I am a fan of fun 404 Page Error pages. I also like entertaining messages for readers when blogs or websites take a “bad day off”. I’ve created such a page for my main site to put up when things go bork in the code to let people know what is happening. It also acts as a place holder until things get fixed.
Which is what WordPress.com developers have done. With all the seriousness that abounds around WordPress, there is a lighter side and I thought I’d entertain you with the entertaining results that smack you in the face when WordPress.com bloggers suffer from server errors, problems, or downtime.
Confessions Of A Server
OH MY! Life is so unfair! What did I do wrong to be born a server in this day and age? I could have been a nice simple bicycle that people happily rode around on all day. But no, I’m stuck inside this metal case serving web pages instead. I never even see the light of day and all I can hear is the rush of the air-conditioning!
Well, no more! I’m relaxing here with a cup of tea and a biscuit until someone shows me some love and attention.
It never takes them long to fix me when I kick up a fuss so check back in a few minutes and I’ll be chugging along merrily again.!
The WordPress.com web server
(WordPress.com – where even the machines have life!)
Creating Your Own “Site Down” Message for Your WordPress Blog
While the above serves as the general notice of things going awry for WordPress.com bloggers, you can create your own cute notification for your fans on your full version of WordPress. This is really helpful not only when your database or server goes a little screwy, but when you are modifying a WordPress Theme or running into trouble with a WordPress Plugin.
The error message file will be saved as a backup in your root directory on your site, so you can quickly change the file name so it will appear when people visit your borked site, then quickly change it back to let them see the recovered, and working perfectly, WordPress blog when you’re done fixing.
These instructions assume that you are familiar with accessing your site server, ftp, and basic HTML/XHTML.
- View your home/main page in your browser.
- From the browser toolbar, choose VIEW > SOURCE (or some approximation) to view the source code of the page.
- Copy the entire page of code (for Windows: Ctrl+A selects all, and Ctrl+C copies) and paste it into a text only editor (not word processing program).
- Move down to the DIV that contains your main content section such as
<div id="content">and delete all the post content in that section, down to the ending DIV for your content section. Take care to leave all appropriate DIVs and style references in place, per the example below.
- Replace it with some content that explains what may be going on, using your normal blog layout styles, such as:
<div id="content"> <div class="excerpt-post"> <h2>Sorry, The Site is Currently Under Repair</h2> <div class="entry"> <p>We apologize for the inconvenience but our site is currently under repair, usually due to maintenance by our host server. We're are yelling and screaming and emailing furiously to insist that they fix this as soon as possible, and hopefully everything will be back up and running smoothly, and better, if they did it right.</p> <p>Again, we apologize. Trust us. This is hurting us more than you.</p> </div> <!--end of entry --> </div><!-- end of excerpt-post --> </div><!-- end content -->
- Save the page as indexbork.php or indexbork.html and upload it to your root WordPress blog directory. Type in the exact address to the page, such as
http://www.example.com/indexbork.phpto view the page in your browser. Make sure it looks and says what you want it to say. Adjust it if necessary and upload it again.
- To test it, rename
index.bak, then rename
index.php. Type in the root address for your website in your browser and see what appears. If it is your test page, then it works. If it isn’t, check where you put the files and how they are spelled. If it is right, then reverse the renaming procedure to restore your original
Now, when you encounter website trouble, which happens, your fans will still be impressed that you cared enough to send the limited but very best to let them know that you know something is wrong and that you are working on it. Once the repair is finished, rename your files back to what they were and go on. Leave the
indexbork.php file there, just in case you may need it in the future.
If your sidebar contains WordPress Plugins such as most recent posts, most recent comments, or anything that will generate a code error when the page is generated without an active and fully functioning WordPress or database, remove those references from the error message page to ensure the page functions without errors.
This method assumes that you want the resulting error message page to resemble your blog. If you don’t care, you can play around and design your own page with any amusing graphics or information, while still letting your readers know you’ll be back to normal very soon. Enjoy!