Dreamhost and case-sensitivity in WordPress’ current_theme value?

At shortly before 2 am, server time, despite a lack of any change to my local files, this site stopped serving content correctly and instead began chucking out 500 errors. error.log was full of “premature end of headers” messages for every attempt to load a WordPress .php script, though serving files and raw directories was still working fine.

I tried a few things but couldn’t find a problem: WP’s actual files seemed fine (diffs against a same-version install for another site turned up nothing, etc) and it wasn’t a rogue plugin, and .htaccess was fine (and more on that below*), etc.

What ended up doing the job was blowing out “phoenixblue” in the wp_options table’s “current_theme” value. I replaced it with “default” just to see what would happen. What did happen is that I loaded the site and it came up looking just fine. And not looking like it was using the default uggo WP theme, either. Taking a look at the db again, I found that “current_theme” had been redefined as “PhoenixBlue”.

So did DH reconfigure something such that the handling of the theme name got case-sensitive overnight? Or what? I’m boggled.

* On the .htaccess front, I saw about ten days ago the sudden failure of this site to load, again without any recent change on my part; in that case, nothing, not even plain files or raw directories, were loading. The fix was to blow a couple of lines out of my .htaccess file:

RedirectMatch ([0-9]{4})([0-9]{2})([0-9]{2})_[0-9]{4} /$1/$2/$3/ [L]

Not really a problem, since it was a years-old redirect from when I moved to WP in the first place from some home-rolled blog software with a different permalink structure. But, again, something changed and not on my end, which is weird. The server had rebooted with no warning earlier in the day when that happened, so that’s almost certain when the change, whatever it was, happened. Dreamhost reconfiguring apache in a way that borked the old .htaccess functionality, maybe?

I don’t know enough about Apache or .htaccess to be confident in assaying the correctness or potential quirkiness of the above bit of mojo; it’s possible they just reconfigured something in a way that made bad code that shouldn’t have worked in the first place finally actually not work, I don’t know. But ugh. It’s been a fun couple weeks.

Announcing Josh Millard, Musician!

I’ve just launched a long-overdue new site dedicated specifically to archiving and blogging about my musical output:

Josh Millard, Musician

I’ve collected several hundred songs and recordings of same from the last fifteen years or so in one place, organized for easy browsing and quick listening via embedded mp3 players. It’s a work in process as I continue to do writeups about individual songs and collections, and I’ll be making music-oriented blog entries over there as well.