Simple Solution to SSL (HTTPS://)

My hosting company finally got around to enabling Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. I’d been nagging for at least a year.

I managed to move ALL my sites to SSL for free (apart from the ones I’d already bought certificates for), in one morning.

All I did was enable Let’s Encrypt for each site in turn, in PLESK, take the default options, and then use the “Really Simple SSL” WordPress plugin.

That’s it. Sorted. For Free. If your hosting company doesn’t support Let’s Encrypt, MOVE.

REMEMBER: Google promotes encrypted sites above others in search results. Chrome marks unencrypted sites as “Not secure”. You don’t want that.

Really Simple SSL

I recently needed to upgrade an existing wordpress site to SSL/https:.

This was made more complicated by the fact that it was on a shared hosting server, AND used cloudflare CDN.

This should have been simple:

  1. Generate certificate request
  2. Buy certificate
  3. Install certificate
  4. Tell WordPress to use https://
  5. Redirect http to https.

Except it didn’t work.

I couldn’t get it to reliably use https:// or redirect or

Eventually, after raising tickets with Cloudflare and The hosting company, I found a plugin called “Really Simple SSL”.

This configured wordpress to use https AND rewrote the htaccess file to do the redirects. In the end I had to manually edit the file as my htaccess file is secured, but at least they gave me the code to do that.

I left the cloudflare CDN SSL setting as “flexible”, as anything else caused problems.

WordPress post-by-email feature.

The best way to make this work is to use the Jetpack plugin, and enable the post-by-email feature.

That gives you an e-mail address where anything it receives is published as a blog post.

However, I found I couldn’t get it to work until I switched from ithemes security to wordfence. Apparently, it’s a known problem: ithemes security blocks xmlrpc, so post-by-email isn’t available..

Worth knowing.

Online Selling & Marketplaces in 2015

As you have probably gathered by now, I do a bit of online trading.. (understatement)
A few years ago, my list of online marketplaces would have included ebay(uk), amazon(uk), cqout, “play” store, and ebid.
These days, I’ve narrowed it down to ebay(UK) and amazon(UK). I sell more stuff on Amazon than ebay by a massive margin.
While it has become much cheaper to list items on ebay, it’s still FREE to list on amazon, plus you simply use their catalog system – meaning no tedious listing blurb.
I currently have a large inventory on Amazon, but only list the occasional item on (eg a Korg microsampler, sold to a German via ebay worldwide shipping).

I have completely stopped bothering with cqout – I sold barely anything, and the site is painfully slow to navigate. I’m amazed it’s still there! And why does it insist on listing prices in $dollars on the UK site?
Play Store closed down some time ago, after Rakuten took over. That was a shame – I sold a few books on
eBid UK still seems to be there – but as I recall, their audience is tiny compared to eBay. Their USP (unique Selling Point) was no listing fees. I’ve requested a password reminder, but I’m still waiting.. not impressed.

Over the last year, I have used Gumtree a LOT more than before – it’s a good place to source cheap stuff. Example – a pair of powerline adapters for a tenner. (RRP £50-ish).
Finally, I have also bought a few things on local Facebook trading groups. Well worth a try. Example: a pair of doctor marten boots for £30 – RRP £80. They’re great, BTW.

A couple more that I haven’t tried are Etsy and Preloved.  Etsy is mainly nad-made stuff, and Preloved is second-hand classifieds.

Recommended Reading

Text File Widget 2.0 Released – WordPress 4.3 Compatible

I’ve just uploaded a new version of Text File Widget (2.0).

This addresses the php v5.0 constructor issue – WordPress 4.3 will throw a warning if it encounters php v4.0 contructors.

Thanks to Remy Corson for providing a working example of the correct code. Not sure why I didn’t use that in the first place..

Anyway, I’ve tested it on WordPress 4.3 Beta 4, and it worked fine – no warnings. Rah!


“Text File Widget” is live on WordPress.Org

My first plugin – “Text File Widget” is now live on the WordPress Plugins Repository.
It’s a proper job – complete Readme.Txt file, Banner, and Icon.
Looks great!


Here’s the link:

It’s a very simple plugin, all it does is display the contents of a text file as a widget. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t already a plugin for this, so I wrote one..

It replaces end-of-line characters with a “
” for clarity.

Here’s the plugin page:

Any problems with it, contact me via WordPress.Org (hit the plugin’s “support” link) – let’s do everything properly!

I’ve just created my first WordPress plugin!

I've just created my first WordPress plugin! Click To Tweet
I found that no existing plugin did exactly what I wanted to do: display the contents of a text file as a sidebar widget, so I made my own, from scratch.
[There was a plugin that displayed the contents of a text file whenever a shortcode was inserted, which was ok for inside pages and posts, but not widgets.]
While I was at it, I realised how easy it would be to add a shortcode handler as well, so I did.
It’s a pretty specific plugin, only for my “” site – not for general release, but it’s a start. (Look for the “Basher’s Daily Tip” widget in the RH sidebar..)

I could easily create a generic “display text file as widget” plugin, though. I’ll think about it.

I also think it would be useful to have an online “plugin boilerplate generator” that did all the boring stuff leaving only the custom code bits to do..
I may do that, too..

Any comments or suggestions gratefully accepted as usual:

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