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...]


[… 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 …

11 thoughts on “Writing Too Much

  1. Have you looked at the BackWPup plugin? I use it with the five WordPress sites that I maintain to make automatic daily incremental and weekly full backups. I don’t know if it has the same limitations, but it’s different code and a different mechanism.

    1. This is a freebie wordpress.com blog, so they handle all the heavy lifting and don’t allow the plugins used on self-hosted WP sites.

      I doubt I could sysadmin a blog while accomplishing anything else. [sigh]

  2. Apparently, the WordPress designers never expected anybody to produce one post a day, every day since late 2009.

    My blog has existed roughly as long as WordPress.com (i.e. since late ’05), so I would imagine some users must have already acquired similar numbers before you ever even started. Incidentally, in my case that means a significantly more humble number of posts: “Published (250) | Drafts (30)”.

    1. WordPress hosts high-volume commercial blogs with multiple authors, so I’m nowhere near the top of the productivity list. Different rules surely apply to real customers… and they also have an IT staff for whatever admin tasks remain.

      Congrats on being an early adopter!

      1. I don’t tend to think of myself as an early adopter; I think I only first used WordPress sometime in ’04 with version 1.2. Of course, as I write this I realize that 10 years later that might sound like a bit of a silly thing to say.

  3. I have to admire your discipline and consistency posting every day.

  4. I submit my blog posts to wordpress by email. This has the advantage that I can compose offline and blog from any device, but it also means I have a backup of my blog in my sent-mail folder. If I had to replicate or move my blog I could do it by re-sending all the messages (which include attached photos).

    1. That’s a clever idea!

      The XML file contains all the image URLs and I have the corresponding images tucked away on my file server, but it’d take a hellacious script to stitch each post back together. Perhaps I could mash them into a vast collection of email messages with attachments?

      More pondering to come; thanks for the suggestion …

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