Trying to not delve into wordpress

I don’t normally do anything with WordPress from a work point of view – I’ve always left such work to ‘designer’ types…

Anyway, yesterday I had a referral for someone who has two fairly busy websites (anorak.co.uk /¬†whoateallthepies.tv) sat on a fairly beefy server (8 core, 16g of ram… oh in a few years that’ll be entry level… but I digress)… anyway, they were having performance difficulties with one site – a bit of investigation found the problem to be related to their migration from one server to another – rinetd was directing traffic from the old server, but had filled the filesystem up and was consuming all cpu time …… Easy enough to fix. Job done. Everything started working again.

After a bit more investigation I found that the two sites needed updates applying and plugins upgraded, and they had no backup job in place *doh* …. Clone the site, whizz through the wordpress upgrade routine on the clone, get the customer to OK it (he did) and then we did it on the live server…. and it looked like a success. Until an hour after I’d done the update and the customer realised part of his front page was missing….

Great. Just what I’d hoped to avoid – delving into wordpress’s code.

On opening up the theme’s index.php file it was easy to see where the content should be – ¬†add in some debugging on the clone – and “Oh look – that ‘thing’ is empty.. it should contain ‘stuff’….”

Turns out there’s a WP_Query class; and it seems WordPress 2.9.x treats it’s query slightly differently to previous versions – ‘they’ used category_name=blah as a parameter – this no longer works, instead it needed changing to cat=1234 .. bingo, data returned; site fixed; customer happy.

I breathed a big sigh of relief. I was worried that they previous developers had made some weird customisation to wordpress core which I’d have to forward port and debug/fix.

Being the nice chap I am, I also installed xcache onto the server to help PHP out – I suspect they could cut their hardware ‘allocation’ by half and still have ample capacity to serve the sites. A few days with munin running and I’ll know for certain. Perhaps they’ll appreciate the cost saving?

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