Posts tagged "wordpress" Fails, 10.2 Million Blogs Go Offline (site) was down for approximately 110 minutes yesterday—their worst downtime in four years. The crash took all blogs off the map, including those registered in the VIP program. Wuh-oh.


All the details about what caused the blackout haven't been released yet, but founding developer Matt Mullenweg wrote the following on the company's blog:

…it appears an unscheduled change to a core router by one of our datacenter providers messed up our network in a way we haven’t experienced before, and broke the site. It also broke all the mechanisms for failover between our locations in San Antonio and Chicago. All of your data was safe and secure, we just couldn’t serve it.

But I'm a Very Important Person!

The crash couldn't've come at a more ironic time, seeing as how's revamped VIP program was just announced this week. Designed for extremely high traffic blogs, the program boasts "rock-solid up time" among other perks.  

Unfortunately even the elite couldn't avoid's hiccup, leading to a whopping 10.2 million blacked-out blogs and what is estimated to be 5.5 million missed page views.

Meanwhile, the team behind the platform is still trying to figure out exactly what happened, and how they can recover more gracefully in the event that it happens again.

"I know this sucked for you guys as much as it did for us — the entire team was on pins and needles trying to get your blogs back as soon as possible," wrote Mullenweg. "I hope it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again."

BuddyPress 1.2 Turns WordPress into a Social Network

It seems like everyone and their mother is trying to integrate social media into their solutions, and WordPress (news, site) is no exception.

BuddyPress, a package of social tools initially designed to add networking to sites based on WordPress MU, can now be used with standard installs. 

Meet BuddyPress

The WordPress team describes BuddyPress as “social networking in a box” because of the range of included features, but like the rest of the WordPress fam, it’s open source and free. This equals a virtual ton of glitzy add-ons from the community, no doubt.

The basic features that work to bring people together include:

  • Activity Streams: Global, personal and group activity streams with threaded commenting, direct posting, favoriting and @mentions. All with full RSS feed and email notification support.
  • Extended Profiles: Editable profile fields allow you to define the fields users can fill in to describe themselves. 
  • Extensible Groups: Public, private or hidden groups allow users to break the discussion down into specific topics. Extend groups with your own custom features using the group extension API.
  • Friend Connections: Users can make connections to track the activity of others, or filter on only those users they care about the most.
  • Private Messaging: Private messaging will allow users to talk to each other directly, and in private. Not just limited to one-on-one discussions, users can send messages to multiple recipients.

Additionally, features can be turned off, so if there's something that doesn't strike your fancy — like private messaging or group discussions — getting rid of them isn't that difficult.

Meet BuddyPress 1.2

The new release of BuddyPress brings all that social goodness to standard WordPress installs (or WordPress MU 2.9.1 and up) in “six minutes flat.” That’s assuming you don’t yet have WordPress anyway, which has a famous installation time of 5 minutes. So really, adding a social media package to your Web CMS only takes a minute.

If you’ve already got a WordPress install up and running, head over to your Plugins page and select Add New from the menu. There you can find and auto-install BuddyPress. Note: There may still be some customization required, particularly within standard WordPress themes. Or, WordPress offers a stock BuddyPress theme that works nicely.

Moreover,'s newly boosted VIP hosting and developer-to-developer support program for their elite users offers additional support for BuddyPress (because it's becoming kind of a big deal).  

Check it out.

WordPress Treats VIP Users with Primo Hosting and Support

Are you among the (site) elite? The team behind the popular Web CMS just re-launched their VIP services, providing exclusive hosting and developer-to-developer support for high-profile and high-traffic sites. – VIP Support and Hosting

Previously two separate sites for two separate services, the WordPress VIP perks are now a package deal. Check out the basics via video:

Essentially, VIP is designed to offer “rock-solid uptime” and other automated niftyness to users that bring traffic in by the millions, as well as some handy support for users that run and operate their own WordPress installs.

Also, everything is unlimited. As in: traffic, page views, uploads and storage space. Neat.

VIP 2010

WordPress says they have some exciting stuff in store for the VIP program this year, including a dedicated VIP Hosting Portal (complete with documentation of all special functions, theme and system info, and best practice coding guideless), and a streamlined ticketing system and support for a better look at general activity.

WordPress also plans to add some private forum features that will “make finding answers more efficient and provide our team clearer information that will make interactions better.”

Check out the details at the new VIP site.

Introduction to the Elemental Theme Framework for WordPress

Elemental is the new theme framework for WordPress from Mimbo Pro designers, Pro Theme Design.

Today we're going to take a look at it in detail and highlight what makes it such a good choice. For those who are unaware, it is the very theme framework that is runs this website.

Some of the features that are included with this framework are:

  • Animated multi-level dropdown menus
  • 12 custom page templates for contact forms, sitemaps, image galleries, blogrolls and much more
  • Breadcrumb options
  • Custom control panel options to control column size, typography, navigation and more
  • Four widgetized regions for flexibility
  • Dashboard widget for upgrade reminders
  • Custom masthead image and logo controls
  • Image thumbnail resizing
  • Support for gravatars, author comment highlighting, threaded comments and paged comments
  • Full localization and translation support
  • Custom widgets for popular posts, social networking, Twitter updates, related posts and more
  • Additional customizable content areas via action hooks
  • Custom admin bar for dashboard shortcuts

Elemental provides it's own Dashboard menus within WordPress that allow for a good chunk of configuration functions outlined above as well as a custom section that allows you to placed HTML or other code within certain predefined locations within the theme using it's built in hooks.

There are a number of page templates that come with this screen. You can see most of them at work on this site. Take a look at our contact page here on CMS Critic. This is a custom page template that comes complete with the contact form and captcha authentication. All you have to do is create the page and select the template. There are also templates for a giant tag cloud, a site map page template as well as archives complete with a dropdown box and calendar embedded.

We only make use of a fraction of the templates available, however.

Looking to create an image gallery? There's a template for that too:

Or perhaps you want a 3 or 4 column widgetized page? This template comes complete with 2, 3 or 4 column widgetized page templates so you can create that perfect look.

Where does Elemental really shine? From an SEO perspective we're very pleased with the results.. it's a clean and lean theme framework that looks great. It really shines with child themes and if you choose, there is already one available. It's called 'The Local' and is available from the Pro Theme Design website as well.

The Local for ElementalElemental may not be a free framework, but it's one of the best premium ones we've seen so far and it's priced fair with a single license available for less than $60.

Automatic thumbnail images are pulled from the latest post for us with no effort, we can create any layout we want and it's fast.

Take it for a spin. There are demo's of it and The Local on the Pro Theme Design website, you'll be blown away by their features.

Drupal vs eZ Publish vs WordPress vs CMS Made Simple

As nearly every article we publish on the topic attests, there is no best CMS — there's only best fit given the context, if that. At the recent DrupalCamp in Helsinki Exove, a Finnish technical consulting company focused on open source solutions, presented their take on how to choose the best CMS given the client's project context.

They looked at 4 web content management systems: Drupal, WordPress, eZ Publish and CMS Made Simple.

Given the context, it's no surprise that their point of reference was Drupal. But what convinced us to mention the presentation was their concise yet useful take on how the 4 products differed and in what circumstances they encouraged the use of one versus another. Let's have a look.

Drupal vs. WordPress

WordPress has its strengths and Exove acknowledges this. What they point out is that the product excels in blogging scenarios and fares OK in the community and UGC areas.

WordPress, as they point out, is not meant for sophisticated or large corporate websites, nor is it terribly strong on the caching side. Lower implementation costs and simplicity were boons they noted for this option.

Drupal vs. CMS Made Simple

Simplicity is not what Drupal is best known for. CMS Made Simple obviously attempts to lay claim to this domain, and it does. The key themes for CMS Made Simple were low cost, ease of administration and ease of implementation.

It's not a product you want to extend much and it is not a good fit for multi-lingual environments. When requirements fit the CMS Made Simple features list well, this is when Exove goes with this option.

There are probably a number of well known Web CMS options that fit in at this level — barrier to entry is low, competition is healthy.

Drupal vs. eZ Publish

eZ Publish is a sophisticated content management system that is backed by a commercial entity, eZ Systems. When we look at the line-up that Exove has chosen, it's eZ and Drupal who we consider most competitive with one another.

eZ Publish Strengths

The strengths for eZ Publish include sophisticated caching, a flexible admin — either a simple toolbar approach to content management or a fully featured and extensible administrative back office, commercial support and the ability to more easily implement complex workflows (this is also an area of active development for eZ Publish).

A strong point for eZ Publish is the web publishing space. They company has invested considerable effort to meet the needs of online publishers and also has the eZ Flow add-on which gives sophisticated content controls to newsroom managers.

The downsides to eZ which Exove points out are that it is not as strong as Drupal with UCG or community features, that the product can be harder to extend and that the last release cycle was a bit slow.

For the most part, I'd say that these are fair criticisms. Though I know from my many conversations with eZ Systems that 2008 was a restructuring year for them, and they have now changed their release process such that it's locked on a 2x per year schedule.

Drupal Strengths

When does Exove choose Drupal over eZ Publish? The say often this is a client request — Drupal has better brand awareness. Other deciding factors are the level of UGC or community features required — Drupal is strong here — and the amount of customization required. On the customization side Drupal can win for 2 reasons.

For one, the huge body of contributed modules means rapid prototyping and/or implementation of new production ready features tends to be faster than with products that have a less energetic community. The second reason is just familiarity. If you have a dev team that knows one product or the other better, then customization is going to be faster with the better understood product and API.