WordPress Yo-Yos – The Final Frontier

WordPress issues

Wow! If you run a forum you need Cloudflare - ...

Wow! If you run a forum you need Cloudflare – it cut my webserver CPU usage in half! (Photo credit: Wayan Vota)

“Have you read my previous post entitled Website yo-yos, LinkedIn limits and newbie copywriting tipsWebsite yo-yos, LinkedIn limits and newbie copywriting tips? If so, you are then familiar with my problems running CouldFlare and WordPress [dot] com together.” Here’s a response I got from the WordPress forum thread I opened at WordPress Forums.

“We can’t really support Cloudflare here, as we only support domain mapping via name servers. We do not have static IP addresses, which makes pointing Cloudflare to your blog (via an A record to an IP address) problematic at best.”

“To explain briefly, we have a growing number of datacenters with thousands of servers between them. WordPress.com is already built on top of a cloud architecture, so when one server goes offline, everything is routed over to another transparently. When your domain is mapped to us by name servers, this all happens automatically.”

“With Cloudflare, you’re directing the domain to one IP. If that server/IP goes offline, so does your site, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

“There’s a bit more involved, but that’s the short version.”

Response to WordPress tech support

$1,000 Prize for the Best CloudFlare App

$1,000 Prize for the Best CloudFlare App (Photo credit: kawanet)

Technically, it is a good answer. But it also raises some questions. I used to run a self-hosted WordPress site for a client. It was hosted at HostGator. For the most part, there was a static ID assigned to the domain name that HostGator hosted. CouldFlare was used for the Name Server. We also used the CloudFlare plug-in and HostGator had the CloudFlare Apache module installed. I can relate to the scenario described by the WordPress support person.

But if the combination of CloudFlare and WordPress [dot] com worked for me for months – why have problems in the past two weeks? Using the laws of logic from philosophy, I can only conclude there are internal software issues at WordPress [dot] com, causing them to switch servers frequently – hence, the different IP addresses.

PR and marketing standpoint

I had to open up an issue on a WordPress [dot] com forum. There is no longer any assess to WordPress [dot] com tech support  for free users (or even paid users who don’t purchase enough products and services). I opened this forum issue up on February 20, 2013. It wasn’t until February 25, 2013, that I got the answer I shared with you.

CloudFlare – on the other hand – was responsive to my support requests within a four hour window. They always opened up a ticket for me, when they discovered an issue. I did not have to open any tickets myself. I talked via email with real support people and got excellent responses.

I would encourage the PR and marketing folks at WordPress [dot] com to teach some lessons to the tech support folks there.

What did I do?

Simple. I had my domain on WordPress [dot] com. I just pointed my name servers there. After all, keeping a website up and working, is more important than running Google Analytics.

After the common propagation period, I will inform CloudFlare to close my account – stating the reasons.

If I were to run WordPress on a hosting company – which I won’t – I would definitely use CloudFlare. But I don’t want to worry about new releases of WordPress, along with WordPress plug-in updates.

What about analytics?

Google Analytics

Image representing Piwik as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Google Analytics is the king of free packages. WordPress [dot] com doesn’t want you to run it. The reason? It has Java Script code they feel could cause security issues. There is a way to use Google Analytics via a service.  Such a  free service exists, where you point an image at No JSS Stats.  I have to test this out more but it appears to be working. To see why this may work, look at The simplest way to track Google Analytics without JavaScript?.

WordPress stat pack

Instead, they have their own analytics package. This package is also offered as a plug-in for self-hosted WordPress sites. But out of a thousand users rating it at WordPress Plug-ins , it got a collective rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars. If I saw a book offered at Amazon with this rating, I probably wouldn’t buy it.

StatCounter

Fortunately, there is a good statistical package called StatCounter. They offer a free version and they do have a non-Java Script solution for WordPress [dot] com blogs at Stat Counter for WordPress [dot] Com. This was operational for me before I implemented the CloudFlare solution. It also was running during the CloudFlare and WordPress [dot] com days. But now I will be looking at the results again, in addition to the WordPress [dot] com statistics.

Piwik

What would I do if I were WordPress and knowing that folks want Google Analytics? Offer them a good substitute. I would host the Piwik open source analytics at Piwik on Wiki and Piwik website. I would then develop a non-Java Script plug-in and make it open source. Allow folks to test it on self-hosted sites. Piwik has non-JavaScript tracking options, as this FAQ points out at Piwik FAQ – non-JavaScript tracking.

WordPress [dot] com could still offer their own statistical package. But offer the Piwik stuff in addition. I used to run Piwik on a self-hosted site. I loved the package. The WordPress plug-ins could always be improved upon and incorporated into WordPress [dot]  com dashboard.

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  1. [...] WordPress Yo-Yos – The Final Frontier (b2btechcopy.com) [...]

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