Welcome back to the 21st edition of The Lab Report!
April has definitely been... a month for me.
Aside from client deadlines and finally getting my 2021 taxes organized, I've had a couple fun things happen lately that have made finding time to put out this newsletter a difficult task.
I thought I'd share one with you just in case it happens to save your life one day.
(P.S. you can also just skip down if you don't want to read about my life's hardships 🙂)
"PUMP THE BRAKES!"
I've always thought this just meant stop or step on the brakes.
I learned the hard way this weekend that there is a lot more to it.
Back at my family's place for Easter, my dad offered to replace the brake pads on my car.
After he was done working and I was done handing him a cold beer, I was going to pull the car out of the garage and test the new brakes out on the road.
The only problem? I never made it that far.
The car was parked on an angle in the garage, so I needed to manoeuvre to pull it out.
I put it in reverse and the car creeped backwards as usual.
But when I stepped on the brakes to slow er' down... NOTHING HAPPENED.
For a split second I was frozen in shock. For the next split second I decided what object would be best to back into.
With a choice of metal, brick, or wooden garage frame, I chose the garage frame, but still ended up completely denting & scratching the car 🥲.
I had no idea I needed to pump the brakes after getting them replaced, so I'm not going to take the blame there.
But what I did learn: pump the brakes means exactly that.
If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation where your brakes aren't working, try pressing them quickly and repeatedly.
It'll move fluid through your brake lines, and help prevent you from doing what I sadly just did.
Ok, let's get into this week's newsletter now.
🌋 GridPane launches free "Core" plan
A couple of weeks ago GridPane launched a new free "Core" plan.
In case you're not familiar, GridPane is a server management panel.
By signing up for a server and connecting it to a product like GridPane, you can essentially become your own hosting provider.
The main benefit of this is that you get to purchase your VPS directly - avoiding any markup that hosting companies add (I personally use Vultr).
It also means you have full control over your server.
Ever since they initially ditched their free plan, GridPane has been pretty cost-prohibitive.
It's $50/mth for their cheapest paid plan, meaning you need to manage enough servers to see any cost savings.
The free plan makes it a lot easier for anyone to give it a shot.
It's obviously not as feature-packed as their paid plans, but it does come with most of the essentials.
- You can add a Vultr or Digital Ocean server
- Manage up to 25 sites
- Use their Nginx stack
- Page and object caching
- 7G firewall
Apparently they'll be adding daily backups and a simple staging system as well - which are the big things missing right now.
The main reason they can afford to do this is because it doesn't include their standard support. You can only make posts in their community.
I've found that I don't create support tickets too often, but this is of course a risk to consider.
It's a good option for smaller sites if you want to get your toes wet with managing your own servers.
If you don't want the responsibility of managing your owner server, Cloudways is still my favorite low-cost option.
Each VPS is double the cost, but you don't pay any monthly subscription fee and you get full access to all their features & support.
💡 Let there be OxyLight
Sridhar published a neat little plugin last week called OxyLight that adds a light mode to Oxygen Builders' UI.
This is an option that comes with most builders these days, so I'm glad to see it finally possible with Oxygen.
I'm generally a big fan of dark mode, but from the screenshots, it actually makes the UI look really clean.
It's free for anyone who's purchased OxyToolbox (which you should), or $20 for unlimited sites as a separate purchase.
🍚 Stop the WP Admin bar from covering your sticky header
"Do you have a teaser bar, positioned absolutely at top 0px of your page? Or a sticky menu?
Have you ever been annoyed by the WP admin bar covering your teaser bar or menu?
And the admin bar has different heights in desktop and several mobile views, making manual CSS adaptions more complicated.
WordPress 5.9 introduces a CSS variable for the current admin bar height: --wp-admin--admin-bar--height
You can utilize that CSS variable to move your teaser bar or sticky menu down, no matter if any, or the desktop or the mobile admin bar is currently visible.
That moves the top position down by the height of the current admin bar, or leaves it a top 0px if that variable is not defined."
Long story short: if you're positioning an element to the top of the page, you should use top: var(--wp-admin--admin-bar--height,0) instead of top: 0 from now on.
📈 WooFunnels joins the WP Beginner Growth Fund
The fund is an accelerator program by Syed Balkhi, the founder of Awesome Motive.
It focuses solely on WordPress businesses, and consists of a pretty impressive portfolio of companies now including MemberPress, Optin Monster, Formidable Forms, Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP and more.
I know we have a tendency to look at news like this negatively, as we've seen great companies become lifeless after an acquisition.
However, that doesn't look like it will be the case here.
It appears to be more of an investment as opposed to an acquisition, so Damanjeet and the entire team are staying intact.
They'll probably just have a lot more fuel to add to the fire now.
⭐️ Deals of the week
Oddly enough, I didn't come across any good deals in the past week.
Your wallet may rest.
💬 Closing Comments
That's all for this week.
If you've made it this far, I want to thank you again for sticking along for the ride.
I appreciate your support, comments and feedback more than you know.
And if you ever want to discuss any of the topics in this newsletter, I post a dedicated thread each week inside of the NewPulse Labs Facebook group.
You can also suggest any topics you think I should cover there, so be sure to join 🙂
Stay safe and talk soon.