WordPress is a beast that I love to hate to love. When it works, it works very well, which is 99% of the time. But when it doesn’t, well, then I can usually plan on spending at least 4-6 hours researching why it’s not, and then (most of the time) an hour or so fixing the problem. Such was the case on a recent project. An existing WordPress blog was giving me fits – it hadn’t been upgraded in ages, which always poses a problem in relation to plugins that break. So I decided to carefully back everything up, restore it to a subdomain on the same site (in a new folder, with a new database), and upgrade the ‘beta’ and debug it/get it in working order before lobotomizing the original (late at night on a weekend so as to try to avoid too many conflicts with visitors viewing a broken site – yeah, it just so happens that I tend to lead an uninteresting life – ha).

The first problem I ran into was that every page on the beta site would redirect back to the original site (the root). Since I had no idea what the hosting setup was (it’s hosted by another company) it was anyone’s guess as to why the subdomain was not working. After a few hours of testing & googling, I took a break and came up with the answer (after a shower, of course – how cliche). I had run into this problem before, and I wasn’t diagnosing it quite correctly – I had moved my installation to a new folder, which required me to log into phpMyAdmin and change “siteurl” and “home” in the database table “wp_options” to reflect the re-routed folder structure. Problem solved.

Another problem I ran into later was upon installation of the plugins – I recently upgraded my machine and did a clean install of my programs, including my FTP program, Fetch and the default text editor, TextEdit. The default install of TextEdit saves files in RichText format, instead of my preference, Unicode (UTF-8), and the default install of Fetch uploads the file in the format it was saved in. Thus, I uploaded a ‘corrupt’ file for a plugin, which resulted in a connection error (the site would not load). After researching and finally finding some clues about “corrupt or incompatible plugins”, I finally realized that the last file I had uploaded was probably in RichText format instead of UTF-8, and once I fixed my mistake, the site came up instantly.

I’ve run into both of these problems before and solved them both before, it just took a little extra brain power to diagnose them as such and then remember exactly how I fixed them previously. As with anything, practice makes perfect.