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Updates and Repairs

Updates and Repairs

I recently encountered an issue…

… with several of my client sites. When I logged into their WordPress installation, I found blank pages! Yes, I could not see or do anything due to this problem. Scary!  Now, the live sites all looked fine, and you would never know there’s a problem… until you tried to log in to the backend.

I did a lot of testing—were plugins in conflict? Was the Theme outdated? Why would several sites almost simultaneously go into failure mode?  I actually re-installed 2 sites from scratch from backups I had, but to no avail. These would throw different error messages.

The first signal I received were error notifications from the backup program I use to make automatic cloud backups of your sites. That’s when I logged in to run a manual backup and saw the problem.

When I called our parent hosting company, HostGator, they went through the same steps I had, testing Themes, Plugins, the WordPress installation, etc. But when they studied some of the error messages, they had a quick answer—there was a PHP problem.

What is PHP? Since WordPress is a database program—i.e. all of your data is stored in a database—PHP is the tool used to pull the data out and display it on your web page. That is why WP websites are dynamic rather than static as in the days of yore. The hosting company has the PHP program installed on their servers. AND, they do periodic updates of the PHP software. However, we Resellers are not notified of these changes necessarily, the assumption being that we are constantly updating the WP versions, the Themes, and the Plugins of our various websites.

I have been running backups as a courtesy whenever I am asked to make changes to a client site. But I have not been doing it automatically because it is time-consuming and I have too many sites to maintain. Additionally, I used to run manual backups whenever I had a chance just to be safe. In the last year or so, I have added free automatic cloud backups to my services.

I have just spent countless hours going through all my sites to see if this problem exists, and started the repair process. The first fix is to downgrade the PHP version the site uses which I can do using the server software. If I can log-in to the WP install, I can than do the appropriate updates, and finally re-upgrade the PHP.

But here’s the real plan: I need to establish an ongoing Update, Maintenance and Repair service to address these issues. I can’t do it for free anymore because there are simply too many sites to cover, and too much work. So I’ve decided to offer this as an Additional Service as part of my hosting/domain package. The price is low: only $24.95/mo. It is not mandatory, but recommended for the wise site-owner! As always, you can pay monthly or annually, with the usual discounts. Please add a comment below to request this service.  Also, remember to “Join Our Mailing List” in the sidebar.

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