Site orders paused between 24th of June and 26th of July

Hey you!

Summer is here and so is the holiday season. I’m off to my summer leave on June 24th and will be returning on 26th of July. There’s unfortunately no-one else to process new site orders during that period, which means that new site orders will not be processed until the end of July. Unfortunately, it also means, that the relatively light end-user support I’ve been able to provide, is also taking its well deserved summer break.

If you’re absolutely desperate for assistance during the aforementioned period, I recommend first and foremost Googling. You can also try your luck and see if one of our nice helpdesk experts helpdesk@helsinki.fi would be willing to co-study WordPress, but such support is by no means guaranteed. Please note, that our experts at Helpdesk do not have admin access to blogs.helsinki.fi and therefore cannot create new group blogs even if they were otherwise willing to.

I wholeheartedly apologise the inconvenience our summer schedule will cause. See you again in late July!

WPML translation plugins installed

We added several new translation plugins last Friday for those who maintain a multilingual blog:

Unfortunately, it seems that the aforementioned plugins are not a particularly good fit for a multisite WordPress as they tend to batter the database during activation process. In order to avoid site-wide havoc, the plugin activation is limited to super admins only.

If you want any of the aforementioned plugins activated on your blog, please contact us via e-mail at helpdesk@helsinki.fi . Please, include also the name of your blog and the list of supported languages in the e-mail. It’s high recommended that you familiarize yourself with the documentation before requesting an activation: https://wpml.org/documentation/getting-started-guide/ .

Another maintenance break looming on next Friday (30th of April)

We may need another service break soon due to some additional maintenance work, so we’re scheduling one for next Friday the 30th of April from 9 to 10 AM.

It seems that the translation plugin (that we installed several months ago) is still not operating correctly. In fact, when activated by admin, it may crash the whole blog by spamming database with failing operations. The current theory is that the activation runs in to some database locks whenever there are users present, so we’re going to try activation while blocking all access to the blog. Here’s hoping the issue will resolve this time!

Apologies for the inconvenience!

Latest updates are live

Hi there! The latest update went actually pretty well and there’s even some new (and highly requested) stuff available.

Here’s the rundown:

AddToAny Share Buttons

A very useful plugin that allows you to add social media sharing buttons to your blog.  You’ll need to activate and set up the plugin via “Plugins” screen before using. The share buttons can be added/removed by editing a single page or by adding them as Widgets (“Appearance” -> “Widgets”).

Oh, and before you ask – Instagram does not allow sharing from external sources (although you can setup a “follow me at Instagram” button via Widgets menu).

Open Graph and Twitter Tags

Sounds way more technical than it should, but this is actually for editing social media preview. Activate and setup via “Plugins” screen. The general setup screen is harrowing, but the process of managing preview of a single page/post is very straightfoward. Just upload an image and write some nice words.
Pro tip: you can use Facebook debugger to preview your changes before making any posts: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/ .

Beehive Pro

An analytics plugin that supports both Google Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. Activation process is a bit too complex to describe in a single post, but I did write some instructions: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/?page_id=568

Cookiebot Cookie Consent

Can’t have analytics without letting people to opt-out. Appears automatically, doesn’t require anything. If you want to review all the 100+ cookies on the site or revise your consent, you can do that here: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/cookiebot.html .

WP Table Builder

A tool for building rather fancy tables. Must be activated via “Plugins” menu.

Other plugins and fixes

There are also Zero Spam anti-spam plugin and Multisite Custom CSS (which I wouldn’t necessary recommend activating, unless you know your way around CSS).

We also switched the Apache web server to NGINX and fixed some stuff around file access rights. This means essentially better performance, working embedded videos for Mac and iOS users + capability to install new plugins without breaking everything.

That’s pretty much it. Have a nice weekend everyone!

Maintenance Break Friday 23rd of April from 9 to 11 AM

We’re running some updates and fixes to the blog service on next Friday between 9 and 11 AM. There will be several service breaks, so please refrain from working on blog service during the update.
Here are the most notable changes and fixes:
  • Web server will be changed from Apache to NGINX which should fix the nasty issues when watching embedded videos on Safari or iOS-devices
  • Some Rewrite-issues that have prevented us from installing plugins will be fixed
  • WordPress core will be updated to version 5.7.1
  • GDPR-compliant cookie consent dialog will be added to the site
We’re also adding some new plugins:
  • NextGenGallery – an image gallery plugin
  • AddToShare – a plugin that adds social media sharing buttons
  • Open Graph and OC Tags – a plugin that allows blog owners/editors to configure their Facebook/social media preview
  • WP Table Builder – an easy table builder plugin (not the pro version though, sorry)
  • Akismet anti-spam plugin will be replaced with Zero Spam
  • Multisite Custom CSS for those who like to customise their CSS
We’re also adding an analytics-plugin called “Beehive Pro” that allows editors to track their blogs with Google Analytics. We’re still learning the ropes with this one, so it should be considered a “beta release” until we publish some instructions and implementation guidelines. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous (or simply know what you’re doing), feel free to try it out.
Edit: Unfortunately NextGallery doesn’t seem to play nice with multisite installations such as ours. We’ll try to find a suitable replacement.

Unexpected downtime. Our apologies!

The latest WordPress update caused an unexpected service break in the blog service. Database performance issues occurred with a delay which, in turn, caused a delay in our administrators’ response time. The cause of these issues seems to be a recently installed language version plugin, which we have now disabled. We are still investigating if the plugin can be applied at a later date. The service should be operating normally at this time.

Our deepest apologies for the inconvenience!

Maintenance Break on Friday 22th of January from 9 to 11 AM

We’re running some updates and fixes to the blog service on Friday 22th of January between 9 and 11 AM. There will be at least one short break during that time. Please refrain from working on the blog platform during the update as unsaved work may be lost.

Following fixes and updates will be applied:

  • WordPress will be updated to version 5.6
  • Supported WordPress themes will be updated to their latest versions
  • An access right issue that has prevented WPML Multilingual CMS and WPML String Translation plugins from working will be addressed
  • Theme translations lost in previous update will be restored