Sophos’ excellent Naked Security blog posted an advisory about a vulnerability in PHP, the code engine that basically drives WordPress sites like this one (among other things), so this morning I decided to update.
And then I decided to upgrade.
See, we’ve been running on PHP 7.4 since the latest server migration. That’s two major releases back from the current, as PHP 8.1 came out late last year. In due time, nobody was going to be checking for security problems in that version anymore so I figured it’s better to upgrade now rather than find out that I should have after something’s gone horribly wrong.
Of course a version bump always includes the chance that some older piece of code won’t work right, and sure enough several of the sites I host fell down after the change.
Quacked Panes fell down because there was still a set of squiggly brackets instead of the now-required square brackets in a part of the Webcomic plugin. (If you’re curious: Line 426 of
webcomic/lib/transcribe/filters.php in the plugins directory. It’s a five-second fix of a short, simple line of code.)
My son’s website fell down because of a YouTube plugin that hadn’t been updated in seven entire years. I simply removed that plugin directory from the WordPress file structure and huzzah, the site loads again.
Both of our PmWiki sites fell down because, well, they were a bit out of date and that’s on me. A quick unpack of the latest installation files into the website directories solved that in a hurry.
My Foundry VTT server wasn’t affected because it doesn’t use any PHP. On the downside, every server reboot results in my having to manually launch the silly thing, which… isn’t the worst situation, it’s just annoying.
pm2 save, my ass.
While I was goofing around in the server anyway, I also updated some backup settings (can’t ever go wrong making sure that your backups are good!) and performed some general tidying-up. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning… other than the moments of panic when I realized how many websites had fallen down, of course…