My Blogs Are Finally PHP 5.2!

The struggle is over, and I have conquered the beast known as PHP 5.0. Actually, the beast seems to be my host, 1&1, though it’s probably not all their fault, and they’re definitely not alone.

Some of you may remember the battle I had in trying to upgrade my business blog to PHP 5.0 back in December. In that case, I knew that blog was on 4.0 because I had created it many years earlier, before PHP 5.0 came about. The same couldn’t be said for this blog and my finance blog however. According to my MySQL admin area, both were already on 5.0. However, I knew they couldn’t be running that way because I couldn’t automatically update anything, and I was having all sorts of problems with my dashboard and plugins.

It was time to do some research, and I have to say it took awhile for me to figure things out, mainly because I had to go to multiple places to get a full understanding of what the issue might be. See, everything I needed, it turns out, was at the codex area for WordPress.org, but it wasn’t making any sense to me. I eventually found a blog called Gabediaz that gave me everything I needed. Now I’m going to share it here, since the information is in many places, just not easily described everywhere.

The first thing I had to do was create a file and name it “phpinfo.php”. I used Notepad and I had to pop this code into it:

(<)?php (add this part without the parenthesis; seems if I remove them it starts coding in this post and you can’t see the first line at all)
phpinfo();
?>

You upload that file to your server. Now, if you have multiple accounts on your server, you upload it into the one where your blog is. Then you type in your domain name and add “/phpinfo.php”. That will tell you the actual version of PHP your site is running on. In my case, it said I was running 4.4.9, which isn’t what it was saying in MySQL.

Then there’s the fix for it, and this is dicey stuff because you don’t want to make a mistake, just in case. First download your .htaccess file to your computer, and make sure you know where it is. Then using Notepad, open that bad boy up. Once you’ve done that, immediately save it using Save As, make sure you’re not saving it as a .txt file, and name it something like .htaccess_original. That will leave you two of those files wherever you saved it. Open the original file you downloaded, go to the top, hit Enter once to bring everything else down, then add this:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

Save that file as is, then upload it back to your server, overwriting what you already have there. Then run that domain name thing again, and if you’re lucky you’ll be running something better than 5.0; in my case, I’m running 5.2.13.

I then went to take a look at my dashboard, and everything is there, all notes and the like. I went to my plugins area and added a couple of plugins that I had disabled, just to see what would happen to my dashboard; absolutely nothing. I then took the chance and automatically upgraded to WordPress 3.0; viola! That bad boy worked, my blog is now 3.0, I don’t have to manually upgrade any longer, my dashboard works fine, I can get into all posts and comments fine, and life is great once more.

By the way, the best test to do after upgrading is to see if you can get into your posts. Y’all know I write blog posts for others, and I also manage the blogs. All except one of the blogs upgraded just fine, and the one that didn’t wouldn’t let me into any of the posts. With the manual upgrade it all came back, thank goodness.

Now, I’m not guaranteeing this will work for everyone, but I think I can safely guarantee that if you’re on 1&1 that it will work. And if you’re having problems, heck, it can’t hurt to give it a shot, as long as you remember to save your original .htaccess file somewhere so you can upload it back if necessary. Good luck.

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My MySQL Upgrade Battle; The Short Version

Goodness, what I’ve been going through with my business blog!

It all started when I tried to upgrade it to 2.9. My business blog is my oldest blog, which I began in March 2005. It was created in MySQL 4.0. To use WP 2.9, you have to be on MySQL 5.0. This meant I had to upgrade my blog to the new database.

The first thing I did was to export a file of all my posts. I did it straight up instead of as a zip file; do both, which I eventually did, just to cover yourself. Then I went to my host, 1&1, and I exported my current database to my computer, then created the new database. All good thus far.

They I tried to import the new database, but there was a problem; my file was too big. You can only upload a maximum of 2 MB on most hosts, and my file was 3.5MB; lots of data over 4 1/2 years.

So I had to contact my host to ask them to do it. They were hesitant, and instead walked me through a process of uploading it myself through a special SSH program. That process didn’t work, though they didn’t know why and I did. I had to use the unzipped file to upload and it only allowed a maximum size of 16MB, but my file was 29MB; you’d think they would have known that.

The next step was on their end. They ended up finding a way to get my old database files into the new database, though it took them half a day to get it done. I went in, changed the WP-Config.PHP file to the new database settings, and all was a go.

Nope, not quite; nothing works that easily. All my posts suddenly didn’t work anymore, and that was problematic obviously. Nothing was coming up, but the strange thing is that I could get into my dashboard without any problems, and I could get into the editing area of each post. This was freaking me out.

My blog was down for two days, as tech support looked at it and determined they didn’t know what to do. They told me they had gone as far as they were allowed, and that maybe I should hire someone to fix my database. Hey, this is me!

The first thing I did was go online to see if anyone else had my problem. I couldn’t find that specifically, but I did come across this video called How To Fix WordPress MySQL Crashed Tables, on a blog called WonderHowTo. I thought that might be the issue, so I logged back into my host control panel and went through that process. One of my tables, WP-Options, had a lot of stuff that I had to run the “fix tables” process on, but it worked almost immediately. I went back to the blog; nothing.

I decided to see if upgrading to 2.9 would work. I tried the automatic upgrade, which has never worked before, and viola, it worked! Well, the upgrade worked; now I have at least one blog where that works. I still didn’t have any of my posts, though, and that stunk.

Still thinking, I decided to try deactivating all my plugins to see what happened. Nothing. However, something stuck out in my mind that I had seen while going through my searches. There was a lot of conversation about permalinks and checking the structure of those things. I went there and didn’t see anything out of place, but then remembered that, on that blog, I had a unique plugin called Dean’s Permalink Migration. I had added it to that blog to remove all the dates from my posts, which get in the way of SEO efforts.

I reactivated that plugin and went to check its settings. Then I hit update options, and all my posts were back; whew!

Then I went back to the plugins page and added the most important ones first and tested; all worked perfectly with the dashboard. Then I added the other plugins one at a time; all worked perfectly once more. Then I thought I’d try something and I added the WP Database Backup plugin, which used to shut all my blogs down; works perfectly.

I decided to go one step further. I went and found All In One SEO to see what would happen. And, of course, it loaded, my dashboard works perfectly, and all is right with the world.

At least on that blog. It seems that by upgrading the database that blog works the way it’s supposed to. As for my other two blogs, I’m still confused because they’re already on 5.0, so I shouldn’t be having any problems with anything. For now, I’m not going to worry about it.

What are the important lessons here? First, always make sure you back everything up, just in case. Export whatever you can to your computer for your protection. Second, if you have to, contact customer service and let them handle some stuff, even if they seem somewhat irritating. I’ll be writing a post about that on my business blog. Third, don’t panic if things don’t go correctly. Fourth, verify to see if you have your blog database first. If you can actually access your information in some way, you’re still running good. Five, test and question everything you have, and you’ll probably figure it out.

And if none of that works, go through forums, or, of all things, mention it on Twitter, and you might get a response or an offer of help. I’ve licked this one; whew! Since I probably won’t be posting on Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday!

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