As part of joining the crew at GearDiary.com, I signed on to be the techie behind the scenes. As luck would have it, Judie sent me a laundry list of issues that she wanted resolved.:-)
So, off I went into the log files to start sniffing around. The first thing I noticed was that the error log was filling up with Page Not Found errors and they were actually being triggered by a lack of a 404.shtml file. The other error was being caused by a lack of a favicon.ico file. The quick and dirty explanation for these errors is that the 404.shtml file is what’s shown to a user when they access a page that doesn’t exist. Try this link to see what I mean.
As for the favicon.ico, it’s a little icon that shows up next the URL of the page in your browser and next to the entry in your bookmarks, if you bookmark the site. It turns out that the favicon.ico file used to only be requested if the page was actually bookmarked, but in the latest versions of the browsers, it’s requested all of the time. So, I took the easy way out and manually created a 404.shtml page (very little dynamic stuff being served), and I created a temporary favicon.ico file since we’re in the midst of getting a new logo. There we go–no more error messages.
The other wild part is that the browsers themselves were actually creating the error since they were requested a favicon.ico file that didn’t exist, which then generated the error message for a page not found. The ironic part of course being that the page that wasn’t found was the Page Not Found page. Ok, that was really a little too geeky.
My next task was to figure out why uploading images inside of the WordPress editor seems to force the image attributes of a thumbnail instead of a full-sized image. Why was I looking at this problem? Simply because Judie likes Internet Explorer (I don’t get it either!) and spent about two hours uploading photos and then manually removing the .thumbnail addition to the image file name before she could post a review last night. Well, it turns out that it’s an old bug that was fixed long ago–or so they thought. Some surfing around led me to this page which shows that the problem doesn’t exist in Firefox but does still exist in IE. Thankfully, some clever developers figured out how to hack this little bug, and after some hacking of my own, Judie can now happily upload images in Internet Explorer.
To wrap up the night I decided to tackle an intermittent server issue. For some reason the site would suddenly not be accessible and would show a loss of database connection or something similar message and then a refresh later and the site was live again. Since WordPress is not technically supported at the hosting facility we’re at, I figured I’d poke around a bit and appeal to the tech support peeps. I suggested that perhaps we were on a server that was serving up some heavily accessed web sites along with ours, and sure enough, that was it! Tomorrow we’re supposed to be moved to a new server, so the problem should go away. The move is transparent to us and to you, so you shouldn’t notice any downtime.
That’s it for this installment of Behind the Scenes with echo.