Yearly Archives: 2018

More Video Games

Marui is dealing with a cough and the common cold. It’s the dark Chengdu winter to blame, and I think she didn’t use the anti-pollution mark in the last few days.

I spent most of the day playing video games. Slightly immersed in GTA V. Worked on some new music for a while. A synth-wave track.

By the way; I verbally accepted the job offer from an Hangzhou-based blockchain company. Still ambivalent about moving to Hangzhou temporarily for two months (once I sign the contract).

Prepared homemade food for Coco today and she loved it as always. I don’t know why she isn’t interested in the dog food we bought last month. The girl is very picky these days.

About to watch some old episodes of the Family Guy.

Koji: Gutenberg-Ready Theme

Looking for the best minimal WordPress theme compatible with Gutenberg? Here’s Koji. Developed by Anders Norén, Koji is a stunning light-weight theme that focuses on content. The Koji theme promises a pleasant browsing/scrolling experience also.

Note: This is not a promotion. Koji is simply great, and I’d recommend this minimal Gutenberg theme anytime.

Update: I’m using GeneratePress WordPress theme right now. Visit https://go.mighil.com/koji kaijudigital.org to view the demo of Koji. Kaiju Digital (WIP) will be based on this Gutenberg-friendly minimal WordPress theme.

Koji WordPress Theme Preview

Koji

Koji is ideal for freelancers and bloggers who embrace minimalism. The theme emphasizes your content and loads blazing fast on modern browsers and all devices.

Why I use Koji

I was in search of a Gutenberg compatible theme that’s minimal. I love GeneratePress (which is minimal and compatible with Gutenberg as well), but I wanted something even light-weight and easy to use. I didn’t need a lot of options and customizations GeneratePress offered. Koji looked ideal for me.

I do recommend GeneratePress if you prefer to make money from blogging. It’s a great framework. Check my GeneratePress review for more details.

Koji is ideal for small personal websites like mine with lots of images and text-based content.

Clean Design, Speed & Typography

As you can see, Koji renders your system font stack which makes the website load faster on all devices. The smooth animations also promise a better experience for your readers. This feature makes Koji the best fit for photography based blogs and portfolio websites.

Gutenberg Support

It’s clear that the developer has built Koji with the new WordPress Gutenberg editor in mind. The theme has full support for blocks and editor styles. It also supports the classic editor.

What I’ve Done With Koji

I’ve edited Koji’s stylesheet a bit to fit my needs. I’ve also replaced some png files with Base64 strings. My site’s sidebar area and headings are styled to render Sofia Pro font. I’m not using the social icons that came with Koji theme. I use Lightweight Social Icons developed by Thomas Usborne.

PageSpeed Insights & Pingdom Website Speed Test Result

Keep in mind that kaijudigital.org is based on CentOS, NGINX,MariaDB, & PHP-FPM, and the server is optimized for better load time. I use Autoptimize plugin developed by Frank Goossens (futtta) to reduce the file requests and compress other stuff.

These were the results of mighil.com + Koji WordPress theme. Go ahead and check kaijudigital.org’s performance score if you’re still worried about the page loading speed.

The speed score on Desktop

Mobile

The speed score on Mobile.

Here’s the Pingdom Website Speed Test Result:

Take a look at the Pingdom Page Performance Grades:

No, I don’t use a CDN service. I’m using CloudFlare free service at the moment.

So, if you are looking to install a best minimal Gutenberg compatible WordPress theme, go ahead and get Koji for free from the WordPress theme directory, or install it through your WordPress administration panel at Appearance → Themes → Add New.


Need a hand?

Need help optimizing your WordPress website to achieve better load-time and search performance? Connect with me now.


Bash Script to Install WordPress on Vesta CP

The Vesta control panel (VestaCP) is an open-source hosting control panel, which can be used to manage multiple websites, create and manage email accounts, FTP accounts, and MySQL databases, manage DNS records and more.

There are a lot of tutorials on how to install WordPress on VestaCP. The Vesta Control Panel comes with Softaculous, but you’ve to pay for the license to auto-install WordPress on your server using Softaculous.

If you’re looking for a free option, an auto-install bash script would be the right choice to install WordPress on your server.

Note:

  1. You’ve to add a domain first (using the Vesta CP web interface).
  2. The script is only applicable to the admin group. i.e. username:admin.

Major features of the WordPress auto install bash script

I edited the bash script posted by @jetonr on GitHub Gist. I modified a little bit for VestaCP admin group. The main features of the script include:

  1. Downloads the latest.tar.gz to the public_html of the user and domain you enter.
  2. Removes unnecessary files (wp-config-sample.php, readme.html, license.txt and latest.tar.gz)
  3. Creates a secure .htaccess file & set correct permissions for the file.
  4. Generates a robots.txt file with right ownership.
  5. Creates a database with user and password you enter. Which will go to the wp-config file.
  6. Creates a wp-config.php file with generated configuration and SALT included.

How to use the WordPress auto install bash script for VestaCP

How to Automate WordPress Installs

Choose from the two methods below:

Method 1: Add this line your Bashrc file.

Stick with this method if you plan to set up a lot of WordPress sites. This method will make things easier the next time when you want to install WordPress.

What is Bashrc?

bashrc is a shell script that Bash runs whenever it is started interactively. It initializes an interactive shell session. You can put any command in that file that you could type at the command prompt.

On CentOS, you’ll find the bashrc file inside the /etc directory. Visit this thread if you can’t locate the file.

Edit the file bashrc file and add this line:

alias wpinstall="curl -L -o 'vesta-wp.sh' https://gist.githubusercontent.com/migftw/7205442783534792a606df39629e22d3/raw/a02564e5eb9931da31e3f4988717b6119a82ea6e/vesta-wp.sh && bash vesta-wp.sh"

Save the file and run:

source ~/.bashrc

That’s about it. Just type

wpinstall

anywhere to begin the installation process.

Method 2: Download the script and run it

This is pretty straight-forward also.

curl -O https://gist.githubusercontent.com/migftw/7205442783534792a606df39629e22d3/raw/a02564e5eb9931da31e3f4988717b6119a82ea6e/vesta-wp.sh

and

bash vesta-wp.sh

The script will do the rest. Good luck!

Hire me to optimize your WordPress site

How to Find Non-Teaching Jobs in China

Where can I find non-teaching jobs in China? Here are the answers you need. Here’s the definitive guide to finding a non-teaching job in China. Not applicable to English teachers.

Update: I’ve compiled a list of non-teaching job vacancies in China. Give it a try if you’d like.

Find Non-Teaching Jobs in China

It is a fact that there are various kinds of job opportunities available in China. But, without prior knowledge about the current job market, it might be a bit hard for you to find non-teaching jobs in China.

This blog is not for “English teachers.” Do not read to further if you’re a native speaker of English with no to little experience and want to teach in China. This article isn’t for you. 🙂

With a little bit of research, planning and hard work, it is possible for anyone to find and get a job in China.

Find a job in China

With Team ugChain, 2017

I’m Mighil, a Chengdu-based digital consultant. I’ve been living in China since 2015. When time permits, you can learn a bit more about me and my life in Chengdu.

Finding jobs in China

In case you don’t want to spend a lot of time on research, you can always try getting the help of headhunters or recruiting agencies to obtain employment in China.

Other than that, you can refer to various career websites, expat blogs and resources available online which would help you to find non-teaching jobs in China.

There are many prominent Chinese job websites (some have English interface) available for finding the right kind of non-teaching jobs in China.

If you’re a student or fresh graduate, you could also try enrolling for internships in various companies or institutions in China to find a relevant job.

Get ready to GET BUSY!

The subway routine

Given below are specific tips and techniques for the job seekers who want to find a non-teaching job in China.

Attending Networking Events

Understand the concept of ‘guanxi.’

Guanxi (Chinese: 關係) defines the rudimentary dynamic in personalized social networks of power and is a crucial system of beliefs in Chinese culture. Simply put, guanxi is a relationship in the business context, based on mutual trust and benefits.

You can try to build your networks by attending certain networking events some of which should be specifically related to China.

You can gain knowledge about a variety of contacts related to various job sectors such as the corporate sector, management, etc. through these events and meetups.

 

Using Job Websites

Job websites are one of the best ways to find a relevant job in any province in China. Go ahead and register an account in some of the popular job websites and search for the desired non-teaching jobs in China.

Such websites also allow individuals to gain access to specific contacts of in-house recruiters which are almost unavailable outside the mainland.

These websites also offer various tips and suggestions regarding how to get a job in any place.

Bookmark the websites below:

    1. https://www.zhaopin.com/
    2. https://www.51job.com/
    3. https://www.lagou.com/
    4. https://www.zhipin.com/
    5. https://www.liepin.com/
    6. LinkedIn (Yes, it works!)

51job comes with an English interface and every other site is only available in Chinese. I do offer job consulting and CV translation services if you’re interested. I’ll tailor your résumé in Chinese so that more employers will be interested in reviewing your profile. Based on my previous experience with Chinese companies, medium-sized companies ask for résumé in Chinese along with the one in English. Contact me by email to discuss further.

Find Non-Teaching Jobs in China

zhipin.com UI. open image in new tab for better viewing.

Websites like liepin.com, lagou.com, and zhipin.com come with a real-time chat feature so that you can have a chat with the potential employer before applying.

Internship and Certificate Programs of Chinese Universities

A lot of universities in China provide a wide variety of certificate programs related to Chinese business, finance, sales, marketing, management, etc. Also, check whether your home country has an internship program in China or not.

Internships in China

Internships in China – As seen on www.britishcouncil.org

Moreover, some of these universities also offer internship programs at large scale companies which will ensure a solid non-teaching job in the future.

Here’s Why You Should Move to Chengdu

So, if you’re a fresh graduate, you can try getting enrolled in any of these universities and attend such certificate or internship programs which would later help you to get non-teaching jobs in China.

Having a Basic Knowledge Of The Chinese Language

Although this may not be compulsory all the time, it is necessary for the individuals to have a little knowledge about the Chinese language.

Individuals who can speak the Chinese language tend to get more attention from the employment givers as a result of having a basic knowledge of the language.

Chengdu Expat, Mighil

Miss that pitch!

There are tons of Chinese courses available online for free. And there numerous apps for Android and iOS that’ll help you learn Chinese. Go ahead and start learning Chinese today!

Few resources:

  1. https://www.coursera.org/learn/learn-chinese-mandarin
  2. www.bbc.co.uk/languages/chinese/
  3. https://www.duolingo.com/course/zh/en/Learn-Chinese-Online

Finding Non-teaching Jobs in China

Legends say finding non-teaching jobs in China might seem to be a pretty difficult task and is almost impossible if you don’t have connections.

Don’t listen to them. There are various kinds of companies and organizations which offer good non-teaching jobs in China.

Given below are certain tips and techniques for specifically finding a non-teaching job in China:

Enhancing The Skills and Qualifications

Companies usually want to hire only those individuals who possess not only certain degrees or certificates but also specific professional skills.

Get One-On-One Consulting (Paid)

Having professional skills is one of the most important eligibilities for acquiring a non-teaching job in China.

You should have a look at your resume, analyze it properly and then add all kinds of professional skills that you possess, for instance, computer programming skills, projects, achievements, etc.

Do not boast a lot on your resume. It’s not a common practice here. That being said, it is vital to possess industry-specific professional skills for employment opportunities in China.

Analyzing The Various Jobs And The Skills Required for Doing Them

You should carefully examine the job description and match them with your professional skills to make sure whether that particular job is relevant for you or not.

For instance, engineering jobs require having certain software or hardware programming skills which should definitely be a solid requirement for applying for that job. Do not waste your time by applying to the wrong ads.

Again, you can start looking for jobs in various online websites such as zhipin.com, lagou.com in order to match your eligibility with the particular non-teaching job. Instead of searching the “job title”, use industry specific keywords.

Starting a Business

It would not be a bad idea to start your own business in China. There are various opportunities available for opening a startup business in China. With the advent of time, there has been a rapid increase in the growth and development of China.

This has opened a lot of opportunities for the various aspiring entrepreneurs for starting their business in China.

Technode - A curated guide to Beijing’s startup scene, part 1

Article courtesy: technode.

If started in a proper and well efficient manner, you can accumulate a lot of income as well as profit from starting a business in China. China is one of the best places for starting a business of various products and services. There are many startup accelerators here and there’s a massive community for the same.

Guide to Custom Packaging in China

The Decision Of Moving To China

This is one of the essential points to remember before applying for non-teaching jobs in China.

You should make a firm decision of moving into China before applying for any job here.

How to survive your first week in China

How to survive your first week in China 😉

You should also make necessary arrangements for shifting to the country like getting a passport and the right visa.

The most important thing to do before applying for a job in China is to first spend some time in the country. Do it, this will give you a picture about how things roll here.

This would help you in gaining more information about the various kinds of non-teaching job opportunities available in China.

This would also help you to get information regarding the various kinds of eligibility, certificates, degrees, valuable skills and experience required for finding and getting non-teaching jobs in China.

So, these are some of the various tips and techniques for getting a non-teaching job in China.

China is a land of opportunities. Without a doubt, it is a superpower has emerged to be one of the most rapidly growing and developing countries of Asia.

Need Help Translating & Formatting Your CV in Chinese?

This means that there is a bulk of job opportunities available in the country for aspiring individuals.

With a little bit of planning, devotion and hard work, you would be able to find your dream job in China.

Don’t care what others say. Non-teaching jobs are abundantly available all around the world including countries like China too.

Old friends in China, Mighil

They all left China though.

So, what are you waiting for? Start today!

Go ahead… start your research and devote your time well to find a stunning non-teaching job in China.

Contact me by email if you need job consulting. 

SparrowX, Jekyll + Netlify CMS Boilerplate

SparrowX is a clean, minimal, SEO-friendly Jekyll theme you can download right now. It is 100% Netlify compatible. Updated demo link – https://sparrowx.netlify.com

The SparrowX

So, I’ve been testing Netlify last week and came across Netlify CMS. The CMS is pretty easy to set up, and it’d be a wise choice for people who don’t want to spend money on hosting.

But SEO… yeah that’s a problem when it comes to Jekyll themes. Sure, you can optimize Jekyll a lot, but it’s hard for people with no development knowledge to setup Jekyll + Netlify CMS manually.

My search for a clean, minimal Jekyll theme ended when I found sparrow on GitHub. Developed by lingxz, it’s a solid theme that can be used as a boilerplate.

So I took the base theme, improved loading speed, added many features for SEO and made it to a Jekyll + Netlify-CMS boilterplate.

SparrowX Jekyll Theme for Netlify CMS

Home page screenshot.

Legacy Features

  • Fully compatible with Github Pages
  • Configurable and responsive multi layer menu, adapted from slimmenu
  • Disqus integration
  • Font Awesome icons included
  • Google analytics
  • Social sharing using rrssb
  • 404 page included
  • Typographic optimization for Chinese fonts
  • Atom feed generated with jekyll-feed
  • Pagination enabled for blog using jekyll-paginate
  • Basic SEO with Facebook Open Graph tags and Twitter cards

New Features

  • Fully compatible with Netlify CMS (one-click setup).
  • Added new custom variables like updated, headerimage, feature-img, sitemap and tag.
  • The theme renders system font-stack.
  • Compressed JS.
  • Improved load time and reduced file requests.
  • _redirects feature

Website Speed Test

How To Use This Theme

Visit this page to read the SparrowX documentation for Netlify CMS.

Install

Just fork this repo and replace the posts with your own. Also, rename the sample poetry collection to replace it with your own collection, or just delete it if you don’t need to use collections. The example is poetry, but you can easily revamp this into essays, short stories, portfolio, or whatever your creative work is.

General configuration

Customize these values in the  _config.yml file:

title                    : "SparrowX"
description              : "A clean minimal Jekyll theme for SEO-focused writers."
favicon                  : "/assets/images/image.png" # You can use base64 encoded images.
url                      : "https://sparrowx.mighil.com" # the base hostname & protocol for your site e.g. "https://mmistakes.github.io"
baseurl                  : "" # the subpath of your site, e.g. "/blog" leave blank if no subpath

# Site Author
author:
  name                   : "Mighil" # appears in the footer and atom feed

Disqus

To activate Disqus, fill in your disqus shortname:

comments                 : true # set it to false to disable comments
disqus:
  shortname              : your_shortname

Google analytics

Enable google analytics by filling in your tracking ID:

analytics:
  google:
    tracking_id          : # add your google tracking id here

Collections

If you are using collections, be sure to replace this with your collection name:

collections:
  poetry:
    output: true
    permalink: /:collection/:title/

Pagination

Currently, pagination is set to a the blog page. Unfortunately Jekyll does not yet support pagination on multiple pages.

If you want to paginate on a different page, simply change the  paginate_path value in the config file and create the relevant page.

paginate: 5 # amount of posts to show
paginate_path: "/blog/page:num/"
timezone: # http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones

Navigation

You can change the navigation links in  _data/navigation.yml.

Front matter defaults

At the bottom of the config file, you can also set front matter defaults so that you don’t have to repeat the same front matter for every post. This is an example:

# Front matter defaults
defaults:
  # _pages
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: pages
    values:
      layout: page
      comments: false
  # _posts
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: posts
    values:
      layout: post
      comments: true
      share: true
  # _poetry
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: poetry
    values:
      layout: post
      share: false

How tags work

You should create specific .md files within  /tag/ before using the variable.

Other Stuff

To enhance SEO, you can add your twitter username to  _config.yml.

You can also add an image path for the  og_image value in the config file, for a default open graph sharing image. This value can be overridden in individual posts by using headerimage variable.

Your default image Netlify CMS uploads will go to /images/.

For the various config options see the sample config file for the demo site

The color schemes and fonts can also be customized through scss, by editing the relevant variable in  _variables.scss.

Getting Started on Netlify CMS

Visit this page to read the SparrowX documentation for Netlify CMS.

  • Create a Netlify account if you don’t have one.
  • Fork SparrowX. (No need enable GitHub pages since we’ll be using Netlify CMS to fetch, build the repo and point the domain.)
  • Visit https://app.netlify.com/ and click “New site from Git”

Netlify deploy settings for SparrowX

  • Select  master branch to deploy. Use  jekyll build build command and set the Publish directory as  _site.

Netlify deploy settings for Jekyll

/admin/ directory explained

The /admin/ directory contains the  index.html and  config.yml for Netlify CMS.

Here’s how the  config.yml looks for now.

backend:
name: git-gateway
branch: master

publish_mode: editorial_workflow

media_folder: "images" # Media files will be stored in the repo under images
public_folder: "/images" # The src attribute for uploaded media will begin with /images

collections:
- name: "post"
label: "Post"
folder: "_posts"
create: true
slug: "{{year}}-{{month}}-{{day}}-{{slug}}"
fields:
- {label: "Type", name: "type", widget: "hidden", default: "post"}
- {label: "Title", name: "title", widget: "string"}
- {label: "SEO Title", name: "seotitle", widget: "string"}
- {label: "Author", name: "author", widget: "string"}
- {label: "Description", name: "description", widget: "string", required: false}
- {label: "OG Image", name: "headerimage", widget: "string", required: false}
- {label: "Updated Date", name: "updated", widget: "string", required: false}
- {label: "Body", name: "body", widget: "markdown", required: false}
- {label: "Tags", name: "tags", widget: "string"}
- {label: "URL", name: "url", widget: "string"}

- name: "page"
label: "Page"
folder: "_pages"
create: true
slug: ".md"
fields:
- {label: "Type", name: "type", widget: "hidden", default: "page"}
- {label: "Title", name: "title", widget: "string"}
- {label: "SEO Title", name: "seotitle", widget: "string"}
- {label: "Description", name: "description", widget: "string", required: false}
- {label: "URL", name: "url", widget: "string"}
- {label: "Body", name: "body", widget: "markdown", required: false}

You may edit this according to your preference.

The Netlify CMS Dashboard

The dashboard looks the way as configured on  config.yml inside  /admin.

Here are the basics:

Netlify CMS dashboard

Go ahead and test SparrowX if you’ve time. Thanks for reading.

My Top 100 Movies

Cover: Hotel Rwanda (2004)

I’ll share the reviews separately when I get time. Guru (1997) and Amma Ariyan (1986) are probably the only Malayalam films I genuinely love. Guru’s story is influenced by HG Wells’ short story, The Country of the Blind. Amma Ariyan is more like a low-budget, black and white 2001 with several layers of meaning.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  1. M
  2. The Big Lebowski
  3. Eraserhead
  4. Hotaru no haka
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  6. Rashômon
  7. I’m Taraneh, 15
  8. Breakfast on Pluto
  9. No Country for Old Men
  10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  11. Guru (1997)
  12. The Thing (1982)
  13. Seven Psychopaths
  14. Marvellous (Brit TV movie)
  15. Peeping Tom
  16. High and Low
  17. Antikörper (2005)
  18. Baraka
  19. Pedar (1996)
  20. Heart is…
  21. Offside (Persian)
  22. Take Shelter
  23. A Clockwork Orange
  24. How Angels Are Born
  25. Chronos
  26. Tesis (1996)
  27. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
  28. Pulp Fiction
  29. Carandiru
  30. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  31. Trainspotting
  32. The Fisher King
  33. One Hour Photo
  34. Hotel Rwanda
  35. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  36. Escape from New York
  37. Down by Law
  38. Dog Day Afternoon
  39. Django (1966)
  40. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  41. Sin Nombre
  42. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  43. My Winnipeg
  44. The Naked City
  45. Taxi Driver
  46. Man About Dog
  47. Fire (1996)
  48. Clerks
  49. Nosferatu
  50. Strangers on a Train
  51. Brute Force
  52. Gojira (1954)
  53. Memento
  54. L.A. Confidential
  55. Deep Red
  56. A Bay of Blood
  57. Dead Man
  58. Deja Vu
  59. The Seventh Seal
  60. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  61. Rebecca
  62. Tetsuo: The Iron Man
  63. Donnie Darko
  64. Kuky se vrací
  65. Onibaba
  66. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
  67. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  68. Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
  69. Nebraska
  70. Predestination
  71. Ordinary People
  72. The Drop
  73. Dancer in the Dark
  74. They Live
  75. Kwaidan
  76. Magnolia
  77. Nightcrawler
  78. Nil by Mouth
  79. The Book of Eli
  80. Trollhunter
  81. Videodrome
  82. Goodnight Mommy
  83. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  84. The Young Offenders
  85. Things Change
  86. Midnight Run
  87. Men Behind the Sun
  88. Sightseers
  89. Dead Man’s Shoes
  90. Casualties of War
  91. Rang De Basanti
  92. Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind
  93. The Babadook
  94. Amma Ariyan (What I want my mother to know)
  95. Housebound
  96. Primer
  97. TPB AFK
  98. Bølgen
  99. Ravenous (2017)
  100. What We Do in the Shadows

Fix: enter-url-1.xyz Analytics Spam

This blog post is a master guide to block Google Analytics referrer spam. I’ve added various methods to block the referral spam and I’ll update the content accordingly.

You’re here because of the new referral traffic from enter-url-1.xyz, goodname1.xyz, 500-good-starts.xyz, 2-easy.xyz, secret-promotion.com, get-here-web.com, yesgood-now.com, yes-do-now.com, advert-seo.com, advertising-seo.com, ads-seoservices.com, seo-services-ads.com, ads-services-seo.com, ads-seo-manager.com, ai-seo-service.com, fast-seo-links.com, autoseotips.com, wakeupseoconsultant.com, 1-best-seo.com, 9-reasons-for-seo.com, 16-reasons-for-seo.com, local-seo-for-multiple-locations.com, seo-b2b.com, affordable-link-building.com, free-seo-consultation.com, get-seo-help.com, your-seo-promotion.com or its variants are spamming your Google Analytics data. Here’s how to block that single referral domain and related multiple referrers.

Method 1: block referral spam using Google Analytics
Method 2: disable spam in .htaccess (for Apache servers)
Method 3: disable spam in NGINX
Method 4: disable spam using Cloudflare

UPDATES:
10/05/2019: Added enter-url-1.xyz fix.
06/05/2019: Added check-pro1.xyz fix.
24/04/2019: Added goodname1.xyz fix.
18/04/2019: Added 500-good-starts.xyz fix.
04/04/2019: Added 2-easy.xyz fix.
03/30/2019: Added secret-promotion.com fix.
03/19/2019: Added get-here-web.com fix.
03/12/2019: Added yesgood-now.com fix.
03/11/2019: Added yes-do-now.com fix.
03/07/2019: Added one-a-plus.xyz fix.
02/26/2019: Added advert-seo.com fix.
02/25/2019: Added advertising-seo.com fix.
02/19/2019: Added big-seo-deal.com fix.
02/18/2019: Added ads-seoservices.com fix.
02/15/2019: Added seo-services-ads.com fix.
02/13/2019: Added ads-services-seo.com fix.
02/11/2019: Added ads-seo-manager.com fix.
02/08/2019: Added ai-seo-service.com fix.
01/31/2019: Added fast-seo-links.com fix.
01/23/2019: Added autoseotips.com fix.
01/18/2019: Added wakeupseoconsultant.com fix.
01/15/2019: Added bestecommerceseo.com fix.
12/19/1018: Added 1-best-seo.com fix and NGINX method to block the Analytics spam.
12/06/2018: Added 16-reasons-for-seo.com fix.
12/05/2018: Added 15-reasons-for-seo.com fix.
12/04/2018: Added  99-reasons-for-seo.com fix.
12/03/2018: Added  100-reasons-for-seo.com fix.
11/29/2018: Added local-seo-for-multiple-locations.com fix.
11/14/2018: Added seo-b2b.com fix.
11/07/2018: Added affordable-link-building.com fix.
11/01/2018: Added free-seo-consultation.com fix.
10/27/2018: Added get-seo-help.com fix.
10/13/2018: Added the solution to fix seo-services-with-results.com Analytics spam
10/10/2018: Added the solution to fix better-seo-promotion.com spam.
09/27/2018 11:57 PM: Blimey! It seems like they’re targeting me for writing this blog post.
09/27/2018 11:16 PM: Added the Cloudflare method to block servers that spam your website.
09/25/2018: This guide has the solution to fix your-seo-promotion-service.com-spam, my-seo-promotion-service.com, and other domains that spam Google Analytics. Just change the domain name/URL accordingly. I’ve added a new .htaccess method also (future-proof).

Exclude a single referrer

How to Block your-seo-promotion.com Analytics Spam (September 2018)

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the view in which you want to create the filter.
  3. In the VIEW column, click Filters.
  4. Click + New Filter. (If you can’t see this button, you do not have the necessary permission.)
  5. Select Create new Filter.
  6. Enter a name for the filter. Let’s name it enter-url-1.xyz.
  7. Set the Filter Type to Custom.
  8. Click the Select filter type drop-down menu and select Exclude.
  9. Now Set the Filter field to Campaign Source.
  10. Enter the Filter Pattern. In this case, add enter-url-1.xyz (the-spam-domain-name.tld) and click Save.

To Exclude multiple referrers

You can use the regular expression in the Filter Pattern field to exclude several referring sources.

i.e., If you want to add multiple URLs, make a filter pattern separated by a | (pipeline).

Example:

otherspammysite\.com|*enter-url-1\.xyz

Visit this link to learn more about setting filters on different levels. You may also set the Language Settings Filter and Campaign Referral Path Filter as well.

Block Analytics Spam in .htaccess

Applying filters is more like a band-aid solution. The spam sites are still sending traffic to your website, and GA doesn’t show it. Want to block the referral sites before they get to your site? There are two methods to block referral spam using .htaccess.

1. The Easy Method

You have to be careful when editing .htaccess files, as a small mistake can make your website stop working or throw a server error loop. So have a backup! Copy and paste the old content of .htaccess file somewhere safe before proceeding.

Usually, the .htaccess file goes to the root of your website (/public_html for example, the same location of wp-config.php). If there is none, you can create a new file. But watch out not to create something like “.htaccess.txt” if you do it with notepad (which usually appends .txt to all files).

The location may vary according to where you installed WordPress inside the host. Edit the .htaccess file and add the following line:

# BLOCK ANALYTICS SPAM
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} enter-url-1\.xyz [NC, OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} wakeupseoconsultant\.com [NC, OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} example-spam-website\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F]

(Copy and paste the code in the bottom of your .htaccess.)

Note: Check whether a RewriteEngine On line is already inside your .htaccess file. Then you don’t need to copy that particular line from the code I shared. RewriteEngine only needs to occur once in the file, preferably at the top.

2. Find Spam Site’s Server IP Address & Block it

There are chances the spammer may spin up more domain names for this unholy practice. Solution? Deny their server to access your website. Proceed at your own risk.

GeneratePress Review: Best Gutenberg-ready Theme in October 2021

Use a DNS lookup tool like mxtoolbox.com to check spam domain’s (enter-url-1.xyz in your case) IP address:

Find your-seo-promotion.com's Server IP Address

As you can see, 217.23.10.44 turns out to the unique IP of the domain.

However, you’ve to make sure the spammer is not using any CDN to hide their IP address. Look at Facebook.com for example:

Facebook CDN

Facebook, Inc. CDN uses specific IP ranges for delivering Facebook.com. Here’s a list of IP Ranges that Cloudflare use. Make sure that you identify the unique IP of spammer and not IP ranges of a CDN service.

Upon identifying the spam sever, edit the .htaccess file and add the following line:

# block spam referrer
Deny from 217.23.10.44

Make sure that you enter the correct IP address. Doing so will block all the spammy domains pointed to this server IP address.

Block Analytics Spam Using in NGINX

Open your nginx.conf file located in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Proceed at your own risk. Contact your host to confirm the location of nginx.conf file. Make sure you have root access to the host. Always have a backup! Copy and paste the old content of nginx.conf file somewhere safe before proceeding.

Add the following lines inside the http block:

# Referer spam

map $http_referer $spam_referer {
default 0;
include /etc/nginx/spam_referer.map;
}

Nginx’s map (ref) module lets you create variables in Nginx’s configuration file whose values are conditional — that is, they depend on other variables’ values. The map command can only be used inside of the http block.

Create An Analytics Spammer List

Create a new file in the NGINX root directory (‘/etc/nginx’) and name it ‘spam_referer.map’ to save a list of spam referrers:

"~*enter-url-1.xyz" 1;
"~*wakeupseoconsultant.com" 1;
"~*free-social-buttons.com" 1;
"~*15-reasons-for-seo.com" 1;
"~*99-reasons-for-seo.com" 1;
"~*another-example-spam-website.com" 1;

The “~*” means case-insensitive matching.

Now open /etc/nginx/sites_available/default and add the following lines to the server block:

# Referrer exclusions

if ($spam_referer) {
return 444;
}

444 Explained: Connection Closed Without Response is a non-standard status code used to instruct nginx to close the connection without sending a response to the client, most commonly used to deny malicious or malformed requests. This status code is not seen by the client, it only appears in nginx log files.

Verify & Restart Nginx Service

Run this command to verify the config:

nginx t

Restart nginx if the test is successful:

sudo service nginx restart

Block IPs in Cloudflare CDN

Cloudflare user? The Firewall tab on Cloudflare provides you with an interface that you can use to block or whitelist IP addresses or entire networks. Based on the results from mxtoolbox.com, you can block spammer’s IP using Cloudflare. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare.
  2. Go to the Firewall app.
  3. Add an entry to the Access Rules and select the action.

As seen on support.cloudflare.com.

Good luck!

Help someone else by sharing this article. Thank you.

Need a hand?

Need help optimizing your website analytics, speed and search performance? Connect with me now.

The Best Working VPN for China in December 2021

The “best VPN for China that works 100%,” this has always been a hot topic among expats in China. Despite the crackdowns and restrictions, there are a lot of VPN providers who’re trying to sell (and upsell) their services for expats in China. Skip introduction.

Furthermore, there’s a bunch of mediocre VPN providers and reviewers out there. Avoid them like the plague.

  • Most of these reviewers are interested in making easy money with their affiliate links. They recommend almost all VPN services for China and claim it’s the best VPN for China. “Here are our top picks,” “we’ve picked out five top-notch VPN providers in China”..meh! Don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks.
  • I’ve seen some of them including Ivacy in their list. It is no good in my opinion. Not to mention the “well-known” bloggers and influencers recommending a multitude of VPN services even without testing them. They just want to stockpile the referral links.
  • In short, finding the best VPN on Google is not an easy job because of the “promoted” content you come across.

You need to put a lot of time and effort to research. Let me help you refine the search.

What’s the Best VPN for China?

  1. ExpressVPN: Very popular and it works! They promise a 99.9% uptime. The service come with optimized servers for streaming Netflix.
  2. NordVPN: Currently testing their servers, and I’m quite happy with it so far. I’ll post a detailed review later.
  3. SocketPro: SocketPro is essentially a ShadowsocksR proxy service provider. The service is dirt cheap, and they provide few servers to stream Netflix, Hulu and more. They do have a bandwidth limit though.
  4. DIY Methods: You could set up your Shadowsocks or ShadowsocksR servers on DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS or any other cloud provider of your choice.

Backstory, Finding The Best VPN for China

Having stayed for almost four years in China, I know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to climbing over the great firewall of China.

I’ve tried multiple VPN providers and even wrote a few tutorials on how to set up DIY SOCKS5 proxies for personal use. Read further if you’re tired of the mediocre China VPN reviews.

Image: South China Morning Post

I’ll share the two best options. Without further ado, let’s look at the best working for VPN for China.

Note:

  • The second option is a trustworthy Shadowsocks service provider. Essentially not a VPN.
  • These are my honest recommendations as of February 2019.

The Best Working VPN for China (Review)

ExpressVPN: You might have heard a lot about them. But there are several solid reasons why you should go with ExpressVPN instead of choosing their competitors.

Best Working VPN for China

Stream Netflix, Visit Blocked Sites Including Google Get Express VPN Now

Major Features of ExpressVPN

Let’s look at why ExpressVPN turns out to be the best VPN for China.

Uptime: ExpressVPN has the best up-time comparing to its competitors. Most of their optimized Asian servers are available round the clock.

Working VPN for China 2018

AES-256 Encryption: Yes, encryption is an essential factor while looking for the best VPN provider. AES (trusted by security experts) is a secure encryption algorithm used in symmetric key cryptography. Additionally, the company uses an RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 hash message authentication code, along with PFS. Meaning, you’re in good hands.

Multiple protocols: ExpressVPN recommends protocols and servers based on the location and connection. The company also lets you choose the protocols manually in case you know what you’re doing.

Sign up with ExpressVPN

Stream/Unblock Netflix: Important feature. A lot of expats in China has a Netflix account and want to stream their favorite TV shows and movies online or on the go. ExpressVPN’s US, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan servers are optimized for streaming Netflix.

Express VPN on macOS

Express VPN on macOS

Dedicated Apps: ExpressVPN has dedicated apps for MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, routers, and Linux. Their knowledge base comes with pretty neat guides.

Furthermore, the company offers a “limited” free trial as well. You should try the full-featured version of ExpressVPN “risk-free” for 30 days. Not happy? You’ll get a full refund within 30 days, no questions asked.

Pros

  • Reliable, ExpressVPN is a trusted brand.
  • Few servers are optimized for streaming Netflix.
  • Dedicated Apps

Con

  • One ExpressVPN subscription only covers three devices of any type.

Best VPN Alternative for China

VPN is not your thing? Do you prefer proxy servers to stream Netflix and access Google? Give SocketPro a try.

What’s SocketPro? It is essentially a ShadowsocksR proxy service provider that offers cheap easy to use proxy servers which lets you unblock websites and climb the GFW. The whereabouts of SocketPro team are anonymous because of the nature of the service they provide.

Socketpro

Fast. Easy to Use. Netflix Optimized. Get SocketPro Now.

I’ve been using their service for almost two years. So, don’t worry about anonymity. It’s for their own good to survive in China.

Shadowsocks vs. ShadowsocksR

Shadowsocks is an open source SOCKS5 proxy which, according to their official site, is designed to protect your internet traffic.

ShadowsocksR is a fork of the original Shadowsocks project, claimed to be superior in terms of security and stability.

Here are my blog posts on how to manually setup Shadowsocks and ShadowsocksR.

  1. Setup A ShadowsocksR Server On Amazon EC2
  2. Setup A Shadowsocks Server on DigitalOcean

Why ShadowsocksR instead of a VPN?

A conventional VPN protocol creates a network that slows down Chinese websites, which can be annoying when you’re using Taobao, WeChat, JD.com, etc.

On the other hand, Shadowsocks has a Global Mode and Auto Mode.

Best Working Shadowsocks Service for China

Get SocketPro for All The Devices.

The Global Mode acts similar to a VPN connection whereas the auto settings (Auto mode by PAC) makes sure you can access Chinese website faster, without using a proxy.

Major features of SocketPro

SocketPro is packed with cool features as well. They’ve almost 8000+ active users and 74 node servers.

List of SocketPro Premium Servers

Open image in a new tab for better viewing.

Speed: They use a modern SOCKS5 protocol (ShadowsocksR) to transfer your data, which is faster compared to a traditional VPN.

Cross-platform support: Unlike ExpressVPN, SocketPro DO NOT limit your connection, meaning you can connect all your device at the same time.

Get a SocketPro Account

Secure: Your connection is secured with 256-bit encryption to protect your data from prying eyes.

Pros

  • Dirt Cheap and fast.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and speed.
  • Few servers are optimized for streaming Netflix.

Cons

  • Monthly plans are okay, but the yearly plan comes with better servers.
  • Bandwidth limit.
  • No dedicated app for iOS, you should purchase a 3rd party app.

These are the best reliable VPN services in China that lets you access blocked sites, online resources, and Netflix. What’s your best pick?

Need A Secure Custom Solution?

Hire me to set up a private proxy/VPN for $50 one-time fee

Send A Message

Cloudways: An Honest Review

Update: Exclusive Cloudways Coupon Code 2018 – FLAT 20% off!!

Image result for good news everyone

One more reason to start or migrate your WordPress site to Cloudways. I’ve teamed up with Cloudways to bring you an excellent and exclusive deal.


Use the coupon code “MIGHIL” to get a FLAT 20% discount on the first invoice. Offer applies to all plans.


This one’s a killer Cloudways promo code if you’re selecting a small or medium-sized server to host your WordPress site.

Click here to sign-up & use the promo code MIGHIL.

This Cloudways promo powered by Mighil.com is a limited time offer valid for three months starting from September 19, 2018. Hurry up and take advantage of the best Cloudways coupon for 2019.

How to use the Cloudways Coupon Code

Mighil.com’s exclusive Cloudways coupon code gives you FLAT 20% off on your first invoice independent of the servers you choose. Follow the instructions below to redeem the coupon code and get a fair discount while signing up with Cloudways.

Visit this link to land on the Cloudways sign-up page.

Cloudways Discount 2018

Click on Get Started Free and it’ll lead you to the sign-up form.

Now click on “Got a Promo Code” and fill in MIGHIL

Cloudways Promo Code 2018 Exclusive

Cloudways: An Honest Review by Mighil

New to Cloudways managed cloud web hosting platform? Not sure if it’s the best choice for managing your WordPress site(s)? Read this blog post before investing your time and money on Cloudways.

TLDR; Yes, it is one of the best WordPress hosting platforms. Read the backstory, will you? Then we’ll jump to the review.

Backstory

I’m very picky but straightforward when it comes to recommending stuff to friends and peers. I’ve tested a handful of dedicated Cloud hosting (VPS) services to date. I’ve been a DigitalOcean user for years before switching to BandWagonHOST and NameCheap hosting.

In love with BandWagonHOST

BandWagonHOST is quite cheap, and they provide OpenVZ & KiwiVM based plans. The downside? You need to have intermediate skills in managing virtual private servers. It’s not for the faint-hearted. I loved every bit of managing own server and setting up multiple WordPress sites on BandWagonHOST. It was fun while it lasted.

Leaving BandWagonHOST for NameCheap

I left BandWagonHOST just because the servers were getting slow for the mainland Chinese audience. I hosted a few projects for Chinese clients on BHW, but the performance got worse (even with a Cloudflare CDN). Things were going south, and I needed a quick solution. NameCheap came to the rescue, temporarily. Quite frankly, cPanel isn’t my thing, so I left NameCheap in a few days and got a 100% refund.

Leaving NameCheap for CloudWays

I visited my hometown in India last June for work related reason. Anvar at Mozilor suggested Cloudways and said they’re using Cloudways for years. I never thought of giving it a try since I was quite happy with my highly flexible BandWagonHOST server during that time.

His suggestion came on my mind while researching for a new host. Signed up and tested their service, really liked it, and now I’m with Cloudways.

Cloudways Platform, A Brief Introduction

What is CloudWays?

Unlike the widely used consumer-friendly options like Bluehost, HostGator or Siteground, Cloudways adds the DIY touch to the WordPress hosting scene by bringing together an innovative, scalable, budget-friendly managed hosting platform with rich features and 24x7x365 support. Their newly redesigned website looks sleek and comes with a neat UI.

CloudWays Features

With Cloudways, you can spin up “pay as you go” servers based on DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Platform. Apart from that, Cloudways platform comes with handy performance-boosting technologies, including PHP7, Nginx, Redis, Memcached, Varnish, HTTP/2 and add-ons like DNS Made Easy, Rackspace Email, Elastic Email, CloudwaysCDN and more.

Cloudways Pricing

CloudWays Pricing

As you can see, Cloudways is a “Pay As You Go” platform; meaning, you will pay only for the resources you consume. You can either bind a credit card to automate the billing or use PayPal to add funds.

Base Packages

  • DigitalOcean – Starting at $10/month.
  • Linode – Starting at $12/month.
  • Vultr – Starting at $11/month.
  • Google Compute Engine – Starting at $34.17/month.
  • Amazon Web Service – Starting at $36.04/month.

Build A WP Site With Cloudways

3-Day Free Trial

You can Get Started for FREE using a valid email ID or with LinkedIn, GitHub or Google+ accounts. Keep in mind that they’ll ask for a working phone number (not a VoIP or Google Voice number) during registration. Also, note that you have to initiate a chat with customer support to start your 3-day free trial without a credit card.

Cloudways Activation

It took about 15 minutes for Cloudways to review my account. Here’s the screenshot of the conversation I had with Zeeshan at Cloudways.

Cloudways Chat

The customer support team will ask you to provide the email ID and website URL (not mandatory) for initial review. Later, they will send you a confirmation email to activate the account.

CloudWays Activation Email

The whole process was smooth, and you can create a new WordPress application right away for testing. “Need a Hand” button on the right side will open Help Center, which will be a goldmine for beginners to managed hosting.

CloudWays Start New Server

Click LAUNCH NOW after choosing the application and server details.

Why Choose Cloudways for WordPress

The Cloudways platform assures high-speed performance, managed security and expert support.

Above mentioned are the essential factors to look for when you’re purchasing a managed hosting service. Let’s look at the key features.

Server Speed & Performance

I have experience managing servers at a root level. Even though Cloudways doesn’t provide root access, they offer a wide array of performance boosters essential for WordPress applications.

Cloudways High-Speed Performance WordPress

Built-in Advanced Caches

Cloudways provide an optimized stack with ready to use caches including Memcached, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis to deliver expedited responses.

PHP 7 Ready Servers

All Cloudways server are PHP 7.x ready, which is known to be significantly faster than its predecessor.

Cloudways also give you the option to Control Core Services that allow your application(s) to run. You can optimize it now and then if you know what you’re doing.

CloudwaysCDN (New)

Cloudways Add-ons

Cloudways platform now comes with CloudwaysCDN, a new powerful and straightforward service that delivers superior performance and excellent global response times.

It can be integrated quickly and will significantly improve the speed of your WordPress website.

Auto-Healing Managed Cloud Servers

Auto-healing lessens your worries about website crashing or downtime. Cloudways is equipped with auto-healing and comes to site’s rescue.

Free WordPress Cache Plugin

Breeze by Cloudflare

Breeze; the WordPress plugin engineered by Cloudways team offers better WordPress performance boosting comparing to other cache and performance plugins.

Breeze WordPress plugin comes pre-installed on Cloudways.

Redis Support

Enabling Redis improves the performance of databases. Combined with Apache, Nginx, and Varnish; you’re looking at unbeatable performance.

Pre-configured PHP-FPM

PHP-FPM speeds up your website and improves the loading times of your PHP environment.

HTTP/2 Supported Servers (New)

Cloudways servers are HTTP/2 enabled which significantly increases the speed of communication between the web servers and clients.

Managed Security

Security is essential even if you are running a personal website or a professional blog that attracts a fair amount of traffic.

Cloudways platform is equipped with security practices to keep your servers safe.

Dedicated Firewalls

According to the Cloudways, all servers hosted by Cloudways are protected by OS-level firewalls that filter out malicious traffic and keep out the intruders.

1-Click Free SSL Installation

Cloudways platform comes with built-in Let’s Encrypt SSL. It also lets you add your SSL certificates easily with few clicks.

Get A 3-Days Trial for Cloudways

IP Whitelisting

The Cloudways platform lets you create a whitelist of IPs, making it easy to collaborate with networks or regions with unrestricted access to SSH and SFTP.

Regular Security Patching

Cloudflare claims they perform regular OS patches and firmware upgrades on servers. Security patches ensure a robust managed cloud server experience by avoiding vulnerabilities.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication (TFA)  adds an extra layer of safety to your Cloudways account.

Adding A WordPress Application

Adding a WordPress application is pretty straightforward on Cloudways.

Visit https://platform.cloudways.com/apps and click on + Add Application button to add a new app to the server.

Cloudways Console

You can set a primary domain, install Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate (including wildcard SSL) and optimize the site afterward. This console is pretty intuitive.

Migrate a Cloudflare-enabled site to Cloudways

Backup, Clone/Staging and Migration

Backup

Cloudways Backup

You can perform an on-demand backup of your server via the console. Cloudways console also has an option to enable Local Backups; this will additionally create a downloadable copy of all the applications present on your server.

Clone App/Create Staging

Cloudways Staging Feature

Cloning/staging is a great beta feature Cloudways providing for its community. Cloudways lets you create staging apps and move data between staging and live applications.

Migration

Cloudways provides a decent migration tool to move the site from your old host to Cloudways platform. I’ve already written an article on this topic. You can read it here if you’re planning to migrate a website with SSL enabled.

Cloudways WordPress Migrator

Download CloudWays WordPress Migrator

Server and App Monitoring

Cloudways Server Monitoring

Cloudways provides performance graphs on various aspects of your server. They have partnered with Newrelic to offer built-in App Monitoring as well.

You can enable New Relic agent in the Services section of the console.

Customer Support

Yes, support should be a priority while choosing a cloud platform for WordPress. You don’t want to end up in the hands of a service provider that doesn’t respond to your queries and concerns promptly.

Cloudways customer support team are the best, period. You can talk to the Customer Success Team via live chat, or submit a ticket through the ticketing system. They’ve recently launched a community website as well.

You can access it here: https://community.cloudways.com/

Their Knowlege Base is well-documented also. Most articles are beginner friendly and reminded me that of NameCheap’s KB articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How good is Cloudways support?

Their Live Chat Support Team is available 24/7/365 for everyone. You can also create a Support Ticket. If you are an enterprise customer, you may contact [email protected]

Do I need a credit card to sign up for a free trial?

No. A credit card is not required. However, you’d only have three days to test the platform.

Can I have servers on separate pricing plans and different cloud providers?

Yes, you can launch multiple servers of the same or different cloud hosting plans and providers. It is entirely up to you.

How many applications can I launch on a single server

There is no restriction on the number of apps you can start on a single server.  However, plan well according to your server specifications.

What if I exceed my bandwidth?

Bandwidth is calculated based on the provider you select.

  • On Amazon and Google servers, bandwidth billing is on demand at all times.
  • Vultr charges $0.02 to $0.05 per GB for additional bandwidth usage (varies with data center region).
  • DigitalOcean charges $0.02 per GB for additional bandwidth usage.

How to cancel Cloudways account?

Cloudways is a “Pay as you go” platform. You can cancel the account by deleting your servers anytime, and you only need to pay for what you’ve used.

Verdict

I am familiar with DigitalOcean, and I love using Cloudways as a platform because it’s flexible and transparent. I can add my clients for billing and even add team members for collaboration.

The platform is quite intuitive so that I can teach my clients’ very basic stuff without taking 100% responsibility for the project.

Cloudways is ideal for professional bloggers and small to medium-sized companies as well. If you are skeptical, go ahead and test the platform for three days.

Goodluck!

Get Started With Cloudways for FREE!

Best PayPal Plugins for WordPress & WooCommerce

Affordable Cloud Platform – Run Multiple WP Sites – Get Started for FREE!

PayPal is undoubtedly one of the faster, safer ways to send money and make online payments. Most of the e-commerce websites and online merchants accept PayPal payments.

This blog post is for website owners, merchants and professional bloggers who prefer to receive online payments via PayPal. Without further ado, let’s look at the best PayPal plugins for WordPress sites and WooCommerce store.

Note: I strictly avoided reviewing old WordPress PayPal plugins, and those are not compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

PayPal Express Checkout Payment Gateway for WooCommerce

Are you running a WooCommerce store? Do you plan to integrate express checkout in the product pages? Then this is the plugin you need.  Developed by WebToffe, PayPal Express Checkout Payment Gateway for WooCommerce is a handy plugin that expands the standard PayPal payment option within WooCommerce.

With this PayPal plugin, your potential customer can use their credit card or PayPal balance to make order from cart page itself. This guarantees smoother experience for the users as they never have to leave your website for making payments.

Furthermore, the plugin is well-documented and costs $59.00 if you need the premium version. I highly recommend you to try the live demo before making the purchase.

PayPal for WooCommerce

Another plugin ideal for WooCommerce store owners. PayPal for WooCommerce makes it quick and easy for its users to integrate PayPal Express Checkout and Payments Pro into a WordPress / WooCommerce shopping cart system. This plugin fully supports WooCommerce Subscriptions and WooCommerce Payment Tokens as well.

Note: Payments Pro is PayPal’s complete online payment processing solution. By using their plugin, they can get you hooked up with PayPal Payments Pro with no monthly fee (U.S. and Canada merchants only.)

This free plugin has proper documentation, and they’re quite active on the support forum. It is recommended to read the reviews before installing.

Quick Paypal Payments

Quick PayPal Payments

Just as the name suggests, this free plugin is quite straightforward that lets you accept payments using a shortcode. The plugin now comes with features like Instant Payment Notifications, In-Context Checkout and GDPR compliancy options.

I searched a lot for WordPress PayPal plugins. Most were bulky and not meeting all my needs. I was building a website for a non-profit and needed to accept donations online with PayPal, with pre-defined or a custom amount. Sounds a simple need but a lot of PayPal plugins did not have this feature. I landed on this plugin and just fell in love with it!

Very easy to set up. Great customization of the form and its styles. Fantastic support from Graham who wrote this plugin! And a very affordable and deserving price. What else do you want in a plugin?

Thanks to Graham for building this awesome plugin!

pushkard

The plugin is known for its straightforwardness, simplicity, and support. Therefore, give it a try if you’re looking a minimal solution.

PayPal Donations

Are you running a non-profit organization? Do you need funding for your blog? This plugin comes in handy if you plan to accept donations via PayPal. This Free plugin adds a PayPal donation shortcode and sidebar Widget to WordPress. The options menu lets you set up your PayPal ID and a few other optional settings.

PayPal Donations

The plugin is well documented and has options available for currency, localization of the button (16 languages), custom payment page style, and the return page. Furthermore, there are optional advanced settings available to fine tune the setup in specific scenarios.

Contact Form 7 – PayPal & Stripe Add-on

This is another great PayPal plugin that seamlessly integrates PayPal (and Stripe) with Contact Form 7. Each contact form on your website can have its own PayPal & Stripe settings. When a contact form is enabled with PayPal, and the user submits the form it will send the email (as usual) and auto redirects to PayPal.

PayPal & Stripe plugin works with both the old and new Contact Form 7 interface. It has got built-in support for 18 languages and 25 currencies. This plugin also allows PayPal testing through SandBox.

The Contact Form 7 – PayPal & Stripe Add-on plugin is intuitive, and the developer is quite active on the support forum to answer the queries.

The pro version of this PayPal plugin comes with handy features including:

  • Send Contact Form 7 email only if the PayPal payment is successful.
  • Link a form item to quantity – A form item can be a textbox, dropdown, radio button, etc. anything that is a number.
  • Link a form item to price – The price field can be linked to any form item. Pipes are supported to allow for drop-down text options for each price.
  • Link form items to option text fields – The text field can be linked to any form item.
  • Charge Fixed Tax
  • Charge Tax Rate
  • Charge Shipping & Handling per item
  • Hide Customer’s Custom Note Field
  • Choose a cancel payment URL per contact form
  • Choose a successful payment URL per contact form

Get the pro version of Contact Form 7 – PayPal & Stripe Add-on

I hope this article helped you find the best PayPal WordPress plugin that fit your needs. Do let me know if you’ve some other plugin recommendations. I’ll review and update here.


Need help?

Need a custom solution to integrate multiple payment gateways on your website? I can help you with the same and improve the growth strategy of your site. Contact me right away!

Migrate a Cloudflare-Enabled WordPress Site to CloudWays

I’ve been using CloudWays for a while; it turns out to be a great platform to spin-up servers and manage applications efficiently. Quite frankly, they are one of the best hosting providers out there that promise quality managed-hosting solutions for affordable pricing.


This guide is only applicable to Cloudflare free SSL certificate users.


Previously, I wrote a quick guide on how to set up CloudWays Let’s Encrypt SSL and Cloudflare SSL together without throwing an infinite redirection loop or 5xx errors. Today, I’ll show you how to migrate a Cloudflare-enabled WordPress site to Cloudways seamlessly without hurting the SEO and HSTS settings.

Backstory

Click here to skip the backstory and jump to the main steps.

Well, I decided to pen this guide because I’ve gone through the same situation. I had more than 10 WordPress instances on my BandwagonHOST server. They are fantastic, but I wanted dedicated Singapore servers, and DigitalOcean was the only reasonable option left.

However, there are limitations when you directly use DigitalOcean. It doesn’t come up with impressive end-user-friendly features like CloudWays. On top of that, I prefer to give dedicated access to my clients and add them as the team members. DigitalOcean can be too much for the client-side. CloudWays seems more flexible for clients with inter-mediate WordPress skills.

Hence I chose CloudWays and decided to move all the WordPress sites. I had to go through a few uninvited hiccups during the transition (damn infinite redirection loop).

Finally, I figured out a quick solution to fix these issues and make my website migrations an easy-peasy process.

Select Cloudflare in the WAF Module

Quite important. Do it before migrating your WordPress sites to CloudWays.

Log into the Cloudways Platform with your credentials. Then click on the Advanced tab in the Server Settings & Packages section under the Server Management area.

CloudWays Advanced Tab

Under the Advanced tab. Select CloudFlare under WAF Module and save the settings by clicking on Save Changes.

Install the Cloudflare Flexible SSL, Really Simple SSL Plugins on the Old Host

Doing this will promise 100% successful migration. I’m sure you’ve already installed these plugins on your WordPress site to avoid Cloudflare redirection loop. Do it if you haven’t.

Flexible SSL

This plugin is essential for enabling Flexible SSL on WordPress and will prevent infinite redirect loops when loading your Cloudways WordPress sites under CloudFlare’s Flexible SSL system.

Install the Cloudflare Flexible SSL Plugin

Download Cloudflare Flexible SSL Plugin.

Really simple SSL

This plugin makes sure your site is loading over https://all the time. It is essential to install this one as well.

Install really simple SSL Cloudflare

Download Really Simple SSL Plugin.

Turn off Cloudflare CDN, Point Your Domain & Generate Let’s Encrypt SSL

Next tip to make sure the site works well after migration. We can temporarily point the domain to the new CloudWays host (server) for a few minutes just to generate Let’s Encrypt SSL. We’re doing this to make sure the host won’t throw any hiccups after migration.

Why Should I Point My Domain to CloudWays?

It is not possible to create Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates in Cloudways platform while the CloudFlare CDN is active, so turn it off by clicking the Orange Cloud as shown in the image. The Grey Cloud means CloudFlare CDN is off.

Turning off Cloudflare CDN & Pointing The Domain

Turn off DNS as shown in the image below. Replace 127.0.0.1 with your server’s IP.

Turn off Cloudflare CDN to generate CloudWays Let's Encrypt SSL Certificates

Now visit the CloudWays platform and fill in your PRIMARY DOMAIN in the Domain Management section. Save Changes afterward.

How to point your Domain to CloudWays

Generate Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate

Now generate the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate by accessing the SSL Certificate section. Be sure to create a Wildcard SSL Certificate and set a new CNAME record as suggested by CloudWays.

Generate SSL Cloudways

Save Changes and wait for CloudWays to generate Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.

You can confirm the Let’s Encrypt SSL status by visiting the newly propagated WordPress site over https. Click on the padlock from the URL bar, and check detailed SSL certificate info.

Switch Back to The Old Host, Turn on Cloudflare CDN & Migrate

This process is dead simple. Just edit the A record and fill your old host’s IP address. Then turn on Cloudflare CDN.

Migration

Visit the old website, download and Install CloudWays WordPress Migrator. The plugin is quite intuitive, and it will do the rest.


Pro tip: Disable security plugins and add-ons before migrating. Doing so will make sure that the new host doesn’t get confused by your security settings. i.e. disable backend URL modifications just to be on the safe side. You can activate these plugins after migration.


Cloudways WordPress Migrator

Download CloudWays WordPress Migrator

Enable SSH Access & Generate Credentials

Enable SSH access within the Application Settings.

Enable SSH access CloudWays

Generate App Credentials also.

Enable SFTP CloudWays

Now enter the following details in the plugin interface to migrate:

  1. Enter any email address.
  2. Your Destination Site URL (fill in your domainname.tld with https enabled since we’ve already set the primary domain and generated SSL certificate in the CloudWays Application Settings interface).
  3. Enter your Database name.
  4. Enter your Server Public IP address.
  5. SFTP Username (for the particular app).
  6. SFTP Password.
  7. Agree to TOS and click on Migrate button to start migrating your website.

Here’s how it may look like:

Migrate Your Site to Cloudways

That’s about it. Good luck!

FAQ

Here are my answers to the questions someone posted on Cloudflare community website.

Q. The actual migration itself is as simple as pointing the A record to the new domain, right?

A. No, refer to the guide.

Q. Will WordPress sort out the URL issues, images and such when the staging site’s URL gets changed? What steps do I need to take to not end up with problems and broken images?

A. No need to worry, just use the migrator plugin as suggested in the guide.

Q. How do I ensure that the SSL certificate works when the migration is done – shall I install the SSL already on the staging site?

A. Please refer to this section in the guide.

Q. I have the option to use Let’sEncrypt SSL’s automatically from Cloudways – shall I opt for this rather than the Cloudflare certificate? If so, how and when do I make this switch?

A. You should opt for both. Read my previous guide on how to set up CloudWays Let’s Encrypt SSL and Cloudflare SSL together.

Q. Do I create a new Cloudflare account for the staging site with a new SSL certificate?

A. You wouldn’t need a staging site at all. You can create a subdomain and point it to CloudWays if you’re too worried.

Q. Do I migrate the site without SSL certificate first and then only apply it once the domain migration is completed?

A. No need, just follow my instructions in this guide.

Q. How do I ensure that the HSTS settings don’t leave my site hanging, or people unable to reach the site?

A. It will work after the migration.

Q. SEO-wise, is there anything to consider during a migration?

A. None and no need to worry about SEO.


Need help?

Does this guide sound too much of a tech jargon? I can help you migrate your Cloudflare-enabled site to CloudWays host for the price of a cup of coffee. Contact me right away!

How to Add Typekit Fonts to A WordPress Website

Let’s assume you’re not happy with the “wide range” of Google fonts.  This blog post will teach you how to add Typekit fonts to your WordPress site manually without using a plugin. Skip introduction.

Typography Matters

Typography is all about adjusting the text within the design while creating compelling content. It provides an attractive appearance and preserves the aesthetic value of your content. It plays a vital role in setting the overall tone of your website and ensures a great user experience.

Typography expresses personality and is a part of your identity

Read: 5 Reasons Why Typography Matters (External Link)

Why Adobe Typekit

Adobe Typekit is a subscription service for fonts which you can sync to your computer or use on a website. Instead of licensing individual fonts, you can sign up for the plan that best suits your needs and get a library of fonts from which to choose.

Why Use Typekit?

This blog post will teach you how to add Typekit fonts to your WordPress site manually.

  • You don’t need a third-party plugin to embed Typekit fonts on a WordPress website.
  • Intended Audience: Intermediate WP users.

Add Typekit Fonts to A WordPress Website

Follow these steps precisely.

    1. Visit Typekit.com & create a Kit ID.

      Select a plan and create a font kit for your website. Ignore this step if you have got the Typekit CSS or JS code in handy.

      Create a Kit ID
      Credit: Adobe Help Center

      Copy the specific Kit ID for the web project; We’ll use this Kit ID in the next step.

    2. Open the Theme Editor.

      Visit Appearance → Theme Editor and edit the Theme Header (header.php) file.

      Copy and paste the following code anywhere between <head> and </head>.

      Replace fnw3sdq with your Adobe Typekit Kit ID.

      <!-- BEGIN Typekit Fonts for WordPress --> 
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://use.typekit.net/fnw3sdq.css"> 
      <!-- END Typekit Fonts for WordPress -->
    3. Set Custom CSS Rules.

      Style rule varies according to the WordPress theme you’re using. Visit Appearance → Customizer and look for the Additional CSS section.

      Here’s an example, just for reference:

      h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {
      text-transform: none;
      font-family: "sofia-pro",sans-serif;
      font-weight: 600;
      }
      
      body, button, input, select, textarea {
      font-family: proxima-nova;
      font-weight: 400;
      text-transform: none;
      }

      The set of CSS rules should be customized according to your current theme and its preferences.

      Happy styling! Feel free to comment if you need any guidance. Contact me by email if you prefer dedicated support.

Need help?

Please tip me. I’ll help you set any Typekit font on your WordPress website.

How to Use Cloudflare And CloudWays SSL Together

Cloudways is undoubtedly a great managed web hosting service provider. Their one-click features are impeccable if you’re new to the whole hosting scene. They’re also good at providing documentation for all topics related to their platform and its features.

But, to be honest, there is no detailed or specific documentation on the “Cloudflare flexible/full/strict SSL + CloudWays SSL” subject. Things can go south if you enable Cloudflare flexible SSL and CloudWays’ free Let’sEncrypt certificates together without tweaking a few settings.

Learn How to Install Cloudflare and CloudWays SSL Together on a WordPress Site

Let’s see how we can successfully set up Cloudflare and CloudWays SSL together on a WordPress site without generating infinite redirection loops or 5xx errors.

Disclaimer: Backup or create a clone of your website before proceeding. Try this AT YOUR OWN RISK. I’ve tested this one on three sites (during migration), and it worked flawlessly.

Select Cloudflare in the WAF Module

Assuming that you’ve already added your site to Cloudflare and Cloudflare has issued a free SSL certificate (it takes up to 24 hours for the same), here’s what you should do next.

Log into the Cloudways Platform with your credentials. Then click on the Advanced tab in the Server Settings & Packages section under the Server Management area.

CloudWays Advanced Tab

Under the Advanced tab. Select CloudFlare under WAF Module and save the settings by clicking on Save Changes.

Turn off Cloudflare CDN to generate CloudWays Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates

It is not possible to create Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates in Cloudways platform while the CloudFlare CDN is active, so turn it off by clicking the Orange Cloud as shown in the image. The Grey Cloud means CloudFlare CDN is off.

Turn off Cloudflare CDN to generate CloudWays Let's Encrypt SSL Certificates

Setup Primary Domain & Generate the Let’s Encrypt SSL

You know the drill, visit Cloudways platform, create an app, and set the primary domain in Domain Management.

Now generate the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate by accessing the SSL Certificate section. Be sure to create a Wildcard SSL Certificate and set a new CNAME record as suggested by CloudWays.

Generate SSL Cloudways

Install the Cloudflare Flexible SSL, Really Simple SSL Plugins & Turn on Cloudflare SSL

Flexible SSL

This plugin is essential for enabling Flexible SSL on WordPress and will prevent infinite redirect loops when loading your Cloudways WordPress sites under CloudFlare’s Flexible SSL system.

Install the Cloudflare Flexible SSL Plugin

Download Cloudflare Flexible SSL Plugin.

Really simple SSL

This plugin makes sure your site is loading over https:// all the time. It is essential to install this one as well.

Install really simple SSL Cloudflare

Download Really Simple SSL Plugin.

Turn on Cloudflare CDN

Go ahead and turn on Cloudflare CDN after enabling the plugins listed above.

Enable Cloudflare CDN Cloudways

After the CloudFlare SSL is active, you can change it to Full Strict. It’s up to you.


Need help?

Does this guide sound too much of a tech jargon? I can help you fix the SSL certificate issue of your website for the price of a cup of coffee. Contact me right away!

Mass Unfollow LinkedIn Connections

The article will be updated often. Bookmark this page to keep track of the LinkedIn unfollow script.

Can I bulk unfollow people on LinkedIn?

Yeah, you can. I’ve just compiled the fastest and safest method to mass unfollow LinkedIn connections.

Backstory

LinkedIn is great. But their reaction/feed algorithm is cluttered.

I don’t expect LinkedIn to behave like Facebook.

So I made the decision to mass unfollow my LinkedIn connections and only follow the key-people. I found a new script while browsing public repositories on GitHub. I’ve tested it on Chrome, and I’ll share it here.

How To Mass Unfollow LinkedIn Connections?

Bulk Unfollow People on LinkedIn

Follow the steps listed below to bulk unfollow LinkedIn connections.

  1. Visit www.linkedin.com/feed/following.

    Open Chrome on your Mac or PC, and visit the link.

  2. Open Developer Tools in Chrome.

    Right Click -> Inspect. Switch to the console tab.

  3. Paste the script to the console and press enter.

    Copy the script from here: unfollow.js

  4. Please Enter and wait for the script to do its job.

    If the script breaks in the middle, reload the page and repeat the process until the following count reaches zero and LinkedIn displays ‘Follow Fresh Perspectives’. Good luck.

Donate

Please support if you’d like by leaving a feedback on my Google page or by donating through PayPal or Alipay. Patrons (surname hidden):

  1. Alex
  2. Joseph

Let’s connect? Feel free to add me as a connection on LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss further. And yes, you may unfollow me right away. 😉

Download & Install iOS 15 Without Developer Account

Disclaimer: The following article is meant for educational purposes only. iOS Beta Profile linked on this website is a digitally signed property of Apple. I do not host Apple Beta configuration profiles on my website and servers. Skip the introduction.

The tutorial is applicable to all iOS 15.x.x beta releases. A guide for iPadOS 15 beta profile is available at the bottom of this article. I’ve published this article for informational and educational purposes only.

Apple unveiled iOS 15 at WWDC 2021. This version of iOS looks very sleek in my opinion. For example, iOS 15 makes FaceTime calls more natural, introduces SharePlay for shared experiences, helps users focus and be in the moment with new ways to manage notifications, and brings more intelligence to photos and search to quickly access information.

However, iOS 15 beta previews are only available to the developer community for the time being. Meaning, you need to have a developer account to download and install iOS beta 15.x on your iOS devices.

Luckily, there are workarounds to install iOS 15 beta previews without a developer account. All you have to do is install an iOS 15 Beta Profile.

How To Install iOS 15.x Without Developer Account?

Disclaimer & Credits

  1. iOS Beta Profile as seen on betaprofiles.com.
  2. Download and install beta versions of iOS at your own risk.
  3. Cover image and video via apple.com

Compatibility

The iOS 15 compatibility information will be available later on Apple.com. According to Apple Newsroom, iOS 15 software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later.

Start a WordPress Blog in China

A lot of expats prefer to share the adventure in China with their friends back home. Legends say starting a WordPress blog in China can be painstaking. That’s bullshit. All you need is a VPN service to get started.

Update 2: Published a new guide on how to start a blog.

Update 1: I highly recommend RamNode servers also. Their servers are dirt cheap compared to managed hosting solutions. Contact me on WeChat @mighil if you need help setting up a website based on RamNode servers.

Why A Self-hosted WordPress Blog in China?

Dedicated hosting can be pricey since they come with one-click tools. A lot of blogging platforms doesn’t work well in China as well.

So, it’s wise to host your own WordPress blog. I’ve prepared this ultimate guide to teach you how to make a self-hosted personal WordPress website in China.

Note: This post contains 2 affiliate links and a referral link. Which means I will earn a small commission when you purchase using my links. No extra cost to you.

If this guide sounds too much of a tech jargon:

You may hire me to set up a WordPress blog in China.

Prerequisites:

a. VPN

A VPN is essential. A lot of websites I’m going to mention below doesn’t work well in China. Feel free to use my affiliate link in the sidebar to sign-up with Express VPN. Their service is pretty good in China.

b. Domain name

A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. You know the drill; go ahead and buy a domain name that reflects your brand name.

I prefer NameCheap over Gandi.net since it has got a faster interface. Go ahead and use my affiliate link (starts from 0.88USD/year) if you prefer to register a domain using namecheap.com.

c. A Virtual Private Server (VPS) to host your website.

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual machine sold as a service by an Internet hosting service. Many companies including Aliyun in China offer virtual private server hosting or virtual dedicated server hosting as an extension for web hosting services.

There are several challenges to consider when licensing proprietary software in multi-tenant virtual environments. With unmanaged or self-managed hosting, the customer is left to administer their server instance. However, shared/dedicated hosting + cPanel in China can be pricey.

Services like Hostgator comes with one-click options, but you’ve got to pay the price for the same. So, we’ll be self-managing a DigitalOcean droplet (VPS) based on Ubuntu or CentOS.

Why DigitalOcean?

Even though, DigitalOcean is not for everybody. As a beginner, it’s something I’d recommend. You can learn a lot more about VPS in general when you start from scratch without anyone’s help. Feel free to join DigitalOcean using my referral link.

d. Putty or Terminal and WinSCP or Cyberduck

Putty or Terminal

You’d need an SSH client to login to your VPS.

PuTTY is an SSH and telnet client, developed originally by Simon Tatham for the Windows platform. Use Terminal if you’re using a Mac.

WinSCP or Cyberduck

Not everyone is a Linux savvy. As a beginner, you won’t be flexible with using Linux commands to move/copy and edit files. Hence you’d need an SFTP/FTP client to view, edit and manage the data on your server.

WinSCP is a free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 and SCP client for Microsoft Windows.

I suggest Cyberduck for Mac users since I use it often. You have other options like FileZilla for Windows and Transmit for Mac. Use any SFTP software you’re comfortable with.

e. Others

  1. You’ll be using VestaCP (free and open-source control panel) as the default VPS control panel to host the WordPress website on your server.
  2. For the managed DNS part and to speed up your website in China, I’d suggest Cloudflare since their interface is sleek. They also provide a free SSL. Having a Cloudflare generated SSL certificate is crucial since Google will be counting HTTPS as a ranking factor. Go ahead, visit cloudflare.com and create an account right away.

I hope you’ve got a basic idea now. Fire up ExpressVPN, let’s start a WordPress blog in China.

A. Buy A Domain

Purchasing a domain on NameCheap is pretty much straight-forward. Sign-up, search for a domain name of your choice, add it to the cart and make payment. After the purchase, visit this URL and click “manage”.

Note:

  • You can purchase a .cn domain and host it outside of China with the help of Chinese friend.
  • You don’t need a China ICP license for hosting the .cn domain outside of China.

Buy and Manage Domain NameCheap

Once you click “manage”, you’ll see something like this.

Manage NameCheap domain

Keep the browser window idle and proceed to the next step.

B. Add Site to Cloudflare

Visit cloudflare.com and log in to your account. Visit this URL or click “+ Add Site” located in the upper right corner.

Cloudflare Add Site

Now fill in your domain name and click “Add Site.”

Cloudflare Add Domain

Click “Next”, select the free plan and click “Confirm Plan.”

Cloudflare Free Plan

Now, wait for Cloudflare to finish querying your DNS records.

Cloudflare DNS Query

Usually, Cloudflare will return your current DNS settings (aka NameCheap default settings). But sometimes it may display an error like “we are unable to find your DNS settings.” Just click “Next”.

As you can see below, Cloudflare will ask you to change your nameservers.

Cloudflare Nameservers

Visit the idle window I mentioned at the end of step 1. Select the “Custom DNS” in the NAMESERVERS section and fill the nameservers as suggested by Cloudflare and Click save.

Cloudflare Custom DNS

Switch the active window to the Cloudflare setup and click “Continue.” Give it a few minutes for the DNS propagation. The Cloudflare status will be “Active” after DNS propagation.

C. Create A DigitalOcean Droplet

DigitalOcean calls its cloud servers Droplets; each Droplet you create is a new server for your personal use.

If you are a new user, DigitalOcean will ask you either top up 5$ credit or add a preferred payment method.

I’d top up 5$ via PayPal since it’s the wise choice than adding a credit/debit card. Now sign in to your DigitalOcean account and visit the dashboard.

Click “Create Droplet” and refer to the screenshot below:

Create Droplet DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean VPS pricing starts from 5USD per month. Choose an ideal server for your personal website.

Since we are in China, I’d recommend Singapore location for hosting the WordPress site.  

CloudFlare has got data centers in China, and it will make sure your website delivers content without any lag.

Go ahead and select the 5USD server if you are setting up a personal website aiming less than 10k users per month.

Note:

  1. You can upgrade and optimize droplets whenever you like.
  2. I’ve selected Ubuntu 16.04.4. You can choose CentOS 7.5 x64 as well. Keep in mind that Ubuntu uses apt with DEB packages, while CentOS uses the YUM package manager with RPM packages. In this tutorial, I will be using “yum” often. CentOS is believed to be more stable because it has less frequent updates to their packages.
  3. I highly recommend readers to learn more about SSH keys and generate/set-up SSH keys while creating a droplet. SSH keys provide a more secure way of logging into a virtual private server with SSH than using a password alone.

Click “create” if everything looks ok for you. DigitalOcean will generate Public IP, one-time root password and send it over to your registered email address.

D. Install VestaCP On CentOS

Step 1: Login to your server as root

Use the credentials DigitalOcean sent you over email to log in.

Open up Putty on Windows. Things are pretty much intuitive on Windows. If you find it confusing, read this article.

In case you are using a Mac, open Terminal, type the following and hit enter:

$ ssh [email protected]

Replace 67.218.xxx.xx with your server’s IP address. 

After logging in for the first time, DigitalOcean’s Linux distro will force you to change the password. Just do it.

Step2:  Install Vesta CP

Download installation script

$ curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh

Run it to start the installation

$ bash vst-install.sh

Ubuntu may ask you to force the installation sometimes. Run this command to do it:

$ bash vst-install.sh -f

It will ask you type in the host name and email address. It’s wise to not use your domainname.tld as the hostname.

Use something like cp.domainname.tld. 

VestaCP roughly needs 5 to 10 minutes to finish the installation.  It will display the login URL and admin credentials upon completing the installation.

E. Configure DNS

Visit the DNS section of your website in Cloudflare.com.

Set CNAME and A records as follows.

  • A Record – Name: @, ipv4 address: 67.218.xxx.xx
  • A Record – Name: cp, ipv4 address: 67.218.xxx.xx
  • CNAME record – Name: www, Domain Name: @

Don’t forget to replace 67.218.150.74 with your server’s IP.

Make sure it looks like this after editing.

Cloudflare DNS

F. Add New Website on VestaCP

Step 1: Visit the VestaCP login URL.

It may look like https://67.218.xxx.xx:8083

Log in using the credentials you saved before. Change the admin password after logging in.

Feel free to tweak other settings according to your preference.

Step 2: Add a website

Visit the WEB section in the VestaCP and click the “ADD WEB DOMAIN” button.

VestaCP Add New Domain

Fill in the domainname.tld (eg: mynewsite.com) and select the default IP address. Click the ADVANCED OPTIONS and edit the Alias to www.domainname.tld. Click “Add” when you’re ready.

VestaCP New Domain

Wait for few seconds and visit domainname.tld. You’d see a dummy home page generated by VestaCP.

Step 3: Create a Database for WordPress

VestaCP has installed default software stacks required for WordPress.

You have to create MySQL database right now so we can use the same during WordPress installation.

To do this, visit the DB section of your VestaCP. Click “Add DB and fill in the details.

VestaCP Database

Note: Prefix admin_ will be automatically added to database name and database user. It’s a VestaCP setting by default.

Click “Add” when you’re ready. Save the database details somewhere safe.

G. Download And Install WordPress

Oh boy! we’re almost there. Let’s install WordPress already!

Login to your VPS using Putty/Terminal as root user. Use cd to navigate to the domainname.tld folder located inside the home folder.

$ cd /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

Go ahead and download WordPress to the public_html folder using the following command:

$ wget http://wordpress.org/latest.zip

Now unzip the wordpress.zip folder by:

$ unzip latest.zip

Wait patiently and let it finish the thing.

Move it from wordpress folder to the public_html folder afterwards:

$ cd wordpress
$ shopt -s dotglob; mv -- * ..

Now go back to the public_folder.

$ cd /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

Delete the default index.html file and the WordPress folder generated while unzipping.

$ rm index.html
$ rmdir wordpress

Now move the wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php using the following command:

$ mv wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

Now you have to edit the wp-config.php file. You may use WinSCP/Cyberduck to do the same.

Connect to your server using the root credentials. Open the wp-config.php file located in /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

how to edit wp-config.php

Replace database_name_here with the database name you’ve generated on VestaCP. Fill in the username, password as well and click save.

Open Putty/Terminal again and log in to your VPS as the root user.

Run this command to set chown rules for VestaCP admin user:

$ chown -R admin:admin /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html

It will come handy when you’re about to install a new theme/plugin on WordPress.

Now visit your website and finish the WordPress installation.

Read this guide to setup CloudFlare flexible SSL for your WordPress website.

That’s it, happy WordPress powered blogging in China!

Chat With China Web Consultant

If you have set-up a new blog about your life in China feel free to share the link via email. I’ll add you to the “great success” list.

Direct all technical questions to WeChat: mighil.

Things to Know Before Coming to Chengdu

Disclaimer: This an unformatted guest post. The article may be dated as well. I encourage you to read my thoughts on life in Chengdu (up-to-date). Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect mine (mighil.com).

This is a guest post authored by Valéria Vicenti, A Brazilian Chengdu resident. Without further ado, let’s take a look at her take on “20+ things to know about living in Chengdu”.

Credit: cover image as seen on gochengdu.cn, other images as seen on justcharlie.com, seriouseats.com, and chengduplaces.com

Moving To Chengdu, Now What?

Arriving in a new country can generate a lot of doubts, concerns, worries, so I would like to share with you few tips that I have prepared to facilitate the arrival and understanding of friends in this New World of pleasant surprises and many teachings.

Chengdu is very clean

It does not have a paper on the floor, from the sights to the neighborhoods and public transport, everything very clean. Impressive!

Pollution

It exists, we can not deny. For each case a need or not the use of masks. On days of high pollution, it’s worth it to be careful and avoid big walks, but this year we did not feel anything that reflected in the poor quality of life or respiratory problems. Important you evaluate your physiological profile.

Climate

Well defined seasons with mild temperatures, compared to the north of the country. In the winter of this year, we had mornings with -2oC and afternoons that reached 14oC. The beginning of spring shows us days with maximums of 25oC, it is possible to walk in light clothes. In the summer, hot days with low pollution.

Safe city

With no visible risks to citizens, regardless of day or night time.

Kind and helpful locals

Most locals do not speak English but count on immeasurable sympathy in an attempt to help.

The food in Chengdu

Food in Chengdu is delicious, outstanding and Spicy. Western restaurants and menus are found throughout the city, both in the malls and in the sights. Casualties like Starbucks, BurgKing, KFC, Mcdonalds, Haagen Dazs are present all over town. World-class beer too, in supermarkets and in several restaurants. Attend to the temperature, ask for a cold beer. The warm flavored water will always be offered warmly throughout the meal. Cigarette smoking is not prohibited in many restaurants or even bars, so if you have any allergic problems, avoid enclosed places, or choose places that have non-smoking space (not many).

 

There is a useful application called SPOONHUNT

It can be used to translate restaurant menus. On SPOONHUNT, the menus are translated from Chinese to English, with photos and prices to help you place your order.

Speaking of habits

if you are invited to toast, the position of your cup in the toast corresponds to your hierarchical position, the higher your hierarchical position on the table, the higher your cup should be in relation to the other presents.

Will you give someone a present?

In the beginning, to avoid embarrassing situations, gift with chocolates or fine sweets. Always pleases!

Should I tip?

Expats who tips at bars and restaurants in other countries, do not practice this in China, people may get offended.

The local currency is the RMB,

Conversion tables on the internet will inform you the quotation of the day. Exchange money at the airport, on arrival in town, easier, simpler than exchanges at local authorized banks. Hotels are also options. Visa and Master Cards are accepted but less frequently than in other places in the world, so the importance of money as long as you do not have a Chinese bank account.

VPN

ExpressVPN is what we use, and for now without any complaint. And with it installed you have access to everything you have access in your country. Waze as GoogleTradutor became our inseparable friends.

Want to see how Chengdu looked like in the 80s? Click here.

I did not modify or edit any of the images you’re about to view. Go ahead and view the 100+ old Chengdu photos in high quality!!

Cost of living

Affordable price and ease make us move around the city by metro, taxi or Didi (Uber Chinese), safe and comfortable. For the taxi or Didi, always be with your destination address translated into Chinese to facilitate the driver. Use the Google Translate screen.

Prices here are similar to Brazil.

A good meal, in a restaurant with casual world standard, you will have an average expenditure per a couple of approximately 180 to 230RMB. The price of clothes and accessories at world-class stores is similar to the prices of the rest of the world, without much of a surprise. High prices for beef, milk and dairy products, compared to Brazil, mainly.

In supermarkets like Carrefour, Olé, Metro

you can find a wide variety of world brands, western products and brands for both food and service.

Casual brands of clothing and accessories

such as Zara, H & M, C & A, Boss, and several others, as well as classic traditional brands, can be found in the downtown shopping malls, mainly in IFS and Tai Ko Lii, also known as tourist points.

Looking for low prices for food, clothing, electronics etc.?

Check out TaoBao, the AliExpress family app. It’s in Chinese, so GoogleTradutor help is needed. For expatriates there is also the “adapted TaoBao”, Baopals.com, a shopping site also based on AliExpress / TaoBao but in English.

Will you need to buy a phone line?

You will first need to follow the bank to open your checking account. To purchase the phone line you will need to present your current account number in China.

In China you anticipate payments.

Light, water, cell phone, bike rental, parking etc need pre-payments so they are available for your use.

The retention time of the passport

to issue the stay visa by the responsible agency will take approximately 90 days.

License to drive

you will get after getting a hit of 90 of the 100 questions presented in the test. You can repeat the test as many times as necessary. There is an app with more than 1000 questions that will help you in your studies for the test. The test can be conducted in English, German, Spanish and other languages. Beware of traffic, especially in the headlights, being you pedestrian or driver.

Do you like daily general information about the city?

You can find China Daily, CCTV, China High Tech, China Xinhua News on Facebook or visit ChengduLiving.com.

Squat toilet instead of a seated toilet

The common toilets in China are the ones we need to squat to use. We can find restaurants and hotels in sightseeing “western” bathrooms more often.

Some basic Chinese daily phrases

“(nĭ hăo) means “hi”. “(hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ)means “nice to meet you”. (xièxiè) means “Thank you”. There are a lot of sites and applications available on the internet to learn Chinese, some interesting and recommended are: HelloChinese (para iniciantes), ChineseSkill, Chinese-Me

Useful Telephone Numbers in China

Here are the most useful emergency phone numbers you need to keep in mind when travelling to China. 119 to call firefighters, 120 is for medical emergency and 110 to call the police. However, If you want to know the phone numbers of local churches, governments or other organizations, you could dial 114, which support 24-hours services.

Good luck!

Are you interested in contributing? Would you like to share your thoughts on living in Chengdu?  Get in touch with me day!

Google Honors Teresa Teng

 

Today’s Doodle pays tribute to one of Teng’s most well-known songs, “The Moon Represents My Heart.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtGKEMCzCD4

Meaning of the Song (As seen on Edonn.com)

Like magic, love appears is replenished through time. And like magic, the moon appears to change through time. But does the moon really change over time?

It’s always the same moon, it’s only how it is viewed that makes it seem different. From certain angles, the moon reflects light in a certain way, from other angles, it reflects light in other ways.

And yet love, though seemingly different, never changes. Underneath the veil of a half-moon, or crescent moon or moonlessness, there is a full moon just waiting to appear.

Add to all this the significance of the moon in Chinese culture, and you get a great song.

Edonn.com 

Who is Teresa Teng?

Born in Yunlin, Taiwan, on January 29, 1953. Teng was able to move her audiences as much with the sweetness of her voice as with the power of melancholy emotion

She started her singing life as young as the age of 5. At the early age of 11 (1964), she won the Chinese Radio Station Huangmei Singing Contest by the song “Visiting Yingtai.” by 14 Years old, she hosted the show “Everyday One Star.”

In 1969, she played the leading role in the TV series “Thank You, Manager.” She was also invited to perform at a charity concert in Singapore.

In the same year, she sang the theme song for the first Taiwan TV series.

In 1970, Teresa’s first performance in Hong Kong was held. In 1971, she became the youngest person ever to be awarded the title of the Charity Queen of the Bai Hua You Arts Auction for making charity sales. She also signed to Life Records of Taiwan.

Teresa Teng

In 1972, she was filmed in the movie “Ms. Music Fan” with Mr. Chang Chung. In the same year, she made the Top 10 Singers list in Hong Kong.

Teresa Teng Google Doodle
Teresa decided to start singing in Japan in 1973, when she signed to Polydor Records of Japan, so she was determined to try her best in studying Japanese.

However, within a short period of 6 months, she was already able to communicate in Japanese with the staff of the company and during meetings. Her first Japanese Album “KONYA KASHIRA? ASHITA KASHIRA?” (Should it be tonight or tomorrow?) was released on March 1, 1974.

Her second Japanese album “KUUKOO” (Airport) was released on July 1, 1974. Through this song “KUUKOO” she won the Best New Singer award of Japan that year. She also signed to PolyGram Records of Hong Kong and released the album “Good Bye, My Love” in 1975. The following year, she held her first HK solo concert at Lee Theatre.

In 1977, she held her solo concert in Tokyo, Japan and won a television award for her song “I live for you.”

Teresa held her second solo concert of Hong Kong in 1978. In 1979, she held her first solo concert in the US and Canada.

Teresa also studied English at USC (University of Southern California) in California, USA. On the same year, the album “Small Town Story” was released.

In 1980, Teresa performed in the US at the Lincoln Theatre in New York and became the first Chinese to ever perform at the Los Angeles Music Center.

She held her third Hong Kong solo concert. In addition, she went to Taiwan to visit the Kinmen Island troops and performed at the Sun Yatsen Memorial in which all funds from tickets went to the Patriotic Fund.

Teresa won the Best Female Singer award in Taiwan. In the same year, her first Cantonese album was released.

In 1981, Teresa held 7 consecutive solo concerts in Hong Kong, breaking the record for the number of consecutive solo concerts by a single artist. Also, she won the record-breaking number of 5 platinum records in a single year in Hong Kong and also received the Patriotic Artist Award in Taiwan.

In 1983, Teresa became the first Chinese to ever perform at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas, USA. In the same year, she received an award from PolyGram (Hong Kong) for reaching top sales, being the top-selling singer ever in the music industry of Hong Kong. She released her second and famous Cantonese album “The Steps of the Road of Life”, which got the Double Platinum figure after a few days of its release.

Teresa Teng won the Annual Cable TV Award of Japan for 3 consecutive years (1984, 1985, and 1986) by the song “TSUGUNAI” (Love Compensation) in 1984, “AIJIN” (Lover) in 1985, and “TOKI NO NAGARE NI MI WO MAKASE” (Let It Depend On The Flow Of Time) in 1986. No other singer, even to this date, was able to achieve this.

The song “AIJIN” (Lover) also set a new record for staying on top of the broadcast charts in Japan for over 10 weeks. Her song “TOKI NO NAGARE NI MI WO MAKASE” sold over 5 million copies in the Japan market in 1986.

Unfortunately, she left us on May 8, 1995 due to an asthma attack in Chiang Mai, Thailand at age 42. Her coffin was wrapped with the Taiwan flag and was carried by military officers and family members. Indeed, during the funeral, Teresa was given many awards for her large contribution to the nation and society.

Legacy

Her music and talent was a dominant and influential force in Asia throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s. Teng was able to move her audiences as much with the sweetness of her voice as with the power of melancholy emotion.

One of the “Five Great Asian Divas”, she was known for driving her audience into rapture, and often tears, over a career that spanned three decades.

Personally- she is one among my favorite singers of the past, present and future era.

Here’s a screenshot of my Baidu Yun a/c where I collect almost every digital copies of Lijun’s work.

Listen Teresa Teng Songs

Teng’s widespread popularity was also driven by her ability to sing in several languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian, and English.

Evoking for many precious memories of childhood and happier times, her legacy endures to this day.

By providing an alternative to the most revolutionary songs then prevalent in mainland China, Teng’s emotional rendition of this old Mandarin favorite catapulted her to instant and long-lasting fame that lingers to this day.

Happy 65th birthday, Teresa Teng!

Doodle by Cynthia Yuan Cheng

Credits: Content from Google Doodle page and teresateng.org

Blockchain + Gaming

Nb: This article needs further update. Feel free to reach out if you want to list your blockchain gaming platform here.

Yes. everyone online is talking about how blockchain can transform the gaming niche.

A lot of blog posts, articles, and videos out there definitely prove blockchain and gaming industry together can do wonders.

From esports, digital goods monetization to game distribution platform, blockchain will change the outlook of the game industry.

But…

Only a few are actually mentioning up and coming blockchain gaming platforms and blockchain gaming projects on their blogs.

There’s a whole bunch of gaming community out there who want to learn more about new blockchain based gaming projects.

And that’s my motive for writing this post.

Here’s the complete list of  blockchain gaming platforms and projects

ugChain 

Singapore based ugChain; powers ecosystem consisting of a series of decentralized applications.

ugChain’s core is a decentralized account system (DAS) based on blockchain technology.

The system has built-in exclusive token UG Token (UGC).

UGC simultaneously has the equity attribute and monetary attribute.

I’m currently associated with ugChain as well.

Token: UGC

PLAYKEY: Decentralized Cloud Gaming Platform

Playkey is a brilliant game-virtualization service dedicated to providing gamers around the world with the resources of a distributed network of powerful home computers (“miners”).

They are basically a cloud gaming platform, allowing gamers to play top-rated games on obsolete PC and Mac.

With Playkey’s service, owners of weak PCs, laptops, and MacBooks can play modern games on their own devices. The games themselves run “in the cloud” on the hardware of the miners.

They have a team of 45 experienced R&D specialists collaborates directly with leading game publishers including Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Wargaming and is backed by a large European VC fund.

Token: PKT

Chimaera

The Chimaera blockchain acts as a decentralized gaming backend that is scalable, secure and reliable.

It’s a solid game dev focused platform which lets developers create fully decentralized, autonomous games where players can expect 100% uptime and have provably fair gameplay with true ownership of their in-game items.

Chimaera team is behind Huntercoin– which is still the only game that runs entirely on the blockchain. (That was quite an interesting find)

Token: CHI

Funfair

With a range of prototype casino games powered by their game-changing technology, Funfair team claims they are way ahead of the competition.

Blockchain powered FunFair simply enables anyone, anywhere to run their own online casino.

The FunFair platform also offers unrivaled levels of transparency and player protection and is set to open up gaming globally.

Token: FUN

Xenio Blockchain

Similar to ugChain, The Xenio gaming ecosystem uses distributed computing to solve systemic problems inherent in existing game distribution and asset management systems.

According to their whitepaper, Xenio runs on their own blockchain.

Which is optimized for gaming and which uses a combination of a modified Delegated Proof-of stake and Proof-of-Authority consensus protocol they proudly call “Proof of-Networking,” or PoN.

The Xenio ICO is currently underway.

Presale: https://xenio.io/register.php

CryptoKitties

Not a platform but this is something you’d like!

It is a blockchain-based virtual game that allows players to adopt, raise, and trade virtual cats, and it represents one of the earliest attempts to deploy blockchain technology for recreational and leisurely purposes.

The game’s popularity in December 2017 caused the Ethereum network to slow down.

Whereas CryptoKitties is not a cryptocurrency, it does offer something similar to one: each CryptoKitty is one-of-a-kind, 100% owned by the user, validated through the blockchain, and the value can appreciate or depreciate based on the market.

Cryptokitties cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed. The game involves digital cats, and users who buy, sell, and sire (breed) them.

CryptoKitties operates on Ethereum’s underlying blockchain network.

A test version of CryptoKitties was unveiled at ETH Waterloo on October 19, 2017, the largest Ethereum hackathon in the world.

Wanna play? visit their website now!

Credits

Life in Chengdu

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight. P.R. China may open border to all countries after the winter Olympics.

Thinking about moving to Chengdu in 2022?

This QnA format blog post is an ultimate expanded guide based on my archived article, “expat life in Chengdu“.

Life in Chengdu

Moving to Chengdu or China, in general, can be both exciting and frustrating. I’m a Chengdu resident since 2015. I chose to live in Chengdu because of the quality of life here.

Another reason is my wife, who’s a Chengdu local. A lot of people think Chengdu is just a tourist city, but that’s not the truth.

justcharlie.com

Chengdu is evaluated as a city with great economic vitality, a superb business city, the right tourist destination, and a national model city for environmental protection. It has won the UN-Habitat Award and International Thiess River Award.

Join Chengdu Facebook Group

Furthermore, Chengdu is one of the booming cities in China when it comes to IT and development. Chengdu government is continuously working on new schemes and plans for the overall development of the town and its suburbs.

Alright, let’s jump to the topic. Here are the frequently asked questions about life in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan.

What is living in Chengdu like?

Chengdu is a beautiful city to live in when you compare it to other big Chinese cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Beijing. Quiet overnight, Chengdu is transforming itself into a huge modern city. New subway lines pop up almost every year. Chengdu Locals are fun-loving and relaxed. I usually spend my weekends in Qingchengshan Town, Dujiangyan though.

justcharlie.com

You’ll find lots of places to hang out here. There’s a handful of Western restaurants in the city, and new ones are popping up left and right. Without a doubt, Chengdu is a convenient place to live as an expat. If you like to chill a bit in the evening with friends, there are a handful of pubs and bars in Chengdu. The city has garnered a reputation for its LGBT scene also.

What is the realistic cost of living in Chengdu, including rent?

A lot of people who read my previous post added me on WeChat to clarify this part. The truth is I can’t give you an exact answer. To be honest, the cost of living in Chengdu is often misunderstood. It entirely depends on your lifestyle.

However, the majority of expatriates can earn much higher than that provided to the locals in Chengdu. I’ve heard English teachers are paid well if they choose to work at a reputed school in Chengdu. Since I am a minimalist freelancer who’s inclined to the IT niche, I do not know a lot about the “life as an English teacher” scene in Chengdu.

Anyway, here’s a ballpark figure:

  • Shared apartments range from 1000 RMB to 4000 RMB.
  • 15 RMB to 30 RMB for one inexpensive meal.
  • 5 RMB for domestic beer.
  • 1 RMB or 2 RMB for buses within the city limit.
  • Electricity and water are prepaid. You’ll be sharing this with your roommates. Together it may cost around 100 RMB maximum per month.
  • Internet fee is around 100 RMB per month.

Verdict: If you’re a bachelor, consider moving to Chengdu if your employer offers 7,000 RMB net salary, at least.

Socketpro
Trusted and tested service. Click the image to open an account.

What is the best and easiest way to find a house for rent in Chengdu for a foreigner?

Trust me; it won’t be easy if you don’t speak Chinese. Check out the ChengduLiving.com forum (that I moderate) and GoChengdoo forum where you can address your query and find expat roommates or English-speaking landlords.

Best Practices

1. Be sure about what kind of apartment you need for rent.

Your choice varies according to who you are. During my early days in Chengdu, I preferred not to live with students. So I had to refine my search for roommates and apartments based on that. Set your standard or ground rules before apartment-hunting.

2. Talk to other expats.

Chengdu Living and GoChengdoo are the active expat forums here. There are countless WeChat groups as well. Join an expat community WeChat group before moving to Chengdu. Get insights from long-term expats.

Mighil's QR Code
Contact me for relocation services.

3. 58.com

Undoubtedly one of the top classified sites in China. If you speak Chinese, use this website to find new apartments. If you are on a PC, visit cd.58.com right away. Only seek help from agents and third parties when best practices aren’t working. There are a few shady agents and landlords here. Be careful.

What is the weather in Chengdu like?

Since ancient times, Chengdu has been known as “the Abundant Land” owing to its fertile soil, favorable climate, and the famous Dujiangyan Irrigation System.

justcharlie.com

But in reality, “Sichuan’s basin” Chengdu is quite cloudy. Winter can get very dark and cold. Summer can be annoyingly humid.

How is the Pollution in Chengdu?

Pollution in winter can get hazardous for the sensitive group. According to 2016′ data, Chengdu just barely edged out Beijing for the highest PM2.5. You should think twice before moving to Chengdu if you have a toddler. Take precautions like buying an air purifier, filters, etc. Always check the air quality index (AQI) and wear masks whenever it’s necessary. Better safe than sorry.

Chengdu Expats Facebook Group
Click here to join the group.

What is the food in Chengdu like?

Chengdu food falls under the banner of Sichuan Cuisine, which is one of the Eight Regional Cuisines of China. One main thing I noticed is that a lot of places serve oily food. Be careful if you suffer from GERD or if you’re someone who quickly gets gastroenteritis.

Other than that, Chengdu is famous for its cuisine. You should try hot-pot when you’re here. You can either have the extra spicy hot-pot or the non-spicy one. There are a few Auchan, Carrefour, Walmart outlets in Chengdu. Most of them sell imported items as well. So yeah, you can cook at the apartment if you’ve got time. It will save you money as well.

What is the music scene like in Chengdu?

Chengdu is home to several local and international artists, DJs and performers. The music scene won’t be majestic as in Shanghai, but yeah it’s fantastic out here.

justcharlie.com

Chengdu is one of the cities that hosted STORM Electronic Music Festival 2017, China’s first and most prominent international electronic dance music festival.

Chengdu in The 80s! View Rare Photos

The city is home to The Sichuan Conservatory of Music (Chinese: 四川音乐学院), founded in 1939, one of the leading music institutions in China, and is considered to be the largest conservatory in the world.

How to open a bank account in Chengdu?

It is pretty straightforward if you speak Chinese. Otherwise, you might need help from a local friend or colleague. Different banks have different rules for signing up for an account. Do check with your employer and open a bank account according to that. Keep in mind that the regulations have changed recently. Now you need to submit more paperwork to apply for a bank account in Chengdu. 

Once your application goes well, you have to make your first deposit in cash. It’s often up to 100 CNY at once. After that, you’ll need to set up a six-digit password / PIN for banking in China. After the whole process, they’ll give you a UnionPay ATM card.

Buying a SIM card in Chengdu

You need to submit the passport info as identification for buying a SIM card in China. Make sure that your phone is already unlocked, and you will have no trouble using a new SIM. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom are the big three carriers in China.

You can buy SIM cards either from a retail store or by visiting any of the official stores of a carrier I listed above. The language barrier will be a problem so take your Chinese friend when you decide to buy a new sim card.

How about the traffic in Chengdu?

It’s pretty convenient if you ride a bike. Chengdu is notorious for bad traffic during rush hours due to its centralized layout. Subway lines are expanding now and then, which is a good sign. And yes, you can quickly grab a green taxi cab from downtown. DiDi is another option. I’ve heard DiDi has an English interface now.

How about Railway Stations in Chengdu?

There are three major railway stations in Chengdu. Chengdu North Railway Station, Chengdu East Train Station, and Chengdu South Train Station. The city is going to build the fourth train station – Chengdu West Train Station. Booking a train ticket is pretty easy online. However, foreigners have to show their passport to collect physical tickets after booking online.

Which VPN should I use in Chengdu?

I’d recommend ExpressVPN any time.  SocketPro is a budget alternative compared to ExpressVPN. I no longer recommend SocketPro since my readers have responded their customer support is pathetic. Feel free to try NordVPN also.

Things to do before moving to Chengdu, China

Now that you’ve got a clear idea about the life in Chengdu, take a look at the apps you need for living in China,  check the recommendations listed below.

Pro tip: Install and configure a VPN service before entering to Sichuan.

  1. Bring the medication/prescribed drugs you need. Check with the customs and their rules also.
  2. Purchase a VPN service: Mainland China is not for the faint-hearted. Google and everything related to Google is blocked here. Meaning, you won’t be able to use PlayStore or sync Google services without a VPN. Applicable to Facebook, Twitter, Medium and more.
  3. Install Amap aka AutoNavi: Forget Google Map. Apple Map uses its special AutoNatvi API to power their services in China. Google Maps is poorly optimized for greater China (even with a VPN, it’s almost useless).
  4. Install maps.me: their offline content works here.
  5. Install WeChat: You need this multi-purpose application to survive in China. It’s more like messenger + Facebook + Twitter + Paypal.
  6. Install Alipay: another online payment platform widely used in China.
  7. Install Pleco: an English & Chinese Dictionary application for iOS and Android devices.

How to find jobs in Chengdu?

Finding teaching jobs in Chengdu is fairly easy. A quick Google search would direct you to several job ads. Just be careful online. Do a background check of the employer before you agree to their terms. Understand the percentage of tax, and ask everything else in detail even before a verbal agreement.

Here’s a bonus link for the readers who’ve made it till here. I’ve compiled a fresh list of teaching and non-teaching jobs in Chengdu recently. Give it a try if you’re interested. The list will be updated every now and then.

Latest Jobs in Chengdu (Under Maintenance)

And if you’re just thinking about moving to Chengdu or China in general, I highly encourage you to read my article on the “job search in China” topic. It contains guidelines, best practices, tips, and other insider information for finding non-teaching jobs in China.

Do you have more questions?

Got some general questions about life in Chengdu? Wanna join expat groups in Chengdu? Feel free to email hello at mighil.com. Alternatively, you can ping me on Facebook. I’m usually engaged in digital projects, so please don’t expect a swift response.

I offer relocation consulting and assistance, get in touch with me if you’re interested. Add me on WeChat only for serious business inquiries. Please don’t add me to ask general Chengdu-related questions. I’ve covered almost all topics in this blog post. If you need more info, considering joining the forums and groups listed below:

Useful Links

Please report the broken links by sending me an email.

Credits

  • I’ve analyzed answers from a Chengdu related thread on Quora.
  • HQ photos from justcharlie.com. Charlie is a good friend of mine. He’s an American designer and DJ who’s been living in China for ten years.
  • All images (except the cover image, FB group image, and WeChat QR code) as seen on justcharlie.com, seriouseats.com, and chengduplaces.com

Do You Offer Relocation Assistance?

Yes! I’ll help you with relocation and sort out all your inquiries and doubts regarding life in Chengdu. Besides that, I can:

  • Help you find an apartment in Chengdu.
  • Connect you with recruiters in Chengdu.
  • Translate your CV from English to Chinese.
  • Build a new website for your personal brand.

Contact me now for professional services. Thank you for reading, and welcome to Chengdu!

Tip Me:

Support if you’d like by referring my resume or donating through PayPal or Alipay.