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Web Dev + WordPress + Security
18 posts

Redesign #25: Performance Over Perfection

Welcome to the 2020 (25th!) redesign for Perishable Press. Like many of the previous designs, the new design is super minimal and organic. The #1 goal this time around was to find an optimal balance between performance and aesthetics. Or put another way.. Continue reading »

Metamorphosis

After 9 grueling weeks, I am happy to say that the 2018 Perishable Press redesign is complete. There are still a few small details that I am contemplating, but overall the work is finished and the site is back to full production capacity. From the old Wire theme rolled out in 2013 (five years ago!), to the minimalist, lightweight X Theme, Perishable Press has metamorphosed into a lean, mean, content sharing machine. This is the 24th time Perishable Press has […] Continue reading »

How to use the HTML <base> tag

When every byte counts, you can use the HTML <base /> tag to specify a default href and target attribute for all relative URLs on the page. Like a virtual shortcut. For smaller sites with a flat directory structure, this isn’t going to help much; but for sites with deeply nested directories, the <base /> tag can potentially shave a lot of extra weight from your web pages, and also help keep URLs cleaner and shorter. So if you’re micro-optimizing […] Continue reading »

Tools to check your site’s health

Perishable Press is now over 12 years old. It is a lot of work keeping everything updated, maintained, and well-secured. Fortunately there are a gazillion free online tools for checking your site’s health. Everyone has their favorites. In this quick article, I share mine. Continue reading »

WordPress Performance Issue Revisited

Following up on my recent performance report with essentially some conclusive results. Turns out that the reported issue is related more directly to the version of PHP than to the version of WordPress. So in other words, WordPress runs a bit faster on newer versions of PHP. As explained previously, after I upgraded my sites to WordPress 4.4, Googlebot reported slightly longer load times for my pages. The slower loading average was seen across numerous sites, and it looked like […] Continue reading »

WordPress Performance Issue?

Just wanted to share a mysterious trend reported for my sites by Google Webmaster Tools, and ask if anyone else is seeing the same pattern. It looks like it’s related to the WordPress 4.4 update, but I’m not 100% sure, so putting the data out there in hopes that others can help shed some light on the issue.. Continue reading »

How to Micro-Optimize Your CSS

There are many ways to optimize your web pages. In addition to reducing HTTP requests and delivering compressed files, we can also minify code content. The easiest way to minify your CSS is to run it through an online code minifier, which automatically eliminates extraneous characters to reduce file size. Minification shrinks file size significantly, by as much as 30% or more (depending on input code). This size-reduction is the net result of numerous micro-optimization techniques applied to your stylesheet. […] Continue reading »

Better Image Preloading with CSS3

I recently added to my growing library of image-preloading methods with a few new-&-improved techniques. After posting that recent preloading article, an even better way of preloading images using pure CSS3 hit me: .preload-images { background: url(image-01.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px; background: url(image-01.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px, url(image-02.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px, url(image-03.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px, url(image-04.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px, url(image-05.png) no-repeat -9999px -9999px; } Using CSS3’s new support for multiple background images, we can use a single, existing element to preload all […] Continue reading »

3 Ways to Preload Images with CSS, JavaScript, or Ajax

Preloading images is a great way to improve the user experience. When images are preloaded in the browser, the visitor can surf around your site and enjoy extremely faster loading times. This is especially beneficial for photo galleries and other image-heavy sites where you want to deliver the goods as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Preloading images definitely helps users without broadband enjoy a better experience when viewing your content. In this article, we’ll explore three different preloading techniques to […] Continue reading »

5-Minute PNG Image Optimization

A great way to improve the performance of your site is to optimize the size of your images. Smaller image sizes require less bandwidth, disk space and load time, and ultimately improve visitor experience. In this article, I share my effective 5-minute technique for optimizing PNG images. This is a two-step, lossless optimization process that removes as much extraneous data as possible without sacrificing any image quality whatsoever. It’s fast, free, and highly effective. Continue reading »

A Sincere Attempt to Switch from Firefox to Opera

I recently twittered my intention to switch from the Firefox browser to the sleek, new Opera 9.5. I have always used Opera as a secondary browser, especially handy for speedy jumps into cyberspace, browser testing, and taking up space on my hard drive. I have always wanted to switch completely to Opera, but for many reasons, Firefox just keeps pulling me back into its comfortable grasp.. Continue reading »

Perishable Press HTAccess Spring Cleaning, Part 2

Before Summer arrives, I need to post the conclusion to my seasonal article, Perishable Press HTAccess Spring Cleaning, Part 1. As explained in the first post, I recently spent some time to consolidate and optimize the Perishable Press site-root and blog-root HTAccess files. Since the makeover, I have enjoyed better performance, fewer errors, and cleaner code. In this article, I share some of the changes made to the blog-root HTAccess file and provide a brief explanation as to their intended […] Continue reading »

Preventing the Unpredictable White Screen of Death for WordPress Sites with Multiple Themes

For the past several months and up until just recently, Perishable Press had been suffering from unpredictable episodes of the dreaded white screen of death. Although blank white screens happen to virtually all WordPress users now and then, certain configurations seem to trigger crashes more frequently than others. Here, I am referring to WordPress version 2.3. In this case, the unpredictable crashes, inconsistent errors, and general instability began several months ago after I had completed my WordPress theme restoration project. […] Continue reading »

Perishable Press HTAccess Spring Cleaning, Part 1

While developing the 3G Blacklist, I completely renovated the Perishable Press site-root and blog-root HTAccess files. Since the makeover, I have enjoyed better performance, fewer errors, and cleaner code. In this article, I share some of the changes made to the root HTAccess file and provide a brief explanation as to their intended purpose and potential benefit. In sharing this information, I hope to inspire others to improve their own HTAccess and/or configuration files. In the next article, I will […] Continue reading »

Improve Site Performance by Increasing PHP Memory for WordPress

During the recent ASO server debacle, I raced frantically to restore functionality to Perishable Press. Along the way, one of the many tricks that I tried while trying to fix the dreaded “white screen of death” syndrome involved increasing the amount of PHP memory available to WordPress. This fix worked for me, but may not prove effective on every installation of WordPress. If you are unsure as to whether or not you need to increase your PHP memory, consult with […] Continue reading »

Perishable Press Upgraded to WordPress 2.3.3

Just a note to announce a site upgrade to WordPress 2.3.3. The upgrade went well, but overall server performance continues to suffer. I am aware that some people are experiencing difficulties leaving comments and even accessing the site in general. Rest assured, I am working with my hosting company, A Small Orange, to get everything back on track and running smooth. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the issues, restore full functionality, and return […] Continue reading »

Welcome
Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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Thoughts
Checking in to anyone listening. Stay safe. Pay attention. Don't get lazy.
What's up with Plesk UI lately? Especially on Chrome it looks just awful, all kinds of broken. Come on Plesk devs get it together.
Things get stressful, I try to pray. Not always easy, but always helps to relax and regain focus.
Nice new speed checker at fastorslow.com.
Easy way to exclude certain tests from WP Site Health: Site Health Tool Manager
Excellent (and free) tool for getting tons of site SSL infos: whynopadlock.com
Everyone just stay home and hide forever. Brilliant idea.