Tag Archives: wordpress

AWS, a new comer’s views

As an IT professional it can be a daunting task trying to keep up with new technologies. A lot of job specifications I’ve seen have asked for Amazon or other cloud experience, so I decided it was time I had a look!

Previously I’ve administered several virtual servers hosted by hosting companies, all of which can be classed as cloud computing, given that the machine doesn’t actually exist and all of the processing is done “in the cloud”, so what are my initial thoughts having delved into AWS for the first time?

Mainly how easy it is to get started! The interface certainly looks daunting, though I managed to get a virtual server up and running on the EC2 (Elastic cloud computing) service in less than 10 minutes! And what’s better, they provide a modest machine known as a t2.micro, absolutely free of charge for the first year!

Delving a little deeper, following Ryan Kroonenberg’s “AWS Certified Developer 2016” course on Udacity, (https://www.udemy.com/aws-certified-developer-associate/) I was surprised by how easy it all was! I even manged to get a load balancer set up, linked to an EC2 server, and managed to Link to the Tomcat server seamlessly from Netbeans! And it was still free! (So long as you pick the right machine…) Admittedly the choice of course was biased towards getting certified rather than actually learning AWS, but it provides an excellent starting point!

Having developed an idea for a future Android app, the environment looks like the perfect place to host the back end processing given it’s scalable nature and high availability. Plus it will earn me some brownie points for the CV! Watch this space for details of the App in the future!

Trouble with WordPress automatic updates?

Well, I’ve just spent a good half an hour trying to jog my memory on how exactly I got WordPress to update itself the last time I tried. Googling for a solution didn’t really help either, as the general consensus was “Do it manually!”.

Not one to give up on a problem I tried to remember what I had done… I do recall having set up something via FTP… Did I need a server running for the update? No… All I would get was an error saying the download had timed out. This told me my file permissions, that do seem to cause a lot of issues, were good. But why was the download failing?

The file it was trying to down load was http://downloads.wordpress.org/release/wordpress-4.4.1-new-bundled.zip. I checked the firewall, outbound HTTP traffic was fine, attested to the fact I’d successfully updated the rest of the system only minutes earlier. What was the problem? One sure fire way to find out – WGET, a command line function that will download a file from a web server… And what did it tell me? http:// was no longer supported on the server, trying https:// Ah, at last! I’d opened port 80, but SSL uses port 443! I opened the outgoing port et voila! Update successful!

So just remember, if you do get any error messages, try recreating the error outside of wordpress, it can help immensely!



Two weeks to update?

So what are my thoughts on WordPress now I’ve had it installed for two weeks? Make sure you set the ownership of the installation correctly!

Given the need to ensure any software visible to the internet at large is as secure as possible, updates should be applied as soon as they are available to ensure any bugs and vulnerabilities are patched.

So, having installed my copy of WordPress, one of the first things I looked at was how to make sure I could easily update the software. Thankfully, WordPress provide an easy way to update the software through the integrated dashboard. Though clicking revealed I required an FTP server running on the web server to perform the updates? Not keen on setting up and FTP server on my production server, I put off the update until I had an afternoon free to install a server and get the updates carried out.

Following the Ubuntu Documentation’s suggestion of installing vsftpd (https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/serverguide/ftp-server.html) I went on to add a user whose home account was set to the directory I’d installed WordPress, to enable the files to be directed to the right place. Changing the owner of the files, I carried out the updates and then wondered why exactly they felt the need to force users to install an FTP server to carry out the updates?

Needless to day, A quick search lead me to a topic that had already discussed the issue… http://stackoverflow.com/questions/640409/can-i-install-update-wordpress-plugins-without-providing-ftp-access revealed that WordPress will only attempt to upgrade over FTP when the web server tries and fails to write to the /wp-content directory! I had already disabled the FTP server and blocked the ports again, though lesson learned: Make sure file permissions and ownership are set properly from the start!

Hello world!


Here I am! An absolute age after deciding I was going to set up a blog, I’ve finally got around to putting it into practice! Why has it taken so long? Well, after last year and completing my last year with the Open University by taking 4 modules, upping sticks selling our property in Derbyshire to live in a temporary home in the outskirts of London, then taking the Linux Foundations Certified Sysadmin and Certified Engineer exams after carrying out my own studies (http://training.linuxfoundation.org/certification) and then working on a few projects to flex my coding skills to get a some websites up and running to showcase my skills, I’ve struggled to get around to it!

So who am I? I still remember my dad buying us a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k from our local Co-op superstore back in the 80’s. After my initial awe and wonder, I got around to talking my dad into buying the Input magazine series that promised to introduce it’s readers to the world of programming! After wetting my toes with the early 8bit machines, then moving on to the Commodore Amiga (I’ve still got a full set of the original Reference manuals! Though I never managed much programming..) I moved on to studying for my NVQ level 3 in programming with a local company which involved coding on 386 machines running windows 3.11 for work groups! After failing to get in to the industry I eventually took an administration job with a local company that saw me settle there for the next 13 years!

During my time there, I came across the Open University and their degree in computer science. I started with my first module in 2005 and have enjoyed carrying out study ever since! Most recently, I finished my degree by taking redundancy from the firm I was working with to carry out 4 modules in one year, the equivalent of a year of full time study, which resulted in me achieving an upper second degree in computing and opened my eyes to Java EE and MySQL as I used these in my end project.

Having moved to London, I took the opportunity to further my studies and now have the Linux Foundation’s Sysadmin and Engineer certifications under my belt, and I’m now using my experience to work on a website implementing the technologies I’ve learned.

So where next? A major fan of Java, Linux, the open source world and Android, I hope to start a few Android projects. Being an ardent runner I’ve a few ideas in mind!

Wish me luck!