Embed Your Content in WordPress

With the release of the latest version of WordPress 4.4 they have expanded their list of supported embeds. I love embeds such an easy way to show and share content from other platforms. More than ever WordPress can be your central content platform.

How to use supported embeds with WordPress 4.4

All of the standard supported embeds should work by just copying the URL of the web page (where the content is) into any WordPress page or post. The only requirements are that it needs to be on it’s own line and can not hyperlinked so this still allows for pasting links into text like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbxmsDFVnE. A clean embed looks some thing like

Screen Shot

New embeds include:


Cloudup, now owned by Automattic the company behind WordPress.com, is a content sharing service that allows users to share many types of content including files, screenshots, videos and images. Cloudup can create a shareable stream of your content that you share. Any of your Cloudup shares can be embeded for the URL of the page, as below:

I am planning to use Cloudup a lot more in 2016 especially for screenshots and other content for blog posts. It just appears a great workflow for getting rich content into a blog. Using the Mac or Windows apps screenshots are automatically sent to Cloudup.

Reddit comments

Reddit the popular sharing and discussion site now allows you to embed comments as below:

How to embed Reddit comments on WordPress 4.4

Not quite as straight forward as some embeds and important to understand that this is just for one comment although you could embed a single comment thread using the Reddit embed code. A good explanation on the Reddit blog here

To embed a Reddit comment from the main discussion page find the single comment you would like to embed and click the permalink, as below, the url of this page copied into WordPress ost or page will embed the comment. For other options have a look at the embed link next to

Screenshot www reddit com 2015 12 31 06 50 09

Speaker Deck

Speaker Deck is a similar site to Slideshare, but possibly prettier, to create embedable presentations like:


VideoPress is another Automattic owned service which hosts videos similar to YouTube but built specifically with WordPress in mind


Reverbnation is a site similar to Soundcloud but with a focus on music artists and you can embed any tracks that have been upadoaded there, like:

Unfortunately the Reverbnation embed appears to leave a lot of white space after the actual content in this format.


Some great additions added to an already long list but for me the Cloudup embed looks the one I will be using the most in 2016.

In the last couple of weeks I have stripped this site down to the minimum in both theme and plugins. Just a bit of spring cleaning really and allows me to look at adding things as I need them or want to test them. I had nearly 40 plugins installed and activated and have stripped this back to an essential 6 or 7. As this is my personal site and blog I have often used it to test different things, hence so many plugins.

Twitter has just launched there official WordPress plugin so as a Twitter user I am interested to try this out so will initially test here.

OK I am not the first person to say this and many have tried and failed to fix it.

Before looking at why email could be broken it is worth looking at why it is so popular and useful (and yes it is useful):

  • It’s quick and easy
  • You can send to many people at once reducing any duplication of effort
  • It’s cheap
  • It’s private
  • There is an expectation of an instant response

Now let’s have a look at some of the reasons why email is not so great:

  • It’s (too) quick and easy, too easy to send an email when may another method of communication may be better (e.g. a telephone call).
  • You can send to many people at once reducing any duplication of effort, this can often mean that multiple people can be included who often do not need to be. Of course if you are on the first email of the chain you are probably on the last reading each one just to check that you were mentioned or required
  • It’s cheap – that’s why we have so much spam! 2 millions emails sent who cares it’s cheap.
  • It’s private – two main disadvantages a) some people may say things that they would not say in public but funny when gets sent or forwarded to people you may not expect. b) more importantly much of what goes on in emails, in organisations and projects, would benefit many others hence why so many emails are forwarded
  • Expectation of an instant response – many of us are stuck constantly checking email because we thing that an instant response is expected.

So what’s the answer? Clearly email is not going away any time soon and neither should it but I think we would benefit from changing our attitude to email and reducing the amount of email we send and finding better communication platforms. Email coming in from externals is often to be welcomed especially if it is from customers and prospects but what about internal email. The larger the organisation the more of the email that can be generated internally with multiple cc’s (and probably more bcc’s than is good for us). Even in SME’s internal email can blight your inbox with either irrelevant information that very few people need or very important information that everyone needs to see but can’t because it is in your email.

In the last 10 years we have seen Social Media become a formidable public communication platform. I would imagine that a lot less email has been sent because of Facebook (there has to be some upside) and thank goodness it has reduced the dancing cat videos in my inbox.

So could Social Media platforms reduce email in organisations. Clearly much of what is said (typed) is not for public consumption, mainly for boredom reasons as much as competition, but there are many private social media platforms for corporates. It is great to hear that Automatic has no internal email at all, as all in-house communication (which is across many countries) is done on P2 a WordPress blog which is customised for that very purpose. There are also many other platforms out there with Slack (great name) possibly leading the field with a corporate twitter-like microblogging platform.

So next time you are about to hit the ‘send’ button, with multiple cc addresses, stop and think is there a better way for me to communicate. I for one think that ‘yes’ maybe the answer.

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 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.

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

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: