wordpress

Installing Buddypress Template Pack

January 3, 2012 Wordpress ,

This post is very specific to installing non-Buddypress compliant themes on Buddypress enabled WordPress website.  So for those who don’t know what is Buddypress – Buddypress is a plugin that enables creating public/private social sites with features such as Blogging, Tweets, Forums, Groups, Activity Streams, Discussions and many more.  More features can be enabled by installed 100s of Buddypress plugins.  You can read more here

 

Problem with Buddypress –

Buddypress creates new or uses existing pages for its features. But it does not display any page content and instead replaces the page content by its standard pages.  This means that if you have a page called ‘Groups’ and it is blank but if it is configured with Buddypress you can still view the Groups page. 

Now if you install any non-Buddypress-ready theme with Buddpress enabled, you will see the actual Groups page (that can be blank, or may contain something) but not the Buddypress Groups page.

Think of it.  You have less than 50 Buddypress-compatible themes in market (as of 3 Jan 2012) and over 10000s non-compliant theme.

The solution – Buddypress Template Pack

You can install a plugin named ‘Buddypress Template Pack’ to convert any Buddypress non-compliant theme to a compliant theme.  However, this template pack does not convert each theme into Buddypress theme.  It finds out links and redirects them to use Buddypress behavior.

That’s as simple as said.  Download it from here

But many users face issues while activating this plugin

  • Error 404 – Page Not Found
  • Error 500 – Internal Server Error

and you could be just another one getting this error.  This error is primarily because the currently activated theme is creating hindrance in changing the settings.  These errors have an easy fix :

  • Deactivate the plugin.  If you are unable to, then go to \wp-content\plugin and append the folder name by TEMP
  • Enable a theme that is non-compliant to Buddypress.  You can use a default theme for the time.
  • Activate the plugin.  If you have renamed the plugin folder, you should revert that change.
  • Enable a Buddypress theme
  • Run through the wizard of plugin to do the settings.

That should help you get going!

Step-by-step guide to installing WordPress on Windows 8

December 22, 2011 Wordpress , ,

Now let’s say you want to go online with your own blog.  So you can just go about purchasing a domain name and install WordPress.  Sounds great!  But if you are not sure whether you will be able to write blogs on a regular basis, then I suggest you first install WordPress on your local machine and practice writing blogs for 2-3 months before buying a domain.

Well there are other reasons why you would want to install WordPress locally such as:

  1. You want to try out new plugins, or themes before pushing them on your actual website/blog.
  2. Or you want to do some development on WordPress to customize your blog
  3. You are geek and want to understand how WordPress works
  4. You want to host your blog / website on your server (with static IP) and point the domain name to it
  5. As said earlier, you want to check whether you can write enough on your blog

So let’s install WordPress on your OS.  Now you could download PHP, MySQL and WordPress individually from their websites or you can choose to use Microsoft Web Platform Installer and let it do the downloading and installing stuff for you.

Download the Microsoft Web Platform Installer from here and once you have done it, you can follow these steps

Step One: Search and select WordPress in Microsoft Web Platform Installer

Search and select WordPress and WebMatrix in the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and once done, click on Install.

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Step Two: Select it for installation

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Step Three: Select MySQL to be installed on your machine

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Step Four:  Setting up root password for MySQL database

Setting up password for user ‘root’ of MySql database.  Keep this password safe, you might need it.  Let’s say you entered XYZ.

Step Five: Completing the Wizard, setting up WordPress

Database Admin: root
Database Admin Password: XYZ
Database User Name: wordpressuser
Database Password: Your-Password

Database Server: localhost
Database Name: wordpress

Step Six: Accessing your website

You can install WebMatrix from Microsoft Platform Installer to be able to view and manage WordPress with more ease.

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You can visit the website on http://localhost:22059 as visible in WebMatrix to view your WordPress site and configure it.

Step Seven: Configuring your WordPress site

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To install and test plugins/themes, or view WordPress code you can browse the folder in My Web Sites

That’s it.  WordPress is all yours on your own machine. You have latest versions of WordPress, MySQL and PHP installed on your machine by following 7-simple steps!

Upgrading to WordPress 3.3 on GoDaddy hosting

December 20, 2011 Non-Microsoft, Wordpress ,

WordPress 3.3 has been released a couple of days ago and GoDaddy has already allowed upgrading it through its panel.  And as an enthusiast you could upgrade it yourself as well.  But using WordPress on Godaddy has never been simple and straight forward.  So a few tips before you mess up during the upgrade exercise.

Backup your database

Go to your GoDaddy MyAccount and select the website you would want to upgrade the WordPress version for.  Click on Web Hosting option to launch the Web Hosting Control Panel.

Click on Database -> MySQL database and select the wordpress database and click on Backup.  It would take anywhere between 10 minutes – 4 hours for a backup to be created in _db_backups folder on your site.  You can mention some other folder as well.  But I would prefer to have it kept same

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Disable your plugins

You could login into your WordPress admin to disable all the plugins, or alternatively, just rename the existing folder to plugins_old folder using FTP client, or GoDaddy FTP Manager.

I prefer to rename it to plugins_old before proceeding with the installation.

Download the latest WordPress package

Download the latest WordPress package from the wordpress website – http://wordpress.org/download/   You may choose to follow any one of the approaches

  1. Approach One: Download, extract the zip file into a folder.  Use a FTP client to
    1. Delete the folders (wp-admin, wp-include) of your website
    2. Upload the folders using FTP
  2. Approach Two: Use GoDaddy File Manager
    1. Open the File Manager
    2. Click on upload button to upload the wordpress.zip file to your websiteimage
    3. Once uploaded, un-archive the wordpress.zip file to the folder that has your wordpress files.  Remember to tick ‘Overwrite’ option while doing so.
    4. Once completed, delete the wordpress.zip file

Approach Two will not take you more than 5 minutes, while approach one can be very slow and boring process.

Visit the website. It should be working, but wait!!!

Now if you visit your website, it should be working with the new WordPress 3.3 update.  But you still have to enable your plugins so let’s follow the steps:

  1. Using FTP client, or File Manager delete the new folder ‘Plugins’ created under wp-content folder
  2. Rename the plugins_old to Plugins folder
  3. Visit the admin page of the website
  4. It will request you to upgrade the database.  Ideally this should work the best, but if it does not you still would have the data backup with you.
  5. Once the upgrade is complete, you can visit the admin area and check all your plugins running as usual

Resolved: WordPress hosting on GoDaddy Windows Server

October 8, 2011 Wordpress , ,

Two months ago I transferred my domain to GoDaddy from a local web hosting service provider with whom I had been for last 7 years.  The transfer process was very quick and I was very happy to see a good console panel, and 24×7 support until I noticed in Google Analytics that my site visitors had dropped by 50%. This was really sad and I knew nothing to get that number back to the original.

I started visiting my website and, my God, it took more than 1 minute to load and many a times it never loaded.  When I filled in the contact form, it never sent me an email!  I started googling and found many links each contradicting the other.  So finally I installed few plugins

  • Installed WP Total Cache plugin (to speed up Go-Daddy)
  • Installed Fix Rss Feeds (since RSS feeds were not working)
  • Installed Configure SMTP (since mails stopped working)

And I slept in peace thinking my site would work now! After a week, I again visited my site and it took lesser than 1 minute.  But it was still slower than earlier (with my local hosting provider).  I started following up with GoDaddy Support.  The support team is very supportive and have great deal of patience, but somehow they don’t have technical expertise on WordPress.  My website was hosted on Windows- 4GH hosting on GoDaddy, and they suggested me to migrate to Linux.  Now, PHP works great on Windows and I needed Windows hosting to be able to host other services.  So switching to Linux was not an option!  On top of this, their Windows server in Singapore data center, on which my website was hosted, was down!  I had >3 days of website downtime and was not able to find a way out.

I dig into the WordPress code, and understood the internals.  Now I am not a PHP expert but having worked on many languages since last 15 years I can fairly understand PHP to be able to find out issues.  My observations that got me started working are:

  • Each web request to a page had many re-routes.  First, the caching block redirected it to a static HTML page (generally placed in \wp-content\cache folder).URL 1:  http://www.mywebsite.com/2011/10/10/my-post/ was translated to
    URL 2: http://www.mywebsite.com/YYOOX/2011/10/10/my-post/

    Which then routed to internal WordPress cache engine

    URL 2: http://www.mywebsite.com/YYOOX/2011/10/10/my-post/ was translated to
    URL 3: http://www.mywebsite.com/YYOOX/ABCY/2011/10/10/my-post/

    Now your actual URL 1 becomes URL 3 which WordPress will never find for you in the database and you will get a 404 page.

    Solution: Disable WP Total Cache plugin and all plugins to caching.  With newer versions of WordPress they are not required.

    • Once you have disabled Cache plugins, recycle the App Pool
    • Delete the folder \wp-content\cache
    • Delete the plugin folder from \wp-content\plugins
    • Edit the wp-config.php in the blog root and ensure that WP_CACHE is disabled
      define(‘WP_CACHE’, false);
  • Activate any another theme and then re-activate back to the original theme.  This is just to enable that site settings are altered and caching is over-ridden.
  • Disable and uninstall YARP – Yet Another Related Post Plugin from WordPress.  That takes time to load the results related to a post.
  • Install plugin WP-Optimize to optimize the database
    • Delete the entries that have cache
    • Delete the entries that have YARP settings
  • Install and activate plugin Clean UP to clean up the database – post versions
With these settings, your website will be much faster even on GoDaddy.  My site now takes ~11 seconds to load.  I use following additional tools to check speed of my website
  • Web Page Test – http://ln.ganshani.com/nvzPBm – This website runs a test on your website and tells us how many requests were generated to visit your website, and how much time each request took.  In a way, it also tells you how much time JavaScript, Images, Plugins took.  Much of it you can get using Fiddler2 as well.
  • Browser Compatibility – http://ln.ganshani.com/oWedlR – This website checks the compatibility of your website on 76+ browsers
So yes when you are done with the steps mentioned above, you will find your site gradually picking up speed and you will start enjoying the experience.  I wish GoDaddy support had more technical knowledge on WordPress, it would have saved my time.
I hope this helps many who are struggling with this!
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