Category: Blog

If you attended my talk at WordCamp Raleigh 2015 on being your own Sysadmin, you may be interested in this. There are couple of questions that came up after the presentation on maintaining the site once it’s up and running. So there are a couple things to consider here.


File Permissions

File permissions tell the host operating system which users can access certain directories and files. If you followed my talk, we created the www folder under the root account so by default, root owns it. Whereas with our config file, the nginx process runs under the www-data user and group. I provided a bash script  to set the correct permissions to our /var/www/ directory. It sets the owner and group of the directory to www-data along with changing the file permissions to 644 and directory to 755. This is recommended settings from

Now, once this is set, you shouldn’t have to change it or re-run this script unless you upload or edit a file via SFTP. By doing so, you’ll be resetting the permissions and owner back to root (given you’re logged in as that).

Server Patching

Patching as we know, keeps the vulnerabilities at bay or at least reduces the chance you’ll be affected by a script kiddie. If someone really wants in, they’re probably going to get in. There are two commands that we can run, and I don’t recommend automating this unless you really know what you’re doing.

apt-get update

This command requests all the latest data and version numbers for all of the packages that are available from Ubuntu. This is required before we actually update any packages, otherwise we wouldn’t know what’s out there.

apt-get upgrade

This command is what does the heavy lifting. It will compare the packages installed on your server with what’s in the repos. If it finds any differences, it will mark that package for upgrading. Once ran, you’ll get a list of the packages that has an update available. If you choose to update, you’d simply answer yes to the upgrade.

Sometimes, some packages will want to overwrite your configuration files. I’d recommend against doing this and you can opt to NOT overwrite them by answering N (or no) to the prompt.

I would do this about once a month, go ahead and add it to your calendar.

WordPress and Plugin Patching

Finally, you must keep WordPress updated along with it’s plugins. You could do this through the command line via something like WP-CLI but I’d just recommend for the basic user to use the updater built into WordPress. Our setup allows for the webserver to do it’s own updates so there should not be an issue with that.


Finishing Up

By doing these basic steps, you should be able to keep your server and WordPress install up to date. If you have any questions, tweet me at @adamsewell.

So it seems that I’ve been a bad blogger. I posted on here in quite a while. A lot has been going on since the last post, more so with MyGeek Technologies but we’re still here and kicking with tinyElk.


WordCamp Asheville 2015

Back in July, I traveled up to one of my favorite cities in North Carolina to give a presentation on Customer Service and how it specifically applies to the Freelancer. As a brief summary, we covered things like communication, availability, and choosing customers. I will say again, communication is KEY with customer service.

View the slides here:

Video the video:


WordCamp Raleigh 2015

Taking a break from the business presentations, I’m giving a talk this weekend in Raleigh on how to be your own SysAdmin. Basically, we’ll be taking a look at setting up a small VPS server from DigitalOcean. We’ll install nginx, php5-fpm, and mariadb. Install WordPress and off we go.


Simple Desk

A lot of work is still being done on Simple Desk and will continue to be so. Even after a year of intermittent development, it still has a way to go before I would release an alpha release. You can find the trunk on GitHub – if you’re brave enough. If you’re interested in the email to ticket functionality, shoot me an email at adam [aT] tinyelk {dot} com




For some businesses, a ticket system is the life of the business. It most certainly is for ours. In another world, I run an IT business that caters to other small to medium sized businesses. Our reputation falls on completion of tasks, solving problems, and following up with clients. When we looked at a ticket solution for the business, there were literally hundreds of options. Self-hosted, SaSS solutions, and a few WordPress based options that just did not meet our needs. A lot of them were overly complex, not well thought out, or just too damn expensive. So what does any self-respecting developer do? You create your own.

With that, it’s my pleasure to announce Simple Desk. Simple Desk is a ticketing system designed for either one person or a team of people to track tickets and customers with heavy focus on being simple. In it’s current stage, the stage of partial functionality, it can track tickets, have multiple clients, and multiple technicians. Email notifications work and email to ticket works, however is and will be a separate paid plugin.

Speaking of which, the core of Simple Desk will be free but will have paid addons. Simple Desk is currently available to use via our GitHub repo. Give it a run, see how you like it and make some suggestions!

We’re at WordCamp Asheville today and tomorrow, if you’re in the area come by and check it out. Starting off as a great WordCamp. Also, we have a talk at 1:00p on WordPress and Business, specifically talking to freelancers designers and developers.

Along with some other members of the Shopp community, we will be attending WordCamp Charleston on May 17th in Charleston, SC. My wife and I have spent a lot of time in Charleston and we’re very excited to see a WordCamp in one of our favorite cities, we have three.

We look forward to seeing you there and please, if you have any questions about WordPress or Shopp, find us and ask questions!

We’ve been attending WordCamp’s for several years now, starting with our first which was WordCamp NYC in 2010. WordCamp’s are great to meet like minded WordPress enthusiasts, developers and designers. Aside from our NYC trip, we frequent WordCamp Raleigh. Once a year all WordPress enthusiast and businesses from North Carolina and others congregate into Raleigh for a weekend of WordPress. Now, normally we just attend these events and maybe help out in the genius bar if they have one, however this year is different. This year we decided to both sponsor and speak at WordCamp Raleigh. I, Adam, will be giving a talk on Sunday about marketing your WordPress store or business in the real world.

WordCamp Raleigh 2013 Speaker


Beyond SEO: Alternative methods of promoting your W

ordPress store – We will be covering topics that relate to WordPress but will not be entirely or exclusive to WordPress. We will be talking about how to market yourself and your WordPress based business to your local communities and in niches. We will be covering examples of how others have marketed their own businesses. Finally, we will have a discussion with the audience on what has worked for them and their business, to help spread the ideas and grow the WordPress community through ourselves and businesses

Tonight we were honored to have Cyndi Allison (aka Grill Girl), owner of the Barbecue Master blog to speak with our fledging group. Tonight’s topic was content and SEO, tips for writing great content and how to keep in the good graces of Google. It was a great talk and we appreciate Cyndi taking time to talk with us.


Last night marked the second meetup for Salisbury’s WordPress Meetup group. This meetup was a social event, meaning there was no particular topic that was being discussed but rather a open discussion about anything but especially about WordPress.

Salisbury's WordPress Meetup Group

We were thankful to have Anthony Navarro from The WP Dojo there as well as some new members to the group! We are scheduling another meetup for May, which will be at the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury though the topic has not been set.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the next event!



Last night was the first ever Salisbury WordPress Meetup and I will have to say that it was a successful meeting. We have a total of eight people in attendance, which anyone that has been involved in a new meetup group knows that you’re lucky to have two or three people your first meeting. We look forward to what this group could mean for the Lexington and Salisbury areas and we’re equally as excited about the general interest in WordPress in this area!

If you’re interested, check out our meetup group on