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How do people handle upgrades on live sites?

  • Avatar of stripedsquirrel
    stripedsquirrel
    Participant

    @stripedsquirrel

    Last time I upgraded, all sites went blank (not just main blog), it apparently had to do with not switching the main theme before deactivating.

    I am on a live site, but with few users. I wonder how others handle their upgrades as it cost me an hour or so to delete stuff, re-upload, move themes, find the problems and fix them.

    Apparently the one-click upgrade does not work (see also http://buddypress.org/blog/news/buddypress-1-1-3/#comments) and with a growing number of plugins, the basic fact of deactivating and later reactivating all plugins, moving themes etc is taking a lot of time in itself even if the core upgrade goes well.

    So how do people with a larger live site handle this?

    (1) Do you really back up all your database files (mine are already huge with just a few users, can’t imagine how big large live sites’ SQL must be) and file folders?

    (2) Do you make an announcement on your site as all BP plugins (and main themes?) will not be working during upgrade?

    (3) Do you use an ‘Under Construction’ Theme to switch to temporarily (if so, can you share it?) or just let the site go blank and filled with errors for whatever time it takes to fix everything?

    Looking forward to hear some ‘best practices, wil help a lot of people I think.. Thanks!

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Avatar of Mark Schafer
    Mark
    Participant

    @markschafer

    I’m also curious as to how larger sites upgrade. We only have 100 users presently but need to potentially support thousands.

    1. Yes I backup db and files. sql file is now about 40MB.

    2. No announcement but may need to when site sees more activity.

    2. Use Maintenance Mode plugin during upgrade:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/maintenance-mode/

    Avatar of stripedsquirrel
    stripedsquirrel
    Participant

    @stripedsquirrel

    @mark, thanks for the reply.

    How do you use Maintenance mode: activate sitewide, or only on main blog? I tried a similar plugin (wartungsmodus), but that (a) did only seem to work on main blog and (b) would give users access to the plugin (and set the site on maintenance?)?

    Avatar of Andrea Rennick
    Andrea Rennick
    Participant

    @andrea_r

    Plan for the upgrade and pick a time when your site traffic is low.

    Let your users know ahead of time that you’ll be down for maintenance. Even with just a few users, letting them know is a courtesy, because if they do visit while you’re upgrading and they don’t know what’s going on, they may eventually leave because they think things break all the time.

    Yes, we backup ahead of time. Really. With large site where it would be impossible to ftp things without it taking all day, just backup files in a different location on the server. Optimize & clean up the db while you’re at it. Who wants to back up spam?

    Some of us with large sites do not deactivate all plugins and then reactivate later. With hundreds or thousands of blogs, it’d be a nightmare.

    At some point when your site is very large, you’re just going to have to get used to doing some things command line (ssh). In many ways, it’s easier.

    The moving of the them only occurred during BP 1.1. Shouldn’t have to do it next time. But! Paying attention to core changes helps you anticipate these things in advance. You have to do your homework.

    The maintenance mode plugin may not work properly in MU. My fave trick, if I*really* wanna keep people out, is to toss an index.html file in the root. I can still get in the backend, but many users just can’t figure out they can type in these things without a link there. :D

    Man, this means I have to write up a blog post about it now, doesn’t it? :D

    Avatar of stripedsquirrel
    stripedsquirrel
    Participant

    @stripedsquirrel

    Thanks Andrea. Sorry I have ‘inspired’ you do make a blogpost, but yes, it has become inevitable now :)

    I agree with the notice, better to let people know. I thought about the index.html as well, but that would still make people loose their posts they are editing when upgrade is taken place (or is failing), wouldn’t it? have you ever tried the automated upgrade?

    >Some of us with large sites do not deactivate all plugins and then reactivate later. With hundreds or thousands of blogs, it’d be a nightmare.

    So you also do not (even) deactivate the BP-plugins?

    >The moving of the theme only occurred during BP 1.1. Shouldn’t have to do it next time.

    It is still in the upgrade instructions though and I assume that if there are theme changes this might make sense or not? I do hope somebody cleverer than me could make this process automated as well.

    By the way, myself and some others had a white screen of death last upgrade. Not just just main blog, but all blogs, the moment I clicked the de-activate BuddyPress button. Apparently this could have been prevented by switching theme first. At that time I was not using a cloned child theme (now I am), so maybe that caused it.

    Just shooting some ideas for your upcoming post ;-)

    Cheers, Harry

    Avatar of Andrea Rennick
    Andrea Rennick
    Participant

    @andrea_r

    :D I’m just finishing up a post on how to do backups.

    “I thought about the index.html as well, but that would still make people loose their posts they are editing when upgrade is taken place (or is failing), wouldn’t it?”

    Hopefully you’ll have booted them out & warned them. :D Don’t upgrade on the middle of a Thursday, for instance. First thing Monday morning, early on a Saturday – those are times I pick, though I also have the advantage of being in an earlier timezone than my users.

    “So you also do not (even) deactivate the BP-plugins?”

    I mostly do MU sites, but yeah. I’d just keep on going… (Do the instructions say to deactivate it? I can’t say I ever looked…)

    I tyr the auto-upgrades first, and then if needed (or if it’s a big upgrade) I do it manually. Much safer.

    “By the way, myself and some others had a white screen of death last upgrade. Not just just main blog, but all blogs, the moment I clicked the de-activate BuddyPress button. Apparently this could have been prevented by switching theme first”

    Yep. the theme is looking for BP and you turned it off. :) Kind of predictable, really.

    I did a post here about backups, mostly via ssh, if someone wants to give it a read-over.

    http://wpmututorials.com/basics/how-to-backup-wpmu/

    Avatar of Xevo
    Xevo
    Participant

    @xevo

    Maintenance mode plugin works fine on wpmu, am using it right now as well.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

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