Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

I just updated one of my WordPress blogs to the latest version available, directly from the WP admin panel. After hitting the “please update now” link, I was quickly presented this message: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

For the first minute or so I thought WordPress was working in the background and that my site would be back up in a couple minutes. But 5 minutes later, it was still displaying this message. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t worrying… (more…)

How to Set Up Your WordPress Blog

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This article is going to show you how to set up a WordPress blog. Before setting up WordPress and starting blogging, you will need to register a domain name and find a hosting plan. That might sound obvious to most of you but I want to make sure to be as clear as possible for beginners.

In my last article, I suggested you use DreamHost for several reasons. I use this hosting company and have been very satisfied with them. For the purpose of this article, I will assume that your domain name is registered with GoDaddy and that your host is DreamHost. If you have a different domain registrar and host, steps would be somewhat similar. (more…)

25 WordPress Plugins I Use On A Daily Basis

wordpressWordPress is my favorite blogging platform for one simple reason: it is flexible! I am still amazed that Blogger and TypePad are still in business… What I really like about WordPress is the level of customization you can get to. From custom themes to plugins, WordPress has made it easy for noobies to set up, and taylor your blog to your needs. Today I would like to share with you all the plugins I use. (more…)

New Blog Design

colopaperEvery 6 months or so, I like to get a new blog theme for my blogs. I was way overdue with this one as I hadn’t updated it since May 2008. As usual when looking for an original WordPress theme, I went directly to Smashing Magazine as they always have the best looking designs for whatever you might be looking for. After digging around the website, I finally found what I was looking for: the ColorPaper theme designed by FTL. (more…)

How To Improve The Search Feature Of Your WordPress Blog

This post was inspired by a tweet from Lorelle, my favorite WordPress expert. Lorelle’s tweet was saying “Make WordPress’ search function suck Less” with a link to this post. I had WordPress search issues in the past and found a few solutions and I thought I would learn a little bit more from this post, but I didn’t.

Basically this post was about manually tweaking your search.php file, which improves the WordPress search feature but it still doesn’t make it a good search feature. The main problem with the WordPress search feature, besides the irrelevancy, is that if you have a large blog of a few hundreds posts, then there is not much you can do to speed up the search.

I don’t pretend to be an expert about WordPress (I’m actually far from that!) but I do think both solutions I will talk about in this post are much better at delivering very good search results for your WordPress blog. By “good search results”, I mean results that are delivered quickly, that are relevant to your search query, and sorted by relevance.

wpSearch Plugin

The wpSearch plugin is like having your own custom search engine on your blog. wpSearch is based on “Lucene“, a full-featured open source text search engine. wpSearch is fast, and relevant, which is pretty much everything I need from a search engine on my blog.

To set up wpSearch on your blog, simply download the plugin from here, then upload it, set permission to 777 (very important), and activate the plugin from your admin panel. After activating it, you will have to build the search index database, which may take a while (about 5 posts/second) if you have many posts on your blog. That’s all there is to it. Now check your search feature and you will see a huge difference in the results you will get. The relevancy will be so much better that like me, you’ll want to blog about it ;-)

Adsense For Search

Adsense for Search (AFS) is now my favorite search feature for my blogs for 2 reasons: for one it is the best search engine you can get; and two, you can actually make money from it. Even though I hate Google as a company, I can’t deny that their search algorithm delivers the best you can get from a seach engine thus far.

Now the main concern about Adsense For Search is that you have to rely on Google to crawl your website to index your new posts. Some people won’t use Adsense For Search for this one reason. Yes, you have to wait for Google to crawl your site and index your pages but how much does that really matter in your case? I mean, is it that important to you that your post must be foundable immediately after being published?

Besides, one benefit of Adsense For Search that I have been able to verify on all my blogs is that when AFS is implemented on your site, Google will come visit you quickly and more often. I haven’t done scientific tests on this, but I was able to notice it on many occasions. Most of the time, when I publish something on my blogs, the post is picked up by Google within hours, sometimes within minutes.

To set up, AFS, you will need a Google Adsense account.

How To Upgrade WordPress Without Losing Your Plugins

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WordPress just released version 2.7 of their software and I have to say that it is one big update! Although there is not much change in the overall functionalities, something that changes is the overall layout of the admin panel. The WP team has spent a lot of time and put quite a bit in the way of resources towards making things both look and work nicer. This release doesn’t contain any security fixes that I am aware of, but it definitely feels quite a bit faster. Well, at least in my rather unscientific tests, it does. Your mileage may vary, of course…

As usual when you update, there is a risk of screwing something up. What I always do before updating is exporting all my post. This way, I know that if there is a problem during the process, all my posts will be safe somewhere on my PC.

If you’ve updated to a previous version before, you may have encountered issues such as not being able to login for example. As I was able to verify before, the most common problem comes from the plugins.

The best way to avoid any problem with you plugins is to access your server and rename your plugin folder, right before updating WordPress. For example, I rename my plugins folder to “plugins-old”. Then I update WordPress, update my database and when this is done, I go back to my plugins folder that I previously renamed “plugins-old” and rename it “plugins” again.

My hosting company, DreamHost, automatically creates a new “plugins” folder when I update to a newer version so I always have to delete this one first before renaming my folder to “plugins”.

Doing so avoid losing all your plugins or having to reactivate all of them individually. Hope that will help some of you.

Can’t login to WordPress after upgrading

Today I upgraded my personal franchise blog from WordPress 2.1 to WordPress 2.6.2. I know, what a big upgrade… To do so, I simply went to my webhost admin panel and used their one-click upgrade service. Within 2 minutes I received an email from my host telling me that everything went fine.

So I tried to go back to my blog admin panel but it would not let me in. Every time I entered my login and password, it would just go back to the login page. I tried typing wrong password and it would give me an errror message. Going back to the homepage of the blog, I realized it was showing me as logged in. Strange.

That’s when I decided to use my secret troubleshooting weapon…. Google (I know, it’s no secret weapon). I googled “can’t login to wordpress after upgrade” and I the first result thta popped up was a page on WordPress forum.

This is the solution I used:

I had this problem after I updated my WP. Tried everything… cleaning out the cash, the cookies, changing the admin password, making changes in the wp-login.php, making changes to wp-config.php.

The last thing I tried was to clean out all of my plugins, deleting them from my ftp (after downloading everything to my computer!) and then when I tried to login I got a message that my database neded uppdating because it didn’t “fit” to my wordpress installation. An now… I can login!

But this also seems like a good fix:

I’m having this problem when upgrading to 2.6.2 with Fantastico. Here’s the process that’s been consistently working for me to correct it:

  1. Using FTP, rename the plugins folder (at /wp-content/plugins/) to plugins-old
  2. Log in as usual
  3. I am prompted to upgrade the database, so I click that button and it does
  4. Rename plugins-old back to plugins
  5. Log in again

Once I do that, everything seems to work.

If you’re having any login issue after updating WordPress, you may want to try any of the fixes.

12 WordPress plugins I can’t live without

I have 3 different blogs (1, 2, 3) that are powered by WordPress, which is without a doubt the best blogging platform out there. The good thing with WordPress is that it is open source, which means anyone can create plugins to improve WordPress’ backend to fit one’s needs.

There are 12 plugins that I find extremely useful and I would like to share them with you. (more…)