Updates Not Going Well

Okay, here is my end goal.
To have awesome themes built using Builder (I don't like Editor, since it's changes are not portable). I can save then save different versions of these themes, upload them and customize across sites, saving lots of time and having the ability to make them look unique via Builder. Second, I want my sites connected in my wpmudev dashboard where I can make most to all plugin/theme updates with a click. That's a huge time saver and one of the things that most appeals to me.

Here are the issues I'm having that are interfering with that goal...

1. Updates do not get done. I just went through about 150 plugin/theme updates on my account sites and just 36 of them updated. I'm not sure why and would love your help figuring that out.

2. Updates are erasing my design. Look at arlingtonwainsurance.com and you'll see the contact icons I had added are now strange characters. I have seen other evidence that when I go to update a site that some of my changes in Builder are erased. I'm not entirely sure why. I upload the custom theme from my computer to then open in Builder. Is not the right way? After an update I can go into Editor and redo some of my customization, but Builder completely defaults to the original theme with no customization.

In short, I'm asking for help to see if I screwed something up with how I have added the sites in the dashboard. Most of them are on https (a recent change), perhaps that is goofing things up? Second, I'm asking to see where I am going wrong with Builder and themes and updates where I can edit the theme and not have the next update mess with those changes.

I'm sure these are errors I have made and look forward to your help in getting this to run well. Thanks!

    Tyler Postle

    Hey Matt,

    1. Updates do not get done. I just went through about 150 plugin/theme updates on my account sites and just 36 of them updated. I'm not sure why and would love your help figuring that out.

    Sounds like a server timeout may have occurred, were you able to update the leftover 36 on the second go? If you tried another time that is.

    You are referring to the bulk update from our Hub right? https://premium.wpmudev.org/hub/my-websites/

    2. I upload the custom theme from my computer to then open in Builder. Is not the right way?

    That is the correct way to do it. So the icons you added were within the Builder? Changes in the builder are saved to the files themselves instead of the database like with the editor. That is how they can be maintained when exporting and importing the theme to a new site, you likely already realized that. So with that said, if you were to edit a default child theme and then update it, that could overwrite some changes made in Builder. Although, if you're using a custom theme then there isn't any reason that changes should have been erased.

    Can you grant support access so I can take a closer look?

    You can grant support access via WPMU DEV > Support > Grant Support Access.

    http://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/wpmu-dev-dashboard-enabling-staff-login/

    Look forward to hearing back!

    Cheers,
    Tyler

    Matt

    Thanks Tyler!

    1. Plugin issue. I went through and tried a few individually and got back various errors. One was 500 error, despite the site yourseattlechiropractor being up and running. I recently switched over to https on some of these sites. Could that be interfering from the wpmudev update dashboard?

    2. Themes being overwritten. I have granted access to three of the sites (hopefully you see them).
    arlingtonwainsurance - I have not made any other changes on this so you can see. I had a custom theme added, which is now gone. If I open Builder the default Luke + Sara theme opens.
    look4angels - I had a special theme "Lola" added. That has now been replaced by Luke+Sara, the original theme I had built that from. It appears that the theme update replaced rather than updated my customized theme. Could that be if I originally installed Luke + Sara from the wpmudev dashboard, but then separately uploaded my own theme? Should I not install anything from the wpmudev dashboard in the case I want to use a custom theme. I still have my theme zip file that I have attached to this message. I have tried to add it to my look4angels.com site, but it won't upload! I imagine uploading and activating that MIGHT fix the broken images and other issues in Builder? Not sure.
    angelchildrenbook - Same as the look4angels, except I have gone through and updated broken images and links. Several hours of redoing past work. This time I did the work in Editor, which presumably means if the error repeats I will not lose work again?

    Thanks for the help on this!
    Matt

    Matt

    Updates for you... I was able to restore many of the sites through Softaculous backups. But there are still issues. The above is somewhat dated, so please let me provide more information...

    1. The 3 sites above still have the same questions, as in what caused my customized theme to be overwritten. The themes had started off as Luke+Sara theme that I renamed and heavily customized. Could that be why they were still being overwritten? I would hope we could use the example themes as a base to build new themes from? That's all I've come up with.

    2. Plugin issue continues with 500 errors on several individual sites I try to update.

    3. I used Snapshot to restore https://valleysportsmore.com/. Good news - it appears to have thrown the site back to before today's disastrous updates. Bad news - The site is throwing a 500 error (admin is fine) and I can't get into Builder. It's saying there is a Theme conflict. Not sure why as the Snapshot was from earlier today before the updates, which I would think would get me back to operational? I have granted access. This site is actually down, down, unlike the others which have a few broken spots. If this could pleased be looked at soon to help restore functionality it would be really, really great. Thanks!

    Matt

    More information on #3.
    After enabling WP debug the site https://valleysportsmore.com/ shows the following error: Parse error: syntax error, unexpected end of file in /home/fr3n1/public_html/wp-content/themes/uf-luke-and-sara/layouts/archive-home.php on line 2702 This looks to be a PHP syntax error within theme. Would it be possible to just replace that file if it's causing the error?

    Tyler Postle

    Hey Matt,

    1. The 3 sites above still have the same questions, as in what caused my customized theme to be overwritten. The themes had started off as Luke+Sara theme that I renamed and heavily customized. Could that be why they were still being overwritten? I would hope we could use the example themes as a base to build new themes from? That's all I've come up with.

    Yes, if you customized the theme then updated it, it would overwrite the changes. If those changes were made in Builder. However, if you have a copy of the theme saved somewhere before you updated then you can copy of the page templates from the /wp-content/themes/uf-luke-and-sara/layouts/ folder - any that you changed anyway and those changes should still remain.

    3.Would it be possible to just replace that file if it's causing the error?

    Yes, you could replace that file that is causing the error with a fresh copy by downloading the theme here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/luke-sara/

    Then just copy over the file from the same location. Keep in mind, if you made changes to the home page template then those changes will be lost.

    If you send in your FTP then I may be able to save the file so you don't have to overwrite it

    You can send that privately through our contact form: https://premium.wpmudev.org/contact/#i-have-a-different-question

    Send in:

    Subject: "Attn: Tyler Postle"
    -WordPress admin username
    -WordPress admin password
    -login url
    -FTP credentials (host/username/password)
    -link back to this thread for reference
    -any other relevant urls

    **If you keep support access active then no need to send in wp-admin

    2. Plugin issue continues with 500 errors on several individual sites I try to update.

    https shouldn't be causing this problem. So is this happening even when you try to update plugins from within your site? or only from our on-site Hub?

    Do you mind if I try updating a plugin so I can see the issue first hand?

    Talk to you soon!

    Cheers,
    Tyler

    Matt

    Tyler - Great, related to #3 I just sent in the message with that FTP information. I have my fingers crossed the file can be fixed with the customization intact. I restored from a Snapshot I had saved from just a few hours before the updates caused the issue (Snapshot backup viewable from my dashboard). Was this file issue a Snapshot error? I have Snapshot set up on several sites and shouldn't that avoid the file error that has resulted here? A few of the other sites I was able to restore through Softaculous backups without issue. A particular thanks for the help on this one!

    #1. For the future I will not just edit the Builder files. Am I correct in that the below three ways would work to avoid this problem in the future?

    Strategy A - Edit preexisting theme (Fixer, Luke+Sara, etc.) in Builder. Then open Editor and save appearance/customization in there (usually I can just open it and save and then Editor appears to record all of the changes I made in Builder). Then download the customized theme. When this site updates the theme, the customized theme will be overwritten, BUT the changes saved in Editor will not be effected. Also, I can then upload that customized theme I downloaded whenever I want on another site to save on design time. I'm particularly interested about this one, since I would do this for several of the sites I was able to restore yesterday (e.g., superchargestaging.com/dvs).

    Strategy B - When not needing to save a theme customization, just do all edits in Editor using a provided theme (Fixer, etc.).

    Strategy C - Design own themes. Question here though - Themes update over time (security, etc.). Do we have to be concerned that any theme we design will not benefit from general theme updates? I guess is that a point against designing sites that way?

    #2. The plugin update errors are only happening when I try and update through the on-site Hub. I can go in manually and update them. I'm hoping I can get the hub to work for updating and saving time. But I noticed something odd this morning where it appears more of the updates took. I didn't do anything else and I'm wondering if the hub had a lag? The remaining sites with plugin updates are some of the problem sites I've been working on since yesterday. Let's park this issue for now please.

    Matt

    It's been a week and I was hopping back in here to try and get some answers. I was able to pull in a favor from another designer to help get the site restored. My top priority now is ensuring this does not happen again. The site still has a theme update to run and I do not want to repeat mistakes. For the problem site a theme update erased customization carried out in Upfront Builder. I appreciate your input on the following strategies to let me know if I am on the right track or not.

    Strategy A - Edit preexisting theme (Fixer, Luke+Sara, etc.) in Builder. Then open Editor and save appearance/customization in there (usually I can just open it and save and then Editor appears to record all of the changes I made in Builder). Then download the customized theme. When this site updates the theme, the customized theme in Builder will be overwritten, BUT the changes saved in Editor will not be effected. Also, I can then upload that customized theme I downloaded whenever I want on another site to save on design time. I'm particularly interested about this one, since I would do this for several of the sites I was able to restore yesterday (e.g., superchargestaging.com/dvs).

    Strategy B - When not needing to save a theme customization, just do all edits in Editor using a provided theme (Fixer, etc.).

    Strategy C - Design own themes. Question here though - Themes update over time (security, etc.). Do we have to be concerned that any theme we design will not benefit from general theme updates? I guess is that a point against designing sites that way?

    Strategy D - Use Upfront Theme, but create separate Child Theme. It was my understanding from several articles that you do not need to create Child Themes for Upfront's Themes, like stated here. But if that is no longer current or there is something else going on, please advise.

    Tyler Postle

    Hey Matt,

    Apologies for such a delay! For some reason this didn't get re-assigned properly :\ our fault, we'll investigate that further to ensure it doesn't happen again.

    As for your question.

    >Strategy A - Edit preexisting theme (Fixer, Luke+Sara, etc.) in Builder. Then open Editor and save appearance/customization in there (usually I can just open it and save and then Editor appears to record all of the changes I made in Builder). Then download the customized theme. When this site updates the theme, the customized theme in Builder will be overwritten, BUT the changes saved in Editor will not be effected. Also, I can then upload that customized theme I downloaded whenever I want on another site to save on design time. I'm particularly interested about this one, since I would do this for several of the sites I was able to restore yesterday (e.g., superchargestaging.com/dvs).

    Yes, that would work long as the layout is saved in Editor so it will be saved in the DB and not relying on the template file anymore.

    Strategy B - When not needing to save a theme customization, just do all edits in Editor using a provided theme (Fixer, etc.).

    Yes, everything in Editor will be saved to that specific site only and won't be transferable to other other sites.

    Strategy C - Design own themes. Question here though - Themes update over time (security, etc.). Do we have to be concerned that any theme we design will not benefit from general theme updates? I guess is that a point against designing sites that way?

    The security updates would all be to the Upfront parent theme. All of our Upfront themes (Fixer, Spirit, etc.) are actually child themes that are built upon our Upfront framework - using the Builder.

    So if you create a custom child theme, you don't need to worry about security fixes. You can see the Fixer changelog here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/fixer/

    No security fixes in it because it shouldn't need any, they would be done to the Upfront framework itself. Most updates to child themes are visual enhancements/fixes. Which is also what you could do via the Builder to maintain the custom theme you make.

    >Strategy D - Use Upfront Theme, but create separate Child Theme. It was my understanding from several articles that you do not need to create Child Themes for Upfront's Themes, like stated here. But if that is no longer current or there is something else going on, please advise.

    Yeah so I think my last reply kind of answered this question too. Upfront does use child theme's and actually requires them to use it at all

    Hope that helps Matt! You may have already found those answers elsewhere by now, but if you do have any further questions just let us know.

    Cheers,
    Tyler