This particular site uses the wildly popular and robust WordPress self-hosted application. The word application is used loosely because wordpress is simply a whole bunch of inter-related files downloaded and extracted from WordPress.org.
The warning comes in when you are tempted to use your hosts 1-click install of these files. DON’T DO IT! While everything seems to work on initial install, our particular host, 1and1.com, changes your domain’s destination directory to this install and also sets all sorts of permissions so that the site administrator will have difficulty trying to change some files because of limited authority. Our own frustration initially came from not even being able to use the WP update so we are always limited to which version the host wants us to have. Not good.
Well, what to do?
- Using the WP-Admin Dashboard, run the Export utility under “Tools” making sure to include all your content. WP will let you know if certain files were not exported. A .xml file will be generated and downloaded onto your pc. For those, you will have to use your favorite ftp client and download it manually.
- For 1and1.com, our domain’s destination setting is “grayed out” meaning that since we did the 1-click install they effectively locked our domain’s settings. To unlock it, in the Website/Applications section of the Control Panel, find the “Click & Build” set of applications and then the tab for Installed applications. You will need to uninstall wordpress. This will also erase everything in your site as well as all of your plugins and customized settings.
- After the uninstall, you should be able to edit your domain and change the destination directory or leave it at the top level root if that’s your preference. If you leave it at the top level, however, you will have difficulty trying to create subdomains.
- From here, there are several good sites that describe how to manually install wordpress and the best one was on the 1and1 site.
- After the new install, run the Import utility in the WP dashboard tools and upload any media files, etc.
- Install and configure all your plugins and check your site settings for other customizations.
This may seem like a lot of extra and unnecessary work but unless these hosting companies change the way they give access to their web space, you will be much much happier in the long run.
We also created and maintained another wordpress site for a couple of local non-profits with this same host and another one and always did the manual install. These sites have never had an issue with performing updates.
Internet searches revealed others with this issue and usually the solution is to modify the .htaccess file but even that was not accessible for editing.