Matt Mullenweg - The Super Hero!

If it weren’t for Matt Mullenweg creating WordPress, I would not have been here writing at this blog and you all wouldn’t have been reading this article. At the age of 19, he invented the core of WordPress, and later when he turned 24, quit his job at CNET to fully focus on developing WordPress – a blogging platform. He is also the founder of Automattic, the business behind WordPress as well as famous spam fighter, Akismet.

Read this amazing piece at Skidzopedia – 17 people who changed the internet. Although, I would surely love to include the name of Max Levchin, Paypal’s founder; Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Skype’s founders. I’m sure there must be more people on that list, still I would say that the list is pretty neat. I’m happy that people realize Matt’s hard work & contribution to the internet as he definitely deserves these kinda titles! What Say?

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From last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to ensure that how WordPress can be secured enough to avoid any kind of malware attack. In the course, I found lot of new information about securing web applications and realized that how small and little settings can make and break things. While my struggle to know more about security was going on, I came across the launch post of VaultPress, a blog backup and protection service from Automattic.

Please note that the service has been announced in beta and is available for only few users. One can apply for the invite over here. It’ll be a premium service and while signing up you can also mention that how much are you comfortable in paying for this kind of a service. If I were to decide the price, I would keep it around $10/month. I’ve not tested the service myself, however we could gather all the information about VaultPress from the coverage it has received from the biggies like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Silicon Alley Insider, VaultPress blog and finally my favorite WordPress Tavern.

Features of VaultPress

1. Focused on WordPress.org users – WordPress.com is one of the most powerful and secure blog services around. However, same can’t be said for the users who use self hosted WordPress version on their own servers. There have been many horror stories in the past where many self hosted WordPress installs got infected from malware and much hoopla was created. VaultPress has been designed to work with self hosted WordPress to ensure that they can also get the quality backup and security service to avoid any mishap.

2. Real Time & Complete Backups – VaultPress is an all-in-one backup package. It will backup posts, categories, tags and rest of the data along with themes, files etc. Jeff @ WordPress Tavern reckons that VaultPress will face stiff competition from Backupify, BackupBuddy and other backup plugins. According to Matt, founder of WordPress, VaultPress will be able to make the backup instantly as soon as one would publish the changes on the blog or website.

3. Safeguards against Zero-Day Attacks – This is one feature that I would be most interested in as this is one feature that no one else is offering. VaultPress will be able to safeguard your blog against the Zero-Day Attacks focused towards WordPress. It will also monitor your site to alert you against any suspicious or hacking activity.

Well, keeping these features in mind. We can install few plugins that can help us achieve similar level of protection and that too free of cost. We just need to ensure that we configure the plugins in the right manner. Here’s the guide …

Get VaultPress Security Features Before Hand!

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1. Automatic WordPress BackupThis little plugin saves all the important files including themes, plugins and database on Amazon S3. The plugin allows you to schedule the backup of the database or just files or if you want you can ask for the complete backup as well. The plugin will send you the confirmation messages over the email, so you will constantly be aware of the happenings. Amazon S3 can be used as a backup service for your blog’s important files and believe me in most of the cases this will not cost you more than $5/month. Only in case of large publishers this cost can be more than $15/month i.e. the indicative price of VaultPress. By the way, Amazon S3 can help you in improving the site load time as well, don’t forget to check our guide on how to optimize the WordPress blogs.

2. WordPress Firewall – This nifty plugin monitors changes in the files, attacks based on various Zero-day patterns. Of course, this is not the ultimate solution however, our experience has been pretty neat with this plugin. It did alert me whenever I tried to make any change in the theme files or plugin files. It didn’t allow the change until and unless I approved the change. Make sure that if you are planning to install this, then you may get lot of notifications. So keep the settings appropriate or use GMail filters for ease!

3. OSSECossec-security.jpgOSSEC is an Open Source Host-based Intrusion Detection System. It performs log analysis, file integrity checking, policy monitoring, rootkit detection, real-time alerting and active response. Of course, this is something which will not be as easy as installing WordPress plugins, however investing a little time on this can ensure that you’ll have real peace of mind in future!! There is enough documentation available for avoiding initial hiccups!

Of course, the first two plugins won’t ensure that you are getting instant and real time backups. However, a regular and weekly backup will ensure that you’ll be able to bring your blog back from a situation where nothing will look nice in the world. I hope you understand the point that i’m trying to make here! If you install OSSEC then I’m sure one could easily compare this setup with something that VaultPress will offer in future!

Isn’t it neat that you can enjoy the VaultPress like features even before you can get a hand on it or if VaultPress looks out of budget!

The success of VaultPress will depend on the following factors; 1) what will be the cost involved for end users and 2) how effective its monitoring system will be. I’m sure the takers of this service will be much more than any other similar service as it directly comes out from the makers of WordPress. However, personally I’ll be willing to test other services if they offer similar features at a competitive price. What are your initial thoughts on VaultPress.

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VideoPress was recently announced by Matt and Michael Pick has posted a wonderful video that introduces VideoPress for WordPress.com. Guess what! They’ve been generous enough to release the open-source version of VideoPress for WordPress too!

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When it comes to patience level, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t loses his temper quickly (except few cases – like when I see people not applying common sense, not driving in sensible way etc.) and I tend to give chances to improve. You may be wondering that why am I talking about my patience level all of a sudden. Reason is pretty simple, IntenseDebate has already tested my patience level and I don’t see any reason for me to continue using that service anymore.

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It was very interesting step taken by Yahoo! Inc. to give one of its acquired service i.e. Blo.gs (one of the coolest domain one can think of) to Automattic Inc. Blo.gs is a blog ping update service and here’s how they’ve explained themselves -

This is a directory of recently updated weblogs and tools for tracking interesting weblogs, in the spirit of services like weblogs.com and blogtracker and blogrolling.com.

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WordCamp India 2009 is just 2 days away. Today, I had a great opportunity to meet Om Malik and Matt Mullenweg. I have to say that both the guys are pretty cool. Om shared his memories of India and was completely amazed at the amount of changes Delhi has seen all these years and Matt on the other hand was trying to pull Om’s leg. No wonder! They are good friends. We all know that how Matt loves photography and the moment me and Sameer entered the room, we were greeted with three quick pic shots.

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Adobe India and Automattic have graciously decided to sponsor WordCamp India for us. It was getting pretty hectic for us to arrange the sponsorship and then one fine day we got the good news that Adobe India is ready to sponsor the event and that they’ll be giving us the space and food for the attendees. Automattic has been pretty supportive for the whole event and have agreed to sponsor the event partially.

Here is the venue -

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