New Year Resolution: Benevolence

Kindness include for yourself too

When a blogger is forced to reconsider their entire layout due to a defunct theme, outdated PHP, insecure plugin, it really can be frustrating. Fortunately WordPress has lots of supporters, developers, and a community that includes anything from new software creators, content creators, educational or training websites, and the diverse spectrum of users. So for the present outlay which has several complexities, there is hope.

We haven’t solved the SFTP problem yet but for a shared hosting plan it appears that there is a problem connecting with the root directory. If we had independent VPS hosting, the tree would be less complex, and the SFTP might be more immediate. The present server is Bravehost. Due to the holidays support is slow and perhaps it was upsetting because the response felt canned. It didn’t seem specific enough to the actual problem as described.

Actually SFTP for the websites we created for various static pages using HTML, CSS, WYSIWYG, and a smattering of other coding doesn’t really matter too much at this point. Those pages were created and are effectively part of an archive that we would like to download for safekeeping, but it was already done more or less some time ago. It does matter for the present WordPress and for updating the company pages. But that’s just one facet of the issues.

Another more critical issue is the incompatibility with the latest PHP, the theme being deprecated, and other plugins no longer supported. These all are specific to our WordPress, which is also using an older version. Of course with regard to this any business owner has their own homework to do. For instance, regarding “gruff support” it’s a common enough complaint that it may not be worth changing a hostserver. Reviews of Bluehost, GoDaddy, even Siteground indicate some commentators are not enthused about the quality of support. If it is anything like Verizon maybe long wait times, runaround in response, or “support knows less than you do.”

Communication is such a big problem in the 21st century. People presume so much more than they used to because even with meetups and breakdancing parties, the level of association has become superficial. The role of artificial intelligence in social networking is practically invasive. A relationship will even dissolve once a former friend quits Instagram and moves to Gab.

Changing hostservers also takes a lot of time. One shouldn’t ever just change on the fly especially if you have a lot of files. According to, a record amount of mergers are taking place. In his review of Bluehost, Tom Dupuis includes a graphic showing the long list of host servers now owned by Endurance International Group (EIG), now merged with to form Newfold Digital. The list includes 85 companies with recent acquisitions such as Bluehost, Typepad, Hostgater, Fatcow, iPage. Godaddy recently acquired

Competition is fierce albeit in a seemingly friendly way. One hostserver that won my admiration is, which is largely run by East-Indians who also are developing a host of apps and largely free betaware for testing. Another appsource is which had provided a review of, a global hostserver based in Singapore. So it is pretty much like taking a round the world tour exploring the new expanding world of cloudbased servers, data-SQL-based websites, and the recent trend towards “dynamic” pages.

For the DIY small publisher, of course keeping a few static webpages and backups are always a good idea. But they may not be able to compete with plugins that specialize in increasing one’s page rank (like Yoast). Our basic philosophy is the less plugins the better because even those with good intentions, such as PHP Compatibility Checker might not stay up to date. Then there are plugins which might not work out with your theme, such as not being able to incorporate Site Health or Health Check. In fact, we only have three plugins right now, one of which is theme. So that’s pretty much a barebones WordPress.

But the greatest recent discovery was the vaunted capabilities of UpDraftPlus. We took off WP-Staging after reading an article from, “what-is-wrong-with-wp-staging-plugin.” It seemed to make sense when we checked the various versions saved in subdirectories as a possible source of plugin error messages. We really appreciate the variety of free, helpful articles often situated at host sites, and also web consultants such as WPBeginner, Josh Hall, Sunday Ukafia, WP Buffs, Webby Fan, and, who also include instructional videos on their YT channels.

There could be more women channel owners and wordpress consultants, but we probably will find more of them at Wikihow.

Anyhow with some tokens from UpdraftPlus, which also offers a premium version for store purchases, hopefully we will be able to do as they say, “test out the sandbox clone” of our wordpress without having to upload, migrate, and duplicate the wordpress for testing at a new host server. In fact, if one is pressed with issues, a package of 40 tokens can last one almost half a year in having an alternative virtual website. No need for any down time if your host server can’t help you in a timely manner.

Another app we hope to test out in the sandbox is Advanced File Manager, a new plugin which purportedly allows the operator to move and transfer files within the directory tree front-end—-that is, without having to go inside the host-server and activate SFTP. It even offers access to files outside the wordpress tree; however this may be somewhat limited or there may be some kind of obstruction by the host server. Anyway, it is good news since we really prefer not to use Filezilla. The version we downloaded would not uninstall. There was a problem discovered using it even back in 2011, and described even at Wikipedia (“Filezilla”).

Never allow anyone to force a software on you! Some of the affiliates of Bluehost and other software companies are writing glowing reviews in order to earn a commission. Even consultants and content creators will cite the same top ten host servers repeatedly as if there were not literally hundreds of competent host-server companies. On the other hand, our recent exploration reveals that “free” hostservers are not worth the cost in downtime, unpredictability, security holes, and sleazy enterprises which invite identity and credit card theft. Just like some fly-by-night free agents for sexworkers or such around this area will own many disposable smartphones, so purveyors of illicit services online will masquerade through front companies and cheap disposable websites.

The fact is that comparing all that is available, we are grateful to Bravenet for having such a relatively secure hosting platform all these years. We’ve never experienced any downtime due to the host service itself, and uploads and changes are near instantaneous. There has never been any data loss, although we recently were so disappointed about the SFTP incapability that we deleted some archival folders as if in preparation to change hostservers.

So our New Year’s Resolution in regard to Benevolence is based on the Buddhist aphorism oft repeated by Master Shih Cheng Yun of Tzu Chi: “Speak kind words, think good thoughts, do good deeds, and walk the right path.”

There is no specific order for that. My graduate school program advisor, Dr. Ernest Hamilton (who was Hindu), gave a very important handout at the beginning of each semester on the science of Communication. Essentially you must have a receptive open perception to understand what the Other is saying or trying to communicate. You must be aware of your own filters, because you are communicating even before you formulate a response, whether you realize it or not. Right thought, right word, right action, right pursuit, right perception, right interpretation, right livelihood, and right effort are all bound up with right perspective.

Your level of cultivation rarely matches someone else’s. Even when it is close, it can never be exact. That’s why there are so many misunderstandings in the world today. Ironically, in an age of endless communication based technologies, human misunderstandings have actually increased rather than decreased. We expect understanding yet insist that everyone live inside our bubble.

Cyrus Janssen, a popular Vlogger who lived in China for over a decade, made some shrewd observations in his recent video, “How I view the United States after 15 years living abroad” ( Having done more than the usual amount of traveling for an American citizen, we find his observations spot on, which is especially helpful in having some perspective without all the politicization and controversy when anyone offers a social critique nowadays. Here were some of his points (simply put).

First, he is surprised at the negativity of the media and the polarization it has caused. Second, he is disappointed at the corruption of the politicians in both parties. He doesn’t believe they put the interests of the electorate first anymore. Third, he is struck by how content Americans are to stay inside the comfort zones of the “American bubble” rather than consciously work to learn about societies overseas. Fourth, Cyrus (an international PGA) is surprised at the rising influence of Big Pharma in the United States, something that contributes to the high prices in healthcare in comparison with free to low-cost healthcare in China. Fifth, he is apalled about the reach and influence of the healthcare industry which has improved globally while remaining stymied in the U.S. due to capitalist overreach. Finally, Mr. Janssen had to relearn the extent to which consumer overload dictates American societal tastes and values: “When you travel around the world, you begin to realize that there is a lot of joy and happiness with not having a lot of things.” He had seen how happiness can be based more around people rather than things. However he did say that all countries have their positives and negatives, and he could see so many positives coming back home as well.

Being able to share one’s thoughts must be cathartic at some level, since the sentiment of the returning veteran or ex-pat is often similar: “Why is nobody interested in hearing about my experiences?” Indeed the common complaint is that once you are in the States, you are supposed to just blend back into the societal woodwork; aside from an odd-story or two, let bygones be bygones.

But the best part of Cyrus Janssen (Wang De Zhong) that makes him special is his eternal optimism: “We are all healing, we have so much in common in humanity, and so many people can now interconnect all across the globe.” To paraphrase his outlook, if we live in what is increasingly a global village, should we not work at finding something to like about one another?

Crossposted from