Josh Eaton is the Lead Service Developer at Reaktiv. He is responsible for sales, project management, client management and technical direction. He has a keen interest in working with WordPress. He has worked in the WordPress development full-time and preferred WordPress over all other CMS on the market.
Josh’s interests lie in traveling as he loves to travel around the world with his beloved wife. Read all about Josh Eaton and his WordPress ventures at Cloudways.
Cloudways: Josh, tell our readers a bit about yourself. How you started your career, and what were the main reasons for pursuing your career as a WordPress developer?
Josh: My first experience with WordPress was when I was looking to build a website for an organization at my school. I came across Drupal and had the hardest time to get it installed and working. I then moved on to WordPress, and never looked back! I started my career; not as a software developer, though. I studied accounting and even sat for the CPA exam. While I had been interested in technology since I was young, for whatever reason, I decided that management consulting was the way to go. After a few years in that world, and building WordPress sites on the side, I decided to leave and focus on WordPress development full-time.
Cloudways: There are so many Content Management Systems today. How would you rate WordPress with other CMSs?
Josh: WordPress makes it easy to get started. It is easy to use and is so widespread that it’s easy to find help when you’re stuck. These are a few reasons due to which I recommend WordPress to all my clients. While I will always choose the tool that fits best for the job, WordPress is that tool for the majority of clients we come across.
Cloudways: You’re the Lead Developer at “Reaktive Studios”. Can you please highlight some of your responsibilities as a lead developer?
Josh: We are not so much for titles at Reaktiv. I lead our services division, meaning I’m responsible for sales, project management, client management and technical direction. I write plenty of code too. Being a small agency, I get to wear many hats.
Cloudways: You’re a core contributor of WordPress. What are your contributions in WordPress core?
Josh: Most of my core contributions have come from when I have encountered an issue and wanted to fix it. Most are small. I’m proud to have my name on the commit to get the REST API infrastructure in the core (even if it did end up getting reverted afterward) :).
Cloudways: WordPress core is lesser known for its speed. Can you give suggestions to speed up WordPress core?
Josh: Writing efficient queries and caching query results will significantly improve your site speed. On top of that, correctly using an object cache, page cache, and CDN will help. I find most speed issues aren’t due to hosting but rather due to buying off-the-shelf plugins and themes that weren’t built with performance in mind. While it is possible to throw enough hardware at that to make it perform, it makes your $19 theme purchase much more expensive than its initial cost.
Cloudways: Due to its popularity, it’s an incredibly attractive target for hackers. Can you please highlight how one can secure a WordPress site?
Josh: It starts by using a trusted host, following best practices for passwords, and keeping your sites up to date. Hiring someone to audit your code and the plugins you install on your site is the only way to ensure that you have no vulnerabilities. Make sure to follow WordPress news to learn about new vulnerabilities and be able to take action when you find one.
Cloudways: You’ve developed many plugins. Can you please highlight your most used plugins for WordPress? And which are your most favorite ones apart from your own plugins?
Josh: My favorite plugin is bbPress – Report Content. I built this for the CSS-Tricks forums, and it was fun to work on. It needs some love and is something I’d like to update soon. However, some of my favorite plugins are Theme My Login and Posts 2 Posts (RIP).
Cloudways: WordPress 4.6 has been launched. Shed some light on some of your favorite features of WordPress 4.6.
Josh: My favorite feature in WordPress 4.6 are the shiny updates. I usually set my WordPress by default to updating and installing plugins from wp-cli because it’s so much faster than the plugins admin page, but shiny updates have improved the speed of both.
Cloudways: Do you think Calypso, being a big hit on WordPress.com, will be welcomed by larger WordPress.org audience? Or should I put it like this: that whether it should be implemented on WordPress.org as well and will it be welcomed by the community?
Josh: I think Calypso was a very exciting development. But for most people, the admin area of WordPress is one of its most compelling features. The WP REST API use case of “wp-admin replacement” is interesting but not what I think most developers want or need from the API. Quickly getting content out of WordPress and being able to manipulate that in other systems are more interesting to me, and I believe in the community as a whole, which is why so many people want the REST API endpoints in core.
Cloudways: You’ve attended many WordCamps and have also been a spokesman in some of those camps. Share your experience and tell our readers how these meetups are beneficial for WordPress communities?
Josh: Speaking at camps, and being able to show others my talks through WordPress.tv are some of the highlights of my WordPress career. I enjoy sharing what I know and have been able to meet so many great people through WordCamps.
Cloudways: We’ve read that you’re fond of traveling. What are some of the best places you’ve visited?
Josh: We visited Easter Island (and were stuck there for two extra nights due to storms) which was probably the biggest bucket list item off my life. My wife and I loved Thailand and long to return there for an extended period. The most exciting trip we took was driving ourselves through the game reserves in Botswana and camping there for three weeks.
Cloudways: Who are your best buddies among the WordPress Community?
Josh: Between a private Slack group and my mastermind group, one of the best moments of the WordPress community for me has been forming relationships with some great people. Whether it’s bouncing ideas off them or just sharing gifs, I am grateful that WordPress has brought these people into my life.
Cloudways: Josh, we know it’s hard to take out time from a busy schedule. But, everyone wants to be relaxed. So, how do you relax in your free time?
Josh: I enjoy spending time with my wife and two kids, traveling, reading, making very fancy coffee, and collecting whiskey.
Cloudways: WordPress can have low performance if you do not find a good host. Regarding WordPress performance, how will you compare a site hosted on traditional hosting with a Managed Cloud WordPress Hosting like Cloudways having an advance cached technologies like NGINX, Varnish, Memcached, and Redis?
Josh: I recommend managed WordPress hosting to all of our clients. While there are cases where a complex site may need more control over the environment, managed hosting is the best way to ensure that our client’s sites are secure, performant and stable.
Just to humor our readers, can you please send us an image what does your desk or workspace look like? 🙂
Thank you Josh for your time!
Follow him on Twitter.
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Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at email@example.com