WordPress 3.2 Upgrade Available – Are You Ready?

Released this week WordPress 3.2 is another step forward in usability, functionality and speed for the worlds most popular open source publishing platform

Before upgrading you may want to use the WordPress Requirements Plugin as 3.2 changes the minimum requirements for both PHP and MySQL. WordPress 3.2 will require PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0

It’s also worth noting that support for some older browsers has also been dropped. If using any modern analytics package you should easily be able to see the browser versions you visitors are using to see how much of an effect this may have for your site. In Google Analytics From the Visitors menu select Browsers and then you can click on each browser listed to see the version number visitors are using like this:

Analytics Browser Versions Report
Google Analytics Browser Versions Report

In WordPress 3.2 the browser’s no longer supported include Internet Explorer 6 which is still used widely around the world. To encourage people to keep their browser up to date WordPress also have their Browse Happy campaign:

WordPress Browse Happy Campaign
WordPress Browse Happy Campaign

WordPress Plugin upgrade failed error finally solved

WordPress LogoI have had a many WordPress blogs over the years installed on shared hosting and have had little problem installing and managing them. I used a great auto upgrade plugin before automatic upgrades came to WordPress in version 2.7 (I think). But even with automatic upgrading of versions and plugins, having many blogs, it still took some manageing to make sure all my blogs were up-to-date and secure. So I planned for the what I saw as the Holy Grail of a WordPressMU (now Multisite option) install on a virtual server to combine all (or at least most) of the blogs I manage onto one server therefore one time upgrade of versions and plugins.

For reasons better none to me at the time and partially explained on this post I started from LAMP configured Ubuntu 10.04 server install (my server of choice). After some initial issues problems were solved the WordPress 3.0 with Multi Site install, with the domain mapping plugin appeared to be all configured correctly. Not till slightly later did I find that I could not upgrade the plugins automatically (one of the prime reason for having the WordPressMU configuration). The error message I got was as below but basically it appeared that there was an access/permission issue.

Enabling Maintenance mode…
Updating Plugin Akismet (1/1)

Downloading update from http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/akismet.2.4.0.zip…
Unpacking the update…
Installing the latest version…
Removing the old version of the plugin…
Plugin upgrade failed.

An error occured while updating Akismet: Could not remove the old plugin..

After much googling I was still left scratching my head, although there were many forum posts on a similar subject they, for the most part, would go the same way:

  1. WP user complains of not being able to upgrade plugins
  2. Many other WP users chime in with similar issues
  3. A helpful soul says its not a problem just set every file and folder (and the kitchen sink) to have permissions of 777 (read, write and execute access for everybody and his passing dog)
  4. Then a very sensible WP user advises this is incredibly fool-hardy and insecure and you should never do this
  5. Finally the forum posts end without any real answer

I did temporarily set all folders to 777 to see if this would solve the problem and it had no effect for me what so ever. What did initially appear to be the issue was that my virtual server did not have FTP access as nearly all shared hosting has. But by following this very useful blog post from LornaJane I knew this was not the issue and completely agreed that I did not want to have an FTP server (another vulnerability) if I did not need to.

I was getting closer to my answer in the post and comments from LornaJane with the command to make the apache user be able write to the WordPress directory as follows:

chown -R apache:apache

But wait, as the my default Ubuntu server does not use the user/group apache but instead uses www-data the command I finally used via ssh on my remote server was:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www

And as if by magic my auto upgrades worked. Hopefully this may help someone else as well.

WordPress Permalinks not working on Ubuntu 10.04 – mod_rewrite issue requires a symlink

Ubuntu & WordPressI recently installed WordPressMU on a virtual server and had problem with the permalinks. Much Google searching followed with little success at first but after some persistence I found the answers I needed.

I will try and write this up for three reasons:

  1. So hopefully it could benefit someone else with the same problem
  2. To try and better understand it myself
  3. I will no doubt forget for next time and need to refer back.

The bulk of this post is taken from a fantastic post on the Drupal site (http://drupal.org/node/332318). Although I had done lots of Google searches I struggled to find the answer for quite some time until I hit the post above. I think this is because the key to finding the right answer for a problem is finding someone with the same set-up. Saying this I found the solution to my WordPress problem on Drupal site although the issue was with a common problem area of ‘mod_rewrite’ on the Apache web server and in particular the Apache server running on Ubuntu. Ubuntu has a different way of storing apache settings (e.g it has a blank htppd.conf and uses apache2.conf) and holds modules in an ‘enabled’ folder not in the main settings file. This may well be better way than the ‘other’ ways but it can mean that a lot of the mod_rewrite ‘solutions’ on Google are not relevant if they are not specifically for Ubuntu.

Just quickly for this project my setup was:

Virtual Server Provider: VPS.net

Base install: Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) x64 LAMP*

WordPress 3.0 (with Multisite enabled)

* This was a preconfigured Ubuntu server with LAMP already instated and my experience may have been different if I had taken a clean Ubuntu install and installed LAMP myself. VPS.net do a offer a fully preconfigured WordPress server in Ubuntu which I am sure would have not had these issues but I wanted to install WordPressMU and this requires the install to be on the www root (VPS.net install it on a folder called WordPress) and the latest version. In my way of thinking I would prefer to install from scratch on a clean webserver than upgrading/moving an existing install – OK I like to learn the hardway.

Anyway the solution to my problem:

1. First we need to check if the rewrite module is installed. I was connected to my VPS server via SSH but either in a Terminal or via SSH type (or copy from below):

apache2ctl -M

This should show a list of Apache modules. Rewrite_Module should be there (as it is a default in Ubuntu 10.04) but if not check with your FTP client or in your file browser that /etc/apache2/mods-available contains a file called rewrite.load. If it does not then you need to fix this before you can carry on.

Presuming it does exist then we need to create a symlink (Symbolic Link on Wikipedia) between mods-enabled to mods-available. Again in the Terminal/SSH type or copy:

cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/rewrite.load

2. Now we need to check that rewrite module rewrite.load is in the mods enabled folder (/etc/apache2/mods-enabled). The easiest way is to have a look at that folder with your FTP client or file browser.

3. Presuming you are still OK then then the final and very important stage is to ‘Enable AllowOverride All’

In the folder /etc/apache2/sites-enabled you should find a file called 000-default and you need to check that all permissions are set to read & write not just read only, easily done with an FTP client (right click file>File Permissions in Filezilla)

In 000-default it will probably say AllowOverride None in several places. Find the one for where you’ve installed WordPress , and change it to AllowOverride All. e.g if WordPress is installed at var/www/????? then it may be under the Directory “/var/www” grouping.

Finally, dont forget to restart Apache from the terminal:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

(now corrected see Keith’s comment)

if you don’t restart none of the changes will take affect

That worked for me and hopefully will work for somebody else. A big thanks to the Drupal site for the post but I thought it was worth regurgitating for WordPress users as I am sure it could affect a few.

Just a few of the links from WordCamp UK 2010 on Manchester

Just a few of the great links from this weekends WordCamp UK. A lot of great plugins etc mentioned by the speakers.

Mass Mailing for WordPress and Magento

ROYGBIV
Creative Commons License photo credit: SC Fiasco

Looking for an emailing solution for a newsletter or email campaign? MailChimp is an excellent mass mailing solution which also has a plugins for the WordPress blogging and content management system and Magento the open source e-commerce software. Links below to the two plugins:

Blogging for Business Books

I am always interested in reading information and advise on business blogging and I came across this book on scribd which I thought was quite good (below).

For people wanting more in depth and technical information (and want to use WordPress) I can really recommend WordPress for Business Bloggers by Paul Thewlis.

Blogging for Business

Too Many Blogs?

iStock_000005836621XSmall.jpg

I have setup and used many blogs with blogger, livejournal, tumblr, .mac etc. As much as I enjoy writing blog posts I like to play with the technology and see how the different services work. I had a main blog for a few years at outserve.biz a yahoo hosted wordpress blog. Due to work commitments outserve.biz became little more than my delicious tags being automatically posted everyday (not a great idea if you re not posting anything else).

As part of rationalising my blogs I have completely deleted outserve.biz and cancelled my hosting plan, which at 5.99 gave little value (sorry yahoo but I think you have bigger problems than that at the moment). I have also tried to streamline the blogs that are left, which are below and all running on the latest version of WordPress.

pocartoon.jpgphilipoakley.org – I intend to keep this as my personal blog to add my own personal comments on anything i feel is interesting although I am sure that that most of it will be tech related. I am not looking to put a lot of family stuff, photos etc as I have other placces for that. I also intend to use it as a space to test themes, plugins and widgets as thats what I like doing.

crossingplatforms.com
– A relatively new site where I wanted to talk about software that
could be used on Windows, Mac and Linux. I use all three platforms and
like to use software that can run on all 3 (e.g. Firefox). I find it useful to be using similar software across all machines and to be able to share files with the same format (e.g. OpenOffice).
I also think that using this software offers more freedom to the users
it does not lack you into one operating system provider and can
facilitate moving to another os e.g. windows to linux. Although it is
not a prerequisite a lot of the software will no doubt be free and open
source.

flosbuslogo.gifflosbus.com – (Free Libre Open Source BUsiness Software) now one of my older blogs I set this blog up to do mini reviews of open source business software such as ERP, CRM, BI etc. I am looking to expand this site to include news and anything that is relevant to this topic.


EPSOutserve.jpgOutserve Blog – this is the company blog of my company Outserve Limited and I want this blog to just contain news and views relating to the company.

I have a few more domain names but will just look to point those as the existing blogs above. I am trying to keep the blogs to a sensible number (4 or less) but already have another 3 ideas for 3 more.

WordPress iphone app

A wordpress iPhone app has now been released to what appears to be mixed reviews. I am testing this by posting from the middle of cannock chase so if this us successful then I will be happy with the app because this would me very difficult to do over the web over a slow connection.

The photo insert option does not appear clear but I think it will post it at the bottom of this post. Hopefully it will show the view from where I am sitting.

Links and video added after initial post from iphone:

http://iphone.wordpress.org/