The following instructions apply to both our Windows 2008 IIS 7 servers & our Windows 2012 IIS 8 Servers.
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to back up your SQL database and web site files. Then we’ll use the IIS Manager to back up your site and SQL Databases all in one shot. These instructions will place a .zip file locally on your computer for safe keeping. The .zip file will contain the .bak file of your SQL database.
Step 1: Use our SQL backup tool in Control Panel to back up your SQL Database. When using this tool the .bak file will be stored in your App_data directory. Please read our knowledge base article on how to use the backup SQL Tool in our control panel.
Step 2: Once you’ve created the .bak file in your App_data directory on your site account using the SQL backup tool in our control panel, you’re ready to connect to your site using IIS Manager. Please read our knowledge base article about Using the Microsoft IIS Manager.
Step 3: In IIS Manager Right click on your site. Selected Deploy and click on Export Application…
Step 4: In the Export Application Package window click the Next button (do not change any settings).
Step 5: Click the Next button in the Select Parameters window (again, do not changing any settings).
Step 6: Click the Browse… button and select a directory on your local computer (this is where the backup .zip file containing your site’s web files will be placed on your local computer). Select a file name with today’s date for your reference. Now click the Save button.
Step 7: Click the Next button in the Save Package box and wait for your site to be saved locally on your computer. Now click the Finish button when you receive the notice “The package was created successfully.”
The .zip file that you saved locally will also contain the SQL database backup (.bak) file that you created when you used the SQL Backup tool in the control panel. It’s important to back up your SQL database at the same time as your web site files to maintain consistency for your site.
Restoring your site from backup
If you ever need to fall back and restore your web site to a previous state from a certain date, you can use the same tool in IIS Manager, but this time you will need to select Import Application in the Deploy option in IIS Manager.
Instructions for restoring your site:
Step 1: Right click on your site in IIS Manager. Select Deploy and click Import Application.
Step 2: Click the Browse… button and select the .zip file located on your computer of the web site backup you created in IIS Manager. Then click Next.
Step 3: Do not change any settings in the Select The Contents of the Package box and click the Next button.
Step 4: On the next page Enter Application Package Information you will need to remove the text from the box so the backup is restored to the root of your hosting account. So you should only see:
HostingAccountDomain.com/ [Empty Text Box]
Now click the Next button.
Step 5: You will receive the following warning from IIS Manager: “This application will be installed into “HostingAccountDomain.com”. Most applications are usually installed into a folder beneath the root, such as “HostingAccountDomain.com/Blog” Are you sure?” Go ahead and click the OK button.
Step 6: In the next box, Overwrite Existing Files, choose the option, “Yes, delete all extra files and folders on the destination that are not in the application package.” This will delete any extra files or folders that don’t exist in the backup .zip folder (we’re choosing this option because you want to restore the entire site as it existed on the date that you created the .zip files).
If you don’t wish to delete the extra files then select the option: “No, just append the files in the application package to the destination.” Now click the Next button.
IIS Manager will now restore your site files to the state they were in when you created the .zip file. It will also contain your .bak file too, if you created the SQL backup first using the SQL Backup tool in the control panel on the day you created the .zip file in IIS Manager. To restore the database, read our knowledge base article on how to restore your .bak file to the SQL database.
If you need instructions on backing up your MySQL database please read our blog post article: Using mysqldump to backup and restore your MySQL database/tables.
One really cool thing about this tool in IIS Manager is that you can also use it to transfer your site to our WinHost web servers. Granted, that is only if your current host provides you with the ability to Export your site using IIS Manager. If they don’t, you should be at WinHost!
As fearless WinHost technical support specialists, we often encounter problems involving web sites that suddenly “broke,” seemingly out of nowhere. The owner of the site opens a support ticket, presents the issue, and invariably concludes their description of the issue with a plaintive variation on “And I haven’t touched the code in 2 years!”
Although by telling us this you may mean to indicate that there must be something wrong on our end, it actually puts up red flags for us that it’s more likely there’s something wrong on your end–because updating your code is absolutely essential to maintaining a functioning website.
Why? Let’s take your operating system as a case study. We’ve all experienced the annoyance of Windows running those automatic updates at night and waking up to find our computer has rebooted and all of our open windows have been unceremoniously closed. But Windows not updating would, ultimately, be even more annoying than waking up to your programs closed.
Windows updates because bugs are constantly being discovered and fixed, exploits are found and patched, new functionality is added, third-party vendors release new, better drivers… the list of “whys” is pretty long. If you never got those updates, what would happen? Your computer might be subject to an attack, you may not be able to take advantage of a new feature offered (like, say, the new, even buggier version of Internet Explorer), or maybe a new program you install won’t run properly because it depends on a service pack update.
As you may know, your WinHost website is actually running on Windows — Windows Server 2008 or 2012, to be specific. On that server are many components that contribute to keeping your website up and running. The two you might be most familiar with are IIS and the .NET framework.
Venture over to our community forum and check out the post on monthly maintenance. We are regularly performing updates, too–just like your desktop Windows OS. So as you can probably deduce by now, our server environment changes regularly. Therefore, what you coded 2 years or even 2 months ago may start acting funny after a while.
As the responsible webmaster we know you are, it’s part of your job to make sure your code keeps up with the changing environment it’s running on. Remember, these are web applications you’ve written. Just like applications on your desktop, updates are crucial to ensuring they function optimally.
Most of the web applications we offer in our App Gallery release regular updates. It is vital that you keep up with the updated versions, because they not only add functionality, they also fix bugs that were discovered. You can avoid your site being rendered nonfunctional by regularly checking for updates.
Some of the applications will alert you to new versions being released–do not ignore these alerts! The same is true for plugins (such as in WordPress), blog themes, etc. Any component of your web application requires monitoring for updates and patches.
However, it’s not just the server environment that changes, and it’s not always bug fixes or exploits that compel updating applications. As your site becomes more popular, or your business grows (which, I think you’ll agree, is a Good Thing), more people are going to be visiting your site. That means that the application you wrote to accommodate 10 users at a time may now be straining under the load of 50+ concurrent users.
You may start noticing more 503 errors, which, understandably, makes you think something is wrong with our servers, when in fact it may just be due to your successful business practices or your scintillating blog posts. Try doing a little gardening–make sure your application is scalable so you can revel in your new found success and popularity error-free.
I hope I’ve convinced you to re-analyze your fear of updating your code. Of course, if you really are experiencing problems with a web application that is updated, scalable and now apparently completely broken due to something on our end, as your friendly WinHost technical support specialists, we’re here and happy to help.
Just be sure to let us know you’ve been touching your code on a regular basis.
Here is a list of updated applications for the WinHost Control Panel App Installer:
- Acquia Drupal 7.19.18
- DotNetNuke 07.00.03 Community Edition
- Joomla 2.5.9
- KoobooCMS 3.3.0
- mediaWiki 1.20.2
- mojoPortal 184.108.40.206
- MonoX 220.127.116.1181
- Moodle 2.4.1
- Umbraco CMS 6.0.0
- WordPress 3.5.1
We live in a very exciting time for electronic gaming, computers are regularly packing more than 4 cores, video cards have never been bigger or better, and some of the best games of last year had enough content to occupy over 300 hours of your time.
Even more exciting is the power that console systems now offer, it would seem that pretty soon consoles will catch up with desktops, and all of this amazing power will be available for a fraction of the cost that it traditionally was.
Game designers are working to release new titles faster and faster, while simultaneously increasing the available content, improving character dialogue, bringing actual musicians for in game music, and even consulting real military personnel and historians to make sure that every little detail is just right.
Even more impressive is the rate at which games are blending online multiplayer and single player experiences.
It used to be just about fragging your friends or strangers in set matches, Unreal Tournament style, now it is about building communities of people who play in similar ways, trading in game items, dropping in to games to assist each other in co-op campaigns, and of course fragging your friends and strangers Unreal Tournament style.
However, for all of its polish and innovation, there are some games that I find myself thinking about from time to time, and even though Skyrim was a great experience, it has nothing on the lasting appeal of these 3 titles.
Rodent’s Revenge is a puzzle type game released in 1991, created by one man Christopher Lee Fraley and distributed in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack, it was an exciting game that had you as a mouse surrounded by deadly cats trying to push blocks to trap the cats, turning them into cheese which you can then eat for additional points.
With 50 levels and only 3 lives, it displayed the kind of difficulty that many older gamers will remember was very common in the 80’s and early 90’s.
I really enjoyed this game for a few reasons, which I will be kind enough to list below.
1. This game is really freaking hard.
Like really dang hard. You only get 3 lives and no continues, and when a cat touches you, you are dead.
Not only are there cats to look out for but there are balls of yarn that will bounce around at random and kill you, sink holes that you can fall into that will trap you until a cat comes around and eats you, and mouse traps that will, predictably, also kill you.
2. You need to be really creative in order to win.
You only have on offensive weapon in the war against the cats that is pushing blocks in order to trap them. No friendly predator missiles or magic shouts, only the ability to linearly move blocks in such a fashion that you protect yourself while herding those dang cats into a single square.
I feel like I should mention that at the higher levels there are immobile blocks that you cannot push, serving to disrupt your plans at the last second and getting you eaten.
I remember the first time I played this game I had no instructions and no idea of what to do or what was going on.
There is a help file that explains the finer points of the game, but who reads those anyways?
No, it was up to 5 year old me to learn how to play an excruciatingly hard puzzle game trial and error style until I earned success.
That seemed to be a running theme of early games; good players were not made, but evolved by survival of the fittest until only the strong and skilled remained.
The real title of this game is “Conway’s Game of Life”, but I have only ever known it as Life.
This is a really interesting game that doesn’t even feel like a game at first.
You have a huge 2 dimensional grid and you place squares until you are ready to start the game and you press start.
After you press start your participation in the game is pretty much over, you watch your squares (which represent members of a population) live, reproduce, and die.
What I love about this game now and I didn’t understand when I was young is that this game is basically math.
The rules for the game are as follows:
Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbors dies, as if caused by under-population.
Any live cell with two or three live neighbors lives on to the next generation.
Any live cell with more than three live neighbors dies, as if by overcrowding.
Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbors becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.
And with these very simply rules you can create a staggering amount of combinations doing all sorts of things, like the “Glider” which reproduces itself while simultaneously traveling across the map.
There are many subtle yet captivating elements found in this game, from a simple smattering of pixels you can create infinite combinations and patterns’, watching complex systems emerge from the chaos is simple and satisfying, and you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to appreciate the game’s simple beauty.
SkiFree shipped with my very first desktop computer, a Packard Bell running Windows 3.1 for WorkGroups, so it will always be very dear to my heart for one simple reason.
It was the first game that I was actually afraid of.
SkiFree follows the trials and tribulations of an anonymous skier on his last journey down the mountain, depending on which direction you choose initially the game’s play style might be a tight series of slaloms, where you race for time, or an open expanse of mountain filled with ramps that you can hit for style points.
Why? It is never explained, but I always imagined your skiing hero had some hot babes down at the shack that he really needed to get to, so he couldn’t stop to accept his prize in the competition that he was apparently a part of.
However you will never make it to the bottom of the hill, there will never be any hot babes.
There will be however, an abominable snowman.
Once you cross a certain distance after the finish line the snow monsters will emerge and will chase you relentlessly, if you hit a tree, fall down, or do anything other than ski as fast as your tiny pixel skis will take you, you will be caught by the snow monster and he will eat you.
After the feast he will pick his teeth with one of your bones and jump up and down on the screen in such a way as to mock you for even trying.
All of these titles have a place in my heart and even though my current PC is four hundred quadrillion times better than the machines they were designed for I continue to play them.
I appreciate their charm even though they do not have 32 Bit True Color, or any Anti-Aliasing options, no multiplayer, and no plot or “end” in the traditional sense.
I made up that back story about the skier, the game itself never gives you even the slightest hint for why there is snow monster on the mountain or why you are skiing, but I think that makes it even more fun.
These are games that never took themselves too seriously and got right to the point, they were about having fun and occupying your time.
More so than anything these games are truly unique, which is why decades later they are still considered fun enough to write about.
Have you ever setup your smart phone to connect to a POP3 and/or SMTP server only to get errors? You looked through your email providers’ documentation and spoke with their tech support only to have them tell you that the problem is not on their end.
Frustrating as it is, they are often right. The true culprit is typically your carrier. Often times they either restrict or obstruct certain ports. How to find if your Smart Phone is able to use these ports; you ask?
Luckily for Android users, there are some nifty free apps you can download and install to perform some port checks for you. The specific one I would like to point out is the Android Net Swiss Tool (this was tested using a Galaxy S3).
Once you have Net Swiss Tool installed, tap the icon. You will see on the top a drop down list where you can choose Portscan TCP. You have two options on how you can define the ports. The first and easiest method is to tap on the Port List button. The second is to manually input the port numbers in the blank text box. When you manually type the ports you want to test, separate the port numbers by spaces not commas. Also pay close attention to the Timeout setting. Some servers may take longer then usual to respond back to a port check. If you’re Timeout setting is set too low, the app will assume the port is closed if it has not received a reply back within a short period of time.
Tap the Test bar and you will see whether the port is open or not.
You will need to keep in mind that it will test the current backbone your phone is using at the time. Meaning if you are connected to WiFi, it is testing the ports through that WiFi. If you are away from any hot spots, then your phone is testing through your phone carrier’s backbone.
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