Arduous Feet Amongst The Intrepid Or Peace Pumpkin Cake While Changing Hosts

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Note: an update and follow-up to this post is here.

It began on Thursday. It ended the following Monday in the wee hours. What is ‘it’? Well, I finally got around to changing my Internet host. Appropriate (or not) since I’ll also be changing countries soon. (But that’s another post.) It’s not that I was, am disappointed with my previous host. In fact, I moved to a much more complicated hosting service. Complicated in the sense that there was more person to person tech support at my old host. On the other hand, my old host was boring, it was connected to an archaic landline telephone system that I don’t use anymore and every year, usually around this time of year, the host’s Internet, aka also my ISP, goes down for a week. (I think it has to do with the Cebit and Germany not allocating enough bandwidth to private users during the huge trade-fair so they scrape bandwidth away form paying customers. But at least I got a “data stick” from them last year–which I have never even used. But I digress.) Wait. Let me put things another way.

I did receive tech support from my new hosting service but it was only in the form of email. The guy that helped me was named Evgeny. Can’t tell you how curious I was to ask him where he was from. But when I would write something off-subject in my email response, his response was always on subject. No fraternising there, eh. Until, of course, it came down to the WP install and setup. Evgeny helped me with all the Apache, MySQL and PHP and Linux stuff. He even helped me understand the difference between “Istance” and “Server”. (There is no difference, btw.) Which brings me to a question I tweeted while pulling the hair out of my chest for two days after I screwed up one basic setting during the WP install.

Why can’t the install process of WordPress, my all-time favourite writing software/tool, be a little less hacker-fied? (Is that a word?)

I mean, I don’t mind all the Linux commands I had to cut & paste from the install documentation provided by my new host. It’s just that, eventually, there is a sy of relief when you finally encounter a GUI again. Linux command lines be damned! On the other hand, I got through the CLI with flying colours. Not one misplaced single-quote (‘) or semi-colon (for PHP code) or one misuse of the most feared asterisks (*) when using the command “mv” with files or directories.  Which means you go from this (example):

[ec2-user ~]$ chkconfig --list httpd
httpd           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off

To this:

wp general settings screw up
WP general settings screen where life can be good or…

Indeed. Get through all the Linux coding and then finally get a GUI to work with but then make the stupid mistake of inputting the wrong web addresses in the right place because you’re kinda blinded by all the CLI interaction after five or so hours. That’s all I did. I made one little, stupid mistake. After that, no more access to wp-admin or your domain. No more access to a setup screen or even restore or backup file. I tried everything. After googling the problem and reading various forums and blog posts, there was nothing to be done. Manipulate this .php file or that .php file. Nothing worked, nothing got me back into my website once I screwed the pooch during the WP setup. Talk about über frustrating.

After trying for two days to fix my error I finally gave in and terminated the Instance and started anew. I know. I know. Real hackers would find a way to solve the problem. But I’m just a lonely wannabe hacker. I only like the idea of coding and networking and unpacking, unzipping, tarball file manipulation. Plus, all this meddling around only took away from worstwriting. Yeah, blood was boiling. Anywho. Long story short. After about four days I was finally able to migrate my website from one host to the other–including the migration and transfer of my domain names. The only thing I lost in the process was a bit of sanity. What I gained? The reassurance that tech-geeks the world over deserve their big bucks.

Oh, one last thing. As good as the email tech support was with Evgeny, nothing can replace having a neighbour that is a professional network manager. So. If you ever undertake such a task as this one and you have absolutely no training in webservers, Linux and wordpress installations, make sure you at least have the neighbour(s) to call on when you’re pinched. Yeah. They come in handy. The best part is, after he’s helped you get your site back up and running, you can offer him his favourite cake–which I found out from his wife after she complained about me stealing her husband for so many hours over the weekend.

Here’s a great recipe for pumpkin cake.

Rant on. -Tommi