Adding a second WordPress site to Windows Azure

cloneWe needed to deploy a development instance of WordPress for our soon-to-be built new public site so I looked at adding a second instance to our existing Azure subscription. Going through the portal reports that you’ve reached your MYSQL limit when you try to add another – nice.

There is mention of adding a second WordPress instance and using the same DB although I’m not willing to entertain that, Prod is Prod & hallowed be that principle.

Continue reading “Adding a second WordPress site to Windows Azure”

Plugins fail to update on Azure hosted WordPress

Ever since we moved our WordPress blog to Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud hosting platform (see post), plugins have failed to update rendering them broken – this can quickly become a pain if it’s critical such as your SPAM comment plug-in!
The issue is mentioned ad nauseum here but I’m able to delete the plugin to get around the problem that some others seem unable to do, hence sharing our solution:

Steps to workaround the problem

1. Follow the post here on getting your FTP username and password if you haven’t already got it, then setup your connection in FileZilla.

2. Browse to the ftp path –  /site/wwwroot/wp-content/plugins, make a note of what appears there and compare it to your list of plugins installed on WordPress (wp-admin/plugins.php)

3. In Filezilla, delete the folders that refer to the failed updates.

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4. In WordPress (wp-admin/plugins.php) re-add the plugins, then activate and configure them.

 

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Hope this helps you. You’ll need to do this each time a plugin needs updating – dull!
However, from the thread mentioned above, it looks like a fix will be deployed pretty soon…

Image is crucial, so where did they go?

The mysterious case of missing blog post images after migration.

 

Well, I wish it was mysterious. Actually, it was pretty obvious. The WordPress import tool isn’t exactly what you’d call robust.

Going into the wp-content/uploads folder on old hosting location (GoDaddy) and the new (Azure) showed that the WordPress import tool missed/failed to get the uploads folders from three years worth of blog posts.

 

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So, all that was needed was to sync up the folders. No stress. Here we go.

Getting your FTP username and password for an Azure Web Site.

Thanks to Bertrand Le Roy’s blog post on where to find the user name because what you would consider to be the likely candidates for your login – the deployment user account shows as not set.

1. From your dashboard on Azure for the blog, download the publish profile –

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2.  the XML file find your FTP user username and passwords –

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Copy the missing files between the old and new location

1. Configure Filezilla with the connection to the FTP address listed on the dashboard.

2. Upload the missing years or months media from your old blog, either a local backup like the one I took or directly between the two FTP sites.

Why did it happen?

I’m sure a WordPress expert out there could reveal the mystery in detail, and migrating blogs isn’t exactly my day job – we’ll chalk this one down to “something went wrong but it was easy to fix”.

WordPress blog migrated from GoDaddy to Windows Azure

As our IT consulting business (www.thefullcircle.com) is a Microsoft partner, we believe it is important that we leverage as much Microsoft technology as possible (eat our own dog food!), and of course, that means Cloud
So, today we have moved our blog site (based on WordPress) over to the Windows Azure web hosting platform.

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The process was simple enough with only one hick-up along the way. During the import of the xml file exported from the source there was a server side error importing to the new target – 502 – Web server received an invalid response while acting as  gateway or proxy server.

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This was a bit of a pain since when I looked not all the posts or media had been imported. I had to go through and delete all the posts and empty them from the trash then reimport. Second time round, it when through fine.

Commissioning the same plugins on the new WordPress instance was simple enough and tweaking the settings only took a few minutes. It was a good opportunity to trawl through the options throughout WordPress to make sure the right once were set in the first place.

Summary of the process:

  • Commission the WordPress instance on Azure, needs to be a Shared instance, not a free one
  • Go to the new blog on the URL Azure creates for you and do the basic WordPress setup
  • Export the xml data from the old blog
  • Install and configure the plugins you’ll need on the new blog
  • Import the xml files and ensure you tick the box to import the images/media too
  • Create the CNAMES Azure needs for verification and public access

Something that I noted, non-Azure specific was that our export was 1.3mb with about 100 posts. The maximum file size for the importer is 2mb. The help info suggest increasing settings on the server, not sure you can do that on Azure..?

Lastly, the Jetpack site stats start from scratch again so you’ll have to accept that the historic info is gone – a shame as we had stats going back to Feb 2008!
(if anyone knows a way round this please share)

If you’d like a more detailed account of the process, let me know in the comments.