For those of you in the self-service Store Locator Plus® WordPress plugins camp you are going to want to protect your Google API Keys. For those using our MySLP SaaS service, this is yet another article you can skip.
The basic configuration of Google API Keys tells you to turn off ALL restrictions on the first API key you setup with Google. Turns out a lot of people have issues with configuring the keys properly and getting them put in the right place.
To make matters more complicated, some lower-end web hosting companies don’t understand security and in turn shut off critical web services that do nothing to improve security; Like disabling all communication between the web server and Google. That breaks things like the ability to Geocode locations in Store Locator Plus®.
This article is here to tell our WordPress plugin users how to properly secure their Google API keys for web hosts are configured properly.
Security Through Anonymity
Prior to Store Locator Plus® 5, every time a user visited your map page and typed in an address to be searched — typically the zip code for their town or their home address, this request was sent directly to Google. That means Google now has all kinds of great information they are going to store about your site visitors. They know that the user visited your site, when they visited, that they were looking at your location map, and the address where they were looking for your shop.
Our Store Locator Plus® 5.0 WordPress plugin is out today with some notable changes.
What Store Locator Plus 5 does have is an improved map rendering process that reduces geocoding requests. Since Google switched over to a 100% pay-as-you-go system for EVERYONE , no “free map views or geocoding” even for long-time users, we decided to focus on helping users reduce their monthly Google fees. WPSLP 5 is the first release to work towards that goal.