[Branda] Importing into Branda is Broken

After the last update to Branda I noticed that I can no longer import into any of my websites. I mostly use two different hosting providers and the import function does not work on any website.

What happens is that after I select a json file to import into Branda and click the "Configure" button, the plugin starts processing the import file and eventually the website times out and displays an error message.

Both hosting services allow for 30 seconds or 1 minute to process code before the load balancer stops the process. Something within the import process is taking a very long time now, or is completely broken and will not finish the import.

I find that all the recent updates to Branda have been really buggy. This is just another example where something isn't working as it used to. Can you please assist in getting this working again?


  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hello there Derek Swanson,

    hope you’re doing well today!

    I tried to replicate this in a testing site of mine, with no avail though. So it seems that it’s specific with the export file you use. In order to better troubleshoot this, could you please grant support access to the website from where you export the Branda settings?

    No need to share any WP admin credentials, just navigate in WP admin area under WPMU DEV -> Support -> Support Access page and click on the “grant support access” button.

    You can find detailed information about it here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/docs/getting-started/getting-support/#chapter-5

    Please do reply back here when access is granted because we don’t get any notifications about it.

    Thank you,


  • Derek Swanson
    • WPMU DEV Initiate


    Thank you for the quick reply. I believe I know what’s happening. This newest version of Branda is trying to copy all the background images (maybe all images) from the export file into the website I’m importing. The problem is I like to be fancy with my customization so I have around 15 background images I’m using. What’s happening is that the import is taking more than 1 minute to import as it’s uploading these images into the website, and because of that length of time, the hosting providers stop the processing. As I mentioned I have one hosting provider that stops processing after 30 seconds and another that stops after 1 minute. This time limit is necessary in order to stop users from running code that lasts forever.

    The older version of Branda actually just used the URL to each image instead which worked for me. With that older methodology all background images were tied to one website and I didn’t have to upload each image individually to every website. What was great about this method is that I could change one background image with another and that would affect all websites that used the same import file. With this newer change now images will get uploaded to the site I’m trying to import.

    I like the idea of copying the background images in concept but the problem is two fold:

    – It takes too long to import if there are multiple images and that is going to be a problem with many modern hosting providers. The process should finish in under 30 seconds or have this process continue as a background service so that the load balancer doesn’t cut off the script from running or finishing completely.

    – Each time I run the import images get uploaded even though those exact same images exist. That means if I start running the import and 5 images get uploaded but the script is stopped, I have to run the import again. When the import is ran again it starts uploading every image instead of checking if the image already exists. This problem would be fixed completely if the import would just check to see if the image files are already uploaded, and if so, ignore those images and just upload the images that don’t exist. That way if the import doesn’t complete, I could just run the import multiple times until everything finishes and all images are uploaded.

    Is there anything you can do to change the current process or speed it up so that the import can run in a timely manner?


  • Pawel
    • Staff

    Hello Derek!

    Hope you’re having a good day today!

    As for the issue, yes, you are correct. We’ve updated the process to import the images instead of just using the URLs in the JSON file. Sorry that this caused an issue with your setup. Good news is though, that we’ve already created a task tu update Branda to include a switch so you will be able to choose whether you want the images to be imported or should just the URLs be used.

    For the time being, there are two ways you can go about this as a temporary measure until we release an update to Branda:

    1. Reverting Branda back to (please go to Branda project page, look for Changelog and you can download the older version from there). You will need to remove the updated version of Branda and install the downloaded zip as any other plugin. Please also disable any automatic updates (like our Automate service) for that plugin if you are using them, so the plugin won’t be immediately updated to the latest version.

    2. Increasing PHP execution time on the hosting, if they allow it, by adding the following:

    php_value max_execution_time 300

    to your website’s main .htaccess file, if you’re using Apache.

    In your use case the first option seems like the one you would benefit the most from at this moment, as this will allow you to use a central image repository site and hotlink the images from it.

    Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience. Please keep an eye for the next bigger update to Branda, as we’ve currently have the task you’re waiting for assigned for it for development. We’re planning this to be included in Branda 3.2 update at the moment.

    Until then, please try using Branda and let us know if it works for you or if you need any further assistance.

    Kind regards,


    PS If you could still enable Support Access to the source site so we can get a copy of the JSON file and send it to our developers for testing, that would be great. They would really appreciate having some real-life data to test the new feature on.

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