The server fights continue (some fixes for WP folks)

One of the things that plagued Pocketables since 2013 was the site was broken and we could get a CG tech to look at it but that might take weeks and then a problem might just be band-aided. Getting voice time afterward with said tech to say “hey, this looks correct now but if you do this it breaks,” could once again take days.

I bought the site broken, and set about fixing it 11 days ago. Restoring the site restored a lot of the problems.

I’m posting this in case someone runs across the same WordPress moving issues we had as half of what we’ve run into do not have straight forward solutions. If you’ve got a solution for the rest, drop a line.

WordPress: Cookie Nonce is invalid (chrome)

This one prevented me from working with Jetpack using Chrome. Clearing Pocketables cookies did not fix the Nonce cookie. Simplest solution seemed to be to clear all site cookies in Chrome. This fixed it although I had to re-authenticate with every two factor thing I use.

Sadly don’t know which site cookie “Nonce” was under, but it didn’t appear to be my site or Jetpack.

I believe it’s because I kept editing the hosts file and going back and forth between the old website and the new one.

Jetpack works, then it doesn’t, then it does again

This one was fun – while tracking down the Carousel issues I noticed in the debug menu that most of the time there would be an error connecting to the backend. It would say was working, then not working, not working, not working, working, etc.

Debug would also list SELF: FAIL when the connection failed.

Issue here was I was using Cloudflare and had to whitelist a range of IPs listed here

Of course Cloudflare can’t whitelist a /18 range (16,065 IP addresses) so you’re stuck either creating 63 rules with a /24 or whitelisting a /16 (65536 ips). I went with the /16 for testing.

Vaultpress can’t restore

We did the move via vaultpress. Restoring worked pretty well but it failed after restoring everything except the database. No real errors given, just that it failed. I was told from their support that it was that it couldn’t download or execute commands, don’t know on that, it seemed to have access.

I ended up having to combine all the SQL files into one massive one and FTP this 800 megabytes of SQL to the server and then run the command in a shell:

mysql –user=”pcktab” –password=”donthasslehoff” pcktab_wpdb1 < everything.sql

(usernames and passwords obviously changed, please stop trying to hack us)

Vaultpress support then had to edit a PHP file because evidently there was something blocking communication from the new site to them. Or that was random as the issues still persisted until the back end spent three and a half days comparing files.

Your website needs SSL for SEO in 2018

The goog is requiring SSL for even sites like ours that don’t process credit cards. My guess is the issue pertains to cross site injection or something. Safer browsing means higher rankings and since 80% of our traffic is from search engines and I am hoping that the advertising revenue from the site will be able to… pay for the site… I’ve adjusted my hopes and dreams downward a bit… well, that’s something that had to happen.

Every guide was directing me to really simple SSL, or a CPanel plugin, or letsencrypt, or getting a certificate and installing it yourself.

I ended up going with Cloudflare, which we’re already using, got a certificate, enforced  HTTPS redirect and HTTPS everywhere and bam, done.

Damned ads and tracking pixels

Most of the advertising was easy to trace and replace. This left us with an issue of several tracking cookies were on the site and not evident where they had originated from.

That was just going through each theme PHP until I found where Neilson analytics and some other stuff had been added and removing it.

WP-JSON / Webhooks / REST API not working in Disqus

Currently still working on this – as Disqus is working 100% as far as I can tell I’m not sure why their WP-JSON REST API calls are failing. Just going to put this on the list of fix when we can figure out why the REST API ain’t working.

That or hope someone can send me the solution.

Jetpack’s Carousel does strange things

Carousel is working in Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, and then it’s not. Fails on Chrome almost every time. We’re suspecting this has something to do with minifying or cloudflare but that’s been a fight in itself.

For us, we see a blank window, occasionally it will pop up and say This Requires Javascript or some such. Occasionally it will work.

No fix yet.

Images disappear with any optimizations

Jetpack’s Lazy load, EWWW Image Optimizer .webp, etc break image optimization.

Issue: Theme from 2012. Solution replace theme or edit the hell out of it.

No SSL Lock icon

Assuming you’re behind Cloudflare, open your CF console, Crypto, HTTPS Full, Always use HTTPS on. Reload page, viola.

Seeing things from the old site

When I transferred to the new site I changed my password. As I was editing hosts quite frequently to go to the old site I wanted to make sure I had to enter the password and knew I was on the old and not on the new as they look the same.

The process *should* have been edit hosts, go to old site via DNS name pocketables, get info I need, edit hosts, do whatever on new site. What was happening was even though the old host was not behind a caching service any more was I was seeing things from the old site. The password for the old site would suddenly work on the new site. Even incognito was seeing the wrong data.

Best I can figure is it’s either Chrome or my computer has demons. I ended up having to work in the old site exclusively in Firefox because Chrome was being weird. This is where I think the Nonce cookie got shot.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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