WordPress site -We canโ€™t connect to the server at Thingamibob.com

I’ve been having grief with one of my wordpress websites. So I’ve been watching the usual videos that talk about disabling plugins by renaming the folder and that doesn’t seem to work.

I was looking to put in my CV for a job and they asked for a website so I thought I’d put in my CV stuff. So I decided to revisit trying to get this one up and running.

I cannot access the website or the admin login either. At one point I got to login to the admin site but that has since gone back to no login at all.

So, I cannot:

  1. reach the site on different computers
  2. even trying from the server trying to open from there
  3. So that means no access from 2 different IPAddresses
  4. The site was running until recently (October)
  5. The domain name at Freenom is valid and the DNS forwarding is the same as the others- I’lll check those again

So, I’ve:

  1. Checked Freenom, namespaces pointing to Cloudflare so re-pointed to my VPS as per other workable site that does the same
  2. Older site with maxdrake.cf, where I lost that domain, I changed the site to maxdrake.tk and in the DB I went to (different DB) I modified the WP_Options table to new URL https:…
  3. I changed the original HTTP to HTTPS and loaded a certificate for the maxdrake.tk- I ebven used one from another certificate from another website that was working, moved that to a new certificate and tried maxdrake.tk on the new one. Still no show
  4. pinged and the site talks back. So that at least says there is something at the other end of the line.

.htaccess file. I copied stuff from other website and that allowed me to do initial login (basic website, but then that went away

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

I’ve gone through the DB and replaced old website domain to new. Using SQL query on wp_posts table. That took me a while to get the right syntax. Altered now. Doesn’t solve main issue of no access to file

SELECT REPLACE( guid, 'http://maxdrake.cf', 'https://maxdrake.tk')  FROM wordpress733.wp_posts;

Went into Encrypt and made a new certificate, specifically for this site. That didn’t change anything eather. I’m restarting the site in IIS each time I do a change.

Looking at DB from website watching this video:

So I looked in on it and this is what came back:

So 2 things here, Database is reached via the browser & that checks out ok too.

I then tried a connection to the site with the following script , and had 500 error so that wasn’t able to check on DB

mysql_connect('localhost', 'wordpressuser123', '.3456678608') or die('Could not connect the database : Username or password incorrect');
mysql_select_db('wordpress123') or die ('No database found');
echo 'Database Connected successfully';

Then at end of article from video above it suggested you change the URL in the DB with this:

1UPDATE wp_options SET option_value='examplesite.com' WHERE option_name='siteurl'

And there was a change in the DB so I tried logging in again from Remote site and got into the admin side.

I was successful in getting into Admin side, then tried modifying password & that wasted some time and I had to reset to original. Overall the reset password was a fruitless exercise apart from proving that the site was reading the database.

When I finally started to explore site the plugins were mogadored and the text was crap as it was all classic editor rather than new block editor, so I may be forced to rebuild the whole site again. Not that I’m sure that its worth it as I have got no work from having it.

So, at the end, I got the back end working but could not access the site from the web, only the admin side.

I will go back to my current setup after rebooting the VPS to let all the updates and changes I made (fluushing DNS with ipconfig) and also I can’t rename the main website folder even though I’ve closed all the programs that are using files in that directory.

Also tried renaming the .htaccess file and creating another by going to Settings and saving the permalink page that recreates a .htaccess file, although I can’t see a new one in the folder.

End comment at end of day Tuesday

After spending all that time on trying to get this up and running I may need to look at rebuilding the site.


I decided to rename the folders with the website and unzip another copy of WordPress onto my server and then linked to the existing Database and setup a clean version of the website so that I knew that I could link to the site.

I loaded all the plugins from new to this site and they all tended to connect, so I had the site up and running and I’ve been faffing with it since.

I decided, as I’d got the site running that I’d apply for the weta job and also to add a few items to the CV.

The other surprise was that the image site with my photo portfolio was actually running, I thought that had been broken a while back, although I had a different domain link for it image4.cf but it works fine, so I could add that to my CV.

I also started to list links to my apps & my video playlists so I have added a bit to that page. I’m quite pleased with the Ouvre. A lot I can link to is my own work.

I need to link the site to Cloudflare again.


I’m so confused. I get one running then the next one goes weird on me.

I can run from ISS manager, triggering site URL and it works

I can run some sites on Laptop Pro, part time computer and the sites work fine, as in straight URL , not admin (sometimes not tested)

I try running from my main Microsoft Surface Book and I either :

  1. Get blocked by Bitdefender that says unsafe site, so when I force it to let me to the site I get a can’t access server or 403 verboten.
  2. Get to site and asked for certificate of person, me , that pops up – I add it and then it says can’t find server
  3. Hmm. Weโ€™re having trouble finding that site.We canโ€™t connect to the server at image4.cf.
  4. Some sites ping from command prompt: c:>ping image4.cf.- I get “Ping request could not find host image4.cf. Please check the name and try again.”

I’d reset DNS on Freenom to point namespaces to Cloudflare and that was giving grief so I changed namespaces back to freenom, and then I saw that all the DNS settings had been wiped that pointed to my VPS IP Address.

So I’ve just reset them to Freenom and the ping is still not working, so I’ll give it time to propagate first. I’ll start working on the other site, imaginary.cf, that has a new encrypt certificate for https dated today.

So, I think I have been ticking the Require Server Name Indication when I’ve been setting up the HTTPS:// certificate

For some reason, after binding image4 cert to image4 and imaginary cert to imaginary , rthey switch over. So I’ve deleted both websites from IIS Manager and am going to reset up each from scratch.

First imaginary- Setup on its own with correct cert opens on VPS, Microsoft Surface Book & Pro. All no issue.

I will now try and setup image4. I was working through old directory of imagery.cg (lost that domain name) and so I want to rename it, but something is keeping it open so I’m rebooting server. They both keep switching, so I’ve made encrypt certificates specific for each site, they are still switching!!!

Finally got them setup, a lt of pissing about with the certificates. Apart from pir2.tk that would not generate another correct one.

The process I was using was with a tool called


I decided to pursue another avenue with LetsEncrypt using Certbot to install a certificate. I’m currently using win-acmeEncrypt\wacs.exe with win-acme which is a command tool.

The win-acme create certificates for 3 months and put them where IIS can find the certificates, so you bind the certificate to the website in the IIS panel.

Certbot doesn’t do this but puts them in a C:/Certbot directory , so I was looking to try and move these certificate files but that is a no-no . So in the binding panel for https:// there is no certificate, but if you go to the website in a browser the siite has the padlock so is secure. I need to do some tests to see if I only need to do a Binding for http and let certbot do the rest- I think it also autoupdates.

There were 2 choices with certbot, reboot server and have certbot running inside that or having certbot run as web root so it loos at the root so not as intrusive.

I decided to go for the 2nd option to see if there were any clashes with my existing system but it seems fine, so I’ll leave it that way for the moment.

The pir2.tk one is using HTTPS from Cloudflare to run. All a bit confusing really. But it needs to have a HTTPS certificate binding in IIS to work or you just can’t get to the site.

I tried creating anotther certificate with Certbot, but that puts it where ISS can’t find it, so you need to go back to Win-Acme to get one that works in ISS. So going through that process works, just make sure you haven’t stopped the website.

So at the end of the day, I did take the key inside of one of the .pem files and create a new .werghghhgrtgj weird file (you cannot create a .erghjk…. weird file in Explorer but have to use PowerShell with command:

New-Item  .xyzfdghjytkjyhkkmj -ItemType File

And then open in notepad or ++ and copy/paste the data fkey from the .pem file as the key. This seemed to work for the pir2.tk site for validation (for the moment until that key runs out) . Don’t even ask where the string of letters came from for the file, I forgot. An awfully complicated process. I sort of followed bits of this article https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lets-encrypt-part-1-issuing-installing-certificates-andrei-hawke/

At the end of the day best to just use the win-acme ifits working for a site.

I have an idea for if you want to try and make one certificate for all the sites is to stop the sites that FAIL, like the Pir2.tk site so it binds the rest of them.

No PHP running for new WordPress install

My current grief is getting a new WordPress site up and running. I can’t get windows installer to install wordpress as its pointing to a 2016 version of wordpress on github that is no longer there.

I’ve downloaded wordpress directly and unzipped it in a new directory but its not finding the PHP files so does not run properly.

I’ve now found the wordpress startup file for setting up a webpage which is “C:\inetpub\wwwroot\xxxxx.xx\0root\wp-admin\install.php” so that I the file to run and it opens in browser, unfortunately my PHP’s not running for that program so I have to figure that out.

I’ve just downloaded and unzipped WordPress a couple of times and both times NO folder called wp_admin, then it appeared later when I tried to delete the whole WP folder.

After unzipping and renaming wordpress folder 0root go to IIS and create new website with just port 80 http site and start.

Then go to browser (not in Remote Server) and type name of website and it should pop up withj language ready to go.

You then have to create a database to link to, in this case, CREATE a Database, not a schema, and make table like USER (from list) and then use input from another user table & use Export wizard ot save that user to a file (.csv) and then use import wizard to bring that user into new user table in new DB. With the User you have to make sure that the Schema has that user with all privileges otherwise WP won’t work. Then it creates all the bits you want.

End comment

I’m pleased with progress but issues on my main computer with the image4.cf site, Verboten. It opens up fine on the pro laptop.

It seems its been the https certificates that have been causing a lot of the issues as well as DNS not pointing to the right, or any place.

Hopefully the Certbot will solve the not being able to create certificate issue that win-acme was having for some sites like pir2.tk.

Now I just need to be able to install a fresh WordPress site without too much drama. I’ve got the steps now, logging in from main pc (not server) seems to do the trick. You still need to create a new DB with ALL PRIVILEGES for the user, (so that WP can build all the other tables).

That was a bit of an exercise for 3 days doing that sorting out. Still I need to be a bit more in touch with the server and WordPress setup or I forget it all.