Hub Automatic update schedule

Hi,
I'm new at using the Hub to automate my WordPress update maintenance for plugins and themes. I wanted to have updates checked and performed daily.
I added a HUB schedule for all my site backups prior to updates rather than leave them to a default 3 hour interval. Each site has a different time scheduled for the updates. Managed Backup is enabled on each site, but no Snapshot Pro backups are scheduled.

1). I got an email at 2:59 am for an update scheduled for 11:00 PM, but there was no corresponding HUB log entry.
2). None of my other sites scheduled updates have been executed several hours after the scheduled event.
3). Is there a way to delete backups on the cloud storage? I did some backup tests that are no longer needed.

Thanks in advance for looking into this.

Larry

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello tishimself,

    I hope you're well today and thank you for your question!

    I added a HUB schedule for all my site backups prior to updates rather than leave them to a default 3 hour interval. Each site has a different time scheduled for the updates. Managed Backup is enabled on each site, but no Snapshot Pro backups are scheduled.

    I'm not quite sure if I correctly understood that but assuming that I did: The Hub doesn't control "snapshots" as in "Snapshot -> Snapshots". Setting a schedule would affect Managed Backups only (Snapshot -> Managed Backups) and you should see that schedule is set in site's back-end.

    Snapshots (Snapshot -> Snapshots) are independent and they should be configured manually on each site, via the site's back-end.

    1). I got an email at 2:59 am for an update scheduled for 11:00 PM, but there was no corresponding HUB log entry.
    2). None of my other sites scheduled updates have been executed several hours after the scheduled event.

    You have assigned a site to this ticket but you also mentioned earlier that it's about multiple sites. Does it apply to all of your sites registered with The Hub or some of them? If it's some set of selected sites, let me know please which ones these are.

    3). Is there a way to delete backups on the cloud storage? I did some backup tests that are no longer needed.

    Yes, they can be removed. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Login to the site's back-end (site that you want to remove backups of), go to the "Snapshot -> Managed Backups" page and click on "..." icon next to the backup file that you wish to remove (the icon on the right of the backup date). There's an option to delete that backup.

    2. Login to The Hub and go to "Backups" tab for the site you wish to remove backups of; click on down arrow to the right of the backup date and there's an option to delete that backup as well.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    I can now delete some unwanted TEST backups and save some cloud space. Thanks.

    Now for the main issue, getting the automation to work. Why are my scheduled updates not getting started or log entry reflecting the email contents for the one that did run hours late?

    Have I got a configuration issue? Maybe I set this up wrong because I have no indication the tasks being initiated.

    I like the idea of safely automating my updates, but I just can’t tell what I might have wrong.

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi, so it seems the updates are gradually taking place, but at times unrelated to the schedule.

    I am considering changing the update maintenance schedule to be in between my full cPanel backups which run early AM on Sun, Tues, Thur, Sat. That leaves maint updates for M-W-F, but the update schedule seems to not be close to the hour or even the day scheduled.

    More to the point, I need to keep the backup/maint activity running in off hours to avoid any potential user performance impact.

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    I have not been very clear. Maybe I can remedy that....

    Yes, I have scheduled HUB plugin & theme updates with prior cloud backups on all sites. At this point, it has run on each site, but not per the HUB schedule as configured.
    * Most importantly, is it possible to keep closer to the scheduled run times?
    * Not so important, I have noticed some missing or long delayed log entries, but the email notifications do provide a status.

    Part of my concern has been with potential scheduling conflicts between the website Snapshots and the HUB related activity. WIth that in mind I went on each website and disabled any scheduled Snapshot Pro backups (maybe permanently). When I saw the lack of HUB automated maintenance, I enabled Managed Backups in Snapshot Pro on each website. I figured it to be a longshot, but I thought that might be an issue with the HUB related activities not running.

    I also stopped website based SnapShots because they increase the size of my scheduled cPanel backups for all he websites. By choice cPanel backups are my primary goto when recovering a site so saving space is important. And with the Hub backups, maybe I don’t need Website Snapshots it they can be made to run on days the cPanel backups are NOT taken. Thus my concern with tightening the HUB schedule as well as keeping them to off hours.

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    Please clarify.

    How could a CRON failure this morning impact Automates ability to follow the configured schedule earlier in the week? I did not create this ticket as a result of something that happend this morning.

    >most likely backup related.
    What is backup related? How? Why? Are there Snapshot backup issues with Automate that I should know about? Is the schedule being followed but there are backup failures (which are not being logged) that cause updates not to me performed? All the more reason to try to get Automate maint upgrades scheduled to be the day after my cPanel backup rather than daily.

    The good thing is that so far my cPanel automated full site backups are running on schedule w/o a hitch.

    I like that Automate uses cloud storage for my backups so I’m not backing up my backups. Please explain how it is being secured? Are the files encrypted? If I wanted to, could I use my DropBox space?

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    Maybe Automate leaves no log entry when it checks and has nothing to do?

    That might explain the percieved delays. For example, maybe it ran at 3:00AM this morning, but had nothing to do. Now I see there is an update and I can’t tell just when the update was posted, but maybe after 3:00AM. I don’t think this this is the case since it has missed updates for over 24 hours and the run times don’t coincide with the schedule, but it could be confusing. I have one empty log for a site that I think it updated.

    If possible, please add a log entry that helps me know that the scheduled event took place at a given time but no updates were queued to be done. It would imrpove confidence that Automate is keeping to the schedule. Just a thought. :slight_smile:

    Regards,
    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi, no problem on my side. I’ve made too many mistakes to get bent out of shape with those of others.

    But I am having a tuff time getting a handle on Automate.

    I moved the schedule on one to 1:00PM because it was not running at all. Just to see what happens. And it did run, but only updated Snapshot. Ignoring three other plugins, well at least it ignored my Gutenberg plugin. I can’t be 100% sure when the other 2 popped up to update.

    This makes me wonder if Automate only update WPMUDEV plugins? I doubt that because the HUB lists all plugins. Maybe I will try a HUB update on the 2 remaining plugins for that site.

    So I have come to think the Automate log is not very helpful when trying to understand what is happening. Maybe there should be an Option to select a more detailed log. Scheduled start time, actual start time, what plugins need updating, backup started/ended, update event details for each plugin, end time.

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    I checked the status of updates on HUB this morning and all updates were green.
    The email notifications, did not include some updates I new to be outstanding, but reflected no errors. I don’t think the HUB logs were current.

    Checking each website manually showed the same updates not performed. As I checked each site, I refreshed the HUB and the Green status changed for the visited site. So I just updated the websites from the HUB as some were for a security plugin. Once HUB recognized updates were needed, I was able to perform the updates with HUB w/o a problem.

    Larry

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi Larry!

    Let my try to address all your concerns "one by one" but it's quite a lot to respond so forgive me, please, if I miss something - just let me know if you notice that I did and I'll follow up. I hope that's fine for you :wink:

    1.

    What is backup related? How? Why? Are there Snapshot backup issues with Automate that I should know about? Is the schedule being followed but there are backup failures (which are not being logged) that cause updates not to me performed?

    If Automate is configured to perform "Auto backup before every update" then it is related. The Hub doesn't create any backup "on its own". Instead, it triggers Snapshot's "Managed Backup". In other words: Automate sends a "signal" to the Snapshot, letting it know that such backup should be performed, Snapshot fires up managed backup and after the backup is complete and Automate notified about it, Automate proceeds with backups.

    2.

    I like that Automate uses cloud storage for my backups so I’m not backing up my backups. Please explain how it is being secured? Are the files encrypted? If I wanted to, could I use my DropBox space?

    All the backup archives are stored in our cloud in a secured environement (firewalls and other security precautions), not available for direct access from outside - only via our API for authorized API clients - and are fully encrypted.

    These backups cannot be stored on your DropBox space.

    There are two backup tools in Snapshot - "Managed Backups" and "Snapshots". Automate/The Hub is using "Managed Backups" which only stores backup archives in our cloud. You can, however, create backups (scheduled or not and independent from "Managed Backups", Automate) using "Snapshots" tool of Snapshot plugin. These backups can be full or partial and can be stored either locally on your server or in your DropBox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 or any FTP location that you configure.

    3.

    If possible, please add a log entry that helps me know that the scheduled event took place at a given time but no updates were queued to be done. It would imrpove confidence that Automate is keeping to the schedule. Just a thought.

    Indeed, there are cases in Automate log for the site assigned to this thread when nothing was updated. For example (I stripped out domain name partially, as the forum is public):

    ----- Running automate: 2018-08-10 05:49:57 chicagopXXXXXst.com/ (13634) -----
    Available plugin updates: 0 ()
    Available theme updates: 0 ()
    Execution time: 0.0074410438537598s

    This mean that the Automate process was triggered but found no updates waiting to be applied. There is more entries like that as Automate fired up upon schedule so the process is: it starts, checks if updates are available, if yes - it proceeds with updates (and backup and "safe upgrade check", if enabled), if not - it just quits as there's nothing to be done.

    4.

    And it did run, but only updated Snapshot. Ignoring three other plugins, well at least it ignored my Gutenberg plugin. I can’t be 100% sure when the other 2 popped up to update.

    This makes me wonder if Automate only update WPMUDEV plugins? I doubt that because the HUB lists all plugins. Maybe I will try a HUB update on the 2 remaining plugins for that site.

    I'm not sure what the plugins were and when update became actually available but there might be a case when e.g. one plugin will be updated and another one in the next run. That is mostly a matter of, so to say, "time synchronization", queuing and various caching. For example, there migh be a slight delay between when the WP itself sees update available and when Automate/The Hub sees it (not necessarily Automate being "the second" one) and that could result in such behavior.

    That being said, Automate doesn't update only WPMU DEV plugins. It is updating other plugins and is supposed to take care of all of those that you got installed on site. However, there might be exceptions - there are some plugins and themes that e.g. cannot be updated if they are not activated (and they are not activated on site), there are some plugins that for some reason are "excluded" from core WP updater and can only be updated via some custom tool (additional plugin or built in own updater). Those are mostly premium plugins and if their updates are locked - so we can't trigger an update procedure via WordPress - they may remain untouched.

    I'm not saying that this is the case on your site, just explaining how this works and when such "ignored update" may happen :wink:

    5.

    As I checked each site, I refreshed the HUB and the Green status changed for the visited site. So I just updated the websites from the HUB as some were for a security plugin. Once HUB recognized updates were needed, I was able to perform the updates with HUB w/o a problem.

    The Hub doesn't show everything in "real time". It's "close to" but there is some delay with data update so some information are not updated "live". It's a complex infrastructure, serving enormous number of tasks (I'm not even sure how many sites in total is registered but easily hundreds of thousands, if not more), so we need to optimize for performance and some queries/data must be cached or run upon schedule. That's why sometimes you might indeed see a change in The Hub only after reloading it (though they would show up anyway, just with a slight delay). However, we're constantly improving it, speeding it up and going towards "fully real time" performance.

    I hope that makes sense. I tried to address all your questions here and I'm sorry if I missed anything. If so, please let me know and I'll follow up.

    Kind regards,
    Adam

  • tishimself

    Adam,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    1. I will check to be sure that Managed Backup is enabled for each site. I have disabled all SnapShot backups until such time as I can locate them somewhere off the server such as Dropbox.

    2. Glad to hear they are secured.

    3. I would like to get more detailed logs for Automate in the HUB. For the website you chose as an examplet, I see only one log entry for this whole week of daily shceduled runs. There maybe some emails for me to review, but that is not very easy for multiple sites.

    4. I’m looking for a way to ensure that all updates are being applied and not skipped. I assume that since I can apply updates manually in the HUB, that Automate will have no trouble with updating those same plugins. I am pretty confident that Automate was passing over my Gutenberg 3.5 updates and some others, but I have no good way to demonstrate it.

    One thought would be to permit a diagonstic run starting Automate on an ad hoc basis while logged into the website dashboard. I can see what plugins need to be updated and what gets done.

    Larry

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi Larry!

    1. I think I understand. From the WordPress dashboard, I can schedule two kinds of backup.
    I have disabled the both as I only want Automate to perform the Managed Backups to your cloud storage.

    Yes, you can do it and as long as Snapshot Pro is enabled, having "Managed Backups" option activated (schedule can be disabled tho), Automate would deal with its own backups (those that it triggers).

    3. I would like to get more detailed logs for Automate in the HUB. For the website you chose as an examplet, I see only one log entry for this whole week of daily shceduled runs. There maybe some emails for me to review, but that is not very easy for multiple sites.

    I only have limited access to logs but I have forwarded your question to our developers/sysadmins so they could look into it to see if they can come up with some more logs. It might take a while as our sys-admins are not engaged in a support forum so we need to wait for them to check that and give us a response but I believe they'll be able to find out some details.

    4. I’m looking for a way to ensure that all updates are being applied and not skipped. I assume that since I can apply updates manually in the HUB, that Automate will have no trouble with updating those same plugins. I am pretty confident that Automate was passing over my Gutenberg 3.5 updates and some others, but I have no good way to demonstrate it.

    Yes, I don't see Gutenberg update in logs either. In fact, for the site assigned to this topic, I only see WP-Rocket update and apart of this some scheduled Automate runs reporting "nothing to update". I have asked our developers/sys-admins about that as well as I don't have insight into further details.

    One thought would be to permit a diagonstic run starting Automate on an ad hoc basis while logged into the website dashboard. I can see what plugins need to be updated and what gets done.

    I'm afraid there's no such option currently. The point of Automate is running it "automatically" and you can trigger it from The Hub or site's back-end "on demand". However, since I already forwarded two questions to out Automate team, let's see what they'll come up with as this might clear up some things :slight_smile:

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi again!

    I just wanted to add one more thing that I just noticed that I missed in my previous messages. It's related to the e-mails that you're getting (or not) from The Hub regarding Automate actions.

    If you go to The Hub to "Automate -> Configuration" section for the site, there's an "Instant e-mail alerts" option there (near the end of the configuration page). At the first glance, it might look like you just set an e-mail address there but please enter that option and you'll see an "Set maximum threshold that triggers an email alert" option. While it shouldn't affect "empty Automate runs" you may still want to experiment with that settings to find an optimum value that triggers alerts in case of any issues (detected by "Safe Upgrade") for you.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello Larry!

    Thanks for the response. I think that it would be best to keep the Automate schedule enabled now all the time as I forwarded the case directly to our The Hub/Automate developers' team. They'll be looking into it so please keep an eye on this ticket for further information.

    Please note: it might take them a bit longer to respond than it takes us here on forum but once they only get back to us, we'll update you.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    I will not change the Automate schedule.

    It is difficult to be sure what is happening. I presume that not getting emails means it did not run rather than it ran and found no updates. Hard to know how Automate is supposed to behave. For example, there were no emails this morning from scheduled events. Yet There are updates to perform so id it not run or not see any updates to perform? Dunno.

    Automate is a want to have service, not a need to have so it is easy to be patient.

    Larry.

    Larry

  • tishimself

    Hi,

    I experience a number of issues, some of which I’m sure are related to the plugin.

    For example, the Yoast plugin updates are always problematic even when done manually they don’t like to register as complete.

    NGINX Helper upgraded on some sites but the Automation failed on some. I was able to manually update w/o an issue.

    In general, the updates are just not done. I updated everything manually on all sites on Monday morning. I then went to look today to see that some sites had five updates not completed.

    One of my sites gets updated just fine by Automate. Even updates that do not get done on others gets done on it.

    Automate seems too problematic to count on it.

    Larry

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