WordPress renamed an existing html file

I have worked on four or five WP sites, but when I installed WP v5.1 a few days ago on a site that was originally an HTML one and still live, the index.html file in the root was changed to index.html_ and this caused the client problems, as the very incomplete WP index.php was displayed. I was trying to build the WP with the original site still functioning in the same folder, taking advantage of the .html priority to be displayed, to avoid installing WP in another folder and then needing to move it or redirect visitors to the new folder when it was complete.

I haven’t seen this renaming happen before, so is this normal behaviour that I should watch out for every time I install WP? It certainly didn’t happen on a simple test site I use to test and experiment with plugins. But now the client thinks I did something careless to the original site and damaged it.

I guess it’s because you’re installing WP into a directory that’s already in use. I’ve not seen it myself, but then I would never attempt to do that.

It’s been a while since I touched WordPress. IIRC, the config file had some constants for “prefixes”. The idea being that the prefixes could provide some “security by obscurity” against bots looking for default names.

If you look at the config file do you see that prefix anywhere?

Nothing helpful in the config file.
The reason I installed it in an existing folder was to hide it while being developed, with the current site getting loaded if someone just entered the domain name.

Looks like I’ll have to watch out for this next time.

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That is not the professional way to do things.

Yes there are many years of experience from experienced professionals that have learned to avoid fragile methodologies.

Yet it is closer to a professional solution.

I would not say that but it actually does seem to have happened.

I was a maintenance programmer for many years in a variety of large corporations. We absolutely had a test system to work with. It was very unusual to apply changes directly to production. An example of an unusual situation is what they called Aircraft On Ground (AOG). Emergencies like that.

I don’t know the details of how to have separate test (and temporary release) and production sites using WordPress but large organizations tend to use Git and software such as that. Hosting companies (such as IBM’s Bluemix) used by large corporations support use of Git. See My Git Workflow; it seems to be the type of thing that a business experienced with software systems would want done. Git looks complicated (and I know it is difficult to learn) but it is what professionals do. The original designer of Git was Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel.

One term to look for is Configuration Management, as in WordPress configuration management. Oh, and look at that; it does explain that. And WP-CFM seems to be a relevant plugin. Configuration Management Finally Comes to WordPress : Forum One seems to be the developers. WordPress Configuration Management (WP-CFM) | Pantheon Docs seems to be a hosting company that has the plugin installed but I know nothing more about any of those.

The WP-CFM plugin might not help with the conversion from a HTML site. That is where a separate site would help. You could have a site hosted locally within the company or it could be a different domain name or it could just be a subdomain of the production site.

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