Regular readers will know I am keen on taking backups of your stuff, whether it’s for Textpattern CMS or something else entirely. Having a backup regime in place will save you time and frustration if there is a problem with your site. Computers go wrong from time to time, it’s a fact of life and as perverse as this may sound I believe everyone should have one data loss incident without backups to show what can happen. I don’t wish anyone ill will at all, and clearly I don’t want your vital, precious stuff to be lost in an incident, but in my 30+ years of using computers I’ve adjusted to taking regular backups of things I consider valuable.
One such regular backup is my websites. Every week, I make a local copy of all the files on my websites along with the associated database(s). These backups exist because I want a fallback if I break something, and this week something broke. For completeness, this was nothing to do with Arvixe Web Hosting or Textpattern. The site is hosted elsewhere and the problem was me working on the site late at night after a – how can I phrase this – ‘challenging’ work day. What I thought was me deleting a file on my localhost development environment was actually a live FTP window. Oops.
Poof! In 10 seconds, the site had gone completely offline. Uh oh.
I scrambled to find my backups, and since I’ve been doing this for years they were just two clicks away. Backup restore is like a fire drill; you do it because you need to know how to, but secretly hope it never happens, or that if it does happen your stuff doesn’t burn to the ground. I opened the backup archive, found the directory and started uploading. I’m lucky to have a 16Mbps upload speed (thanks, Plus Net) so the time taken to push files up the tubes was mercifully short. Panic over.
The files restored to their correct locations and I logged in to the Textpattern admin interface. I was greeted by the languages tab, offering me the chance to install additional languages or update the existing ones. I headed over to the diagnostics tab to check out the pre-flight report, but the languages tab was stuck. I clicked on articles, but the languages tab was still stuck. The URL was changing, but the tab stayed put. Panic returned.
After some late-night head scratching, it transpired that I’d updated Textpattern to version 4.5.7 earlier in the evening, but the latest backup I had was from version 4.5.5. The database was, correctly, at version 4.5.7, but the files were mismatched which caused the language tab to be stuck. The solution to this was to log out of the admin-side and push the 4.5.7 files up the tubes. After that FTP operation had completed, the files and database were aligned and normal operation resumed.
The moral of the story: make backups, don’t put them off, and take backups both sides of a site upgrade. I’ll be telling you more about Textpattern 4.5.7 next month, and I hope you’ll join me.