In my last post about the server side of my website (Version 3.3 of my websites: the technical side of things and Version 3.3 of my websites: the software side), I talked about a problem I was having with GreenGeeks that they couldn’t solve. It was a lot more complicated than just one problem, or even their laissez-faire approach to changing settings on my site without telling me, it was more of a governance issue and I finally had to bail on them. I’m still using them for one site that has low traffic, just until the prepaid balance is used up, and then I’ll migrate it over to my new host.
Because I did indeed find a new host, as I said…I moved to WebHostingCanada. And things were going along pretty well with them.
I had an error at one point, one that I haven’t resolved yet, where my WP-CRON (the file that regularly runs a set command at a set time) doesn’t want to post “scheduled” posts. So, for example, if I write a post, and I want it to go live at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, you use the schedule feature in WordPress and at 8:00 a.m., or shortly thereafter when WP-CRON runs, it notices a pending post, and switches it to live. Or it is supposed to. For some reason, while some of the Cron features work for other things, it won’t “schedules” my posts to go live and actually make them live at that time (it schedules them, it just doesn’t do it). Like an alarm clock that just doesn’t go off when it should.
Not a giant issue, I rarely schedule posts that way, and when I do, it’s often part of a larger strategy that requires manual intervention anyway.
Then I upgraded to a new version of WordPress. Then another. All good.
Then I went up to a version where suddenly I couldn’t save my updates. It was like the auto-save would start as I was typing, and never complete. So when I went to later save, it wasn’t able to “activate” when I pressed “update”. Other people were having this too, with nobody seeming to have a solution.
Now, the normal way to resolve this is to go to your plugins and deactivate everything. Check again — if it works, then you have a plugin conflict; if it doesn’t, it likely means it is something else (* remember this asterisk). You then move along to themes, switch to a basic theme, see if the conflict goes away. Etc. It helps you narrow down to what is wrong. If you disable your theme and your plugins and your connections to just about everything, it might be a server problem, something wrong with your config.
Which is where I was looking for solutions. Because disabling my plugins and theme didn’t resolve the problem. But my server settings all looked fine.
Except for one small glitch. My server load was high. Now I had this before with Greengeeks when running Piwigo and WordPress, and they thought it was some sort of outside attack. Webhosting said “nope, not that”, this looked more like a config problem to them. So I got a phone call from them noting it was really high and asking if they could log in and check a few things. They weren’t spammers, they didn’t need my credentials, they just wanted permission before they started poking around.
I was like, “hell, yeah”. Greengeeks went in, poked around and changed things, without asking or even telling me. Here Webhosting Canada was, phoning me in person to ask if they could look around my setup and see if there was anything going on. I walked the guy through the background, stuff I’d tried in the past, and off he went. I wished him luck, as this could have been a rabbit hole.
He found the problem in less than 3 minutes. As soon as he saw one of the security files set up by Better WP Security, it was clear what the problem was. The file was HUGE, and it was calling itself. So every time I logged in or even loaded a page, it would go into an almost perpetual loop of constantly checking and then rechecking and then rechecking itself again. He tweaked the file, disabled the plugin, and the load dropped to normal. It was just that one plugin.
Now, back to that asterisk. Disabling the plugin hadn’t helped. Because disabling it didn’t undo the security file changes. The plugin wasn’t active, but the huge file was still being triggered. Undoing those changes and making the changes relatively straightforwardly with another security plugin to do the same thing worked PERFECT.
And my editing / saving problem went away too.
Their totally different attitude to solving the problem made all the difference for me. And while diagnosing WP problems is not their job, that’s a config problem, they did it at no charge.
I feel somewhat unfair now about the previous hosts. They had the same issue but no idea how to solve it, and all evidence was pointing to a server problem, not a software config problem. But the guy found it in under 3 minutes once he stepped outside the normal “not my problem” box that most tech supports have. Back when I was working tech supports, it was the same “not my problem” attitude of others that drove me batty. And my alternate “let’s see if I can help with anything else while I’m here” attitude is what made me popular with my clients.
Thumbs up to WebHosting Canada. The site’s working great. WP-CRON is still acting up, but I can live with that for now. And it gave me the confidence to merge the two sites into one (50by50: Who am I when I’m online? (#01)). I also reconfigured the categories and groupings into Government (Civil Service, Development, Government), Hobbies (Astronomy, Computers, Humour, Ideas, Learning, Photography, Quotes, and Recipes), HR (HR Guide and PS Transitions FP), Personal (Experiences, Family, Goals, 50by50, Spiritualism), Reviews (Book Reviews, Music Reviews, TV reviews), Writing (Libraries, Publishing, Art of Writing) and Links.
I’ve also decided to be a little less demanding re: the “one category per post” rule that I’ve been doing, it’s hard to find things sometimes where I’m talking about a goal that pertains to one of the headings, for example — is it a post about goals or a post about the hobby?
I’m liking the new design, and trying to be a bit more flexible.