Amazon Killed the Internet

Tonight, these sites and perhaps hundreds more died. At least temporarily.

Amazon's AWS servers went down effectively disabling Netflix, Tumblr, Instagram, Woot, Pinterest, Skype, Zynga and more

The Internet was ablaze (almost ironically) tonight when a massive storm on the East Coast caused a power outage that affected Amazon’s “Amazon Web Servicescloud server system. AWS is what power so many sites and services these days. It’s their¬†reliability, scalability, cost and speed that have so many startups jumping to their system.

Tonight became Survivor - Startup Edition

Tonight became Survivor – Startup Edition

However, tonight highlights what happens when you rely on a single fail point. What’s the adage? “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Well tonight it was a single Amazon server location’s power outage that has many of the most popular sites offline. Amazingly, Twitter is not one of the sites shutdown.

 

Once the power is back on, or once Amazon starts shifting bandwidth and syncing servers, all of these sites will be back up and running. What’s disappointing is that even though Amazon has tons of servers all over the country, it only took one power outage to cripple their system.¬† Continue reading

How to Automatically Backup a WordPress Blog

The other day I had a friend ask me for a best practice in backing up his self-hosted WordPress blog. At some point his blog crashed and he lost just about everything. This is no good, especially when backing up and restoring WordPress has become so easy!

I follow a rule of data security that no data is secure until it lives in three different locations. For my blog that looks like this.

  1. Original file on my computer
  2. Copy on my portable external drive
  3. Copy on Drobo as the archive

The fail here is that at any given moment, two or three of these might be in the same place. If I’m at home with my laptop, my portable hard drive and my Drobo, and my apartment blows up, I’m done for. Your third space should be someone in the Cloud or some other safe online backup location away from your other backups.

For my blog it is much easier. I use two plugins, WP-Database and UpDraft to do daily and weekly backups of my MySQL database and the actual files behind my blog. In addition, my host provides daily, weekly and monthly backups.

Here is my backup structure.

Most hosts will only backup your website files, not your database. They leave this up to you. But with a blog, all your most important content is probably the posts which live in the database! Let’s learn how to create a fail-proof* blog backup. Continue reading