Visitors to Obama Conspiracy Theories last night may have experienced a blank screen when they tried to access the home page. Most other pages worked, but access to the latest articles didn’t.
When I learned about the problem today, I started researching the problem and found that by turning the site cache off, users could see all the pages. When I access the site, I am logged in and don’t get cached pages, and I was unaware of the problem.
This evening I tried to upload an image, and it failed. That gave me a clue that perhaps the site was out of disk space. I tried to use the web host’s control panel to check the disk space, but it gave an error.
I tried to FTP to the site, but that failed—it turns out that was an issue with a new version of FileZilla. Eventually I got in and deleted some files, enough that the Control Panel could be used and I found that I was a gigabyte over the limit! I only get 5 GB with this hosting plan.
I thought that since I wasn’t using the cache, I could delete those files – static versions of the pages that don’t have to be generated by WordPress. I started deleting, and deleting. It looked like not only every page on the site was cached, but every page in lists of pages, and every page in lists of categories, and then every list of results from every search term ever entered on the site. I saw the same page deleted a hundred times. I deleted tens of thousands of cached pages, around 2 GB before I was done. The last page go to was a zero-length index.html file – the blank page users were seeing last night.
The caching software I was using is called W3 Total Cache, which I installed because of problems with the former caching program WP Super Cache conflicting with the mobile theme. Now I am only using the browser cache feature of W3 Total Cache which doesn’t use any disk space on the site, but does seem to significantly speed things up. In any case, if you find something isn’t updated, try the browser’s refresh function.
Then digging around I found 1 GB of backup files created by a automatic backup program I once used, that apparently didn’t clean up after itself. 🙄 Anyway, I have lots of disk space now, certainly enough for 2 years and 7 days.
I have always wanted this site to be the way I envisioned that it should be, and I didn’t want advertising. This means that some of the easy solutions like WordPress.com were out and I had to install my own WordPress software and do the maintenance myself. I got what I wanted, but sometimes it has been a pain.