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Fundamental Website Setup Links

Bam! I’m Rich! (or not), Blog Worth Metric Tool

Hey, AWSOM.org is worth $287,350 dollars! Or maybe not. But if you want to find out how much your blog site is “worth” there’s a fun tool available from http://www.business-opportunities.biz/ that utilizes a metric based on how much the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal was worth to estimate how much your blog site would be worth. Mostly just an exercise in how popular/well known your site is on the internet, but still an interesting thing to check out. The direct link to the tool page is here.

MAMP testing environment for OS X

Hey everyone, I’ve recently moved most of my development systems over to OS X (since I have a brand new Macbook that my company gave me), so I’ve been looking into the options that are available for website development when using OS X. OS X comes by default with a great deal of things built in, one of which is the ability to run a local version of a LAMP webserver (LAMP stands for Linux Apache MySQL PHP and is a description of the most common webserver setup to run sites like WordPress). Well, you actually need to install MySQL yourself, but it’s pretty easy. The problem is that this built in server actually does take some configuration to get working, and it’s different depending on if you have Panther (10.3), Tiger (10.4), or Leopard (10.5) installed. For someone who is new to the whole webserver/website dev thing, it can be a bit too much to do right off to get this all working.

That’s why MAMP is such an great thing. Mamp is an all in one package that will install the entire webserver set up for you using a standard OS X installer. Oncde installed it basically just requires you to start it up just like any other program. The basic free version gives you very few options to change from the GUI, so it’s probably the best choice for new people. The only change you will probably want to immediately make is to go to the preferences–>Ports settings page and click the option to “set to default Apache and MySQL ports” button. The rest is pretty straight forward and explained on the “start page” that you can open MAMP. Just note that to get to your site you need to place “localhost” in your web browser as the url.

So now both Windows and OS X have really easy ways of setting up a basic local test server for WordPress–so there’s no reason for you not to test new plugins or theme changes there first so as to not blow up your live site, right?

Further Information For Windows IIS users and Pixgallery

After more extensive investigation it appears that Windows IIS users who are utilizing WordPress and Pretty Permalinks might need to consult the following webpage for information on a fix that is needed to fully support this Apache feature: http://neosmart.net/blog/2006/100-apache-compliant-request_uri-for-iis-and-windows/.
It appears that the use of certain standard Server variables is not followed under the standard install of Apache on Windows IIS, which causes issues when mod_rewrite (that which allows the Pretty Permalinks to exist) is utilized. This has lead to some issues using my AWSOM Pixgallery plugin on IIS servers with Pretty Permalinks enabled. I can’t guarantee that the information on actions described on the above website will correct all issues when using AWSOM Pixgallery on these types of set ups, but it’s probably most of the reason why the issues are occurring. I’ll try to see if there is anything I can do from the plugin side of things, but incorrect information at the server level makes it very difficult to compensate for this issue.

Security a focus as WordPress Matures

The typical scenario of any software project is “get it working first, we’ll secure it later”. This is particularly true of Web packages, since it’s not easy in advance to know all of the possible issues you may run into across all of the possible server instances that exist. WordPress has now become enough established that the idea of “hardening” it against attack is starting to become a major focus. One of the easiest ways to start doing this is to eliminate the known database table structure, so it’s harder for hackers to try to inject password searches or other methods of gaining higher privileges on your server or WordPress. In my tutorial on setting up WordPress I try to stress that you should always change the generic database prefix “wp_” to something completely random to help accomplish this. Unfortunately many people missed this step, or set up their WordPress using an installer program that does not allow this change.

All is not lost though. I have recently discovered a plugin that might help. The folks over at BlogSecurity.net have developed a plugin for WordPress that is designed to alter this prefix. WP Prefix Table Changer gets activated like a regular plugin but will alter things so that you have this vulnerability fixed.

This is a very minor thing to do, but every little security step you can take enhances your overall stability and makes you less of a target.

The Gigcast: Webcomic news and running WordPress double whammy

Hey everyone, in another one of my posts outlining information on the webcomics scene, as well as sites using WordPress, I wanted to point you all to The Gigcast. They do a webcomic news podcast and also provide brief news snippets on their main page. The double whammy here is they are using WordPress also, and the podpress plugin, which makes it easy to do everything quickly. Yet another example of how WordPress is one of the best and easiest systems out there and allows a site admin to extend functionality in ways that would otherwise be difficult or coding intensive.

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