In which ConfigServer quite possibly breaks WordPress. Oof.

I’ve been dabbling in the more involved server admin business for the past while. One of the things we’ve been experimenting with for the better part of a month is the firewall provided by ConfigServer. It’s halfway decent for what it does, as long as you’re not trying to do anything too involved–like, say, get certain functionality native to WordPress to actually, you know, work. Like, for example, trackback/pingback functionality. So, since we had absolutely nothing else planned whatsoever tonight–hi, oh my god cold, we figured we’d either fix CSF or break Shane‘s blog. Turns out we did neither.

According to ConfigServer’s software, which I have taken to not trusting after our most recent discovery, inbound trafic on all the ports we needed to be open was possible. As was outbound. Except for that tiny little part wherein it sort of wasn’t. That lead to some pretty interesting problems in the neighbourhood of him actually being able to receive trackbacks/pingbacks. Since blogging in general, and WordPress in particular, is primarily focused on the whole community/conversation element of it all, that posed a very small problem. We fiddled off and on with it for a few weeks, and eventually for reasons of trying to scrape together a few dollars, we decided to start the process of migrating him away from that server and to my arangement over here. After breaking things in that department in all kinds of new and interesting–not to mention very very creative–ways, we thought we’d play with seeing if that fixes the outstanding issue of tracking back. Hence, if you hadn’t figured it out, the test post from earlier. And wouldn’t you know, the damn thing up and proved us both idiots. First try, it did exactly what it was supposed to. The only *really* major difference? The server the problem blog’s on isn’t running ConfigServer’s firewall–and won’t be, if I can possibly get away with it. Aside from that? Same server configuration, more or less, with a few extra mostly irrelevant bells and whistles I don’t actually use but hey, they’re cool.

The moral of the storry: If you’re running ConfigServer’s firewall, look for alternatives. If you’re not, keep it that way. It’s bad for you. Stay very, very far away from that program–particularly if you, or anyone you’re hosting/maintaining the server for, plans on running a WordPress blog. They just do not like each other and I think the relationship’s pretty irreparable. Now, the search begins for alternatives.

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