Helping iThemes BackupBuddy work better

BackupBuddy is a great backup and porting solution that works almost all of the time. iThemes continues to improve it all of the time, adding features and making it more and more reliable.

It really is my goto solution for backing up all of our sites, porting and duplicating them.

However, out of the dozens of sites I’ve ported and duplicated, there are times when I’ve run into issues. And it’s not with BackupBuddy, it’s with the environment itself.

As I’ve backed up and ported the sites over, I’ve been documenting some of the problems.

Here are several.

Caching interference

You may get some error messages referring to whatever caching plugin you’re using. I don’t generally see this with Zencache, but I’ve seen it with others.

And obviously I’ve see this happen with caching is enabled and I port it elsewhere for experimentation (side note: remember, you never want to do development on a real site).

So here are some steps to resolve it on the new site. Note that after each one, you should see if it does resolve it before doing anything else.

  • Edit the wp-config.php file and remove any lines that have anything to do with caching.
  • Go into your cpanel’s file manager or FTP program and navigate to wp-content/plugins directory. Disable the caching plugin by renaming the directory. Typically I’ll add an xyz to the end of the plugin name or something like that which is recognizable later on.

.htaccess file incompatibility or corruption

A good security plugin and sometimes a caching plugin will add some lines to the .htaccess file.

  • After porting, remove those lines so you have something very simple from a normal wordpress install, something like the below:

backupbuddy htaccess thedavebraun

  • There may be something leftover in the .htaccess file. BackupBuddy recently gave me this warning:

“Warning: An AddHandler directive has been found in your .htaccess file. This could result in WordPress and PHP not running properly if configured improperly, especially when migrating to a new server. If you encounter problems such as an Internal Server Error or Error 500, try removing this line from your .htaccess file. Solution: Delete this AddHandler line from the .htaccess file. Click here for more information & help.”

I was migrating a site from site5 to liquid web, and the directive “AddHandler application/x-httpd-php54 .php” it did not like!

Check the BackupBuddy zip file

Sometimes the backup zip file may be corrupted. Unzip it yourself on your local computer and make sure it looks like a normal wordpress install.

Specifically check the resulting wp-config.php file and the .htaccess file. I’ve actually seen a corrupted .htaccess file!

Other plugin conflicts

Gradually rename plugin directories to see which one causes the conflict. You can easily re-enable the plugins afterwards.

As far as which ones to disable first, start with the caching plugin you’re using, and then do the security plugin. (Note that if you are forcing SSL capability in the admin area with the security plugin, you’ll definitely want to disable that.)

Try another backup program

To help determine what is causing your issues, you can try another backup program other than BackupBuddy.

One I’ve used in many instances before is Duplicator (free version).

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It’s not really a backup program but will allow you to port a site from one domain or subdomain to another very easily.

Memory problems

I recently encountered this error:

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 3072 bytes) in /home/straightsource22/public_html/wp-content/plugins/js_composer/include/autoload/vendors/ninja_forms.php on line 9

This means the memory allocation towards any one PHP file was limited to 32MB.

Just increasing it to 64MB solved the problem.

This can be done in the PHP configuration editor with your web host manager:

backupbuddy memory thedavebraun

Zip Method Caching

On a new site, I once got the below failure:

backupbuddy disable cache thedavebraun

The solution in this case was to “Disable Zip Method Caching” in the Advanced Settings.

When things like this happen, it’s best to work with the iThemes support team to help narrow things down.

Visual Composer does not allow the old domain to be replaced by the new domain.

I’ve ported several sites, and had iThemes investigate, and Visual Composer does not store the URLs in links in a database such that BackupBuddy, or any solution, can modify them with the new domain.

So the solution is to simply use relative URLs:

  • don’t put in a button link the text
  • instead, put in /cruise.

I’ll be updating this post from time-to-time, but I hope it will help you resolve a problem.