In June, we experienced a “power outage” of sorts. It’s a frustrating story, but to keep it simple, a credit card processing company we had done business with inexplicably closed our account with our PCI Compliance company. Even though we had paid for the PCI compliance through February 2017 that would and should have transferred to a new credit card processing company, we were left having to obtain PCI compliance from a new company. Before, I go any further with this story, I guess I should mention what PCI Compliance is all about. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry. So, PCI Compliance ensures that businesses like Culinary Dreams, that have e-commerce available on their website and therefore process credit card data are making absolutely sure to protect their customers’ financial data. So, because we are committed to doing things the right way at Culinary Dreams, we immediately contracted for new PCI Compliance. And that’s what led to the website “breaking.”

When the new PCI Compliance company performed its scan on our website, it found that our PHP version (Hypertext Preprocessor or HTML-embedded scripting language) was old and needed updating.  They also did not like that we were running an older version of WordPress as well as an older version of WooCommerce on our website.  Because we had a custom-built WordPress theme, we were instructed by the web company that built it that we probably should never upgrade to newer versions of WordPress and WooCommerce because it would likely break the website.  And so, we had that sinking feeling in our gut that when all of the updates the PCI Compliance company was requiring were made, that our “products” were not going to “communicate” with our “cart” anymore. Since we really had no choice but to go ahead and see what happened, we did.

…And the company that did our original website was correct.  Website broken, but not end of story.  We think it has a pretty happy “ending” that really is more of a “beginning.”

First, we have learned more about ftp, core, php, css, html, mysql, etc. than we ever knew existed.  No kidding.  This summer has been a “crash course” when it comes to learning about what makes websites go, how to build a website, and what to do to prevent, as much as is possible, what happened before from happening again.

The answer for us was found in a Premium WordPress Themes company called Elegant Themes.  The company has offered decent support, and when we couldn’t get the help we needed, well, we just worked on things in the “back-end” of the new website until we figured it out ourselves.  We decided the best course of action was to get “the whole enchilada” from them that has lifetime upgrades, access to all of their themes and plugins, and the satisfaction knowing that as long as they stay in business, we can stay current with website trends, “how-to’s” and other “tricks of the trade.”  Elegant Themes has a theme called “Divi.”  Here is their picture of Divi from their website: Divi

We think Divi is pretty incredible and allows one to pretty much build whatever website they want to build, kind of like, “if I can see it in my mind, I can build it.” We’re not so sure that would be true for most of the themes available for businesses like Culinary Dreams.  But Divi was great to build the website with, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this first “rendition” of built with Divi.

Another security measure we took when building the new website, is that we are now using SIM.  If you are interested in finding out all of the details about SIM, you can find them HERE.  Since the document is 114 pages long, we don’t really expect you to read all of it, but the bottom line is SIM is a safer way to process payments made on an e-commerce website.  According to WooCommerce, the company that we purchased the SIM plugin from, this is why we like it and why we chose it instead of other payment gateways that are available:

  • Customers are automatically redirected back to your site after payment
  • Provides a PCI compliant payment method since payment takes place off-site
  • Can accept eChecks with optional eCheck account
  • Accepts all Major Credit Cards / Debit Cards – Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diner’s Club, JCB
  • Uses the newest SIM protocols from

The bottom line: we think we now have an even better, more safe, more “us” website, that can continue to “grow” and “change” with us.  We hope you like it.  If you see anything on the website that you think needs tweeking, reworking, taken away, or added, please let us know.  Constructive feedback is much appreciated.

And if you need a website built for you, I am willing to take it on.  I think I’ll do you a great job, so let’s talk.

Again, thanks for your patience in this transition process.



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