Archive for support

Free WordPress Ecommerce Ebooks

Free WordPress Ecommerce Ebooks

 

Whether you’re totally new to using WordPress for ecommerce or a freelancer developing WordPress ecommerce websites for clients, we have a library of free ebooks to help. These ebooks cover everything from digital product ideas to how to scope and price ecommerce projects.

Download all 5 WordPress Ecommerce Ebooks: 

 

The WordPress Ecommerce Opportunity

Ecommerce for Everybody

How to Create Your First Ebook

WordPress & Ecommerce: A Simple Guide for Selling Products Online

Join the Club: How to Create a Membership Site

“Heartbleed Bug” OpenSSL Vulnerability Affecting Internet Community

“Heartbleed Bug” OpenSSL Vulnerability Affecting Internet Community

hbapril10.png

Summary

The Heartbleed bug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartbleed_bug) is a serious vulnerability in OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1.f.

This vulnerability allows an attacker to read chunks of memory from servers and clients that connect using SSL through a flaw in OpenSSL’s implementation of the heartbeat extension.

OpenSSL provides critical functionality in the internet ecosystem, and therefore vulnerabilities, such as Heartbleed, have a significant impact on digital communications and their integrity.

What does this mean for WHMCS installations?

SSL is an important protocol for securing web traffic, and thus securing web requests for logins, order transactions, etc.. WHMCS, like all web applications, must rely on web servers to correctly implement the SSL protocol. WHMCS as a web application cannot patch the Heartbleed vulnerability, nor can we mitigate its effects. However as a member of the internet community, we feel it’s important to raise awareness of the risk and ensure that our users check that their server is protected.

How do I check if my server is protected?

Essentially, there are three ways you can verify if your server is protected:

1) You can open a support ticket with your hosting provider.

2) You can leverage a third party scanning tool via the web.

Below are three such sites that the community deems reputable and trustworthy. You simply enter your website and it will let you know:

3) You can run a scanning tool locally on your server. One such tool is:

https://github.com/n8whnp/ssltest-stls/blob/master/ssltest-stls.py

What do I do if my server is not protected?

Contact your local system administrator or hosting provider immediately! They will have the technical expertise to update the OpenSSL libraries on your server to protect your SSL communications going forward.

Once I have patched my server, is there anything else I need to do?

Due to the nature of the vulnerability it is not possible to immediately know what information, including private keys, passwords, or session ID’s, may have been compromised. Attacks that leverage the Heartbleed bug occur very early in an information exchange process, before a full connection has been made, and thus leaves no log history that an attack has occurred.

We recommend that you take precautionary action and regenerate all SSH keys as well as reissue all SSL certificates in use.

If you have purchased SSL certificates directly from WHMCS or resell SSL certificates through Enom, you can find more information on how you and the SSL provider can reissue your certificates here: http://docs.whmcs.com/Reissueing_Enom_SSL_Certificates

We also recommend that you take precautionary action concerning passwords used to authenticate against your WHMCS installation. This would include resetting administrative passwords as well as contacting your customers and asking them to reset their passwords. A step by step guide and sample email template are provided here: http://go.whmcs.com/386/heartbleed-pw-reset-email-tutorial

How has WHMCS servers and my account been affected by Heartbleed?

The WHMCS website, our public servers, and the whmcs.com SSL certificate end point were not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug when it was publicly disclosed on April 7th 2014.

Any secure communication with our servers, such as logging into the members area, would not be affected by any attacks following the public disclosure of the Heartbleed bug.

The Heartbleed bug has had a profound impact on the transmission of secure data throughout the Internet. It is for that reason that we are encouraging our customers to reset their member area passwords at their earliest convenience as a matter of common password maintenance. Please remember to always make your passwords unique, random, and periodically rotate them.

WHMCS is in the process of emailing all active clients to inform them of this blog post. That email also contains a direct link to the whmcs.com password reset function as a precautionary measure.
Posted by Matt on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at http://blog.whmcs.com/?t=88022


Objections to a Church Website

1. We have other priorities:

The purpose of the church is not to build Web sites. Nor to build sanctuaries, purchase organs or projectors, build buildings, or any of the many activities we regularly take part in. The purpose of the church is to reach those who do not know Christ with the message of salvation and transformation, teach them to live a life of obedience and discipleship, and prepare them for their eternal home. A Web presence, like the other things mentioned above, is simply a means to this end. In that regard, a strong Web presence has the ability to strengthen the church’s evangelism efforts, support its discipleship efforts, and engage congregants in works of service for the sake of the kingdom. It has the power to strengthen community and develop strong communication among its congregants. It can be utilized by the stewardship emphasis, to the missions committee, to the worship team, in order to better serve the Kingdom of God. Just as the printing press made the Protestant Reformation possible, the Internet has give the church at tool which makes it possible to live out our mission to go into all the world and make disciples.

2. It costs too much:

Often this is objection raises its head in the discussion of what particular service to use. Many times it leads to an attempt to find a “free” service. Unfortunately, like anything else, you get what you pay for. The cost of a strong, professional Web ministry depends on a number of factors including type of services sought (do you want audio and video streaming, database enabled services, etc.). As a general rule, a small to medium size church could expect to spend about $20 to $30 a month for web hosting. Consider that over 25 million Americans pay $23 a month for basic Internet service through AOL,, and it’s easy to see that the costs are minimal for a congregation. The cost of not having a high quality Web presence can be much higher. Considering the potential of a high quality Web site to attract new membership, the “reward” of reaching one new member will more than pay for the site in his or her tithes and offerings. Of course, the financial rewards are secondary to the kingdom task of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

3. We are a small church:

Today, a Web presence is an equally essential communications tool. The shift to electronic communications has occurred at every level of society, from rural West Texas, where I recently e-mailed a set of pictures of my new house to my mother, to the largest of cities. Even the smallest churches can receive the benefit of using the Internet for communicating to the congregation. Properly used the costs savings alone can pay for the services. Beyond this, the Internet affords small churches the ability to make themselves known to the community without spending outrageous amounts of money for publicity and advertising. For an example of a small membership church which is using the Web to grow see http://stpaulsgaylord.lutheranweb.net/. This church of under 100 members is actively reaching out to the community in a dynamic way through the use of the Web as a communications tool. Using the Web even a small church can have a large impact on the world.

4. We want our church to stay small:

This is an objection which is almost never verbally expressed, but it is often the root of many objections. There are simply a number of church members who do not want to see their part of the kingdom grow. I mention this here primarily as a warning for what can be lurking behind many other objections. The antidote, of course, is a combination of discipleship and leadership.

5. Our congregation is mostly older:

While it is certainly true that a “Grey Gap” does exist in the use of the Internet, the number of older adults accessing the Internet is growing rapidly. This can be attributed, at least to some extent, to the availability of health information on line as well as the desire to communicate with their children and grandchildren. Furthermore, as the Baby Boomer generation ages, the Internet is becoming a more prevalent tool among older adults. It is true that a site designed for older adults would require a different set of priorities and foci, but it is certainly not something that should retard the development of such a site. In fact, the very development of a Web ministry presence could be used to educate older adults in the use of communications tools which could keep them connected with family members Potential younger members will not be able to find your church if there is no Web presence. They do not use the yellow pages to look for anything anymore, they use the Web. If you want to exist in their frame of reference, the Web is essential.

6. We don’t have anyone who knows how to program a Web site:

This is something that can be overcome. Probably the two most difficult elements of Web site design are the graphical interface and the organization of information. Don’t let a lack of programmatic expertise stop you from using this powerful communications too to its fullest potential. Leiturgia Communications will certainly help you program and organize your website.

7. We tried it once and it never stayed updated:

A common experience among churches who have delegated their Web ministry to one volunteer is that they become either overburdened or underappreciated. As a result the site suffers and eventually becomes out of date and unused. Several issues must be addressed in order to sustain a strong presence, the first of which is the building of a Web ministry team. Just like any aspect of ministry it is seldom possible for one person to have all the skills necessary to produce excellence. Have you ever heard a choir of one person? Likewise, a team of people working together is essential to keeping a Web ministry presence updated and current. Beyond this, an appreciation of the importance of the ministry presence throughout the leadership is essential to keeping the site current. Ministry units must be trained to effectively use the Web site as a communications tool; likewise the site must be well publicized and repeatedly promoted in order to keep folks coming back. All of this, of course, requires a team of people to accomplish.

8. We don’t want the Internet to replace the church:

The need for human contact is universal, and the importance of corporate worship, discipleship, and spiritual formation is central to the vision of the Kingdom. Simply put, there is no technological innovation that can never replace the communal power of the church. What a Web ministry presence can do is enhance the ongoing work of face to face ministry by connecting and informing people throughout the week. The Internet cannot make a pastor’s sermons better, but they can allow traveling congregants to listen in when they are away. A Web presence cannot transform a ministry team into a group of strong leaders, but it can extend the reach of the ministry team by allowing them to communicate to each other and the congregation more efficiently. In essence a strong Web ministry presence has the potential to strengthen the already existing ministries of the church bye extending their reach, influence, and efficiency.

9. What about privacy and legal concerns:

Another objection that comes up now and then is the issue of protecting people’s privacy. This is an important thing to consider when establishing a Web ministry presence; policies and standards should be developed to address congregant concerns. For example, if you are going to post pictures it is wise to establish standards for picture use, especially when minors are involved. Policies do not have to be complex; they simply need to express how you will protect people’s privacy. While these issues are important and it is important to work through them intentionally and strategically, they are not enough to derail moving forward.

10. The Internet is not personal:

The Internet is by its very nature an impersonal medium. Even when engaging in activities such as instant messaging and chat rooms, there is a wall of separation between the people communicating. That having been said careful planning in developing a Web ministry can maximize the “personality” of the church and help establish connections which can be made in the “real world”.

The basic goal of all of this should be to move people from an introduction to the church to connection with the church.

Objections to a Church Website

1. We have other priorities:

The purpose of the church is not to build Web sites.   Nor to build sanctuaries, purchase organs or projectors, build buildings, or any of the many activities we regularly take part in.  The purpose of the church is to reach those who do not know Christ with the message of salvation and transformation, teach them to live a life of obedience and discipleship, and prepare them for their eternal home.  A Web presence, like the other things mentioned above, is simply a means to this end.  In that regard, a strong Web presence has the ability to strengthen the church’s evangelism efforts, support its discipleship efforts, and engage congregants in works of service for the sake of the kingdom.  It has the power to strengthen community and develop strong communication among its congregants.  It can be utilized by the stewardship emphasis, to the missions committee, to the worship team, in order to better serve the Kingdom of God.  Just as the printing press made the Protestant Reformation possible, the Internet has give the church at tool which makes it possible to live out our mission to go into all the world and make disciples.

2. It costs too much:

Often this is objection raises its head in the discussion of what particular service to use.  Many times it leads to an attempt to find a “free” service.  Unfortunately, like anything else, you get what you pay for.  The cost of a strong, professional Web ministry depends on a number of factors including type of services sought (do you want audio and video streaming, database enabled services, etc.).  As a general rule, a small to medium size church could expect to spend about $20 to $30 a month for web hosting.  Consider that over 25 million Americans pay $23 a month for basic Internet service through AOL,, and it’s easy to see that the costs are minimal for a congregation. The cost of not having a high quality Web presence can be much higher.   Considering the potential of a high quality Web site to attract new membership, the “reward” of reaching one new member will more than pay for the site in his or her tithes and offerings.  Of course, the financial rewards are secondary to the kingdom task of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

3. We are a small church: 

Today, a Web presence is an equally essential communications tool.  The shift to electronic communications has occurred at every level of society, from rural West Texas, where I recently e-mailed a set of pictures of my new house to my mother, to the largest of cities. Even the smallest churches can receive the benefit of using the Internet for communicating to the congregation.  Properly used the costs savings alone can pay for the services.  Beyond this, the Internet affords small churches the ability to make themselves known to the community without spending outrageous amounts of money for publicity and advertising.  For an example of a small membership church which is using the Web to grow see http://stpaulsgaylord.lutheranweb.net/. This church of under 100 members is actively reaching out to the community in a dynamic way through the use of the Web as a communications tool.  Using the Web even a small church can have a large impact on the world. 

4. We want our church to stay small:

This is an objection which is almost never verbally expressed, but it is often the root of many objections.  There are simply a number of church members who do not want to see their part of the kingdom grow.  I mention this here primarily as a warning for what can be lurking behind many other objections.  The antidote, of course, is a combination of discipleship and leadership. 

5. Our congregation is mostly older:

While it is certainly true that a “Grey Gap” does exist in the use of the Internet, the number of older adults accessing the Internet is growing rapidly.  This can be attributed, at least to some extent, to the availability of health information on line as well as the desire to communicate with their children and grandchildren.  Furthermore, as the Baby Boomer generation ages, the Internet is becoming a more prevalent tool among older adults.  It is true that a site designed for older adults would require a different set of priorities and foci, but it is certainly not something that should retard the development of such a site.  In fact, the very development of a Web ministry presence could be used to educate older adults in the use of communications tools which could keep them connected with family members Potential younger members will not be able to find your church if there is no Web presence.  They do not use the yellow pages to look for anything anymore, they use the Web.  If you want to exist in their frame of reference, the Web is essential.

6. We don’t have anyone who knows how to program a Web site:

This is something that can be overcome.  Probably the two most difficult elements of Web site design are the graphical interface and the organization of information. Don’t let a lack of programmatic expertise stop you from using this powerful communications too to its fullest potential. Leiturgia Communications will certainly help you program and organize your website.

7. We tried it once and it never stayed updated:

A common experience among churches who have delegated their Web ministry to one volunteer is that they become either overburdened or underappreciated.  As a result the site suffers and eventually becomes out of date and unused.  Several issues must be addressed in order to sustain a strong presence, the first of which is the building of a Web ministry team.  Just like any aspect of ministry it is seldom possible for one person to have all the skills necessary to produce excellence.  Have you ever heard a choir of one person?  Likewise, a team of people working together is essential to keeping a Web ministry presence updated and current.  Beyond this, an appreciation of the importance of the ministry presence throughout the leadership is essential to keeping the site current.  Ministry units must be trained to effectively use the Web site as a communications tool; likewise the site must be well publicized and repeatedly promoted in order to keep folks coming back.  All of this, of course, requires a team of people to accomplish.

8. We don’t want the Internet to replace the church:

The need for human contact is universal, and the importance of corporate worship, discipleship, and spiritual formation is central to the vision of the Kingdom.  Simply put, there is no technological innovation that can never replace the communal power of the church.  What a Web ministry presence can do is enhance the ongoing work of face to face ministry by connecting and informing people throughout the week.  The Internet cannot make a pastor’s sermons better, but they can allow traveling congregants to listen in when they are away.  A Web presence cannot transform a ministry team into a group of strong leaders, but it can extend the reach of the ministry team by allowing them to communicate to each other and the congregation more efficiently.  In essence a strong Web ministry presence has the potential to strengthen the already existing ministries of the church bye extending their reach, influence, and efficiency. 

9. What about privacy and legal concerns:

Another objection that comes up now and then is the issue of protecting people’s privacy.  This is an important thing to consider when establishing a Web ministry presence; policies and standards should be developed to address congregant concerns.  For example, if you are going to post pictures it is wise to establish standards for picture use, especially when minors are involved.  Policies do not have to be complex; they simply need to express how you will protect people’s privacy.  While these issues are important and it is important to work through them intentionally and strategically, they are not enough to derail moving forward. 

10. The Internet is not personal:

The Internet is by its very nature an impersonal medium.  Even when engaging in activities such as instant messaging and chat rooms, there is a wall of separation between the people communicating.  That having been said careful planning in developing a Web ministry can maximize the “personality” of the church and help establish connections which can be made in the “real world”. 

The basic goal of all of this should be to move people from an introduction to the church to connection with the church.

Getting the Most out of your Web Site

(Costs quoted are what you might expect pay to find if you do the website yourself)

Many churches and non-profit-organizations are hesitant to consider getting a website, because they are unsure of the costs they might incur. In fact, most businesses are surprised to find out how inexpensive a website can be, especially considering the amount of exposure involved. The exact price will depend on the size and complexity of the page and whether we use your graphics or ours, but let’s look at some of the factors involved:

Websites can reduce your print advertising costs, while reaching a much larger audience. If you take a smaller print ad, but point the ad to your website, the print ad can be not only much smaller, but more effective. This is because, unlike print advertising, nothing is in concrete – your website can be changed in moments to reflect current conditions.

The costs you can expect to incur in getting a website include the following:

Website Design costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the site. The industrial average for webmasters is a flat $50/hour for actual computer time spent on design or maintenance. A good rule of thumb to estimate how much you should pay for a website that is static is about $100 per individual web page.

Virtual Domain Name Registration will cost from $10 to $35 per year, depending on length of contract and “niche” service used. This is the registration process which gives you sole usage of “yourcongregationname.com” and is recommended for the serious church, but not required. We have the unique opportunity to offer you “your congregationname.elca.us.”

Web Hosting Fees – Costs can range from “free” (not really) to hundreds of dollars per month. Most of our sites reside with servers that generally cost about $15-$20 per month with reasonable set up fees ($15-25).

Search Engine Submission – This is probably the most important service available. Search Engine Services range from about $20 to $40 a month. This service is provided by many standalone submission services and by many website designers as part of their website hosting package (at an additional charge). It is also important to note that some of the most popular search engines are now beginning to charge to be listed in their search engines.

Additional Features – If you want to make a web site more interactive, with feedback forms, connection to database driven information and the like, expect the costs to go up.

Maintenance – Site maintenance is critical once the site is built. If you develop a page and never update it, this can reflect poorly on your congregation or organization.

Contact us for more information on this topic. We can be contacted at leithrugia@msn.com and we are anxious to help every congregation and non-profit have a clean, neat and relevant website. We will work with every organization every budget. All of our websites are custom built.

Disclaimer: This page is designed to provide information only and is not a substitute for advice that is specific to your church or non-profit. Before acting on any of the information above it is important you seek further advice from a professional who has taken into consideration the nature and circumstances of your business.

Affordable and Simple

Simple  and  Affordable

Create web pages, capture news, post sermons online, offer podcasts, and blog online. Our services are perfect for churches who want to reach people using all means available for generations to come.

Friendly and Flexible

Enjoy warm smiles and helping hands from real people. We’re friendly, easily accessible (in person), and invested in making this the best solution for you.

Low Cost

Save thousands in setup and design fees. We’ve been around a long time; we know how to keep costs down. The more churches that participate, means reduced overhead for everyone!

Setup

Getting setup online is fast and easy. We make it simple so your church can focus on other things you’re called to do. 

Ease of Use 

Access the site from anywhere in the world, instantly making changes live. From the mission field in South America to the coffee shop down the street, you can reach people in real time. 

Current

Choose from all the latest  tools: blogs, photo galleries, audio sermons, podcasts and many, many more. As technology advances, so does your website; but simply and affordably. 

Attractive

Choose the look of your site and integrate it with the message of your church. You get endless design choices and color combinations to create the look and functionality you need.

Getting Started

Spend some time planning and talking to figure out what kind of site you want to have. Some of the questions you might want to ask are:

What kind of info do you envision, and how often will you update it? Are you just going to have an online brochure-type site with just basic contact info, service schedule, etc that doesn’t get updated often… or perhaps something people are drawn back to by ever-changing content and current, detailed information? Warning: if you let the info go ’stale,’ it can be useless. If you post the type of information that should stay current, keep it current or remove it.

Focus: Is your site focused on info for your members or on drawing outsiders in? Is it about a ministry or a tool of that ministry to teach/reach others? Who is your target audience?

Message: What are you trying to get across about your church? Beyond address and service times… Try to show what makes *your* church different, or worth visiting.
Note that visitors may guess about your ministry priorities by what areas show the most information or detail.

Work with your Church/Ministry Staff and Leaders. We’d strongly encourage anyone planning and designing a site to communicate with their pastor(s) or other leaders and staff. They’ll probably be able to provide additional good ideas for content for the site, as well as being able to tell you when something would mean too much work for them.

Be somewhat informal in your writing style, it’s more friendly and attractive. Remember, you’re writing about this great group of people you get together with to worship this amazing God.

Quality is important, but it’s not everything. The quality of your site, expressed in look, usability, spelling, working links, good html, quick loading, clear navigation, etc is important. It will get across that someone cares enough to be careful and diligent and it will make using your site less frustrating and more effective.

Webbed for Success

Seek organizational support. The support of your church communication committee, congregational council, committees, staff and congregation will be extremely helpful in undertaking this information intensive/cooperative effort that will call for on-going budget support. Go to www.elca.org/webministry for links to articles and statistics that will help you explain the importance of this vital communication tool in your congregation.

What does it take? Computer capability, modem, browser (Communicator, Firefox, etc.), ISP (Internet service provider), software if designing in-house (Dreamweaver, FrontPage, etc.), a host site, and registration of a domain name. How much will it cost? How much can you spend? There are many low-cost options including template sites* and free hosting, for example on Thrivent’s Lutherans Online Web site at http://www.lutheransonline.com/servlet/lo_ProcServ/DBPAGE=cge. Probable costs are: monthly hosting fee, domain name registration ($70 for two years), possible monthly fees for some optional programs. Note: Your ISP may offer free hosting for a modest-sized site. To register your domain name go to http://www.networksolutions.com, http://www.godaddy.com or http://www.register.com  For inexpensive hosting try these http://www.iceishot.com, http://www.hostcompare.com, http://www.createafreewebsite.net/web_hosting_comparison_chart.html

Template/Database Site:

If using a template site* there may be an initial set-up cost, then a monthly fee that includes hosting, and possible additional costs for increased requested services. Choose a company where technical assistance is included in the monthly fee. If choosing to design and maintain the site rather than using a template site: Designed by professional:

Expenses are usually by the hour. Ask for references (check them) and to see several samples. Make sure you sign a contract that includes the date of delivery and fees. Gather all your content and have it ready in documents before giving it to the designer. Major changes and additions will add to the cost. Decide who will maintain the site before you begin. If it’s other than a staff member or volunteer, this could add greatly to your monthly costs. Get a copy of the site on CD. Make sure in the contract that you own the site design.

Designed by volunteer:

This is the most economical but riskiest option, especially if the designer is a member. It’s difficult to be honest about how you feel about the design. This is not a paying job so it will be on the volunteer’s timetable. Make sure you ask for a back-up disk of the site in case the person leaves the congregation or moves. Ask which program was used to create the site; FrontPage and Dreamweaver are the most commonly used.

Consider a database:

It has interactivity options like calendars and photo albums, updates without HTML, and can be updated online from various locations and therefore by several folks. This is how a template site works but could also be a requested part of a designed site. Who will design, build, manage and maintain the site?

Volunteer vs. professional, congregation or staff member, or a team? These are extremely important considerations in considering the complexity of the design and content. Make sure you can keep your site a manageable size so it can be kept fresh and updated. Who will provide the original content?

Pastor, a member of the congregation or staff, a committee? This can be a lengthy process. Having the content ready and proofed before the design phase can save considerable time and money. A site map is critical. (This is a layout of how the pages will flow from one to another.) Where to find help?

Helpful Resources are available from the ELCA.

ELCA Web Works – resources for enhancing your Web ministry: www.elca.org/webministry

Don’t forget to promote it. Put the address (URL) on all your stationary, business cards, brochures, e-mail signatures, newsletters, church sign. Send it to the synod www.elca.org/scriptlib/it/cds_CongrWebPages/cds_main.asp to be included on their sites.

*A company that provides simplified Web site design and hosting for a fee. You select from template pages and insert your information. They can be maintained without special html coding knowledge and have a professional appearance. There are many; go to a search engine and check for “church web sites.” http://www.cyberchurch.com