Getting Ulysses to work on Custom WordPress sites

Hans Bruins
Feb 2, 2018 · 4 min read

Nowadays I do all my writing in the Ulysses app; the writing of articles for the company ITNext, general idea sheets, ideas for books, all kind of notes, sketches of new projects, documentation for existing projects, the manuscript of my new book, the ‘making of my book’ blogs on my Eric Stickler site and much more.

The company ITNext uses Medium as the platform to share their articles. For me, one of the reasons to choose for Ulysses was the possibility to connect to Medium. And this integration works perfectly, the setup was a breeze and there are no problems with the resulted draft. My editor then communicates by notes within Medium and explains them via Slack. If an article needs major shuffling or adding a paragraph or two then I just go back to Ulysses, write it and publish it again.


The problem with the Custom Wordpress integration

I knew about the Wordpress integration because one can find this in the Ulysses app under publishing. But it was after reading about it on the Ulysses blog and some pretty enthusiastic blogs elsewhere that I decided to give it a try.

Since I do own a website with a custom Wordpress installation on it, this was a nice opportunity to breath some new life in my site. I was thinking about upgrading it with a new theme and then add all my articles on it. After I checked my website and the Wordpress installation I went back to Ulysses and configured the Wordpress settings. Because the Medium integration had been so painless I expected the same experience.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Whatever I did: I couldn’t get the integration working. My initial idea was that my link was wrong or that I needed to configurate something at my Wordpress site. So, I researched several WordPress sites including the official ones to find the right URL. The funny thing was that I found several URL variations but none of them worked.

Because Ulysses has 2 possibilities to connect to WordPress I decided to check the other WordPress option. This is where I learned the subtle differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I created a new website on a free account on WordPress.com, came back to Ulysses and configured the export settings for WordPress.com. And it worked without a problem. I did some tests (putting Ulysses ‘first steps’ sheets on it as blogs) and it all worked without any problems; the painless experience was back. However, although nice and so forth, this was not the end goal.

Now I had seen that the integration basically worked, I decided to contact my provider. In my investigations I had learned that it was about an xmlrpc integration so I asked them a) did I use the correct URL and b) do they probably need to open something? The answer came the same afternoon and it told me that I would have never been able to get it working because they were blocking all xmlrpc interfaces! This is done because this possible entry of Wordpress websites is often abused by “non-site-owners that have goals that are not in line with the original site-owner intentions”.


The solution

However, my provider pointed me at a plugin that I could use to get it working. The solution is to download a plugin which can be found on the Wordpress.org website: the rename plugin

This solution is a little bit hands-on but if you have a custom Wordpress website you probably have no problems with this.

  1. First, you need to login to your site via FTP. For this, I used Viper FTP Lite a free FTP solution (of course the ‘Lite’ means there is also a paid Pro version) since my previous FTP solutions were no longer supported or gone commercial.
  2. Go to the main directory of your site (probably something like public -> sites -> <your site>) and download the xmlrpc.php file; you keep this on your local hard disk as a copy of the file.
  3. Rename the one in your website directory to something you can easily remember (for instance, something like dandelion.php ).
  4. Upload the original xmlrpc.php file
  5. Now, to make it work we need the aforementioned plugin; this is our mediator between the original name and the newly renamed file. Download this plugin, unpack it and upload the file rename-xml-rpc.php to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  6. Open the rename-xml-rpc.php file in a text editor (I used Brackets for this) and look for xmlrpc2.php. This is the filename you need to change to your newly named one (dandelion.php in our example). Save it.
  7. Go to the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress and activate the plugin.

The work is now done and it is time to test it: configure the export settings for the Custom WordPress with a URL, name, and password. Although I found several possible URLs on the internet, in a normal setup, the URL <sitename>/dandelion.php should work.

And there you have it, Ulysses working (again) with WordPress. Time to post all the blogs you wrote!


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Hans Bruins

Written by

Thinker, inker, keyboard extrovert, truth-seeker and ignorance disintegrator

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