Writing Too Much

Being that type of guy, I make a local backup of this blog, using the Export function that normally serves to migrate blogs from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress site. WordPress handles the disaster-recovery backup just fine, but cloud-based Internet companies have a tendency to just vanish without too much warning (Everpix and Code Spaces come to mind), so having my blog’s verbiage where I can touch it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Anyhow, the most recent export failed completely, whereupon I filed a support request:

My irregular backup involves exporting my blog, which has worked up to this evening, and tucking it away. Alas, it dies with the cryptic message This webpage is not found

Clicking More reveals:

No webpage was found for the web address: [... huge URL snipped...]

Error code: ERR_FILE_NOT_FOUND

[… snippage …]

Can you get Export working again?

The response included the usual reboot-that-sucker advice:

[…] If you have problems next time you export your site, try clearing your browser cache and cookies and redoing the export. […]

But shaking the dice never really works:

OK, I’ve done that with three different browsers: Chromium, Firefox, and Pale Moon.

I’ve run Firefox in Safe Mode with all add-ons disabled, flushed everything, and the export function fails the same way.

The file name you gave me does not resemble the file name / URL / whatever presented to my browser.

That suggests the hole is not in this end of the boat.

Which forced a bump to Level 2:

[…] I’ve been discussing this with our developers and it seems the problem is that your export file it too large. We are hoping to fix this so that it won’t be an issue for you in the future but for the time being, you will have to export date-ranged posts. […]

I realise this isn’t ideal but it’s just a temporary workaround until this becomes a working feature in the not-too-distant future. I don’t have a date of completion at this stage.

Translation: “It’s like that and that’s the way it is.” When there’s no “date of completion”, that means the project is not on their calendar, which means they’ll never get around to doing it. A later conversation suggests that maybe August is the target date; we shall see.

So, how big is your blog, Ed?

The most recent backup export XML file weighed in at 28 MB, which doesn’t seem all that large by contemporary standards. Bear in mind that the file doesn’t include any of the 4300 images that occupy just under 1 GB (of the 3 GB one gets without buying a “media upgrade”).

It turns out size doesn’t matter:

It’s not the size of the file that is causing problems but rather the number of posts and media files. There are over 2000 posts and over 4000 media files.

I cannot imagine that those limits are held in 11 or 12 bit binary fields, but that would explain everything.

Apparently, the WordPress designers never expected anybody to produce one post a day, every day since late 2009. I’m certain I’m not the most prolific blogger on wordpress.com, but perhaps I’m the only one who’s ever tried to export the results …