Tag Archives: WordPress.com

Updated Website Look

It has been about two years, since I last updated the look of my website, and with the release of WordPress, they finally offered a template that caught my eye.

Yesterday, after doing a lot of reading, and backing up files, I upgraded my website to version 3.8.

I am happy to report that I did not have any issues with the upgrade, and now I’m just fine-tuning sections with some of the new features that are now offered!

So please take a look around, and if you see anything “odd”, or have any comments, please let me know!

- Andrew
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Corrupt Header Image Issue – SOLVED

WordPress.org logo

I’m having one of those smack my head moments right now…

Seems that when I transferred hosting companies, not all my root level path names transferred cleanly, and it has caused little issues over time, and finally today, I solved a long-standing issue with Corrupt Header Image!

Normally, one can customize their WordPress Header by using Appearance > Header to add an image or several, and then have the Header area display Random images.

This can be a very cool idea, but what if you wanted to Delete one of those images?

In my case, one of my Random images had become corrupt, or should I say, the link had been broken…

When a web page displayed, and the Random feature was turned “On“, you had a 1 in 5 chance of seeing a Large Default Broken Link Icon, which is very ugly to first time visitors, so I had to resort back to a Single image for my Header.

In my basic research into this, several Posts suggested that I should check my

wp-content/themes/twentyeleven.child/images

for the images (Note – this is a Child theme).

In my case, none of the Five header images where there.

Where to look next…

Finally having some time to dig into the code, the Images in the Custom Header section can be found by when the images were Posted!

wp-content/uploads   <- Year/Month

Which makes sense, but there is not direct link in Appearance > Header, or ‘float over’ info on the source/pathname of the Images.

In Media manager, a Header image is shown in Bold, “– Header Image“, but there is no filter to find them all at once.

To find my Image in question, I used the Appearance > Header page, and then using the Show Code feature, I was able to trace back to the correct uploads folder.

Unfortunately, once at the correct image, Edit Media, there is no way to Edit the base filename path to fix the broken Link, so I had to Delete the entire image.

Broken - ecbiz135.inmotionhosting.com/~aseymo5/
Correct - www.aseymour.com/

Once done, and a quick Refresh, the Appearance > Header page displays the rest of the Header images correctly, and you are now able to use the Random button without a Visitor Display issue!

Hope this helps another Admin/User!

- Andrew
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Moved to a new Hosting Service

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Moving to Windows 7“, I have completed a second major task that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

CrystalTech and fastCGI

2011 Chester County Balloon Fest 098
2011 Chester County Balloon Fest 098

This task has been bittersweet, in the sense that I’ve been with my previous host, CrystalTech, for 10+ years and they have always been very responsive during that time, but ever since I moved to a WordPress environment, I’d been having issues.

By no means, do I mean to slam CrystalTech in any way shape or form.

The hosting service has done me well for well over a decade, and I have set up many of my clients with them during this time.

My issue with their hosting at this stage the game is purely technical.

CrystalTech’s main mission is to provide Microsoft based Hosting services, which was great for me during my early days of HTML, FrontPage and DotNetNuke adventures, but as I move to WordPress, it became apparent that their Linux/Unix emulation services left a little to be desired.

Again, I do not blame CrystalTech directly because they are offering WordPress in an emulation mode in a Microsoft environment.

Where I see the major issue in this, is the reliance on the little piece of software called fastCGI.

Since I did not have direct access to the error logs, I can only make this inference based on the errors that were coming up in my browser screen, and they seem to indicate more times than not, that fastCGI was the culprit, and I surely do not want to offend anybody that has not had any issues at all.

Again, during my time with CrystalTech, I was never aware of any major outage, and the tech support staff was readily available during instant messaging session, and were always courteous, and I would recommend them for someone wishing to host a pure Microsoft environment.

Inmotionhosting.com

As mentioned previously, I have been investigating a new hosting service for some time, and during some research for new client of mine, I discovered Inmotionhosting.com.

After setting up a new domain registration and hosting requirements for my new client, Filec Services, LLC, I got my first taste of what it was like to be in a purely Linux/Unix environment.

I was first struck by the speed in which I was able to install a brand-new installation of WordPress, and from there, the installation of my various required plug-ins seem to take seconds to install compared to that of my previous hosting service.

When it became time to actually add content, I could just add the information as needed and my WordPress installation just seem to flow with each new page.

Based on this initial experience, I prepared my old site for the migration to Inmotionhosting.com.

Again after doing numerous backups, of both my content and my database, and reviewing as much information on the topic as possible, I made the import of my old website into my new hosting environment, and was extremely pleased to see that nearly everything transferred without any issue whatsoever!

Once in place, I started to tinker around and was still greeted with the new speed that I had just gained for my web site!

In reading further of SEO, Google has announced that website response times are now linked to your ranking, so hopefully I can get my site further up the scale when potential clients are searching for my services!

In the meantime, please take a look at my various posts and pages and see if you do not also agree that the site seems faster than it was a few days ago.

Update

I still find it amazing, how many little bits and pieces need to be reconnected when one moves to a new host, especially after 10+ years!

In reviewing my Google Webmaster Tools account, it seems to indicate that prior to my move to my new host, my page load times were nearly 20 seconds!

It will be interesting to see how those load times will change during the course of the next several months, but already I know, or I should say, that they ‘feel’ a lot faster!

– Andrew
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Why the move to WordPress (self-hosted)?

After working with the DotNetNuke Content Management System (CMS) for over two years on my personal and several other websites, I finally made the decision to move to something a little less daunting.

Do not get me wrong, DNN is a very powerful system, but with the power comes complexity.

I needed something that did not require as much time to work with, so I started to look into WordPress.

I also realize, that the two systems are entirely different, and have two different audiences in mind.

DotNetNuke can be managed by one person, but that one person needs to be aware of several different underlying architectural environments. Having a programming background is also very desirable when tweaking in needed.

WordPress on the other hand, seems to be geared more for the casual user. Once set up, management of the software appears to be far easier than DotNetNuke.

In the following, I will attempt to do some illustrations in regards to the pros and cons DotNetNuke and WordPress.

By no means is this list comprehensive, but is based on over two years of working with DotNetNuke, and new installation of WordPress, as my new website environment. (I did run a WordPress.com (Free) site for approximately same amount of time… and I have a couple alter ego sites on WordPress…)

DotNetNuke

Pros

  • Free/Open Source
  • Very Powerful and Scalable
  • Supports many Microsoft development languages
  • SEO Friendly (w/Plug-Ins)

Cons

  • Complex
  • Windows Only
  • Requires Hosting Server
  • Simple Back-ups can be done w/Additional “Paid” Software
    – Depending on your Hosting company, Database backups may require additional purchased software.

DotNetNuke it is definitely geared towards an environment where there is someone or some folks that are willing to administer an environment where multiple technologies may be involved.

DotNetNuke is infinitely expandable with the various programming languages that are available to create modules and enhancements within this Content Management System (CMS).

When looking at the DotNetNuke homepage, you can see that many large corporations throughout the world use this CMS for their websites.

There is also a large development and support environment available for those that wish to use DotNetNuke, including SnowCovered.com, DNNCreative.com and the forums on the Main DotNetNuke website.

One of the things that I found very depressing about the DotNetNuke environment, was that every time I wanted to have additional functionality and something, it is it was either a great deal of work, or I had to pay for it.

I always felt that I was getting “Nickel and Dimed” for everything I wanted to do, including documentation and training.

A prime example of this would be the DotNetNuke blog module. Based in this day and age of blogs seems to be the quintessential format for all many websites.

WordPress.com (Free)

Pros

  • Free/Open Source
  • Very Powerful
  • No Hosted Needed
  • SEO Friendly

Cons

  • Limited Enhancement options
  • No Google Analytics
  • No Google AdSense
  • Might be Block by Firewalls

WordPress.com by far is the simplest of these three options presented, but what do you want?

There is no need to find a host, installation is nearly instantaneous, with a few clicks you can have your theme for your website, and you’re off and running.

With the free hosting version of WordPress, there is no advertising “things” that must be placed on your website, which I find very interesting, because I wonder how WordPress pays for itself.

Another Post, another time….

WordPress (Self Hosted)

Pros

  • Free/Open Source
  • Very Powerful
  • Google AdSense & Analytics
  • Very Powerful and Scalable
  • Multiple Platforms ( Wintel & Linux)
  • Very Low Hosting Fees
  • SEO Friendly (w/Plug-Ins)
  • Basic Back-up of the MySQL can be done with Free Plug-ins

Cons

  • Need a Hosting Server (Hosting Fees)

Because WordPress is open source, there are no cost associated with the base software, which does lower costs as one looks around at various hosting options.

I did research one vendor, that does have very low price, but what I found out was, the Advertised price was based upon an upfront one year obligation of hosting.

Once again the law of averages, for the hidden truth.

The ULTIMATE hosting environment would be comprised of Linux as a server operating system, Apache as your Web server, and MySQL doing the database backend, and the ability to use PHP scripts/language. Also known as, LAMP (or Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)

There are thousands of Hosting Vendors that could fit this description… that is beyond scope of this post to really get into that issue…

Many of these Vendors also offer one-button installation of WordPress which for those that do not enjoy the fun of installation, one can just click… sit back and wait…

I did not do this so I cannot comment on the validity of these installs, but if there were an issue there would be far more complaints than what I was able to see in various forums.

Install – WordPress

I did a fair amount of reading to make sure, that I was moving in the right direction of a WordPress install..

I did my necessary backups of my DotNetNuke website…

I even converted many of the aspx pages to HTML, and then integrated them to my temporary WordPress.com blog site.

My WordPress.com site was my secondary backup, and served as my template for my new website.

Having been a Wintel System Administrator for 10+ years, I knew I needed to back up everything…

Several times over…

I confirmed with my hosting company, CrystalTech.com, that my hosting environment was able to accommodate WordPress…

I also confirmed the default structure of my hosting environment.

This was going to be a “Bare metal” / “Fresh” install.

I downloaded and unzipped the official WordPress installation package, and uploaded it to my webspace, and ran the installation script.

The installation ran extremely quickly… I was VERY surprised!

I was able to launch my website install the database etc. etc. etc. without issue…

Now it was time to customize.

Note – Another thing that struck me, was the fact that the administrator interface for WordPress is far easier to understand, then what one would face with DotNetNuke.

I am not going to get to each and every detail of the various ‘things’ that one can add to their web press environment, but needless to say there are thousands of different combinations that one could create to fit their personal taste.

Conclusion

WordPress (Self Hosted), in my opinion, is the most flexible of the three environments presented, but this is dependent on how much you want to be involved financially or through development.

For a Single User with some General knowledge, but not willing to deal with the test technical aspects, WordPress.com (Free), would be your best bet.

For a User with some Advance knowledge, but not willing to deal with the test technical aspects, WordPress (Self Hosted), might be a consideration, but be aware, the technical aspect, might become addicting…

For accompany willing to invest the time and finances, DotNetNuke can be an excellent platform to build from, they can easily grow as your requirements do.

Additional References

Because I installed into a mixed environment, Microsoft IIS (WinTel) and MySQL (Linux), I was confronted with several unique issues with my host that were easily resolved with numerous pre-published documents.

As part of my website reconfiguration plan, I set up on a aseymour.com, with a HTML page, that included a metadata redirect to my WordPress.com site, so I was never really “down”, my content was always available.

But in doing so, I choose to install into a sub-directory of my main website…

At first, when one went to aseymour.com, there would be a quick redirect page, then to the new Main.

I had to get around this pause…

The Crystal Tech support folks were able to point me to the following document, which also used to redirect but at a domain level, which I hope to use, later as I look into Drupla and Joomla.

http://codex.wordpress.org/Giving_WordPress_Its_Own_Directory

- Andrew
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Blog Crashed… Again!

To say that I am upset, would be an understatement…

I was trying to publish something for my Facebook group “Chester County (PA) Photography“…

Wanted to add a New series of Categories using the DNN Blogger module, and bang…

No more Blog!

I was able to recover most of my Blog Posts, and now, slowly converting them by hand over to WordPress.

It is going to take some time, but I have far more confidence in WordPress, than I do with the DNN Blog module.

November 15th 2010 was the last time frame when this happened…

and I was doing the same thing…

What is the old idiom…

‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’…

So, at the moment, I am recovering my DNN Blog entries, and moving them to WordPress…

I’ve had enough…

Pardon me for my Blogs brevity in the mean time…

Thanks in advance,

- Andrew
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