I spend most of a day trying to figure out why I can’t send trackbacks from my blog.
If you follow this blog, you’ll know I’m working on a book about WordPress with Miraz Jordan. We split the chapters down the middle, with me getting the first half and Miraz getting the second. One of my chapters covers comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks, three features of WordPress that allow feedback and interactivity between blogs and readers.
On my two WordPress-powered sites, the comments feature works fine. A bit too fine, in fact, as the sites quickly became victims of comment spam. Fortunately, Dr. Dave makes a great comment spam prevention plugin for WordPress called Spam Karma and that catches about 99% of the spam aimed at my two sites. I can easily catch the rest using WordPress’s built-in moderation tools. I’ll be covering all this information in detail in Chapter 4 of our book.
I never really experimented much with the trackback and pingback features. Rather than going into a long, detailed explanation of what these features are, if you’re interested (and can’t wait for the book), you can visit the WordPress Trackback Tutorial on Optiniche.com.
One thing I will point out here is that pingbacks are automatic notification of a blog that your blog refers to it. For example, so far I’ve provided links to two specific blog entries (one on Dr. Dave’s site and one on Optiniche). Because WordPress is configured to automatically notify compatible sites when you link to them, a comment should be created for blog entry I linked to, providing an excerpt from my post and other information. You can see an example on this site from Miraz in the comments on this post. Even the link I just created to my own blog entry should result in a pingback to my blog.
Unfortunately, none of this is working. And yesterday, I spent a good part of the day troubleshooting to find out why. After all, it’s difficult to write about something when you can’t get it to work right.
Don’t get me wrong — I know exactly how it should work. I’ve probably read more about the trackback feature in the past two days than most WordPress users read in their lifetimes. And I tortured Miraz yesterday by asking her to trackback and pingback to my site to make sure I could receive these. (I can.) I just can’t send them.
Oddly enough, I attempted to create a trackback from my demo WordPress.com blog. It appeared to go to its destination, but it never showed up there.
In troubleshooting, I found two possible problems mentioned in the WordPress Codex, both of which will require a visit to the server where the sites reside.
First, there’s some indication that the pings might be “stuck” in a queue, resulting in an endless loop while WordPress tries to send them. I’m not so sure about this. It seems to me if that there was some kind of loop thing going on, WordPress would be bogged down by the effort. Yet my two sites seems to perform okay. Still, the cure seems to be to use some MySQL commands to flush out the contents of the to_ping field. Since I don’t think it will hurt anything to do this, I’ll give it a try.
Other people experiencing this same problem claim that this does not help. One person believes it has to do with a blog getting very large and a memory problem resulting. I can believe this with my blogs. Although I only have about 400 entries in each, the entries in this blog tend to be very lengthy. Add to that my love of customization via plugin and you have a very busy WordPress trying to do all kind of things with lots of data. To fix this, I need to visit my server and make some changes to the php.ini file. (I already tried modifying .htaccess, as the article suggests, but that doesn’t appear to help.)
I’m also thinking at this point that it may have something to do with a recently installed plugin. On this site, my automatic database backup stopped working, although it continues to work reliably on wickenburg-az.com.
Am I pushing WordPress too hard? Perhaps. Hopefully I’ll resolve this problem soon so I can back to work.
Oh, and if you have any suggestions for me, please don’t keep them to yourself.