13 thoughts on “Ani-Blogging Safety Tips: Backups and Testing Major Changes

  1. I gotta say that one thing your series has done has enlightened me as to how much I really don’t want to get back into just about everything related to blogging. The reading posts and interacting with comments part? That’s the good part. Pretty much everything else? No thanks (including the minimum 2 hours each post would take me). So thanks from me for going to all this effort to keep putting out posts!

    1. “I gotta say that one thing your series has done has enlightened me as to how much I really don’t want to get back into just about everything related to blogging.”

      Arg! Now I have guilt!

      That wasn’t my intent, believe me! I was hoping to show that it’s easy to cover security by keeping your installation up to date and setting up automatic backups!

      “Pretty much everything else? No thanks (including the minimum 2 hours each post would take me).”

      Well, it _is_ an investment of time, and if it’s not something you really want to do, then it’s not sustainable.

      But please do continue to comment!

      “So thanks from me for going to all this effort to keep putting out posts!”

      Thanks!

      1. You shouldn’t have guilt. You have done me a great service! 🙂

        But really, I usually didn’t mind the time I spent on posts, but I definitely would take a lot more time than a lot of people I know. Plus I would always rewatch the episode at least one time, and look up other things. So a 2 hour time investment for each post was pretty much the minimum.

        I definitely enjoy commenting more on balance. There’s a little bit of not being able to lead the conversation from comment sections that’s a regret, but then I remember how many times the commenters didn’t comment on what I wanted to talk about anyway, so so much for that ideal. 😉

        The blog administration thing was always a bugaboo. I would always end up as someone trying to be responsible, but not the owner, so not having the final decision. But as you’ve pointed out in these posts, there is quite a bit of responsibility on the owner / administrator to keep it running well. Our biggest issue (for me at least, not being the admin) on our blog really was spam comments, and sometimes it felt like a full time job to keep them under control.

  2. I have to admit that I had a mishap in April since I had the WordPress database on a different server that crashed and had out of date backups of months. While I only lost like one comment when the host restored the files, I ended up moving everything back to the VPS, created some scripts that will dump the mysql database (via mysqldump) and create an Automator workflow on my Mac Mini to download the most recent database dumps and the whole WordPress installation via SSH using Transmit to a 4 bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID 10 array, which happens daily (Note: RAID is not a replacement for a backup, it’s for redundancy).

    The VPS in general is far more reliable than shared hosting would be, as long you have the knowledge to setup a Linux server. But yes, I do not use Amazon Web Services since it can get very expensive fast and a comparable VPS elsewhere, say something like BuyVM, Linode, etc.

    If you use a Linux VPS, he or she might be able to do a rsync of the entire root mount point. I guess the advantage of this is that you can restore the whole system effortlessly without reconfiguring everything, providing you have the internet connection and space for the whole installation.

    1. “4 bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID 10 array,”

      Cool! Is it from OWC by chance? I’ve got a Thunderbay array connected via Thunderbolt, and I love it. Relatively inexpensive for everything it does!

      Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind me asking, where do you setup your Virtual Private Servers? I’ve used AWS and Digital Ocean to great effect in the past, but I’ve never tried Azure.

      “If you use a Linux VPS, he or she might be able to do a rsync of the entire root mount point. I guess the advantage of this is that you can restore the whole system effortlessly without reconfiguring everything, providing you have the internet connection and space for the whole installation.”

      If you script a mysqldump to finish before your rsync, your solution would be perfect! I hesitated to present it because I’m trying to show how easy it can be to cover the basics like backup. On the other hand, I missed opportunities to talk about solutions using rsync, like you proposed!

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      1. Yes, I use an OWC Thunderbay 2 4 bay enclosure with my Mac Mini. It’s filled with 4 3-TB Western Digital Red drives. I don’t trust Seagate since I have several that failed on me. However, the stock fan is noisy, so I replaced it with a Noctua.

        I use BuyVM (buyvm.net) KVM Slice server to host my blog and also my business sites, specifically a 2 GB server with 40GB SSD and a half a core for $7 per month. I also use a smaller VPS for VPN access too due to the Net Neutrality repeal and ISPs tracking data. Since it hosts just WordPress installations with a bunch of caching, I don’t need any more than that. I don’t have much problems with them as they are very reliable. I tried somewhat cheaper unmanaged VPS in the past, but they are somewhat unreliable. Besides my inexperience with being a System Administrator when I started my Master’s degree in Information Technology in 2013 did not help with the downtime. Nowadays, it’s not an issue since I gotten better at administering a Linux system, but it’s good practice if someone wants to get into IT.

        1. I’d never heard of BuyVM before! Looks like their features and prices are really good! I’ll have to keep them in mind for future projects. Thanks for sharing your experience with them!

          “Nowadays, it’s not an issue since I gotten better at administering a Linux system, but it’s good practice if someone wants to get into IT.”

          It’s hard to overstate just how great it is to control your own destiny, isn’t it? It’s a big time investment, but I think it pays off in the end!

  3. Great article. I msut admit, since switching to self-hosted, I’ve been far more meticulous with backups. It’s like I’ve gained a sense of apranoia all of a sudden. Great tips though, especially for those that may not have thought about such things.

    1. “since switching to self-hosted, I’ve been far more meticulous with backups.”

      That’s interesting! I wonder if there’s something about hosting with WordPress.com that gives an impression that WordPress.com is responsible for keeping the site running — including backups?

      Just using WordPress.com as an example…

      “Great tips though, especially for those that may not have thought about such things.”

      Thanks! I hope the post will help — if for awareness if nothing else!

    1. “wait, ppl dont make regular backups?”

      You know, I’m amazed at how little basic system administration information is out there! It sounds like you have a strong background with at leave development if you’re working with cron (heck, getting the schedule string right is an arcane art!). So for you, it’s probably second nature to think about backups.

      But if you’re coming more from a strictly creative background, there’s just not a lot out there to build awareness!

      Just out of curiosity, do you also zip your wp-content directory? Or do you rely on another mechanism to back it up?

      1. nah…even when i was starting out and had no experience with servers, i even made sure to pick out a hosting service that had automatic backups. for me, it’s just a necessary precaution

        i host static files with amazon aws, so there’s no need to back them up. that being said, i do organize my screenshots by date in a folder on my home pc in case i need a redundant backup in the future

        1. Cool — I figured you had it covered!

          Glad you have the copies on your home PC — even with Amazon, if a malicious actor were to break in and wreck your site, unless you’re doing something like EBS snapshots, it might be a pain!

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