Another Free Online Icon Generator for Favicons and Apple Launcher Icons

iconifier.net website

Why Another Free Online Icon Generator?

Correct File Names

iconifier.net creates the Apple Launcher icons with the file names that devices expect, so there's no need to specify the icon locations in your HTML.

Transparency Preserved

Transparency for PNG and GIF files are preserved.

Higher Resolution Multiple Format Favicon

The favicon file is created with multiple embedded sizes of 16 x 16, 24 x 24, 32 x 32, 48 x 48 and 64 x 64 so the optimum quality favicon will be displayed. This is increasingly important as retina screens and modern web browsers embrace higher resolution icons.

Easy Operation

Uploads and downloads are all done simply from one screen. The created icons can be download individually or all together in one easy ZIP file that includes a folder so that icons aren't strewn across your desktop or elsewhere when the file is expanded.

Instructions

A ReadMe page at: http://iconifier.net/readme has instructions on where to upload the icons you generate.

The ReadMe page includes links and more information about favicons and Apple Launcher icons and reasons why I felt the need to improve on the existing icon generator websites.

Thanks

I'm very grateful to Chris Jean for sharing his excellent PHP-ICO tool which can now be found on GitHub. PHP-ICO enables favicon files to be created with PHP and the GD library only.

If you find the tool useful, please use the links on iconifier.net to share on your favourite social networks.

Top 10 Developer!

Nibber Badges

Always Learning

As a web developer, I am always learning about new technology and new ways to do things.

I was especially motivated during 2012 after discovering the free Nibbler test tool by Silktide. Nibbler analyses submitted websites and provides a free report and a score out of 10 on how well the website is put together including accessibility, technology, social networking and so on. Websites are awarded badges based on the Nibbler findings such as "W3C Compliant",  "HTML5", "Well Linked" and so on.

Nibbler is used by developers all over the world and thousands of websites have been tested.

Developers can claim websites and earn badges (examples at right) and a score of their own. Add a leaderboard into the mix and it can become quite competitive and addictive!

So Nibbler did influence me learning more about quite a few things in 2012 including:

  • W3C validation
  • HTML5
  • Content Delivery Networks
  • Print stylesheets
  • How to create a Joomla plug-in
  • Social Networking
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Compression and Caching

These are all useful things to know and have motivated me to continue improving both my own websites and client websites.

Top 50 Website
Top 10 Developer

Top 50 Website

During the end of year break, I took the opportunity to work on my own http://webilicious.com.au website, updating to a responsive HTML5 Joomla Template together with a few other minor adjustments.

The website made it into the Nibbler "Top 50" for a while which I am very pleased with.

Top 10 Developer

These extra points and some other badges boosted my own score and catapulted me into the Top 10!

Thanks to Nibbler and Silktide for making learning more fun than usual!

January 2013 Update: I made it to 2nd highest scoring Nibbler user!

Sitebeam

Note that the free Nibbler test tool only tests five pages of each website. Silktide also have a commercial tool, Sitebeam that tests all the pages on your website.

Protecting your Joomla Website from Spammers

No Spam

CAPTCHA is No Longer Sufficient

Forums, registration forms and other forms can usually be protected from spammers using CAPTCHA codes or other security extensions such as the excellent EasyCalcCheck PLUS.

Sophisticated spammers are now circumventing CAPTCHA codes on websites using techniques such as:

  • low paid human workers manually entering the codes
  • clever spam bots that use OCR to decipher the codes
  • high traffic websites owned by the spammers that redisplay the a target website CAPTCHA code on their own website, have it solved by a visitor and then use the solution on the website they wish to spam

At least one of my clients is affected and a better solution is required.

Keeping One Step Ahead of the Spammers

There are several services on the web such as projecthoneypot.org and stopforumspam.com that maintain lists of the IP addresses of known spammers and hackers. We can team these services up with a suitable Joomla extension to stop the spammers from accessing the website at all.

I have chosen Akeeba Admin Tools Professional as my preferred solution. An Admin Tools Professional subscription at €20 is excellent value for money and has many other useful features apart from the IP Address blocking.

Enable protection in Akeeba Admin Tools as follows:

  • Register an account and apply for a key at http://www.projecthoneypot.org/httpbl_configure.php (it's free)
  • At Components -> Admin Tools -> Web Application Firewall -> Configure WAF -> Project Honeypot integration, set:
    • Enable HTTP:BL filtering: Yes
    • Project Honeypot HTTP:BL Key: [enter your own key here]

Known hackers and spammers will now be blocked from accessing your Joomla website.

Free Spam Protection

You can find more free and commercial IP address blocking extensions in the Site Protection and Spam Protection categories in the Joomla Extensions Directory.

Some promising free extensions (so far untested by me) are:

What are you using to foil spammers?

Backup, Backup, Backup!

Akeeba Backup Logo

Why Backup A Website?

Everyone with a website knows, or should know, the importance of regular backups. There are many reasons that you may have need of a recent backup. For example:

  • your website could be compromised by hackers
  • the server on which your website is hosted could fail
  • your web hosting company may not have a recent backup of your website (check your terms and conditions - many web hosting companies have no guarantees in regard to backups)
  • your web hosting company could go out of business
  • an administrator could inadvertently delete content or misconfigure your website

Backing up a Joomla Website

Backing up a Joomla website is so easy, there are no excuses to defer this important task.

The undisputed backup tool of choice for Joomla is Akeeba Backup. It is very simple to download, install and run Akeeba Backup which backs up all your files and the database into one neat compressed file. This should then be copied via FTP to your local machine or somewhere else safe.

How Often Should I Back Up?

The answer to this question is usually, "how much can I afford to lose?".

A static website which rarely changes may only need to be backed up once every few months. A website with a few content updates each month might need to be backed up every month. A busy e-commerce website may need to be backed up every day.

How Much Does It Cost?

The free version of Akeeba Backup does an efficient job with the paid version of Akeeba Backup having a few extra features such as the ability to back up to DropBox and elsewhere in the cloud. See the feature comparison for more details.

The Alternative

I was recently asked to investigate a hacked Joomla 1.5 website (not one that I built or looked after, I hasten to add).

The best way to recover from a hacked website is to start with a known clean copy of the website. Unfortunately, the client did not have his own backup so we had to rely on the web hosting company. After many support emails and a few weeks, it became apparent that the web hosting company had no suitable backup.

The only alternative, apart from rebuilding the website from scratch, was to identify and remove all the malicious code. With over 15.000 files in this particular website, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack! Eventually, malicious code was removed from three files and a malicious file was removed to restore the website. This is not the preferred way to restore a hacked website as you can never be 100% confident that you have removed all the malicious code. This method is also more time consuming and costly!

When did you last back up your website?

Website Maintenance and Backup Subscriptions

  Economy Business Enterprise
Monthly Cost $39 per month $69 per month $99 per month
Annual Cost $390 per year* $690 per year* $990 per year*
Third party extensions up to 10 extensions up to 20 extensions up to 30 extensions
Monthly Report Yes Yes Yes
Free initial security audit (valued at $220) Yes Yes Yes
Monitor new CMS and third party extension/plugin updates Yes Yes Yes
High priority CMS updates installed within 24 hours Yes Yes Yes
High priority third party extension/plugin updates installed within 24 hours Yes Yes Yes
Non-critical CMS and third party extension/plugin updates installed quarterly Yes Yes Yes
Monthly off-site backups Yes Yes Yes
Non-critical CMS and third party extension/plugin updates installed monthly No Yes Yes
Installation of web application firewall (e.g. Akeeba Admin Tools Pro) No Yes Yes
Weekly off-site backups No No Yes
Monthly malware scan No No Yes

* Pay 12 months in advance and get 2 months free.