Mind Your Permalinks When Setting up WordPress Multisite

Wow, just wow!! So I recently changed my several standalone WordPress installs to a network. I ran across one problem with blanking out my MX entries that I discussed here. I logged on to Webmaster Tools the other day to find out I had thousands of errors in there. There was another aspect of changing over to a network I hadn’t considered, my permalinks. Part of it was due to how WordPress handles things and most of it was due to me being a bonehead!

I used my main blog as the main site in the network. I hadn’t given it much thought, I just went with that. I would recommend if you decide to convert a bunch of sites to a network, you use the one that can afford to lose traffic the most to being the main site. Had I thought things through, I might have even used some sort of dummy site as my main site to have the least impact.

See I use the domain mapping plugin for my sites in the network, so for all of the subsites, nothing changed with the permalinks. Once I set up each subsite, I just went in and changed the permalinks to %postname% and I was good. That is the setting I had in place for each site to begin with. I – wrongly – assumed it was that way on my main site as well. Here’s all the problems I caused myself on that main site.

First, I set that site up back in 2007 or 2008, at the time you couldn’t use %postname% as your permalinks setting. So I used date based. I later changed that to category/postname when things evolved to allow it. I remembered that when I changed permalinks, WordPress would redirect all my posts. I knew that by converting my main site to be the network main site, it would add /blog to my URL. I was cool with that so I didn’t bother removing it. Afterall, this was a blog, and maybe in the back of my mind I though WP would auto-redirect. Just to be clear – it doesn’t!

Well, I converted my main site and forgot to check the permalinks settings. By default, they set to date based permalinks. I imported all my posts and everything was good to go. I spent a week converting all my other sites into my network. Well, when I converted my main site, my URLs had gone from category/postname to blog/date/postname and Google crawled it all and indexed. A week later I realized my mistake, I didn’t want date based URLs, so I converted them to %postname% thinking that’s where they started, but on this site they had never been that way! I had also had an important event going on that I was blogging about during this time and decided I wanted to keep my URLs as they are now.

So where I was at. I had, in a month, gone from category/postname to blog/date/postname to blog/postname. Google was angry and I was confused! I still haven’t solved it how I would like… I’d like to have everything fixed in .htaccess for speed sake, but I don’t know .htaccess well enough and every attempt I make botches it thoroughly! Every attempt I make either gets me stuck in a loop or throws off the links for my subsites.

I had to install two plugins to make it all work, due to my limitations and the limitations of the plugins. I like the Redirection plugin, it’s pretty powerful. But I couldn’t make wildcards work with it. I also installed Simple 301 Redirect because that one handled my wildcards, but I couldn’t make my regex entries work right. In Simple 301 Redirect I could handle redirecting all the old category/postname to blog/postname redirects easily through wildcard entries. Same with the old category, tag, and date archives. In the Redirection plugin, I could use regex to redirect that week long mistake with blog/date/postname.

I think I have everything caught but I’ll continue to monitor Webmaster Tools. The date based mistake will go away with time and I won’t need to keep that redirect forever, but the change from category/postname to blog/postname will be forever. I have a Yourls install which I heavily use. Those links all go to old, very popular posts on my website that I want to maintain links for.

Anybody know how to handle this all in .htaccess?? Especially for the category/postname to blog/postname without affecting subsites in a network? That would be peachy!

Google Apps Emails from an Alias do NOT Show up in Your Inbox – or – How I Wasted 2 Days

Just a little tidbit of info I stumbled across the hard way and wanted to post here just in case any of you run into the same problem. I recently reconfigured all of my WordPress installs (about 9 of them) to be a network. I hope to make a detailed post about that soon enough as it actually went really well. As part of that process, I parked all my domains so they would point to the main network site. Then I killed off all my old subdomains (Bluehost uses subdomains to route addon domains I guess) and databases, just a bunch of cleanup. What I didn’t realize is that during the killing and cleanup, something I did reset all of my MX entries and killed all of my Google Apps Alias email addresses.

It’s no big deal, right? Just populate the MX entries again and good to go. So I did, and much like in the past, sent myself random emails from account to account (all my emails are Aliased, so they all come to my main inbox) to see when the DNS stuff was done. I kept at it for a day. The next day I started going in and tweaking my MX stuff, reading help articles, using MX check tools. It was killing me! I kept working at it all day!

And then… I accidentally clicked on my All Mail box, and there they were. Every single email I’d sent. I Googled this strange behaviour and there it was… email sent from alias to alias/main email does not appear in the main inbox to avoid clutter! Wish I’d seen that sooner or read about that change somewhere as that is how I always tested in the past.

VoodooPress has Switched Over to the Twenty Fourteen Theme – More to Come!

Ever since VoodooPress launched, the goal has been to provide you with some fairly simple tips and tricks for getting your site running how you want! Part of that comes from always running the latest default theme and customizing it a bit to show you how it’s done. Sure we sometimes do more complicated things here, but the simple things are really important, especially for newer WordPress users who are looking to just do some minor tweaks. So here we go, 2014 is in place, look for some child theme tips coming soon!

WordPress 3.8 is in the Wild! Time to Update!

WordPress 3.8 has just been released and I just finished my upgrades, how about you? I know I haven’t been around much on VoodooPress, a newer job and school have been keeping me insanely busy. I just finished my thesis and have one more class left at school – then I hope to keep things up to date here! But I have been keeping up on WordPress just a bit, and 3.8 is looking pretty sweet!

Continue reading “WordPress 3.8 is in the Wild! Time to Update!”

Server and .htaccess Question – Assistance Needed!

I’m going to post this here in the hopes that one of my smart readers has some input. I have a friend who runs a nice photography site. His main domain is redirected offsite. His /wordpress directory has his install. He was getting ready to run his /wordpress install from root and before making any changes a problem sprung up. His site has worked fine in the listed configuration for years. I looked through both .htaccess files and they are perfect. Suddenly his /wordpress domain follows the redirect rules of the parent .htaccess. Absolutely nothing has changed on his end. What could have changed at the server level that might cause this? If I turn off his pretty permalinks in the subdomain and his .htaccess file clears out, the site works fine. Turn on the permalinks and the site redirects again following the 301 redirect in the root .htaccess file.

If anyone has any idea why, without any changes being made to either .htaccess file, this would suddenly happen I would love some input. I want him to be able to discuss this with his server guy who currently feels it is the fault of his WP install. Thanks!

VoodooPress Year in Review for 2012

We have our shiny new year in review report from WordPress.com. Fo ranyone who has their site connected to JetPack, you should have gotten an email that your report is ready. It gives some nifty tidbits about your traffic and posts. Here’s a link to our report if you’d like to take a look! Happy New Year, we look forward to bringing you fresh new tips and tricks for your WordPress site in the new year!

What's Going on at WPCandy?

Hmmm… strange things afoot! I was running ads from PressedAds on my sites, and they started choking my site, taking forever to load and then not loading at all. So I headed to that website to see what was up, and it won’t load at all. Strange.. that ad network is run by WPCandy, so I headed over there to look for any news, and it is now redirecting to a default blank 2011 based website with no content. Wonder what is happening over there? I like that site for interesting WP reading.

Ben over at WPin.me dug a little deeper, it seems a hack might be behind the mess. You can read what he found here.