Running Total Upkeep on CGI / DreamHost | BoldGrid
If you have any questions after reading this article, please be sure to post a comment at the bottom of the page. We're more than happy to help!

Backups not completing

Over the last several weeks, we have been troubleshooting an issue with Total Upkeep where the backup .zip files were never being created fully. After reviewing the issues, we noticed a majority of the users having the issue were hosting with DreamHost.

When reviewing the logs created by Total Upkeep, we noticed that closing the zip file was not completing.

DreamHost was able to help troubleshoot

We got in touch with the support team at DreamHost, and they were very helpful in troubleshooting. We weren’t able to get a definitive reason for the backups failing. We didn’t have any error messages to actually highlight for us what was going wrong. The BoldGrid team had a strong inclination that the server was killing the backup processes, but we weren’t able to confirm that.

We added System Zip to Total Upkeep!

One thing we did try was to create backups using the server’s zip command (rather than php’s ZipArchive or PclZip). We released a new version of Total Upkeep with this new feature, but after testing, it did not help. On the bright side however, system zip is faster than ZipArchive and PclZip, and so our users now have the ability to create backups even faster!

A possible solution may have been found

After much troubleshooting, DreamHost was able to find a solution that seems to be helping. The main change is to use PHP 7.3 (without FastCGI active). Initial testing shows that this seems to be working, and so if you’re having a problem with backups not completing, please try this approach.

Why may this help?

According to DreamHost, FastCGI has some limitations that CGI does not in their system (such as an idle timeout and a maximum limit of processes that can be opened). They have an article about FastCGI vs CGI here. To test the change, DreamHost says that users can switch between PHP with or without FastCGI at any time, and they have a support article with more info on this.

If you are running Total Upkeep, are having issues with backups completing successfully, and you’re hosting with DreamHost, please try using PHP 7.3 (without FastCGI active) – setup guide. If you’re still having issues, or need help with another item, please feel free to post a question in the WordPress.org forums!

 

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2 thoughts on “Running Total Upkeep on CGI / DreamHost

  1. Thanks for looking into this. Backup have been intermittently unreliable for me on Dreamhost. I made the above change and tried a backup, which was successful. Hopefully the problem is now resolved.

    Is there a way that you could detect that backups have been failing in this way, or that the PHP setup is not suitable? If so, it would be good to warn the admin, so that they can rectify the situation. Backups is one area that I feel really needs to be bomb-proof. Silently failing on errors is not a great characteristic here.

    • Hello Rhys-
      Thank you for the feedback, I definitely agree that being able to rely on your backups is mission-critical for your website. For this specific situation, the process that was terminating didn’t provide any feedback that the plugin could use to notify the user that the issue had occurred. For most other types of failures, you will see a notification that your last backup might have failed to give you the chance to resolve it. I hope this helps!

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