Having trouble with snapshot plugin

Hi - I'm working to create a snapshot of my site - I was able to connect Dropbox and AS3, but it seems to crap out when snapshot gets to my files. It backs up my database, but once it starts backing up my files, the process crashes - the error message I'm getting is a 500 internal server error on the plugin page : http://www.arrowrootmedia.com/wp_Secure-06.2011_medialevy/wp-admin/admin.php?page=snapshots_edit_panel&snapshot-action=edit&item=1353562672.

  • Paul

    @jakilevy, some things to try.

    1. When you select the Files which sections: Plugins, Themes, etc are you selecting? Try just plugins or just themes to see if things work better.

    2. Depending on how many files you have you may be running out of available memory allowed by WordPress. By default WordPress locks the memory to 32M on single WordPress and 64M on Multisite. Go to Snapshot > Settings. You will see a section to allow Snapshot to use more memory. Again, if you have gigabytes of files we may need to work with you on backing these up.

    3. There are two zip options within Snapshot. As part of WordPress it uses the PclZip library. This is the default used by Snapshot. But there are some problems with it on some systems. The alternate is ZipArchive. The ZipArchive library is part of PHP so is there on most systems. On Snapshot > Settings there is a section where you can select either PclZip of ZipArchive.

    4. I'm assuming you are running snapshot manually. Try this. Setup a new snapshot for just the database tables. Save and run it manually. This should complete. Now edit the snapshot and add the selected files section. Also set this as a scheduled task. Chose something like once an hour. Then save it. Snapshot will setup a WPCron process to perform the backup. Sometimes with large sites the scheduled backups work better. Less memory.

    One of the current known issues with Snapshot is that it attempts to backup a file section at a time. Meaning if you select 'Themes' it will attempt to have the zip process compress this entire folder at once. Probably a better method is to backup each individual theme folder. Same for the media. We are working on changes so instead of attempting to backup the entire media folder at once we take each year and month. This should be coming in December.

    Try the other steps above and let me know. Thanks.

  • Paul

    FYI - one of the other issues we've noticed is that the DB backup creates a file for each table - is there an option to just create 1 sql file for all tables?

    No, there is no option to use a single file for all table. And I don't understand how this could be an issue for you. What Snapshot does while creating the complete archive or tables and selected files should not be a concern for you. Meaning this is seamless and behind the scenes.

    Plus in the soon to be released version we are adding selecting restore options. So for a snapshot archive containing all tables in a single file it would be very difficult to extract just a single table. Much easier to keep the tables separate.

  • Paul

    @jakilevy, Sure. On a snapshot item configuration on the 'When to Archive' section you should see an input field 'Maximum number of local archive' Set this to some low number like 3. When a new archive is created a copy will be send to your remote destination. And only the last 3 will be save locally. Snapshot will automatically remove the older number of local archives.

    Note that Snapshot does not control the number of remote archives. For now you need to manage this outside of Snapshot.

  • Paul

    When I place the number of backups to 3, I am controlling how many save on my server, but that will not affect how many backups appear in my remote server. I control that. So I will have to manually delete ones on my remote server that I don't want.

    Correct, Note the name of that input field is 'Maximum number of

    archives' We will eventually add the ability to remove remote files. But first have been working on some enhancements to the restore operations. Speaking of I should also note for you that Snapshot only currently restores local files. Meaning it does not download files from Dropbox, AWS to then restore. This also will eventually be added. I've been working on the migration logic which seems to be a popular request. For that we will have included the remote pull processing for restore.

  • jakilevy

    I am not sure I understand what you are saying.

    "The scheduling process used to create archives as well as send archives to the remote destinations is handled by WP_CRON. So you need to have front-end traffic to your site."

    I just ran a snapshot that worked on my server, but didn't send the back up to my Amazon s3 server. Are you saying that if I open the site on a different browser and re-run the snapshot, it will appear on my remote server?

  • Paul

    @jakilevy, Let me explain. When you run snapshot manually and have defined a remote destination this process is in fact 2 steps. The first step is the pretty progress screen showing all the tables and files being added to the archive. At the end of the first step the archive file is written to your local system.

    The second step, the step to transmit the archive to the remote destination is handled by the WordPress Cron scheduler (WP_CRON). snapshot registers a callback function with WP_CRON to run hourly. This callback is specifically to handle the manual snapshots that need to be sent to a remote destination.

    The reason this is a two step process is to prevent problems where users reload or go to a different page during the manual snapshot processing. If the archive is large or the remote system slow this transport could take time. Longer than some users want to wait.

    The scheduling for manual snapshots is different (and sorry if this further confuses things) WP_CRON process for scheduled snapshots. Those are handled based on the interval selected hourly, daily, monthly, etc.

    As I mentioned snapshot registers a callback function with WP_CRON. In order for this callback function to actually be called you need front-end page loads, traffic, to 'kick off' the WP_CRON system. For some reason this is only front-end page loads ant not within wp-admin. This is outside of the control of Snapshot.

    As for your your issue. You may want to have your database tables in one snapshot item and file in another. Just thinking.

  • jakilevy

    Thank you Paul for all your wonderful help. It really has made a difference. I plan on using this plugin for all our the clients we are hosting and doing support for. I just have two final questions before closing this ticket out. I want to have snapshot on all our sites (over 15 of them), but I am aware that this plugin is only available to premium members.

    1) Is it okay to use our premium account to get snapshot, and the place it on all our client sites?

    2) Is there a way to get rid of the "WPMU Dashboard" plugin warning?
    I have included a screenshot to let you know what I am talking about.


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