What is Bootstrap & How To Use It?

Bootstrap is a front-end development framework that speeds up the website development process. It was created in 2011 by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton. Bootstrap is useful for non-expert front-end developers who want to design a modern website including all the attractive features. By these, I mean navigation, image sliders, beautiful typography and more. Bootstrap has all of the above already coded for you. The framework supports responsive design meaning that you can create a website that will show up well on all sorts of other devices such as tablets, phones, smart TVs, and more.

What is Bootstrap grid system?

Grid system is a structure that allows you to house the content of your website well. It is a system of columns and rows. It divides the screen into up to 12 columns in each row. Their width depends on the width of the device that displays the website. The number of rows that you can create is countless. It depends on your vision (the design project you have in mind). One of the Bootstrap recommendations is that you should put all the rows and columns in the container. There are two major container types. These are a fixed-width container and full-width fluid container. The first one has a fixed width as its name suggests and the second one takes up the whole screen space. You can design a beautiful and responsive website that will work well on any device with Bootstrap grid system.

What are Bootstrap components?

Website components are headers, nested comments sections, navigation menus, buttons and more. Thanks to Bootstrap built-in features you can style your website to make it look modern and functional. It may be hard to remember all types of classes in the beginning. Once you become proficient, you will be able to build even more advanced navigation bars, forms and other fancy website elements. There is an option to install JavaScript plugins to Bootstrap, and it opens you door to even more creativity and gives the possibility to create advanced website features (drop-down menus, dismissable alert boxes, tooltip, popovers etc.)

What are the advantages of using Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is very easy to learn front-end development framework. Once you understand how it works, you can build modern-looking and responsive websites for your clients. You can also customise it with Less and Sass. Another clear advantage is the development speed (thanks to the pre-built code). What is more, a considerable Bootstrap community gives you access to support whenever required. Pre-styled components, grid system, and simple integration help you to create modern websites that are up to date with the latest web development standards.

CONCLUSION:

Bootstrap is one of the most popular front-end development frameworks. It is easy to install, and it speeds the development process. You do not need to build pages from scratch thanks to the built-in blocks of code. You create websites that offer cross-browser-compatibility, are mobile friendly and responsive. There are quite a few advantages of using Bootstrap and a big support community if you happen to get stuck on the project.

How Does The Internet Work? – Book Review

It’s a review of “Introduction to Networking” by Charles Severance.

This book is a valuable source of information for all those who want to understand how the Internet works. The Internet is a global network of computers. It is beneficial to know the basics, especially in today’s world where everything is wirelessly connected.

How do computers communicate?

Every computer connected to the Internet has an IP address. If the connection comes from LAN (Local area network – multiple computers connected at one location), the IP is permanent. If you connect through Internet Service Provider, you get a temporary IP address. How do computers communicate? If someone wants to send you a long message, it is divided into packets (chunks of data) before it arrives at the destination. These packets go down through seven layers respectively: application, presentation, session, transport, network, data link and physical layer. Next, when the packets reach the destination computer, they work their way upwards the seven layers mentioned earlier.

Physical Layer ensures that the initial connection has been established. Multiple computers connected to a networking device on the LAN can easily communicate with each other. The message you are sending to someone is divided into packets and these ‘chunks of data’ travel (they move through routers) independently and sometimes out of order. They know where to go because before they left the ‘sending’ computer, they were added a prefix that included MAC address (Media Access Control) alongside other data. MAC is a unique identifier (a number) that is assigned in hardware to NIC (Network Interface Controller). Every computer has MAC address.

Web browsers and websites

If the communication is to be useful, a computer needs to follow a set of rules. It is where protocols come into play. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol) are examples of the networking protocols that enable you to view a particular website. How does it work? If you want to browse a page, you type its address in a browser address bar. The browser that you are using (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome etc.) sends a request to a server where the website’s data are stored. The server sends the requested data to the browser and the latter displays them for you to see.

A transport layer is a group of protocols that provide services to the application layer protocols. Lower layers always provide services to the layers above them. For example, when your web browser requests data from the server, it needs to deliver them to you. What if some get lost along the way? The transport layer’s TCP (transmission control protocol) monitors the transmission and checks whether data successfully arrived at their destination.

URL structure

URL (Universal Resource Locator) has a structure. For example, the commonly called web address http://www.digitalmediafacts.com contains four major parts (scheme, host, path, query string). The first one indicates the protocol (HTTP). And, the second one includes the hostname of the web server. Your computer requests IP address from DNS (Domain name server). Next, your web browser makes a request to the web server, and if all goes well it receives the files. Then, the browser displays them to you.

CONCLUSION:

All in all, the book describes well how computers communicate over the Internet. It is a basic introduction for anyone who wants to understand the concept of networking. I highly recommend that you check this book. Also, if you think I omitted something in my post that would be worth mentioning, let me know in the comments below! I am open to any corrections or suggestions. Thank you for reading!

WordPress Child Theme – How Does It Work?

Here’s the short potential scenario of why you might consider using WordPress child theme. Let’s say that you chose a WordPress theme that you like, and you installed it successfully. Next, you decided to introduce some changes. You customised its design slightly, so it better suits your preferences. After some time, you logged in to your WordPress dashboard and noticed that there is an update available for your theme. Upgrades are essential because they make your website secure. You clicked on the update button and then opened your site in the web browser to find out that all changes to its design are gone. It is because you introduced them to the original theme. Consequently, after the update, all CSS styles that you have added will be lost. So, is there a way to customize a chosen theme without compromising on upgrades? Yes, and the solution is the child theme. Resigning from updates is never good. It can lead to breaking your site and it will leave it available to hackers. Developers make updates to themes to make sure that they comply with the latest WordPress standards.

What is WordPress child theme?

First of all, I would like to explain the difference between WordPress theme customizer and customizing a theme by introducing changes into code. Any changes that you make by using WordPress theme customizer are being saved in a database. It means that updates to the theme will not override them. If you, however, plan to make some changes to the CSS, HTML or JavaScript of your original theme, you may need to install the child theme. That way, you can safely upgrade the original theme anytime a developer updates it and still keep all the changes you have made. Child themes are also a great way to play with a code and learn it. It is because all the changes you make are on the top of a parent theme. It gives you the better idea of how things work. Also, if you do anything you do not like to your child theme, you can always delete it. It will not affect the original theme in any way. All in all, the child theme is a WordPress theme, that inherits all the design and functions from its parent theme. Parent theme is the original theme that you chose for your website.

How to pick a parent theme?

Not all WordPress themes are good to use as a parent theme. It is because not all WordPress themes are theme frameworks. If you want to modify the core functionality of your chosen theme (custom headers, sidebars, widgets, comments, administration menus and more), you should make sure that the WordPress theme you choose for your website is a theme framework. Theme frameworks allow you to modify and customize the core theme functionalities without touching the core theme files. In conclusion, if you want to introduce basic CSS changes, you can create a child theme to any WordPress theme and it will work fine. On the other hand, if you plan to add some new functionalities to your website or introduce more changes to its design, then you may want to look for the WordPress theme that is a theme framework.

How to install a child theme?

For this, you need to login to your hosting account where you can create a folder for your child theme in wp-content/themes/ directory. (Login to cPanel – go to File Manager – find public_html – next, go to wp-contents and finally find themes folder and open it). Now, let’s say you have chosen Twenty Fourteen WordPress theme for your website. It means that you need to create a folder called twentyfourteen-child in wp-content/themes/directory in order to create a child theme for your original Twenty Fourteen WordPress theme. Once you have the folder saved, create a blank file called style.css (click on +File, name it style.css and save all changes) in there and add some information. The information you need to add are as follows:

/*
Theme Name: Twenty Fourteen Child
Theme URI: https://wordpress.org/themes/twentyfourteen
Description: Twenty Fourteen Child Theme
Author: put your own name here
Author URI: http://www.yourwebsiteaddress.com
Template: twentyfourteen
Version: 1.0.0
*/

Once you are done, you can save the file. You will now need to bring in stylesheets from the parent theme to your child theme. Previously, the @import method was very popular, but it is no longer the best idea to use it. It is because it increases the amount of time for the stylesheets to load. It affects website’s loading speed and speed is one of the most important ranking factors. Ideally, your website’s loading speed should be under five seconds. If it takes more than that, it creates worse user experience. And, because Google wants their customers to have the best user experience possible, it may put higher in searches those websites that load faster than yours. What is the correct way to bring in stylesheets from a parent theme to a child theme, then? You should enqueue the parent and child theme stylesheets by adding wp_enqueue_scripts action and use wp_enqueue_style() in your child theme’s functions.php.

CONCLUSION:

Child theme is a WordPress theme that inherits all the functionalities from the parent theme. There are many advantages of using child themes. One of the most important ones is that you can make changes to your website without modifying the parent theme. You can add many new functionalities to your site. Upgrading the original theme will not override your modifications if you have the child theme installed. The best advantage of WordPress child theme is that you have your theme that you manage and you are still using the parent theme that a developer has built. Finally, child themes are a great way to learn how to build themes. They allow you to experiment by adding alterations on the top of a parent theme. And, if anything goes wrong you can always delete these changes and go back to the original state.

How Can You Make Your Website Load Faster?

In 2010, Google announced that website loading speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. People are likely to leave your site if it takes too long to load. The same applies to responsiveness. More and more people perform searches on their mobile phones nowadays. If your site does not show up well on the smaller screen, people are likely to drop it. There are a few things you may want to check if you noticed that your website takes longer than expected to load.

What counts for Google and why?

Google considers many factors while assessing whether to put your website in the top position of its search engine. I believe that content is one of the most crucial determinants. If your blog is about fashion and style, you should be using keywords that are relevant to it. These are, for example, women clothes, fashion designer, fashion week, style and more. Your content needs to match the general topic of your website. Otherwise, it will create confusion to Google. Things like punctuation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary play an important role too. Whenever someone links to your site, the so-called backlink is created. If Google sees that someone recommends your website, it automatically trusts your content, especially when the backlink comes from an authority site. Moreover, freshness and consistency often tell if the information you provide is up to date. Google does not like the old content. Check the SEO guide for more details on how to increase your Google rankings.

What is so special about speed?

Recently many people talk about UX or user experience. What is it and how it relates to Google rankings? Well, Google wants to create the best possible experience for their customers. UX is user experience design. It is to improve user interaction with a digital or physical product by making it easy to use, functional and delightful to interact with. So, the time when your website loads can either decrease or increase the satisfaction of your customer. If it takes too long to load, a visitor will check your competitor out. Google also compares websites against each other and puts higher those that load faster. A study shows that about 75% of people will not browse your page again if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.

How to increase your website’s loading speed?

A couple of things count when it comes to loading speed. First of all, consider using a reputable hosting service. Why should you? Whenever a user wants to access your page, they are accessing files from a web server. If that web server is not fast enough, it will affect the website’s speed. Next thing is images. Make sure your media are well-optimized for your site. Also, the actual weight of the picture does not diminish when you resize it in your WordPress dashboard. Whenever someone opens your page, the browser loads the image in its actual dimensions first and then resizes it to the weight and height set by you in the dashboard. Poorly coded templates or sites will not load fast either. Make sure your code is clean, optimize your images and use reputable hosting service. It will make you far better than your competitors.

What other changes can you make to improve the speed?

One of the first suggestions you will see when you run GT Metrix test for your website’s speed is to minify CSS and JavaScript. What does that mean? It refers to optimizing your code by reducing comments, removing spaces and other unnecessary characters. You can do it yourself if you have access to your code or you can ask a developer to do it for you. Another valuable suggestion is to leverage browser caching. Anytime someone visits your page, CSS, images, logo and other files load. It also happens even when a user clicks on a different page on your website. What is browser cache and how it can be helpful? It is a temporary storage where all your files sit for a specific time. Now, when you leverage browser caching, all the files such as CSS, images, pdf documents and other are stored in a browser cache. The browser remembers them, so so that they do not load next time someone repeats their visit to your website. It also works when someone is viewing other pages of your website. If the browser does not have to load all media and CSS again and again, your site naturally performs better.

How can you leverage browser caching?

There are some ways available to you. If you are a WordPress user, there are some plugins that you can use such as Cache Enabler, WP Super Cache or WP Fastest Cache. If you do not want to install another plugin on your WordPress site, then you will have to localize your .htaccess file. Where should you look for it? If you have a hosting account, log in there. Next, look for cPanel and click on it. In your cPanel open File Manager. Try to find the .htaccess file there. If you cannot see it, type in its name in the search box. It should show up. If it does not, it means you do not have it and need to create one. Click on +File icon and type in its name. You should save the file in the /public_html/ or the document root of your site. Once done, copy and paste the code that tells browsers what to cache and for how long. Also, you may consider enabling gzip compression for WordPress. You can do it either by editing the .htaccess file or installing a plugin.

CONCLUSION:

If you want to rank higher in Google searches, you need to optimize your website. After you did all the above-mentioned changes, simply run GT Metrix test and find out how your site scores in the speed test. The result you want to see is either A or B. Also, bear in mind that installing too many plugins may not be a good idea, and it can eventually lead to the website crash, or it may affect the performance and speed.

Learn How To Code – HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP Explained

Coding and programming languages are set of functions that produce various outputs. Someone had to write a code first for you to enjoy the application you use or a website you browse. There are many different programming languages out there, and each one can be used for a certain aim. A website or an app is a specific set of instructions that computer displays.

Are you planning to learn how to code? It is always hard to decide which language you should choose. The answer often depends on what is it that you want to create. If you plan to build apps, then go for Java or Python. If you are passionate about website development, learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Next, familiarise yourself with Bootstrap and design fundamentals. Ideally, you may want to join GitHub and share your work with others. GitHub is a platform for developers where you can host, review code, and manage projects with other people.

How does a code get executed?

Did you know that Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician, and writer was the first person who wrote instructions for a computer program in the mid-1800? Here is how a programming language gets executed. First of all, you need to remember that computer understands only two types of data. These are on and off switches, so-called transistors. Binary code is the combination of eight digits. These digits are 0 and 1 only. Each digit represents one transistor. What does that mean for you? All the colorful things that you see on the screen with images and videos included are nothing more for a computer than a collection of some transistors turned on, and some others turned off. When a programmer writes code (PHP, Python, Java or other), it gets translated into assembly language. Next, assembly language translates it into machine code so that the latter gets executed as binary code. It is how the whole communication takes place. Why do not programmers code directly in the machine code? Well, it is not that easy. Machine code is difficult to read and understand.

What is HTML?

HTML is an abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language. The language is simple to learn, and it allows for website creation. It serves for writing the structure of a website. It is not a styling language. You write HTML in a code editor, and you save it as html file. You always use tags to display images, text, videos, tables and other things on your website. When you open your html file through a browser, you should be able to see the site you created. Make sure the code you write is correct so that everything displays as it should. The best place to learn how to code is W3C School, the leading website for learning web technologies.

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It is used for styling purposes, as the name suggests. CSS styles the structure of HTML. In other words, it positions elements on the website. It dictates font type, text size, and colors. It can introduce special effects such as changing color when you hover over a specific element. CSS can also define how the site looks like when viewed in other media such as a phone or a tablet. It is thanks to media queries. CSS is very powerful, and every designer needs to understand it. It is responsible for all the visual effects appearing on the website. CSS can be a bit more difficult to master, but it is still easier than JavaScript.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is not Java. These are two different languages. JavaScript is a scripting language that operates mainly in a web browser. Whenever you see animated graphics on a website, interactive maps or other 2D/3D elements, you may be sure that JavaScript code has been applied there. JavaScript was meant to be a compliment to Java when first invented, but it became the third pillar of web development. JavaScript is usually written in a separate file that is integrated into HTML code. If you want to write JavaScript, you can write it in a text editor like Notepad for Windows. It will work! Learn how to code on your own. Check Codecademy JavaScript course or browse through the selection of various JavaScript courses on the Course Duck website.

What is PHP?

PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a programming and scripting language that can be embedded into HTML. WordPress is written in PHP language. It is well-suited for web development. PHP gets executed on the server. It is not a client-side language like JavaScript. PHP is relatively easy to learn for a newbie, but it also offers many advanced features for professional programmers. It is one of the most popular languages nowadays. What does PHP do? It allows for creating username and password login pages, surveys, picture galleries, forums and more.

CONCLUSION:

If you plan to become a web developer, think of preparing a good portfolio. Learn how to code. Practice your skills and share your work with others. There are plenty of sources where you can learn how to code. You may check Udemy or Code School. Learning how to code is just half of the success. You also need to develop some design sense or at least acquire the latest web design standards. Next, you will need to understand how CMS systems work such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or other. If you feel like you have enough skills, build up your portfolio online.

Here are some examples of excellent portfolios:

Adam Dannaway

Robby Leonardi

Prashant Sani

Before you start a career in web development, make sure that you are passionate about it. It is the field that requires constant learning. It is because the world of the Internet is continuously evolving and new features are being introduced regularly. Also, to become proficient, you should join like-minded communities so that you can share your work with others and work on common projects. It is how you extend your knowledge and skills and develop contacts that are essential in this industry.

How to Become a Front-End Developer?

Front-End Developer is a person who puts a vision of a web designer to life. You need to be familiar with HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build a website. Everything that you see or click on the website is the work of a front-end developer. The job combines creativity and innovation. There are some skills you need to master if you want to break into web design industry.

What are the steps of creating a website and where you should start?
First of all, you need to begin with learning how to code. The best idea is to sign up for a free coding course online to see whether coding is really what you want to do. Some examples of free coding sites are Codecademy or W3Schools. Try to schedule a daily learning plan and see how it goes. The best idea is to start with the basics. First languages you need to master are HTML and CSS.

What are HTML and CSS?

HTML is Hyper Text Markup Language. It is responsible for the layout and an organization of a website. It is a foundation of every well-design site. Notice here, that HTML is not a programming language because it allows you to add context to a text. It does not describe a process of doing something which is a characteristic of a programming language.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It is responsible for what you see on the website – the whole design. Those are fonts, colors, buttons, and the general layout of a page. CSS also isn’t a programming language because it does not run any functions. It customizes the content on a website.

Do you have to learn JavaScript?

Yes. If you want to be a professional web-developer, then you need to understand how JavaScript works. JavaScript is a bit more difficult language to learn than HTML and CSS. It is a scripting language that runs in a web browser when a web page is open. The best way to learn any language is to understand how it works. Then try to put the knowledge into practice by writing your code. The best source to study is Lynda’s online courses. There is a subscription fee, but it is only about 20 pounds monthly. You get access to courses performed by top quality professionals from many fields. If you are still not sure, try YouTube or some other free online coding schools. Once you grasp the basics and work out your learning schedule, you may find it useful to subscribe to Lynda Online Classes.

What are frameworks?

Frameworks make it easier for a web developer to build a website. They contain pre-built code and software add-ons. There are some popular frameworks available for developers such as AngularJS or jQuery for JavaScript, Bootstrap for front-end development and Foundation that is used by eBay, Yahoo, and Facebook. You will find plenty of tutorials or other learning materials on the most popular frameworks. Bootstrap is worth learning because of its constantly growing popularity.

What other skills do you need?

You should be thorough, empathetic, have an interest in design and the ability to understand the structure in a concept. The path to becoming a front-end developer is not an easy one, but it can be done. Of course, as long as this is what you are passionate about. There are a lot of things you need to understand. It is not only about writing a code. Some other topics worth discovering are user experience, Git, design patterns, responsive design, search engine optimisation practices, and basic computer and security rules. You need to be familiar with how to build a Google friendly website. Having a presence in the top positions for the keywords a company wants to target is very important. It allows a business to gain more customers.

Front-end vs Back-end vs Full Stack

What’s the difference? As mentioned above, the front-end developer creates the website. He is responsible for what you see on the page. Text, colors, fonts, visuals, graphics, menus and all other elements you see on the page are put together by a front-end developer. Backend developer makes sure that the server, application and a database communicate with each other. For this, he uses languages such as PHP, Java, Python or Ruby. Full stack developers can do both – front-end and back-end development. A full stack developer does not necessarily need to master everything, but he needs to be able to understand the full process that takes place to build a website or an application.

How quickly can you learn front-end development?

This is difficult to answer. It highly depends on the pace of your learning. You can grasp basics quickly. It isn’t enough to become a professional front-end developer, though. This is the field that requires you to constantly broaden your knowledge because the world of the web is continuously changing. Try to understand how HTML and CSS work first. Practice on your own. Build websites and see how it goes. Once you are proficient, explore JavaScript. Make sure you understand how the language works. It really helps in the learning process. Are you already familiar with these three languages? Look for your first job then. Offer someone to build a website for them in exchange for a comment. Don’t look for money. Look for becoming great at what you do. Make yourself valuable and people will always want to use your services.

CONCLUSION:

The path to becoming a front-end developer is not an easy one, but it can be rewarding. As long as you are passionate about the web and new technologies, you will have the chance to become good front-end developer. You may find that your code does not work many times or that some things are tough to understand. This is how it begins. If you keep learning, you will discover one day that what was once too difficult to understand is now part of your daily routine.

 

What are the steps of designing a website and how to create one?

Designing a web page is not an easy job. The job is very creative, but also a challenging one. Let’s first explain the difference between web design, web development, and programming. Web designers are the people who work on a visual project of a page using mostly programs such as Photoshop, Sketch or Adobe Illustrator. Then, the visual project in PSD document is handed over to a front-end developer who brings a page to life by writing a code. This involves the knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Next, the back-end developers work on the website to make it functional. This requires knowing languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby.

Here are some suggestions on how to design a website:

1. The design project

Before you jump into Photoshop, think of a plan. Gather all information about your customer requirements. Make yourself familiar with the subject of a page you are going to design. Browse the Internet for some inspirations. Sketch the framework of the page on a piece of paper. Try to include as many details as possible. Then, open a Photoshop and start designing. Remember to add a grid. This will help you to structure the layout of different sections. Next, choose a color theme and a typography. The font you choose should be big enough and simple to read in most cases. The color theme is very important as it should correspond with the brand of a company.

2. Working on details

Divide your layout. The page should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The most important components on the page should be underlined. Think of all small details on your design. These may seem irrelevant to you, but they actually matter. Add a bit of an innovation to your design. You may consider using a gradient for buttons, adding a stroke around a box or creating a small animation. All these things make the page more attractive.

3. Re-evaluation of work

Try to prepare the worst case scenario for your work. Bear in mind that users browse sites using different screens, so plan your design to fit smaller screen sizes. Share your concept with a client as soon as possible to ensure that you both are on the same page when it comes to a design. Once the initial project is accepted, you can polish the details.

4. Translating a PSD document into a code

Once the website is done, you can hand it over to a front-end developer who will turn your PSD document into a working website. The front-end developer needs to have a range of skills for completing the job. He needs to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript very well. The person working in this field should be familiar with Photoshop on a decent level. They do not need to be proficient though. It would be enough to know how to resize, crop, or edit an image. The front-end developers should also know one of the content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. There are also other choices, but these three are the most popular ones from which WordPress is the biggest one.

5. What happens next?

This is where back-end developers come into play. The designed website needs to be made functional now. The back end developers need to have a good knowledge of the programming languages such as PHP, Ruby or Python. They should understand how HTML, CSS and JavaScript languages work for a better communication with front-end developers. They should have a knowledge of security compliance and an experience with version control such as Git.

CONCLUSION:

As I previously stated, designing a good website is not an easy job, but definitely a rewarding one. The work is usually done in a team environment. There are, however, skilled individuals who can create a website on their own. They need to master all of the above-mentioned skills to do the job. These people usually work as freelancers or have their own companies. What do you think of a web development field? Are you interested in pursuing your career in this field? If so, are you willing to learn a front-end development, back-end development, web design or perhaps all of them?

How can you protect yourself from hackers?

It is very important to protect your computer from the theft, or a damage to hardware or software. Hackers use many ways to gain access to computers and steal all sensitive data. We live in the world of a free information where anyone can gain access to anything they want at any time. It means that people with a limited technical knowledge can potentially cause a damage to your computer if you remain inattentive.

How to stay safe online?

1. Physical security matters

Keep your laptop, tablet, and phone with you. Leaving them lying around would be an easy invitation for a potential thief. Use a secure lock screen on your devices. As annoying as it might be, it can save you from a lot of problems in case your computer, phone, tablet or any other device you might have gets stolen. Another good idea is to take regular back-ups at regular intervals and before and after making key data changes. You can keep a few writable CDs or DVDs or SD cards of key back-ups in a secure location such as the roof of your house, the floorboard, or the basement. Most people do not put attention to it until it is too late.

2. Antivirus program is not enough

There are many antivirus programs that provide a very good protection for your devices. However, it is always good to take a few more actions that can keep you safe. One thing to remember is to always put automatic updates on. Many people turn them off because they find it annoying. This is a mistake because malicious attackers look for unpatched systems they can attack. Another obvious thing is a good antivirus program. You can invest in paid antivirus software such as Norton, Bitdefender or Kaspersky. There are also quite good free alternatives such as Avast or Microsoft Windows Defender. A good antivirus program is a must, but it is not enough. Consider using Malwarebytes. It is meant to complement regular antivirus software as it catches the newest, most cutting-edge threats that other antivirus companies may be overlooking.

3. Passwords and encryption

If you have a confidential data on your computer, you should always lock them with a password. It is not a good idea to have one password for all your pages. Once the password is broken, the person has access to all your information. Make sure that your passwords are strong and update them regularly. Your password should not include nicknames, birthdays, quotations, or pet names and it does not matter that you add digits at the end. Any password cracking program can do that as well. Make your passwords fourteen characters or even longer and remember to mix lower case, upper case, digits and punctuation marks together. You may also consider using a password manager such as LastPass, KeePass or 1Password. Another way of keeping your data safe is encrypting your files. Encrypt your files using VeraCrypt Software, Windows BitLocker feature or FileVault for Mac.

4. Basic knowledge

Do not open emails from unknown people or even your friends. Those emails might be infected and your friends might not even know about it! The first thing to do is to check where they point to. Hover the cursor over the link or right-click on the link and select ‘copy link address’ and then paste it into the notepad document and carefully examine it. Stop using pirating software if you do it and be careful about downloading programs from unverified sources from the Internet. Phishing has also become very popular recently. Watch out for emails from companies asking for the change of your personal information such as name, password, bank details or others. These might be hackers disguising themselves as a trustworthy organisation! Also, there are some file extensions that you should be familiar with. The files can cause a  serious damage to your computer once you open them.

Here are some of the extensions you should be aware of:

.EXE – This is the most popular type of Windows files. It contains an executable program that can be run by double-clicking the file.

.BAT – This is a DOS batch file used to execute commands with the Windows Command Prompt. It usually contains a series of commands that it runs once it is opened.

.CMD – This is another type of batch file used by Windows. It can be used for malicious purposes such as deleting data in a directory. It can also replicate itself repeatedly to delete a computer’s resources.

.MSI – This is a Microsoft installer file. It can install various applications on your computer, also malicious ones.

.SCR – This is a screensaver file for Windows. It is used to display graphics, text or videos. A malicious code can be hidden inside them.

Use all or some of the above methods and keep yourself safe by minimising the potential damage from viruses, hackers, and spam. Have you heard of some other ways of protecting yourself against Internet threats? Let me know in the comments below!