Tag Archives: MU

What I Like (And Dislike) About WordPress 3.0

A couple of weeks ago WordPress (the software that powers this site), popped up a notification that version 3.0 Thelonius was ready to download and install. I held off on the upgrade for a while because of  many problems I have had upgrading from version to version with WordPress. I have to admit though I was very pleasantly surprised with the ease of the installation. I simply hit upgrade, entered my ftp information and waited for it to think. A little less than a minute later, I was running WordPress 3.0. It was absolutely amazing, there were no problems, it just worked. This was a great change from version upgrades before, many times they have broken compatibility with lots of plugins (WordPress 2.8 for example) and broken the theme. This time, all of my plugins worked, the theme worked and there was absolutely nothing that needed changing at all. What I found incredible is that they were able to combine WordPress Multiple User directly into WordPress 3.0. On my one internal testing site (on localhost), I was able to update directly from WPMU to WP 3.0 also with no problems.

WordPress 3.0 ships with a new theme called TwentyTen. Kubrick (which has been the default theme for a while) has finally been replaced with something that is fully compliant with Web 2.0 standards and looks amazing. The only reason that I’m not using it myself is because while it is an amazing theme, it isn’t “techie” enough for my liking. It’s still a great theme, but I probably won’t be using it, at least not for this site.

However, as amazing as WordPress 3.0 is; it still (like everything) has it shortcomings. Namely compatibility with BuddyPress 1.2.4.1. While the basic install of BuddyPress is still as easy as ever, the combination with bbPress is broken again. Now attempting to enable the bbPress portion of BuddyPress results in a bb-config.php being created, no database tables being created, and an overall total mess. Basically the forums function is completely broken and this makes a large portion of BuddyPress and by extension WordPress useless. This is a rather large bug and whether it is with WordPress 3.0, BuddyPress 1.2.4.1 or with the version of bbPress included in the BuddyPress install, it needs to be found and fixed quickly.

Automattic is rather good at putting out bugfixes and I’m sure that once they know about it, they and the full team of Open Source Developers behind WordPress, BuddyPress, and bbPress will patch this bug and everything will be working again. It will just take a little bit (more) time!

Switching from WordPress MU to WordPress

For almost a year now, I ran a WordPress MU site with BuddyPress, and bbPress, all running the latest bleeding-edge SVN releases. Unfortunately, I soon learned that this is not an easy task at all. Bleeding-edge releases, while fun and full of new features are very disaster prone. In the process of fixing things,  other things break and then, it’s just not a happy application. The amount of time I spent fixing things, searching how to fix things, and scratching my head because I just couldn’t fix things was just too much. Obviously, running bleeding-edge software on a production site isn’t the best of ideas.

I was unable to keep up with the updates and eventually the sites just died. Some programs on the Virtual Private Server insisted on filling up the virtual hard drive with lots and lots of statistical data. Unfortunately, statistical data on several dead websites is hardly useful at all. Once the virtual drive was full the server basically destroyed itself. Isn’t that just lots of fun?

After several months and several domain expiries, I decided it would make sense to get rid of a testing ground and only keep production sites. I reasoned that if a testing ground was needed, it would be easy enough to build on my local virtualbox setup of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition. I reloaded the VPS with CentOS 5 and happily was greeted with an empty hard drive again. Last time, my VPS was running Kloxo from LXLabs. Unfortunately, after the great HyperVM and Kloxo vulnerabilities of 2009, I was very wary with installing Kloxo again. It also had the “great” statistical tendencies.

I decided to install Webmin and it’s module virtualmin for administration because I have used it before and it is a truly much better alternative to Kloxo. Virtualmin, though has a paid version, however, in my experience, the GPL one works just fine. Admittedly, I do know my way around Linux and could easily run all of these commands through an SSH terminal but it’s much easier to just use a web-based control panel.

The install was quick and painless, just a simple bash script that needed execution and everything was working fine. I logged in to Virtualmin, created a new account for this domain, after modifying features per domain and set up was complete. I simply had to install WordPress and then upload modified sections of my database from the WordPress MU install. From there, it was simply configuring permissions, installing plugins, setting themes, and embedding functions.

In an afternoon’s work, I managed to backup all of my data from WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and bbPress, reload my Virtual Private Server, install a new control panel, set up new DNS with XNAME, and restore my backups to WordPress (Single User). Hopefully here, problems will be virtually non-existent and with some luck, everything should work for good this time.

Domain Change…

When I first started this blog, I owned the domain http://rohan-kapoor.com. I wanted the domain https://rohankapoor.com but unfortunately for me (at the time) the domain was owned by another Rohan Kapoor who co-incidently wasn’t using it for anything. Strangely enough, when I checked the whois records last June, I surprising found that the domain https://rohankapoor.com was available! I bought it at that time and have since been redirecting it to http://rohan-kapoor.com. Some of you may have noticed that now the exact opposite has happened. Instead I’m now redirecting from http://rohan-kapoor.com to https://rohankapoor.com. My reasoning behind that change was that the domain https://rohankapoor.com looks much better than the same domain with a dash in it. It also makes it easier to find according to many of my friends. Therefore to make it easier for friends and colleagues to find me online, I decided to move my blog over to https://rohankapoor.com. On the webserver end, this is actually so easy it’s almost a joke! As I’m running Domain Mapping to map the blog to the domain, I just simply removed the dash that the domain was mapped to and it just works! I’ve requested google to make the needed changes on their end to move the site over within their database. According to Google’s Webmaster Tools, this process is likely to take 3 months to get completed! Additionally, I need to change out the links on many of the sites I’ve worked on to say https://rohankapoor.com instead of the old address. There should be no problem contacting me because of the domain change as the two email addresses and domains are run seamlessly through Google’s Apps Service! My plan is to keep everything on https://rohankapoor.com for now!

In regards to the many subdomains of http://rohan-kapoor.com, currently they are going to stay at http://rohan-kapoor.com though at some point I will transition them over to https://rohankapoor.com. The old addresses will be seamlessly redirected with 301 Redirects which should cause no problems to the end users!

It’s good to finally be moving everything to the https://rohankapoor.com domain name! It seems more professional, you know?

Added A Page for WordPress/MU Favicon

After being told off by mercime for not having a page for WordPress/MU Favicon, I finally got around to pulling it’s page out of Drafts and updating it to show the latest information regarding version 1.1. :)

It appears that it took me long enough to pull it together, but hey, I was busy. Anways better late then never.

The homepage for WordPress/MU Favicon is here.

And for anyone interested, here is the changelog:

—————————- Changelog: —————————-

1.1

  • readme.txt fixed

1.0

  • First Release
  • Working with 2.8.4

Current Spam Protection for WordPress/WordPress MU

Currently there are (in my mind at least) four good spam protection plugins for wordpress and wordpress mu. Each one has their merits and I have used/am using all of them across sites.

First is Akismet. Akismet is created by Automattic, the team behind the creation of wordpress.org, wordpress.com, buddypress.org, and bbpress.org. All projects listed above are opensource except for wordpress.com and akismet. Akismet is probably the number 1 spam blocking tool for wordpress blogs and is truly amazing. It has just 1 problem, it requires an API key to use. So no problem, just go to www.wordpress.com and get one, right? Well yes, if you are running a small enough number single user blogs. The problem happens when you try to create a blog network or use a WPMU installation. You could hardcode your API Key into your plugin file but then you will get banned, very soon. Instead you need to purchase on of the Akismet Business or Organization Keys. Those are expensive and as I am using multiple sites with different wordpress and wordpress mu, I chose to use Akismet only on www.biologypowerpoints.com because it is a single site with only 1 blog installed.

Next is reCAPTCHA! In my informal testing on http://wpmu.zyrot.com it appeared that reCAPTCHA caught 99.9% of the spam. It works well as a spam prevention tool however the fact that it uses captchas is a really good reason to choose another spam protection tool. It also requires an API Key to function with however the API Key is available for free from http://recaptcha.net/. If you prefer a captcha based approach, reCAPTCHA is the tool for you.

After reCAPTCHA comes one of my favorite tools for Spam Protection, Bad Behavior. Bad Behavior seems to be doing a reasonably good job blocking spam on this wordpress mu site. It also requires an API Key which is free to get from it’s own website. It has worked well at blocking spam for me however it seems to be blocking quite a few legitimate users as well. It appears for my needs to be working but I may need to reconsider at some time.

Finally, the last plugin that makes this list is WP-SpamFree. Out of all the plugins on this list, WP-SpamFree is the only one that doesn’t require an API Key to function. This means that you just install the plugin and it works. WP-SpamFree has the most user-changeable options and has an extensive help system built into the plugin. For standard WordPress (single blog) users it works perfectly outside the box. However for WordPress MU users, it unfortunately allows the administrator of any blogs the options of the plugin. Most site owners don’t want this and as such I have modified WP-SpamFree so that it only uses the options that the site admin sets as the global options and that the options configuration page is invisible to all users except for the site admin. I’m waiting on a response from WEBGEEK before I officially release as a modified plugin.

To anyone with a Standard WordPress blog, I would recommend WP-SpamFree as the Spam Deterrent off Choice and for those using WordPress MU, I would recommend WP-SpamFree MU (will be released soon)!