Interesting question Colin...
I was working on those annoying '504 timeout' errors and the web hosting company were being less than helpful. Basically
until I can say to them 'This is what the error is. It's clearly your fault. Fix it.' They are just washing there hands of the whole
affair, basically saying. ‘There’s nothing wrong OUR end!’ So I was pointed by SMF to a '24 step, self help guide’ and I was
making my way through that, deleting all the old thumbnail etc, 26, 000 of them! Etc, etc. Some of it makes perfect sense
and some of it you have to go on trust. So I’m working though the guide and doing what they say... but if something breaks,
all you get is, "well it shouldn't do that!" and then you're
Backups and spare tyres
I'm paranoid about backups and take them regularly and you ‘sleep easily’ in the fact you have them safely ‘in the bag’.
( Remember the old Model Boats forum?! From memory it couldn’t be restored for technical and/or commercial reasons.)
So how many of us have got a new car, (new to yourselves anyway!), put it on the driveway, jacked it up and test fitted
the spare wheel to make sure it's the right one, there's nothing wrong with it & it fits properly on each corner?!!! .... No?
Me neither. I check it once or twice a year, kick it to make sure it's got air in it and that's about it.
Now we come to "Forum Maintenance".
This is what SMF says it's got air in it and that's about managing a forum:
Check all files against current versions - Check!
Find and repair any errors - Check!
Recount all forum totals and statistics - Check!
Empty out unimportant logs- Check!
Optimize all tables to improve performance. - Check!
Backup Database - This area allows you to save a copy of all the posts, settings, members, and other information in your
forum to a very large file. For larger forums, this backup may not be able to backup your entire database, in which case
you may want to backup your data by other means such as using ‘phpmyadmin’, or some other database backup utility.
Frequent backups are recommended, perhaps weekly, for safety and security.”
Now I have backups going back 6 years and several things should rang alarm bells;
1. No Backup scheduling system,
2. No real backup verification system.
3. No restore facility.
4. Unable to compress files due to size.
5. Other SMF users experiences with SMF Backup / Restore.
Now not only should I have a backup, I know I should have verified backup – granted. When I run the backup, it run and says
‘Completed, no errors.’ – well that’s good enough, surely?! Well over the last week of blind panic, is turns out the inbuilt system
is about as good as a paper propeller! – It looks the part but in actual fact, won’t stand up to any real world test. Doing a lot of
searching on the matter, reoccurring words pop up, such as, ‘useless’, ‘terrible’, ‘rubbish’, ‘contemptible’, ‘ expletive’, ‘double expletive’,
‘Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?’
Now with the growth of Mayhem’s popularity, we had to move the website a couple of times and therefore we/be had to
move all the data (currently about 9Gig) to a completely new system. We’ve successfully done this using the forum backup
system and the help from a host keen to get your new business, so I know that the backup system does work… until your
forum gets to a certain, unspecified size, then things are different!
You’re only as good as your last backup
Having spoken and communicated with several 'Tefal heads' * over the last week and it turns out I could have done some
1. Used myPHPadmin
2. User Cpanel backup
3. Created individual SQL table backups.
4. Regularly test the backup on the Temp / test forum that I’ve had for years!
5. Bang harder on the hosting company door demanding better support with the ‘504 errors’!
One particular Mayhemer has done extensive work for us and it looks like we may well be able to restore the full members list
to about 3 weeks ago but I’m holding off on that until I understand the full implications on all the new accounts we’ve created
over the last day or so. I must say it’s heartening to see how many Mayhemers have rejoined the forum so quickly!
Thanks again for all the encouraging emails and messages, it really did help in the very late & dark hours of the forum being
down and blind panic setting in. It really is an honour to provide a simple website and forum for you guys!
Just thought that I share this with you because this is OUR forum.
Your comments and observation welcomed.
… It’s 05:00 now… I reedit this into a form of English later today.... after many buckets of coffee.
* Your our younger Mayhemers - Tefal head, see: http://youtu.be/d3hpYgJCeEc & http://youtu.be/hU6Wi5voG9U