Changing hosts…

Image by Colossus Cloud from Pixabay
Image by Colossus Cloud from Pixabay

I recently changed hosting for my WordPress blogs. My main reasons for changing were, my host was unable to update the version of PHP which would result in being unable to update to the most recent version of WordPress. They did offer me a new hosting contract, but I would then have to migrate my blogs across, so I decided that if I needed to do that I might as well review new hosts. I had had reliability issues with my existing host. I was also concerned about upgrading to SSL (https). Both Chrome and Safari were marking non-https sites as “non-secure”.

It’s not as though I was doing e-commerce on my blogs, but it looked like Google would drop non-https sites down in their search results. I also thought the “non-secure” identification might worry people.

There were a few challenges, mainly as I took the opportunity to move a couple of my blogs to a domain of their own. I say opportunity I wasn’t sure I could recreate the same setup with the new host that I had with the old one.

Wordpress
Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

Decided to record and log what I had done, just in case I needed to do this again. Continue reading “Changing hosts…”

Fixing Embedding Twitter into WordPress

I have been having few issues recently embedding tweets into some WordPress posts.

In this post the tweet is seen as a text link (and not even a live link) rather than the embedded tweet itself.

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The process is suppose to be that as you write your blog post you merely copy the link (from the date of the tweet) and paste it into your blog post

https://twitter.com/jamesclay/status/1020746984808853504

The magic then happens and when you click publish the tweet link is converted into an embedded tweet.

Now in some recent blog posts I was getting an inconsistent result with some tweet links converting into embedded tweets and others not so. In one case in one of my blog posts one of the tweets did what it was supposed to and the other one didn’t.

I know I can do a screen grab of the tweet and embed that into the blog post, but I do like how the embedded tweet was live and dynamic, you could like or reply to the tweet from the embedded tweet.

Looking around for a potential cause of the problem and hopefully a solution I found this WordPress support link from a Google search on the issue.

Embedding with a shortcode

If you want more control over the display and layout of the tweet you are embedding, you can use a special shortcode. Copy and paste one of the following shortcodes into a post, page, or text widget. Be sure to change the tweet URL or ID to the one that you want to embed.

[tweet https://twitter.com/jamesclay/status/1020746984808853504]

With the end result being an embedded tweet.

I used this process of my problematic blog posts and it fixed the issue.

Still none the wiser to the actual cause of the original problem though.

Mobile WordPress Theme

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I have been using the WP-Touch plugin for a while now with my WordPress sites.

WPtouch is a mobile plugin for WordPress that automatically adds a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors to your WordPress website. Recommended by Google, it will instantly enable a mobile-friendly version of your website that passes the Google Mobile test, and ensure your SEO rankings do not drop due to not having a mobile-friendly website.

The administration panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to your mobile visitors, without modifying a single bit of code. Your regular desktop theme is left intact, and will continue to show for your non-mobile visitors.

What the plug-in does is provide a mobile stylesheet so that when your WordPress site is viewed on a mobile device it is rendered correctly for the small screen, making it easier for the user to read posts and navigate the site.

It means you can have one site without needing to have a different specific mobile site and your users don’t need to specifiy they are on a mobile device. There is a switch on the page if you want to move from the mobile to the full desktop version of the site.

Though the current WordPress version now is more mobile friendly than it was I still prefer and use the WP-Touch plugin as I feel it gives a better mobile experience.

The plug-in was recently updated and there was a change in the appearance of the mobile stylesheet. The old one is on the left, and the new one on the right.

Mobile WordPress Theme

Sometimes I really don’t like change, but in this instance I think it is a real improvement.

So if you run and host your own WordPress implementation and want to provide your users with a mobile experience then I suggest a look at WP-Touch.

Slideshare WordPress Plugin Issue

I do like Slideshare, a great service that allows you to upload presentations and then either view them easily on the web, or embed them into webpages. Thought I don’t do that much on this blog, I do use it a fair bit on my e-Learning Stuff blog where I embed presentations I have given at conferences and events.

Before I went self-hosted, Slideshare had a simple embed code for WordPress.com blogs, which when I went self-hosted didn’t work. I did a search and found a plugin that allowed me to continue to use the simple embed code.

When it was recently updated to version 1.8 I was disappointed to find that on my blog it stopped working. I did a fair few things to try and fix it, but in the end I downgraded the plugin from a backup. Always useful to retain a backup of your plugins in case something like this happens. I had done a thorough search and hadn’t found a solution, and even a posting on the WordPress.org support forums failed to get any response.

You can imagine my disappointment when the plugin failed again, even more annoyed as I hadn’t done anything. It appeared the simple embed code was working, but the Flash movie that Slideshare use had failed to load. My initial thought it was a Flash player problem, but after checking multiple browsers on different OSs and even doing a check using the “normal” embed code from Slideshare, it still came down to a problem with the plugin.

So, after more fruitless searching, I decided to deactivate the plugin and revert to using the “normal” Slideshare embed code. I had to go through a fair few blog posts and edit them and change the code from the simple embed code to the normal one. I guess there are probably still a fair few archived posts I need to edit, but should have them all done soon.

So what was causing the plugin to fail?

Well to be honest I have no idea, but as I failed to find the issue through searching the web, my suspicion is that it is an issue with the web server, but no real idea what the issue is, how it could be resolved and what I would need to say to the web hosts. Maybe it is just one of those things.

Tech Stuff goes mobile

Having upgraded the blog back end you can now view the blog on your iPhone with a built-in mobile theme.

It’s a great theme which works for individual entries too.

Simply go to tech.jamesclay.net on your iPhone or any other mobile device.

So how was this done?

Well with the WPtouch plugin that if you host your own WordPress server can be easily installed.

WPtouch is an entire theme package for your WordPress website. Modeled after Apple’s app store design specs, WPtouch makes your WordPress website load lightning fast on touch mobile devices, show your content beautifully, all while not interfering with your regular theme.

If you have a WordPress.com site this is now built in.

Using the Apps

I have been using mobile devices for years, but I have probably installed more applications on my iPod touch in the last week than I have on multiple devices over the last ten years!

Okay that might be an exaggeration, but installing Apps on the iPod touch (and I guess the iPhone) is so simple, either via the device or on iTunes.

I am getting a lot of use out of the Evernote and Zenbe applications, as well as FileMagnet and the WordPress App.

I read how annoyed the author of iDrops was about the lack of visibility for his game. I went to his website, played the game and understood why Apple may not have wanted the game to be in the top ten – it’s a copy of the Bubble game included with Windows Mobile!  However I did enjoy that game on my PocketPC so after playing the website version for a while, I did go and buy the iDrops game (well it was only 59p ($0.99)).

Overall I am impressed with the apps available (especially the free ones) and unlike others I have only had one crash so far.