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“Never turn WordPress automatic updates off,” advises Rhys Wynne

September 16, 2014

4 Min Read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Choosing the right content management system while developing your website is a prior thing. In this digital world we can get reviews for almost everything on internet, but we tend to believe more in individual communications and user experiences. Human interactions make it easier for the newbies to learn faster about the products or services in industry.


WordPress has taken over the web industry due to its regular updates and active community. According to W3Techs, 23% of all websites in the world are being developed on it. From blogging to business, from ecommerce stores to learning systems, WordPress is fast becoming the operating system of the web development industry.

Today we are talking to Rhys Wynne, Lead WordPress Developer at FireCask. He is the author and developer of one famous WordPress plugin WP Email Capture. Rhys owns Winwar Media. The company develops different WordPress plugins and conducts trainings in Manchester, UK. Let’s read his opinions on using WordPress, its community and security issues.

Why I choose WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)?

I first came into contact with WordPress on the second day of my first-ever web design job which was at an agency based in my home town in North Wales. At that time, the job was to make the blog section of the site appear the same as the rest of the site. It was the time when WordPress didn’t have the ability to set a front page of a site as a static page. After playing around with the site, I eventually got it looking as I expected. This was back in about 2005-2006.

Since then I have been playing around with WordPress. WP Email Capture, for example, was built to turn a PHP script, I found, into a WordPress plugin. Over the time, I played around with WordPress and although I moved more into an SEO role professionally, I continued building WordPress plugins and learning about the system. After a few years in SEO, I decided to become a full time WordPress developer, and since the past two years, I’ve never looked back.

I like WordPress as it is so easy to use. One script that I ran back (when I was younger) was phpBB for a bulletin board, and upgrades were incredibly difficult. You had to change the source code. WordPress has 1-click upgrades and is extensible. It has made my life so much easier.

All in all, I think I must say WordPress chose me rather than I choose WordPress!

What is your opinion on the WordPress community?

It’s great! I’m a huge fan of the community surrounding WordPress. I came into the community relatively late despite being coding since 2006. My first attendance in such a community event was in 2012 when I attended the first Manchester WordPress User Group. Since then, I have found the community fascinating and supportive as I work as a developer in a search agency. I don’t get to speak to too many technical people on a daily basis. So, it’s always great to interact with the community.

The North of England in particular, has a huge community, with user groups in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Cumbria. There are talks of one starting in Preston. There have been two WordCamps as well here in the past year: WordCamp Manchester (where I was honored to be one of the speakers) and at Sheffield.

Also the European and wider community is equally supportive as the local ones. Plus, I have learnt mostly through interaction on the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, and I think it’s just awesome!

How to choose a theme for a WordPress website?

Generally speaking, I develop my own sites from scratch using something like _s (Underscores) or Peadig. So, I don’t really know too much about how to choose a theme. Though if I was to choose a theme, I’d head straight to the WordPress Theme Repository. You can trust the code there as the theme review team works incredibly hard to make sure the code in there is up to incredibly high standards. As such, the only thing I can possibly recommend is start there.

Do you think WordPress security is an issue?

WordPress security is an important issue. There are so many ways for a site to be hacked, probably the most common I’ve found recently doesn’t involve any hacking though: Unscrupulous companies rang up individuals masquerading as a tech team asking for a password! You can have the most secure site on the internet, but if you give your password out to anybody who asks for it, then of course your site will be in trouble.

Thankfully, the only time I was ever hacked was an exploit within the server, so although I wouldn’t call myself a “security expert”, I can offer these three pieces of advice which work for me.

  1. Keep WordPress and plugins updated. It frustrates me so much when people switch off automatic updates. Once, I got involved in an argument with an individual who claimed that WordPress “violated civil liberties” by switching it on automatically. Of course I don’t believe this, as I trust the WordPress code base team to act in the best interests of this popular CMS. For plugins and WordPress, especially if you manage multiple sites, I recommend using WP Remote as it makes maintaining sites quick and easy.
  2. Use as many secure passwords as you can. I know only about 3 passwords for services and one of them is the password to my LastPass account. I auto-generate all my passwords (for sites and services) with incredibly secure passwords.
  3. Keep as few a plugins as themes on your sites as possible. Having a lot of plugins, even deactivated, can be a security risk to your site, as such I try and delete all plugins I don’t use.

You can follow Rhys Wynne (@rhyswynne) on Twitter.

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Waseem Abbas

Waseem Abbas was WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves to help people with their WordPress worries. He is a self-proclaimed "food explorer".

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