What I’ve Learned from Blogging Moms

I do a lot of different things – some of it web related, some of it IT, and a lot of it is complicated stuff. I recently helped a high school friend move her blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted environment at bluehost. Parenting From The Heart was an easy one – not a ridiculous amount of posts, only a few sidebar items, and I was able to get through it relatively quickly. Alana then started sending me referrals for other blogger mommies who wanted to do the same thing: go from WordPress hosting (or another platform) into their very own web space. Great! Almost a niche market!

When you move between platforms there’s the usual things you have to change, such as updating permalinks, making sure featured images are set, picking a new theme and setting it up, switching DNS, etc…. but then there’s the other things you don’t think about right away. Like connecting Jetpack and getting your subscribers transferred, or re-setting up widgets because they don’t come across manually. When the blog has been well established you sometimes have to break the database file into several parts to import several times. If it’s coming from Blogger you need to import all of the images, re-do some of the permalinks for social media sharing and shareaholic, and then teach them how to use it.

So here’s what I ran into: Blogging moms know their stuff. You seriously can’t train someone this quickly to pick up on WordPress – maybe it’s just the act of being a mom makes you unafraid to just try something, and if it doesn’t work or you break it, and you can’t figure it out, THEN you ask for help. I recently migrated someone from Blogger, and I took a few screenshots to show her how to edit posts and make sure that featured images were set. Before I knew it, she had set up the slider, re-done the menu, uploaded plugins that she needed, and just had some questions about the permalinks (which were different thanks to a Blogger->WordPress import). She had never used it before and thanks to several years of blogging, blew my expectations out of the water and did some of the work herself.

Needless to say, I’m fairly impressed – it almost makes me wonder if it’s worth it to hire a mommy blogger to help out with WordPress posts and managing sites, rather than someone who dedicates themselves to managing websites on a daily basis. The difference is, they use it themselves regularly, know what works from a marketing/SEO perspective, and know how to get social linked up in a way that can be monetized on. This is the kind of thing that it takes some people years to learn! Just some food for thought…

How MainWP Saved my Chiropractor


I have been slowly working towards adding Pulse to Afterglow – think of it like a heartbeat, every so often it will re-check the server for updated media posts and automagically display them in the open feed. Real time updates you say? Yes. Yes they are. I’m going to have the Pulse controlled from another variable, similar to debug, maxitems, and sort order. The defaults at this point are still going to be 7 items, debug off, and sort order by date (unix timestamped, of course).

The new server is doing great – very happy with Virpus.

Import External Images

One plugin I use pretty frequently for WordPress is Import External Images. It lets you copy and paste content into your site, then with a couple of clicks it will sideload all of the images in that post that are still linked to external sources. I modified the one on WordPress.org to work with Squarespace and GoDaddy’s website builder. Let me know if you find any issues.

Download: import-external-images


So, I’ve been watching the registrations on transfermyemail.ca and find it interesting the countries that I’m seeing there. It has started being used in Argentina, the Philippines, Austria,  Nigeria, and the UK, apart from Canada and the USA.  The consistent story I hear with most users is that they’re moving from an old/slow/bad host to something newer and better, and either aren’t being given the support to migrate cPanel that they need, or they aren’t on cPanel and have no easy email migration path. PERFECT! This is exactly why I launched the site! Still free for now. Try it out!

Adventures in VPS Land

So, 24 hours of using Virpus, and here’s my review. I’ll be frank here, I use Ramnode, love Ramnode, and have nothing but good things to say about them. I also use Cirrus Tech to host a Windows VPS. But I’m not one to put all of my eggs in one basket, especially with so many businesses relying on my hosting, so I signed up with no expectations for one of the Virpus Linux Seattle-based VPS’s, adding cPanel.

Since signing up, I’ve been able to considerably drop the load from one of my main VPS’s through this new VPS.

It was provisioned instantly, but looks like the IP address wasn’t automatically registered in WHM/cPanel’s system (maybe because I did it after hours?), so I had to wait for that and run a few commands to both install and register WHM… no biggie, it’s self managed, you get what you pay for. After getting it all set up and running, I moved over about 25 sites and swapped DNS IPs to see what it would be like load-wise. Support was quick to respond, even after-hours (not quite as fast as Ramnode but still very prompt and courteous).

Seems very stable, speeds are good, and I ran some hard disk tests which were comparable with Ramnode – almost exactly on par.

The server virtualization technology in use is Xen – which has pros and cons, like me having to patch my own kernel if there are security vulnerabilities, but not having to request second level quotas to be enabled. Also Xen is more flexible from a memory perspective, whereas Ramnode bites the big one when the server gets overloaded by requests due to the technology used: I can expect my clamav, spamd, and mysql services to need to restart daily – thankfully they do this on their own.

Now, I’m a server admin and web developer by trade, so I tend to know my stuff, so don’t take my ease of setup and use as what your experience will be like, but as far as I’m concerned the cost vs the features is well worth it. None of my mission critical sites are on it at this point, until I give it some break in time, but I’d be quite happy setting up clients on here if it continues with this level of responsiveness.


Made some changes to TransferMyEmail yesterday and today – basically I rewrote the parsing routine for folder structure and output of checkboxes. This was needed because originally I had been using “INBOX” as the root folder, which worked to a certain extent, but then had some feedback from Germany, where I found out “POSTEINGANG” could be used too, and also Gmail has a folder structure that is based partly on IMAP and partly on their tags. So you could have a list of folders, then in the middle a [GMAIL] root folder, then some other folders after that.

Long story short, it should handle anything you throw at it to a depth of 3 subfolders, and still iterate through everything properly.

Check out the project here: http://transfermyemail.ca


I have this social aggregation project I’ve been working on called AfterGlow, and it’s not without its challenges, but tonight I did some work on it on a few areas that have been insufficient up until now. Instagram’s API supports pagination, so I added support for that – full support too, so it will continue down your Instagram feed until it reaches your set maximum results or the end of the feed. I also tweaked the parser for Pinterest to allow for date stamps to be read properly, and time sorting works as a result. They have a unique stamp compared to the other feeds so it took a few extra lines of code – I had only recently switched them from scraping over to RSS. Finally, I edited the moderation side of the admin dashboard so that it would be sorted by date too, and fixed the loading screen so it actually gets injected before the server parses and returns all of the feeds.

Check it out here: AfterGlow.me

WordPress Plugin: PDFs Open in New Tab

I had a client recently where I had to import over 150 pages into their site in order to get the moved over to WordPress. I didn’t have access to the database as it was a proprietary CMS they were using, so I ended up having to use HTTrack to take an offsite copy of the entire site. Needless to say, I ended up writing a few tools to import everything so I wouldn’t have to do it manually. I uploaded all of the html files to the server, sideloaded all of the images, set the first attachment as the featured image, and was done in probably 1/10th of the time it would have taken to go through them all one by one and copy and paste. Then I realized that all of the attached PDF files opened in the same tab. I could handle this one of three ways:

  1. Find and replace in the database
  2. Javascript or jQuery to append the target attribute
  3. Use WordPress hooks and some fancy Regex

I opted for number 3, as it would be basically transparent, and wrote a quick plugin. This can easily be adapted to work with any extension of attachment. Here we go:


How to transfer email accounts and messages between servers?

Moving emails to your new server should be relatively easy – if you want to transfer your email messages from one server to another, you can now do this with only your login details. No FTP transfers needed, and you don’t need to drag and drop between accounts in your mail program. It utilizes the IMAP protocol so it will sync everything for you directly without removing email from your old server.  It will transfer your entire email directory structure to the new server, including all sub folders that you select. You can now easily transfer emails from your previous host to your new host without any effort.

The script is finally complete, and you can find it here: https://brendancarr.ca/migrateemail/

Please note, it doesn’t actually transfer emails, but it will let you test the email transfer procedure itself and supports SSL so you can use it on Gmail.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to utilize it.