Jan 29 2008

Blog Revamp Completed

Category: Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 12:54 am

So, the transfer process from my old host to this new one (Bluehost) is complete, and I took the opportunity to basically build this blog up from the ground again. With the amount of plugins I tested over the last 18 months, there was an awful lot of clutter left in the SQL tables, and I had experienced problems with the old host and their security updates. During the process of exporting the posts from the old home of the blog to this one (more on that later), I ended up losing the post numbers; where this post might have previously been something like http://www.chrismerriman.com/index.php/archives/2023 , it would now be ……/1926 .
As this meant that any deep links to specific posts from external sites were lost (and the number shift was not purely sequential, so no fancy redirect equations would work), I decided to change the fancy permalink strategy, hence this post can now be found at http://chrismerriman.com/blog-vamp-completed . This makes addresses a little more memorable, and possibly could improve this site’s standings with the search engines (once the bots have completed crawling around, finding the old content under it’s new addresses.)
Back to the export/import process. Ideally, I would have done this properly, but part of the reason for me moving hosts was that I was again unable to access the backend of this site – the admin section of wordpress. Without access to my plugins, I was unable to take a proper backup of the existing posts, comments, pages etc. Luckily, I had an 8 day old XML file that I’d exported as a temporary backup. However, I hit an unforseen snag when I attempted to import that file into this site – it was over 2Mb, and therefore exceeded the PHP restrictions in place. Rather than wait around for tech. support to confirm if they’d be willing to, at least temporarily, relax the limits, I decided to delve into the XML file and see what could be done. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find 2.7Mb of data to drop, so I decided to try an experiment. Checking through the structure of the file, I kept the beginning and end of the file, then removed around 2/3 of the posts and comments. Saving the resulting file, this imported fine; I then kept the same empty structure, and inserted the middle 1/3 of posts & comments, to my surprise this then imported fine without wiping anything out from the previous import, and then the last 1/3 went in fine. Basically, I kept all the content bar a week or two, and I luckily still had the old site open in a different tab, so just needed to copy’n’paste that into new posts.
I decided to try a new theme for the blog, and also drastically cut down on the plugins installed, hoping it would speed up page load times, especially for first time visitors to this site. This seems to have worked reasonably well, and I repeated the process for this site’s brother blog (test.chrismerriman.com).
I’ve also completed some work on John’s new site, and started the process of converting my old niche article sites into blogs as well, but more on that later.

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