Phew! What a day!
I must admit, there were times when I was sitting nervously in front of my PC, wondering if things were going to be OK, or if I would end up wiping out several hundred MB worth of online web data. Of course I have backups! But even with backups, it is still scary when performing major surgery on a website..
Anyway, I have since upgraded WordPress from 2.0.5 to 2.3.1, and at the same time, changed and updated various plugins and so on and so forth. Upgrading the WordPress itself was a breeze. I also used the Maintenance Mode plugin to lock people out until I was ready to have them back in. Since was was going to redo all the plugins and themes, I just threw away most of the wp-content folder, and just upacked the new WordPress. Copied over the wp-config.php file, run the upgrade program, and boom, website is back online. Then I added all the plugins, themes and widgets, enabled them and spent some time configuring them for their various options etc. All this, I did for both DW.Net and for Route 901.
Then came the really scary portion. I decided to change the DB collation type from the default latin1/latin1_swedish_ci to UTF-8. Luckily, I had the UTF-8 Database Converter plugin from g30rg3_x to help me. Now, the plugin has very scary warning pages saying it doesn’t support WP 2.3.1, and you can lose all your data, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, I was already completely out of my mind by the time I reached this point, and said, “F* Me!” and hit “Go”…
I was incredibly lucky, and everything worked. All the pages, etc were still there, and nothing was lost.
That was when the sky fell down. All the graphics from the MyGallery plugin was missing. It seemed that the gallery information and images were all still there and correct, but it kept looking for an “a” folder in the URL. I tried to go look in phpMyAdmin and see if there was a problem with the table data, thinking maybe I could edit the fields by hand. No luck, the database looked OK. Fearing the worst, I was about to go hacking around in MyGallery code to see where the problem was, when on a hunch, I decided to try disable the MyGallery plugin, and re-enable it. Wah-lah, what do you know, it worked. I just needed to resetup and reconfigure the MyGallery plugin and everything was back to normal.
After that, it was a matter of editing tags, rechecking post/page data and so on and so forth. But, basically, things were back to normal. So, here we are, with DeepWave.Net 4.1 - do check out the new Serene Theme and the updated Hide Dashboard plugin - both of which are being released at the same time and used at this site.
It should be noted that the site upgrade also owes its success to one key unsung hero: XAMPP Lite.
The entire upgrade process and all themes, plugins and widgets was tested and rehearsed on my Windows PC before a single modification was made to the live server. This rehearsal even included real live database data from the server imported into the XAMPP test environment. I am happy to say that thanks to XAMPP, the upgrade process was smooth and generally uneventful except for the one problem with the UTF8 conversion and MyGallery plugin.
Conclusion: All’s well that ends well, and hello to widgets, tags and shoutboxes!