Tools we use and recommend
Why spend money, time, and effort on building less than perfect websites?
We build better products by using the best tools available. Check out our list of recommended products.
Every website needs to be designed and filled with content to make it appealing to your visitors.
If you are interested in finding out how we built the xApption and similar sites, here are the products, tools and plugins we used.
Read through all the resources listed here or use the table of contents to find what interests you most.
We use self-hosted WordPress as our publishing platform to run the xApption website.
As of 2021, it is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world with a market share of more than 40%.
Although other publishing and blogging platforms exist, we always recommend WordPress for both small and large websites.
While many web hosting providers give you a domain for free when you first sign-up, we usually recommend separating web hosting and domain hosting.
The reason is that dedicated domain registrars are usually cheaper and offer better terms than web hosts.
Moreover, by registering your domain independent from your web hosting, you can switch your web hosting without having to transfer your domain in the process.
Our go-to domain registrar is Namecheap. All our domains are registered here and we have never had a single issue.
Namecheap offers great prices, quick DNS propagation and they run specials all the time that will make your domain registration even cheaper.
In order to make your website available to anyone on the internet, you need to find a good web host.
For xApption, we use self-managed dedicated VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting by Linode. It is blazing fast and incredibly reliable.
However, this setup requires knowledge of server setups, Linux, and the command line.
Most smaller and medium-sized websites will work great with shared web hosting from Namehero and Siteground.
For larger sites and as part of our premium web development packages, we use managed VPS hosting from our partners:
All these web hosts offer 1-click WordPress installs, 99,9% uptime, 24/7 support, and more than enough resources to run your websites smoothly. They even give you a domain for free upon sign-up. 🙂
We understand that finding a good web hosting provider might be difficult and the sheer number of them can be daunting. Therefore, we created this step-by-step guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting for your site.
Website Design / WordPress Theme
At xApption we use our own theme (of course!) on our site, as well as many client projects.
The xApption theme is essentially identical to the Success Theme with some custom modifications.
As a matter of fact, many of the modifications we make to our own sites eventually find their way into our Success Theme.
If you like a feature you see on our site and would like to have it included in our themes, send us a message! 🙂
However, we know that our theme might not be for everyone. If you are looking for high-quality WordPress themes, check out these that we have used in the past ourselves and can recommend whole-heartedly:
Elementor Hello Theme
Looking for a new WordPress theme? Read our article on how to choose the best WordPress theme or check out the Success WordPress theme.
Securing your website and servers is extremely important.
Most managed web hosts take care of the server-side of things. If you run a VPS, make sure to check out our guide on how to secure your VPS web server.
The best protection is to only use WordPress themes and plugins from reputable sources and keep your passwords and administrator privileges to yourself.
In addition, you can use the following plugins and tools to keep your WordPress site secure:
VaultPress – For automatic backups of our site.
WPS Hide Login – Change the login URL of your WordPress site to keep your site backend safe and secure.
Performance & Caching
Performance is crucial for the success of your website and nobody likes a slow browsing experience.
In general, there are four main aspects to good site performance:
Web Server – Caching – CDN – Website Design
The web server is the layer below your WordPress installation on which your site runs. By choosing a good web host, you can make sure that your web server performance is optimal.
All our own web servers run on Open Litespeed, arguably the fastest web server technology available today.
The hosts that we recommended above all offer Litespeed web servers.
Caching is a way for the server, as well as the browser, to store certain data and retrieve it without having to load all assets upon each visitor coming to your site.
This takes the load off of your server and makes your site faster.
At xApption, we use the phenomenal FREE Litespeed caching plugin. It’s easy to set up and works on all sites that use Litespeed as their web server. (Though you could install it on non-Litespeed websites with limited functionality).
If your web host does not offer Litespeed web servers, we use and recommend WP-Rocket Pro.
Super intuitive and achieves the same results.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) helps to make your site load faster for visitors from around the world.
By serving your site from servers closest to the location of the visitor, page speed is greatly increased.
xApption runs on bunnyCDN which does the job, as we expect.
On client sites, we often implement Cloudflare which is also the standard option most web hosts offer.
The biggest impact on your page speed will definitely be the design and structure of your site.
By choosing a fast WordPress theme, good plugins and clear website design, you can make sure to offer your visitors the best experience possible.
In addition, we use the Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster plugin to disable CSS and JS files on pages they aren’t used.
It’s FREE so go and check it out.
A page builder helps you design your actual web pages beyond the theme defaults.
Gutenberg Blocks editor
Gutenberg is the default editor that ships with WordPress. It allows you to build your site in whichever way you want with the help of so-called “blocks”, pieces of content that can be placed and styled individually.
We use the following blocks on xApption:
xApption Blöcke – xApption Blocks extends the default Gutenberg editor with a number of useful and versatile blocks that you won’t find anywhere else.
sehr. – Patterns are templates of blocks that speed up your web design. For example, for the split screen layouts on our product pages, we used the xApption Patterns – Split Screen pattern. 😉
Kadence Blocks – Simple and intuitive block library that gets even better with their Pro-Addons. They work nicely with our own products and we really like the features they built.
If you are looking for more information, check out our article on the best blocks for Gutenberg.
Elementor is the market leader for drag and drop page builders for WordPress with over 5 million active installs.
It allows you to design every aspect of your site using drag and drop widgets which can all be styled individually.
The free version is great, however, the upgrade to Pro is worth every cent.
The Oxygen page builder is the most versatile page builder out there and is pretty much as fast as a custom coded solution.
If you know a little HTML, CSS and optionally JS and PHP, this is the page builder for you.
It especially tackles the issue of many other page builders which add loads of bloat and unnecessary HTML layers to your site.
The free and extremely powerful Woocommerce plugin adds the online shop functionality to your site with just a few clicks. If you are selling any kinds of products and goods, this is the definitive solution.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is crucial to rank in search engines and to make your site stand out from the competition.
Rank Math SEO – We use RankMath on the xApption site to improve our on-page SEO. The plugin adds custom Title Tags, XML Sitemaps, Indexation rules, and live-checks our content for SEO scores.
Site Kit by Google – Google’s very own SEO plugin helps us connect our site to all of their services like search console, analytics and AdSense.
Marketing & Monetization
Whether you want to increase sales, draw more visitors to your site or track your progress, here are our go-to marketing tools and plugins:
xApption Affiliate Partner – xApption Affiliate Partner is the best affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress.
We use it to manage our affiliate marketing campaigns, set up link cloaking, product review boxes, and keep our affiliate links up-to-date.
Translation & Internationalization
TranslatePress – We use the TranslatePress Agency Version to translate all our websites into multiple languages. Very easy to use, works flawlessly, and even packs in extra plugins that add translator roles, SEO optimization, and custom menu functionality.
LMS & Online Courses
For our online courses, the LearnDash LMS (Learning Management System) provides all the tools and features necessary to create beautiful and engaging learning content.
Community & Membership
We use the BuddyBoss platform, a fork of BuddyPress and bbPress to incorporate social features like forums, messaging and online communities into our sites.
It work even greater with their BuddyBoss premium theme which we use for our members-only area.
MemberPress adds an additional membership layer to our sites and helps you set up paid and free membership tiers to your site.
Events & Calendar
The Events Manager is a free plugin that adds a pre-styled calendar to your site and helps you manage events.
We use it for setting up webinars or invite-only events.
Behind the scenes
While the plugins and tools above are visible for our visitors, we use some plugins and tools behind the scenes, as well.
They help us manage our sites, plan our work or add important backend functionality. In no particular order, here they are:
Publit.io – This Media Asset Management tool helps us host our videos, and other media, encrypt it, and serve it in our online courses through their API and WordPress plugin.
FileBird – This Media Library Management plugin adds folders to the media library which helps you organize your media. Really useful!
Zoho Mail – We use Zoho as our dedicated email host. They are fast, reliable and really cheap. To connect our Zoho email accounts to our sites, we use the free Zoho Mail plugin that does the job.
Mailerlite Plugin – We use Mailerlite to manage our newsletter sign ups and campaigns. They offer a custom plugin, as well as API to connect their services to our sites.