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WordPress 5.0, One Week Later

If your website runs WordPress, the latest version is here. We emailed our customers last week about the new interface, the Gutenberg editor, and included troubleshooting advice.

Gutenberg isn’t for everyone. It may not be compatible with your theme or page builder plugins. It could simply break your WordPress installation.

With the benefit of one week’s insight, we’re pleased to provide four simple steps to upgrade to WordPress 5.0 safely, and with minimal risk for your WordPress website.

How do I Safely update to WordPress 5.0?

1. Make a complete backup of your WordPress installation. This is done using a plugin like BackupBuddy, or by importing your WordPress installation into Installatron within Cpanel, then choosing Backup. Or, if you’re subscribed to our Managed WordPress service line, we’ve already taken care of it for you.

Learn more about our WordPress Management here:

https://www.canvashost.com/wordpress/wordpress-support.php

2. Update your core WordPress to 5.0. This is done by logging into WordPress administration area, and then navigating to Dashboard -> Updates on the left-hand navigation bar.

3. Once WordPress is updated, you will be prompted to update your theme and plugins as well. This is because theme and plugin developers have created versions compatible with the older WordPress versions (4.9.x), which function differently than the versions needed to use WordPress 5+.

4. Finally, let’s be honest… the Gutenberg editor is different. It is used to build pages in blocks of content, which is more akin to platforms like Concrete5, but a complete diversion from the interface to which WordPress are accustomed. If you’d prefer to avoid Gutenberg, there is a plugin you can install, aptly named Classic Editor. It returns your WordPress 5.0 website to look like the older interface.

To install Classic Editor, navigate to Plugins -> Add New -> In the search bar, type “classic editor”. You will see the first one that comes up is named Classic Editor, and as of the time of this blog post, has been installed by more than 1 million WordPress websites! If you’d prefer to visit the plugin page directly in a separate browser, the URL is:

Classic Editor

With these four steps, you can mitigate the major issues of upgrading to the latest WordPress edition.

What if I still need help?

If you have questions or need help, Canvas Host is a full-service web agency. At $60/hour, our WordPress consulting services are far less than other agencies’ rates. And, as a B Corporation, we don’t nickel and dime you, and want you to get the most out of your website. We’re here to help.

Thank you,

David Anderson, Founder and Co-Owner


Giving Thanks, Opting Outside, and Paying it Forward

By David Anderson, Founder/Co-Owner

We’re at the eve of Thanksgiving weekend, and the many holidays to follow. On this day, I’m reminded of the things I’m thankful for, and the reasons I got into this line of work. It began with the desire to help others navigate technology. Over the years, it grew into what Canvas Host is today.

The opportunity to work with each and everyone in our family of customers is incredibly rewarding. I want to thank you for being a part of this journey, and for supporting Canvas Host through the years.

During this holiday season, I’m also reminded of the commercial side of business, especially in American culture, and the negative impacts it carries. Our company is unique in that we rarely advertise our services. Much of our growth and sustained success through the years has been due to customer referrals and loyalty. Again, thank you.

I don’t care for the craze that turns otherwise well-intentioned members of society into shopping zombies, frenetically careening their carts down the aisles and treating other humans like bowling pins. Thankfully, I’m reminded of something else: The options to avoid those crowds, and make a difference.

First off, I’d like to encourage you to avoid Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and instead Opt Outside. Several years back, REI (an outdoor retailer) began this campaign and partnered with various park services. The idea is to visit a local, State, or National park, to get outdoors, breathe fresh air, and do anything but spend lots of money. The National Park Service has some great suggestions for activities you can do this weekend:

https://www.nps.gov/articles/optoutside.htm

If you are going to purchase products or services, I’d like to suggest you consider supporting local businesses on Small Business Saturday. For every dollar you spend on a local business, $.68 stays within the community. Compare that to shopping online or at a big box retailer, where your purchase supports a large corporation or distant business. You can learn more about Small Business Saturday at the SBA:

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-initiatives/small-business-saturday

Finally, next week is Giving Tuesday. It’s a time to support and celebrate a cause, nonprofit, or other organization dear to you, and with a financial contribution, help them make a difference. This global movement rarely gets much publicity, but especially in the United States, I think it’s fitting to wrap up the Thanksgiving weekend with a day to help you pay it forward. You can learn more about Giving Tuesday, at:

https://www.givingtuesday.org/

On behalf of everyone at Canvas Host and Canvas Dreams, I wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend, and hope you find reasons to give thanks for all the good in your life.

 


Your Business is a Canvas of Dreams

When I first started Canvas Dreams, I wanted to pair my artistic background with technology, and build compelling, creative website services for my customers. We came to realize that the services we provide to our customers, are not as important as how we deliver them. We have built a reputation for being a friendly, personable, and approachable web host. We care about our customers, and we try to help, beyond the point where most competitors would have given up.

We’re not perfect, but looking back on an almost 17-year track record, I’m proud of our accomplishments, and the thousands of customers we have helped. In 2002, I had no idea where this would all lead. I just knew I wanted to try.

What was your dream when you started your business? What did you set out to achieve? Did you write up a business plan or mission statement? Did you draw up an org chart to see how your staff fit together to form a complete picture? Do you actively work on your business, building it to the next level or iteration? Do you retrain yourself and your team, to keep the brains fresh and ideas flowing?

A business is a blank canvas that is never finished. You paint it with your dreams, and you have to keep dreaming. If you stop innovating, your business can hit upon stagnation, a loss of direction, and a forgotten mission. Without focus, a business may amble on for a while, but it runs the risk of going off the road. A business needs a leader with clear vision, and a team united around that vision.

To last, a business must evolve, and its leadership with it. It’s why those years ago, we rebranded to Canvas Host, to highlight our emphasis on web hosting as our primary offering. I am blessed with a personality that is adaptable to change, but I recognize not everyone can do it as easily, or at all. Nevertheless, the evolution of a business will determine its outcome.

Over the years, change brings challenge. We have seen many customers’ businesses grow and decline, start and end, succeed and fail. At the start of this year, we decided to do something about it, and now offer a complete range of business consulting services: Operations, HR, finance, sales, marketing, and IT, to name a few.

We’ve already helped a number of companies get back on track: Their books cleaned up, the team refocused, the leadership counseled, new strategies introduced, and gently nudged out of the nest and back into the world. There is a limit to what we can provide, and we can’t force a business to spread its wings, but we can lead by example, and show that real change doesn’t have to be feared.

We’re pleased to announce a reboot of Canvas Dreams, the parent brand of Canvas Host, to showcase our business consulting capabilities, tell the stories of the brands we’ve helped, and demonstrate how our services could help improve your own business.


Local Alignment as an Oregon Benefit Company

One of our operating principles is “supporting local”. To this extent, we have realigned our Oregon Benefit Company certification with a local Oregon-based company. This was a necessary and overdue decision, as the prior certifier (Green America) has lost credibility. With this new certification, we are better positioned to help and encourage other local businesses to do the same.

Two weeks ago, we completed and passed our final audit with Benefit Corporations for Good. The company, owned and operated by Tom Hering and Mary Anne Harmer, stands for the same principles of operation that we have built into the DNA of Canvas Host. Both Tom and Mary Anne have been at the forefront of the Oregon Benefit Company movement for many years, proving this through their recently published book, Putting Soul into Business.

At Canvas Host, we believe that supporting local is not only what it needed but what is important in our growth as a company and our transparency to our customers. If you would like to learn more about this process, requirements, or definitions, please contact us at csr@canvashost.com. We are always here to assist.


Meeting GDPR Compliance

Hello! I say this because it’s probably the only article you’ve read about GDPR compliance that will ever begin with “Hello!”

GDPR is a set of regulations that protect the personal contact information of all residents of the European Union, that take effect on May 25, 2018. It sets forth rules for which companies worldwide must protect how they process and store information about their EU-residing customers, up to and including how those customers’ personal data is to be destroyed on request. Failure to protect the data can be costly, albeit through international litigation. The basic point is, EU-based customers have rights over their personal information, and if you’re a company working with those customers, you need to pay attention, and now, or else.

That sounds a bit dire, but GDPR is here and real. It’s something we all need to talk about, and it’s not something to be feared. Believe it or not, it is to be celebrated and supported. It is a platform from which companies worldwide can learn many lessons from which to ensure their own customers’ personal data is protected, whether they reside within the EU or not.

Since the creation of Canvas Host in 2002, we have endeavored to protect the personal information about all of our customers. From day one, we have held in our minds the notion that each customer is like a member of our family. Each of you have entrusted us with your business and personal data. Since that point, we have always maintained a hard line that we will never sell your data, nor use your data in any way other than to provide you the services for which you have contracted us to deliver you.

In recent months, as GDPR’s launch has approached, our company has reflected on the many things we already do to protect your personal information, and steps we take to further protect your hosting account’s data backups. We’ve taken pride in a strict Privacy Policy, and we have amended it to signify our compliance with GDPR.

As a B Corporation, we go to the ends of the Earth to be an ethical host amidst a sea of swirling uncertainty.

We’ve also resisted the tide towards “all things cloud”, and to this day host 100% of our data within our network and direct control. We do operate a secondary data center space in Bend, Oregon, for the sole purpose of storing and serving data for select customers.

What does that mean towards GDPR?

As a Data Controller and Data Controller, we have legal basis to store and manage your personal contact information. In layman’s terms, because you are a customer, we need to store your name, email address, credit card number, IP address, and so forth, because that is all part of how we are able to provide you service to your hosting account, authenticate you as a paying customer in your hosting account and the Support area, and tell you apart from a random hacker.

It is true that in the “Latest Patch” emails we send to customers, there are links we provide for services and special deals we are running. At the same time, that is solely driven by us. We have not, nor will ever sell or provide your personal contact information to a third party, unless forced by a court order. We treat the protection of your personal contact information extremely seriously.

Because of the global reach of GDPR, we have decided to apply its restrictions to all customers residing outside of the United States. And, if you are a resident of the United States, we will honor your request that we abide by GDPR’s same requirements.

If you are a resident of the EU, we have already unsubscribed you from our Latest Patch newsletter. If you wish to re-subscribe to it, you may do so at this link:

Latest Patch Newsletter Signup Form

If you have any concerns whatsoever about the protection of your personal data, please email sales@canvashost.com and let us know. We are here, we are listening, and we want only to serve your needs as best we can.

Additionally, if you are a EU resident, and you are concerned about your own website visitors’ activities on the site you host with us, please contact us if you need a contract (composed in English) noting how Canvas Host acts to protect your website and its visitors. We understand this is a complex component of GDPR, and are still working to understand the full scope of how this may impact our customers in various countries.

Finally, I want to state this to every single customer: One of GDPR’s requirements is that a company elect a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who regularly reviews the company’s policies to ensure it is meeting compliance, and corrects any lapses in those spaces. Canvas Host is a relatively small team, but I have elected to take on that role. As the company’s founder, and now as the DPO, I want to personally communicate to you my intent, as I have since 2002, that this company is here because of you; We are here to serve you; And we will never sell your data, nor intentionally compromise your privacy.

Canvas Host is the only certified B Corporation web host in the world. GDPR is but a formal set of policies that for many years, we have already upheld, and we are here to learn from it. We are not a perfect business; We are a human business; And together, you have our commitment that we will work to improve what we do, and how we do it.

Thank you,

David Anderson, Founder and Co-Owner