Sick of Google Analytics? Try the WordPress plugin Statify!

Still Google Analytics is the top dog when it comes to webstatistics. But there are numerous reasons, why someone doesn’t want to use Analytics. Privacy is just one issue, why people don’t want to work with Analytics no more. There are numerous alternatives out there. Today, I want to introduce you to Statify by Sergej Müller.

Especially when you worry about privacy, you should have a look as Statisfy is a transparent solution which doesn’t rely on third parties and doesn’t use cookies or the IP addresses of the visitors to track them down.

In direct comparison to statistics services such as Google Analytics, WordPress.com Stats and Piwik Statify doesn’t process and store personal data as e.g. IP addresses – Statify counts site views, not visitors.

You can also define how long you want the data to be stored and the additional database is rather lucid containing only four columns.

Also the plugin is quite lightweight, it gives you, what you need. A clean and beautiful insight over your visitors:

Visitor statistics with Statisfy
Visitor statistics with Statisfy

Statisfy is currently running on over 20,000 installs and received quite good reviews like this one, which points out the main advantages:

The strength of Statify lies in it’s simplicity. Set up with two mouse clicks you get a little widget in your dashboard that shows a chart with your website’s latest web traffic, the referrers plus the most active pages of your site – just enough data to give you a little feedback on the popularity of your site. As this information isn’t shared with third party, the plugin also meets German laws for the protection of your users privacy.

Another advantage is the good support which Sergej Müller is usually able to deliver. I saw it myself on Google+ how he quickly solved a server related issue in between minutes. Can you get this with GA? I switched today! What about you?

Add additional links on the plugins overview page

You know the usual plugin overview page. You have a small description of the plugins, the version, the author, a link to the plugins page and so on. On the left side, you will find the activation and deactivation links as well as the edit links. But from time to time, you will find plugins, which added a settings link or something similar to this line.

This is sometimes useful. Especially for plugins which do not need a lot of attention an additional list point in the admin menu is rather disturbing. In such a case a settings link on the plugin overview page is rather useful. But, how do you add such a link?

I searched a bit, how such plugins add these links and I found the filter hook “plugin_action_links“. This filter contains an array of all action links, which are shown on the overview page. Since these links differ from plugin to plugin, you have to adjust the filter for your own plugin by extending the filter name with the basename of your plugin:

add_filter( 'plugin_action_links_' . plugin_basename(__FILE__), 'function_to_execute' );

This filter function accepts now the array of links and you can alter the links as you wish. In my example code, I add a link to my web page:

But how to create a admin page which doesn’t appear in the menue? You can use add_submenu_page() and define the parent slug as ‘null’:

add_submenu_page( null, 'Title', 'Title', 'manage_options', 'invisible', 'render_function' );

This page can be reached via the URL wp-admin/?page=invisible, so by simply adding the GET-Parameter page with the page slug.

How to use animated GIFs in WordPress

If you want to use animated GIFs in WordPress, you may discover the animated GIF has become a static GIF. This happens because of the WordPress resizing mechanism. For each picture you upload, WordPress creates several copies in different sizes. The sizes depend on the theme and plugin settings.

Use animated GIFs with WordPress
Choose the original file size to display the animated GIF

The problem with animated GIFs is, WordPress won’t resize the animated GIF but it will take only the first frame of the file to create the resized versions. So, if you simply add a GIF via the WordPress Media Manager, you will probably grab one of the resized pictures and not the original animation. Make sure, you select the original size. In the image, you can see the select box where you choose the different sizes. If you choose “Full Size”, WordPress will take the original GIF you have uploaded before. Since WordPress hasn’t altered this image, the animation will be still working.

 

On a more technical level: Depending on which image processing is supported by the server, WordPress will choose GD Image or Imagick. The function _wp_image_editor_choose() in wp-includes/media.php selects, which program is chosen. So, WordPress will resize the picture either with the class WP_Image_Editor_Imagick or with the class WP_Image_Editor_GD, which are both extensions of WP_Image_Editor.

WordPress 4.2.1 addresses critical XSS vulnerability

WordPress 4.2.1, which was released a few days after 4.2 on April 27th 2015 addresses a critical security issue in WordPress. This XSS vulnerability existed since quite some time, but it was discovered recently. In the Security Release by WordPress it says:

A few hours ago, the WordPress team was made aware of a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable commenters to compromise a site.

An attacker was able to compromise the admin account by using a stored cross site scripting attack vector using the comment functionality. Respectively quick the problem was solved and the new version 4.2.1 released.

Photo Credit: Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0