I learnt some hard lessons on technology, blogging, call centres and life over the past 4 days. All thanks to an upgrade to WordPress. The upshot of all this: my blog was displaying a server error for the last 2 days, I was unable to post anything through weblog editors and I greyed some more. If you care to know the details read on. Warning: this may only interest the hard-core bloggers or techies amongst us.
WordPress is the blogging platform on which this site is based and they periodically update their software. The ‘update junkie’ that I am I downloaded the latest version of WordPress. And I vaguely recall updating their last version on my own and decided to try my hand at it. The method chosen: copy-paste all the new files to my server through an FTP client. Sounds simple. The mistake I made: not reading up on the Net on how to upgrade or leaving the process to some ‘experts’. Even though I had the WordPress upgraded there were some errors while writing new posts from the web (e.g. when trying to upload a media file, I would get some error messages). I was irritated but not petrified. And then I upgraded the plugins installed. I don’t know if any of those plugins caused a problem or something else, my weblog editor returned errors on new posts saying ‘xmlprc parsing error’). Strangely, it could retrieve new posts from WordPress (those that were posted through the web interface). I panicked, searched the Net, visited the MarsEdit (my weblog editor) Forums, posted queries – no luck. Lesson learnt: thou shall not fiddle with stuff where one’s knowledge is half-baked. Make that quarter baked.
The other angle to this mess is my hosting solutions provider (now ex-). When I decided to register domain names and sign up with a web host I chose to go with someone who is based in India – hoping better customer service and friendlier timings. Little did I know that there is a possibility of the Support Centre people knowing as much about the technical aspects of WordPress as you do! In episodes straight out of Dilbert the tech people at this company gave me tears, amusement and anger. Some of my support centre mails used to get a prompt response: ‘ give us more time’. And when I complained that I was unable to post from my weblog editor (like MarsEdit), I was asked for the ‘exact url’! There were a couple of instances where they bailed me out of trouble, of course. The most annoying aspect was the phone call to the call centre (in Jaipur!): for all my queries I was told to see the video tutorials! I have now decided to move to a US-based hosting service, which comes recommended by WordPress. Lesson learnt: for us in India, local support is not necessarily the best.
Anyway after a few mishaps, my site is up. Though I have most of my posts, uploading them manually is a pain. I have lost the comments posted by others – my apologies to them. I also have to re-create my album of print ads.
I have been scanning the net and I figured that I am not the only with one weblog editor problems and stuff related to WordPress upgrade. However, something tells me that this is not the last time I get myself in trouble with tech-related stuff. I hope I am wrong.