Website Crash – Recovering your Website

Wednesday morning I was playing around with this website and in particular I was working on assigning page attributes to my blog posts. The idea was to have it be /blog/postname or /posts/. While trying to achieve this I was tweaking code in the functions.php file.

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What Did I Do Wrong

Before I begin with the actual recovery I want to go over what I did wrong.

  1. I was meddling with code that I didn't understand. I was working in my functions.php file and if you recall I am not very good with php (maybe one of these days).
  2. I implemented new code without properly researching or testing. The new code ended up breaking the site if you haven't guessed.
  3. Other files were effected during the crash period so that removing the bad code did not fix the site. I was locked out of the backend and couldn't navigate the frontend.

Once the website was down it was not coming back up. I understand what I did but I am having trouble explaining why it happened.

Website Recovery Thoughts

  1. Since I was locked out of the backend I proceeded to PhpMyAdmin to pull my posts database file. This is a nasty way to do it but it is what I did. Insert hierarchy location here
  2. I confirmed my current backup solutions (i.e: XML file, Dropbox and another through my hosting company.
  3. I implemented my XML file into a new installation of WordPress. The new install only took a few moments to setup. As soon as I imported that document it pulled up the past 4 years worth of posts.
  4. My backup file was out of date by 2 months so I rebuilt the rest of my posts manually via an easy copy and paste. This process took maybe 15 minutes (5-10 posts).
  5. Knowing that my content was safe even if it was only the text was/is a great relief. After doing so I proceeded to download the copy from Dropbox and started to pull photos to rebuild my site. I started out with the theme-> Plugins -> Settings -> Everything else.

All in all the recovery time was less than 2 hours. Unfortunately I do not have the resources to backup every day or I could of had it done nearly instantly. The biggest time wasters were waiting for plugins to install/activate and to rebuild my latest posts. Moral of the story is if your website crashes it better be at midnight v.s during the day (or after you are on a blogging spree).

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What will I do in the future

In the future I would like to have a better backup and recovery strategy. Potentially one where I didn't have to re-setup my old plugins but there is always a point where you have to get down and dirty.

Either way: Learn from my pain and backup your website 🙂

Have a great day!


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