Backing up my web sites

I’ve implemented web sites of varying types, including:

  • Static
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • WordPress
  • Media Wiki
  • Probably a couple of others

With the exception of the static sites, these ALL run in databases and invariably they ALL need to be backed up, files and databases included.

Many web site administrators will either rely on their web host provider to perform these backups and/or implement a backup plug-in for their CMS of choice.

The advantage of webhost provider based backups is that it’s a complicated matter that you don’t have to worry about. The drawback for the webhost provider based backups is that backup and recovery for YOUR site is now out of your hands. Let’s hope your webhost provider has got it right. Otherwise, you may not have a site to recover. In addition, if your site gets hacked, you could have a real difficult time finding where the bad code is, and I’ll cover this later.

The advantage of plug-ins is that, depending on the plug-in, you can get a LOT of functionality, such as file/database backup and recovery, site migrations and much more. The disadvantage is that the site needs to be RUNNING in order to use it.

For the past few years, I’ve been logging into my sites via ‘ssh’ and have been performing file/database backups to a remote host. I’ve been performing daily as well as weekly backups and have kept about 3 months worth of backups for these sites. The advantage is that I can go back several months to restore a site and have used this to compare recent and old site files to find a site hack. In addition, it doesn’t matter WHICH CMS I’m using or even if it’s running. As long as I can ssh into the site and dump the files and database, I’m good to go. The disadvantage is that each backup is a FULL backup and these can consume considerable disk space.

Really, what I need is a decent backup utility that:

  • Can access multiple sites via ssh or rsync
  • Can backup files
  • Can backup the databases
  • Is automated
  • Doesn’t matter which CMS I’m using
  • Supports incremental backups (thus saving huge amounts of disk space)

In the Linux world, Bacula is very popular, however I’ve chosen an application called rsnapshot. This uses perl scrips and the rsync command to create a repository of backups and I’ve been able to configure it to access multiple sites and databases and to backup much more data than I otherwise would have been able to with FULL daily/weekly backups.



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Getting FastLED help

The FastLED community is on Google+.

Before asking the community for support, please remember that they need a reasonable amount of information in order to help. Depending on the issue, here’s some important details to include:

  • What kind of LED’s you’re using.
  • What microcontroller board you’re using.
  • What version of the FastLED library you’re using.
  • What version of Arduino IDE you’re using.
  • What OS you’re building from.
  • A circuit diagram/layout (try using Fritzing to show it).
  • A copy of your .ino file (copy it to or
  • Essentially, give us EVERYTHING in excruciating detail.
  • Provide specifics on how/where it’s all being powered up.
  • That would be pins, voltages, power supply used. . . every . . single . . wire.
  • Try and remove all the superfluous code and minimize the amount of code that exhibits the issue.
  • Oh, and triple check EVERYTHING. Again!
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Some ‘yum’ Commands for CentOS

The instructions in this article do not work with Ubuntu and its’ variants, such as Debian or Mint, as they use apt-get instead of yum. Read on if you’re a CentOS or related user.

When I first started using CentOS 7, I often selected the advanced packages during the graphical installation process, such as ‘Web Server’ or ‘GNOME Desktop’. The problem, was that I wanted to create a LAMP server with Samba, Git and phpMyAdmin for web development and none of the options seemed to fit. As a result, I eventually chose a minimal install and manually downloaded individual packages with the CentOS/RedHat specific ‘yum’ command.
I’m happy with how that went and have thoroughly documented this with my ‘A CentOS Web Development Environment’. In the meantime, I wanted to delve a little further into the ‘yum’ command to find out a bit more about the available packages.
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Finding the Right OS

Quite often, I use the Pareto principle of spending 20% of the effort to get 80% of the results. On other occasions, I spend far too much time to get something just right.

From DOS 1.0 in 1981 to Windows 8 and Linux today, I’ve installed dozens of micro and minicomputer operating systems over the years. To me, an OS needs to fit like a glove, which is why I’ve spent considerable time looking for a version of Linux that will complement my Windows 7 desktop environment. Being on a tight budget, I use Oracle’s VirtualBox instead of VMWare Player as it includes a Snapshot facility.
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Site Backups


If you have ever experienced the horror of losing files or a database, then you’ll understand the importance of implementing and TESTING your backups and site recovery capabilities.

I’ve developed some scripts that run on my local Debian server, which backs up my Hostgator sites and associated databases on a daily as well as a weekly basis.

Note: Unless you have a pre-existing arrangement in place, do not assume that your web host provider has adequate backup/recovery protection for your web sites. You’ve been warned.

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Learning the Guitar, Pt 5

I fell off the wagon again, for quite a while.

It’s now October, 2015 and I’ve become rather rusty. The only thing I’ve been doing on occasion is Guitar Nick’s fingerstyle progressions. Have not progressed beyond about #15.

On the other hand, I’ve focused on my Arduino creations and now have some very cool effects.

Am starting to progress beyond #15, so we’ll see what the next couple of months bring.

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