Gravity Forms + Stripe Curl_Exec Issue

At the time of writing this the Gravity Forms + Stripe WordPress extension/plugin for Gravity Forms is about the only extension that will add a proper credit card fieldset to an existing form created with the excellent Gravity Forms plugin. I had been taking credit card details via credit card fields setup manually in Gravity Forms then inputting the details in my Stripe account but that was hassle and allegedly a bit insecure!

Unfortunately, my VPS server wasn’t setup correctly to handle the Stripe calls and after having installed The Gravity Forms + Stripe plugin I noticed none of my forms were visible anymore. After a few emails back and forth with the plugin developer Naomi and turning off all my other plugins except Gravity Forms and Gravity Forms + Stripe, I got the following error message:

Warning: curl_exec() has been disabled for security reasons in
on line 176

To sort this out I had to edit my VPS php.ini file to remove the reference to “curl_exec” in the “disable_functions” line. To do this you’ll need access to change your server settings. Non-VPS or shared hosting customers can’t normally change server settings. You can ask your hosting company to do this for you but I’d say it’s unlikely they will. Hopefully your hosting setup is suitable though.

First off, find out where your php.ini file is or which one your server is using by viewing your PHP info. Upload a file called “phpinfo.php” with the following content only:

<!--?php phpinfo(); ?>

Next, open up an SSH session to your server and login as the root user using something like Putty. Add the following commands to edit your php.ini file. The example given relates to the location of php.ini on my server only:

pico -w /usr/local/lib/php.ini

Finally, run the following command to restart apache so the changes are active:

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

My Gravity Forms + Stripe setup now works perfectly! Here’s my payment form:


The Great VPS Con

I’ve been using Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting from various different hosts for my own sites for a few years now. I reckoned I’d outgrown shared hosting and liked the idea of having a server all to myself, expecting performance to be much better without having to share with hundreds or thousands of other sites. Its not really worked out like that though..

I currently have about 10 wordpress based sites on my VPS, only a couple of which might be construed as doing anything weird. They both have a lot of plugins and some decent traffic. But all in all, I wouldnt consider that I’m doing anything on such a massive scale to warrant the downtime and slowness problems I’ve been having for ages now. WordPress can be resource heavy but surely servers should know how to deal with it by now?

The thing that annoys me most is that the same sites didnt cause half as much trouble when they were on shared and if they did, support was available quickly and for FREE. VPS support has to be paid for as its unmanaged. I recently had a client move from my shared reseller hosting to a VPS and straight away he had terrible site/server downtime problems none of which happened on my shared. So while VPS hosting is a lot dearer per month than shared, its shared that seems to have the best specs, performance and support. What exactly are we paying for with a VPS so? Control? Is that even important? You really need to know your stuff if control and editing server settings is your thing.

In short, I think I’d only reccommend VPS hosting if you dont have a large wordpress or cms based site and know your way around server settings, but even then make sure you have your own very good reason for having a VPS rather than just thinking it sounds like a good idea or having your host talk you into it.

I’m hoping to switch back to shared soon.


VPS Instability Issues & Really Simple Captcha

For the last few years I’ve been having an annoying issue with my WordPress sites on VPS hosting. I’ve gone through 3 different VPS/Cloud hosts and the problem remained.

The problem was basically to do with server stability and uptime. My sites were unresponsive and the server was going down intermittently. Server CPU usage was up and I seemed to be using way more space than seemed right for the files I’d uploaded.

The issue was compounded by the fact that I’m not that well up on VPS management and the hosting companies only support VPS issues for a fee! Recently, I had my current host tell me that I reached my Inode limit which is basically the number of individual files and folders you can have on a server. Neither of us could understand why the limit was reached as it meant I must have millions of files hosted which didn’t seem possible for the sites I was running. My actual disk space usage was only 50% too.

Turns out that a couple of wordpress plugins on one of my main sites, “Really Simple Captcha”, and Tribulant’s Newsletter plugin had conspired to create millions of individual files in the captcha “tmp” directory. I upgraded the newsletter plugin and deleted the tmp directory files (had to use SSH) and I gained back nearly 100% Inodes and 25% disk space and so far server stability has been fine.

More info on the problem can be found here.