Black Friday to Cyber Monday – 4 for 1 Sale

gabfire-black-friday-4-for-1

Happy Thanksgiving to the Gabfire community. To celebrate Turkey day, Black Friday, and of course Cyber Monday, we’ve just launched the following promotion:

4 themes for the price of 1.

That’s right; buy any theme and get 3 more FREE. If you missed our previous specials, you’re in luck. This offer has been extremely popular in the past, and we’ll only be able to extend it until midnight Monday, November 28th EST. That gives you all weekend to get in on this fantastic promotion. We will not be able to extend this special after the Monday, so don’t wait!

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Advanced Newspaper 2.1 Updates

Just a quick one today. In our aim to continue bringing you more value and powerful themes, we’ve been busy on improving our most popular theme. On that note, Advanced Newspaper owners will be glad to see the following updates in version 2.1:

New and/or Relevant Updates:

  • Theme control panel update
  • Custom Query widget added
  • Implementation of Fancybox slider
  • Alternative inner-page gallery
  • Improved presentation of overlay objects on media gallery via Fancybox
  • Updated Gabfire-media function
  • Permalinks for featured thumbnails
  • Updated Facebook Like widget
  • Timthumb script update

Bug Fixes / Adjustments:

  • Tag-based inner-page slider fix
  • Featured slider navigation fix
  • Mid tabbed slider cleared after 4th post
  • Loop-media custom taxonomy display fix

You can retrieve the latest version of the theme from your original download link. Go get it and send us your feedback on the forums. If you don’t own this theme, you can buy Advanced Newspaper here.

WordPress Optimization Tips

I was particularly interested in attending the WordPress Optimization session presented by Ben Metcalfe of WP Engine during WordCamp Philly. Considering that most of our end-users are on shared hosting and not well-versed on technical jargon, it’s common to receive questions on the support forums related to slow sites / servers / and optimization tips.

Ben provided a list of to-dos for WordPress optimization. Some are a bit technical and you may need a server admin to perform them, however others are do-able right from within WordPress. If I find a link to Ben’s presentation online, I’ll be sure to link directly to it. For now, here’s the quick list to consider depending on your setup and circumstances:

For all users

  • Keep WP Updated – Always stay updated.
  • Use a Cache Plugin – WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache work for most users. Even WordPress.com uses a cache plugin.
  • Deactivate Unused Plugins – If you have plugins you are not using, deactivate them. If you’re sure you do not need them, delete the plugins. Note that in some cases, even if a plugin is deactivated, it may still be loaded into memory. In short, be a neat-freak about your plugins.
  • Avoid Bad Plugins – I provide a list of some of these on the support forums.
  • Review Your Theme – roughly 1/3 of all optimization problems are due to theme code. Ensure it validates. When possible, place CSS at top and Javascript at bottom (not inline). If you see any weird code (i.e., making requests to other sites on the internet) then abandon that theme.
  • Hosting – Check your hosting solution. Who is on your server? Use YouGetSignal’s Reverse IP Lookup if you wish to see other sites on your site. If you have non-kosher sites on the same server, ask your host to move you to another one. If you have a thousand other sites on your server, you have quite a packed server (or said differently, a terrible host).
  • Offloading (poor-man’s CDN) – If you have the ability to offload your images or other large files (videos, etc.), do it. Flickr is a great solution for serving images.
  • Feedburn your RSS Feed – Let Google’s FeedBurner handle your feed. Check your logs to see how many requests are made to your /feed url.
  • Repair your MySQL Database – Be consistent in repairing your MySQL database. Once a month is fine for most users.
    • OptimizeDB plugin by Joost does this for you without any overhead
    • Use PHPMyAdmin – only if you are tech and db-savvy
    • Manually – only if you are tech and db-savvy
  • Load from Multiple Sub-domains – To bypass limits on simultaneous processing, if you understand domain mapping and server administration, then look into using multiple sub-domains for serving files. Even better, try using different domains.

    Good: foo1.yourdomain.com, foo2.yourdomain.com
    Better: foo1.otherdomain.com, foo2.otherdomain2.com

  • Browser CachingW3 Total Cache will take care of this – HTTP cache-control, expires header, and entitry tags.

For Advanced Users and High Traffic Sites

  • Log Slow MySQL Queries – check your logs! What’s taking the most time? Dig into it.
  • Check Site with Profile Tools– use any of the tools below to dig into your site’s performance.
  • CDN – Use a CDN. It can be used all the time – OR – just in “emergencies.”
  • Smush Images – Let’s face it – you don’t sit there and optimize every image before uploading it to your site. The plugin below will do it for you.
    WPSmush.it plugin
  • APC / Opcode cache – PHP-APC + W3-Total-Cache
  • Apache Optimization – your server admin should be able to optimize your Apache server. When possible, disable .htaccess and use httpd.conf instead (central library that Apache uses).

    Do NOT attempt this unless you know what you are doing! It is not for beginners.

  • Dedicated MySQLDB Box – Consider moving your MySQLDB Box to another server in the same data center.
  • Reverse-proxy with nginx – Run Apache on port 8080. Cache static pages.
  • Varnish Cache – Ideally, do not run Varnish on port 80 (even though some tutorials tell you to do so on port 80). Varnish cache doesn’t like cookies. Send cookies to nginx.
    Update – Jake’s Comment: Varnish VCL should be configured to destroy cookies when unnecessary (not logged) and to destroy cookie of static content.
  • Memcache – Ideally, run Memcache on a separate box in the same datacenter under the same subnet.
  • HyperDB – multiple database servers – not intended for the standard user.
  • Static Site on Amazon S3 – If you can generate your site as static pages, Amazon can host them. Do not do this if your site requires any dynamic widgets or data processing.

Finally, here’s something that should be reinforced by everyone, do not edit WordPress core files. It’s not good practice and will be overwritten when you upgrade your WP installation.

Now, go optimize your site!

Your WordPress Site Needs Personality

Ever look around for a quality theme for your personal site – something that isn’t just a portfolio site or blog, but really focuses on the individual? Look no further. We’ve been peppering our newest WordPress theme – Personality – with all the right details and features.

Your site is your identity. The Personality theme was designed with this principle in mind. We wanted to escape the traditional blog as some users may need a professional web site to inform their audience of their skills, background, or just who they are as a person. The focus is completely on YOU. In addition to the balanced layout, we came up with an unique design that is versatile enough to satisfy almost any individual’s needs.

It needs to work your way. Functionality is key and the Personality theme includes features typically not found in similar themes. Here are some notable examples:

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