1. Automated Scheduled WordPress Backups with XCloner

    Over the years, I’ve heard a few horror stories of web-hosts losing large collections of data that they’ve been unable to retrieve. I’ve always fallen into the “that’ll probably never happen to me” category, and have never taken back-ups more seriously than compressing my important folders and exporting my databases a few times a year. But, as I’m now managing more than five websites for family, a few bands, and a business – being able to regularly and reliably back-up all of their data has become a priority.

    In the past, my WordPress back-ups have been a tedious manual process. The most automation in scheduling my back-ups came from the monthly email reminder telling me it was that time again. Occasionally, I would run through my back-up procedure, dumping the MySQL databases for my sites, and packaging the files manually. But, between you and me, dismissing the email to worry about later was always the easiest way out. Even when I would go through with the back-up routine, the back-ups were not robust, as I infrequently pulled the database exports and compressed files down from my web host. What if my host went down, and all of my data was lost, including these back-ups?

    Meet the XCloner plugin for WordPress.

    This gem of a plugin backs up your files to a compressed package, drops the file on the hosted server, and provides options to beam it up to the cloud, via Amazon S3 storage, and also has the capability to send the compressed file to another location via FTP. With a cron-job, you can schedule XCloner to run back-ups automatically on any kind of schedule. The result is automated and scheduled WordPress back-ups of your MySQL databases and files, locally, and to the cloud.

    Go check out the XCloner plugin. It’s free, and has thorough documentation and support.

    This post is part of the following threads: My Digital Backup Strategy, Ralford.net – ongoing stories on this site. View the thread timelines for more context on this post.

  2. Ralford.net Overhaul – Redirecting Home-Brewed URLs

    Part I of the Ralford.net overhaul really happened when I transitioned to WordPress, so consider this post ‘Part II’. If you haven’t noticed, I made the decision way back then to keep my home-brewed PHP weblog at the root of Ralford.net, and I installed WordPress to its own dedicated subfolder that would be free from all of the unorganized files that live on my domain.

    Though this was a good organizational move, the original reasoning for this was to keep any bookmarked URLs to my site from breaking. If I replaced the home-brewed weblog at the root with the new WordPress weblog, the old URLs wouldn’t work. I moved forward with the decision to place WordPress in a subfolder, and dealt with the fact that any new visitors would need to be sent to “http://www.ralford.net/wordpress/”. I updated all of my social webpages to tell the world that my webpage was now at the subfolder, and crossed my fingers that no new vistors would go directly to the root of Ralford.net and see old posts I wrote back in 2004.

    Today, I updated the .htaccess file at the root to redirect all old home-brewed weblog URLs to an archive subfolder – and the attempt was a success!

    The first great thing this accomplishes is that it preserves a link to the content bookmarked by any of my home-brewed weblog visitors. If they bookmarked my old wiki entry on guitar maintenance (notice the link doesn’t have an ‘archive’ subfolder), they will now gracefully get redirected to the new location!

    Secondly, if our search engine friends take ages to update URLs of my old posts to their new ‘archive’ location, a non-updated search engine result will redirect the user to the new location instead of it sending them to a dead link with an ugly 404 error message (I know I know, after 5+ years I still haven’t created a custom 404 page).

    And finally, archiving the old content allows me to update content of the root. That will happen soon, but is still in progress (heck it took me nearly a year to take care of the archive redirects). My game plan is to turn it into a page for myself as a musician, and display a dynamically-updated list of dates for events my music projects are scheduled to play (you can see some of this code in action over at the Dirty Superb homepage, where our dates are pulled automagically from our MySpace page).

    And so, the Ralford.net saga continues…

    This post is part of the thread: Ralford.net – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  3. Well that was easy…

    It’s now been years since I started coding the interface behind ralford.net (my home-brewed PHP weblog/wiki has been running since 2005), and well, to say the least, I’ve finally given in to WordPress!   Really, I think the big factor for me “giving in” is that image support on my home-brewed weblog is lacking a software genius.   I ran phpThumb() for a long time, but one day, everything started behaving funny and pictures stopped working.  I do not blame phpThumb() for this – if there is fault to put on someone here it is me for not having more patience with the code. I wanted to talk about some recent hikes I went on, and show pictures of where I’ve been, as well as pictures of my new pack and camp-stove.  Well, I hiked and ralford.net stayed broken, I traveled and ralford.net stayed broken, and I played music and ralford.net stayed broken.  And finally, I gave up on trying to figure out why the pictures weren’t showing up, because at this point in my life, I engineer during the day – not at night.

    Tonight, I installed WordPress, and simply speaking, it was a breeze.

    This post is part of the thread: Ralford.net – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.