Found this article the other day, and as I read through it, I discovered that even for a WordPress oldhead like me, there were some good reminders on using PHPMyAdmin to get database backups quickly, restore backups and more importantly a hood reminder about occasionally going and optimizing the database tables.
Hadn’t done that in awhile, and now that the databases on my sites have been optimized, they’re using less space and the site does feel just a little bit snappier to respond.
File it away, never know when it might come in handy!database, Wordpress
One of the challenges of hosting your own site and using WordPress is security. As WP has gotten more and more popular, it has become a huge target for hackers of all sorts. I’ve had my own fair share of old installations getting hacked and causing problems for live sites, rogue files, brute force login attempts that create a denial of service, DOS attacks against XMLRPC, and so on over the years.
Recently, I came across a mention of a security plugin called Wordfence and decided to try it out. It scans your install for any changes made to the WordPress core, theme and plugin files by comparing them to the original from the WordPress codex. Sure enough, for the couple of placers where I had made some customizations, it noted those as changed files and warned me about them. It then let me mark those as safe to ignore, provided they don’t change again, which is nice. I’m always nervous when a security app allows the user to set it to ignore a file, and then that’s the file that gets corrupted, and it continues to ignore it. It even warned me about a corrupt file that I had missed about 8 folders deep when I was cleaning up that infection last year, so that’s also nice!
Eventually though, I got everything cleaned up and verified with one more scan!
comments, Plugin, Security, Wordpress
After 12 plus years of blogging, I’m sure that you can imagine that there must be a lot of links that I’ve shared that may not actually go anywhere any longer. That is true, but I never really knew how true until I grabbed a copy of the WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker.
I installed it over on my child abuse survivor blog, and out of curiosity I went ahead and let it do it’s things.
Sure enough, it found a few hundred broken links and presented them all to me in a list, like you see below.
Now, as I ran through the list, I found some things that I could obviously just unlink in bulk. If the link was linking to a commenter that no longer worked, I went ahead and unlinked. No reason to be granting publicity to commentators who no longer blog, right?
Others pointed to things that were no longer active on the site, like forums or other such things, those also, I could unlink, but I also found something interesting. If I chose the option to Edit the URL for each link, it would search the WayBack Machine for a copy of what I l had linked to. That’s kind of cool. That let’s me point to an old copy of things that I had linked to even when the site is no longer online. It doesn’t always work, but I thought it was a fairly neat feature.
Now, the big question is, how much do I owe my readers in terms of going back and fixing those links? I haven’t answered that over there, let alone this site, which has much more content overall.
Still, it’s nice to know that I can use this tool to find out just how bad things are, and try and correct some of the more egregious causes of broken links. For that alone, as well as the web archive search, I highly recommend this plugin!Tags: Plugin, Wordpress
Reading this latest article about the future of the mobile web, Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it, I’m struck by the difference between how young people interact with the web, and how us old veterans do it.
Young people don’t use tablets because they don’t see them as necessary for accessing the internet, since their perception is that apps are what makes up the internet. They’ve grown up primarily using their phones, not using laptops with Web browsers. To this generation, it seems slow, purposeless even to go from website to website in a single, sub-par Web browser environment when they can get rich app experiences right from their home screen.
Of course, this sort of information intrigues me in two ways. One, is that part of the reasoning behind using apps instead of a web browser has to be because using a web browser on a phone sucks. Partially that is because sites don’t look good at all at that size even with a mobile theme like the WordPress option I use for this site. It’s better, but not great. Another reason it sucks is because we’ve become so good at redirecting people using phones to an app instead of the website. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to click a link in a blog post on my phone to a news story, and have that site take me to the iTunes store to download their app, or redirect me to the mobile home page of their site instead of the link I wanted to read. It degrades the experience of using my phone to browse the web, so it’s no wonder people are much more likely to use an app instead.
This leads me to the second reason this intrigues me. If it’s true that more and more of the internet “audience” is using mobile devices, and only accessing the web through apps, what’s a website owner to do? As an independent, and unpaid, site owner I can’t pay to have someone develop an app for me. I’ve looked at some of the free “create your own app” services, and frankly, between very limiting licensing and very limited features, they didn’t really provide much of a resource. Not to mention that you still have to pay to be an Apple developer or Google Play developer if you want your app to be available in either of those places.
So it would seem that the only way to get your content in front of this growing mobile audience who doesn’t use a web browser, is to get your content into the apps they do use. This is why I’ve been toying around with various social networks, trying to get my content, and the other content I want to share, in front of this audience. I’ve been using the more traditional routes, posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, but recently I’ve also started to dabble on Tumblr and Flipboard, which seem to be a bit more popular among that younger, smartphone-using, audience. Over at my child abuse blog, I’ve already added a Flipboard magazine, and a tumblr blog. Both are an effort to get that content in front of smartphone users, and hopefully to get them to likewise share it. Over the next few weeks, I suspect I will be doing similar types of things here and on my other sites.
The bottom line is that I have my website in order to share ideas and information with other people, whatever the topic might be. If they won’t come to the site, I should try and get that same information to them another way. Developing my own app isn’t really an option, but getting the content into the apps they already use, is.
The trick is being able to also interact with people in those apps as well so that you don’t appear to just be auto-posting to a social network and dropping out like some spammer, which takes some time and effort, but ultimately that is the goal of all this sharing isn’t it, to spark conversations? So what if they happen in Tumblr instead of in the comments.
As I develop other tools for this site and others, I will be sharing that information, so if you want to use those services to get the content I’m sharing on your smartphone, or know someone who does, they’ll be able to do that.Tags: Apple, comments, Facebook, Flipboard, Google, Mobile, Tumblr, Wordpress
It’s one of those things that I’ve gone back and forth about for years. I never started this blog with the idea of adding tags to posts. In fact, when I started it way back on Blogger, I don’t even think you could.
By the time I could, and wanted to, I had years of old posts without tags. Going back and trying to tag those items seems like a ridiculous amount of time and effort. So it hadn’t ever happened.
Lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago, I heard about a WordPress Plugin called Simple Tags. Not only does Simple Tags let you create auto tags, so even if you forget to tag a post, it can assign tags based on keywords, but it lets you go back and do the same thing for all of your posts.
Now, basing it solely on matching keywords isn’t a perfect solution, but in this case, there was no reason to let the perfect be the enemy of what is clearly better than doing nothing. So I came up with a list of keywords, and went ahead and let Simple Tags do it’s thing.
For example, if I used the word Twitter, or Facebook, in a post, let’s go ahead and add that tag. Same for Apple, Google, Microsoft, and so on. So now there’s a nice set of tags, and even a tag cloud, to help you find more posts about the same subjects, and I can continue to fine tune my tags to create some interesting ties to posts on the same subject.
Now I’m going to do the same thing over at the Child Abuse Survivor blog too, which has been going almost as long as this one.
Tags: Plugin, Wordpress
I knew something weird was going on. My co-blogger over on the other site tried to create a new post last week, and it disappeared on him.
I found that odd. When I logged in, as the admin of the site, there was no indication that he had created anything. We had planned to try again in the next day or two, when I saw an announcement about a Wordpess 3.8.3 release, less than a week after the 3.8.2 release. Working for a software company, I know that a quick version update means something was wrong with the release, and sure enough, in the announcement post, I saw what looked like an explanation for what had happened to Ken’s post.
The “Quick Draft” tool on the dashboard screen was broken in the 3.8.2 update. If you tried to use it, your draft would disappear and it wouldn’t save. While we doubt anyone was writing a novella using this tool, any loss of content is unacceptable to us.
As the post goes on to explain, there is a possibility that the draft is in the database, if you update quickly, since the database will only save those sorts of lost drafts for 7 days. Sure enough, Ken’s partial post was in there after I applied the update.
So go apply the update before you try and save any drafts!Tags: database, Wordpress
This article caught my interest:
Just in the course of a few hours, over 162,000 different and legitimate WordPress sites tried to attack his site. We would likely have detected a lot more sites, but we decided we had seen enough and blocked the requests at the edge firewall, mostly to avoid filling the logs with junk.
Can you see how powerful it can be? One attacker can use thousands of popular and clean WordPress sites to perform their DDOS attack, while being hidden in the shadows, and that all happens with a simple ping back request to the XML-RPC file:
It caught my interest because for the last couple of months, I’ve been dealing with a problem on this site, tens of thousands of requests to post via XML-RPC, causing huge traffic bursts, time outs, and all sorts of other problems. So much so, in fact, that I’ve taken some pretty drastic measures to re-route requests to that file to null.iOS, Wordpress