Backing up wordpress – playing it safe

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Recently, I was sent an e-mail from a ‘cyber agent’ informing my blog software has a flaw in it, that this ‘cyber agent’ had gained access to the administration panel, to prove this I was provided with the encrypted password and my username with login details. While, it turned out that this was not my main blog and just some blog software I was testing at some stage and never bothered to upgrade – so I was always safe – in that respect, as I always stay up to date with software renewals on my main sites.

This did start me thinking about blog security, or perhaps more importantly if something did happen are my backups ready if the worst happens, and if so does this mean I can turn back the clock and have my blog fully restored. As a WordPress user, there are a few simple options you can utilize, but no matter what software you use the following rule is golden.

Check with your web-host, how often do they do full backups of your site’s data, meaning your database and all files you have associated with your website, and should you need access to these files to restore the data, what is the required process. If you are in Ireland check out Letshost.ie who have a great backup policy. Some hosts have cPanel installed which will allow you to run a full backup also.

Step 1 – The database

The wordpress backup plugin is a great tool for backing up your WordPress database – that is everything you have written on your blog, and the actual database that supports this. You can use this plugin to schedule a regular backup – which is e-mailed to you on a specified basis. Once activated you will find a backup option under the manage menu, I would strongly recommend against saving the backup to the server, as this may be publicly accessible, having it e-mailed is a good idea, or better still saving to your PC. I find deleting spam before the backup is a great idea to speed up the download, particularly relevant for those with slower connections and you really don’t need a spam backup, easy to do if you use Askimet. Remember this backup process does not include any themes, plugins, images, or WordPress PHP and config files.

Step 2 – The files

Getting the rest of the files is the next part, using your favorite FTP client, such as FileZilla (free), log on via FTP to your WordPress installation and copy the entire folder including subdirectories, ensuring your themes, uploaded images, plugins, and modified files are all in there, which they should be anyway, and copy to your PC. This process may take a while depending on the amount of data and your broadband connection.

The files should then be backed-up to a CD or external hard-drive, it seems unlikely but a server and a PC going down do happen. You should backup your WordPress database often using the schedule on the plugin (or manually if you prefer), unless you do not post very often, every week/month is a good starting point, and also backup your WordPress files, this – maybe once a month is ok, but if you make template changes and wordpress changes you’ll want this reflected in your backups and so backing up at that point is wise.

Points to note

You don’t need to become a backup freak, but just remember to do it, a simple entry to Google calendar to remind you when to do it is a nice idea, they even send you text reminders, you have no excuse really.

Unless you do both steps above you really only have a partial backup of your blog.

Marley and Me

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I’m reading a book called Marley and Me, something I picked up at Manchester Airport recently, even though Dublin to Manchester is such a short trip I always have a tradition, if you can call it that, of picking up a book to start on a plane trip – no matter how small the trip. It’s a somewhat interesting book, so far I have made it 1/3 of the way through, its nice to see other people as crazy about pets as me, and if you have a pet, particularly a dog this is one for you. Just did a search on the internet and found an interesting little website the author’s John Grogan created.

Updated: There’s a movie coming!!!

Happenings on Irish Rail – Iarnród Éireann

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Sorry for the lack of updates, but you can get tired of blogging at times. I am writing this on the train to Dublin, internet – curtsy of O2 Broadband, it’s holding up – maybe better than me. Irish Rail has been blowing some smoke lately about their new trains, while this one is very clean and new, it seems there has been no effort to work on the actual rail lines, as its bumpier than teenagers face. That said, I usually drive, or take the bus if I have to, the train is so expensive, it’s not really worth it.

You have the usual passengers on this train, most notably is the Britney (yes I’ve named her) the girl who whats you to know how great she is, even though we are about 6 seats away the whole carriage knows she is a student, works weekends, has an order with amazon for college books, which she decided to have posted to her aunts house in Meath – even though she lives in Dublin – ‘ she was just was not thinking that day’ – apparently, she was also at a court case recently, not sure why, but apparently the judge warned her not to discuss this in public, when she meets a guy on a night out she does not give him her number but rather her brothers phone number, because when she tries to make up a fake phone number, she always ends up giving out the real number… She must be talking to a ghost however, I cant hear what the other person is saying, I can only assume her friend is speaking in a normal tone.

I’ve just been interrupted to ask if I want coffee- this is new, and not happened on any of my previous Limerick- Dublin trips – a nice touch – I assume it’s not included in the 45 euro ticket price.

One other thing, there is a woman singing a song, like to one you hear old people singing in those older type pubs where they play ’45’ and drink sherry. She has stopped now, perhaps to sip her ‘coffee’. I spoke too soon, she is now singing again, but not alone this time – a gentleman has joined her to sing you ‘you will never defeat the IRA’ and ‘Billy don’t be a hero – come back to me’. I can only assume she is intoxicated, and hope she will soon drift off. One plus though it has stopped Britney from yapping her hole off.

We are now at Thurles, and I love that the automated voice guy said it in Irish first.

Limerick Animal Welfare Launches a Blog

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Limerick Animal Welfare – These are great guys – they have even launched a blog! – welcome to the blogosphere !

Limerick Animal Welfare was founded in 1983 to care for unwanted and abandoned animals in the Limerick area. We have rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed many thousands of neglected cats and dogs. We are so proud that after almost a quarter century in operation, our charity continues to flourish. We feel there are two keys to our success. We have an amazing group of hard-working volunteers, who give so freely of their time and energies for the sake of the animals. We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the people of Limerick, who have supported us unstintingly over the years.

Three Mobile Ireland: If you move to Three what will you miss

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Note: This post was written on

This is not really me having a go at three mobile. But here is a list of things about the mobile network that I really dislike and things you will miss if you move to that network, I’m doing this also because of the launch of their new advertising campaign.

1. The Internet – it’s like being at work – Three Mobile decides what sites you can and cannot use.
2. Topping Up- Only way to do it is in your local shop/supermarket – and usually, they have never heard of Three Mobile so they have to get the manager.

3. On-Screen top-up balance – can’t do it – you have to call the automated line.
4. TV –  notice that in their recent campaign – which I understand is an expensive one – they mention TV  there is NO TV service, apart from clips from three shows Little Britain, Father Ted and the Office.
5. Music & Games – They want 2 euro per tune (99 cents on iTunes) and 7 euro upwards for games!

Having said all this there are advantages such as cheap roaming costs, 5c text messages, cool phones, their coverage is pretty good mostly due to their Vodafone agreement. But I have noticed my phone loses coverage sometimes for up to five minutes while it tries to switch from one network to the other.