I like running my blog, but I confess, I’m not a big fan of the upkeep behind the scenes. Basic stuff is fine, it goes with the territory. I could pay someone to maintain my site, but since my site does not and will not ever generate revenue, I need to keep the costs as low as I can.
But some of the overhead is of my own making, sure. Or perhaps even a result of my own ambition. I’m not satisfied with using some site like Amazon Photos or Flickr, I want my own site to host my pics.
And so I have some extra admin headaches managing a large collection of photos and galleries. Like the fact that I noticed that some of my Galleries had inconsistent structures to the weburl. What does that mean? It means that the right setup is supposed to be, say for my seventh gallery of my wedding collection from 2008:
- URL: http://www.polywogg.ca/pandagallery/yr2008/w07-bachelor party
- Page title: 2008-W07 Bachelor Party
- Gallery: 2008-W07 Bachelor Party
The URL had yr2008/2008-w07 (2008 listed twice), the page title was fine, and the gallery in some cases was messed up and said 2008-2g Bachelor Party because that was the old filenaming I did, and it hardcoded it into the directory structures. Is it a problem?
Yes and no. It starts off no but quickly becomes a yes when I start linking to things, and suddenly something that should link just fine, instead has a really weird file structure to it and a picture doesn’t load when it should. I was ducking and covering, letting it go, until I hit a snag tonight reading where the WordPress environment is going and realizing my little booboos are going to become bigger booboos later and it is better to fix them now.
Okay, it’s annoying, but an hour or two of quality control has me having corrected some past mistakes and I’m good to go again. Except I’m not.
I’ve got a gremlin. I don’t know what’s causing it, I don’t know when it started, I just know that for some reason, a gremlin is visiting my website.
Here’s the deal. For my gallery, I basically say “CREATE NEW GALLERY”, type in a gallery name, press enter, and then drag and drop all my photos for that gallery into the browser window. I press UPLOAD, and it puts everything onto the server and into the gallery for me. Easy peasy lemon squeasy.
It has worked this way for years. And now it doesn’t.
For some reason, my website has decided to time out in the middle of file uploads. Oh, no, not consistently. Just enough to be a PITA. It gives me an error message, saying out of 21 photos only 16 uploaded. So I note the five that it says didn’t upload. I reupload those. And it rejects one as already uploaded. Hmm…Okay, whatever, it took the four. So I go to the gallery and it says I have 24 photos. Wait, what? I had 16, I added 4 new ones, I should have 20 perhaps or 21 if the duplicate was an error. But how did I get 3 more than I started with?
Oh, right. Not all of those errors were actual errors. In fact, of the 5 it said it didn’t upload, it actually uploaded 4 of them. So I was only missing 1, right? Nope. Another two didn’t upload. No error, should have worked, but when I look at the photo, it is blank or incomplete. Umm, okay.
Plus, for some weird and wonderful world, one of the pics that didn’t upload, and isn’t in the directory, did upload the second time as it should have, but for some reason and some how, WP decided it was a partial duplicate. Not enough to block it, but enough of a duplicate to rename my filename to something like 1_image_xxxx.jpg.
Son of a firetruck.
Deep breath, dive into the rabbit hole.
Generally speaking, a problem with uploading pictures is USUALLY a problem with certain settings. And there are sites that list what the most common problems are for that error, and 8 different ways to fix them. Except none of those 8 ways apply to me. I know, because I had another problem back in December that WAS of that type and I fixed it. Or so I thought.
The app that is giving me errors is one I actually paid for, including support, so I’ve reached out to them for official suggestions. They gave me two solutions, I tried both, seemed okay, thought I was sorted, but tonight, it started throwing errors again.
Okay, debug time. What is the first step? Deactivate a bunch of other plugins to see if they’re conflicting. Yes, it works without them. Great, slowly reactivate them one by one until you find the one that’s a problem. It isn’t usually necessary to literally go 1×1, I find 5×5 is a good enough sort technique, reminiscent of advanced sorts in programming. I got about halfway through my list of plugins and hit a conflict. It stopped working. Great, that’s the problem.
Oh wait, I put another 5 in with no problem and then the next 5 conflicted again. Wait, there’s more than one conflicting? That’s unusual. Particularly for the narrow area I’m having the error in. Most plugins would never conflict with that. Weird. Okay two conflicts.
No, wait, a third. And a fourth? WTF? A fifth and a sixth? That is NOT possible. The plugin works normally, it’s a simple upload feature. It’s used by hundreds of THOUSANDS of people around the world. I know it works. WTF????
Okay, so it isn’t a real conflict. Maybe it’s a load issue? Like if I load 20 plugins, the server doesn’t want to run 20 anymore? I have 40 in total, mostly light load. They should run fine.
Sigh. Okay, I’m out of options. I reached out to the plugin again to see if they have other suggestions, and to my official server support to see if they know what would be causing it to time out after 30s when every variable in the system is at least 60s and I’m not over any obvious memory load. Hmm…
Why is this a big problem? Because it means I can’t easily upload my pictures right now.
Don’t get me wrong, there are other ways to put them on the server, including the most obvious one is to do a side-load equivalent to upload them using better software directly to the server and then have the app “copy” them from the server into the gallery. It adds about four steps to my workload to do all that, and it’s a totally separate PITA.
I can do it, but I sure don’t want to. I need to fix the original problem.
The plugin support did mention they have a beta app coming soon which would potentially indirectly fix my problem, it would just potentially slow the upload to a crawl. I CAN do that, I don’t know if I WANT to do that.
Did I mention that some days I think it’s a dumb website?