“Your website is at risk”

Do you know what I hate? Technology warnings that I do not understand. Specifically from my blog host, with the headline above.

<em>Your website… is currently running PHP version 7.2. Updates for this PHP version are no longer issued by the PHP project. In practice, this means that any bugs or security vulnerabilities discovered in your PHP installation will not be fixed and that your website is potentially vulnerable to several known security threats.

On June 2, 2021, we’ll be making an attempt to upgrade your site’s version of PHP to v7.4.

We’re constantly working on making improvements that we hope will reduce or eliminate any upgrade-related complications. We plan to upgrade your site and run a series of automated tests immediately afterward to ensure your website is working as intended.

If it passes all of our tests, it will stay on PHP v7.4 but you will want to inspect it yourself right away because our tests can’t catch everything. If this happens you can change PHP back easily from the panel.

If it fails, we’ll automatically revert your site back to PHP v7.2 and notify you.

We want to stress the importance of getting PHP upgraded as soon as possible. We’ve made the upgrade procedure a quick and simple process, but we understand that you may also need to update your site’s code for it to be compatible with newer versions of PHP.</em>

PHP

So I’m asking you that if you see something weird on this site on June 2/3, please me know what they are because I might not see them.

It’s LIKELY that it’ll all be fine. But being a pessimist, particularly when it comes to things largely out of my control…

BTW, PHP is “a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development. Fast, flexible and pragmatic, PHP powers everything from your blog to the most popular websites in the world.”

Blogging blues: SSL, php, fatal error

The blog isn’t just the last item I wrote, it’s the body of work.

I’m a guy who likes to blog. I’m the guy who HATES having to deal with the technobabble that the task entails. I noticed that the backside of my blog was running slowly. Sometimes when I tried to schedule a post, I’d get an error message. My provider wrote:

“Our monitoring systems show that one (or some) of your user accounts may be making your web hosting account operate inefficiently. We noticed you’ve frequently hit the memory limits of your shared hosting plan over the last couple weeks. When this happens, our system automatically stops web processes which could be negatively impacting your server’s performance. This means your visitors may see errors or be unable to access your website at all for brief periods of time.”

I was given the option to leave everything as-is, optimize my website (for which I didn’t understand the instructions), or upgrade to Virtual Private Server and spend a bit more. I asked a fellow blogger what I should do. Among other things, he suggested that if I were still on an older PHP (5.x), jump to 7.0. If you don’t know what that means, well neither do I. As a website owner, you may do all that you can and some, but one thing you need to always bear in mind: Hiring the top web designing company to develop your website is the best thing that you could ever do to grow your business.

I did that. I also did the SSL free certification for https, though I’m not sure why. Immediately, I received a Fatal error on my page. I undid the SSL.

The technical support folks disabled the blog counter, which they identified as the problem. Blog working, but there’s no sidebar! No search bar or links or way to get to 12.5 years of my posts. This made me terribly… well, DEPRESSED. I mean, the blog isn’t just the last item I wrote, it’s the body of work. There were some back-and-forth written messages with suggestions that did not change anything.

Finally, a week later I called their support guy from https://blog.servermania.com/what-is-unmetered-bandwidth-and-when-do-you-need-it/. The solution? “It looks like the site ‘sidebar’ and counter plugin may have not been
working correctly due to them not being compatible with php 7. Once we switched your site back to run on php5.6 your counter and sidebar has
been restored.” Thanks, John!

But all of this work not only reminds me how weak I am in certain areas, it was a real drag on my finite time to actually write blog posts. At least it was fodder for one.