Widgets Can Kill Your Blog!

Did you know that widgets can completely and utterly destroy your blog?

I am guessing that your answer was no. Well, neither did I. I had no idea that typing something into a widget and hitting save could render my site completely useless.

I spent some time yesterday updating the graphics for my site. I did a little bit of tweaking and rearranging. If you are not reading at the blog, come over and have a look at my new weekly line-up. So there I was, adding some simple html code to my sidebar widgets and I get an error. A big white screen popped up (where my site should have been) and said that I had a "500 internal server error". My husband restarted the server and everything was fine (or so we thought), so I went along my merry way. A few minutes later, it happens again. And I had a twinge of panic…

My husband logged in to the server to check things out. All our other sites were fine, except mine. He was able to access the server logs (like any good web administrator should be able to do) and discovered that I had some serious widget issues. Apparently, I had been entering some of my html code incorrectly into my widgets and WordPress does not like that. It freaked out and panicked.

WordPress widgets is very complicated and poorly organized. If you mess with one part of the widget code, you stand a good chance of loosing all of your widgets. That  is what happened when I placed HTML code into the text widget for WordPress. One tag was written wrong. Well, if you look at my sidebars, you can see that is what happened.

I have good news though.

Before this whole "500 internal server error" thing started happening, I had a few WordPress tabs open. After my husband had fixed the mess by removing the bad code (and thus all of my widgets) I was able to still see the original code through one of the dashboard tabs that had been open (thank you Opera for caching.  I was able to go in there and copy and paste and save all of the codes to an Open Office document. This will help greatly in rebuilding. Update: We actually recommend Libre Office now. 

The cause of the "500 internal server error" was the simple failure to close  some of my html tags. W3 Schools html reference list is an excellent resource that my husband has pointed me to before and I will be visiting on an ongoing basis from now on.

Let me just say thank you to my husband for being able to fix anything.

Let me leave you with a few suggestions:

  • Might I suggest that you keep a list of your widgets with the code that should go with them (including the links) in an Open Office document (and print it).
  • Might I also suggest a folder (on your computer) for the graphics that go with your sidebar widgets (properly labeled so you can find it).

So, what have you broken lately?