Moving my photo site to a new URL and server

This post is pretty much just a note to self (I tend to have to relearn how to write Apache rewrites every time I use them), but I thought it might be useful to others as well.

A few months ago I set up a Twitpic-esque WordPress site for hosting my mobile photos. Since then, the shared hosting space where the sites lives has been filling up, so I don’t have much storage left, and I’ve also gotten a sweet new domain name. So this morning I took a few minutes to move the existing WordPress site (, part of a WP network at and to, on another server. Here’s how I did it:

  • Use the WP export tool (Dashboard > Tools > Export) to get an XML of the old site data (on
  • Create a new, empty site (
  • Import the content of the old site (Dashboard > Tools > Import > WordPress)
  • Move my custom theme (and its parent theme) to the new server, and activate it for the new site
  • To make sure that old links to* are redirected properly, put the following in .htaccess on the old server:
    # These two lines have to be somewhere near the top of your .htaccess
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    # Redirect old photo URLs
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [NC]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} photos/*
    RewriteRule ^.*${REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

Because the main purpose of this site is to post from my mobile phone, I also had to change the settings in my WordPress Android app. It doesn’t look like this app allows you to change the URL of an existing site, so I just deleted the one I already had on the phone and added the new one, being sure to enable XML-RPC access first, at Dashboard > Settings > Writing.

Kicking the Twitpic habit with WordPress

Twitpic and its ilk are pretty convenient, especially when they’re integrated into mobile Twitter apps. But as recent articles have shown, the terms of service of such services can be downright icky. Twitpic may have changed its tune a few days after the outcry, but honestly, if it takes an outcry to make a company not be evil, then maybe you shouldn’t be dealing with that company.

This is a perfect little side project for Project Reclaim, and something of a no-brainer. Twitpic etc are stripped-down publishing platforms. I already run a couple installations of a non-stripped-down publishing platform, namely WordPress. So I set up my own photo blog in just a couple of minutes.

I already have an instance of WordPress Multisite that I use for a bunch of different purposes. So setting up the blog itself was easy – I went to my Network Admin panel and clicked Add Site. If you’ve never worked with WordPress Multisite before, you should know that it’s already built into the WordPress installation that you may already have. You can read more about how to turn on Multisite at the WordPress Codex, or you can watch a somewhat out-of-date but otherwise charming video of a handsome and engaging speaker talking on this very subject.

Then I found a theme that looks nice with photographs. I didn’t look very far. My favorite visual theme has, for some time, been Allan Cole’s AutoFocus. In the future, I’ll probably build a child theme that has a few tweaks appropriate for my mobile photo blog, but it works pretty nicely out of the box.

Then I fired up my WordPress Android app (there’s one for the iPhone too) and connected it to my new WordPress blog. (You’ll have to enable XML-RPC on your WP blog if you want to use the mobile app.) I tweaked a few of the blog setting in my app, so that the photo would be linked after I published it, and the thumbnails would be of an appropriate size.

Finally, I got a WordPress plugin that sends tweets every time a post is published on the photo blog. I’m using YOURLS (more on this in an upcoming Project Reclaim post), but there are lots of them out there that are freely available. Just search the WordPress plugin repository.

Now, when I want to tweet a picture, here’s what I do. Open the WP app. Create a new post. Click the Media button. Take the photo. Add the content of my tweet in the Title field. Publish. (Don’t have to do it in this order, of course.) Totally painless – and I don’t have to worry about any terms of service. Yippee!

For more reading, here’s another blog post about the very same idea.

Related posts:

  1. BuddyPress and the YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter plugin
  2. Shorten your own dang URLs
  3. Enabling Popularity Contest for WordPress networkwide use