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Yet Another Troubleshooting Page Update

As AWSOM Pixgallery becomes more popular (thank you!) I have been receiving more info on corner cases where it does not work properly. Most of the time it is in regard to improperly set up server settings or other non-standard situations install situations. In particular, it appears that Windows IIS server versions of PHP often do not have the proper GD image library set up in place to allow image manipulation functions to occur. In this case, Pixgallery will either give a string of PHP errors, or the gallery page will not fully load. There are a ton of websites talking about this issue and how to resolve it to get GD installed, so google is your friend if you run an IIS server.

AWSOM Plugin Troubleshooting page updated

I’ve added a few new entries to the AWSOM Plugin Troubleshooting page to help explain a few issues that have been recently reported for some of the plugins. In particular there is a possible issue in regard to images hosted on external servers (like Flickr or Photobucket) and server security settings that can cause a page loading issue with Pixgallery.

A reminder of why Beta software is called that

I just wanted to let everyone know that the AWSOM Pixgallery 4.4.4 Beta has an issue in regard to one of it’s new features: Custom Gallery thumbnail images. Basically I didn’t add in the correct code to enable this properly, so if you use the “pxggalleryimage” image file name using the same image type (jpg, png, gif) in multiple folders you will get the same image as the thumbnail in all of them. (but, if you use 3 different file types, one gif, one png, and one jpg you will get different images and it will work right for 3 folders).

DOH! I left out the code to select the correct image for each folder to be different. Nothing else is affected though, so if you weren’t trying to use this feature there aren’t any issues and you won’t have any thumbnail problems. So hold off on using this feature (unless you only want to set 1-3 folders with custom images) until I get the corrected code into a new Beta. I’ll post here when it’s updated.

Sorry about that, just another reminder of how Beta means exactly what it is, unfinished.

When Bizarre Web Server Errors Strike: Check File Ownership

I recently was contacted by a user of my AWSOM Pixgallery plugin to help with an issue that was affecting her install. For some reason whenever she loaded her main page or Categories page her website slowed down to a crawl. At first I didn’t think that it was related to Pixgallery, since it only does one function on non-gallery pages, which is to check if the global resize setting is active and apply it to images if it is. On her site this setting was disabled, so Pixgallery should have been doing nothing.

It did turn out though that whenever Pixgallery was active, this slowdown behavior would occur, with it disappearing after Pixgallery was disabled. The bizarre thing was that her galleries pages were loading totally normally.

My first thought was that there were permissions issues with her images. After checking her server there were some issues with some of her files being set to non-execute, but this did not clear up the problem. I was honestly going a bit crazy and started to think that I had coded something incorrectly with the newest Beta version that she was using.

I then had a sudden thought: in Filezilla, the ftp program I tend to use most, the settings by default do not show the owner of the files on the server–so I turned this view on. Typically looking at the owner of files isn’t a big issue since if you are moving your files to the server using the same account and ftp program they all have the same owner–>the account that is used to log into the server. After I changed the view I discovered that a large number of her files were actually owned by an entirely different owner/group account. In cases like this, especially if your WordPress has plugins that actually do processing things to files (like Pixgallery), if the files to be processed are not part of the Owner/Group of the program that is doing the actions (WordPress) what actually happens is the file sits there and refuses to allow any action to take place–but importantly does not actually cause an error to occur. It simply stands the code off and does nothing, causing a php execution timeout. Typically this setting in php is set to 15-30 seconds, which was the exact amount of time per image that was being added to her load time for her index and category pages.

It turns out that her ftp login and her web based Cpanel login were somehow under 2 different ownership/group listings.

The solution to the problem was for her to download her entire site, log in as the account she planned to use primarily for moving files to her server, then re-uploading the entire thing under the one account. This fixed everything and her site was running correctly again.

So, if you ever hit an issue where there seems to be a lag occurring that you can’t identify, make sure all of your file ownership is under the same account.

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