This afternoon I had one of those gut-wrenching moments in the life of a geek. I logged into my server’s control panel and adjusted a setting and everything went kablooey. Well, at least the admin end of everything. My sites were working, but nobody could get logged into their admin area to modify their sites. I looked at the error messages and figured the best solution was to go back in and undo the two settings I had changed.
I undid the changes and clicked the submit button. The server said the changes had been made. But the errors wouldn’t go away. So in desperation, I did the next logical things. I rebooted the server. And I waited. And waited. And waited. The server was now in server limbo. I called my tech support gal and her phone wasn’t working. I emailed her and the minutes ticked by with no response. So I called the hosting company support line and asked them to send a geek over to physically push the button and restart the server.
All this time, I’m scanning the support forums online to see if I can make sense of the error message to figure out how to fix whatever it is that has gone so wrong. Clients are calling and emailing because of the problems they are having. It’s Friday afternoon and they like to end their week knowing all is well. And I do, too! I feel so responsible for causing whatever this is, although I have no idea how it happened or how to fix it.
The reboot complete, the server is working, although the error messages remain. But into the midst of my anxieties comes my friend Dave from across the waves (he’s in Scotland). My hero, my geek in shining……pen holder? LOL Dave speaks the language and he has his own server almost identical to mine. In a matter of minutes, he looks at one file and says, “There are two spaces in this code that shouldn’t be there.” He removes the spaces, uploads the file, and WHOOSH!!! No more error codes!!
As it turns out, this is all a matter of scripting. Scripting makes the world go around on the web today. It’s not HTML anymore. With a script, you can give your clients a control panel to work with. Scripting created this administration panel I was working in. But the script had a bug. When it saved that php.ini file, it inserted those two spaces…two spaces in a setting I never even touched. And those two white spaces in one line of code caused the WHOLE bloomin’ problem. Hours of tension, long distance calls, anxious waiting…because the script added two little spaces without anyone knowing it would.
Dave, I owe you big time for coming to my rescue. Can I pay you in chocolate or cheese curls?