Press This: WordPress Halloween Horror Tales

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Etcetera | 0 comments

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Every episode choices guests from around the community and discussions of the largest issues coping with WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the authentic recording.

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Report Pop: You’re paying attention to Press This, a WordPress community podcast on WMR. Every week, we spotlight participants of the WordPress community. I’m your host, Report Pop, I enhance the WordPress community through my place at WP Engine and my contributions over on You’ll subscribe to Press This on Purple Circle, iTunes, Spotify, otherwise you’ll download episodes straight away at

Pumpkin spice lattes are once more in season and 12-foot-tall skeletons are once more in stock at Area Depot, which means that Halloween is correct right here yet again. Now, Halloween’s basis goes once more to ancient Celtic festivals when people would mild bonfires and placed on costumes to ward off ghosts. 

Going with that spirit, we thought we’d spend today’s episode of Press This telling spooky stories of customers from hell or installs long gone flawed. So come sit down by way of the fireplace with me as we pay attention from our first customer, Chris Wiegman, an Engineering Manager at WP Engine, as he tells a frightful tale. Chris, can you set the mood for us proper right here? Forward of you get into your tale, tell us about when it’s happening and where you may well be in existence. More or less set the mood for the story.

Chris Wiegman: This is an old-fashioned tale. It’s going once more to a state some distance away and a task many removed from what I’m doing now. It was once one in all my early jobs throughout the WordPress trade. This would possibly have been wintry climate to spring of 2014. So just about 9 years up to now that this happened. 

DP: 2014. And in addition you have been telling me earlier that you simply had a successful plugin. Can you tell us about that plugin that you simply’re going to be telling the story about?

CW: Sure, the story could also be about probably the most early plugin successes. It’s a plugin now known as iThemes Safety, and I had purchased it to iThemes as Upper WP Protection. When I purchased it, we knew we had over 200,000 full of life consumers, remember this was once 9 years up to now. 

And that was once forward of they even had download counts available and all the horror stories of—that’s been removed now. This was once forward of that was once even an element throughout the first place. So we knew we had numerous consumers, we knew we had a very successful plugin, and we have been freeing the principle fashion of it as a rebrand from Upper WP Protection to iThemes Protection.

DP: You kind of in reality got me thinking about proper right here, you’re talking about forward of the days of tracking full of life installs. Do you know roughly what selection of downloads you had, or how once more then would you’ve recognized what selection of full of life consumers you had? 

CW: The best we had to go by way of was once full of life downloads and numerous professional guesses. At the time, I had put it in Google Analytics so that cleared up numerous problems, alternatively forward of the Google Analytics section, the only manner we knew was once what selection of downloads, and then shall we guesstimate based on that what selection of full of life consumers we thought there were.

DP: Adequate, in order that you had a highly regarded protection plugin, a WP protection plugin. You had numerous full of life installs and nearly indisputably numerous full of life consumers. You have been pronouncing it’s kind of probably the most early WordPress plugin excellent fortune stories. And in addition you had merely purchased it, so problems are going correctly for you. This is a excellent fortune story so far on your horror story, right kind?

CW: Thus far. Yeah, problems went correctly. We had a enhance explicit individual now to be in agreement me full-time with it. I had  time, being part of a company now, that I might dedicate entire time to making it so shall we in reality do things like a beta program and get people checking out it, and make sure the whole thing was once working and actually spend time to make sure that as we able that first free up, that the whole thing should have been right kind, should have been working.

DP: So problems are going correctly. Why don’t you get into the meat of the story proper right here. Tell us what happened?

CW: Sure. Well, what happened is that the plugin had two choices. The main was once something that was once wildly considered part of protection 10 years up to now in WordPress, which is, I indicate it’s now not protection the least bit, in truth, specifically everyone knows that this present day, and that’s hiding the admin space or hiding WP login. 

Usually you go to the URL and your login form pops up. We used to like to say—and I’ll admit now that it was once nearly indisputably additional promoting even then than it was once protection— that for those who occur to hid those, in some way the internet website online might be extra safe. It’s kind of like taking the doorway door of your house and putting it along the side of your house and claiming that your house is additional protected. It didn’t artwork that manner. However it was once a very complicated serve as to make this happen, to make people in point of fact really feel upper about it. 

And the second serve as that we had that broke on this free up was once something known as “away mode,” which is mainly, for those who occur to have been in a nine-to-five place of business and in addition you didn’t want people coming into it the least bit out of doors of work hours, say for a school or a doctor’s place of business or something like that, this option would set the times that that form was once available the least bit. In order that you couldn’t log into the internet website online. You couldn’t get into the backend except for the hours specified by the internet website online admin. 

And both a kind of choices have been actually rewritten gorgeous carefully for this. I think the amount was once the 4.0 free up that we were given right here out with, around the beginning of March. So this was once 4 months from the time I had started and purchased it to with the ability to in the end artwork on it entire time. , it had always been a side task for me. I had an entire time task at other companies and schools. This was once the principle time I’d been able to artwork on the plugin entire time. 

So we started a beta program where we rewrote the ones choices and we introduced them on, I want to say right kind spherical March 1 give or take. So for two or 3 days after that free up, the whole thing seemed ok. The feedback seemed positive, we had in no way heard any problems with the beta testers. We had a few 100 people beta checking out this issue, and the whole thing seemed very good. And then the problems started to roll in. Folks couldn’t get to their internet website online. I can’t remember now if it was once merely the dashboard, I think in some instances all the internet website online went down and we couldn’t figure out why. 

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Adequate, you’ll have to be doing something flawed. Problems changed enough on this and most likely your configuration was once flawed. And we kind of went with that for a day or so. And then it exploded. We didn’t ship down one or two web pages with a pc virus, we did find the pc virus and we patched the pc virus within a few week from the initial free up. We presented down somewhere between 10 and 20,000 web pages by way of estimate with this pc virus, based on usage numbers and how many people we knew have been the use of the serve as and this and that. 

The combination of the away mode and the conceal backend simply left problems in loops. You couldn’t log in, you couldn’t get to things, the internet website online was once effectively pointless. And in addition you couldn’t merely log in and disable the plugin. You had to get into website hosting. Now, for those who occur to’ve ever treated hosts and WordPress consumers, every so often it’s actually easy. It’s easy to tell anyone excellent day, login and disable the plugin and that’ll restore your problem. On the other hand what for those who’ll’t log in? How do you get to that plugin to disable it? So we wound up with, you understand, a couple hundred one-star reviews all within a couple of days. It merely exploded and it was once now not a very good scenario for anyone.

DP: Wow. In order that you suppose somewhere between 10 to 20,000 web pages that have been the use of this plugin, and got this pretty exchange that was once 4 months throughout the making, and had a beta program, and was once well-tested, you had a gaggle behind it. However it didn’t immediately ship the ones web pages down, alternatively kind of a rolling series of crashes. It gave the impression to get started with like individual errors, and very quickly was, “Nope, this is something we did.” So how did you react, what was once the next move for you, after you understand, plenty of adverse reviews and loads of web pages down?

CW: Well there’s most efficient any such lot you’ll do. Our serve as then was once to A) restore the problem. Another other folks were given right here once more, many, through the years, were given right here once more, another other folks would in no way touch the product yet again and it’s understandable. We broke trust with it. 

And then the second issue was once making sure that we had even stepped ahead previous that. One of the most serve as checking out and things like that for longer term releases. I was most efficient with the plugin for 14 months total with iThemes forward of I left working on that plugin only. We instituted fairly rather numerous tactics, fairly rather numerous assessments, fairly rather numerous procedures to verify something like that couldn’t happen yet again. And to my knowledge it in no way has with that type of plugin or with that exact plugin.

DP: That should have been traumatic for you. Do you’re feeling like you’ve discovered the remainder from this enjoy? Is there the remainder you’ve changed since then on account of this enjoy?

CW: I haven’t carried out a business plugin like that since. One of the most categories I spotted is that even a beta program, you got to get the correct wisdom once more throughout the beta program. Might we’ve got now discovered this? Well it was once gorgeous clear that with the correct mix of settings, yeah, we nearly indisputably can have discovered it in beta. On the other hand as a substitute we had merely opened a beta and said, “Proper right here take a look at it. For those who see the remainder, let us know,” without any kind of direction. Instead of ”do that specifically,” or “take a look at that specifically.” You combine that with the whole thing else going on. If there was once a vulnerable spot it was once that lack of direction, lack of examining each and every serve as throughout the beta and easily looking out on the entirety from the massive picture somewhat than explicit details.

DP: So if that tale that Chris merely urged you of 20,000 web pages going flawed after what appeared like a successful free up of a brand spanking new plugin, then stay tuned after this wreck for another horror story. We’ll be right kind once more. 

DP: Welcome once more to a Halloween model of Press This, a WordPress community podcast. On this episode we’re telling frightful tales of plugins long gone flawed and other WordPress horror stories. I’m your host Report Pop and presently I’m chatting with Derek Ashauer, a web fashion designer and developer who moreover makes WordPress plugins. Derek, I pay attention that you just’ve were given a spooky tale for us. Can you set the scene?

Derek Ashauer: Yeah, in order that is actually early in my profession, a long time up to now. I was nevertheless working entire time at an abnormal company making and development internet websites alternatively I was doing some freelance artwork on the side. I had helped a small reside efficiency venue assemble a custom designed ticketing tool on account of they actually hated Ticketmaster. They’d been an indie kind of venue in order that they wanted to do the remainder to avoid those large corporate companies. On the other hand I built this gorgeous very good price tag tool, I thought a minimum of. They most often have been going to have a huge reside efficiency once more throughout the day when Blink-182 was once actually trendy. They’d been going to have them at their venue and they have been going to advertise tickets for $1 a-piece. So this issue’s gonna get totally slammed in one day when they free up the tickets. 

So we set it up, did all kinds of checking out and thought it was once working great. And then come the morning that we’re supposed to free up it. I think it was once like a Monday at 10:00 throughout the morning. There were some laws, some staple items that we had in place, like you couldn’t acquire more than 8 tickets to try and gives as many people the danger to get tickets and stuff like that. Another time, early in my profession, so I didn’t do the best at checking on problems. On the other hand the venue itself might dangle about 1,000 people. So we had a prohibit that when it hits 1,000 tickets to mainly stop selling. 

We introduced at 10 o’clock, and I’m at my same old day task merely doing my issue. I kind of checked it, to verify the internet website online was once a minimum of loading and stuff like that alternatively now not actually too concerned. A few minutes go by way of and the whole thing seems to be going great, going on. And then, all of sudden I started getting text messages. And then I get a phone title. And then I get another text message and I’m at some stage in my task merely doing my same old issue so I couldn’t actually merely merely take the ones.

It kind of feels that I forgot to do the little query check to check the max tickets purchased. And all of sudden it was once going to at least one,000, 1,050, 1,100, 1,200. I think it got upwards of about 1,600 tickets purchased forward of I in the end was once able to log into the server and easily mainly pull the plug. And so obviously, the householders of the venue have been panicking and completely freaked out that they’d a thousand-seat venue and had purchased about 1,600 tickets, they most often have been merely obviously panicked. And I’m at some stage in my workday panicked. How am I gonna get to the bottom of this? How am I gonna do this? I gotta do my same old artwork stuff, and handle this freelance issue. It was once an entire disaster at that 2nd. 

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Thankfully, problems did in any case finally end up working out totally top quality. What was once eye-catching is that another unfortunate issue that I didn’t check was once, one way people got around the max tickets was once they could merely acquire a couple of circumstances alternatively use the an identical electronic mail care for. Another time, this was once very early in my profession. I wasn’t very good at working out one of the best ways to handle possible scenarios that folks would try to artwork spherical. In order that they went through and they checked all the orders, and realized one explicit individual with the an identical electronic mail care for ordered 24 tickets, in order that they reached out to them, refunded them, and did that as much as they could. They most often got it proper right down to about 11-1,200 tickets. This is good-bye up to now, I don’t remember the suitable numbers. On the other hand they got it proper right down to that about that many.

And then the day of the improvement happens and they’re nevertheless somewhat fearful about with the ability to fit everybody. I consider most efficient 600 people ended up showing up. The reason being it was once merely $1, so numerous people bought the tickets merely in case and then numerous people couldn’t show up. They usually in no way ended up having an ability issue. It all ended up working out correctly. 

However it was once some traumatic circumstances when all of the ones tickets have been processing and getting paid and doing all that kind of stuff. And fortuitously, the buyer was once more than happy and understandable in any case, they weren’t angry at me. They ended up the use of that exact price tag tool after I patched that little issue. They most often ended up the use of that price tag tool that I had made for kind of 10 to 12 years. And so yeah, that they had been gorgeous happy and we got it all taken care of out. And even for me, the buyer did all the legwork of achieving out to all of the ones purchases and doing all that kind of stuff. So I merely kind of had to turn the server off and then restore the little patch didn’t want to handle too lots of the consequences, thankfully. However it was once a very traumatic couple of hours while we have been making an attempt to resolve what happened and what was once going on there.

DP: That was once a roller coaster, Derek. You have been setting up this example and I’m kind of getting little hints of when it happened. , Blink-182 are kind of trendy. I’m assuming you sought after a custom designed plugin on account of there weren’t very good possible choices like there these days are. 

DA: It was once 2005. A prolonged, very very long time up to now. Somewhere spherical there, yeah. 

DP: You have been development a custom designed plugin. So ok, so the height of Blink-182’s popularity, and tickets are $1. That’s insane. So obviously there’s gonna be numerous name for. This whole roller coaster of like, “Oh no, we purchased too many.” I thought you have been going to tell me you purchased by way of tens of loads  additional. I feel very lucky you most efficient oversold by way of 600 tickets on account of this will likely were so much worse. And then the scalpers, boy it worked out. Specifically given that client can have put all of this on you to like succeed in out, and do tech enhance, and cancel the ones tickets. Man this was once a roller coaster. 

DA: Yeah it was once. This was once my very first large construction issue, an important issue I’ve ever developed was once this. So I merely had no thought of the way problems might go flawed, how badly problems go flawed, what to even check and it was once merely a very good learning enjoy, that’s understand that. I had a very good relationship with the buyer, in order that that they had been gorgeous happy, on account of in truth, it was once early in my issue, I was charging next not to the rest. So it wasn’t like I charged them $50,000 for this issue, and then all of a sudden it didn’t artwork. I was getting paid in truth, on a per-ticket basis. I got 10 cents a price tag at the time, that they purchased through their issue, and me being in my early 20s and making a couple further loads bucks a month. That was once additional particular. It was once superb. So it was once a in point of fact best scenario. On the other hand yeah, like I said, they stored the use of it for over a decade, the exact same tool.

DP: In order that you built this price tag tool for a quite huge match. And that match, as we said, kind of spiraled out of keep watch over. However it kind of feels like the two issues have been having some way to prevent scalpers from a minimum of the use of the an identical electronic mail.

DA: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t even do that, on account of there were no one accounts throughout the tool. It was once gorgeous easy. It’s just a one time customer checkout. So it didn’t even check electronic mail addresses or the remainder. And it did keep track each and every time a price tag purchased. It stored track of an entire. It’s merely when people went to the internet web page, it forgot to check what selection of tickets have been purchased and have we passed that amount, and to stop it from selling additional. 

DP: So those two problems got fixed and this worked for 10 years as regards to kind of working itself?

DA: Yeah, I in no way touched it actually ever after that. It merely kind of stored cruising along until they in the end got sufficiently big to where they kind of had to do some industry merger, like one of those other tune companies, I forgot what it’s. They kind of got bought up mainly, and so then that they had been like, no, we want to use Ticketmaster or every other issue like they most often in the future have been forced to abandon it for industry reasons. 

DP: They nearly indisputably got were given by way of Clear Channel or something. 

DA: Certain, that’s what it’s, Clear Channel. Yeah, it was once something along those lines.

DP: So merely kind of looking out once more. What’s the only bit of advice you’d give to somebody tackling a enterprise similar to this, based on your enjoy. What’s the one thing you’d warn them about?

DA: I indicate, it’s obviously checking out. That’s a big deal, is solely checking out your issue as much as possible and in as many scenarios. I indicate, I nevertheless do my own plugins now and I in reality merely got a request for one, merely this morning, in reality, where I responded once more, “I in no way even considered somebody doing that. Ever.” 

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I’ve a confetti plugin, and he was once like, “I put my confetti two occasions on the internet web page. As quickly because the internet web page quite a bit and as the individual scrolls down, then it’ll go yet again.” And I in no way considered somebody doing confetti two occasions on one internet web page. And so you understand, you’ll check out as much as you want, alternatively every so often you’ll run into those scenarios that you simply don’t recall to mind, alternatively you still want to do as so much checking out as possible.

DP: Derek Ashauer, I actually acknowledge your time. You’re paying attention to Press This. We’re going to take a at hand information a coarse wreck and after we come once more we’ll have one final Halloween story to get a hold of chills. So stay tuned. 

DP: Welcome once more to Press This the WordPress community podcast on WMR. This is a explicit Halloween story. Earlier we heard from Chris Weigman and I thought I’d have Chris come once more and be aware of the only WordPress horror story I’ve. 

Chris, do you know of Midjourney and text to text image generators? 

CW: Like Dall-e and problems? Open AI and stuff like that? 

DP: Yeah Dall-e. I was the use of them and kind of experimenting with quite a lot of issues and as somebody who yo-yos such a lot, the very first thing I tried was once the yo-yo emoji. And the yo-yo emoji merely actually didn’t get any great leads to there. It didn’t get the remainder that appeared like a yo-yo as an example and the word yo-yo moreover didn’t get me stuff in text-to-image generators. However it actually got me on account of I stored getting very consistent results. On each and every instance I used the yo-yo emoji, I would possibly get this actually cool-looking pink and blue scene with 3 mountain peaks throughout the background and a resolve throughout the foreground. And that’s supposed to be kind of random, and I stored getting very different footage that had pink and blue pastel colors and figures and foreground and things like that. So I actually started diving into why is this emoji giving me this and I spent hours going through different combinations of emojis. What does this emoji do? What happens after I do two yo-yo emojis? 

And I wrote this massive blog publish. This was once gonna crack the case large open on like atypical stuff that happens in, you understand, Dall-e and Midjourney spherical why does this emoji give me this image? And why do other emojis in reality give me, you understand, a pretzel will give me problems that seem to be baked pieces or coffee will give me problems that seem to be a coffee retailer. On the other hand the yo-yo emoji keeps giving me this bizarre scene. 

And so after I wrote this massive blog publish, I indicate it was once hours of research and documenting and taking notes. And then the writing, and I hate writing, it’s like pulling tooth, and I hit put up and go to sleep. It’s Sunday night time time and I spent all Sunday working on researching this publish. 

Monday morning people are very similar to, “All I see are squares after I go on your internet website online, Report. I see you are saying the sq. emoji supplies me this end result alternatively the sq. emoji supplies me this end result.” I went and I checked it. the dashboard seemed great on the backend, like on my side and the Gutenberg editor. It seemed stunning. On the frontend it was once all squares. And all of that artwork was once merely totally shot. why, Chris?

CW: Why would that be? Ghosts throughout the device? Gremlins?

DP: My WordPress internet website online is so old-fashioned, the database didn’t enhance emoji. Like the least bit. It was once like 15 years old-fashioned. If I would possibly have installed something inside the rest 8 years, it’ll have nevertheless been old-fashioned alternatively it’ll have supported emoji at some level. 

My database from my WordPress website didn’t—and for those who occur to don’t actually know what you’re doing, the one issue you don’t want to do is poke spherical on your WordPress database. That’s what I sought after,  to switch my WordPress database, so Chris, that’s my horror story. I went on the lookout for a plugin to easily merely convert to at least one factor that is helping emoji. Any of the databases that would possibly do it. And now I’m going to have to hire somebody merely to switch the database so that I can get this publish that I spent 10 hours immediately to in reality show up on my internet website online in a logical manner.

CW: That’ll do it. Out of date technology is a zombie able spherical to cause your problems, right kind?

DP: Yeah, you understand, and it merely, it taught me such a lot too. Like, I can go into my portal on my website hosting and I can, with a click on on, exchange my PHP. I can do all this other stuff. On the other hand yeah, that database, nope, you gotta know what you want. There’s no easy restore for that. And I think there most likely might have been, as those have been rolling out, alternatively I kind of unnoticed the wave, like even those problems that fixed the database, you understand, to kind of exchange them are at this degree, they’re even old-fashioned technology, so that’s my WordPress horror story. And Chris it didn’t ship down 20,000 internet websites, alternatively to be honest, it was once a bummer and it nevertheless supplies me shivers to look that blog publish and recall to mind what it would have been. 

On the other hand that’s it for our Halloween episode of Press This, the WordPress community podcast on WMR. I want to thank all my guests for turning into a member of me today. Chris, thank you any such lot for turning into a member of me. You’ll apply my adventures with Torque magazine over on Twitter @thetorquemag otherwise you’ll go to where we contribute tutorials and flicks and interviews like this every day. So check out or apply us on Twitter. You’ll subscribe to Press This on Purple Circle, iTunes, Spotify, otherwise you’ll download it straight away at

We’re a weekly podcast, next week we’re going to have Fran Agulto, telling us how to overcome your fear of going headless with WordPress. We’re going to talk about the pros and cons of headless and for those who occur to’re fearful about making that jump into headless, you’re fearful about learning JavaScript, or regardless of you want to do to kind of make that jump, Fran’s gonna have some great advice for you, so stay tuned for that episode. I’m your host, Doctor Usual. I enhance the WordPress community through my place proper right here at WP Engine and Torque Magazine and  I love to concentrate on participants of that community each and every week on Press This.

The publish Press This: WordPress Halloween Horror Tales appeared first on Torque.

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