Ben Rothman - WordPress Developer Ben, Author at Ben Rothman, Web Developer


My blog is dedicated to sharing my expertise, recommendations, and tutorials on WordPress. If you're interested in developing with WordPress, my blog is a valuable resource that you won't want to miss.

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I forgot mysql password on a local server, how do I enter the command line?

sudo mysql –defaults-file=/etc/mysql/debian.cnf

Web Development

Github on Linux: I could push to my repo yesterday but now I get an error

This issue can be caused by multiple problems, but when I ran into this issue it was because my access token had expired but my SSH key was fine.

If you are having this issue and suspect that it may be caused by the token expiration, follow the steps below.

First, generate a new access token on github by following this very simple guide: and do not forget to copy the token because you cannot see it again.

Clone a repo to test pushes on and open that location in the terminal.

Run the command:

The output of this command will be the remote URL(s) associated with that particular repository. If there are entries there, you can remove them with the follow command:

Add a new remote URL built with the token, the username and the repository name by running the following command but substituting in your own values:

After you add that new remote URL you can try to push but you will get an error:

fatal: The current branch main has no upstream branch.
To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use

As described in the error, run the command:

and now the pushing will work. Happy coding!

Web Development WordPress

WordPress: How to send an AJAX call with JQuery and PHP

Several of the webpages and plugins that I have made with WordPress needed to update the database in some way or reference PHP on a button click. Since PHP and access to the database are run before page load, that seems impossible. This need to run PHP on as a response to user input when a button is pressed is exactly the case that an asynchronous AJAX call like the one I am about to show you comes in handy. Making this asynchronous call work is a multi-step process, but when it works it will do exactly what you want it to do.

First, in functions.php file, enqueue the script as normally but localize the script with a nonce which we will use for security purposes later:

Then in the JQuery file, use create a handler for a user clicking a button and in the response include a $.ajax call, which is the asynchronous part. Also in the JQuery we are sending the AJAX to the ajax_url that we localized into the script and we also pass the nonce for use in the PHP for security purposes:

And finally in the PHP file, add both actions listed below with the prefixes wp_ajax_ and wp_ajax_nopriv for users of different types, define the function using the same name used in the JQuery and get any data sent from the JQuery from post variables. One of those bits of data is the nonce, it is used to verify that your code sent the command and not some malicious actor. From here you can update the WordPress database and then optionally send results of the update back to the JQuery:

Web Development WordPress

WordPress: How to send data and variables from js to PHP in an AJAX call

I’m sure many of you recognize the javascript code block above, added to your code to call an AJAX function and run a PHP function from javascript. The above code will call the PHP function my_user_vote() when an action picked up by JQuery takes place if the function exists, the AJAX hooks were added correctly and the script was in fact localized with the ajaxurl.

If we want to pass data from the original JQuery function that calls the PHP function TO that PHP function, we can simply add more ‘data’ to the call and that data/those variables will be accessible in the PHP as $_POST variables in the function that is called with the names the data was given in the data part of the call.

Now, in my PHP function I can get the value “foobar” simply by

Web Development WordPress

WordPress: How to Use Nonces to secure AJAX calls

This article assumes you have knowledge of PHP, JQuery, developing for WordPress and enqueueing scripts and using AJAX calls that work but do not use nonce security.

I am not here to try to sell you on using nonces. Nonces do add security to AJAX calls but they are not REQUIRED, just greatly recommended. WordPress describes nonces as “a one-time token generated by a website… This could prevent unwanted, repeated, expired, or malicious requests from being processed.”

In other words, a nonce is a unique key that your website creates that allows you to verify actions. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on using nonces to ensure that requests are originating from our own website.

First, let’s start by generating the nonce. The proper way of doing this is by localizing your javascript files in the PHP where you register and enqueue the script files.

In the code above we register a script, point to it’s file, tell WordPress jquery is a dependency, and then localize into the script 1) the ajax url and 2) the nonce that we generate

Then inside the script file, create a JQuery on click function and inside it put this AJAX call:

The final step is the shortest. Inside of my_function, the function being called by the AJAX call, just add the actual check as it’s first line:

The check is just that one line. Notice ‘any_text’ can be subbed for any string you choose as long as it matches the string used in the function to generate the nonce, and ‘nonce’ can also be any variable name, as long as it matches the parameter passed in the data of the AJAX call.

Happy WordPressing!


How to Add a WordPress AJAX Nonce

Web Development WordPress

WordPress: Query Loop Syntax

This post is long overdue on this blog. I have personally used this method of querying and iterating through the results many many times. Below is the standard structure for a query and a loop. This query and loop will find all ‘post’s on this WordPress website that have the ‘people’ taxonomy with ‘bob’ checked off.

Project Web Development WordPress

How to Install plugins onto my WordPress site using Composer

Installing plugins is easy enough as long as you have a basic understanding of composer and know how to use it, and this guide will explain the process.

The first thing you need to do is make a composer file in a file named composer.json. That may sound obvious, but then first steps often are:

The above JSON is the final composer file, so if you are seeing things in there that don’t make sense yet, don’t worry I am going to explain them.

[We want to use composer in this project to install plugins into the plugin directory, not the usual vendor directory, so we use the oomphinc/composer-installers-extender plugin to do that by requiring it as a dependency and then setting custom installer paths in the “extra” section, and as you can see that custom install path is set for all packages of type “wordpress-plugin”.]

We want to install WordPress plugins hosted in the official repository AND we want to install them to the correct plugins directory in the WordPress install. is a great solution for installing WordPress plugins from the official repository via composer to the correct place, so we have to add a url for that to the “repositories” section.

The rest is just requiring each plugin as a dependency package in the JSON file. To install a specific plugin from the public WordPress repository, just require wpackagist-plugin/{the-plugin-slug} and either the version or dev- then the svn directory to get the files from.

I hope you try this and come to agree that this process is easy thanks in large part to the work done by the developers of wpackagist, who designed their software to enable composer to do exactly this with ease. Enjoy!

Project Web Development

How to select VS Code as the default editor for filetypes in FileZilla on Ubuntu

FileZille, the common FTP or SFTP app gives users the flexibility to edit files on remote servers in the editor of their choice before they upload the changed file. Many users (myself included) like to use VS Code to edit files that are .php, .css, .js or .html files. But Ben, how do I configure FileZilla to use VS Code? Check out the easy solution below!

Step 1:
Go to Settings of FileZilla.

Step 2:
In Settings, go to the File Editing option

Step 3:
And in that choose option Filetype associations

Step 4:
In the large text field, add “php /snap/bin/code” for PHP.

And similarly for the different file types:
For js add “js /snap/bin/code
For css add “css /snap/bin/code
For html add “html /snap/bin/code


Plugin Web Development Website WordPress

WordPress: Cloudflare Plugin

Obviously not all WordPress sites use cloudflare, in fact many of them don’t. BUT, if you have a WordPress site and you happen to be one of the people who uses Cloudflare with the site like I do from time to time then you need the Cloudflare plugin.

Why do we need the plugin? We can control everything by logging into Cloudflare and changing the configuration there. That is true, but things like purging the server cache or turning on “development mode” (a great feature) are possible without leaving the comfort of the site if you have the Cloudflare plugin installed and configured.

Just because I know any readers are wondering, “Development Mode” suspend Cloudflare’s edge caching, minification, Polish and Railgun features for three hours so that changes to images, CSS files or Javascript files can immediately be seen by users of the site. Although the site will not load as fast, development mode is good for development since the developer is constantly changing those files and using cached versions would be silly and cause the developer to think there are problems with the new code when there are none.

Web Development WordPress

Publishing failed. The response is not a valid JSON response.

After a site migration I got this error. Don’t panic, this was an easy fix, go to Settings > Permalinks and choose ‘Post name’ then press the save button. Easy right? Happy WordPressing!