There are many TLDs such as .com, .edu, .net, and .org. The TLDs are managed by a non-profit corporation named ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) that is responsible for their creation and distribution.

DNS and TLDs

DNS is a hierarchy. The DNS Root Server stores DNS information from all the other DNS servers. In fact there are multiple servers that contain complete copies of the database so there is not a central point that can be accessed or attacked. The next lower level is that of TLDs. Each of the TLDs approved by ICANN has its own DNS server that coordinates with the Root Server for requests. Finally, DNS servers from ISPs, companies, and even individuals form the lower levels of the DNS hierarchy.

DNS and WordPress

As would be expected, a WordPress website behaves the same as any other website when it comes to DNS. If the website is hosted on WordPress.com., then the WordPress DNS servers handle the processing of internal requests. Self-hosted WordPress websites are a different matter. While it is not in the scope of this article to fully explain the DNS ramifications of a self-hosted WordPress website, the video below can act as a primer.

For More Information On DNS