What Is HTTP/3 – Lowdown on the Fast New UDP-Based Protocol

TL;DR

In November 2018, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) met in Bangkok, and a new Internet Draft was adopted. The QUIC transport protocol, an HTTP/2 successor, was renamed to HTTP/3. HTTP/3 builds on UDP, and is already being used by prominent internet companies such as Google and Facebook. If you’re using Chrome and connecting to a Google service, you’re probably already using QUIC.

The new version of the HTTP protocol benefits from the bare-metal, low-level UDP protocol, and defines many of the new features which were in previous versions of HTTP at the TCP layer. This provides a way of solving constraints within the existing internet infrastructure.

The first results are promising, and when the Internet Draft by IETF expires, in June 2019, we can expect HTTP/3 to be promoted as a new, third generation HTTP standard.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

  • HTTP/3 Is Coming
  • What is HTTP/3 – In Layman’s Terms
  • A Bit of Background – It Started with HTTP/2
  • Internet Protocol (IP)
  • Understanding the Role of TCP and UDP
  • QUIC and HTTP/3

HTTP/3 Is Coming

Some say that the web industry’s hunger for more speed and lower latency is only matched by Google Chrome’s hunger for more RAM.

In 2016, we published an article about HTTP/2, a standard that, according to W3Techs, currently has around a 34% world adoption rate. And according to Can I use, it’s also supported by all modern web browsers. Yet here we are, writing an article about the next version of the protocol, HTTP/3.

HTTP/2 Usage

HTTP/2 Usage

HTTP/3 is, at the time of this writing, an IETF Internet-Draft or ID, which means that it is currently under consideration for an upcoming internet standard by the Internet Engineering Task Force – an international internet standards body, in charge of defining and promoting agreed upon internet protocol standards, such as TCP, IPv6, VoIP, Internet of Things, etc.

It is an open body which unites the web industry and facilitates discussion about the direction of the internet.

Currently, the ID phase of HTTP/3 is the last phase before proposals are promoted to the level of RFC-s, or Request-for-Comments, which we can consider, for all intents and purposes, official internet protocol definitions. Then are then implemented by all major internet players.

This means that HTTP/3 is to become an official standard once the draft expires later this year (June 2019).

A Bit of Background – It Started with HTTP/2

At Kinsta we are obsessed with squeezing every last millisecond from our stack, whether it’s taking advantage of the newest version of PHP, delivering data over Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier network, or caching assets on our HTTP/2 CDN.

HTTP/2 brought some serious improvements with non-blocking downloads, pipelining, and server push which has helped us overcome some limitations of the underlying TCP protocol. It allowed us to minimize the number of request-response cycles and handshakes.

HTTP/2 made it possible to push more than one resource in a single TCP connection – multiplexing. We also got more flexibility in the ordering of static downloads, and our pages are now no longer constrained by a linear progression of the downloads.

HTTP/2 push

HTTP/2 push

In practice, this means that now one large javascript resource does not necessarily equal a choke point for all the other static resources waiting their turn.

No pipelining vs pipelining

No pipelining vs pipelining (Image source: Wikipedia, Author Mwhitlock)

Add to these things HTTP/2’s header HPACK compression and default binary format of data transfer, and we have, in many cases, a significantly more efficient protocol.

HTTP/2 HPACK compression

HTTP/2 HPACK compression

Major browser implementations made it a requirement for websites to implement encryption – SSL – to be able to reap the benefits of HTTP/2 – and sometimes this incurred a computation overhead that rendered speed improvements unnoticeable. There were even some cases where users reported slowdown after transitioning to HTTP/2.

Let’s just say that the early days of adoption of this version were not for the weak of heart.

The NGINX implementation also lacked the server-push feature, relying on a module. And NGINX modules are not your usual Apache drop-in modules that you can just copy – NGINX has to be recompiled with these.

While some of these issues are solved now, if we look at the entire protocol stack, we see that the primary constraint lies on a lower level than HTTP/2 dared to venture.

To elaborate this, we will dissect today’s internet protocol stack from its bottom layer to the top. If you want to learn more about the background of HTTP/2, make sure to check out our ultimate HTTP/2 guide.

Internet Protocol (IP)

The Internet Protocol (IP) defines the bottom-part of the entire internet topology. It’s the part of the internet stack that is, we can safely say, really not negotiable without changing everything, including replacing the entire hardware infrastructure, from routers to servers and even the machines of end users.

So, while the protocol overhaul may be due, such a far-reaching endeavor is not on the horizon at this time, mainly because we haven’t come up with a viable, groundbreaking, yet backward-compatible alternative.

Underneath it, there is link layer – the part of the protocol which is “bare metal” so to say.

On a side note, a convincing case for a complete overhaul can be seen from the speed with which creators of IPFS (interplanetary file system) managed to close an ICO funding that made them 250 mil USD within one month.

We can trace the beginnings of the IP protocol back to 1974, to a paper published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and authored by Vint Cerf and Bob Cahn. It detailed packets being sent over a network, routing them across IP addresses, and numerically defined addresses of nodes in a network/networks. The protocol defined the format of these packets, or datagrams – its headers and payload.

After the RFC 760 definition from 1980, the IETF settled with the definition widely used to this day, in its Request For Comments 791. This is the fourth version of the protocol, but we could say it’s the first production version.

Internet Protocol (RFC791)

Internet Protocol (Image source: RFC791)

It uses 32-bit addresses, which sets constraint to the number of addresses to around 4 billion. This limitation is the explanation for the mystery of why non-business internet users get “dynamic IP addresses” by their ISPs, and a static IP is considered an “added value” and often subject to extra charges.

They are rationing.

It wasn’t long until it was realized that 32-bit addresses are not enough, and the shortage was looming, so many RFCs were published trying to deal with this. Although these solutions are widely used today, and are part of our daily lives, it’s probably safe to say these amount to hacks.

Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6 came as a way to address these limitations, including to gradually be adopted over the previous version. It was made a Draft Standard document for the IETF in 1998, and was raised to an Internet Standard in 2017.

While IPv4 address space was limited by its 32-bit address length, IPv6 standard was given 128 bits, or 3.4 * 10 ^ 38 possible addresses. This should be enough to last us for quite some time.

According to Google and IPv6 connectivity among its users, IPv6 adoption is just over 25% as of March 2019.

IPv6 adoption

IPv6 adoption

IP is a rudimentary layer of the internet stack, defining most basic things, without guarantees of delivery, data integrity, or the ordering of transmitted packets. On its own it’s unreliable. The header format of IPv4 provides for header checksum, which the transmission nodes use to verify the integrity of the header. This makes it different from the IPv6 version, which relies on the link layer underneath, enabling it to be faster..

Internet Datagram Header

Internet Datagram Header (Image source: RFC791)

Understanding the Role of TCP and UDP

Now it’s time to explore where HTTP/3 fits in with TCP and UDP.

TCP

While IP is the underlying layer of all of our online communications today, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a higher level part of the internet protocol suite, providing reliability that is needed for the web, mail, file transfer (FTP) – for application layers/protocols of the internet.

This includes multi-step connection establishment, with handshakes, assured order of packets, and retransmission of lost packets. It provides feedback (Acks) of delivery to the sender and so on. There is also checksum computation to detect errors.

All these things indicate a lot of steps that make TCP a reliable protocol, making it a foundation of the most notorious internet services we use today.

Its specification dating back to 1974 (RFC 675) and 1981 (RFC 793) hasn’t changed substantially to this day.

The reliability that TCP provides doesn’t, however, come without a cost. The overhead of all the roundtrips required by handshakes, delivery feedbacks, ordering guarantees, and checksums that could be considered weak and redundant. It has made TCP a bottleneck of the modern protocol stack. HTTP/2 has reached a plateau of speed improvements that can be achieved on top of TCP.

Changing the TCP in any substantial way is not a straightforward endeavor, because the protocol is, as part of the TCP/IP stack that goes back all the way to the ’70s. It’s deeply embedded into operating systems, device’s firmware, etc.

UDP

UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is also one of the parts of the Internet Protocol Suite, with its specification dating back to 1980 (RFC 768).

It is, as the name suggests, a datagram-based connectionless protocol. Which means there are no handshakes and there are no assurances of ordering or delivery. This means that any possible steps for ensuring delivery, data integrity, and other things are left to the application layer. This means that an application building on top of UDP can cherry-pick strategies it will employ depending on the concrete case, or it can possibly leverage elements of the link layer, like checksums, to avoid overhead.

Because UDP is widespread just like TCP, it makes it possible to achieve improvements without requiring wide change of firmware on all the devices connected to the internet, or significant changes in the operating systems.

Deployment of new protocols is hampered by many firewalls, NATs, routers and other middle-boxes that only allow TCP or UDP are deployed between users and the servers they need to reach. – HTTP/3 explained

This thread on Hacker News can help us begin to understand the reasoning behind building the new HTTP version on top of the existing network stack, rather than reinventing it (although there is more to it than that).

UDP packet format specification is rather minimal, it’s header consists of the source port, destination port, length, in bytes, of packet header and packet data, and checksum. Checksum can be used to verify data-integrity both for header and data part of the packet.

Checksum is optional when the underlying protocol layer is IPv4, and mandatory with IPv6. So far, UDP has been used for VoIP applications, video streaming, DNS system, and DHCP protocol.

QUIC and HTTP/3

QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) was first deployed by Google in 2012. It redefines boundaries of network layers, relying on lower-level UDP protocol, redefining handshakes, reliability features, and security features in “user-space,” avoiding the need for upgrading kernels of internet-wide systems.

HTTP/2 stack vs HTTP/3 stack

HTTP/2 stack vs HTTP/3 stack

Just like with HTTP/2, an advancement which was spearheaded by Google’s SPDY or speedy, HTTP/3 will again build on these achievements.

While HTTP/2 did give us multiplexing, and mitigate head-of-line-blocking, it is constrained by TCP. You can use a single TCP connection for multiple streams multiplexed together to transfer data, but when one of those streams suffers a packet loss, the whole connection (and all its streams) are held hostage, so to say, until TCP does its thing (retransmits the lost packet).

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

This means that all the packets, even if they are already transmitted and waiting, in the buffer of the destination node, are being blocked until the lost packet is retransmitted. Daniel Stenberg in his book on http/3 calls this a “TCP-based head of line block.” He claims that, with 2% packet loss, users will do better with HTTP/1, with six connections to hedge this risk.

QUIC is not constrained by this. With QUIC building on the on connectionless UDP protocol, the concept of connection does not carry the limitations of TCP and failures of one stream do not have to influence the rest.

As Lucas Pardue from Cloudflare put it:

Lucas Pardue on HTTP/3

Lucas Pardue on HTTP/3

With a focus on UDP streams, QUIC achieves multiplexing without having to piggyback on one TCP connection. QUIC builds its connection on a higher level than TCP. New streams within QUIC connections are not forced to wait for the others to finish. QUIC connections also benefit from doing away with TCP handshake overhead, which reduces latency.

Folks at Cisco made an interesting video explaining TCP’s 3-way handshake.

While QUIC does away with TCP reliability features, it makes up for it above the UDP layer, providing retransmitting of packets, ordering and so on. Google Cloud Platform introduced QUIC support for their load balancers in 2018 and saw an improvement in mean page load time by 8% globally, and up to 13% in regions where latency is higher.

Between Google Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Google’s search and other services, Google was able to deploy QUIC on a nice chunk of the internet, without waiting for IETF. Google’s engineers claim that in 2017, 7% of the internet traffic was already conducted over QUIC.

Google’s version of QUIC was focused on just HTTP transport, using HTTP/2 syntax. People from IETF (those in charge of standardizing QUIC), decided that IETF version of QUIC should be able to transport more than just HTTP. For the time being, however, any work on non-HTTP protocols over QUIC is on hold.

One more thing IETF’s working group decided is that the standardized version is going to use TLS 1.3 encryption instead of Google’s custom solution. TLS 1.3, compared to the older versions, also contributes to protocol speed, as its handshakes require fewer roundtrips.

Right now, Google continues to use its own version of QUIC in its product, while directing it’s development efforts toward the IETF standards. Most of the other internet players are building on top of the IETF version (the two differ in some other aspects beside encryption).

If we open Chrome Dev Tools, and load some of Google’s products, like Gmail, in the Protocol column of the Network tab, we will see a lot of resources being loaded via Google’s version of the QUIC protocol. This is also the case for Google’s products like Analytics, Google Tag Manager, etc.

Google service QUIC

Google service QUIC

Cloudflare recently published a very extensive update about the standardization progress.

While UDP does provide QUIC and HTTP/3 some inherent advantages, it also brings some challenges. TCP has been the mainstream protocol for years, while UDP has not, so operating systems and the software stack for it, in general, is not as optimized. Consequently, there is much higher CPU load/requirements with QUIC, by some estimates, twice as much as with HTTP/2.

Optimizations go deep down to the kernel of operating systems, and different routers and devices firmware. This Red Hat tuning guide may shed more light on the topic for those more technically inclined.

We could say that QUIC attempts to re-engineer TCP features on top of a more minimal, and more flexible protocol.

QUIC connections, which we mentioned earlier, combine TLS and transport handshakes. Once established, they are identified by unique CIDs (connection IDs). These IDs persist across IP changes and can help to secure uninterrupted downloads on, for example, a switch from 4G to WiFi. This is relevant, particularly because more and more internet traffic is conducted on mobile devices. Questions may arise whether this element is conceived by Google to facilitate better user-tracking across different connections and internet providers.

TLS is mandatory, and is meant to make it hard for devices in the middle to tamper with, or sniff the traffic. That is why it is not rare to see firewall providers and vendors like Cisco seeing the UDP protocol as a problem, and to provide ways to disable it. It is harder for middlemen to inspect and supervise or filter QUIC traffic.

QUIC streams are sent over QUIC connections,  uni-direction or bi-directional. Streams have IDs, that identify the initiator, and whether the stream is uni-directional or bi-directional, and also serve in-stream flow-control.

While QUIC is a transport-layer protocol, HTTP is the layer above that, an application-layer protocol, or application protocol.

Since backward-compatibility is of the utmost importance, the IETF promoted implementation of HTTP/3 will include the old version (HTT1 or HTTP/2) in the response. It will include a header which informs the client that HTTP/3 is available, along with port/host information, as described in RFC 7838.

This is different from HTTP/2, in which transport can be negotiated within the TLS handshake. But since IETF has all but adopted QUIC-based HTTP/3 as the next standard, we can expect web clients to anticipate HTTP/3 support more and more. It is possible for clients to cache data from previous HTTP/3 connections, and to connect directly (zero-round-trip, or 0-RTT) on subsequent visits to the same host.

Summary

There are those who think that, with HTTP/2 standard not being adopted yet fully, it may be too early to push for HTTP/3 (version three). This is a valid point, but, as we mentioned, this protocol has already seen wide-scale tests and implementations. Google began testing it as early as 2015, as well as Facebook in 2017.

Since then, other players have joined the standardization efforts, such as Akamai and Mozilla. At the last IETF hackathon in November 2018, the list of attendees showed interest in QUIC by companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google, Mozilla, NetApp, and LiteSpeed Tech. There were some promising tests, and it looks like LiteSpeed might be the first major server vendor with a functioning HTTP/3 server. Cloudflare is also currently running QUIC in beta.

Shortly after this, QUIC was renamed to HTTP/3 in IETF’s Internet Draft. It will expire at the end of June 2019, and we can expect the RFC, or the final standard sometime in July.

This year will be exciting, as we can expect to see the move by major software vendors to implement the new standard. We’ll definitely be sharing more about this and how it impacts Kinsta users going forward.

The post What Is HTTP/3 – Lowdown on the Fast New UDP-Based Protocol appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

13 Best Text Editors to Speed up Your Workflow

A text editor may sound boring to some, but it’s the lifeblood of so many organizations around the world. From development teams to publishers, text and code editors are intertwined with almost everyone’s workflows. Many of us bounce in and out of them all day long. Whether you’re writing PHP, or simply taking notes for a project, there are plenty of great tools to make this task a little easier. Today we’ll outline the absolute best text editor solutions.

Some of the text editors are excellent for experienced developers, while others are more for beginners or writers. You’ll also find some great editors for collaboration, real-time code sharing, and much more.

Collection of the Best Text Editors (And Some IDEs)

Here’s a collection of our favorite text editors. Some of these are also considered IDEs, which stands for “integrated development environment.” Meaning you can do a lot more with them than simply write code. We highly recommend testing each one to see which one works best for your own workflow.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

  1. Sublime Text
  2. Atom
  3. Notepad++
  4. CoffeeCup – The HTML Editor
  5. TextMate
  6. Vim
  7. UltraEdit
  8. Coda
  9. BBEdit
  10. Komodo Edit
  11. Visual Studio Code
  12. Brackets
  13. CodeShare

1. Sublime Text

The Sublime Text editor is definitely one of our favorites! It offers a free version for testing, but all continual users are required to pay $80 to keep it active. While $80 might sound steep for a text editor, it’s important to note that the licenses are per-user, rather than per-machine, so you can enjoy Sublime Text on as many computers and operating systems as you wish with your license.

As for the features, Sublime Text has an advantage in that it’s extremely lightweight (low resource usage), but still keeps around some of the more advanced features you would expect out of a top text editor. The primary benefit is that Sublime Text offers shortcuts and search tools for immediately finding certain functions and making changes to multiple lines at once. Jumping to specific symbols or words takes only a few seconds.

In addition, Sublime Text automatically creates an index of all functions and methods so that you can work with the shortcuts and customize it for locating bits of code while working.

Sublime Text editor

Sublime Text editor

Going along with the trend of shortcuts in Sublime Text, the text editor lets you type in a few keystrokes to move directly to menu items. So, if you wanted to sort something in your document, you wouldn’t be required to sift through the entire menu to find that functionality.

Sublime Text has a Python API, meaning that a wide variety of plugins can be integrated with the text editing solution. This includes the thousands of plugins that are consistently created by the Sublime Text community.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Sublime Text lets you test out the text editor before committing to the investment. Although it’s a bummer you have to pay for this text editor, you at least get to try it out–and the pricing isn’t that expensive.
  • The text editor runs on multiple platforms such as Mac, Windows, and Linux. It’s also cross-platform, so one license will work on all of your devices–no need to purchase more.
  • Sublime Text provides split editing for managing and editing files next to each other. You can also open multiple windows and place them on different monitors.
  • The Python API opens up opportunities to upgrade Sublime Text with plugins you, or other people, create.
  • Sublime Text has extremely user-friendly and powerful shortcuts. From finding and modifying multiple lines to locating certain functions in the menu, Sublime Text should make shortcut lovers happy.
  • You can also customize just about anything in Sublime Text. This is especially true when talking about shortcuts and menus. We recommend tweaking the settings to open files in the same window (new tab).
  • Has some great community themes available. Check out the Dracula Sublime theme.

Sublime Text makes the most sense for heavy coders. These developers will enjoy the shortcut functionality and the high level of customization. The cross-platform abilities are also nice for launching the same text editor on all machines.

2. Atom

With Atom, you gain access to an open source text editor with developers in mind. In fact, the creators of Atom state that they made it just for developers. Also, there’s a community of developers who contribute themes and plugins, much like WordPress or some other opensource tools. An experienced developer should have no problem working with Atom, since it offers clean collaboration tools, a sleek editor, and some great organization tools for keeping your projects in check.

All of your projects can be shared and edited in real-time, helping out teams that are far away from each other or simply those teams that want a more dedicated workspace. Furthermore, Atom has a GitHub package already included with the text editor. This way, your team can create everything from branches to stages in one interface.

Atom text editor

Atom text editor

Another great thing about Atom is that it’s a cross-platform system, working on operating systems like Linux, OS X, and Windows. The smart autocompletion is one of my favorite features, and the multiple panes should make you feel right at home with several panes open to edit code between files. Much like an iPhone (or WordPress,) Atom has extras that you can install called packages. These are offered to expand the functionality of the basic text editor. You can also install themes to make your editor look prettier and easier on the eyes.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Atom is an opensource text editor with a large community of developers. This means you get consistent updates and new themes and packages. Check out the Dracula theme for Atom.
  • It’s a cross-platform solution that works on the major operating systems.
  • The editor is useful for coding alone, but its true strengths come into play when you need to collaborate with other people. All of the editing and creation can be done in real-time.
  • Atom provides a GitHub package for integrating and doing things like pull requests and resolving merge conflicts.
  • You can search for new packages and themes right from the text editor.
  • It’s fairly easy to edit your code with smart autocompletion, a file system browser, and a find and replace feature.
  • Atom offers multiple panes for comparing and editing code side by side.

I would recommend Atom for those developers who want a collaboration tool in addition to the text editor. You can manage projects with other developers and see changes right in front of your eyes. Atom is also nice since it’s opensource–meaning you get it for free, the community is solid, and you can choose from packages and themes. In short, if you like working with WordPress, Atom seems to present itself in a similar fashion.

3. Notepad++

Debatably the most popular advanced text editor on the market, Notepad++ comes in a compact package with no fees and powerful editing components. It is given away for free on a General Public License, meaning that all developers and content creators are able to take advantage of the text editor right after a quick download. Notepad++ runs on Microsoft Windows, and it strives to use less computing power than the average text editor.

One of the things that makes Notepad++ stand out is the fact that it’s already been translated into over 80 languages, allowing access to people all over the world. Furthermore, you’re able to translate Notepad++ into your native language if you don’t find your language on the list of translations.

Notepad++ text editor

Notepad++ text editor

Writing code and manipulating text in Notepad++ comes easy, as it utilizes syntax highlighting and folding. There’s also a wonderful search and replace tool, along with an entirely customizable user interface. For instance, you might want a vertical tab or a document list–all are possible with the Notepad++ text editor.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Notepad++ is completely free for everyone to use.
  • The text editor is already translated into dozens of languages, and it provides the documentation needed to translate into more languages.
  • You receive a multi-view editor with syntax highlighting and folding.
  • The customization tools are easy to understand and powerful enough for the most advanced developer.
  • The auto-completion settings ensure that you can finish functions, parameters, and words without having to type them in over and over.
  • It offers a multi-document interface for switching between tabs and managing multiple projects at once.
  • Notepad++ provides a list of plugins to improve the functionality of the text editor or integrate with other programs.
  • You can open a function list, which reveals an outline of all functions found in the current file. This also includes a search engine for quickly locating functions in large documents.

If you’re a beginner who needs a text editor, Notepad++ is far easier to understand than some of the other options on this list. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy the ability to locate words and replace them all, while also revealing certain bits of code with highlighting. As for advanced users, Notepad++ also does the trick, with its syntax highlighting for HTML, PHP, and JavaScript. The plugins also help out when trying to connect via FTP or integrate with other text editors.

4. CoffeeCup – The HTML Editor

CoffeeCup’s HTML Editor provides extremely advanced text editing for coding and overall web design management. The editor has a free trial, but in order to continue, you must pay the $49 one-time fee. There’s also a fully free version, but the features are pretty watered down.

We like CoffeeCup for creating HTML documents, but you might consider avoiding it for many other code languages. However, it makes sense to take advantage of CoffeeCup if you’re simply learning a language like HTML or PHP.

CofeeCup The HTML Editor

CofeeCup The HTML Editor

As mentioned, creating and editing HTML is fairly simple with CoffeeCup. This takes your web design to the next level, especially with the tools for tag references and code completion. There are plenty of components to take advantage of that instantly update various elements across your entire website.

What’s more is that the CoffeeCup text editor comes with several responsive website themes. You may want to start from scratch if you’re trying to learn more about coding, but the themes expedite the process for when you need to generate client websites by a deadline.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • CoffeeCup has a free version and free trial. Also, the premium version is affordable.
  • This is one of the best text editor options with themes. These aren’t completed websites, but it gets you close to some designs that might look appealing for some of your clients. Why reinvent the wheel when you can start further into the process?
  • The FTP connection allows you to go live with your website with the click of a button. Publish your website anywhere you want by selecting a server or web host.
  • CoffeeCup is one of the more visual text editors, with a standard split-screen view, but also a live preview to see what your code creates on the frontend.

CoffeeCup is a great choice for those interested in learning HTML, CSS, and PHP. The components library, combined with the theme selection, delivers a good starting point for those who are on a time crunch or don’t feel like beginning from scratch.

5. TextMate

TextMate comes offered as a free download, but you can also decide to upgrade to the premium version for $59. Keep in mind that this payment only gets you one license, so you would have to pay for multiple seats if you have a whole team of people in need of the text editor.

To get started, TextMate strictly works on the macOS. It seems like a simple editor at first, but it actually has quite a bit of functionality crammed into a small package. Some of the standards you would expect from a text editor include find search and replace tools, autocompletion, and board management. All programming languages are supported by TextMate, and it does have a tool for Xcode projects.

TextMate text editor

TextMate text editor

TextMate lets you create multiple insertion points for editing and swapping out pieces of code in bulk. You also receive a list of all version modifications. So, the list includes file changes and allows you to jump back in time if needed.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • TextMate comes with free and paid versions, both of which provide excellent features.
  • It’s a lightweight text editor with a clean interface.
  • TextMate offers bundles so that you can customize almost every element in the text editor. Want to change languages? That’s possible. Want to adjust your workflows? Go for it.
  • You have the option to generate macros to speed up your production processes. All of your repetitive work is eliminated with these macros.
  • An advanced file searching tool is included, along with multiple carets for swapping and adjusting multiple lines of code all at once.

If you’re using a Mac, and would like a text editor that supports all coding languages, TextMate is a solid choice for you. It also appears to be a nice solution for those who like bundles and macros.

6. Vim

With support for Windows, Linux, and Mac, the Vim text editor is a stable, reliable editor that integrates with many popular tools. It’s designed for use both from a command-line interface (CLI) and as a standalone application in a graphical user interface (GUI).

Vim was created in 1991. Back then, it was considered one of the most prominent text editors, which allowed developers to generate updates and scripts with a series of commands. This makes it one of the oldest text editors, and it’s quite impressive that Vim is still being used by developers around the world.

Vim text editor

Vim text editor

It’s worth noting that Vim is one of the most advanced text editors on this list. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the most user-friendly. Vim definitely requires a learning curve and a willingness to immerse yourself in a whole new feature-set that might not be the same as some other text editors you are used to.

Having said that, you can expect a strong search and replace functionality, along with a large collection of plugins to extend the feature-set in this text editor. We also like the fact that Vim has a large online community to trade tips and learn about new tools to expand upon the base text editor.

You’ll probably notice just how archaic the Vim website looks. Well, the interface for the text editor isn’t much different. That being said, it’s still a high-powered solution for your text editing needs.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Vim provides a system that’s friendly for people who enjoy using plugins for expanding upon the text editor.
  • The Vim online community is a place for learning more about extensions as well as new scripts, tips, and tools.
  • It is completely free and is an open source solution that receives updates on a regular basis.
  • It’s also one of the oldest text editors on the market, and it continues to have some of the most powerful features and a strong following.
  • You can integrate Vim with several tools that you are already using for your business or design needs.
  • It doesn’t matter what programming languages you’re using, because Vim supports hundreds of languages, along with several different types of file formats.
  • With the open source nature of Vim, and the vibrant community, you can vote for new features and really make an impact on the future development of the text editor.
  • You can utilize the text editor on all of your machines, since it works on Linux, Windows, and Mac. There are popular projects like MacVim which provide a better GUI.

It’s tough to say which developers would enjoy Vim as a text editor. It’s an old system with an outdated interface. Yet, it still has the charm and powerful feature-set that the average developer needs. I would recommend it to more advanced developers who enjoy using open source software and being a part of a community–like the one you can find behind Vim.

Nano is another popular alternative to Vim used by developers.

7. UltraEdit

UltraEdit also serves as a viable solution for your text editing needs. It’s not free. In fact, you have to start by paying at least $99.95. That gets you the standard UltraEdit text editor, along with free upgrades for any future releases. You can also install the software on three machines, whether it’s Windows, Mac, or Linux computers.

After that, there are plenty of upgrades and additions to UltraEdit, such as an FTP program, compare tools, and finder options. You can decide whether or not any of these will help with your work process, but each one of them requires an additional payment. As for the core text editor, UltraEdit is known for its performance and customization abilities, along with some nice-looking themes so that you don’t always have to start from scratch. You can replace and find files, and most of the tasks like these are done in a rapid fashion.

UltraEdit text editor

UltraEdit text editor

The multi-caret selection tool is sure to speed up development by allowing you to delete, paste, and cut anything you would like with the selection from your cursor. Live previews are also available. They’re displayed side-by-side as you make markdown changes right next to the preview. The feature set from UltraEdit is one of the most comprehensive on this list, so we can’t cover them all. However, we do particularly enjoy the customizable user interface, which allows you to lay out your workspace however you’d like.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • UltraEdit is a premium solution that provides customer support, a decent community, and a wide variety of features that you wouldn’t always get with a free or open source text editor.
  • It’s one of the fastest text editors you’ll find, especially in terms of replacing and finding files and selecting and editing multiple bits of code.
  • The HTML live preview brings a visual aspect to your programming process. It sits right next to the text editor and renders an HTML preview for you to see right in the program.
  • You’re able to edit extremely large files with UltraEdit. Many times, you’ll find that a less powerful or free text editor will crash when you try to customize these large files. That’s not the case with UltraEdit.
  • This is a multiplatform text editor, and when you pay for one license you can use it on three different machines.
  • All the tools are configurable in the text editor. You can even choose from some editor themes that serve as skins for the program.
  • There are several smart templates that automatically complete some of the code as you type.

UltraEdit serves a few purposes. First of all, it allows developers and programmers an option for uploading and editing large files. You’ll also notice that it has incredible power and performance for locating files and searching for areas in those files. We also like it for corporate use, seeing as how you can install it on three different platforms and it’s one of the more secure and trusted solutions on the market. From regular text editing to web development and file comparing, UltraEdit provides an impressive set of key features that come at a reasonable price.

8. Coda

Coda is for all the Mac lovers out there. It costs $99 for one copy, and the pricing gets progressively cheaper per copy if you purchase multiple copies at the same time. In addition, Coda is very reminiscent of many other Mac products, in that it has one of the most beautiful interfaces of every text editor on the market today. Mac users rave about it, and it’s not hard to see why. First of all, you receive a built-in terminal and an inspector to go along with an interface that lets you edit both remote and local files.

Coda text editor

Coda text editor

Coda is also an elder in this space, seeing as how it’s been around for over a decade. Coda2 is actually the text editor that you would be installing on your computer. This version offers some unique features such as local indexing and a CSS override for editing CSS on a live website. Another notable new feature is the publishing tool that tracks all of your files outside of the Coda app. You can then save and publish any of these remote files directly into the text editor.

On the surface, Coda is a basic text editor with features for syntax highlighting, code folding, and autocompletes. However, you will find some rather unique editing options, like something called a wildcard token that lets the user rapidly generate items like gradients and colors as you type. Although the text editor goes for $99, you receive a great value, along with excellent customer support and plenty of free e-books and resources dedicated just to the Coda editor.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Coda provides a one-click wildcard token for adding little changes throughout your document when working through the find and replace tool.
  • It offers one of the cleanest, most modern interfaces out of all text editors.
  • You receive excellent basic tools for working with a wide variety of languages and highlighting syntax.
  • It is designed specifically for Mac users, so it’s great if you love Macs.
  • File management is a breeze on Coda, seeing as how you can edit remotely through FTP or Amazon S3 servers, or even access your local files and publish them remotely.
  • Much of your coding is completed through the text editor on your desktop. However, you can remotely edit your code, or even test out previews on your iPhone or iPad while editing in Coda.
  • The new version includes some revolutionary tools such as CSS overriding, Panic syncing for passwords and private keys, and local indexing to autocomplete anything from classes to functions.

If you want the most beautiful interface on this list, this is the text editor for you. It’s also important to remember that this is one of the few text editors made just for Mac computers. So, if you’re a Mac user, it makes sense to go with Coda. You also might consider it if you would like to improve your coding previews or need to figure out a way to edit your files both remotely and locally.

9. BBEdit

BBEdit is an editor that spawned from the same technology used in TextWrangler. Now that TextWrangler has been decommissioned, all of its users are being pushed to use BBEdit instead.

Similar to Coda, BBEdit is also exclusively used on the Mac operating system. It offers highly advanced features, but also strives to have a bare-bones like appearance to go along with the acronym BB. BBEdit includes excellent features like Git integration and auto-completion. Syntax highlighting and quick lookups are also provided, along with editing windows that you can split up and place next to each other for easier editing. The current version of BBEdit costs $49.99 for an individual license. You can also upgrade to new versions for cheaper prices.

BBEdit text editor

BBEdit text editor

With BBEdit, you have complete control over the text in your editor, it’s extremely easy to search and locate items due to the clean interface and smooth workflows. Text handling is one way to use BBEdit, seeing as how it offers excellent features such as canonization, hard wraps, and case changes. You’ll also find this text editor useful for web development, with its powerful previews in any browser and the ability to add special characters to any HTML.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

The BBEdit text editor has impressive options for programming as well. For instance, many programmers enjoy the ability to auto-indent and check their syntax for certain scripts like Python and Ruby. We also like the fact that this text editor has code folding so that you can read your files easier by hiding larger sections of code. Overall, BBEdit is one of the best text editors, especially for those who are already using the Mac operating system.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • BBEdit features code folding and text completion, both of which make for a cleaner interface and speedier coding.
  • It works with a wide variety of languages and has syntax checking for multiple scripts.
  • You receive a bare-bones interface that is meant to clear out all distractions while still keeping around the features that make for a strong text editor.
  • This text editor is created just for Mac users, so you won’t have to worry about getting used to a new interface.
  • Search and replace tools are available for adjusting individual items throughout multiple files. There are also several navigation functions as well as syntax coloring.
  • You can add special characters to your code and insert attributes and tags that might assist you while writing your HTML.
  • Under construction HTML and markdown can be previewed right next to the code being edited. Not only that, but all updates you make to the code are automatically changed in the preview before your eyes.
  • It offers automated completion tools for suggesting things like clippings and symbols.
  • You can take advantage of basic and more advanced text handling features such as the ability to exchange characters and words, the straightening of quotes, and full canonization.
  • All of your projects have folder listings so that you can organize your work and then browse and edit your directory listings with speed and precision.
  • All files can be accessed and manipulated through SFTP and FTP.

BBEdit works wonders for those on the Mac operating system. It has the tools you need for web development, along with text handling. So, you might use it if you’re a writer or a programmer. It’s also worth noting that with the fairly low price and incredibly clean interface, it might make more sense to go with BBEdit over Coda.

10. Komodo Edit (Or IDE)

The idea behind Komodo Edit is to offer something powerful, yet with a certain level of simplicity, so that even beginners should be able to grasp it. You can download Komodo Edit for Mac or Windows operating systems. It’s free and open source, allowing those who don’t need all the advanced features a text editor that gets smaller projects done.

Also, if you require more advanced tools like code profiling or unit testing, the Komodo IDE upgrade does the trick. Support for all languages and frameworks is provided through Komodo IDE, making it ideal for web development. Also, this upgrade doesn’t cost you anything since it’s also an open source project.

Komodo Editor text editor

Komodo Editor text editor

However, I would recommend trying out Komodo Edit first to see if it has all of the tools you need for projects. After all, it’s a cleaner interface and lighter weight solution for keeping projects better organized. Komodo IDE has all of the features from Komodo Edit but then it adds on dozens more. For instance, both offer things like the multi-language editor, skin sets, and the ability to make multiple selections.

However, you would have to switch to the Komodo IDE text editor if you need print debugging, or if you’d like tutorials for learning about the system.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Komodo Edit is one of the best text editor options since it offers two separate versions, one that’s great for light users and another that’s for the advanced power user.
  • Both of the versions, including Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE, can be downloaded for free.
  • The Komodo IDE version has real-time code collaboration tools for connecting with other developers on your team and sharing and editing files together.
  • The interactive shells in Komodo IDE include Python, Ruby, and Perl.
  • The Komodo IDE option also has plenty of integrations. Some of these are Gulp, Grunt, Yarn, and Vagrant.
  • The live previewing in Komodo IDE ensures that you can render HTML visuals while adjusting your code.
  • The Komodo Edit version has the ability to track changes and make multiple selections.
  • Both versions have multi-language editors that include skin and icon sets.

When you think about it, Komodo makes solutions for everyone. Since Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE are both offered for free, less experienced and advanced users can take advantage of the text editor. So, if you’d like a lightweight version, or just something simpler, go with Komodo Edit. If you’re looking for more ambitious tools, the Komodo IDE text editor provides everything from print debugging to custom workspaces.

11. Visual Studio Code

As one of the younger players in the game (launched in 2015) Visual Studio Code puts forth quite an effort for building a stable community and ensuring that users are getting the features they need. The hard work definitely shows, since the plugin library has been growing quite a bit. It’s also an open source project that you can download directly to macOS, Windows, or Linux for free.

A few distinct areas make Visual Studio Code an appealing text editor for all developers. First of all, Visual Studio Code is often considered to be faster than older editors on the market. You can also clear out all of the clutter by opting for the Zen Mode, which removes all menus and items that don’t involve your editor.

Visual Studio Code text editor

Visual Studio Code text editor

We also enjoy the IntelliSense feature, which takes syntax highlighting and auto-completion to the next level–with the help of smart completions based on function definitions and other items like variable types. The Visual Studio Code editor has Git commands programmed into the system. This way, you’re able to pull or push from all hosted SCM services.

Finally, the Visual Studio Code website has numerous tabs for you to learn about the software. The documentation page walks you through steps like the setup and working with different languages. You’re also able to check out some tips and tricks and learn all of the Visual Studio Code keyboard shortcuts. Along with a blog, updates page, extensions library and API information, Visual Studio Code looks like a great choice.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Visual Studio Code is a completely free text editor with open source access and a large collection of extensions to make some upgrades.
  • The community is strong and the website includes plenty of documentation, a full blog, and lots of information in the form of FAQs and API page.
  • It provides built-in Git commands.
  • The IntelliSense feature does a wonderful job of upgrading the standard autocomplete and syntax highlighting features you would expect from most text editors. Essentially, it creates smart completions based on items like function definitions and variable types.
  • You have the option to debug your code directly in the editor. Therefore, there is no reason for print statement debugging.
  • This is a multiplatform text editor, with support for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

There are a few reasons you might consider Visual Studio Code for your text editing needs. The first is if you would like a free text editor that actually has a thriving community behind it. The second reason would be if you like the idea of extending and customizing your text editor in terms of language, theme, and debugger support. We also really like the IntelliSense feature, so it makes sense for people who are also intrigued by the smart completions.

Looking for a cool Visual Studio Code theme? Check out Shades of Purple, created and maintained by Ahmad Awais.

12. Brackets

The Brackets text editor comes from the folks at Adobe, in an attempt to offer a more modern, open source solution for developers creating websites. This is a free text editor, with some appealing visual tools for previewing your work and allowing for frontend developers to examine the changes. Writing code is the main focus in Brackets, and it’s done with the help of inline editors, live previews, and nicely organized files.

Because of its affiliation with Adobe, Brackets has somewhat of an integration with Photoshop, in that it can take pieces of your PSD file and generate code for your project.

Brackets text editor

Brackets text editor

Brackets is open source and offers a decent community. It’s also available on Mac, Linux, and Windows machines. The interface is fairly simplistic, but the text editor has a wide range of features for you to play around with. In addition, developers are able to upload their own extensions via GitHub. If you would like to use one of these extensions, all you have to do is go to the website.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • Brackets delivers on value and its feature-set, especially considering you don’t have to pay a dime and it’s specifically designed for web developers.
  • It has somewhat of an integration with PSD files.
  • The text editor connects with GitHub.
  • Several extensions are provided for you to expand upon the current text editor and potentially customize what your interface looks like.
  • Brackets is a cross-platform solution for use on all of your operating systems.
  • The live preview feature ensures that all developers can see their work in a more visual manner.
  • The inline editors let you select an area inside of your code and open a window right in the editor. This way, you don’t have to have several tabs open while completing your work.

Brackets has plenty of features to consider, but it seems like developers will most enjoy the visual live previews–considering you can’t get this type of presentation in most text editors. It’s also nice for those who want a good value for a free text editor, considering the extensions and overall community vibe is strong.

13. CodeShare

The CodeShare text editor takes a completely different approach to online code editing. It’s built for developers, and it has a focus on giving these developers the opportunity to share code in real time and speak to each other through a video chat. So, essentially it’s a real-time code editor combined with a Skype-like communication service.

The reason we like this configuration so much is because the development teams no longer have to be in the same room to see and edit changes right before their eyes. This is highly beneficial for interviews, considering you could remotely hire someone and see their coding abilities along with their face. You also might use it for a debugging session or to review any type of code for your organization.

Codeshare

Codeshare

Keep in mind that any code written on CodeShare is only stored in the text editor for 24 hours. It’s then deleted. So, you either have to save it to your own machine or you have to sign up for an account at CodeShare. A sign-up is not technically required but it does give you that huge feature of saving your code.

Other than that, there is no fee to get started with CodeShare. All you have to do is create an account and then you receive access to the video chat functionality as well as the real-time coding.

Which Features Make This One of the Best Text Editor Tools?

  • CodeShare stands out as the very first text editor to offer real-time sharing.
  • This is also one of the best text editors because it has an integrated video chat solution for logging in multiple members of your team. This might come in handy for interviews or team sessions where seeing a person’s face and hearing their voice would be beneficial.
  • It’s a completely free text editor.
  • CodeShare is a fairly bare-bones code editor, making it perfect for those who like fewer distractions.
  • Your code can be saved if you sign up for a free account.

First of all, Codeshare is made primarily for developers. So, it really doesn’t make sense to use it if you are a content creator or publisher. That said, Codeshare should be considered if you like the idea of having a video chat embedded into your online code editor. You don’t necessarily have to always use the video editor, but it is there as a feature. It’s also worth looking into if you want one of the best real-time code sharing solutions on the market. Overall, we would recommend it for those who would like to code with their teams, interview developers, or teach other people how to program through video.

Summary

If you’re still a little confused about which text editor to choose, here’s a list of our final recommendations (remember, we recommend trying each of them out to find the one that works best for your workflow):

  • Sublime Text – This one makes the most sense for heavy coders. Is lightweight with low resource usage.
  • Atom – We like Atom for people who also want a collaboration tool with the text editor.
  • Notepad++ – Consider this text editor if you’re a beginner or advanced user. It has the features developers need without being too confusing for those just starting out.
  • CoffeeCup HTML Editor – If you’re learning coding languages, think about trying this editor.
  • TextMate – Consider TextMate if you have a Mac and need support for all languages.
  • Vim – Use Vim if you’re an experienced developer who might enjoy an older interface or prefer something via the command line.
  • UltraEdit – If you need to upload and edit large files, UltraEdit does the trick.
  • Coda – Go with Coda if you’re using a Mac and would like an incredibly pretty interface.
  • BBEdit – This one is also good for Mac users.
  • Komodo Edit – You can use Komodo as a beginner or experienced pro. Just make sure to download the right version depending on which one you are.
  • Visual Studio Code – Here’s a text editor with a unique auto-completion feature. Try it out if that sounds interesting to you.
  • Brackets – Try out Brackets if you like live previews and extensions.
  • CodeShare – Consider CodeShare if you’re a developer or teacher who could use real-time code sharing and a video chat component.

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the best text editors, share your thoughts in the comments below. Let us know if you’ve used any of these options and what your favorite feature is. Also, mention any other editors that we might have missed.

The post 13 Best Text Editors to Speed up Your Workflow appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

How to Disable WordPress Plugins From Loading on Specific Pages and Posts

When it comes to WordPress performance, we have a lot to say about plugins. Each plugin adds PHP code that has to be executed, usually includes scripts and styles, and may even execute additional queries against the database. This means that unnecessary plugins can affect page speed and may have a negative impact on the user experience and your page ranking.

As an example, consider a plugin that builds and displays custom forms on front pages, like Contact Form 7. Typically, you would only need one form on a single page, but ideally, you may want to embed a form on any page using the plugin’s shortcode. For this reason, Contact Form 7 loads scripts and styles on every page of your website.

But do you really want to run the plugin code and include scripts and styles on every page of your WordPress website?

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

In this post, I will show you how to prevent unnecessary plugins from loading on specific posts/pages, so that you can install additional plugins (don’t go crazy of course), and still have your WordPress website load fast. To accomplish this task, we’re going to disable WordPress plugins programmatically on specific posts and pages. This is a four-step process:

  • Choose the most popular plugins that fit your needs, and compare their features and effects on page speed.
  • Programmatically list and filter plugins before page loads.
  • Programmatically filter and deactivate unnecessary plugins with a mu-plugin.
  • Filter and deactivate unnecessary plugins using a plugin.
  • Track the site performance.

Let’s dive deep.

Three General Rules to Follow When Choosing a Plugin

The following general rules can be helpful when choosing a plugin:

  • Install only well-coded plugins from trusted developers: consider active installs, user rating, client support, update frequency, and any useful piece of information coming from the WordPress community.
  • Prefer scalable plugins: compare similar plugins in terms of performance, making use of browser dev tools and/or online services like Google Pagespeed Insights, Pingdom, and GTmetrix to evaluate the impact of each plugin on page load time.
  • Do not install unnecessary plugins: it should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that you should never install a plugin you don’t really need for security and performance reasons. Also, make sure you review your plugins from time to time and uninstall those you don’t need and use anymore.
WordPress repository reputation

WordPress Plugin Directory provides relevant information we should always take into account when choosing a plugin

A Real Life Example

Contact Form 7 is a great plugin that builds and displays forms in WordPress. It provides a perfect example for our purposes, because it includes the following files on every page, even if the page doesn’t contain a form:

  • style.css
  • scripts.js
Chrome DevTools Network panel

Chrome DevTools Network panel provides detailed information about network requests made when a page is loaded

A plugin can slow down your website, but we can force WordPress to selectively deactivate plugins depending on the request URL. If you’re a developer, read over the next section where we’ll learn how to programmatically manage plugins and build a mu-plugin that filters unnecessary plugins. If you are not a developer, feel free to hop over to the section dedicated to plugins that allow to filter and organize plugins.

How To Get a List of All Active Plugins Programmatically

First off, you can get a list of all active plugins on your WordPress website with a simple snippet of PHP code. You can add the following code either in a custom plugin, or in the editor of a free WordPress plugin like Code Snippets. If you’d decide to go with your custom plugin, just don’t forget to add the plugin header as seen below.

Active WordPress plugins

Active plugins in wp_options table

Each active plugin is stored in wp_options table where options_name is active_plugins. So we can extract the list of those plugins with a simple get_option call. Here is the code:

<?php /** * @package active-plugins * @version 1.0 * * Plugin Name: Active Plugins * Plugin URI: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/# * Description: This is a development plugin * Author: Your Name * Version: 1.0 * Author URI: https://example.com/ */ add_shortcode( 'activeplugins', function(){ $active_plugins = get_option( 'active_plugins' ); if( count( $active_plugins ) > 0 ){ echo "<ul>"; foreach ( $active_plugins as $plugin ) { echo "<li>" . $plugin . "</li>"; } echo "</ul>"; } });

Change the plugin details, then save the active-plugins.php file and upload it onto your /wp-content/plugins/ folder. Create a new blog post and include the [activeplugins] shortcode. It should now display a list of all active plugins.

Active plugin list

The list of active plugins shows the folder and the name of each plugin

With that being done, we can go a step further and add or remove plugins programmatically by taking advantage of the option_active_plugins filter. This filter belongs to the option_$option_name group of filters, which allow to filter any option after it’s been retrieved from the database. Since all active plugins are stored in wp_options table where option_value is active_plugins, the option_active_plugins filter provides a way to programmatically activate or deactivate plugins.

So we can activate a plugin programmatically. Say, as an example, you want to activate the ACF plugin. Here is the code:

add_filter( 'option_active_plugins', function( $plugins ){ $myplugin = "advanced-custom-fields/acf.php"; if( !in_array( $myplugin, $plugins ) ){ $plugins[] = $myplugin; } return $plugins; } );

In this example, we are assuming that the plugin has been installed and hasn’t been activated yet.

The code above simply adds the plugin to the list of active plugins on every page of our website. Not very useful, but you get the point.

Moreover, the plugin should load before any other plugin, otherwise, our code could not work as expected. In order to prioritize our plugin load, we have to add our script in a Must-use plugin.

How to Build a Must-use Plugin to Programmatically Deactivate Plugins

We are going to build a Must use plugin, which is a plugin residing in a specific /wp-content sub-folder, and runs before any regular plugin.

Unfortunately, in this situation, we are not allowed to use conditional tags, because conditional query tags do not work before the query is run. Before then, they always return false. So we have to check our conditions otherwise, such as by parsing the request URI and checking the corresponding URL path.

Add the following code to the active-plugins.php file, then move it to /wp-content/mu-plugins:

$request_uri = parse_url( $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], PHP_URL_PATH ); $is_admin = strpos( $request_uri, '/wp-admin/' ); if( false === $is_admin ){ add_filter( 'option_active_plugins', function( $plugins ){ global $request_uri; $is_contact_page = strpos( $request_uri, '/contact/' ); $myplugin = "contact-form-7/wp-contact-form-7.php"; $k = array_search( $myplugin, $plugins ); if( false !== $k && false === $is_contact_page ){ unset( $plugins[$k] ); } return $plugins; } ); } 

Let’s dive into this code:

  • parse_url returns the path of the requested URL.
  • strpos finds the position of the first occurrence of '/wp-admin/', and returns false if the string is not found. $is_admin variable stores the returned value.
  • The condition prevents the filter to be run in the admin panel, so that we can safely access plugin settings pages. If the request URI does not contain '/wp-admin/', then we invoke the option_active_plugins filter.
  • Finally, if the current plugin is not in the array of active plugins, and the current page’s URI does not contain /contact/, then we remove the plugin from $plugins.

Now save your plugin and upload it to your /wp-content/mu-plugins/ folder. Clear the cache and add the [activeplugins] shortcode to several pages. It should be shown in the list only on the /contact/ page.

No CF7 script

The script.js file disappeared from the list of page assets

We can then unset an array of plugins at once with just a bit of additional PHP.

$request_uri = parse_url( $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], PHP_URL_PATH ); $is_admin = strpos( $request_uri, '/wp-admin/' ); if( false === $is_admin ){ add_filter( 'option_active_plugins', function( $plugins ){ global $request_uri; $is_contact_page = strpos( $request_uri, '/contact/' ); $myplugins = array( "contact-form-7/wp-contact-form-7.php", "code-snippets/code-snippets.php", "query-monitor/query-monitor.php", "autoptimize/autoptimize.php" ); if( false === $is_contact_page ){ $plugins = array_diff( $plugins, $myplugins ); } return $plugins; } ); }

In this example, we’ve first defined an array of plugins to be removed, then we remove them with array_diff. This function “compares array1 against one or more other arrays and returns the values in array1 that are not present in any of the other arrays”.

You can download the full code of this plugin from Gist.

Now you can upload the plugin to the mu-plugins folder and inspect any page of your website. The mu-plugin can be highly customized adding more conditions and checking more URIs, but each condition has to be manually added to the code, and in the long run, this simple mu-plugin could be difficult and a hassle to maintain.

For this reason, you may want to check out the following plugins.

Plugins That Filter Plugins

As an alternative, we can look at a number of good plugins that allow us to add filters that can be managed from the WordPress admin panel.

Plugin Load Filter

Plugin Load Filter is a free option for WordPress users who need to filter plugins under several conditions.

Plugin Load Filter

Plugin Load Filter allows to filter plugins in admin panel as well as in site pages

Currently, it supports the following features:

  • Post formats
  • Custom post types
  • Jetpack modules
  • WP Embed content card
  • URL Filter for Expert (REST API / Heartbeat / AJAX / AMP / etc)

Once a filter has been activated, the admin user can specify where in the site it has to be applied, as shown in the image below.

Page Type Filter Activation tab

Once the filter has been activated, site admins can set their exceptions in Page Type Filter Activation tab

Plugin Organizer

Plugin Organizer is a popular plugin with over 10,000 active installs and an impressive 5 out of 5-star rating. It is a more comprehensive plugin allowing site admins to:

  • Selectively deactivate plugins by post type and request URL
  • Selectively deactivate plugins by user roles
  • Create groups of plugins
  • Change the plugin loading order
  • Additional features
Plugin Organizer Settings page

Plugin Organizer Settings page

The Global Plugins options page provides a drag&drop facility that allows the admin user to globally disable plugins, preventing WordPress to run one or more plugins anywhere in the site, unless it’s differently specified for single posts or pages. The same feature is available for search page and post types.

Plugin organizer disable CF7 globally

CF7 has been globally disabled

The plugin adds a metabox in the post editing screen so that the admin is allowed to override global and post type settings. This feature can be activated for post types as well, by checking the corresponding item in the General Settings screen. A great feature is the Plugin Organizer Debug Message, which provides the site admin with useful information about plugins affecting every site page.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

More information can be found in their documentation.

Plugin Organizer custom metabox on Contact page

Plugin Organizer custom metabox on the contact page

Perfmatters Plugin

A partially different approach comes from the Perfmatters plugin. It’s a premium alternative that allows the site admin to selectively load theme and plugin assets depending on URL or custom post type. It is a great tool for both plugin and theme optimization. In fact, it’s developed by a team member from Kinsta!

Perfmatters script manager

Perfmatters script manager

The plugin has a feature called the Script Manager, where everything is grouped together by the plugin or theme name. This makes it super easy to disable an entire plugin at once, or individual CSS and JavaScript files within it.

You can even disable scripts with regex. This is especially helpful for sites that have a more complex URL structure in place or dynamically generated pages.

This is very powerful and can drastically increase the speed on your WordPress sites (especially your homepage). A few examples of what this can be used for:

  • Social media sharing plugins should only be loaded on your posts. You can easily disable it everywhere and load only on post types, or even custom post types.
  • The popular Contact Form 7 plugin loads itself on every page and post. You can easily disable it everywhere with one click and enable only on your contact page.
  • If you’ve upgraded to WordPress 5.0 but aren’t using the Gutenberg block editor, perhaps you’re still using the classic editor, there are two additional front-end scripts that are added site-wide which you can disable: /wp-includes/css/dist/block-library/style.min.css and /wp-includes/css/dist/block-library/theme.min.css

You can see from this review of perfmatters, it decreased their total load times by 20.2%. On their homepage alone they were able to reduce the number of HTTP requests from 46 down to 30! The page size also shrunk from 506.3 KB to 451.6 KB.

Speed test with perfmatters plugin

Speed test with perfmatters plugin

How to Track Performance: The Browser’s Dev Tools

A fundamental step on the highway to performance optimization is the load time measurement. We have a number of plugins and online tools we can use to track site performance, like Google Pagespeed Insights and Pingdom. But first and foremost, we can use the browser’s Dev Tools, which provide a lot of meaningful information.

Each browser inspector has a Network panel which displays a list of network requests and related information. Follow these links for detailed documentation:

  • Firefox Dev Tools
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Microsoft Edge F12 Dev Tools
  • Safari Web Inspector Guide

In a WordPress install with eighteen active plugins, we’ve repeatedly inspected a post page with Firefox Dev Tools. We’ve first measured page speed and listed requested resources before installing any filtering plugin. The following image shows the output of the performance analysis tool available in the Firefox Network monitor.

Firefox Performance analysis tool

Firefox Performance analysis tool

The Network monitor provides the following results (empty cache):

  • size: 255.19 Kb
  • load time: 1.24 seconds
  • requests: 12

Following, we have installed the Plugin Organizer to prevent WordPress from running the CF7 plugin. The pie chart changes a bit.

Firefox Performance analysis tool

Firefox Performance analysis tool

Now the page loads faster (empty cache):

  • size: 104.21 Kb
  • load time: 0.80 seconds
  • requests: 8

Next, we’ve deactivated several unnecessary plugins, and the next image shows how much we’ve improved the page performance.

Firefox Performance analysis tool

Firefox Performance analysis tool

After disabling all unnecessary plugins, the empty browser cache of the Network monitor returns the following data:

  • size: 101.98 Kb
  • load time: 0.46 seconds
  • requests: 8

We can compare the results of our tests. The resource size has been reduced by 60.04%, the load time was reduced from 1.24 seconds to 0.46 seconds, and the number of HTTP requests decreased from 12 to 8. This confirms that plugins can affect page performance, and that we can increase page speed by taking advantage of a plugin filter.

Summary

Whether you build your own scripts or install third-party tools, organizing and filtering plugins is something you should always consider when it comes to performance optimization. Remember, not all plugins are developed with performance in mind. Therefore, it can be wise to take some time and determine what plugin assets (CSS and JS) are loading and where.

But learning how to disable WordPress plugins is just one among many other techniques aimed to increase site speed. Here is a list of some other helpful guides and tutorials related to site performance:

  • How to Speed up WordPress (Ultimate Guide)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Website Speed Optimization
  • How to Reduce TTFB to Improve WordPress Page Load Times
  • How to Diagnose High Admin-Ajax Usage on Your WordPress Site
  • How to Clean up Your wp_options Table and Autoloaded Data
  • How To Disable WordPress Plugins (No Access to WP-Admin)

The post How to Disable WordPress Plugins From Loading on Specific Pages and Posts appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

How to Create a QR Code (Free and Premium Options)

Marketers had high hopes for QR codes at the beginning of this decade.

However, QR codes didn’t quite live up to the expectations, and it’s safe to say that by now the enthusiasm around them has died down a lot (at least in the West).

But does that mean that you should abandon the dream of bridging the gap between the “real” world and the digital world with this technology? Not necessarily. In fact, in some regions of Southeast Asia, QR code usage is actually booming.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

Creative use of QR codes in marketing can still produce great results in 2019. Today we’ll dive into a few ways you can use them in your business and how to create trackable QR codes.

  • What Is a QR Code?
  • Various Ways People Use QR Codes
  • How to Use QR Codes to Promote Your Business
  • Three Examples of Successful Use of Qr Codes in Marketing
  • What Should You Look for in QR Code Generator Software?
  • How to Create a QR Code (Free and Premium Option)

What Is a QR Code?

QR stands for Quick Response which refers to the speed at which it can be read.

It’s a two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone to access the information encoded in it.

For example, this QR code below contains the URL of Kinsta’s home page (kinsta.com), and if you scan it, you will be taken directly to that website.

Kinsta QR code

Kinsta QR code

Depending on your phone you might be able to scan it with your camera or you might need to download an app.

  • Scan a QR code with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (no app needed)
  • Scan a QR code with your Android phone (no app needed)

As Chris Woodford explained in his Explain That Stuff article, although each QR code is different, they share common key features:

  1. Quiet zone. This empty white border isolates the code from the other printed information around it.
  2. Finder patterns. The three squares in the corners make it clear that this is indeed a QR code (and not any other type of two-dimensional code).
  3. Alignment pattern. It ensures that the code can be deciphered even if it’s distorted (for example, printed on a curved surface).
  4. Timing pattern. This pattern runs horizontally and vertically between the three finder patterns. It helps to identify individual data cells within the code.
  5. Version information. Version information shows which QR code standard is being used in that particular code.
  6. Data cells. Each square that is not a part of the standard features is a data cell that contains information.
QR code features

QR code features (Image source: Explain that stuff)

Most QR codes are black and white.

However, the color scheme can be customized to better fit with the brand (as we did with the Kinsta QR code above), and it’s also possible to add a logo.

QR code color branding

QR code color branding (Image source: QRCode Monkey)

The QR code was developed in the mid-1990s by the Japanese company Denso Wave which is a subsidiary of the automotive components manufacturer Denso.

Denso Wave realized that there was demand for a new type of barcode that could hold more information than a regular one-dimensional barcode.

They set out to develop a two-dimensional barcode that would not only hold more information but would also be faster to read (this focus on speed set Denso Wave apart from the other companies that were trying to develop a two-dimensional barcode but only focused on capacity).

Initially, the QR codes were only used in the automotive industry to track vehicles throughout the manufacturing process, but soon other industries adopted them as well.

This technology truly rose to prominence in the late 2000’s – early 2010’s, when widespread adoption of smartphones opened up a whole host of new opportunities.

Various Ways People Use QR Codes

Now let’s take a look at the various ways people use QR codes.

Payments

In China, people often pay for goods and services with apps like AliPay and WeChat Pay using QR codes.

This method of payment is so popular there that a few years ago Serenitie Wang from CNN said that “the world’s largest economy is on the fast track to ditching cash”.

It doesn’t seem that far fetched when you consider that even beggars in China accept mobile payments (though there’s more to that than meets the eye).

At the moment, QR codes are taking off in Southeast Asia, and it might be the next region that will be transformed by this technology, though widespread adoption might take quite a while.

“When comparing Southeast Asia with China, it is important to bear in mind that Southeast Asia is a very dynamic region and not one country or one market” noted Jeremy Tan, CEO of Liquid Pay.

Meanwhile, the Chinese giant Alipay is partnering with Nordic companies to launch Europe’s first joint QR code payment system.

Marketing

QR codes can be used to market anything from local events to premium hosting to art exhibitions (we’ll discuss these three examples in more depth in the next section of this article).

Enhancing Products

Adding a QR code to a product can add more depth to it and make it more rewarding.

For example, back in 2011, the video game developer THQ hid 10 QR codes in their game Homefront. Scanning them allowed the players to access exclusive videos and wallpapers. The result? Over 30,000 wallpaper downloads and over 18,000 video views.

Wedding Invitations

Some couples put QR codes on their wedding invitations to make organizing the wedding easier.

“Who really wants to spend hours manually counting reply cards and building spreadsheets for vendors?” said Chrissy Stengel to the New York Times in 2012. “If the technology is available, why not use it so everyone wins?”.

This practice has received some criticism for being too informal for such a big event, but Eliza Browning, the vice-president of Crane’s Digital (Crane and Co. is a 218- year-old stationery company), dismissed the idea that QR codes looked out of place on elegant stationery.

“Just because it’s a technical icon doesn’t mean we can’t make it beautiful,” she told the New York Times. “If you engrave it on an ecru 100 percent cotton notecard, it’s beautiful because the craftsmanship makes it beautiful.”

Business Cards

A QR code on your business card lets you direct the person you gave the card to straight to your resume, portfolio, or website.

This might be especially valuable to people who seek career opportunities by attending networking events because it allows potential clients and employers to check out their work.

Civic Projects

A few years ago Beijing started to move towards becoming a “smart” city by placing QR codes on bus stops, lamp posts, and even trash cans (the plan was to tag all public facilities in the capital of China with QR codes by 2018).

Meanwhile, at around the same time, the Japanese town of Iruma started offering waterproof QR code stickers that can be attached to a nail or a keyholder to families with elderly members that are at risk of wandering off (that way it’s easier for concerned members of the public or the police to help them reconnect with their relatives).

There was concern about the privacy of the elderly people and their families, but Chie Sano, a spokeswoman from the Iruma’s welfare department, said that Iruma was careful with personal information and that QR codes did not provide the person’s name or address (even the police had to go through the city council to get this information).

Honoring the dead

Some people place QR codes on the tombstones of their loved ones.

Scanning the code usually takes the person to a website with information about the deceased (biography, interesting stories, photos, etc.).

In her piece for the Atlantic, Tamara Kneese raised an important question about the obsolescence of technology.

“What happens to these gravestones if the QR code fades, links are broken, or new technology renders QR codes indecipherable?” she asked, later making a prediction that “In another century, curious graveyard visitors may wonder what the patterned squares on each headstone are, who put them there, and what they were thinking when they did.”

As you can see, the QR code technology has a wide variety of applications, from personal to professional to civic, and it is interesting to consider how it affects our society.

Of course, you are probably most interested in how QR codes can help you make more money, which is understandable. So how exactly can you use them to promote your business?

Promoting cafe with QR code

Promoting cafe with a QR code

How to use QR codes to promote your business

When using QR codes for marketing was in its heyday, companies placed them everywhere, from billboards to posters to flyers to product packaging to TV ads to websites.

However, this haphazard approach didn’t work well then, and it will definitely not work well now that the novelty has worn off.

You can’t just slap a QR code on something and expect people to scan it and click through to your website.

Think about it. You have probably seen a lot of QR codes over the years while going about your day. How many of them have you scanned? Probably only a few at best. So how can you get someone to scan your QR code?

Well, first you have to ask yourself whether using a QR code even makes sense because quite often it doesn’t.

Here are three things that you need to consider:

1. Target audience

Do your potential customers know what a QR code is?

You can determine the likelihood of that based on three factors:

  • Age: For example, Millennials are more likely to use a QR code than Baby Boomers.
  • Interest in technology: For example, software engineers are more likely to be familiar with QR codes than farmers.
  • Location: For example, a Chinese person is more likely to be familiar with QR codes than a Lithuanian person.

Now, obviously, these are generalizations, and there are always exceptions, but painting with a broad brush is necessary when trying to decide whether a particular marketing strategy is a good fit for your target audience.

The point is, you should only use QR codes if your potential customers are familiar with them. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of resources.

2. Channel

It’s not enough to have a target audience that is familiar with QR codes.

You need to figure out where can you put your QR code so that potential customers would notice it and scan it.

Where do people that you want to reach hang out? Do they frequent particular public spaces, restaurants, clubs, events, conferences? Would it make the most sense to put your QR code on flyers, posters, or free stationery, or something else?

There are countless options so you need to decide what would work best for your target audience.

3. Content

You also need to provide enticing content to get people to scan your QR code. What would your potential customers be interested in?

Here are some ideas:

  • If you run an ecommerce business, you can offer a substantial discount.
  • If you are promoting an event, you can offer an exclusive interview with the artist.
  • If you are promoting a book, you can offer a free chapter.

The idea is to direct people who scanned your QR code to content that is valuable to them and makes them more likely to make a purchase.

In short, in order to get results with QR codes, you need a target audience that’s familiar with them, a channel you can reach them through, and content that is interesting to them and promotes your business.

Three Examples of Successful Use of QR Codes in Marketing

Let’s take a look at how three very different organizations used QR codes to promote themselves:

Sir Speedy

The regional office of a national entertainment company wanted to promote concerts that were held in a local venue and reached out to Sir Speedy for help.

Sir Speedy

Sir Speedy

The same company had recently partnered up with a national fast-food chain which meant that the chain had to be included in their marketing efforts.

Sir Speedy team noticed a unique opportunity. They printed QR codes on 100,000 soda cups. These cups were then used at the local branch of the fast-food chain.

QR codes would direct the restaurant customers to a website where they could download the restaurant app.

But that wasn’t all. The same website also had information about the events at the local venue. People could learn more about the bands, see the concert schedule, and even buy tickets.

This first batch of soda cups with QR codes generated over 1,000 scans.

As a result, the partnership between the entertainment company and the fast-food chain was strengthened, and the local restaurant even bought additional promotion at the venue, with QR codes on all their signage.

According to Sir Speedy, “The campaign boosted the number of app downloads for the restaurant, and the awareness of regional concert venue for the entertainment company. It was a perfect solution for the venue’s primary demographic, which uses smartphones heavily.”

Kinsta

We have a massive 25,000-word article called “How to Speed up Your WordPress Site (Ultimate 2019 Guide)” in which we share everything we learned about speeding up WordPress over the last 15 years.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features
Speed up WordPress guide

Speed up WordPress guide

This article was quite popular, so we decided to turn it into a printed book, which we now take to WordCamps (WordPress conferences) and give away for free.

We added a QR code to the introduction so that people could easily check the online version which we update regularly.

QR code example in printed book

QR code example in printed book

Sukiennice Museum

Sukiennice Museum, which is located in the heart of Krakow, Poland, is a gallery that displays 19th-century Polish art.

Sukiennice Museum

Sukiennice Museum (Image source: Wikipedia)

In 2011, the museum opened their doors after a major renovation, but young people didn’t seem to have any interest at all in visiting it.

So the Sukiennice team got creative. They developed an app to bring art to life. When a visitor used the app to scan the QR code next to a painting, they were directed to a video that told the story behind that painting. These were stories of war, love, crime, and more.

This worked so well that for a few months after the release of the app it was virtually impossible to get museum tickets because so many people wanted to see the innovative exhibition for themselves.

This campaign helped the museum get media coverage and attracted almost 20% of Krakow’s population.

Note how in all three examples the target audience knew what a QR code is, the channel choice made sense, and the content was valuable.

What Should You Look for in QR Code Generator Software?

Okay, so you want to create a QR code, but you don’t know which QR code generator software to use. After all, there are quite a few of them out there! How can you pick one that is right for you?

Here are the key features that you should look for:

  • Ability to generate dynamic QR codes: Dynamic code means that you can modify the data which you can’t do with a static code. For example, if you use a static code, then you can’t change what website it directs to, meanwhile if you use a dynamic code, you can. You want to have the option to make changes if you need to.
  • Ability to customize the QR code design: While black and white codes work just fine, customizing a QR code to fit your brand might make it more noticeable and more appealing to potential customers.
  • Ability to track QR code campaigns: At the very least, you should know how many times the code was scanned, but ideally, you should also be able to get details like scanning location, what device was used, etc. Keep in mind that you can’t have a serious marketing campaign without tracking the results, so this feature is absolutely crucial.

There are a lot of free options available, and if you just want to play around with QR codes out of personal interest, those free options are enough, but they often lack some of the key features that are necessary for professional use.

That is why it’s best to go with one of the popular premium tools that have all the features needed for a marketing campaign. Here are three great tools that allow you to create dynamic QR codes, customize them, and track their performance:

  • QR Code Generator
  • QRCode Studio
  • uQR.me
QRCode Studio

QRCode Studio

How to Create a QR Code (Free and Premium Option)

Here are a couple of different ways to create a QR code, both free and premium.

How to Create a Free QR Code

Don’t need all the extra tracking functionality or dynamic code feature? If you just need to create a quick QR code for free, we recommend checking out QRCode Monkey.

QRCode Monkey

QRCode Monkey

If you’re going the free route, we highly recommend creating a URL with UTM parameters so that you can see in Google Analytics the number of visitors that came from your QR code. You can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder.

Here is an example URL for a printed book. You will want to change the source, medium, and content to match what you are promoting.

https://kinsta.com/?utm_source=print&utm_medium=book&utm_content=name-of-your-content

How to Create a QR Code (Premium Tool)

If you want some additional features or are launching multiple QR codes, we recommend checking out QRCode Studio. This is a premium QR code generator software created by the makers of the free tool we used above.

QRCode Studio is aimed at professionals who want to be able to create dynamic QR codes, organize them, and track them.

There are three plans: starter (€5/month or €60/year), regular (€15/month or €180/year) and premium (€39/month or €468/year).

QRCode Studio plans

QRCode Studio plans

Here’s a quick overview of the plans:

  • Starter: Unlimited static QR codes, 3 dynamic QR codes, unlimited scans, custom designs, design templates, basic statistics.
  • Regular: Everything from the starter plan, 100 dynamic QR codes, advanced statistics, bulk import with to 50 code limit.
  • Premium: Everything from the regular plan, 1,000 dynamic QR codes, bulk import with a 500 code limit, white-label short URLs (use your own domain for short URLs).

All plans have a free 14-day trial.

Okay, so how do you create a QR code with QRCode Studio?

Step 1

First, you need to sign up for an account and activate it by clicking the activation link, which you will find in the welcome email.

Step 2

Then click the “Create QR Code” button on the dashboard.

Create QR code

Create QR code

Step 3

Then, select content type for your QR code, for example, URL.

QR code content type

QR code content type

Step 4

Then, choose a name for your QR code, and add the link. You can also customize the code by clicking on “Design QR Code.”

Design QR code

Design QR code

Step 5

Once you named the QR code, added a link to it, and customized it, click the “Create” button.

The newly generated QR code will show up on your dashboard (you can test it by scanning it with your phone).

QR code list

QR code list

You can then download the code by clicking the “Download” button and put it on your marketing materials. Now you know how to create a QR code. Simple, right?

Remember, this is a dynamic code (assuming you didn’t choose the static option), so you can edit its content at any time.

Summary

QR codes owed a lot of their initial popularity to people’s fascination with a new and seemingly futuristic technology.

A lot has changed since then. In some areas of the world, the novelty has worn off. So you can’t always count on it to get people to scan your code. You have to give them a reason to do it.

So get creative!

Have you used a QR code recently in any of your marketing materials? If so, we’d love to hear how it went.

The post How to Create a QR Code (Free and Premium Options) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

What’s New in WordPress 5.1 (Moving PHP Forward)

WordPress 5.1 “Betty” was officially released on February 21, 2019, and is available for download.

WordPress 5.1 is the first major release since the launch of the WordPress block editor (AKA Gutenberg) in WordPress 5.0. And while it does bring some tweaks and improvements for the block editor, the biggest new features in this release involve the WordPress Site Health project and notices for PHP versions.

In this post, we’ll take a look at all of the new features that might affect how you use WordPress:

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

  • New dashboard notice for PHP version
  • PHP version compatibility checks for plugins and themes
  • White screen of death protection
  • Improved block editor performance
  • Changes for developers

latest versions of PHP for improved performance and security.

From our benchmarks, PHP 7.3 is on average 9% faster than PHP 7.2. And If you compare PHP 7.3 to PHP 5.6, it can handle almost 3x as many requests (transactions) per second! You should always test your plugins and themes first on a staging site for compatibility. If all is good, make sure to take advantage of this free performance boost.

WordPress is now finally getting on board with pushing the latest versions of PHP with some new tools and notices to promote PHP versions and compatibility.

First up, if you’re running an outdated version of PHP on your server with WordPress 5.1, you’ll see a new dashboard widget prompting you to upgrade your PHP version.

WordPress 5.1 PHP version dashboard prompt

WordPress 5.1 PHP version dashboard prompt

If you host at Kinsta, there’s zero chance you will see this message because the minimum PHP version that we allow is PHP 5.6. Right now, the warning will only trigger for PHP versions under that.

We wish the WordPress team had gone with a higher version, but this is a step in the right direction. Also, if you click on the button to “Learn more about updating PHP” in the notice, the official WordPress docs do recommend PHP 7.3. 👏

minimum PHP version required as a comment in the plugin header. However, up until now, this hasn’t done anything but show what minimum PHP version the developer is willing to support.

In WordPress 5.1, if you try to install a new plugin or theme from WordPress.org where the developer has set a minimum PHP version higher than the version on your server, you’ll see a message telling you that “This plugin doesn’t work with your version of PHP. Learn more about updating PHP.”

Additionally, you will be prevented from installing the plugin. At this time, you can get around this by manually downloading the ZIP file from the repository and installing a plugin that way. But really – just update your PHP version!

PHP compatibility check for plugins

The PHP compatibility check for plugins

WordPress white screen of death while updating PHP.

Unfortunately, this feature was been pulled from the WordPress 5.1 release at the last minute. However, it’s for good reason.

The fatal error protection mechanism explained here has been pulled out of the 5.1 release as it had several flaws critical enough to postpone the feature. A new path to address the issues is underway via #46130 and is intended to be released as part of WordPress 5.2.
Felix Arntz
Felix Arntz, WordPress Core Team
make.wordpress.org

With this protection, WordPress will recognize when a fatal error occurs and pause the offending theme or plugin in the WordPress admin dashboard so that you’ll still be able to log into the backend of your site and (hopefully) fix the problem. For less tech-savvy users, this will be a great new feature once they iron out all the problems.

If your site experiences issues while upgrading PHP versions, it will look like below on the front-end, but you should still be able to log into the backend to fix the problem.

Fatal error protection in WordPress 5.1

Fatal error protection in WordPress 5.1

Gutenberg block editor in WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg team has been hard at work improving the block editor. If you remember from our annual PHP benchmarks, we found that WordPress 5.0 and 5.02 were actually slower than WordPress 4.9.8. That’s not good! Best rest assured, the WordPress core team is working on this.

There was a bit of confusion as the Gutenberg team released Gutenberg 5.1 at the same time as the core team released WordPress 5.1.

Despite the identical version numbers, WordPress 5.1 does not include Gutenberg 5.1. Instead, WordPress 5.1 includes Gutenberg 4.8.

As such, the biggest changes to the block editor in WordPress 5.1 deal with performance. Compared to WordPress 5.0, you should see faster load times in the editor and a shorter KeyPress event time.

There’s more good news, too. The block editor performance will get even better once the most recent versions of Gutenberg are merged into the core – you can see a performance comparison of different Gutenberg versions below (remember – WordPress 5.1 includes Gutenberg 4.8 – so that’s where we’re at right now).

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features
Gutenberg performance benchmarks for different versions

Gutenberg performance benchmarks for different versions

Learn more.

Cron API

The Cron API now has new functions to help with returning data. You’ll also get new filters to modify cron storage. Learn more.

New JavaScript Build Processes

WordPress 5.1 offers a new JavaScript build option. You can learn more about the specific tweaks here.

How to Update to WordPress 5.1

Since every customer’s site is different we always recommend utilizing the one-click staging environment. You can clone your live site in a matter of seconds and then test WordPress 5.1 with your existing theme and plugins to check for compatibility. You can of course also take a manual backup before updating your live site, just to be safe.

To update WordPress to 5.1 simply click on the updates icon in your WordPress admin dashboard. And click on the “Update Now” button. While your site is being updated, it will be in maintenance mode. As soon as your updates are complete, your site will return to normal.

How to update to WordPress 5.1

How to update to WordPress 5.1

As long as everything goes well with the update you should then see the “What’s New” screen. And that’s it! Quick and easy.

The WordPress 5.1 welcome screen

The WordPress 5.1 welcome screen

Troubleshoot Issues with WordPress Update

Whenever people update a major version of WordPress, there are always some that experience issues, and that is due to the thousands of different plugins and themes currently co-existing in the market. Here are a few ways to troubleshoot common issues.

  • Getting the white screen of death? This is commonly resolved by simply restarting PHP and deleting the full page cache on your WordPress site.
  • Try deactivating all your plugins to see if that fixes your issue. Then reactivate them one by one until you find which plugin might need an update from the developer.
  • Try switching over to a default WordPress theme, such as Twenty Nineteen. If this fixes your problem, you might want to reach out to your theme developer.
  • Troubleshoot and diagnose JavaScript issues in your browser.

Summary

While there aren’t any big front-facing features in this release, WordPress 5.1 adds some great features to push for healthier WordPress sites.

The focus on PHP versions will hopefully push the large percentage of WordPress users running out-of-date PHP versions to update to more recent versions, and the block editor performance improvements are much welcomed.

What do you think of WordPress 5.1? Does anything catch your eye? Anything you wish they would’ve included?

The post What’s New in WordPress 5.1 (Moving PHP Forward) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

Join WordPress.com for an International Women’s Day Livestream Panel

On International Women’s Day this Friday, WordPress.com parent company Automattic is hosting four outstanding women tech leaders for a livestreamed conversation about professional advancement, technology, and mutual support as we strive for equity in the workplace.

It’s happening Friday, March 8 at 6 pm UTC / 1 pm ET / 10 am PT. Signups are limited to 500 people, so RSVP now to reserve a spot. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter at the hashtags #a8cIWD2019 and #IWD2019.

We’re proud to welcome panelists with a diverse range of expertise. Eli Budelli is WordPress.com’s lead of mobile development; Yelp software engineer Tanvi Patel is part of the review platform’s core web team and an outspoken advocate for equality in tech and health; Crystle Johnson, senior manager of diversity and inclusion at Pandora, is an expert in embedding inclusion in hiring and talent retention; she is also the founder of the Red Lip Collective, which empowers young women of color through mentorship and professional development. And Diana Chiu, senior manager of business development at DuckDuckGo, brings deep knowledge of partnerships and M&A cultivated over a decade working across tech, aviation, and biotech. The event will be moderated by Maria Scarpello, customer success advocate for Automattic.

International Women's Day panel
Share tweet.

The hour-long discussion will cover how to develop women leaders, create support systems for sustainable careers, and harness the power of self-awareness and self-validation.

As a distributed company with more than 800 employees in over 60 countries, Automattic sees inclusion and diversity as a constantly evolving idea. We know that diverse teams make better products, and we also know that there is always more work to do. We hope that attendees of this panel, across career stages, gender, and location, will leave with at least one new strategy for using their voice at work and uplifting the voices of others.

Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Ilona Filipi

Ilona Filipi is the CEO and founder of Moove Agency, a London based WordPress agency that builds and supports high-performing websites and applications that make businesses succeed in the digital world. Ilona has worked with global brands such as O2, Sony, Toyota, and Lexus.

You can find Ilona on LinkedIn. This is our recent interview with her, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.

Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?

I was interested in computers from a very early age. When I was around 13, we had our first computer at home which was very exciting! I was already attending an after-school class learning programming, and I was hooked. I used the home computer at every opportunity to practice basic programming – little did I know then that the curiosity that had been sparked would become my future career.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

I went on to study Computer Engineering in Prague and then afterward I studied Multimedia in London. During University I started as a freelance web designer and then continued once I graduated. I became busier and busier as a freelancer, and so in 2010 I founded Moove Agency, a WordPress Agency in London and recruited more people to help with the work.

Moove

Moove

A couple of years into Moove we started to specialize and just use WordPress. The majority of our clients are Marketing teams who want an easy to use CMS to be able to get their content out reliably and quickly, WordPress is the perfect partner.

We’re big advocates of WordPress, and we’ve been very involved with the WordPress community, co-organising WordCamp London in the early years and speaking at both WordCamp London and WordCamp Europe. I think the WordPress community is really special and WordCamps provide a platform for a diverse range of people to share their knowledge, experience, and insights for the benefit of the wider community.

Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?

We focus on building high performing large-scale websites and have worked with global brands such as Sony, Lexus, and Toyota over the years as well as Enterprise companies. We’ve built many WordPress sites for global clients who have diverse and bespoke requirements, everything from large multi-lingual sites, to complex booking systems and eCommerce websites.

These days, websites rarely stand-alone and our clients usually have WordPress API requirements, so we integrate our sites with one platform or another such as SalesForce, Pardot, Hubspot or any other bespoke or proprietary API. We have increasingly become a key partner for our clients who require fast, pro-active support that they can rely on through our WordPress Support Services.

Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?

As with most businesses, in the early days, the main challenge was finding clients and building our reputation and client base. We committed to creating high-quality websites and delivering exceptional customer service.

After the initial couple of years the business really took off, and we had a solid portfolio and great client testimonials which really helped us to reach other clients and win new business. We found our niche working with marketing and product teams who have a high volume of work on a consistent basis and need our team to work as a seamless extension of their team, working fast, being reliable and providing high-quality work.

We have excellent client retention which we’re really proud of; we’re moving into our 9th year in business, and many of our clients have been with us for a lot of the journey.

Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?

It has been fantastic to be a part of the growth of WordPress and to see it become such a successful and dominant CMS. When we started out, many of our clients were coming over to WordPress from other CMS, and now we’re seeing that many of our new clients are already using WordPress – so it’s been a pleasant surprise to see the change and that we no longer tend to have to “convert” people to WordPress.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

It’s also been great to see the changing attitude towards WordPress and no longer see it as “just a platform for Blogs” – WordPress is now powering some of the biggest brands and large scale websites in the world, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?

We’re a really good fit with marketing and product teams. We’ve worked hard to understand their pain points and what’s important to them and meet those needs so we will continue to build on our work with our clients to ensure we meet and exceed their expectations.

In terms of our products and services, we’ve released eight open-source WordPress Plugins over the years and recently started offering premium add-ons which has been really interesting and a nice challenge to learn more about building and supporting digital products.

Our GDPR Cookie Compliance Plugin has performed really well and currently has over 50,000+ active installs which has been great to see, so we’ll also continue to build on the product side of the business.

Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?

We’ve found that most solid hosting providers offer 99.9% uptime as standard, and so we look to differentiate the service by the quality of the support provided. We look at aspects such as how easy they are to reach via chat/phone, how knowledgeable and experienced the engineers are and how flexible they are when a client has more bespoke requirements.

Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?

I love to travel – preferably to parts of the world with sunshine! I find travel and being in new environments energizing and inspiring. I also read a lot. I usually have a few books on the go, mostly around business and industry news, there’s always more to learn!

Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?

You’ve already interviewed Tom Wilmot from Human Made who is my great inspiration in the WordPress space, so I would suggest Harry Metcalfe founder of DXW because he has built a really interesting and impressive agency focussed on supporting the UK Government and public sector.

The post Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Ilona Filipi appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress (5 Methods)

Having broken links on your WordPress site is bad news for both your human visitors and your site’s SEO, so learning how to fix broken links in WordPress is an important part of running a successful WordPress site.

In this post, we’ll dive into a deeper explanation for why broken links are something worth seeking out and correcting. Then, we’ll show you five different methods that you can use to find and fix broken links in WordPress without slowing down your site.

Broken Links Are Bad for SEO and User Experience

Broken links are bad for your WordPress site for a few different reasons.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

First, there’s the effect on your human visitors. If someone is clicking a link, they’re doing so because they’re interested in the content that they were told the link will take them to. Makes sense, right?

So, by sending them to a broken link instead of the content that you promised them, you’re creating a frustrating experience for your visitors, and that by itself is a good incentive to find and fix broken links on your site.

Broken links aren’t just bad for humans, though, they’re also bad for robots. Specifically, the crawler bots used by search engines like Google.

First off, broken links waste your crawl equity in Google. Every 404 page that a Googlebot encounters as a result of broken links is a live page that Google could have crawled instead.

Beyond that, broken links are also a waste of link equity. For example, if you have a broken internal link from one blog post to another, you’re not getting the SEO benefit of that internal link, which is a negative for your SEO efforts.

Five Ways How to Fix Broken Links in WordPress

Ok, so broken links are bad for your WordPress site. Now it’s time to answer the important question – how can you fix broken links in WordPress?

Over the next sections, we’ll cover five ways how to fix broken links in WordPress. You can click below to jump straight to a specific section or read through all five methods:

  1. Web-Based SEO Audit Tool
  2. Google Search Console
  3. Desktop Software
  4. Online Broken Link Checker Tool
  5. Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin – we do not recommend this method, though we will still include it in the post with some disclaimers

Ahrefs and SEMrush. Both of them include very powerful site audit tools in which you can automatically scan your WordPress site for errors.

Ahrefs actually a couple of different places you can find broken links.

Option 1 – Find Broken Links with the Ahrefs Audit Tool

The first way to find broken links in Ahrefs is to use their amazing Site audit tool. Simply set up a new project, input your WordPress site’s address, and let it scan your site. Depending on the size of your site, this could take a good 20 minutes or so.

Remember, if you’re a Kinsta client, requests from the user-agent AhrefsBot are excluded from billable visits.

Ahrefs site audit tool

Ahrefs site audit tool

After the scan has completed, click into the reports section and you’ll find a list of all the 404 errors on your WordPress site. You can then see all the broken links on your site and the internal pages they are appearing on. You should then update the broken links with the correct ones.

Broken links in Ahrefs site audit tool

Broken links in Ahrefs site audit tool

Option 2 – Find Broken Links with Ahrefs Site Explorer

You can also use the Ahrefs Site Explorer to find broken links. Simply put your WordPress site URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer, go to the “Backlinks” report, and click “Broken” to see the strongest broken backlinks of your website.

Ahrefs backlink profile - broken links

Ahrefs backlink profile – broken links

Alternatively, you can also go to “Best by links” report, and apply the “404 not found” filter in “HTTP codes.”

Option 3 – Find Broken Outgoing Links with Ahrefs Site Explorer

Fixing internal broken backlinks on your WordPress site is priority number one. But don’t forget about broken outgoing links. When you link to broken content or resources on other people’s sites this is also frustrating for the user. High-quality outgoing links also play a part in your SEO.

Simply put your WordPress site URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer, go to the “Outgoing links” report, and click “Broken links.” You can then see the post or page on your WordPress site where the link resides and the broken external link.

Ahrefs broken outgoing links

Ahrefs broken outgoing links

Google Search Console is a helpful tool from Google that helps you “monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results”. In order to get started, you’ll need to verify your site with Google Search Console. Then, you can start benefiting from its features, including broken link detection.

As part of its functionality, Google Search Console includes a Crawl Errors report that lets you see all the pages that returned a 404 error to Google:

The Google Search Console Crawl Report

The Google Search Console Crawl Report

Clicking on any one of those links will open a popup where you can see which pages link to that 404 error page, which lets you correct the broken link on those pages:

The Crawl Report lets you see pages that link to a 404 page

The Crawl Report lets you see pages that link to a 404 page

Screaming Frog, which is a well-known SEO tool that’s free to use to find broken links.

Screaming Frog works on Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu.

Once you download and install the program, here’s how to use it to find broken links.

First, add your site’s URL to the box at the top and click Start:

Add your site's URL to Screaming Frog

Add your site’s URL to Screaming Frog

Then, you can use the Response Codes option to filter out 404 pages and then use the Inlinks feature at the bottom to find links to those 404 pages:

How to find broken links with Screaming Frog

How to find broken links with Screaming Frog

If you’re using a Mac, Integrity is also another good desktop SEO tool that you can use to find broken links in WordPress.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

BrokenLinkCheck.com, which lets you check up to 3,000 pages for free.

It’s also really easy to use – you just head to the website, plug in in your URL, and click Find broken links:

Add your site's URL to BrokenLinkCheck.com

Add your site’s URL to BrokenLinkCheck.com

Then, you can decide whether to report distinct broken links or all occurrences – all occurrences is more thorough, but may take more time:

Choose how to check for broken links

Choose how to check for broken links

Then, the tool will list out all of the broken internal and external links, as well as provide links to the page where the broken link appears:

The BrokenLinkCheck.com results

The BrokenLinkCheck.com results

Then, all you need to do is go in and fix the offending link(s).

Broken Link Checker plugin at WordPress.org. Note: This plugin hasn’t been updated for time, and it appears developers are trying to request a transfer of ownership.

Once you install and activate the plugin, go to Tools → Broken Links to view the report with all of your broken internal and external links:

The Broken Link Checker plugin interface

The Broken Link Checker plugin interface

To quickly fix any broken links that the tool finds, you can hover over the link and choose Edit URL to edit the link without needing to open each individual page:

Editing a URL in the Broken Link Checker plugin

Editing a URL in the Broken Link Checker plugin

Get Rid of Broken Links on Your WordPress Site

Having broken links on your WordPress site is bad for both user experience and SEO, so you want to periodically check for broken links and fix as many of them as possible.

For the most performance-friendly way how to find broken links in WordPress, we recommend using an off-site solution. Good options are:

  • An SEO audit tool like Ahrefs – this is our recommended method if you have access to such a tool. We even use this tool at Kinsta to fix broken links on our website.
  • The Crawl Error reports in Google Search Console.
  • Free desktop SEO software like Screaming Frog.
  • A free web-based tool like BrokenLinkCheck.com

And again, while WordPress plugins like Broken Link Checker make it easy to find broken links on WordPress, we don’t recommend them because of the negative performance aspects of such an approach.

Have any other good broken link checking solutions that we missed? Let us know below in the comments.

The post How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress (5 Methods) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

20+ Mind-Blowing Instagram Stats and Facts

Launched in 2010, Instagram is a free photo and video sharing platform that was initially offered only on iOS. However, in a few short years, it became a staple of social media, with Facebook scooping it up for $1 billion in 2012.

One of the biggest recent changes for the platform was ditching app-exclusivity, giving users the option to access their accounts online. Additionally, the social network made smart choices by moving from a chronological feed to an algorithmic feed, allowing some variability in photo and video size, crushing it with Instagram Stories, and introducing influencer marketing.

This slew of changes, among many more, all contributed to Instagram users crossing the 1 billion per month mark this year.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.
  • Styleized controls representing management Fully managed
  • Shield with a tick representing securitySecure like Fort Knox
  • Merging lines representing migrationsFree migrations
  • Three right chevrons representing server speedUltimate speed
  • Circular arrow with center dot representing backupsDaily backups
  • Offset hexagons representing our server stackGoogle Cloud Platform
Check out our plans

Of course, that’s not where the mind-blowing Instagram stats and facts end… Oh no, we’re just getting started.

Historic Instagram Stats and Facts

From the first European arriving in the Americas to the first man on the moon, whoever gets there first is bound to go down in history.

So, who was the first person to post an Instagram photo? Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger cheated the rest of the world out of the opportunity posting the first Instagram photo on July 17, 2010—way before the app launched.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) on

Within 2 months of being open to the public, Instagram stats were pointing the platform toward the big leagues as it tipped the scales with 1 million Instagram users. It hit 10 million users a year later.

Six days before Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion (April 9, 2012), the platform became available for Android.

In November of that year, Instagram users were able to take advantage of web profiles. Then, in February 2013, the company rolled out its web feed, along with celebrating 100 million Instagram users.

Instagram introduced videos in June 2013, rolling out direct messaging in December that year.

With a huge user base, Instagram moved to further monetizing its assets and pushing Instagram growth by introducing advertising for select brands in October 2013, making it available to everyone else in September 2015.

Then, a month before the platform followed Facebook’s lead and switched from a chronological feed to algorithmic feed in June 2016, it rebranded by changing its logo.

Instagram changes logo

Instagram changes logo (Image source: Adweek)

Instagram rounded out 2016 with a sucker punch at Snapchat, stepping into the ring with Instagram Stories, its version of Snapchat’s ephemeral content that only lasts 24 hours.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories (Images source: TechCrunch)

Digging into Instagram Demographics

Nearly one in three internet users are Instagram users. Hitting the mark of 1 billion monthly active users in 2018, Instagram is now the fastest growing social network at 5% growth per quarter—significantly ahead of Facebook (3.14%, and Snapchat (2.13%).

Instagram monthly active users

Instagram monthly active users (Image source: Statista)

According to a 2018 Social Media Use study conducted by Pew Research, 35% of adults say that they use Instagram, up from 28% in 2016.

Instagram used by adults

Instagram used by adults (Image source: Pew Research Center)

 

In fact, the site is dominated by 18- to 34-year-olds, which isn’t a huge surprise as Instagram is predominantly associated with millennials, with the 18- to 24-year-old age group comprising 32% of Instagram users. Americans in this age group actually bolster the numbers with a Pew Research study revealing that 71% of Americans 18- to 24-years-old use Instagram.

Instagram users worldwide by age and gender

Instagram users worldwide by age and gender (Image source: Statista)

An interesting Instagram statistic that throws most people for a loop is the fact that despite the proliferation of the social media platform among Americans, 80% of Instagram users are not from the US.

However, no matter where people are coming from, Instagram users are addicted to the platform and becoming even more so. According to a Pew Research study, 60% of Instagram users visit the site daily, up from 51% in 2016. On average, users will spend anywhere between 24 and 32 minutes scrolling through the app or posting content each day.

Engaging with Instagrams Stats on Engagement

According to Instagram, more than 40 billion photos have been posted on the social network, with more than 95 million additional photos posted per day.

Of course, the big numbers don’t stop with posts: Instagram users also dish out about 3.5 billion shares and likes per day—double tap to fill in the heart for that Instagram stat!

In fact, Instagram stats reveal that it is the social network wielding the most engaged users. Engagement rates for Instagram range from 2-7%. That might seem low until you realize that Facebook’s engagement rates range between 0.10%-1.5%, and Twitter’s is even lower than that.

Average Instagram engagement

Average Instagram engagement (Image source: WebStrategies)

When it comes to content production and engagement, Instagram is going the same direction as the rest of the internet. Though photos were top dog when it came to garner the most engagement—36% more engagement than video in 2015—videos are slowly starting to take over.

Other ways for Instagram users to rack up engagement is including another Instagram user’s handle in a post, which increase engagement by 5%.

However, for Instagram users looking to get a bigger boost in engagement, including at least one hashtag on average will see a 12.6% rise in engagement and tagging a location will see engagement skyrocket by 79%.

Location tagging increases engagement on Instagram

Location tagging increases engagement on Instagram

Additionally, putting faces in posted content is a great way to see the number of likes for the post increase by about 38%.

Trends that increase engagement on Instagram

Trends that increase engagement on Instagram (Image source: SocialMediaToday)

What’s truly mind-blowing is that despite having the highest engagement rate among all social networks, Instagram’s new algorithmic system means that about 70% of posts do not get seen at all. This means that 30% of the 95 million photos posted each day are getting an extraordinary amount of traction with a highly-engaged user base.

A big reason many marketers, influencers, and brands dig into their Instagram statistics is to figure out when to post content. Unmetric had the same question. It conducted a study of more 100 US brands, discovering that the best days for posting to get the most engagement were Tuesdays and Thursdays. They also found that the average number of interactions per post was uniform overall, even though brands post less during Sundays and Wednesdays.

Average interactions per post on Instagram

Average interactions per post on Instagram

Instagram & User-Generated Content

Because people on Instagram are gene (UGC). From ridiculous candid moments caught on camera to epic professional drone footage, UGC dominates. In fact, nearly half of the top content marketing leaders rely on UGC. UGC also impacts conversion rates in industries such as fashion, jewelry, footwear, beauty, and consumer electronics.

Based on projections from the International Data Corporation, there will be more consumer-generated content than marketer-created content by 2020.

Instagram is Making the Video Stars

When Instagram introduced videos, 5 million videos were shared within the first 24 hours. That’s more than 208,000 videos per hour.

And though, for a while, photos continued to garnering more engagement than videos—that’s no longer the case. Responding to Instagram user’s excitement about videos, the social media giant has not let up. Instagram now allows users to post videos in various formats: Live, Stories, Posts, and Ads.

Additionally, Instagram recently introduced video chat through its direct messaging feature, as well as IGTV, which allows users to post longer videos—opening the doors to even more creative ways for Instagram users to create engaging content.

Tell Me About Stories with Some Instagram Stats

Snapchat might have popularized the ephemeral social media game, but it’s losing its place as king of the hill. With Instagram Stories being used by more than 400 million people daily, the number of Instagram Stories daily active users (DAU) has overtaken Snapchat.

Instagram statistics reveal that brands certainly prefer Instagram Stories to Snapchat, as they post twice as much on Instagram Stories. The popularity of Instagram Stories with brands is most likely connected to the “Swipe Up” feature, which allows users with more than 10,000 followers to post an external link, thus improving click-through rates and conversion rates.

A recent bonus feature for those who love Instagram Stories is music. The new feature allows Instagram users to record Stories with music from Instagram’s in-house library. Though only available in select countries, it is expected to be rolled out elsewhere soon.

As if music and the Swipe Up feature weren’t enough for most marketers and influencers, Instagram also allows users to shop via Instagram Stories!

Instagram Rolling Out New Features—Staying Relevant

The two most important features Instagram has released recently are IGTV and the video chat.

IGTV

IGTV (Image source: Instagram)

Ever consider making a movie on the fly for Instagram? Then IGTV is exactly the feature you’ve been waiting for. IGTV allows users to upload vertical videos that are up to 10-minutes long for regular users and up to an hour long for users with more followers.

Though IGTV is available through its own standalone app, you can watch IGTV posts on the Instagram app—this is basically Instagram’s response to YouTube.

Of course, IGTV allows you to watch videos of people you already follow on Instagram. Additionally, you can search for users’ videos, which will be found on their IGTV channel.

The video chat feature on Instagram Direct is also a serious expansion into an area of the internet with stiff competition—notably Facetime, Google Chat, and Facebook Messenger. However, this feature allows Instagram users to host a video chat with up to four friends at a time.

Hashing Out Hashtags

Hashtags are an integral part of Instagram. They make content discoverable, which helps people find Instagram users with similar interests. They are also used by brands and influencers to gauge how successful their social media marketing campaigns are, to gather information about how their brand is perceived by users, and to chart how many people are talking about them on the platform.

There are two types of hashtags used on Instagram: community and branded. Community hashtags are more general hashtags, such as #Love, #InstaFood, #ootd, #TBT, and so on. These are perhaps the hashtags that users are most familiar with. However, branded hashtags, which are designed for a specific brand to track their user-generated campaigns, dominate. In fact, 70% of hashtags are branded.

One Instagram stat that marketers and influencers pay particularly close attention to is how many hashtags they include in a post. Though Instagram users are allowed to add up to 30 hashtags, it might not be the best idea to do so. As it would turn out, the optimum number of hashtags is 11.

Hashtags per post on Instagram

Hashtags per post on Instagram (Image source: SocialMediaToday)

The Big Reveal of Instagram Statistics for Businesses

According to Instagram, 80% of users follow at least one business on Instagram and, as of November 2017, there are 25 million active Instagram Business profiles. That represents an explosive increase from 15 million in July of that same year. As of 2017, an estimated 71% of businesses are on Instagram, up from 48.8% in 2016.

Instagram for Marketing

Instagram for Marketing (Image Source: eMarketer)

This explosive growth in business profiles could be attributed to the features only available to business profiles, such as being able to post contact information, as well as having access to Instagram advertising features and analytics tools.

Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

Businesses are investing time, money, and energy in Instagram for good reasons. As of March 2017, more than 120 million people messaged a business, visited a website, or called and received directions to a business through Instagram. Clearly, people are interested in engaging and utilizing Instagram as a resource for connecting with businesses.

Additionally, the visual nature of the content posted on Instagram encourages users to shop. About 60% of Instagram users say they’ve discovered new products through the app, while 72% of users say they have purchased a product they saw on the app. In this way, Instagram is much like another popular visual social network, Pinterest, which is known for encouraging shopping behavior.

Originally, Instagram’s limitations on the number of links that could be posted disrupted the shopping process via the app. Taking note of the issue, Instagram introduced the Shoppable Feed, which is available only to Business accounts.

The shoppable feed allows brands to tag their products on Instagram posts. You’ll know posts are Instagram shoppable because there is a shopping bag icon on the top right corner of the post.

When users tap the photo, they can see details about the product. Clicking on the details leads them to an external page where they can purchase the product—without leaving the app.

Staggering Stats of Instagram’s Influencer Marketing

Instagram is the most used social network by B2C influencers, with 92% of influencers saying it was their most focused-on social network in 2017.

B2C Instagram

B2C Instagram (Image source: MarketingProfs)

It turns out that Instagram is way out in front when it comes to what influencers like. About 80% of them say Instagram is their platform of choice for brand collaborations. In second place, but still miles behind, is blogging, which sits at 16%.

Social influencers

Social influencers (Image source: eMarketer)

What’s a more mind-blowing Instagram stat than influence marketing on the platform being valued at $1.6 billion? The fact that this number is expected to double in 2019!

Instagram influencer growth

Instagram influencer growth (Image source: Mediakix)

That said, there are some pitfalls for brands and influencers marketing on Instagram. One study found that 8% of Instagram accounts are fake, with the same study finding that 29.9% of Instagram accounts are inactive.

Mediakix conducted a test that consisted of creating two fake Instagram accounts with purchased followers. They were able to score four paid brand sponsorships—two each.

Fake Instagram account

Fake Instagram account

Adding up the Ads and Instagram Revenue

Given that 70% of Instagram posts do not get seen, businesses invest in ads so that their posts will receive guaranteed views by targeted followers. There are more than 2 million advertisers on Instagram. Six months ago, there were only 1 million advertisers.

With that many advertisers making use of the platform, it doesn’t take much of an investment from each of them for Instagram to be raking in big money. The platform expected to scoop up $4 billion in ad revenue in 2017, with estimates for 2019 climbing to $10 billion.

Random Instagram Facts—Because They’re Interesting

Certain Instagram facts aren’t going to win anyone a chair at a board meeting, but they might come in handy on quiz night.

So who has the most followers? What brand is crushing it? And, what photo is most liked? Also, what’s the most popular filter?

The most followed person on Instagram is Selena Gomez (@selenagomez), with 138 million followers. Second place goes to soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano), with 133 million followers. Rounding out the top three is Ariana Grande (@arianagrande), with 123 million followers.

Instagram itself crushes on its own platform when it comes to being the most followed brand, with 241 million followers. National Geographic (@natgeo) takes second place with a solid 89.1 million followers.

The most liked photo is Kylie Jenner’s first photo of her daughter Stormi with 17.9 million likes, and counting.

View this post on Instagram

stormi webster 👼🏽

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

It’s not Juno, Reyes, Valencia, or Ludwig. The most popular Instagram filter according to Canva is Clarendon.

Final Thoughts: Mind-blowing Stats and Facts About Instagram

Instagram’s recent, explosive growth is a tribute to the platform’s adaptability, profitability, and general ability to engage with its more than 1 billion users.

From the introduction of influencer marketing to its successful challenging of Snapchat, Instagram is clearly going to continue to dominate in the war among social media giants. Facebook has got to be happy with their acquisition of the platform for just $1 billion dollars—especially given that its projected to be pulling in $10 billion in ad revenue in 2019.

With its current trajectory, without a doubt, Instagram statistics will keep making headlines.

Didn’t see your favorite Instagram stat? Tell us about it in the comments below!

The post 20+ Mind-Blowing Instagram Stats and Facts appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.