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Mar 14

Mischa Eliot

Dread Happens

Yesterday after creating the author page for M. J. Spencer at Amazon, I started looking for some plugins. I noticed that there isn’t a keyword entry bar on my wordpress and while tags are great and “in”, I don’t really use them. I like using keywords that will be inserted into the meta data of the entry for search engines to find. (Do tags do that on wordpress? I honestly didn’t think to look into it, but I will.)

Okay, so I took a moment and couldn’t find anything that states using tag clouds enters keywords into the meta data.

Back to the dread. On my lunch yesterday I decided I really wanted to be able to put keywords into my entries that would show up in my headers, and then bring the blog up when people were searching for those words. Google may have tossed out keywords as a proper way of finding something, but other search engines haven’t. Cue my search for plugins.

I look over this plugin that has all these wonderful SEO oriented type details and is fully-loaded. After going through the tutorial, it recommended that I change my post path from the page-number type to the title being the post pathname. I complied. The next thing I know I’m receiving 403 Forbidden Errors all over the place to the point where I can no longer access the blog.

I post on WordPress.Org’s support forums. This was around 1-2pm yesterday. I still have not received a reply from my first or second post (put up three hours after the first post) about the issue. I opened a ticket on my hosting site hoping that they could figure it out. While working on some actual work I get paid to do since my lunch was technically over, I continued searching as to what the issue could be.

Even though according to the WordPress installation it was updated to the latest version, the My Installs on my control panel let me upgrade it anyway. For a few moments I had access to the site again. I had tried deleting the plugin from the file manager earlier and that hadn’t helped either. After a short while though, I lost access again. It was not turning out well.

Stupidly, I had replied to the ticket I opened with my host during the few moments it was working, to go ahead and close the ticket. As soon as I received the reply that they were closing the ticket, I replied again asking them to keep it open, that the same error had started up again.

After I got home and settled in for the evening, I decide to go with a Live Chat. I can’t stand having something down, it drives me bonkers. After waiting for what felt forever, I got on with a Live Chat person and they started checking things over. They determined that the plugin had changed my htaccess information, causing the 403 Forbidden error. That didn’t surprise me. I won’t be installing that plugin again ever. I understand that it had to make changes but why would it do something that causes me to no longer have access to the site? At all? That didn’t make any sense whatsoever to me. I was sorely disappointed even more when, according to the plugin creator’s website, they discarded any emails asking for help with their free plugins. If that’s the case, then don’t make them free.

My advice: Extensive research into anything you want to change or improve before downloading/installing anything. I’d have been pretty pissed if a free plugin had brought down this site and lost me money. Luckily, things aren’t all that lucrative yet. But what if they had been? Yeah, you just can’t take that kind of risk. Research, Research, Research!

Everything is back up and running, though, and that’s all that matters.

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