[wp-hackers] absolute URLs in plug-ins and custom types

Shasta Willson shastaw at gmail.com
Fri Jul 6 16:09:18 UTC 2012

On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 7:29 AM, Bryan Petty <bpetty at bluehost.com> wrote:
> I wish it wasn't a "problem", but I have to call it one when I'm
> constantly "fixing" it with every blog that needs moved, or started out
> on a development server without hijacking the official, final hostname.

I have to agree with Bryan. I consider the move to deployment (and
maintenance of a matching testing server) one of the weakest areas of
WordPress. I've participated in threads on the forum discussing best
practices and seen mods say "there just isn't a best practice."  (e.g.

And lest you think this is just whining from folks who should know
better, awareness of the problem is a lot less universal than you'd
hope.  I recently helped a lawyer friend who had spent a lot of money
for a new site.  A month after deployment her front page slider images
disappeared and the designer wanted $200/hr to investigate. Yup...they
forgot to change the URLS to their public-facing deployment server, so
they worked until they deactivated her testing site.  While that dev
needs a good shaking for not even checking their work when it broke,
the fact remains that it's an avoidable problem and it makes WordPress
look not quite prime time.

I should probably offer the disclaimer that I'm old-school.  I ran a
web shop in 1996, then went on to be a Java Dev (after getting a
degree) before returning to web a few years ago.  I'm still learning
about WordPress, but the very notion of absolute URLs strikes me as
"yer doin' it wrong". Obviously I'm still learning about WordPress and
there's a lot about the web that's changed, but so far I'm not seeing
any compelling positive arguments -- a reason it's better this way.

Placing URLs into a site that we KNOW will break with deployment seems
like a remnant of a time when the software was for blogging.  Build
your theme, deploy, start creating content.  To have a structure that
requires a database search and replace (and note Bill's earlier
comments: even that doesn't work in all cases and you really need a
tool) is a hack.  It seems to me that Wordpress should store
attachments with a format that will update automatically, however
given the huge number of plug-ins that already hard-code the URL maybe
it would be better to address it with a built in deployment tool?
Perhaps when you change the Wordpress Address or Site Address it
should update automatically? (Network is a whole additional headache.)
 Or simply offer a built-in tool for "update URL in database" so it's
done right?

- Shasta

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