Category Archives: Blogging

Serving WordPress over HTTPS with Caddy Server

The Caddy server is a relatively new, easy-to-use server written in the Go programming language. It is very buzzword compliant. But, the nicest thing about it, in my opinion, is that it sets up SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates automatically from Let’s Encrypt to let you serve a site with HTTPS by default. The project is open source and the certificates are free.

Of course, WordPress is a very popular blogging platform. Caddy provides some guidance on getting WordPress up and running on the server. However, it wasn’t enough for me. Here’s some step-by-step guidance on how I got it working on some of my own self-hosted sites.

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No More Disqus

Man, I am so fed up with companies that insist on tracking me. Disqus has a great commenting system. Great features. Widely used.

But they track you, building a pretty detailed profile, which they sell. They do it me and you if you comment on this site. Without telling either of us. So, Disqus is out.

New Theme

This probably has no interest to anyone but me, but you may notice a change in the blog theme today. I’ve been dissatisfied with the typography of the blog for quite some time. Today I set out to try to find a theme that had better typography. Man, what a mess!

There are a zillion WordPress themes out there. Some awful, but many quite good. However, finding a minimalist theme intended for writing and reading is surprisingly difficult. They seem to jump from those with no bells and whistles at all (see mnmlist or less or Hemingway Rewritten simple for example) to those that have galleries and seem to be photo driven. A lot of “responsive” themes seem to give ugly results when shown on a nice big monitor as opposed to a tiny phone screen.

I just want to write stuff and have a few side widgets. It has to be capable of supporting code listings, of course, and the few little widgets I use for navigation (archive, categories, and tags). That’s enough for me.

So this is now Two Thousand Twelve, an update to the Two Thousand Eleven them I used previously. There are still things I don’t care for, like the way the blog header and image are laid out, the typography (could be better), ugly links to read the rest of long stories, and on and on. But I’m too lazy to write my own. It isn’t really hard, just tedious (says the guy who has only read the tutorials.)

Dave Winer’s new outliner, Fargo, does most of what I want and seems a great tool. It even integrates with WordPress. Maybe that’s something to look into another day. The Truly Minimal theme looks almost right too.

Something New. Comments!

Well, it’s been a long time coming and I’m still a little unsure about it, but starting now, this site will allow comments. I’ve explained why I didn’t allow them before, but I’m adding Disqus-powered discussions to the blog. We’ll see how that goes.

If everything that comes in is just spam, I’ll disable comments again. If comments are useful, civil and on topic. they will remain.

And we’ll see if anyone thinks any of this stuff is interesting enough to comment on in the first place.

Why No Comments?

There are two primary reasons that comments are not enabled on this site.

  1. These are just notes I write to myself. They don’t get much attention other than when I want to remind myself of something. It wouldn’t be fair to solicit comments and then just ignore them.
  2. Comment spam. Related to the above, I just don’t check in often enough and would not effectively moderate and eliminate spam.

This does not mean that the site will never be opened up to comments. There are times when I would really like to get other opinions. It’s just a matter of available attention at the moment.

Drupal “HTTP request status” failed

Note: This is a re-post of a recovered post about a problem with Drupal. Just in case I ever go back.

After installing the BitNami Drupal stack, the system took forever to load pages. A check of the system status showed that the “HTTP request status” item was experiencing a failure.

This seemed to be related to the settings in the

windowssystem32driversetc

file. (To edit the file, you have to start notepad or wordpad as an administrator [right-click on the program name, select from menu], then open the file.)

At the end of the file, I added the single line:

127.0.0.1 david-pc

where “david-pc” is the name of my computer and since this is a self-hosted site running locally. That seemed to do it. Now things work just fine. (So far.)

Moving Old Posts

Since I’m going through the setup again, I thought I would start out with some older posts from other systems (the few that remain). Don’t pay much attention to the dates.

So, Dr. Clark. We meet again!

Well, here we are again. You, me, and WordPress. It seems like I go through this setup a lot. Over the years, I’ve tried other blogging platforms, and even toyed with the idea of creating one of my own for fun like one of my heroes, Brian Carper. But I just keep coming back here. Why do I ever leave?

There are really a couple of reasons. I do this a lot because of hardware and backup failures. At those times, since I’ve pretty much lost everything, I decide to give one of the other systems a try. And it usually goes ok for a while. But eventually, dissatisfaction creeps in. For example, my most recent foray was into Drupal. I really liked Drupal but was continually frustrated by problems with formatting source code. The crazy combination of editor plugins and highlighter plugins and all the version problems just got me fed up one day. So, here I am again.

Another reason is that WordPress just feels so comfortable to me now. I’m back again. Maybe I’ll stay. Maybe I’ll host this on a real web server with a backup routine that works.