WordPress love and hate

I have had a website for 14 years as of 2014. I got the URL and created the website primarily to host my essay ‘The Remarkable Criminal Financial Career of Charles Ponzi’. Initially I coded it myself using html and css. It wasn’t very striking, but it was functional for many years. Occasionally I would spruce up the visuals a bit, and at for a few years, I used it to sell a piece of software I wrote which tuned computers for more efficient recording of music. I have always had in the back of my mind a to-do to clean it up a bit.

A few years ago, I decided to add a blog, and did so with wordpress. Recently I both tired of html coding and became aware that wordpress could be configured to host an entire website in a convenient manner, and resolved to convert my site over to a blog only. My initial wordpress install was in a subdirectory named blog, as is required for this software. To convert my entire site over, I needed to have any accesses to www.mark-knutson.com go directly to the blog.

This is where things got hairy. Despite its widespread acceptance and support, wordpress is internally hard-coded to the initial url you give it when you install the software. There is no elegant, supported, way of changing this. There are many articles on the web about various approaches to resolving this, all involving getting under the hood of wordpress–the database data, php code, and webserver configuration files. I initially switched my website domain to point directly to the blog subdirectory, but this broke the wordpress installation as it was looking for the blog subdirectory reference. I edited data in the database and for a while it looked like things were all set.

Then I noticed that on other browsers, my website showed as nothing more than a blank white screen. Apparently this is a common problem with wordpress, and hours of googling presented no sure answers, only various things to try. My efforts to resolve this became a fiasco, and I ended up learning how to back up and restore my database and various other programming-type tasks that I had hoped to avoid learning about when I picked a mature purportedly easy to use blog software.

After a couple of late evenings and early mornings, I think I do have it working this time. Ultimately I found three lines of code to paste in an apache webserver configuration file which took care of everything.

So, nice software, a bit fragile in the face of foreseeable environment changes, though. Hopefully I can use it more and fix it less going forward.

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