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WordCamp US 2023: Welcoming the Future

Although summer was coming to an end, the weather and the people at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center were equally sunny thanks to WordCamp US 2023!

The flagship event – held in National Harbor, Maryland, from August 24-26, 2023 – drew over 2,000 WordPress enthusiasts. Since the first-ever WordCamp was held in the US, it’s always nice to see the WordPress community come together in the region.

This year, Hostinger participated as a Super Admin sponsor. Some of our team members also attended the Community Summit, participated in Contributors Day, and volunteered for the event. Read on as we walk down the memory lane and relive the good times.

Before WordCamp’s three-day main event began, there was the Community Summit. Participants gathered in person at the Summit for cross-project discussions to advance the WordPress open-source project.

The Community Summit took place on August 22-23, 2023, at the same venue as the rest of WordCamp US 2023. Not every WordCamp has a Community Summit, so this year’s WordCamp US was even more special.

a WordPress Community Summit signage at the entrance of WordCamp US 2023 main hall

The Summit was an invitation-only event to ensure everyone present could actively participate. The organizers attempted to include WordPress contributors from various backgrounds to cover as many perspectives as possible. This year, it was attended by 125 participants.

It’s worth noting that the Summit is not intended to be a space to see “who’s who” in WordPress. The participants were a mix of new and experienced contributors, facilitating more inclusive dialogues.

The topics discussed during these two days were pretty comprehensive. They ranged from technical ones like aligning processes and contributions between WordPress Core and Gutenberg to human-oriented issues like ensuring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) for all contribution teams.

No decisions were made at the Summit. Instead, the event focused on identifying issues the community should address in the project’s future.

Fortunately, notes about each discussion are available on the Make WordPress website so that contributors who couldn’t attend the Summit can catch up with the conversations.

Contributors Day

Next, it was time for the WordCamp US 2023 main event!

As usual, WordCamp kicked off with Contributors Day. Here, attendees could join any of the 22 Make WordPress contributor teams and get actively involved in the project.

What’s wonderful about Contributors Day is that it’s open to everyone, regardless of skill level. So, the more experienced contributors could help newcomers onboard and share hands-on guidance to navigate the tasks. Attendees could also join multiple tables and were highly encouraged to explore their interests.

Hostinger Head of Content Emma Young and Documentation Team Rep Milana Cap at the Documentation team table at the WordCamp US 2023

What was new about Contributors Day at WordCamp US 2023 was the room setup. Instead of everybody gathering in one big room, they were spread into multiple rooms.

Closely related teams were put in the same room to encourage deeper cross-collaboration initiatives. Although the camaraderie of being in the same room with all the other contributors is unrivaled, it was nice to have a more focused space to elaborate on an initiative.

Hostinger has some sponsored contributors involved in the Five for the Future initiative. Some of them attended this Contributors Day alongside other Hostingerians.

“I joined the chat about cross-team collaboration to translate WordPress documentation and training material,” says Leonardus Nugraha, our WordPress Content Specialist and a Documentation team contributor. “This idea had been brewing for a while. At the WordCamp US Contributors Day, we had all the reps from the different teams we needed.”

Hostinger Affiliate Partnerships Manager Aditya Remy Shah during a discussion at the Sustainability team table at WordCamp US 2023

Meanwhile, Aditya Remy Shah, our Affiliate Partnerships Manager, joined the Sustainability team’s table. “We had a discussion from the hosting brand’s point of view. We brainstormed ways WordPress can become more sustainable from four angles – social, economical, event, and environmental,” he says.

By day’s end, contributors connected and gathered actionable ideas. As contribution is at the heart of WordPress, Contributors Day is surely one of the most effective ways to strengthen the collective effort.

Conference Days

Moving to the second and third day of WordCamp US 2023 – the Conference Days! This is when attendees got to join various talks and workshops.

More than 30 talks and workshops covered a broad spectrum of WordPress-related topics, from core web vitals to community building.

One talk wasn’t directly related to WordPress, but it spoke to the anxiety surrounding AI and the future of the writing profession. Ken Liu, an award-winning fiction writer, delivered “Tell the Story You Want To Tell”, where he talked about rediscovering storytelling’s meaning in human lives. His session challenged attendees to rethink how and why we, humans, tell stories.

Another interesting talk was “For All Userkind: NASA Web Modernization and WordPress”. During this talk, Abby Bowman and J.J. Toothman discussed the beta.nasa.gov website redesign, which uses WordPress.

In a breakout session afterward, they took attendees on a site tour, including its back end. Some people still think WordPress only suits small businesses or personal websites, so it was fascinating to learn how big organizations like NASA utilize the platform.

the homepage of NASA's new WordPress-based beta site

And since the WordCamp US 2023 venue is only around a 30-minute drive from the nation’s capital, it’s only fitting that we had a session about the most high-profile WordPress website in the US – whitehouse.gov.

Presented by Andrew Nacin and Helen Hou-Sandí, the session chronicled the behind-the-scenes story of the site’s launch by those who led the project themselves.

the homepage of the White House website

All the talks are now available to watch on the official WordPress YouTube channel. The presentation slides will also be available shortly on the WordCamp US 2023 website’s session pages. And like other WordCamps, the talks will also be public on WordPress.tv.

Hostinger Booth

Standing tall in the Sponsor Hall with our signature violet-and-black colorways, attendees stopped by the Hostinger booth to chat about our services, try our features, or collect merchandise.

Hostinger's team members at Hostinger booth at the WordCamp US 2023

Opening a booth is one way to connect better with our customers, IT professionals, and tech enthusiasts. “WordCamp is a perfect opportunity to hear our customers’ feedback directly so we can continue to deliver the best managed WordPress hosting experience,” says Domantas Gudeliauskas, WordPress Marketing Manager at Hostinger.

Among the features attendees could try at our booth, they were mostly excited about Hostinger’s WordPress AI Assistant. Most attendees said they loved the way it can speed up the website creation process.

Hostinger team members explaining Hostinger services to customers at WordCamp US 2023

Another crowd favorite was hPanel, Hostinger’s own custom control panel. We were glad many customers and attendees found hPanel easy to navigate and informative. Advanced users were also enthusiastic about Pro Panel, which empowers users to handle multiple websites efficiently.

The Future of WordPress

In a recognized WordCamp tradition, Conference Days usually wrap up with two signature sessions.

The first session by WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy reviewed important conversations and ways to drive the project forward.

WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy giving closing remarks on stage at WordCamp US 2023

During “Josepha Haden Chomphosy on the future of WordPress”, Josepha reflected on how WordPress has evolved in the past 20 years and how it keeps growing thanks to the WordPress community.

Josepha emphasized the importance of making WordPress accessible for everyone, so that it can thrive in the future and last longer than the community who builds it. “We deserve an open web that is secure in the future,” she says, highlighting WordPress’ vision to democratize publishing and give voice to the voiceless.

Next, WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg’s session, to discuss current and upcoming technical improvements, followed by a live Q&A.

WordPress co-founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg giving closing remarks on stage at WordCamp US 2023

During “Gutenberg: Next with Matt Mullenweg.”, Matt discussed the then-newly released WordPress 6.3, and highlighted improvements on the upcoming WordPress 6.4.

This next WordPress release is being led by a squad of gender-underrepresented contributors, which only happened once before with the historic WordPress 5.6, code-named “Simone.”

WordPress 6.4 will come with a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Four. Unlike past default themes, Twenty Twenty-Four is a multipurpose theme. It can look equally beautiful for displaying lots of images or chunks of text.

Matt also highlighted that Gutenberg is now entering the third phase of its development, which will focus on collaborative workflow. Users will soon be able to work simultaneously with their team on the same post or page and see who made which edit. This could be a game changer for a team of remote workers.

As Josepha said in her talk, “We exist for as long as people want to use our software.” Indeed, the upcoming collaborative improvements can be one more reason for people to stay with WordPress.

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wpadmin September 18, 2023 0 Comments

Tech Beat by Namecheap – 15 September 2023

In the digital age, online reviews have emerged as a critical factor in consumer decision-making. From choosing a restaurant for dinner to purchasing a new gadget or booking a service, customers increasingly rely on the experiences and opinions shared by others in the form of online reviews. In this week’s lead story, we delve into the world of online reviews, exploring their profound impact on consumer behavior and the businesses that depend on them.

In tech news:

  • Google recently banned millions of ‘pirate’ URLs. Google has reaffirmed its commitment to fighting online piracy by blocking hundreds of millions of URLs before they appear in search engine results. According to TorrentFreak, Google’s preemptive takedown strategy also targets advertisements for streaming piracy that has not yet occurred. Under the current DMCA legislation, US-based internet services are required to remove infringing links upon receiving a complaint from a copyright holder. Google has defended the effectiveness of the DMCA but has implemented additional anti-piracy measures in response to criticism from rightsholders. These efforts include platforms like YouTube Music and YouTube TV, as well as adjustments to its search engine to redirect users away from pirated content.
  • FBI tricks a massive botnet into uninstalling itself. In a multinational effort led by the US government, a massive network of computers infected with the notorious Qakbot malware has been dismantled. The Verge reported that operation “Duck Hunt” involved multiple countries, including Europol, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, and Latvia. The US claims that the botnet caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and infected over 200,000 computers within its borders. US Attorney Martin Estrada hails the international partnership’s success in dismantling Qakbot, stating that it was one of the most notorious botnets ever and was favored by infamous ransomware gangs. 
  • Do robotic anchors dream of electric news? The media landscape in India is undergoing a significant transformation with the advent of AI newsbots. Nikkei Asia reported that Odisha TV, a prominent Indian broadcaster, recently unveiled an AI that reported the news in place of a human anchorperson. Some hailed this development as “pathbreaking,” while others criticized the AI anchor for being “robotic” and lacking emotional depth. The integration of these virtual anchors in newsrooms offers the advantage of eliminating interpersonal conflicts or “ego hassles.” However, the broader implications of this shift, especially concerning job security for traditional news anchors and media professionals, remain a topic of debate.
  • Square goes pear-shaped in a major outage. Last week, payment terminal provider Square experienced a significant outage attributed to a DNS blunder rather than a cyberattack or intrusion. According to The Register, this 14-hour disruption rendered businesses in the US, UK, and other regions incapable of processing credit and debit card transactions, and many establishments like restaurants and cafes were forced to request cash payments or alternative payments like Venmo, and numerous businesses reported substantial financial losses. Shares in Block, Square’s operating company, plummeted by over 5% during this period. Square explained afterward that while updating their internal network software, “the combination of updates prevented our systems from properly communicating with each other, and ultimately caused the disruption.” Square has since taken measures to prevent such future meltdowns, including modifications to its DNS and firewall servers and enhancing its Offline Mode.
  • Texans sweat the bills while Bitcoin miners cash in. In August, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) paid a Texas-based Bitcoin mining company a whopping $31.7 million to suspend operations to conserve energy and protect the floundering power grid during record heat. The Austin Chronicle reported how Riot, the country’s most power-intensive Bitcoin mining operation, earned far more from the utility service operator than from Bitcoin mining itself, which netted the company only $8.9 million. This arrangement has incited frustration among Texans, who, despite facing scorching temperatures, had been urged to voluntarily conserve energy while grappling with escalating electric bills. A recent investigation revealed that 10 Bitcoin mining operations in Texas, including Riot, have contributed to a 5% annual hike in electric bills for residents, with five of these operations collectively pocketing $60 million since 2020.
  • Reddit’s new policies did not make people smile. Reddit has experienced a significant decline in user activity following recent protests. While initially it appeared that Reddit had emerged victorious post-protests, the reality is more nuanced. The removal of moderators from numerous communities has led to what many users describe as a “brain drain” on the platform. The Substack Garbage Day reported that major subreddits have seen a drop of 50 to 90 percent in average daily posts and comments compared to the previous year, as calculated by Subreddit Stats. This indicates a significant reduction in the user base, suggesting protests and subsequent changes on Reddit seem to have driven users away, with many not returning. The platform’s shift towards monetization and its stance on API pricing further alienated its user base, emphasizing the commercialization of online spaces.
Graphic from Garbage Day

Previously in Tech Beat: Think twice before trusting online reviews

Fake reviews on shopping websites are a growing problem on many online retail sites. A survey conducted in 2022 highlighted that a significant number of shoppers rely on reviews when making purchasing decisions. However, many reviewers are motivated by money, free products, or other incentives, and may not have used the product they’re reviewing or may give glowing reviews for faulty products. In 2020, nearly half of the reviews on Amazon were identified as fake. While major platforms, including Amazon, are taking steps to combat this problem, the challenge remains significant, and consumers need to be cautious. To learn more about this issue, read our article, Don’t get fooled: the truth about fake reviews. 

Tip of the week: Crafting helpful and heartfelt online reviews

Writing an impactful online review that helps others contemplating a purchase can be both easy and rewarding. Here are some simple yet powerful tips to guide you in creating reviews that are not only positive but also practical. 

  • Start with positivity. Begin your review on a positive note by highlighting what you loved about the product or service. Whether it’s exceptional customer service, outstanding product quality, or an enjoyable experience, express your genuine satisfaction.
  • Be specific and detailed. Provide as much detail as possible about your experience. Explain why you liked the product or service. Mention specific features or aspects that stood out. The more specific your review, the more helpful it will be to others.
  • Address potential concerns. If you encounter any minor issues or drawbacks, don’t shy away from mentioning them. However, do so in a constructive and solution-oriented manner. Offer suggestions for improvement or share how you worked around the issue.
  • Tell your story. Share your personal experience with the product or service. Describe how it met your needs, solved a problem, or enhanced your life. Sharing your story adds authenticity to your review and helps readers relate to your perspective.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest tech news, be sure to subscribe to Namecheap’s blog today!

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wpadmin September 15, 2023 0 Comments

The first Hostinger Sustainability Report is out

In the era of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, were proud to take the lead and contribute to a more sustainable future. The first Hostinger Sustainability Report is out, showing our current state and journey toward sustainable development and commitments.  

Why Is a Sustainability Report Needed? 

We are eager to embrace sustainable practices and contribute more consistently in that direction, starting with our Sustainability Report. It outlines where we currently stand and how far we’ve come, identifies areas that need more attention, and reflects our plan to address them. 

The Sustainability Report provides a broad set of information about the company that helps consumers make informed decisions. As for the company, it enables us to meet the growing expectations of our stakeholders, increases transparency, opens doors to new opportunities, and helps to attract and maintain talent. 

Among various aspects of sustainability, one prominent thread in this report is gender balance, underlining our dedication to fostering an equitable workplace.

Diversity and Inclusion 

According to the latest data, only 18.9% of people working in the ICT sector in Europe are women. Meanwhile, we’re proud to say women make up 43.9% of our team, keeping us at the forefront of our industry. Let’s look at how it was achieved and what positive results it’s bringing to our company and its people.

Many researchers agree that a diverse employee base allows companies to achieve better results. To empower our team members for success, we’re cultivating a diverse work environment where equal opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of location, gender, or cultural background. Currently, we have team members across 45 countries and counting. 

Rūta Grigaliūnaitė, Sustainability Manager at Hostinger, explains that diversity at the company level is tracked in several ways: 

  • Recruitment type
  • Employment country
  • Age
  • Leadership position
  • Seniority
  • Salary distribution 

Progress on inclusion and equal opportunities is also monitored through periodic internal evaluations and staff surveys. 

“With monitoring, we aim to analyze the current situation and assess what action plans might be relevant to improve it. The latest available data shows that women hold 26.5% of executive, senior-level, and management positions in S&P 500 companies. According to our newest data, 56.4% of men and 43.6% of women are in management positions. We are happy to surpass the market standard and that our management positions reflect our overall staff pool,” shares Grigaliūnaitė. 

Rūta Grigaliūnaitė, Sustainabiity Manager at Hostinger.

What Means Are Used? 

According to Grigaliūnaitė, the management of equal opportunities is constantly strengthened, and there are several means to do that:

  • Equal Rights Policy – defines the principles, establishes monitoring procedures, provides measures for preventing violations, sets guidelines for investigating them, and outlines the consequences. 
  • Open-Door Policy – encourages communication and feedback. Furthermore, regular staff surveys and meetings allow employees to voice their thoughts and concerns. 
  • Whistleblower channel prevents unethical and unfair behavior in the company. It allows all employees and third parties to share information about serious and unlawful wrongdoing.

According to Grigaliūnaite, the company also acknowledges the importance of compensation and career opportunities in creating workplace equality. As the pay gap between women and men remains high in the IT field, our aim is to change this. 

“Comprehensive Salary Philosophy guides all managers in evaluating their direct reports’ salaries based on various factors. Like how an employee’s behavior is aligned with 10 principles, the contribution the employee makes, and the professional competencies they have mastered”, explains she. 

Going Beyond the Industry Average

Rūta Katilauskaitė, CS People Partner at Hostinger, says that the most important part is eliminating the idea that women are inferior to men and focusing the conversation on people’s capabilities and cultural fit. She assures that Hostinger has a healthy gender balance in the organization, which exceeds the norm of our industry.

“Two examples come to mind: the Bar Raiser Initiative, which helps to ensure candidates are evaluated through a non-biased opinion. And the Performance Evaluation Form, where the team members are evaluated through our principles instead of personal assessment. 

Every team member should believe in equality, act immediately when equality is not factored into the decision-making process, and go the extra mile where possible. If we want to be ambassadors of diversity in the future, we need more public conversations about these topics,” identifies Katilauskaitė. 

Rūta recently participated in the Diversity Talks panel discussion, where she proudly shared her insights, as well as personal and professional challenges that gender biases create. 

Rūta Katiliauskaitė participating in Diversity Talks panel discussion.

Just the Beginning

Both Grigaliūnaitė and Katilauskaitė see many advantages in achieving gender equality, as it not only ensures the well-being of employees but also helps the company thrive in a competitive environment and achieve great results. This allows to harness the talents and perspectives of all employees, which encourages learning and innovation, enhances problem-solving skills, and creates a more dynamic working environment. 

The Sustainability Report has given us valuable insights into our current state and progress toward sustainable development. It is essential to acknowledge that the journey toward sustainability and gender balance is an ongoing and evolving process that needs to be maintained and accelerated. As we move forward, may this step be an encouragement to keep taking action and setting an example in the industry. 

If you’re ready to join our team, have a look at the open positions we are currently hiring for.

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wpadmin September 15, 2023 0 Comments