Now that we’ve set up our multisite WordPress network, the next problem is going to be moving the content from our multiple existing single site installations into the multisite network.

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November 15, 2017
by Matt Raines

Switching to WordPress multisite

Last week I went into detail about how we’ve simplified our procedure for keeping WordPress up to date by using Composer for dependency management. Stage two in our process to clean up our many separate installations of WordPress is to create a single “network” where all the sites on our server share the same core code and plugins. Why update 19 installations when you can just update one?

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November 9, 2017
by Matt Raines

Dependency management for WordPress

Prater Raines launched our 19th WordPress website recently, a petition campaigning for justice for the marginalised children of Vietnamese mothers and South Korean fathers born during the Vietnam War.

Our support contract with clients always includes backing up their data and keeping their website secure and easy to modify in future by making sure it’s running the latest version of WordPress and any contributed plugins. This has been a fairly manual process for a while and it felt like a good time to streamline things a little.

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November 8, 2017
by Tim Prater


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

June 16, 2017
by Matt Raines

MySQL and the case of the missing EU flag

A customer recently wrote to us to tell us that they wanted to add an EU flag character (🇪🇺) to an email they sent out from on of our websites but doing so resulted an error message.

It turned out to be a problem with the “utf8” character encoding in the MySQL database engine.

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Prater Raines support a suite of websites for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations: their Influence PR article aggregating site based on WordPress, their bespoke CPD platform Ladder and the main CIPR website based on Drupal.

When we took over the management and maintenance of their websites a few years ago, it was clear that the Drupal site – based on Drupal 6 – was going to need to be updated at some stage. At that time Drupal 8 was still in Beta, and we were expecting to move straight from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 when it was fully available.

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On Saturday 8th July we are planning on moving our server array to a larger “rack” with our existing datacentre (we’re remaining with our excellent hosting partner Custodian). The move is to allow us to further enhance the security and resilience of our servers by introducing a new hardware firewall and remote access capability across our systems.

In physical terms, it means powering off all servers and switch, unwiring, removing from their existing location, moving to a new one (about 100m away!), putting into their new home, rewiring and bringing back online.

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April 11, 2017
by Tim Prater

Stewart Christie to Join Prater Raines

Prater Raines Ltd are delighted to announce that Stewart Christie will be joining their growing team from mid-April.

Sandgate-based Prater Raines develop and support websites and data systems for a wide variety of clients. They formed in 2002, developing a website service that rapidly grew to be the largest supplier of Lib Dem websites.

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SDC Systems homepage

Although we recommend that we host your website for you, it doesn’t have to be that way…

We were approached in April 2016 by data software and security company SDC Systems. They were looking to move their website from a legacy system to WordPress to make it rather easier to update and add new content.

At that stage they wanted this change to occur with the minimum of design changes, and also to host their new site in-house as they clearly had significant technical experyise. We did so for them, porting their content and site structure with a limited number of changes in under two working days – all to time and specification.

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January 9, 2017

Exchange Rate Crunching…


Each month, we pay a $50 subscription to a US software company for use of their anti-spam and anti-virus product across our sites (just one more service we provide for our customers!).

On looking at our accounts for the last year, the payments in pounds sterling for that 50 US dollars a month have been:

  • 05-03-2016     £36.14
  • 05-04-2016     £36.30
  • 05-05-2016     £35.47

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