Category Archives: dwcryan.com

Google Analytics & Sitemap

Today I tinkered on my website to verify that I have finally completed some outstanding items on my website that I have been planning to do for ages.  The only one that I really should have investigated sooner was Google Analytics as now I don’t have any data prior to the end of this week as it appears what I had done way back when broke at some point when switching themes, etc.

What I have done:

  • Updated to latest version of Quark Theme
  • Verified Google Analytics is working… using the Analytics Cat Free WP Plugin, this is a very easy plugin to use and will have to see how well it works over time
  • Using Google XML Sitemaps plugin, added my static pages, set priorities and sent off my sitemap to Google & Bing
  • Using a simple Homepage (removed in transition note as no longer in transition)
  • Google Search console has my sitemap

The only outstanding item I now have is to figure out what to do about a portfolio.

Oh yeah, also need to continue tinkering and get cracking on some personal projects 😉 .  Though I have been working hard on one personal project, that is building my plane!  I will want to contain this kind of info in a category within my portfolio, so it will not just be software development projects.

GoDaddy WP 4.7.3 Upgrade Gotcha

It’s been a fun time trying to get everything updated and to where I want it to be on my website.  Just recently I did a post about some housekeeping I’ve been doing on my website along with outstanding items.  One of the things that has come up was updating to the latest version of WP (4.7.3) as I was currently on 4.7.2.  I tried to do it as soon as it was available within WordPress itself, but this kept failing and so I awaited until it was available through the dashboard on my GoDaddy Windows (Plesk) hosting.

I thought fantastic, I’ll click the button and wala!  But no, for another domain it did work right off the hop, but for dwcryan.com no such luck.  I was getting the following error:

Error: Update failed: Non-zero exit status returned by script. Output stream: ‘ (Error code 1)’. Error stream: ‘ (Error code 1)’.

So the Googling started and I came across a Plesk support article on the error I was experiencing.  The advice was to either comment out the error_log line or to set it equal to syslog.  In my hosting I do not have access to the PHP.ini file which meant I could not do this; however, for each domain in my hosting there is a .user.ini file within the corresponding directory root.  By placing the following line at the bottom of that file (on a new line) I was able to successfully update my WordPress installation through the Plesk 12.0 Applications Dashboard:

1
error_log = syslog

Website Housekeeping: TablePress & Huge IT Portfolio

I think I have finally managed to get some serious website maintenance and cleanup done so I can move forward with confidence.   The tasks that I have performed over the last little while includes:

  • Full backup of my domain
  • Backup of my MySQL database for dwcryan.com
  • Deleting 2 Huge IT Portfolio Plugin tables from the database (the plugin itself I deleted a ways back)
  • Deleting 2 Unused Plugins (Aeolus Creative Portfolio and Hello Dolly)
  • Upgrading WordPress version (always trying to keep up to date for security reasons)
  • TablePress plugin update failed putting my site into maintenance mode, had to rename folder and install fresh (thankfully tables embedded into posts so they remained! 🙂 )
  • Using WP-Sweep to clean up unused, orphaned and duplicated data as well as to optimize my database tables (especially for removing old revisions of posts to try and speed things up)

I’ve used WP-Sweep once before and today was my second.  I still have one unused plug, Waving Portfolio, remaining.  I recall having issues with the plugin but am still in the hunt for how to do up my portfolio which leads me to the outstanding items on my website:

  • Update to latest version of Quark Theme… will happen soon now that I have backed up and cleaned up a fair bit, including backing up the Quark Theme folder specifically encase I loose my customizations (I should probably read up and potentially do a proper Child Theme)
  • Complete my homepage, still not sure what I want to do for the body
  • Investigate Portfolio option (quark gallery format and some manual maintenance on a portfolio page?)

This is always on going and though it may cause a little stress at times when things break as a whole I love it and enjoy the challenge which is why I need to try and get cracking on some personal project ideas of my own.

Favicon & Landing Page Image

I am no graphics artists; however, I had an idea in my head as to what I wanted for my site icon and image on the landing page of my site.  So I got Stephanie to take a picture of me in the shirt I wanted to wear striking a couple different poses.

The idea was to have something which ties them together which is the ‘thinking’ pose I’ve struck.  I use me looking off to the one side for my favicon and to the other for the image on the landing page of my site with the idea of the things around me representing bits and pieces of what I enjoy doing (hobbies and otherwise).

This is another step forward in getting the landing page of my site completed to finish off the overall look.

It was fun to tinker with, but made me realize that graphics are not quite my forte! Lol.

 

Plugin Update Took My Site Down

My site was down for a while on Friday because during my lunch break I decided to update my site.  The update that took down my site was HugeIT Portfolio plugin.  I do not believe it was due to the plugin itself but do to the update process getting interrupted, confronting visitors to the site with a “500 Internal Server Error”.

In order to fix my site when a plugin takes it down I do the following, if I’m unable to login and disable the plugin:

  • Rename the plugins directory to, i.e. disabled_plugins
  • Create a directory called plugins
  • Log in to the site (all plugins should appear disabled)
  • Delete the plugins directory
  • Rename the disabled_plugins directory back to plugins
  • Go to view your plugins, they should all appear as disabled
  • Enable them one by one, checking your site until you find the offender (if you don’t know), if you do then enable all but the offending one
  • Delete the offending plug

What you decide to do next is up to you.  You can either install it again and reconfigure or find a replacement.  I tried to install it again; however, that created another instance of it.  With the plugin now appearing twice I thought it best to delete them both as the plugin directory in the plugins folder was only their once.  This cleans up the plugin folder.

I was able to install the HugeIT Portfolio plugin again; however, upon activation my site was taken down again.  so I had to rename the folder that particular plugin (portfolio-gallery) in order to gain access to my site again.  I am  now going to delete that plugin and be back on the hunt for a means of setting up a portfolio on my site.  I was using Aeolus – Creative Portfolio before; however, activating that one again now I remember why I had switched in the first place.  It doesn’t work well with my theme, or at least that’s my guess, as all the text becomes really tiny and makes the site unusable.

Portfolio & My Story

I have made some major overhauls to my website over the past month to a point where I can deem things acceptable.  The latest updates include finding a portfolio implementation I like and getting an initial start on my story, where I have a start on the academics section but am still trying to figure out what to write and how to word parts of it.  I have a solid section for my athletics to give a comprehensive overview.  I’m not really sure if I need to give any more details like injuries, additional mini-stories, etc.

The plugin I came across which give me the best look and feel for what I am going for is the Aeolus Portfolio WP Plugin.  This wasn’t as simple as install and configure.  The latest version, as of this writing, is 1.8 which once installed and activated did not work properly with my theme.  The issue I was having is that all the content would become ‘minified’ and illegible due to the plugin altering the display of the theme.  My best guess is that this is due to the Bootstrap update for the plugin.

In order to get around this I removed the plugin I installed through the WordPress Add Plugin feature and grabbed version 1.7 of the Aeolus Creative Portfolio plugin, unzipped the file and uploaded the folder to my WordPress installation plugins directory.  I was then able to go to the Plugins section on the dashboard within WordPress and activate version 1.7 of the plugin.  This did not cause any negative effects with my theme so I continued on and configured my Portfolio page to display all portfolio items with pagination similar to a parallax effect since it gives the short description for items.  I’m not sure at the moment how well this is going to work long term as it doesn’t appear to show categories; however, you can filter by category so I may be able to do one of the following once there are a lot of items:

  • Add multiple portfolio short codes to one page filtered by category and then add a top navigation manually  with anchor tags / headings to the various sections
  • Add individual pages for each portfolio category as subpages of Portfolio and the root page would be either like the first bullet point or links with explanations to the sub pages

Now I just have to build up my portfolio.  This all started with a portfolio being a requirement for a job interview I had while finishing up my Masters.  This is why the only portfolio items so far are for my academic projects.  Presently I have no work projects I am allowed to divulge (or for that matter have access to anymore) from past or present positions.

In the case of personal projects the portfolio items will appear upon completion of the first major version (1.0) and will be updated with any major features that get added as well as link to the corresponding category containing all posts pertaining to the project.

Transition to Quark Theme

I have been working with the Revera theme for about 4 months now I have discovered that the theme does not work for me as well as I would have liked.  This is mostly due to the main page slider and needing a reasonably sized images, where ideally they are all the same to prevent annoying page movements, and since I’m not running a photo based blog the theme does not make sense for me.

I have been casually looking around for a replacement theme that contained a clean look, is responsive, and customizable.  I came across Quark and like how the theme is built upon HTML5 and CSS3 and according to some of the reviews the code isn’t bloated and the theme is easy to customize, which I am going to venture into over the next week.

I have already started some basic, but key, code level modifications by adding a modification of the default full page template to include one that does not allow for comments as I do not want to allow users to comment on pages.   The one thing this theme doesn’t have that I need is a portfolio section, which leads me into the key elements I need to complete to get this theme working for me:

  • Portfolio template to allow for a section to showcase my applications
  • Full page template without comments (done)
  • Front page and footer widget areas the theme allows you to set
  • Front page display in general
  • Logo for my website
    • Main logo with website name and potentially caption
    • Favicon

I think this theme has the potential to work nicely for me so long as a theme update does not break my code level customizations which at this point appears to be the addition of two new page templates.  I am going to do further reading on the theme to learn more about what Quark has to offer.  The theme does not allow you to bookmark posts based on the short links (with the ?p=#) so I may need to find a way to add that too, but just encase I made the modification now to change the permalink structure for blog posts to /blog/%postname%/, which unfortunately will break any current links that are not short links.

Upgrade to WordPress 4.0 Failed through GoDaddy

WordPress & Godaddy

I got myself into an interesting predicament today.  I was in going to show my mom how to update the church website and saw that there was an update to WordPress 4.0 showing in the GoDaddy console.  I decided to do the update and then that is when things went sideways.

Upon the update finishing I went to the website site only to see a 500 Internal server error message, shown below:

I knew this was not a good sign, and preceded to investigate and my first thought after some Googling was to manually upload WordPress 4.0 files (all of them except the wp-content folder & wp-config file), so I downloaded the zip and preceded to do so.  Once this didn’t fix my issue and the site is for someone else I wanted to rectify the problem as quickly as I could so I contacted GoDaddy support.  Thanks to the patience of Spencer D. and his technical contact we were able to get to the bottom of things.

The first step was to create a web.config file (back up any current one, or in my case where you deleted it, create a new one) that contains the following:

<?xml version="1.0"
encoding="UTF-8"?>
<configuration>
    <system.webServer>
        <httpErrors errorMode="Detailed"
existingResponse="PassThrough"
/>
    </system.webServer>
</configuration>

In my case I am using the IIS 8 Plesk version; however, you should be able to find the correct version for you in this GoDaddy’s Help article if you are using GoDaddy Windows hosting.

You upload this to the root folder for your particular domain and in my specific case this led to me receiving the following when I navigated to the website, stlukesdryden.com, after waiting for a bit:

All-in-One Event Calendar: require(G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\vendor\lessphp\lessc.inc.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory @ G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\lib\bootstrap\loader.php:88 #2
All-in-One Event Calendar: require(G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\vendor\lessphp\lessc.inc.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory @ G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\lib\bootstrap\loader.php:88 #2
PHP Fatal error: require(): Failed opening required ‘G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\vendor\lessphp\lessc.inc.php’ (include_path=’.;.\includes;.\pear’) in G:\PleskVhosts\dwcryan.com\stlukesdryden.com\wp-content\plugins\all-in-one-event-calendar\lib\bootstrap\loader.php on line 88

I now knew that an error in the All-in-One Event Calendar was causing my site to not be displayed.  In order to disable the failing plugin you can apparently either rename the plugin folder located in ../wp-content/plugins or (the way I did it) you can access your database through PhpMyAdmin and search the wp_options table for active_plugins.  I then saw this for the active_plugins option:

32       active_plugins       a:4:{i:0;s:55:”all-in-one-event-calendar/all-in-on…       yes

Editing this row, and focusing on the options_value column you want to delete the plugin information for the message you saw when navigating to your site earlier in this post, which in my case is All-in-One Event Calendar, in bold below:

a:4:{i:0;s:55:”all-in-one-event-calendar/all-in-one-event-calendar.php”;i:1;s:36:”contact-form-7/wp-contact-form-7.php”;i:2;s:24:”wordpress-seo/wp-seo.php”;i:3;s:31:”wp-google-maps/wpGoogleMaps.php”;}

It is important to delete the entire contents from the i to the ; (semicolon) for the plugin in question.  Once I had done this I was able to access my website homepage, though not the login screen (which I rectified by copying over the wp-login.php file, it wasn’t allowing me to copy earlier, because as I later realized I had the page, giving me the error, open in my browser), but no other pages on the site.  I was able to solve the broken links/pages in the same fashion as when I broke them with my publish, you can find it at the bottom of this post.

Worth noting is that Spencer mentioned my WordPress installation was indeed at version 4.0, which jives with what the GoDaddy console under ‘Manage My Web Applications’ states and when I access the WordPress Dashboard for my site it states I am running WordPress 4.0 too, so I’m hoping all is good now.  Well, that is except the Event Page is blank as I have to get the event calendar plugin working, which involves getting the latest version installed.

This process took longer than expected and I felt it was worth blogging about.  Will make sure I have a fair bit of free time on my hands before attempting to upgrade WordPress on this domain.

Subdomain within Main Domain Folder

Well, today I was doing some experimenting and investigating how I could get my Tracker application published to a subdomain through automation instead of manually copying the files every time.  It’s only an MVC template right now but I wanted to be able to test that the default functionality was going to work with my web hosting, prior to proceeding.  Things were going pretty good until I realized that publishing my application broke my WordPress site.  By broke what I mean is that critical files and settings got overwritten causing my site navigation menu to get messed up as well as links to pages not working (404 errors) and only my home page could be displayed.

I hypothesized the cause of the overwrite to be due to the subdomain folder being contained within the root folder for my website instead of up one level so I deleted the subdomain and the folder it was using.  I then recreated it so its root folder is at the same level as my main sites root folder.  Apparently trying to organize your subdomains within your root domain folder is not a good idea.

I was then able to follow the steps again to publish a web application, which I outline here.

I took the opportunity of my site already being broken to install the latest WordPress update.

Since my incorrect publish broke my custom links I determined how to fix this was from my WordPress dashboard you go to Settings -> Permalinks and switch the option to Default and save your changes.  Then you switch it back to your custom selection and save the changes again.  Prior to discovering this not even deleting the pages permanently and recreating them removed the 404 error for me.