XAMPP Apache won’t start on Windows 10 — a fix

At work yesterday I discovered that the localhost Apache web server on my PC wouldn’t start; it was running XAMPP.

Each time I tried to start Apache from the XAMPP control panel I got these error messages in the console:

08:59:34 [Apache] Attempting to start Apache app…
08:59:35 [Apache] Status change detected: running
08:59:35 [Apache] Status change detected: stopped
08:59:35 [Apache] Error: Apache shutdown unexpectedly.
08:59:35 [Apache] This may be due to a blocked port, missing dependencies,
08:59:35 [Apache] improper privileges, a crash, or a shutdown by another method.
08:59:35 [Apache] Press the Logs button to view error logs and check
08:59:35 [Apache] the Windows Event Viewer for more clues
08:59:35 [Apache] If you need more help, copy and post this
08:59:35 [Apache] entire log window on the forums


Reinstalling XAMPP didn’t fix the issue. But this did, spotted on the ever-wonderful Stackoverflow:

  1. Press Windows + R to bring up the Windows Run… dialog.
  2. Type services.msc and click OK.
  3. Scroll down the list of services to find World Wide Web Publishing Service.
  4. Right-click it and select Properties.
  5. Change the Startup type to Manual.
  6. Click Stop and wait for the service to stop.
  7. Click OK.
World Wide Web Publishing Service properties dialog
This is the naughty culprit

That fixed it. Now Apache is running, as evidenced by the green light on the XAMPP control panel:

XAMPP Control Panel
Both Apache httpd and MySQL are running

Bulk install packages in Sublime Text

A couple of weeks ago I was setting up a new laptop and kept putting off installing Sublime Text (my code editor of choice) because I knew that it would also involve about fifteen minutes patiently working through my curated list of packages (add-ons / plugins), installing each one by one.

There’s got to be a simpler way, I suddenly thought. Sublime Text saves me so much time doing other stuff automatically, surely they’ve thought about this too.

I was right.

In fact, front-end developer extraordinaire Paul Irish asked this very question back in 2012.

How do it it

So, here is how to do it:

  1. Install Sublime Text (2 or 3).
  2. Install Package Control.
  3. Create a JSON file listing the "installed_packages" you want (see below) and save it to Packages/User/Package Control.sublime-settings.
  4. Restart Sublime Text and allow it to pick up and install the new packages.

Just be aware of any packages that need dependences that Sublime Text cannot install, for example Git or Zeal (offline documentation browser).

Save locations

You can easily find the save location by going to Preferences > Browse Packages.

On Windows the save location is:
C:\Users\[YOUR USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Sublime Text 3\Packages\User

Package Control.sublime-settings

This is my installed packages list from work and home; I keep a copy in Dropbox so that I can keep the two in sync.

The names listed are exactly as they are listed in the Package Control: List Packages list.

    "installed_packages": [
        "Bootstrap 3 Snippets",
        "Color Highlighter",
        "CSS Color Converter",
        "JSHint Gutter",
        "Markdown Preview",
        "Package Control",
        "Search WordPress Codex or QueryPosts",
        "Status Bar File Size",
        "Theme - Minimal",
        "Tomorrow Color Schemes",
        "View In Browser",
        "WordPress Developer Resources",
        "WordPress Generate Salts",


Needless to say, doing that made installing Sublime Text so much easier and quicker.

I will try to keep this list updated, as much for my own benefit as any one else’s.

GitHub repository

I have stored my most up-to-date settings in a GitHub repository: sublime-text-settings.

New website for Pittenweem Properties

Pittenweem Properties: self-catering in the East Neuk of Fife
Pittenweem Properties: self-catering in the East Neuk of Fife

Over the last few months in the evenings and at weekends, I’ve been working on redesigning the Pittenweem Properties website for friends here in Anstruther. The site launched a couple of weeks ago.

Pittenweem Properties offers high-quality self-catered holiday accommodation and property management services in and around Pittenweem. They currently manage properties in Carnbee just outside Anstruther and Pittenweem. But their portfolio is growing and for good reason — the properties they own and manage are to a very high standard and in a beautiful part of Scotland: the East Neuk of Fife.

WP Booking System

The site was quite fun to build.

We used Trello for communication and project planning, WordPress (of course!) as the content management system, and the Divi theme from Elegant Themes which allowed me to very quickly design and build the site. I also changed the built-in projects custom-post-type to properties using the method I blogged about in March: changing the Divi projects custom post type to anything you want.

For the booking calendar we turned to a premium theme: WP Booking System which we found intuitive and offered most of the features we needed:

  • Multiple booking calendars.
  • Submit booking requests via form.
  • Display anywhere (on page or within widgets) using a shortcode.
  • Customisable display features, including splitable legend for check-in and check-out).

If this plugin had also allowed online payments, say via PayPal, then it would have been absolutely perfect but as it is we’ve been really happy with the functionality and usability of this plugin.

There is a free version of the plugin, but it offers only one calendar and has customisation limitations. The premium version costs only US $34 (approx. GBP £21.50).


While the site is now live there are still a few bits and pieces to do, such as keep an eye on analytics data and try to improve search engine rankings.

Websites are never really finished, are they?

It was a fun project to work on. Time to focus on optimising family finances and admin, and cracking on with writing my book.

Changing the Divi projects custom post type to anything you want

Now fixed for Divi 2.5

Clone this project on GitHub.

I’m currently building a website for a friend of Jane, using the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. The website is for a holiday property letting company. This post explains how I changed the built-in Projects content type to Properties, and how you can change it to anything you want.

The problem

Divi is a great theme to use: it’s very flexible, it’s responsive (so it works equally well on smartphones as well as huge desktop monitors), and it has the easiest, drag-and-drop editor that I’ve ever used for WordPress.

Divi comes with a built in content type called Projects; WordPress calls them ‘custom post types’. I use this content type on my own website to list the various projects that I’ve been involved in over the years.

As you can see from the WordPress admin menu ‘Projects’ appears on the list beneath Posts, Media, Pages, and Comments:

WordPress menu with Divi installed shows Projects
WordPress menu with Divi installed

Divi also ships with a number of attractive ways to display your projects using its Portfolio and Filtered Portfolio modules. You can even display these full-width or as a grid, such as this:

Demo of Divi's Filtered Portfolio module displayed as a grid.
Demo of Divi’s Filtered Portfolio module displayed as a grid.

These are exactly the features that I’d like to use on the property letting website:

  • Keep properties separate from pages and posts, using a custom post type.
  • Display all properties in a grid.
  • Allow users to filter properties based on the categories that are assigned to them.

So, I want all the features of Divi’s built-in Projects custom post type, but I don’t want them to be called Projects. I want them to be called Properties.

Use a child theme

First, I strongly recommend that you use a child theme when customising Divi (or indeed any other WordPress theme). A child theme inherits the functionality and styling of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to make local customisations to it which will not be overwritten when the theme updates.

Elegant Themes have a useful walkthrough on how to create a child theme, and why you should be using one.

The WordPress Codex also has useful information about child themes.

How to do it

This very useful post on the Elegant Tweaks blog: “Change Divi Projects URL-permalink” got me started, and about 95% of the way.

I copied the code, added it to the functions.php file in my child theme, and set about editing it.

remove_action / add_action

In a nutshell the code from Elegant Tweaks does two things:

  1. It defines a new function — called child_et_pb_register_posttypes() — that will redefine the characteristics of the Projects content type.
  2. It removes the default Projects custom post type contained in Divi, and replaces it with our one in the child theme.

This last point, I believe, is simply to be tidy: rather than clumsily overwriting the existing ‘project’ custom post type it gracefully removes the old one, and creates a redefined version in its place.


In that Elegant Themes post the author was only concerned with changing the URL from /projects/ to /photos/. So in his example, the names used in the WordPress admin screens still referred to projects: Edit Project, Add New Project, etc. But I want to change these too.

In the code for a custom post type these are referred to as ‘labels’ and are defined in the $labels array. This is what my code looks like now:

<?php function child_et_pb_register_posttypes() { $labels = array( 'add_new' => __( 'Add New', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Property', 'Divi' ),
    'all_items' => __( 'All Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Property', 'Divi' ),
    'menu_name' => __( 'Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'name' => __( 'Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'new_item' => __( 'New Property', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found' => __( 'Nothing found', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found_in_trash' => __( 'Nothing found in Trash', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item_colon' => '',
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'singular_name' => __( 'Property', 'Divi' ),
    'view_item' => __( 'View Property', 'Divi' ),


As you can see, something I find useful is to list the elements alphabetically. Personally, I find it easier to work this way; your mileage may vary.

Obviously, if you are customising this for your own requirements simply edit this to reflect your needs.

Custom post type options

Next, we define the arguments to be passed to the register_post_type function. These define not only how the custom post type is used but also how it is displayed in the WordPress admin menu: where it sits and what icon it uses.


The most important option here, for our purpose of customising it, is the 'slug' key. You must set its value (in single quotes) to whatever you need it to be. In my case 'slug' => 'property'. I’ve highlighted this in the snippet below.

Just make sure you don’t set the slug to the same name as an existing page.

Menu icon and position

One useful new addition to the code provided by Elegant Tweaks are the options to set the menu icon and where it sits on the menu.

As these are properties I decided to use the home dashicon.

House icon

I also decided to move it up a bit, from beneath Comments to immediately below Posts. WordPress uses numbers to specify where custom post types should sit, e.g.

  • 5 — below Posts (this is where I want it to appear)
  • 10 — below Media
  • 15 — below Links
  • 20 — below Pages
  • 25 — below Comments

A full list can be found in the WordPress Codex.

So, here is the code I now have; I’ve highlighed these new menu options plus the ‘slug’ (how it will appear in the URL):

$args = array(
    'can_export' => true,
    'capability_type' => 'post',
    'has_archive' => true,
    'hierarchical' => false,
    'labels' => $labels,
    'menu_icon' => 'dashicons-admin-home',
    'menu_position' => 5,
    'public' => true,
    'publicly_queryable' => true,
    'query_var' => true,
    'show_in_nav_menus' => true,
    'show_ui' => true,
    'rewrite' => apply_filters(
    'et_project_posttype_rewrite_args', array(
    'feeds' => true,
    'slug' => 'property',
    'with_front' => false,
'supports' => array( 'title', 'editor', 'thumbnail', 'excerpt', 'comments', 'revisions', 'custom-fields' ),


Register the post type

The next line now does the grunt work and registers this custom post type with WordPress.

register_post_type( 'project', apply_filters(
    'et_project_posttype_args', $args )

This tells WordPress to apply all of these options to the ‘project’ custom post type.

Because we are redefining this existing custom post type (by changing the URL, the menu labels, the menu icon and position) it means that everything else (the default project page layouts and portfolio modules) will work as expected without any further customization.

Categories and tags

The rest of the code I left untouched. This code defines the categories and tags to be used with the projects/properties custom post type.

How it looks now

Adding all the code (see below for the complete script) this is what my WordPress admin menu looks like:

Divi theme now with Properties instead of Projects
Divi theme now with Properties instead of Projects

That’s now working as I expect it. Job done.

Complete code

Here is the full code that I have in my child theme’s functions.php file:

<?php function child_et_pb_register_posttypes() { $labels = array( 'add_new' => __( 'Add New', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Property', 'Divi' ),
    'all_items' => __( 'All Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Property', 'Divi' ),
    'menu_name' => __( 'Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'name' => __( 'Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'new_item' => __( 'New Property', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found' => __( 'Nothing found', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found_in_trash' => __( 'Nothing found in Trash', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item_colon' => '',
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Properties', 'Divi' ),
    'singular_name' => __( 'Property', 'Divi' ),
    'view_item' => __( 'View Property', 'Divi' ),

$args = array(
    'can_export' => true,
    'capability_type' => 'post',
    'has_archive' => true,
    'hierarchical' => false,
    'labels' => $labels,
    'menu_icon' => 'dashicons-admin-home',
    'menu_position' => 5,
    'public' => true,
    'publicly_queryable' => true,
    'query_var' => true,
    'show_in_nav_menus' => true,
    'show_ui' => true,
    'rewrite' => apply_filters( 'et_project_posttype_rewrite_args', array(
    'feeds' => true,
    'slug' => 'property',
    'with_front' => false,
'supports' => array( 'title', 'editor', 'thumbnail', 'excerpt', 'comments', 'revisions', 'custom-fields' ),

register_post_type( 'project', apply_filters( 'et_project_posttype_args', $args ) );

$labels = array(
    'name' => _x( 'Categories', 'Property category name', 'Divi' ),
    'singular_name' => _x( 'Category', 'Property category singular name', 'Divi' ),
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Categories', 'Divi' ),
    'all_items' => __( 'All Categories', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item' => __( 'Parent Category', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item_colon' => __( 'Parent Category:', 'Divi' ),
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Category', 'Divi' ),
    'update_item' => __( 'Update Category', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Category', 'Divi' ),
    'new_item_name' => __( 'New Category Name', 'Divi' ),
    'menu_name' => __( 'Categories', 'Divi' ),

register_taxonomy( 'project_category', array( 'project' ), array(
    'hierarchical' => true,
    'labels' => $labels,
    'show_ui' => true,
    'show_admin_column' => true,
    'query_var' => true,
) );

$labels = array(
    'name' => _x( 'Tags', 'Property Tag name', 'Divi' ),
    'singular_name' => _x( 'Tag', 'Property tag singular name', 'Divi' ),
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Tags', 'Divi' ),
    'all_items' => __( 'All Tags', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item' => __( 'Parent Tag', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item_colon' => __( 'Parent Tag:', 'Divi' ),
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Tag', 'Divi' ),
    'update_item' => __( 'Update Tag', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Tag', 'Divi' ),
    'new_item_name' => __( 'New Tag Name', 'Divi' ),
    'menu_name' => __( 'Tags', 'Divi' ),

register_taxonomy( 'project_tag', array( 'project' ), array(
    'hierarchical' => false,
    'labels' => $labels,
    'show_ui' => true,
    'show_admin_column' => true,
    'query_var' => true,
) );

$labels = array(
    'name' => _x( 'Layouts', 'Layout type general name', 'Divi' ),
    'singular_name' => _x( 'Layout', 'Layout type singular name', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new' => _x( 'Add New', 'Layout item', 'Divi' ),
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Layout', 'Divi' ),
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Layout', 'Divi' ),
    'new_item' => __( 'New Layout', 'Divi' ),
    'all_items' => __( 'All Layouts', 'Divi' ),
    'view_item' => __( 'View Layout', 'Divi' ),
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Layouts', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found' => __( 'Nothing found', 'Divi' ),
    'not_found_in_trash' => __( 'Nothing found in Trash', 'Divi' ),
    'parent_item_colon' => '',

$args = array(
    'labels' => $labels,
    'public' => false,
    'can_export' => true,
    'query_var' => false,
    'has_archive' => false,
    'capability_type' => 'post',
    'hierarchical' => false,
    'supports' => array( 'title', 'editor', 'thumbnail', 'excerpt', 'comments', 'revisions', 'custom-fields' ),

register_post_type( 'et_pb_layout', apply_filters( 'et_pb_layout_args', $args ) );

function remove_et_pb_actions() {
    remove_action( 'init', 'et_pb_register_posttypes', 15 );

add_action( 'init', 'remove_et_pb_actions');
add_action( 'init', 'child_et_pb_register_posttypes', 20 );


Final thoughts

Like many things on my blog I’m primarily putting it here for my own reference, but if you find it useful — or would like to suggest improvements or additional features — please leave a comment below.

Clone this project on GitHub.

Update: Remember to reset your permalinks

Friday 20 March 2015

I meant to say this in the article above. Sometimes WordPress gets a bit muddled when you play around with custom post types.

The way to fix this is to go to Settings > Permalinks > Save Changes.

That’s enough to flush the permalinks and your custom post type should work. I had to do that a couple of times while figuring out how to do this.

Update 2: Plugin discovery

Monday 20 April 2015

A few days ago I discovered this plugin: Divi Page Building for Custom Content Types.

This plugin allows you to use the Divi builder for Posts, or indeed any custom post type.

Update 3: Fix for Divi 2.5

Saturday 26 September 2015

I’ve now (finally) updated the code to make it work fully in Divi 2.5.

In the end it was quite simple: the add_action(...) and remove_action(...) priorities were wrong in my code. These tell WordPress in which order actions should be executed.

In my previous code I was instructing WordPress to unload the default Divi project custom post type before it had even been defined.

The default priority value is 10; I’d set mine to 0 and 1, respectively.

A huge thank you to Craig Campbell for his excellent Chrome Logger extension and ChromePHP class — two tools that greatly helped me work out what was going on.

Documentary about Jeffrey Zeldman

Still of Jeffrey Zeldman video on Vimeo
Jeffrey Zeldman: 20 years of Web Design and Community from Lynda.com

Like probably thousands of other web professionals I owe a lot to Jeffrey Zeldman.

I remember spending hours sitting on a balcony in Tenerife, while Jane and her parents were out exploring the island and enjoying the sunshine, reading the first edition of his book Designing with Web Standards.

That book changed how I looked at the web and how I began to develop websites.

This is an excellent 40 minutes documentary, from Lynda.com, about Zeldman’s 20 years of “designing, organizing, and most of all sharing on the web”.

If you are interested in web development, you should watch it.