I’m back! My Cautionary Tale of Plugins and WordPress Plans

After four weeks in limbo, I’m back to blogging. Yay! Can you get out of your chair and do a happy dance with me? Oooh! Oooh! While you’re catching your breath, I’ll regale you with my Cautionary Tale.

Somehow, my blog blew up when a plugin activated. This happened around the same time my site reverted from the WordPress Business plan to Premium. Was it the perfect storm or my high energy blowing up another computer? An act of God? A random event? Who knows?

The backstory:

Do you remember the story of Scuffy the Tugboat? He was a happy little boat that floated in the bathtub. Then he got the big idea that he was meant for bigger things and headed into the big river that emptied into the enormous ocean. Get my drift? Bad pun alert. Sorry.

A few years ago, I had those same thoughts. I could become a super blogger if I upgraded to a Business plan. And so, the mistake was made early in 2017.

A few months later, I wrote a draft about my best blog tips after six years of blogging. It took days to write that article. Between edits, I activated a plugin to help me with SEO. When I blogged it, my post was emailed to followers but didn’t show up in the Reader. I no longer had the floating follow button. The bar at the top of my blog looked different. I stopped getting followers. I panicked. Of all the blog posts, this one wasn’t being seen by other bloggers!

When I contacted the Happiness Engineers, they explained that when I activated the plugin, my site’s architecture changed. Luckily, that post got the attention of an editor and was Freshly Pressed.

I always learn through the school of hard knocks — I had written a draft about my buddy, Chuck Dickens, while on the Business plan. I blogged it a few days later. Yep. Blew up my blog once again. That was a major duh moment on my part, but the engineers happily fixed it. I vowed never to add another plugin.

Flash forward to 2021.

There was a neat little backup button added last winter. One day in spring, I pressed it but didn’t activate it for fear of blowing up my blog.

On Monday, May 24th:

I inquired about the backup button with a Happiness Engineer. He said it would change my site and reassured me that WordPress has a backup in case something happens to it. Mine has very little chance of being deleted since I am the only one using my blog, and I have the two-step authentication in place.

He suggested reverting to Premium. I was paying a lot of money for unused plugins. “It’s meant for businesses,” he said.

As I waffled back and forth to either go for it with the Business plan and use the plugins or revert to Premium, I was taking a class.

Wednesday, May 26th:

I was listening to a prerecorded video. I received a phone call. Instead of turning down the sound, I shut my laptop. Why did I do that????

Insert act of God, lightning bolt, and aftershocks of rumbling thunder here. Never mind. I’ll insert it myself:

My laptop froze up.

I freaked out!

I had worked on a manuscript revision the day before and hadn’t saved it. I always save my revisions! I also had an unsaved flash fiction. GAH!!!

Thursday:

I noticed my site looked different. I was logged in but could only get to the backend through a shortcut on my laptop. I contacted the Happiness Engineers to look into the problem.

Friday:

When I clicked on my last post about the blooming spring season, I LOST IT. Some of my images and all of my links were broken.

I was over it.

I wanted to go back to floating in the bathtub.

“REVERT ME TO PREMIUM!” I shouted into the abyss. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. But it wasn’t that easy.

A Happiness Engineer informed me that on May 26th, a plugin was activated, and you know the rest.

Altogether now!

It changed the architecture of my site.”

I clicked on old and new posts along with my About page. Most had missing images. They all had broken links that went to error messages.

Day after day, a new Happiness Engineer checked in on me. Day after day, I would explain the whole history. Day after day, I checked my About page since it was loaded with broken images and links. Day after day, they still weren’t working properly.

Over the next FOUR WEEKS, the Happiness Engineers reverted my site to before the fateful day of May 26th several times. Over twenty-five engineers checked in during the month. I explained to each one of them what had happened.

June 23rd:

Exhausted and frustrated, I woke up and clicked on my About page, as usual. All of my photos appeared! Woohoo! A huge victory! I just prayed I wouldn’t have to add links to my 800 blog posts.

June 24th:

The day that I’m writing this, I clicked on my About page. I clicked on a link, and it worked! I clicked on another and another and another. Everything is back to normal. Finally!

So, I am happily floating in my tub, oblivious to all things plugin. The Premium Plan is enough for me.

From Golden Books. One of my favorites!

Which plan are you on? Are you self-hosted? Do you remember Scuffy the Tugboat? How are you with computers?

67 thoughts on “I’m back! My Cautionary Tale of Plugins and WordPress Plans

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  1. Wow Susie, I’m so sorry you had so much trouble with the business plan! I started using the business plan more than six months ago and have had no issues at all. My blog is running nine or more plugins and they all run smoothly, so why did the plan blow up your blog??

    I’m so amazed at how much help those happy people gave you, that’s wonderful. The main reason I use this plan is for the extra storage space, uploading even small photos at around 175kb can use a lot of space over time. I’m glad you’ve got control of your blog!

    Like

    1. I’ve been on the Business plan for years without a problem but never added plugins. I think that it was HOW the backup plugin was added that blew up my blog. Could’ve been my laptop freezing and reboot. Who knows?
      They couldn’t understand why it happened since people revert people all the time.Me and computers, John! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Susie – I am glad you were able to get the help you needed. I think I know more than I really do and when I messup, I mess up!

    I added a plugin – a paid for plugin to display my Instagram posts last year and I went to update it and BOOM (shaka-lakka) it was gone – blog, control panel, everything. I sat and thought what I did and I am not really sure how I did it, but I went back and was able to undo my mistake and retrieve the blog. I deactivated the plugin and found another plugin to do the work – for free. I am self-hosted through Go Daddy and own my url and a couple of others. I have a school blog that I thought I would use for newsletters and sharing thoughts on teaching that i am going to revisit and update this summer – at least that is the plan! Was wondering where you had gotten to this summer – stay well and safe, Peace!

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    1. Thank you so much, Clay!

      That must have been TERRIFYING! My hands shook when I pressed publish today, thinking a similar Ka-BOOM might happen. But alls good in my little bathtub, thank God!

      It sounds like you are keeping busy! I bet your students love to hear your thoughts on Making the Days Count. I have considered starting another blog too but with writing novels, one is all I can manage!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been on the Business plan for about 4 years. Why – extra storage space, plus I can always get instantly connected to a Happiness Engineers when I need help. They’ve been a godsend to me – helped me out with loads of issues, most of which were my own doing.
    I learned from another blogger not to install any plugins because you’ll lose the floating follow button, plus you’ll also (in some cases) lose the like and reblog buttons. I’m happy with what I get, and because I have a passion for blogging, I don’t mind paying for it. Plus (and I shouldn’t really say this), when my plan is due for renewal, I negotiate a discount with a happiness Engineer.
    Glad it’s all sorted, Susie, even if it did cause lots of panic and sleepiness nights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Hugh! So great to “see” you!

      That’s so great that you negotiated! I was told that you can get the follow button plugin, but like you said, the community is everything!!

      Isn’t it amazing how computers can blow up? My old laptop had a small amount memory, so if I left a lot of tabs open, my post wouuldn’t show up in the Reader. A Happiness Engineer would have to refresh it for me. With my history of WP blowups, my hand shook today when I pressed publish. LOL!

      Like

      1. Occasionally, I get the same problem of a newly published blog post not appearing in the WordPress Reader. Whenever it happens, I reschedule the post to publish again a few minutes later. It always works, and the republished post shows up in the Reader.
        I use a Desktop (and cause I’m tech crazy), I tend to update my computer once every few years and trade in the outgoing computer. As I’m an Apple user, I also store everything up in the iCloud. It costs me £0.79p to do this but is worth every penny, Susie.

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        1. Great idea, Hugh! Does the email go out twice?

          Nice! I store everything in the iCloud too. When I work on my manuscripts, I save them EVERYWHERE! My plan is to make bound hard copies and keep them on a stacked shelf unit where I can see them. Just in case!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Couple of comments. First of all, Scruffy is my all-time favorite book from childhood. I’m so glad the engineers plucked you up at the dock just before you sailed out into blog oblivion. Secondly, I had similar nightmares of unexpected changes when I switched over from wordpress.com to self-hosted. Ended up with an expensive hosting company which I did not need. Finally got back to WordPress but it is still self-hosted. Wasted a few bucks though.

    I now need a couple of aspirin and a nap from just reading your travails. Your energy level is far above mine.

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    1. LOLOLOL! I know what you mean! I’m about to take a nap too.
      It’s so hard to know what is the best way to go these days. Everything is back to normal except I’m not getting followers like I used to. I’m sure that will straighen itself out as I become more active. Please pass the aspirin…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to be fairly prolific with computers back when code was easy to read – now I’m at their mercy! Glad you got up and running and thanks for the warning!

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    1. Thanks for swinging by today, Jan! It’s so nice to see my friends again.
      I never got the hang of code. Good on you! I hope I don’t have to anything but publish articles in the future. Fingers crossed!

      Like

  6. I am becoming less and less of a WP fan. They’re latest force-of-all-us to this funky block system is a PITA! It takes far longer to write posts now, and many times I have to redo things that didn’t “take” or work right the first time. And there are many lag times…and my cursor is not always where I left it, but in some random location, so my typing overwrites or deletes something.

    And plug-ins should NOT change system architecture without WARNINGS!

    WTH is happening to WP?!

    Like

    1. There’s a way to return to the old editor, but it’s slightly different.

      I’m not really sure how the plugin was added. I wasn’t even blogging when it happened. I have one suspicion – I had been asking the Happiness Engineers about backing up my blog. What if one of the engineers clicked on the backup plugin from the backend? I can’t imagine they did, but that could have broken it. I’m just glad it is fixed. The hiatus was really good for me too. I am actually more balanced now than ever! Not mentally, of course. LOL!
      Thanks for stopping by, Frank! It’s good to “see” you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Susie, so sorry.

    I use a business plan and I’ve had no problems with plug-ins. I realize that WordPress is a stand alone app, but computer processing speed may have something to do with your issues.

    About Reader. You do know that not everything you post shows up there? For instance, I’ve never seen you there.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Ray! I didn’t blog at all that week, so who knows?
      Weird about the Reader! That has been true for others too. If you follow me again, I’ll show up there. I follow myself and check the Reader every time, but I think a glitch a few years ago deleted followers. It’s always something!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you were able to sort your problems. I often feel software is so complex these days that ’emergent behaviours’ can occur which programmers don’t immediately understand. In general I also think the current software business model (adopted by Absolutely Everybody) is a road to trouble. Back in the 1990s the golden computing rule was: ‘You got it working? Great. Don’t mess with it’. These days the business model is ‘software is a constant-change service’, ie: ‘mess with it’. And yah… Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true! The funny part? I wasn’t even on my blog when it happened. I just noticed the change a few days later. They talk about Alienware, but I suspect straight up aliens….
      Thanks so much, Matt! Great to see you.

      Like

  9. I live in a really old house. You never plug anything in that might short circuit the entire house. I learned that the hard way as well. Plug-ins just aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

    Thanks for sharing your story and welcome back!!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aliens …coincidence that they just released the UFO documents? HA HA
    Glad you’re up and running again – was wondering about you. As you say, not the adventure you really want. (and things like this is what worried me about making a switch – glad it’s fixed and you’re back)

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    1. Thanks so much, Phil! Me too. I will say that although I stressed out on a daily basis, it was a much needed break. I reconnected with all kinds of interests and finally found some balance in my life!

      Like

  11. What a mess! I’m still using the freebee site I started a dozen years ago, but then again I’ve got nothing to sell… yet. And yes, I read Scuffy the Tugboat to my Little Man many times when he was little. Good story. My son even named our current guinea pig after a tug boat fleet that works the waters near our cottage on the coast of Maine: Winslow.

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      1. I’m sure that publishing companies love it when their authors have millions of followers, but to me blogging is more about community, not merely being followed. But that’s just me.

        Like

  12. Susie, I have had so much trouble with WordPress in the past several months that I have very little hair left from pulling it out. I know I am not the only one. Every single time I log in I have to figure out how to do what I want to do. I am on the free site still but like others above I have nothing to sell. I have also noticed that very few people are actually reading me anymore and even less are engaging with comments. I’m not sure it is worth the struggle anymore with me being my only audience. I considered upgrading but I don’t want to pay for something I don’t need and can’t use the way I want to. Some of the other people I have chatted to are looking for other programs. Maybe it’s time.

    Like

    1. I would contact the Happiness Engineers. Most of us hate the new editor, which makes writing so much harder. I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s an improvement!

      Covid took its toll on bloggers. I wasn’t as active this last year since lockdown crimped my wild adventure style. 😎 Through the years, the majority of my followers have quit. Every so often, I go through the Reader to see what’s up and find new people to follow. I also check out comments on other blogs to build community. It’s always up and down in a state of flux.

      Social media changed blogging too. People follow for follow-backs and most only leave likes.

      The bloggers who still get a ton of comments are as active as I was my first year of blogging. Back then, I spent hours a day if not the entire day, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs to build community. I had to make a choice — blogging or writing books and novel writing won out. It took years to learn how to write one and I’m still learning!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m on premium. I did consider doing a business plan, but my Word Press guru convinced me I didn’t need it. Still, I’ve been having some problems. Going to check my About page!

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  14. I’ve been on the business plan for years. While I have issues with the WP Blockhead Editor [and who among us doesn’t?], the rest of the system including the comments has worked for me. Fingers crossed it still will after I write this. I don’t know about Scuffy the Tugboat, btw. I do know about the Little Engine That Could!

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    1. 😂 My blog was the little engine for weeks!

      I hate the editor too. We should start a petition to change it back to the old one without those ridiculous blocks. It takes so much longer to write a post!

      Liked by 2 people

  15. What a nightmare Suzy. Sounds like a whole load of serious worry, glad that the engineers finally managed to get it all sorted for you (eventually). I’ve always been a little sceptical about installing plugins and you have confirmed my worst fears. May stick with the basics now.

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  16. Dear Susie,
    we are on the full frame progamme. We changed quite some years ago from our old programme to full fame for a better presentation of Dina’s pictures. We are Premium but don’t use any plug-ins. We don’t know why we should have plug ins except to make WP happy 😉
    We know to operate our computers that well that we hadly ever need help from people calling themselves Happiness Engeneers. Our dear Master is an author writing for international publishing houses and film therefore he got very early into the routine to write and edit everything on his computer. Dina as a professional photographer is our specialist for presentation and pictures in generell.
    We blog for fun. Making money with blogging is not our thing.
    Thanks for sharing
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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      1. Dear Susie,
        there are about 60 books published of our dear Master in 25 languages. You find them all on his website
        http://www.kbvollmar.com/buecher/
        He did films about colours, very successful have be the ones about red, white and black and several TV-films about England.
        All the best
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Like

  17. Oh boy! You’ve given me tugboat for thought! Wen and I are trying to put together a WordPress site/blog (mostly site static) to replace the one on Yahoo since they stopped allow me to do updates with my site builder… it’s been stuck the way it is for quite a while. Anyway. WordPress isn’t as user friends – at least as it is going through Yahoo. I’m now worried about plugins… which I know I’ll need. Have they told you how you can know in advance what will rearrange your architecture? This is scary to me after I lost so much when I lost my FB site and several other misc issues when there were compromised passwords that, sadly, I used in numerous places in similar iterations. I’m totally intimidated by trying to start fresh building a site (even in picking a theme) even with Wen’s attempt to help me. This is a cautionary tale I will keep in mind. I thought I subscribed to your posts long ago. Not sure why they weren’t showing up. I’ll try again.

    Like

    1. Hey Karen! Thanks for stopping by.
      You probably won’t need a business site. Premium has a widget for selling things. If you have any questions, ask the Happiness Engineers! Let me know how it goes.
      Hopefully, you’ll get an email when I post something new. Thanks for following me again!

      Like

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