The Best PayPal WordPress Plugin I Have Ever Used

 Wordpress  Comments Off on The Best PayPal WordPress Plugin I Have Ever Used
Dec 052019
 

Have you ever wanted to accept a payment with your web site but didn’t know how to get started?  Accepting online payments via real-time credit card authorizations requires an online merchant account, a shopping cart, and payment processor like Authorize.net. And all the monthly fees from these services will substantially increase your overhead before you’ve even accepted a payment from a customer. One additional consideration before accepting payments online is the risk of credit card fraud or worse customer data exposure. Fortunately there is a much easier solution for levering your web site to accept payments.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

You probably already have a Paypal account but integrating that into your web site’s design can be a challenge even if you’re a technical person. Fortunately WPForms which is one of the best WordPress plugins I’ve ever purchased has a PayPal Addon that makes the configuration process a breeze. Please note that the PayPal Addon is not free. It is included with the Pro edition; however, they frequently have specials running so you can usually get it at a discount. In fact this past Black Friday / Cyber Monday it was 60% off.

In this walkthrough I will demonstrate why I think the WPForms is the best PayPal WordPress plugin I have ever used – and the easiest to configure.

Activate WPForms PayPal Standard Addon

From the WordPress Dashboard, click on WPForms and then click Addons. Before we can create the new payment form you have to activate the PayPal addon. From the Addons menu, you will be presented with a screen showing the numerous addons included with your license. Scroll through the list or Search for “PayPal” and then Click Activate.

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Create Billing / Order Form

Once the PayPal Standard Addon has been activated click Add New from the Forms Overview then click Create a Billing / Order Form.

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Before editing the form fields you will see a friendly reminder to configure your PayPal settings.  It goes without saying this needs to be completed before you can receive any payments from your new form.

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By selecting each of the form fields you can change their respective properties such as setting the default State, changing the title, or making a field required. There are also advanced options and conditional logic that can be added. Once you’ve completed your changes click Save.

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Configuring Payment Provider

You have the option of using PayPal Standard or Stripe which is another online payment processor. In my example below I am setting up PayPal. There are several options you can configure such as using the PayPal Test/Sandbox mode. This would allow you to test functionality without incurring any PayPal transaction fees. After entering your PayPal account email address check Enable PayPal Standard payments and click Save.

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The Settings tab provides the option to change the default confirmation your customer will receive upon submitting their payment.

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After saving the new billing / order form you will be presented with the form’s WordPress shortcode.  This shortcode needs to be inserted into the WordPress page where you want the form to appear.

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The Forms Overview screen not only shows all the forms that are configured but also shows the WordPress shortcodes for each form.

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Add the New Payment Form to a Page

Once the WPForms plugin is installed a special button will be added to the WordPress Page editor. Simply click Add Form and you will be presented with a menu to select any of the forms currently configured in WPForms.  Alternatively you could just cut and paste the WPForms shortcode into page editor.  Either way works just fine. Next all you need to do is click Publish and your new payment form will be publicly accessible.  If the page you just published is a new page (as opposed to adding the payment form to an existing page) be sure to add the page to your site’s navigation menu.

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Making a Payment

Now it’s time to get paid! Once the WPForms payment form has been configured and published it’s ready for action.

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Upon submitting the form you will be transferred to PayPal to confirm your payment and complete the sale.

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After completing the sale PayPal with return you back to the web site where you submitted the payment form and WPForms will display the default confirmation message. As show earlier this message can be modified as needed.

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In Summary

Typically with ecommerce if you want to accept payments with your web site you need a shopping cart, a merchant account, and a payment processor. All of which include a lot of monthly fees, overhead, and risk. Now with the convenience of PayPal it has never been easier to accept payments with your web site thanks to the simplicity of the WPForms PayPal Addon.  Thanks for reading.

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Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

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Protecting a WordPress Contact Form with reCAPTCHA

 Wordpress  Comments Off on Protecting a WordPress Contact Form with reCAPTCHA
Jun 112019
 

Having a contact form is one of the most important pages a web site can have. It enables you to receive communication for your audience or customers without having to provide a specific email address. Publishing an email address on your site while simple to implement and low-tech makes it easy for the email address to be harvested by site scraping tools used by spammers. A web based contact form solves this but it too can be exploited by automated bots or malicious visitors unless you implement an interactive mechanism like reCAPTCHA to validate form submissions. In this walk-through I will demonstrate how to setup a WordPress contact form using the free plugin Contact Form by WPForms and Google reCAPTCHA which is free too.

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Setting up Google reCAPTCHA

Before setting up Contact Form by WPForms you should first configure a free reCAPTCHA account at Google reCAPTCHA. Click the Admin console button on the welcome page. After you login to your Google account you will be prompted to register the site where you plan to utilize reCAPTCHA.  Enter a name your site, select which version of reCAPTCHA you want to use, enter your domain name, accept the Terms of Service, and then click Submit.  ReCAPTCHA v2 will display series of pictures for validation to anyone attempting to submit your contact form. ReCAPTCHA v3 does not present any pictures during the validation process.

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Once you have registered your domain name in the reCAPTCHA system you will be able to copy the reCAPTCHA site key and secret key. These keys will need to entered into the WPForms plugin settings from the WordPress admin Dashboard. Copy them into the Windows clipboard or Notepad to keep them handy.

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Configuring Contact Form by WPForms with reCAPTCHA

Before you can configure a WordPress contact form you need to ensure your site’s SMTP settings are properly configured. Using  the free plugin WP Mail SMTP by WPforms makes it incredibly easy to configure WordPress SMTP settings.  This walk-through assumes you already have your SMTP settings configured.

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Both Contact Form by WPForms and WP Mail SMTP by WPforms can be installed from your WordPress admin Dashboard. Simply search for them them in the WordPress Plugin Directory and then click Install Now for each. After they have been installed click the Activate button on the plugin properties.

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After you activate Contact Form by WPForms click on the plugin settings menu. Do this before you configure your first form.  From there you will see another menu item for reCAPTCHA. Click on it.

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Now you can cut and paste the reCAPTCHA keys you saved earlier. Match the Type of reCAPTCHA you originally configured and then click Save.

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Create a new contact form

After closing the reCAPTCHA settings, click on the WPForms menu. You should see something like the image below. Click Add New.

 

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On the form’s Setup screen click Create Simple Contact Form.

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On the next screen you will manage the various properties of the new contact form. Click the Settings menu. At the bottom of the General settings you will see the option to Enable Google Checkbox v2 reCAPTCHA. Click the checkbox next to it and then save the form. The contact form is ready for action. Simply embed the form’s shortcode in a WordPress page start using it.

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Testing the contact form with reCAPTCHA

When you browse your site’s new contact page you will be required to prove you’re not a robot by clicking the reCAPTCHA checkbox before you can submit the form.

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If there is any question about your authenticity you will be prompted to manually select a series of photos before continuing. If the validation isn’t completed properly the form will not be submitted.

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Once the reCAPTCHA process is satisfied that you’re a real person the contact form will be allowed to be submitted.

 

In Summary

Having a contact form on your web site is great way to receive communication from your audience or customers however you have to make sure it’s not misused by automated bots or malicious visitors. The free WordPress plugin Contact Form by WPForms makes it easy to protect your contact form using Google reCAPTCHA to ensure only real people are using it. Thanks for reading!

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Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

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Apr 032014
 

Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer (Web PI) makes installing applications a breeze. In a recent blog post I covered just how easy installing IIS has become using Web PI. In this walkthrough I’m going to cover installing WordPress, PHP, and MySQL using Web PI.  I remember the days when installing these applications was a manual process. Depending on your level of expertise it was quite a challenge to get everything working properly. If you’ve ever tried to uninstall and then reinstall MySQL you know what I mean.  Now thanks to Web PI with just a few clicks of your mouse you can have WordPress, PHP, and MySQL installed on Windows Server 2012 R2 in a few short minutes.\r\n

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Setting up Your Site

\r\nOn my test server I have a new installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 with IIS 8. Using the default site you’ll see the familiar IIS 8 welcome page called IISStart.htm. This page is automatically created for the default site when you install IIS. Be sure to delete it once you deploy your files.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n

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Launching Web Platform Installer

\r\nAfter installing the IIS role on your server you’ll be able to launch Web PI directly from IIS Manager by clicking on Get New Web Platform Components . The real power and ease of using Web PI to install WordPress, PHP, and MySQL is evident after you choose WordPress and Click Install. Web PI will automatically select the other application dependencies and include them in the installation.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n

Choosing MySQL Root Password

\r\nWeb PI will prompt you to choose a password for the root administrator user for MySQL. Be sure to make a note of this password because it will be needed later and resetting the MySQL root password manually can be challenge.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nClick Accept. The installation will start running.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWeb PI will download and install all the necessary applications. It will complete within a few minutes.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n

Configuring the site for IIS

\r\nAt this stage of the installation Web PI will prompt you to choose a few settings for the IIS configuration. You can either install WordPress on an existing site or select New Web Site. I am going to install WordPress into the root of my site so I am using “/” for the application name. If you plan on running WordPress from a subfolder then enter a name for the application. Once the required parameters have been entered you will be able to click Continue.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nYou will be prompted to enter a few unique phrases to strengthen the password security.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nOnce Web PI completes the installation process your new MySQL Database Name, Database User Name, and Database Password will be displayed on the screen. Make a note of these settings. You will need them later to log into the database.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n

Installing WordPress

\r\nOnce Web PI completes its installation process the WordPress installer will be launched. This final step of installing WordPress completes quite quickly. Enter the Site Title, the admin username and password, and your email address. Click Install WordPress to finish setting it up.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWordpress is now ready for use. Click Log In to go to the WordPress Dashboard.\r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nimage\r\n\r\n \r\n

Securing WordPress

\r\nAny serious web developer or server admin knows how important it is to secure your web site.  So after I install WordPress the very next thing I do is secure it. There’s a great WordPress plugin called Limit Login Attempts which can help block automated brute force attacks to your login page.  If you wanted to take it a step further you could even use Url Rewrite to block requests except for your own IP which I chose to do when my site was once targeted by brute force attacks. One other plugin you may want to consider is called Bad Behavior. This is a great plugin for mitigating link spam and the robots that deliver it. Combined with Akismet your site’s blog post comments will be spam free.\r\n

Summary

\r\nWordpress is one of the most widely used free CMS products. Installing WordPress on Windows Server 2012 R2 also requires PHP and MySQL. Now thanks to Web PI installing WordPress, PHP, and MySQl has never been easier. Your site will be up and running in mere minutes. After installation take some extra time to secure the login page and prevent comment spam. Thanks for reading.

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Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

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Oct 042012
 

If you’re getting started with Windows web development or you just need a lightweight web development tool then check out Microsoft’s WebMatrix 2. Creating, deploying, and maintaining, web sites has never been easier and considering it’s free you can’t beat it. What I like about WebMatrix is that it allows you to install 3rd party products such as blogs or forums from the App Gallery. 

I needed to create a new WordPress blog so that I could test a few things without impacting my production site so I decided to try out WebMatrix.  I was really impressed with how easy the whole process was.  I had a test VM on my PC running Windows 7 Home Edition so my first step was to download and install WebMatrix 2.

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After completing the install you’ll see the Quick Start menu. I clicked on the App Gallery and picked WordPress.

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I used the default site name of “WordPress” and clicked Next.

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This is a really nice feature. The installation detects that I do not have MySQL installed on my Windows 7 VM so it will be installed for my automatically. All I have to do is enter the “root” username and password that I want to use and click next.

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I was prompted to accept the End User License Agreement so naturally I clicked “I Accept”. It won’t install without it so you have to agree to it.

 

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After a few moments I was presented with a status update showing everything that was installed on my PC during the installation.

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So now the installation is done. All that remains is to configure WordPress. This is a really simple step. I just had to enter the site title, the admin username and password, and and email address. I then clicked “Install WordPress”.

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Now the installation has completed and I can login to WordPress. That’s it. WordPress has been installed locally on my PC. I can start installing new plugins or themes and creating posts.

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 As I mentioned earlier I was installing this locally on a test VM so its not live yet on a production web server.  However if I wanted to publish this to a 3rd-party server then Webmatrix can handle that for me as well. From the Home Tab I just click on the “Publish” icon.

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Click on Edit Settings and just enter the Web Deploy settings you need to use for your hosting provider. If you need discount asp.net hosting then look no further than Cytanium.com. I know them personally and have hosted site’s there. They do a great job.

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WebMatrix is a great product and is easy to use. Using WebMatrix to install and configure a WordPress blog could not have been easier or more straight forward. The entire process from start to finish took about 7 minutes.

Avatar

Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

More Posts - Website