WPengine.com has become my new favorite host recently and this post by Aaron Vanderzwan pretty much sums up my whole experience with hosting and provides a nice solution to effectively utilize the WPengine staging functionality.
WPEngine lets you easily (with one click) setup a duplicate copy of your current website whenever you need it. It is great for testing themes, plugins and other functionality. I am actually going to setup a staging site for one of my clients this afternoon to install WPML and begin implementing several translations on their site.
Aaron has create a plugin which will avoid another admin user from accidently overwriting your staging site while you are working in it. Aaron writes,
So I wrote a plugin called Hide WP Engine Tab which hides the WP Engine tab from all users except a select few. It also has a way to lock the staging environment so that users who attempt to rebuild the staging environment get a notice:
“Staging was locked on 2012-12-18 12:49:20 by admin.
Please contact the web administrator to schedule a time to recreate this environment.”
Be removing the WPengine quicklinks from all users except our own, we are sure that a client will not accidentally overwrite our staging area. They will never even know it exists since they cannot see the WPengine admin menu. However if you do have multiple developers and admins on the site, that may need to access these functions, Aaron’s plugin may be useful in that you do not have to edit the function.php file every time a new user needs access.
My primary hardrive on my main work PC was filling up. This actually happened several months ago. I purchased a fairly robust PC in the fall of 2011 (12GB ram, Core I7 processor, fancy video card, 40GB SSD & 1TB HDD for data). It was top of the line at the time.
My original intention was to have the SSD for the OS and programs and just use the data disc for storage. Well after a few months, I realized that I could not put all of my programs on the (small?) SSD. 40Gb was just not enough space and I started getting errors as the disc filled up.
I began migrating all of the programs, that I was able, off of the primary disc and onto the data disc. This made quite a bit of room but low and behold a few more months go by and I am full again. I discovered my Thunderbird installation for email was saving all of my email on the SSD so I read up how to move those folders. This netted be about 6 GB of free space. A few months go by and I am back to only 1Gb of space again. I have been managing this closely for a while now, but it keeps getting smaller and smaller and the little bits that I delete don’t do much good. I can maybe free up a few hundred MB of space.
Not sure why but my Windows folder is taking up 24.4GB and everything I read says not to delete or mess with these files. This folder just keeps growing and growing. I am not sure what the requirements are for Windows 7 but I do not remember hearing that I need 30GB of free space to run it.
I never moved Quickbooks originally when I moved the other programs and I was not really sure why. Maybe because it was such a crucial program I did not want to mess with it? Well this was the last item that I could move, so I went for it. I made a back up and uninstalled.
After rebooting, I discovered 2.7GB of additional free space. Amazing that a single accounting program needs that much disc space to run. I began to re-install on the other HDD and then I realized why I had never moved the program before. I encountered all kinds of errors and problems with versions of .NET 4.0, Flash and multiple other unrelated software that is apparently related to Quickbboks and required to run it. After about 4 hours total, I finally got the program installed and was back in business.
But after the new installation (on a separate disc drive) my net gain in space was only about 1GB. The other 1.7 which appeared after I uninstalled apparently came back and filled up space somewhere on my SSD.
TIL: When I purchase my next desktop PC…. I’ll make it a MAC, like my laptop.
We wanted to stay somewhat true to what already exists. Due to time constraints we did want to re-invent the wheel so we made some minor changes and it is now off to the designers to work some magic. The new layout will place more emphasis on the blog content (which will be updated more frequently thanks to WordPress) and we will also have a rotating slider which we can use to feature new content and other elements of our website. We are going to stay with the same basic look, probably change the font (I’m thing droid sans at this point). But overall with a dark text on a light background. The site should have a very clean, open and corporate feel to it.
I have been working on the idea of a redesign for our company website since mid 2012.
At the beginning of 2011 we commited to begin working exclusively with WordPress and while our existing website at www.soflaweb.com was built on Drupal, it was not in the plans to switch right away. There were too many technical considerations to do a quick change and we also wanted to launch with a graphical redesign as well.
Well at some point in 2012, we realized that we had become a WordPress shop and should probably represent ourselves properly with our own website. Afterall, prior to 2009 we had a static company website and a WordPress blog, which was then all converted into Drupal. So as we stay busy with client project throughout 2012, we approach November and I decide to actively begin working on the South Florida Web Studio re-design.
My beginning starts with:
An evernote notebook for the project
Some preliminary brainstorming
Some weekend research looking at other competitor and agency websites
A simple homepage wireframe (created with bamboo paper app on the Ipad)
And then back to work on client projects.
Now as we approach mid April 2013, almost 5 months have passed and we are no closer to updating our own site. Not that the site’s content hasn’t been updated. Just the design and the backend. It is such a task to blog and post on Drupal that I know if our site was on WordPress we would update much more often.
Hell it was even easier to create this new blog and start posting here than it is to post on our existing company site.
At this point, we are committed to the task, and even if we do not go through the whole graphical re-design, the conversion to WordPress will happen. We have created a formal job in our system and I am going to setup a basecamp project to make it official. No more procrastinating, I’m off to create a real wireframe.