3 things I learn backpacking the Philippines

Traveling the Philippines is be quite the adventure and with that some its’ challenges as well. I have traveled as far south as Tawi Tawi and been as far north as Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. I have traveled all the way from tip to tip in Palawan and I have been to Eastern Samar. I think I can safely say I have traveled the Philippines, save Batanes. Read more

YouCaring Review : Crowdfunding for charities

YouCaring is one of several platforms for crowdfunding personal compassionate projects. I recently tried it out for Azusa Report and I found out some things that I liked and some things that I really did not like.

Let’s start with what the website actually is. It is a GoFundMe competitor basically and it focus of personal projects of compassion. A lot of church groups use it for the mission trip grouping. It is what I used it for.

Things I do like about YouCaring

I like how easy it was to sent up a fundraiser. It was just a simple form on a web page and click a few buttons. It was really that easy!

I just put my story, how much I wanted to raise, and what we was doing in the boxes. A few clicks later, the page was made.

The other thing that I found very easy to do was to give to a campaign. That is always nice to have and it will make giving increase. This was pretty seamless with YouCaring.

A personal thing that I really like was how clean the UI was. It is a very minimal design that highlights the project people are promoting, not the website that is the platform. I really liked that.

Some things that YouCaring needs to work on

I really am not a fan of waiting almost a week to get the money donated because the way that Wepay works. They need to work with a company that is more robust and have a quicker turnaround. I highly suggest Google Wallet. This is not an option for people getting money in a do or die situation.

Another thing that I have yet to figure out is how add offline donation to the project. I know there is a way to do it and I am sure there is a tutorial out there somewhere but I can’t find it.

The other thing is the intergretation into Facebook is not really that good and making it easy to give right on Facebook might giving work better in the long run. They need to figure that out!

Do I recommend YouCaring?

At this point, I can’t. The time between a donation and getting it on the ground to the people in need is way too long. For someone in crisis, the length of time is downright unacceptable. It has to shortened somehow.




Pressable Hosting 101

I am a big supporter of Pressable Hosting but people ask me questions about using their service from time to time and I wanted to answer them for you. I highly recommend that clients use them.


Do you get email accounts with Pressable?

This is the most asked question about their hosting service and the answer is actually no. They are a managed WordPress Hosting company. They focus just on that. Email hosting is a different beast. They do make it easy to get email hosting through Godaddy, Rackspace or Google Apps. I personally use Office 365.

For technical reasons, I would recommend having email hosting and your WordPress website separate. It could not effect your page loading speed and you want that to be as fast as possible for SEO purposes.

I highly recommend using Microsoft’s Office 365 for most clients. It is quite amazing!

What about website migration?

Pressable has a form within their backend that you will give them the information to migrate your website to their servers. It will take them a day or two to make it work but that is the easiest way to get the migration done.

One of the good things about it is they do it for free. They do not charge $150 per website like Media Temple tried to charge me when I left Host Gator. I still can’t believe that rip off 🙂

Does WordPress come pre-installed?

Yes. They are a managed WordPress hosting provider and they provide you with professional installs quickly. It takes about a minute to have a WordPress installed.

The only downside is you will have to link your domain up with them which takes a few more minutes. I wish they could make this seamless but I guess there is some technical reason that they can’t.

It is worth noting that they only allow WordPress on their servers as they are a managed WordPress hosting.

Can I use all the WordPress plugins with Pressable?

All of them? No. The reason people come to Pressable is for their cache plugins and their backup systems. They come install with it. There is no reason to have two cache plugins fighting each other. The truth is the one designed by Pressable is much better than any free plugin you would load from WordPress.

I have not find a plugin that I want to use on Pressable that they did not allow yet. Most of them that are banned would actually just slow down your website anyways. The main ones that are banned have to do with cache and backups. (more on that next)

The only challenge that I have had is without a cpanel it has to do with any website across the account. It is not just a drag and drop like it is inside of cpanel!

What about backups?

This is one of the main reasons that I love Pressable. They back up the websites every evening and they keep them for 30 days. This is important because you might not notice a problem for a few days and need the backup from a week ago. Not an issue with them.

I am not sure if they use their own backup plugin or have partnered with VaultPress that is owned by WordPress themselves. It is very possible because Automattic, the company behind WordPress, now owns a majority of Pressable.

The good thing is this comes included and there is no hidden fee if you need a backup. Hostgator charges you $15 to get you own backup from there and Media Temple charges over $100. Pressable does not charge you a penny.

What about live support?

This is the only downside to Pressable and they are fixing it. When I first used them, they had two staff and was called ZippyKid. They have really grown since them and now have about a dozen staff they still are quite small compared to most companies in the hosting industry. Hostgator employs over 300.

The fact of the matter having a call center with dozens of WordPress experts is not going to happen when you have a dozen staff. It also means that there is no live support. Support is mainly by email and only dealt with during regular business hours. It might suck for some people but it is understandable.

The truth of the matter is I have hardly needed them for anything and one of the people in the office has given me his personal cell phone number to use if I have a really “mayday experience.”

What about page speed and limitations?

They host on Amazon Web Services (the cloud) so there is not much in the way of limitations. The way that Pressable bills is based on your page views and even the basic plan offers you 60,000 views across five website. This is very generous compared to their competitor, WP Engine, that offers one website 25,000.  After you reach the allowed views, you can be billed $1 for every thousand views in a spike.

They also have worked with Google Pagespeed to make your website load as fast as possible and the spiders at Google love that. They offer free SSL certificates for your website. That’s pretty sweet too. This is not to mention they have a free CDN network for their customers.

At the end of the day, they do a lot of things to make sure that customers have the best page speed possible and you have every technically right to perform well on Google search results.

What about WordPress updates?

They update WordPress and all plugins within WordPress automatically. You never have to worry about being outdated on that. People forget to update and leave themselves open to attacks by hackers. You don’t have to worry about that with Pressable.

If you have themes you bought from Theme Forest or plugins you got from other websites; you will need to update them. For example, I used SEO for Yoast Premium that does have to be updated but the basic version would update itself.

Having all the updates current means that your website is not only more secure but also faster to load which as I said is what Google’s spider love to see. If they love you, your position on the search result is better.

Do you want Pressable WordPress Hosting?

If you want to get amazing WordPress hosting, I highly recommend using Pressable Hosting. In fact, I use them for several of my website and you should as well.

I have worked with them to get you a special 20% off your first bill. You can also click the banner below as well.

If I trust Azusa Report that gets tens of thousands of views a month to Pressable, why shouldn’t you?

To test out Pressable for 15 days, click here.

Samoa : Heart of Polynesia

Samoa is one of the most interesting places I have been in the world. The people are warm, the islands are sunny and it is a trip back into time in many ways. It is like living “off the grid” and what backpacking was like before mass tourism. Read more

How Puerto Rico statehood movement could change American Samoa

It is official, Puerto Rico has voted to become a state of the United States. It has been talked about forever but it has finally been voted. American Samoa has many of the same challenges and the political status has been a topic of discussion there as well.

First of all, the vote was close to a half a million (they are still counting) and only 7,500 for free association (like Marshall Islands has) and about the same for completely independence. In reality, the question was statehood or status quo.

There are many things that are left unanswered such as how Puertro Ricans will deal with the language barrier (was a problem in the past) and how taxation will work but the bottom line is the people have made a point of self-determination that they are better with America than they are without.

What does this mean for American Samoa?

It could mean nothing or it could force the political status issue again. I was on island when the former governor tried to force the people to support independence. The end result of that was over 80% flying the middle finger to the governor.

The current governor has send mixed signals about where he stands on political status. He has said that he is for closer ties to the Union but he has given other signals that he is not interested in statehood due to “cultural issues.”

It is important to state that just a few years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against giving American Samoans citizenship unless they became part of the United States. Many people, including myself, feel that American Samoans should be full citizens like the people of Puerto Rico are.

What could it mean for people travel to American Samoa?

I would say nothing to really speak of. The islanders will debate it and there will be the yearly rally at the football stadium crying about the political status in April.

It will be an open discussion in the political circles (called Fono) and it will be openly talked about over coffee at McDonalds by veterans. In most other cases, it will be business as usual.

While you travel there, you will still have all the benefits of being in America. You will still have free access to the island as long as you want. You will still pay with your right kidney for the flight to Hawaii.

As I said, business as usual for us but it will be interesting if it sparks a political movement to right a 120 year old wrong.

Western Union vs. World Remit vs Money Gram vs ATM

I want to start a new series that takes a look at several options for moving money to the Pacific Islands. Today, we will start it with Western Union comparing it to the online company known as World Remit. Read more


Pressable powers Travel the Fire!

When you are a blogger like you, you have to have good WordPress Hosting. I am talking about actual hosting that is tailored to WordPress website and build for us. It is not easy to find and there is only a few of them that do it very good. Currently that list is Page.ly, WP Engine and Pressable.

I will be honest. I would love to use WP Engine as they are the cream of the crop. They are really, really good at what they do and they have the support that is just down right amazing. I do not know enough about Page.ly to say anything about them. However, they are more into corporate accounts these days.

Why I use Pressable

Well, WP Engine is good if you have alot of money or just one website. I have three blogs about three niches currently. I would have to pay $100 for their service that gives me up to 100,000 views. I wish I could but I just can’t!

Pressable on the other hand offers a similar service, really good support, better prices and more views allowed. Plus, the CEO of Pressable is a former executive at WP Engine. All of that makes it is a winning solution for me.

I currently have a plan for 60,000 across five websites for $25 a month. That’s works!

Why not just use Hostgator?

This is a common question that I am asked and it is very simple. I use to work with them and they were great at one time but since they have been sold, they became just like the rest of the cheap hosting companies: crappy.

You get what you pay for and when you need great WordPress support; you will not get it with the cheap services like Hostgator and Godaddy. You hope you don’t need support but when you do, you want the best!

Another major issue with the cheap options is they overload traditional servers with many accounts. There is no telling how many websites are being served up on one servers. It could be thousands. This leads to slower speeds and Google hates slow websites.

Pressable’s FREE trail

They do offer a 15 days free trail to see what you think. I found launching a website is quite easy. Changing the nameservers was the hardest part of the process. If you want to check them out, Just click below and get started.