Tagged: WordPress

New Website! Not That You Should Notice

Earlier this month, my web host since 2006 began experiencing extended outages. Normally, I wouldn’t care because I have been pretty inactive in posting to this site over the last few months. However, Downtown Host also hosts my professional site, at https://juanmonroy.com and because I post all my course syllabi on that site, uptime is very important, especially as midterm exams are nigh.

Back in the spring, I attended a workshop on Omeka as part of NYC Digital Humanities Week, and the presenter, Kimon Keramidas, recommended a web host built for academics, Reclaim Hosting. The latest outages forced my hand a bit: I signed up for Reclaim Hosting on Tuesday and began migrating my sites that day.

Easy Migration

My professional site was really easy to migrate. Because that’s site is state-of-the-art for 1998 web sites, it consists of just static HTML content and some Apache server side includes. I just copied the files and changed the DNS record with Hover. Within ten minutes, the site on the new host was working as it always on the old. (The process was similarly easy for the East Village Softball Association, which I also maintain using equally antiquated web technologies.)

Less Easy Migration

Because this blog is hosted on WordPress, the process was more complex. Most of it worked according to this guide, but there were some hiccups, due to having a multisite installation. Without getting into too much detail, here’s the basic steps I took:

  1. Downloaded the files from the WordPress installation from my old host.
  2. Exported the MySQL database.
  3. Uploaded the file to the juanomatic.net domain directory on my new host.
  4. Created a new MySQL database and imported the old one.
  5. Change the DNS records at Hover.
  6. Reusing the existing wp-config.php file didn’t work. I had to start from scratch. Thankfully, WordPress figured out that I already had an installation running and made me run through a database configuration instead of reinstalling everything.
  7. Reactivated Jetpack because that stopped working.
  8. Set up a Multi-site Network to resurrect the https://courses.juanmonroy.com blog.
  9. Added a courses.juanmonroy.com and *.juanmonroy.com subdomain with my new host.
  10. Reactivated the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin.
  11. Reactivated the WP Supercache plugin.

All of these steps basically got me back to where I was on Friday, except that the blog is now on a new host.

New, Same Old Site

So, after all that, I now have a couple of new websites, except that they should look like the old ones. But there are two distinct differences.

First, the sites seem to load a little faster, although that’s probably just a function of my imagination. After all this work, I might as well realize some improvement. The appearance to load faster might be that reward.

Second, the professional site and this blog now use HTTPS. The new host offered certificates from Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open certificate authority that was launched to make securing web transmissions over HTTPS quick and easy. Now, transmissions sent between your browser and my sites are encrypted. A keen reader might have noticed a lock in the browser or that all the URLs in this post use https protocol instead of the insecure http. It’s very exciting.

Did Google Authenticator Lock You Out of Your WordPress.org Account?

I can’t remember when I turned on two-step authentication for my Google accounts, but I’ve adopted it for every other account that supports it, including Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, and WordPress. For those who are not familiar with two-step authentication, it is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide two keys: something you know and something you have in your possession. Accessing a protected account requires two steps, hence the name: entering your account password (something you know) and entering a random code from your phone (something you have).

Google Updates Authenticator

A popular and widely supported iPhone app for generating these codes is Google Authenticator. Earlier this week, Google updated Authenticator, which was a surprise to me. It hadn’t been updated in over a year and had an annoying bug that prevented you from editing your existing accounts. I feared Google had abandoned it because it also didn’t support the nearly-year-old 1136 x 640 iPhone 5 display.


Google Breaks Authenticator

As welcomed as the update was for me, it turned out to be a hot mess. When I updated the app, it deleted all of my existing accounts. Without those codes, I could not access them because I need both the account password and the Authenticator code to log in to those protected accounts. Once the app was wiped, I couldn’t get any of those precious codes.


Fortunately, for me, it was more of an inconvenience than a disaster because I accessed my accounts using the emergency backup codes that I had safely stashed away.

WordPress and Google Authenticator Plug-In

There was however one account that doesn’t have emergency codes. It is the Google Authenticator plugin that adds two-step authentication for this self-hosted WordPress site. I’m unsure if you can add this plugin to hosted WordPress.com sites, but I suspect you cannot since there’s no plugin area for those hosted blogs.

To regain access to a self-hosted WordPress account that has been locked due to two-factor authentication, it requires you to have SFTP or SSH access to your web hosting account.

  1. Log in to your SSH or SFTP account.
  2. Navigate to the wp-content directory.
  3. Create a directory called disabled or something else that won’t interfere with WordPress. This will be a temporary measure.
  4. Navigate to the wp-content/plugins directory.
  5. Rename (or move) the google-authenticator directory to the wp-content/disabled directory. Type something like…
    mv google-authenticator ../disabled
  6. On your web browser, load your wp-admin page. You’ll see that you will not be prompted for a Google Authenticator code.
  7. Using SSH or SFTP, move the google-authenticator directory back to the plugins directory. If you are still in the plugins folder, type something like…
    mv ../disabled/google-authenticator .
  8. Delete the disabled directory.
    rm -rf disabled
  9. With your web browser, go to your Dashboard and then to the Plugins area. Reactivate the Google Authenticator plugin.
  10. On your Profile page, scan the barcode to add this WordPress account to your Google Authenticator app.

Or you could stop at step five, delete the plugin, and be done with two-step authentication altogether.

Comments are Back

After having some trouble with incorporating the WordPress comments into my hand-crafted WordPress theme, I have installed Disqus. It was really easy to incorporate, not because I used the WordPress plug-in, but instead I just added the HTML and Javascript code to my theme.

Perhaps, I will figure out a way to reintroduce WordPress comments back to my theme, but let’s see how this works for a while.

Comments on Blog Posts are Unavailable

Although I have only received forty comments over the last four years, I am letting everyone know that the comments on each individual blog post are unavailable. Until I figure out how to write a proper comments.php template and incorporate it into various templates, no comments will be displayed.

At the moment, I am considering closing discussion on this site, since there seems to be very little happening anyway. But then I reconsider this rash decision when think about some of the thoughtful comments I have received in the past, especially on technical topics such as a partial FiOS outage in Long Island City and Greenpoint and the finer points of fixing a MacBook Pro logic board.

Juanomatic.net is Dead…. Long Live Juanomatic.net

Say goodbye to the  old Juanomatic.net website. A new site is coming!

In the last few days, I’ve decided to completely redo this site, migrating from a site where I documented many of my misdeeds to something a little more grown up. Also, this has enabled me to finally abandon Movable Type as the site’s CMS to Word Press, which is something I should have done years ago. (Word Press is so much better!)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be making many changes to this site and maybe even trying to resurrect some of the more popular parts of the old site, such as the photo gallery and the softball blog.

Thanks for your support over the years. And now that I am getting something more to my liking (and appropriate for my 30s), I’ll be bringing a spiffy new site.