Backing up Databases Just Got Easier

For websites using a content management system (CMS), backing up the database is crucial. In fact, database content such as posts, comments, and users is often more important to website owners than the file content (e.g. themes and plugins). That’s why CodeGuard now automatically detects and adds databases for websites built with WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

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Introducing Microsoft SQL Server support in CodeGuard

As some of our customers may have already noticed, we at CodeGuard have been hard at work adding a new product line – Microsoft SQL Server Database backups. Today, we wanted to share some of the technical aspects around the creation of this new functionality.

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Until recently, we have only provided MySQL database backups. Like many other cloud-based companies, much of the work we do is performed on the Linux operating system. While that works well for many of the systems we back up, including SFTP, FTP, MySQL, and WordPress, currently, it is better to backup Microsoft SQL Server using a Windows-based solution. Fortunately, these servers, like other parts of our infrastructure, run in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, where we can create and remove new Windows Servers in only a few minutes. With some custom code written to execute the backups on this group of servers, we are able to provide the same type of daily backups to our Microsoft SQL Server clients that we do to clients running MySQL.

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Easy Upgrade From The Free Plan

When we launched our free plan recently, we weren’t sure whether customers would routinely want to upgrade from the free offering to a paid subscription. Of course, we hoped that would be the case but, in the absence of concrete data, we always try to keep new functionality as simple as possible. Our MVP was a plain signup form to create the account and page with a message asking customers to delete their account and sign up again for a paid plan if they took an action that initiated an upgrade.

 

We knew going in that this would not be an ideal experience for customers that wanted to upgrade and over the course of a few weeks, we heard from a handful exactly how dissatisfied they were with the process. With a few strong data points, we were able to make the decision to prioritize this work and deliver a new, easy upgrade process for those customers that want to benefit from our paid features. The entire process has just three steps.

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Realtime Syncing with AWS Lambda

In one of our recent blog posts, we talked about the improvements we have made to integrate our WordPress plugin with our main CodeGuard dashboard. One of the issues we faced when working on this integration was making sure WordPress plugin data are synced with the dashboard quickly so users see changes in close to real time.

We’ve talked about how the CodeGuard WordPress plugin works in the past, but just to give you a short refresher: The plugin first scans the WordPress root directory for files. It splits this content between several small zip files that are then transmitted and safely stored in an Amazon S3 storage account managed by CodeGuard. Combined, these zip files make up a single backup. We also upload log files that can be used to determine which steps in the backup succeeded and which steps failed, as well as an integrity check that we use to verify all of the zip files are present in S3. In order to make details about the backup accessible in our main CodeGuard dashboard, we needed a way to analyze the information stored in S3 and record statistics in our Rails app database that we could then display to users.

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Behind The Scenes: CodeGuard WordPress Plugin Architecture

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We’ve talked before about some of the architecture we use to back up hundreds of thousands of websites and databases using FTP, SFTP, SSH and MySQL, but many of our customers have opted for the simplicity of our new WordPress plugin. In keeping with our other behind the scenes posts, we wanted to share a bit more about the technical aspects of the solution for those that are curious.

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Diligent Care and Feeding Grows Our Web Services

Successful web applications, like the businesses they embody, require care and feeding. We all have visited, at some time or another, a mom-and-pop business where the owners are friendly but the floors squeak and some of the back corner items require a little dusting before purchase. Such places can be quite charming in their way, but clearly they stay alive because of a lack of competition and the simple expectations of their owners.

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