Recommended Services and Software
Macnative is home to years of experience in the IT, Server and Web Development fields. We post blog articles that discuss many of the things we love but we wanted to generate a single up to date list of our favorite solutions. On this page we list some of the many services and software that we use and are regularly recommended by the Macnative team. Browse through the list and see if there is something here that can help make your life a little easier.
I have used many different password managers over the years, but 1Password takes the cake!
1Password is probably my most used tool/utility every day. It stores my passwords for websites or applications and then allows me to access them easily with only one main/strong password. Since 1Password is protecting and storing my passwords I am able to increase the complexity of my passwords, because I don’t have to try and remember them. 1Password auto generates new passwords for me, as random 26-32 character strings. I am no longer worried about an attacker brute force or guessing my password. And even if one site gets hacked, I have unique passwords on every site.
Of all the utilities I have purchased over the years, 1Password has given me the best value by far!
Premium WordPress Plugins
We have used dozens of different contact form or form builder plugins for WordPress, but our favorite by far is WP Forms.
WP Forms has a simple to use interface for creating your form, and can easily be extended to include many different elements. Wether you are wanting to create a survey, track form abandonment, add a captcha element, have a pageable form, sell an item, and on and on. The list of currently available extensions is constantly growing.
By far WP Forms is our pick for the easiest to use and most feature filled form builder for wordpress.
We have tried lots of different caching plugins for WordPress, but each one came bundled with a large amount of complicated options and setups were typically difficult and easily broken. but then we stumbled on WP Rocket.
WP Rocket is a super simple yet powerful caching plugin for wordpress. The default, out of the box, settings are typically sufficient for most sites to see a substantial increase in site performance. So to take your site from 0 to 100 all it takes to enable the plugin.
Now don’t get me wrong, that does not mean that it is a simple plugin, it is very powerful, allowing you to add CDN support, control gzip settings, browser caching, logged in user cache, Cloudflare support, etc from within the control panel. So it has the teeth to really give you what you need if you are a technical user, but easy enough to use for the total noob. All around the best caching plugin we know of.
when you are getting a site ready to share with the world, sometimes you don’t want anyone to possibly stumble upon the site. For years I used generic maintenance mode plugins that would block access but always had really poor presentation on the block page and not many other features. All that changed when I discovered Seedprod’s Coming Soon Pro Plugin.
The Seedprod Coming Soon plugin not only has a beautiful frontend to display to the visitors while your site is blocked, but it is also completely customizable with hundreds of amazing backgrounds available, and great options for changing up the look/feel to match your site content. Along with the customizability are many amazing features, like mailing list integration, countdown timers, slideshow, social icons, and custom bypass linking so your invited guests can preview what you are working on without logging in.
All in all it is the most featureful and amazing maintenance mode/coming soon mode plugin on the market. They also have a free version you can use for testing with many but not all of the pro features available on wordpress.org.
WordPress is a great general CMS platform to use for almost any purpose. And for those who want to take the user management ability to the next level S2 Member is a great way to do that.
S2 Member is a very mature and extensible platform that gives you the ability to limit access to content easily. And the base version is provided 100% free of charge, so you can play with it and see how it will work with your site without making any premature monetary commitment.
There are lots of great premium features that you can access once you decide it is the right fit for your project and decide to purchase a pro license. But overall it is our favorite membership platform plugin, easy to use, low barrier to entry and high on the extended options list.
VPN utilities help you to easily encrypt and protect your traffic so that it is not visible on your local network. And can help you see content that is only available in specific countries since your traffic appears to be coming from the country you choose on Login.
NordVPN makes this process super simple and helps you protect your information while browsing from public networks.
I also like to use it when I am working on projects that are using geolocation tools. Then I can test my work and make sure that visitors from different countries see what I am intending them to see.
WordPress is the core of more websites on the internet today than any other single CMS. Knowing that WP Engine has created a platform that is focused on making your WordPress hosting experience the best it can be.
With dedicated or shared server configurations, a self managed and owned CDN, custom hosting tools for staging and production environments, Git integration and easy backups WP Engine has you covered. Their support staff are always available to help answer any questions you might have and help you get your site live.
If you are not having the best hosting experience with your current host, check out WP Engine.