Divi, I’m trying to like you. No, no, it’s not you. It’s me!

Divi, I’m trying to like you. No, no, it’s not you. It’s me!

I want to love Divi, I do. But I’m struggling on our first date.

Dear Divi, can't you do this? The other date I had could do this.

Dear Divi, can’t you do this? The other date I had could do this. Don’t make me go back to her.

Granted, it’s our first date. Things will get better, right? I’ll give it some time, I’ll call back (I swear) and we’ll get things worked out.

I’m just going to come out and say what’s on my mind: it’s the archives. The search results, the category index pages. There are no options. If I go to this page (say, a category about traveling through Home Exchange), I want to see a nice grid or clean and easy-to-read list of the posts in that category.

Now, now, dear, I know what you’re going to say. “Just create a page and then put a module for blog posts in the travel category in there.” I understand, but I have so many categories and I don’t want a page for my categories, I just want my categories. Oh dear, is there no hope for us?

What? There’s some code? Oh yes, your forums gave me some code to kinda sorta make a grid-like option, but it doesn’t look very clean, it has the entire post’s contents (really long) and I can’t choose the number of columns or, well, can’t choose anything because I’m back to custom code and I told you when we were choosing a place to go that I was done with custom code. I want to be flexible, but I don’t want to be dumb.

Masonry Madness

I know I'm showing off, but just have a look at this masonry.

I know I’m showing off, but just have a look at this masonry. [Enfold theme]

Now I don’t like comparing and don’t want to be the guy who says, “Well, my last date was like this.” Because then she’ll get snotty and say, “Well, then just go back to her! Just leave me! I’ll be fine without you. Just fine!”

But this is just a beautiful category display. Masonry gone wild. There’s even a filter at the top with all of the categories and when you click on one, just those categories show up. I mean, sure, this is usually with a portfolio, but my sites and those of my clients often have lots of posts in lots of categories. That’s what got me into this whole conversation in the first place.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe you’re just meant for someone who doesn’t have a ton of posts and categories and content. Just a few beautifully designed pages and a few posts here and there. No search, no archives, no glut of categories.

I’ll hold on, Dearest Divi. Your background, your crew at Elegant Themes are darlings and have been for a decade. I know these hot new things on the market might be gone tomorrow and I’ll come crawling back to you, but …

Is your WordPress uploader asking for your FTP login information?

Is your WordPress uploader asking for your FTP login information?

Quite random, but it turns out there were a few lines missing from the wp-config.php file from the previous host.

When trying to upload anything or update a plugin or theme, I got the page asking for my FTP information. I knew something was wrong because I was on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting and it’s been great and I shouldn’t need to do that kind of thing. But it was happening.

Got on the phone with help and they couldn’t find anything wrong either. In the end, they added a few lines that had to do with permissions that fixed it.

Here you go, for your head-scratching pleasure:

define( ‘FS_METHOD’, ‘direct’);
define(‘FS_CHMOD_DIR’, (0705 & ~ umask()));
define(‘FS_CHMOD_FILE’, (0604 & ~ umask()));

For the record, we had just moved hosts, so the wp-config.php file wasn’t created from scratch but was from the old hosting.

Unlimited small WordPress jobs for $79 per month.

Unlimited small WordPress jobs for $79 per month.

Does your WordPress developer struggle under all of your small WordPress jobs? Can you no longer get their attention? Do you feel unloved by your overworked WordPress developer? We have a solution.

“It’s just a little fix. Shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, right?”

Does your correspondence with your WordPress developer go something like this when you have a small task for them?

  1. You are pretty sure it’s just a small job. You word it best you can. You even send them the WP login credentials.
  2. You email it off to your WordPress developer or designer.
  3. You don’t hear back terribly quickly with a response. At least one moon passes through the sky as you wonder where he or she might be.
  4. You follow up in the next day or so, trying to stay sweet and brief to be polite.
  5. You get a quick note that, “they’ll look into it.”
  6. You wait another day. Another moon.
  7. You try to resist the urge to write them again. You like your developer. You think they like you, too. But you also need your fix.
  8. You hem and haw and wonder what to do. You focus on your breath. In and out, in and out.
  9. You call.
  10. They say they’ll “take care of it right away” and they do.
  11. Whew, you’re glad that’s over. But you’re hesitant to ever have another issue again.
  12. You get a bill for 45 minutes of work @ $125 per hour (that math is too complicated for this post) and you pay.
  13. Repeat this process the next time you have a “little fix” on your WordPress site.

Are we having fun yet?

That’s thirteen (13) steps for a probably simple WordPress fix. WordPress isn’t rocket science, right? That’s why you chose it to begin with! Maybe your developer is just overwhelmed. Maybe they’re just inundated with small jobs like this and they’re busy with bigger jobs and would love to help, but just don’t have the bandwidth.

Heard ANY of this before?!

Imagine never having another WordPress headache.

The World’s best WordPress support.

Introducing a WordPress firm that specializes in taking care of small jobs: WP Curve. That’s all they do. They don’t create new logos or suggest you create a Facebook page for your business. They don’t care if you redesign your site or make fun of you if you want to “make your logo bigger.” They just do unlimited WordPress fixes for a flat fee per month. That’s it. But that’s a big it.

Even if they only did “unlimited small jobs,” you’d be doing cartwheels in your hallway. But wait, there’s more. They also provide:

  • An 8-hour turnaround time. That’s the time it took your developer to realize they had an email from you (doesn’t include opening it, that takes longer).
  • Detailed notes on every job. Your current developer might email something like, “Hey. It’s done.” You’re so thrilled with the detail you might print out their email and frame it.
  • 24/7 live email and chat support. Your current developer says he works on the lunar calendar and certainly not on Tuesdays after dusk.

Dear reader, I know you’re probably shaking your head, hesitant to continue reading this “propaganda” any longer as your uncle Walter always told you, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

But it gets even better.

With their next level of service, they start offering options you shouldn’t consider not doing. This is where the value not only covers fixes and changes, but proactive security protection. Crazy, out-of-their-minds services such as:

  1. Proactive WordPress upgrades: this means you don’t have to log into your site and upgrade your WordPress. Of course, we know you do this on a regular basis anyway, but now you no longer have to.
  2. Proactive plugin and theme upgrades: outdated plugins and themes are where the real dangers lurk. Let them do these. Wait, did they say “proactive”? As in, you don’t have to ask them first? Have you signed up yet?
  3. Secure offsite backup: offsite means not on your server, not on your cousin’s hard drive, but somewhere safe. This is good practice. Of course, you do this anyway, but they’ll do it again for you for safe keeping.
  4. Monthly security scan: this is already worth the price of admission (to this nutty fun zone), but it gets even better with #5. Ready?
  5. Security guarantee: if your site breaks or gets hacked, they’ll fix it. I have recommended Sucuri in the past (and still do if your site gets hacked), but wait, now you won’t need to shell out $189 for a site fix.

If you’re to the point where you are yelling at your screen saying, “Enough already! Which plan should I sign up for!? I’d recommend the middle plan, the $99 plan.

I think I’m running out of space on this page to write more good things. Let me know in the comments if you think that going with WP Curve is a bad thing and why. I promise I’ll respond … but probably not within 8 hours.

BONUS CONTENT: For fun, ask your developer what they would charge for “unlimited small WordPress fixes” per month. I don’t recommend doing this is person as they might spit out their glazed doughnut. You can help me add to the list, but I’ve heard responses like:

  1. “I’m sorry, did you say unlimited? I thought you said inebriated.”
  2. “Client dude, I’m pretty what you just said can land you in jail. Don’t ask me that. Ever.”
  3. “Wow. OK, seriously, between you and me, that’s like slow torture by 1,000 cuts of broken glass.”
  4. “Like how small is small?”
  5. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
  6. “Are you smoking crack again? That’s a crack-addict question. Like, out of this world.”

Let me know what you hear in the comments. If you need to obfuscate your name, I understand.

So you’d like to blog, then podcast about the blog, monetize the podcast with a course that has a membership component, accept PayPal and credit cards and invite affiliates to help market your services. Uh huh.

So you’d like to blog, then podcast about the blog, monetize the podcast with a course that has a membership component, accept PayPal and credit cards and invite affiliates to help market your services. Uh huh.

Oh, is that all? No problem! We can do that! Let me see, just 14 plugins, 2 WordPress installs, a half dozen other tools and you’re all set!

Unrealistic? Not so fast, Pendergrass. Here’s a note from a client letting me know exactly what she has going on (and a few comments about how that’s working out for her):

  1. Memberium – a Word Press plug in to manage paid access to courses
  2. Learn Dash – a Word Press plug in, a learning management system
  3. Infusion Soft – to manage my list and to provide a shopping cart for my digital product sales
  4. PayPal – to manage one time and subscription payments (I want to give student the option of choosing PayPal or a regular cc.)
  5. Authorize.net – to manage one time and subscription payments
  6. LeadPages – to capture leads.
  7. Go To Webinar – to manage group meetings and record content. I want to drop this. It’s too expensive and complicated.
  8. Plus This – an IS plug in to manage dynamic countdown timers within Lead Pages and emails. It’s too expensive and complicated.

What is she hoping to accomplish? To summarize, paid courses. Is that over simplifying? Maybe. Does it have to be so complex? Are there really so many plugins and SAAS tools necessary?

She goes on to say things like:

Any thoughts? Recommendations? I need help!

She’s obviously stuck and frustrated. But she’s not new to the whole game. She does say that this is an improvement over where it was:

I am still not satisfied with my tech. It is much better than before.

What else is out there? Is there life beyond WordPress? Is it time to say Thank You to our longtime WP friend and move onto … onto what? Is there a better solution out there?

Let’s see what the pros say.

I worked for an SAP consulting firm in Holland. SAP is software that’s so complicated that it requires consulting firms to implement the software. Is that still the case? Is selling a membership course so complex that it requires a team of consultants, a variety pack of tools and thousands of dollars in implementation and set up?

You want complicated? I can get your complicated. [The Settlers of Catan]

You want complicated? I can get your complicated. [The Settlers of Catan]

Should you auto-update plugins and themes?

Should you auto-update plugins and themes?

Using a new hosting service, there was an option to allow automatic updates of WordPress core, plugins and themes. I said yes, please.

Update WordPress plugins, themes, and core as new versions become available.

Update WordPress plugins, themes, and core as new versions become available.

Ideally, your WordPress site should be ready for auto updates of any shape or form. Updates to WordPress core, themes and plugins should just be applied and your site should run smoothly. Right? Right.

Is your site ready for automatic updates of everything? If not, why not?

But maybe your site isn’t ready for that level of automation. I have to ask: why not?

It’s one of the bigger reasons sites get hacked, crash and just plain don’t work. Things are out of date, not patched, not updated or upgraded and hackers get in, software gets old and things just don’t work as well as they’re supposed to.

You might not be ready for auto-update-everything because you probably:

  • Have some custom code somewhere in the files of your theme. Yeah, you can’t update your site. You could use a child theme, though.
  • Use a really old theme and updates to anything (core, plugins, theme) might break something. Maybe it’s time to update that theme.
  • Have complex plugins that do something that might just break. Everything. So you have to wonder, what is this plugin doing and why is it so complex?
  • Are just scared your site will break and you won’t know about it until some friendly visitor to your site tells you it’s down or broken. This is probably the main reason to not do too many automated upgrades.

I checked everything that would update anything. The site I was working on was a fresh site with no content yet and would probably remain simple. So why not? We’ll see how it goes.

If you’d like to try some hosting that uses cPanel and has some pretty nice features for a fair price, check out the Ultimate package over at Likoma’s hosting.

Increase memory limits on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting

Increase memory limits on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting

GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting is fast, reliable and inexpensive. But you can tweak a few things to make it even better.

Increase WordPress Memory Limit for Avada

Increase WordPress Memory Limit for Avada

We’re using the amazing Avada theme on several sites at the moment and it comes with an easy-to-read System Status page that gives you all kinds of details that … you shouldn’t really care about. I mean, really, who cares about this stuff? WordPress environment and memory loads, PHP time limits and PHP Max Input Vars. What is that stuff? No one cares until you get little warnings in red that say that things aren’t quite as good as you hoped they were.

We’re using GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting, which has been a great value for the money, but Avada’s System Status page was giving us a few red warnings. It took some hunting, but we managed to fix them.

Fixing the “WP Memory Limit” and “PHP Time Limit” warnings

  1. Create a .user.ini file
  2. Add this code: max_input_vars = 5000
  3. Place it in your root folder (e.g. public_html)
  4. Save file

Fix the “PHP Time Limit” and “PHP Max Input Vars” warnings

Add these lines to your wp-config.php

define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );
set_time_limit(420);

Note that it took some hours (I checked the next day) before the change kicked in.

Eventually, our System Status page looks happy with green numbers instead of red.

Increase WordPress Memory Limit for Avada

Increase WordPress Memory Limit for Avada

 Update Jan. 2016:

Found this code, too. So, do we use ” = ” or ” : ” ?

file_uploads = On
post_max_size = 1024M
upload_max_filesize = 128M
memory_limit = 256M
max_execution_time = 300
max_input_vars = 5000

or:

memory_limit: 256M
max_execution_time: 300
max_input_time: 60
post_max_size: 200M
max_input_vars: 100000
file_uploads: On
max_file_uploads: 20
upload_max_filesize: 200M

css.php

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