Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews

First new year resolution completed

So finally got around to looking after my website again (a 2013 new years resolution) but ran into a few problems on the way.

tl;dr - Moved to a Rackspace cloud server, new distro version and WordPress version. Alls well that ends well.

Since I was last managing my website the hosting provider slicehost who were very cheap and very good got bought out by Rackspace. My server then got migrated over to the Rackspace cloud and the site didn’t come back up. A number of people mentioned to me during the last 3 - 4 months that this was the case but I didn’t really have a reason for my website and let it rot.

January 1st 2013 rolls around and a long list of to-dos for the year sit menacingly in Wunderlist. So once my little family have gone to bed I get to spend the rest of the night trying to get my site into some resemblance of order.

The site was producing

Error establishing database connection

A quick restart of mysql fixed that. But once it was up I realised how dilapidated it looked and especially when viewing it on a mobile phone. So, a new responsive WordPress theme was needed.

Unfortunately all of the responsive themes required a much newer version of WordPress. So ok, let’s update WordPress. Unfortunately I hadn’t touched this machine in quite some time it was still running Ubuntu 8.04 (a.k.a Hardy Heron a.k.a Ubuntu 2008 April) and the newest versions of WordPress didn’t support it.

So, let’s upgrade Ubuntu. By this time it was about 3 AM and I was starting to be a little silly. So, I kicked off a distribution upgrade on a server in Dallas, Texas remotely from Manchester, England without first taking a backup of the machine and without ever having completed this completely on the terminal before. Unsurprisingly the machine didn’t come back up. b******s!

Apologetic texts sent to the other sites I was hosting and some “you should be out drinking” responses later, lets fix this!

First thing, lets start with a new machine. I don’t have backups of my old database but I wasn’t getting that given the machine wasn’t booting and I knew I had backups of the other sites and their data was all in google docs - don’t you love the cloud! Talking about loving the cloud, lets create a new cloud server at Rackspace with a shiny new Ubuntu Precise Pangolin image.

The install was surprisingly simple. Click a few options and up comes a machine with everything you want - well a clean Ubuntu install with a few nice Rackspace configurations.

Then just a case of grabbing AMW and configuring it. This shocked me, I was used to running my own FTP server and grabbing the tar for WordPress. But now everything comes down off the repository and WordPress worked straight away. Then it was just a case of hardening apache and WordPress and getting the go faster button installed.

So here we have it. A machine destroyed, a new start made and a resolution completed. Lets see if I can average 52 posts this year and complete the second new years resolution! Here is hoping.