Happy Halloween to everyone! At this All Hallows Eve, I would like to talk about Scary WordPress Moments. Since I have been working with WordPress for some time, I have had quite a few scary moments with WordPress. One stands out in recent memory.
Let me start by saying that I am a huge proponent of backing up my blog. I put together the original WP-DB-Backup which has been enhanced and fixed through the years and is a fantastic plugin. I use it religiously combined with a couple of tricks I picked up from readers along the way. I have the plugin backup my databases everyday and email them to a “backup” gmail account. I also have filters setup in the gmail account to delete daily backups as they come in, thus managing space (gmail keeps deleted emails for 30 days). So I have a rolling 30 day backup of all my blog and all of it is automattic.
That being said, about two WordPress point releases ago, I had sat down to backup, upgrade and fix Weblog Tools Collection after the release of the major upgrade. This blog is not that big or popular but it is my baby. It has taken on a life of its own and I have mangled and modified the code in many places to do things my way. Even though the code is fun to play with, the modifications cause me huge headaches when upgrading (my own fault). So my obsession for the blog and the custom modifications combined with a large database and a complex theme structure makes upgrades harrowing to say the least. Heck Matt has goaded me to upgrade this blog many times in the past after I had failed to do so for many weeks after a release. So I have an established and documented procedure to upgrade this blog which I keep up to date with all the changes required to counter and/or fix the modified code. However, during this one upgrade, I somehow missed a crucial step. You see this blog uses a table prefix from the Cafelog days and I had forgotten to change it in the config file before uploading it. Some reader managed to run the “new” setup for the blog between me uploading the files and then going over to the admin panel to upgrade it.
I thought I had somehow lost my blog and that the original tables with my precious data in it had been replaced with fresh new ones. I remember my blood running cold and panic starting to set in. I know WordPress quite well and I know how it works. I had made a backup before I started upgrading and I had followed all the steps for the upgrade. But for a brief few minutes that Saturday morning, I was truly sweating bullets. What bothers me now is that I did not recognize the problem soon enough. It took me almost five minutes to realize what had happened and take steps to fix it. As a reminder of that day, i never deleted that set of tables and have left them intact.
What Scary Moments have you had with WordPress? What did you learn from them?