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July 2014 Tips & Tricks

Whether you’re deploying a site from your local environment to the live server, or pulling a live site down to local, there are some plugins that just seem to get in the way of a smooth migration.

Caching – Common examples of caching plugins are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. These plugins save server load by creating a static file version of your site to deliver to web users, rather than having them dynamically generated on each page view.

If you use any of these plugins, here are some steps to take before moving a site from live to local, or the other way around):

  • Deactivate the plugin in question.

  • Delete the “cache” folder (this is usually somewhere in wp-content, but might also be in the root directory of WordPress)

  • Check your wp-config.php for any lines added by the plugin and remove them.

Any plugin that creates a cached version of files on the site should be deactivated before moving the site. Not doing so can cause the site to be broken in its new location until the plugin is deactivated and the cache is cleared.

Jetpack – Jetpack brings a ton of great features of WordPress.com to your self-hosted WordPress site. Many of its features, though, rely on a connection to WordPress.com in order to function. Before downloading a live site to your local environment, you’ll want to deactivate Jetpack so it doesn’t try to connect the local version to WordPress.com.

To develop locally with Jetpack, you can add define( ‘JETPACK_DEV_DEBUG’, true); to the wp-config.php file. This disables the connection to WordPress.com, while allowing you to use all of the features that don’t rely on the external connection.

Hide My WP – This plugin claims to help prevent hackers getting into your site by hiding or changing the WordPress file structure. The wp-admin, plugins, and upload urls  (and many others) are all changed or removed. DesktopServer relies on the standard file structure being present, so make sure to deactivate this (or any similar) plugin before pulling a live site to local.

Coming Soon/Maintenence – There are a ton of plugins out there that will display a “Coming Soon” or other maintenance message, or otherwise hides the site from view of users that aren’t logged into the site. Before deploying, you’ll want to make sure these plugins are deactivated, as they will cause the deploy to fail if they are turned on. Also, if you’re using a “.maintenance” file to hide the site, you’ll want to delete/rename it. If you need the site to be hidden once deployed, simply reactivate your plugin or add back the “.maintenance” file.

Latest DesktopServer Videos

Our two most recent videos are both about deploying your locally-developed site to a live environment:

First up, is How to Deploy a DesktopServer Site to Flywheel. Flywheel is a managed hosting server, that specializes in high speed, highly reliable WordPress sites, but their proprietary server configuration require a few additional steps to the Direct Deploy process.

In this video, we show you how to take your locally created WordPress site and use DesktopServer Premium to deploy to FlyWheel’s managed server.

Our second video is How To Deploy Your DesktopServer Site to a Live Host In a Subdirectory. Most WordPress installations are either in a top-level domain (such as example.com), or in a subdomain (subdomain.example.com). WordPress can be installed in a subdirectory (such as example.com/site/), but if you want to deploy a locally developed site to a subdirectory, there are a few additional steps that must be taken. This video shows you how.

Be sure to check out all of our other videos, and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more!

Have you run into any other plugins that cause issues? Let us know in the comments!

How to Deploy a DesktopServer Site to Flywheel

Flywheel is a managed hosting server, that specializes in high speed, highly reliable WordPress sites, but their proprietary server configuration require a few additional steps to the Direct Deploy process.

In this video, we show you how to take your locally created WordPress site and use DesktopServer Premium to deploy to FlyWheel’s managed server.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBNs_RhSVEE

Be sure to check out all of our other videos, and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more!

How To Deploy Your DesktopServer Site to a Live Host In a Subdirectory.

Most WordPress installations are either in a top-level domain (such as example.com), or in a subdomain (subdomain.example.com). WordPress can be installed in a subdirectory (such as example.com/site/), but if you want to deploy a locally developed site to a subdirectory, there are a few additional steps that must be taken. This video shows you how.

Be sure to check out all of our other videos, and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more!

How to Deploy Your Locally Created Website to a Subdirectory on a Live Host

The method we recommend for setting up a live hosting environment is to either use a top level domain such as .com, .org, .gov etc, or to use a subdomain where you would use a differentiating word prior to the top level domain (domainname.com, subdomain.domainname.com). However, there may be a time that you find yourself in need of deploying your locally developed site to a subdirectory instead. A subdirectory installation is when you have created an installation in a directory beneath your top level domain (domainname.com/subdirectory). While DesktopServer’s direct deploy method can work in these instances, it requires that the live site directory structure is identical to that of your local environment and that WordPress is installed in the Top Level Domain. Sometimes, this is not the case. In the video tutorial and instructions, we show you how to take a locally developed WordPress website created with DesktopServer and deploy it to a subdirectory on your live domain.

For those of you that would like step by step directions, we have included those as well:

  1. Create WordPress 1-click install
  2. Install to subdirectory of choice
  3. Note database name
  4. Verify that Database Table Prefix matches local prefix table
  5. Verify installation
  6. Delete wp-content directory and all its contents in newly created WordPress subdirectory
  7. Start DesktopServer
  8. Export your local site to an archive
  9. In Export As field, enter top level domain name or subdomain only. Do not enter subdirectory
  10. Select Customize Scrubbing Options (!important)
  11. Change “Replace With” field to have /subdirectory name in the scrubbing options
  12. Open archive
  13. copy database.sql to a file location of your choice (note location in which you stored the file)
  14. FTP local wp-content file to live WordPress subdirectory
  15. On Host, click on phpMyAdmin
  16. Select the database of the new WordPress installation.
  17. Delete all tables in database
  18. Import locally stored database.sql that was extracted from newly created archive
  19. Check to be sure site works
  20. Re-save permalinks
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How to Use Blueprints for Quick & Consistent WordPress Development

Did you know that you can place plugins and theme frameworks that you frequently use inside DesktopServer’s xampp\blueprints folder? This can help you accelerate the common website configurations you usually create as well as try out different versions of WordPress. One of our goals is to help get users an opportunity to try out beta versions of WordPress to facilitate bug squashing and contribute to the Open Source software community.

In this video, we will show you how to create a blueprint from scratch and set it up so that it’s preconfigured with themes and plugins that you might use on a regular basis.

For those that would rather have step-by-step directions, here you go:

  • Create a local WordPress Website
  • Finish the installation by opening a browser and going to your newly created .dev site
  • In the Dashboard, configure your site with any frameworks, themes and plugins that you might have
  • If you are using anything that requires a license key (that does not use an API), go into that plugin and enter the key, then save
  • In DesktopServer, export that local site to a .zip file
  • Place that zip file in your Blueprints directory (Mac is \\applications\XAMPP\Blueprints and Windows is c:\xampplite\blueprints)
  • Restart DesktopServer if necessary

Next time you go to create a site, you’ll find that your newly created archive is now a blueprint and it’s ready for local deployment!

Resolving the Port 80 Conflict on Windows Systems Running Skype

On occasion, when you go to install DesktopServer on a Windows-based PC, you might run into an error telling you that another service is running on Port 80. In order for any local development environment to work, this port is needed and should anything be utilizing this port, your local web service will not work.

Many times, this issue is caused by Skype taking over control of Port 80 in order to make it accessible to people behind corporate firewalls. In this short video, we will demonstrate how to turn off this functionality within Skype and resolve the Port 80 conflict error.

Also, it sometimes happens that once you have upgraded your Skype, you will find that your locally installed websites only display a white screen. This is also caused by your port 80 conflict. An easy way to tell if your white screen is caused by a port 80 conflict is if you also get a white screen when you click on the “Sites” button on the main menu of DesktopServer.

For those that simply wish to follow written instructions, we have provided them below the video.

  1. Open Skype if it has not already been launched
  2. Go to Tools –> Options from the dropdown menu
  3. Select “Advanced” in the left-hand column, last option
  4. Select “Connection”
  5. Deselect the option that says, “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections”
  6. Click Save
  7. Exit and then restart Skype
  8. That’s it! You should now be able to complete your installation of DesktopServer
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Deploying to WPEngine

One of the many powerful features that is included in DesktopServer Premium is the ability to take your locally created WordPress website and deploy it to many popular web hosts running the Apache web server. However, there are some hosts that are built on custom platforms that are not fully supported by DesktopServer’s DirectDeploy feature. Luckily, DesktopServer still has automated features that can enable custom deployments. This month, we have created a step-by-step video tutorial showing you how to deploy your site to WP Engine quickly and easily.

WP Engine’s powerful, fully managed WordPress hosting services, simply put, rocks. It has become a leader in the industry when it comes to content delivery speed. Many big brands such as HTC, Williams-Sonoma and Foursquare use WP Engine to deliver and fully manage their WordPress powered sites.

Read more »

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How to Backup Your DesktopServer Installation

Backing up is always a good idea but producing a viable backup can be challenging. This is because WordPress stores its posts, pages, and other information in a series of locked database files that can potentially prevent backup software from creating a usable backup. To get around this issue, we strongly recommend using DesktopServer’s native export feature or the manual method for backing up your individual development websites. This creates a portable file that can be archived, shared, or ported to another system. However, this process is best for backing up a single development site. It does not backup your complete DesktopServer installation. This post will describe all of the items needed to backup your complete DesktopServer installation for your computer platform (Windows or Macintosh).

Read more »

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Using Direct Deploy to Launch Websites

DesktopServer version 3.5.2 has a new direct deployment feature to get your WordPress websites from your desktop to your hosting provider in just a few clicks. No FTP or SSH client is necessary. In fact, you won’t even need such credentials to launch. What you will need is a hosting provider that supports WordPress’ File System Direct feature (fortunately, most shared and VPS hosts support this). This post will show you how to use the new feature to launch your site live or to setup a preview site on an existing domain for client previews. A quick summary of what we will cover follows:

  1. Install WordPress on your destination server. 
  2. Activate the DesktopServer for WordPress plugin.
  3. Use DesktopServer’s “Direct deploy to an existing server” option.
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Using LAN Sharing for Mobile Device Testing

DesktopServer is about convenience as well as meeting the needs of developers and designers that use WordPress. For Professionals, that means leveraging the latest technology to ensure that you reach your target market accurately. At some point, you may wish to test your development website on the same types of devices your client uses or to just preview “responsive design” features. This post won’t go into details as to why this is important as there are already plenty of articles that explain why 2013 is the Year of Responsive Web Design. Rather, I’ll focus on how to do this with DesktopServer and your development WordPress websites. Read more »

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