Restoring Wordpress - i keep running into issues
August 2, 2021 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Hello, I am back with another fresh exciting Ask about this accursed website i've found myself managing with at least full cpanel control (previous). So the hosting provider (and this isn't my own account, so i can't quickly raise a ticket and bother them) did the bare minimum and zipped up the entire contents of the server for me to download, which i've done. I'm told they've wiped everything and restored access but based on the path address it's clearly a different location (home2/... instead of home/). Is this the reason why when I'm trying to restore from UpdraftPlus in a fresh WP install, and it didn't work? (internal server error) Let's assume I've googled search terms, 'how to restore website manually' and its variations and it didn't quite help.

Based on what I've been reading, I can restore databases manually etc. I have absolutely no WP technical knowledge, so this feels confusing. It feels like I should be looking up resources on how to migrate sites, but the problem is, if the advice is to first export into a zippable file, as per above, i'm not able to do.

Thankfully it's somewhat of a new site, so it's quite a light load, so I am also looking into how to look into the zip file i have and just extract the posts and pages. Do you know how can I do that?

basically, i don't have any active, responsive help* here and I'm a noob. I have a zip file of the previous server contents, including the subfolder of the WP site I'm trying to restore. If I need to just start from scratch, considering my technical knowledge, how do I extract my previous content (pages & posts)? Images are fine, I found them and I can reupload (painstakingly, like a fool). But it's the texts that I need. Can i run the files locally somehow (maybe even on Notepad) and just painstakingly copy and paste it?

*this is just my karma, but i also have no bandwidth to judge the person who purchased this hosting package, whose tech support still managed to say we have no SSL certificate and should buy one, when we just bought one 4 months ago. Is it really my problem when you've repartitioned/reformatted the disk space and couldn't even restore the backend properly, which should've included the SSL and the PHP version? Anyway, don't answer that, that's rhetorical. Answer the above, please.
posted by cendawanita to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: for obvious non-profit-not-operating-in-USD reasons, unless absolutely critical, i would not be considering any paid options.
posted by cendawanita at 7:46 PM on August 2, 2021

Thankfully it's somewhat of a new site, so it's quite a light load, so I am also looking into how to look into the zip file i have and just extract the posts and pages. Do you know how can I do that?

So, I just downloaded a back up of my wordpress site from, the back up was three folders; 1. email 2. SQL database 3. User. Your user folder may have a robot name like dh_uidn5c as mine does. That folder had a back up of my theme, logs, Maildir, and a folder with my content, which also included my wordpress files, in a file called wp-content I found all images I had on the site in a file called uploads. The original downlad was a .tar.gz which I used The Unarchiver to open (free on the apple store and microsoft store, developed by MacPaw
posted by oldnumberseven at 9:12 PM on August 2, 2021

Best answer: Thank you! I tried to look at my folder, and it seemed the naming was different enough that i can't find the user files you meant.

However, that gave me an idea and i managed to solve the problem partially, but the most important one for me (the text/write-up/post content): i tried another fresh WP installation, and this time i restored the updraft backup for the database only. Nothing broke! Aesthetically ugly, but i got to read the posts and pages and that's good enough for me to redo in the staging area....
posted by cendawanita at 9:50 PM on August 2, 2021

You didn't specify why your old WP installation got disabled/wiped, so I have to assume it's because it got compromised by malware or something and your host noticed it before you did. If that is the case you should be very careful to only restore non-code files from the rest of your backup (e.g. images are OK, PHP files are a big no), just in case the backup contains any of the malicious payload that caused your issue in the first place.
posted by Aleyn at 9:53 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, indeed that was the main problem, a legacy issue from the other older versions i inherited. The WP site was the casualty, it's the email folders that were infected. Managed to at least go over them and I've sequestered those, and they're not being uploaded.
posted by cendawanita at 10:06 PM on August 2, 2021

Response by poster: just an update to anyone else reading this: what happened is Hostmetro repartitioned and provided us a fresh disk space, with old settings, and PHP and SSL functionality is kneecapped from the CPanel. I can't set them myself and had to request (introducing lag in the turnaround due to me being unable to raise the support ticket).

First request to update the PHP version and provide allowance for me to turn on HTTPS, was responded with PHP set to the latest version, but SSL certificate missing. This is what I referred to up top in the Ask. Now what happened then is the SSL certificate and all the old permissions are restored (I assume -- i cannot read the actual support reply), but so did the older PHP version (5.6). That's what broke the restoration, because the plugins were set for the newer PHP version.

Maybe my own site hosting provider is unusual, but is it really common to have CPanel functionality so hobbled?
posted by cendawanita at 12:04 AM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: No, my experience with CPanel has never been hobbled as you describe. But, then, it was always for sites that I owned and managed. What you're experiencing might be the result of you not having full admin powers. I mean, if you cannot author a simple support ticket, you definitely do not have full admin authority.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:34 AM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: Also, regarding your SSL certificate: many shared hosting providers currently support free SSL certificates (auto-renewing, even) via Let's Encrypt. Let's Encrypt SSL certs are great, and I see no reason to pay for one.
posted by kristi at 4:53 PM on August 3, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks guys. I don't have the bandwidth to bring this up to the account owner (because I anticipate to make that comment somewhat useful I should also be suggesting actual alternatives), but man, mark this whole set of Asks as a recommendation AGAINST Hostmetro and their MegaMax package. For a day when I got access to the wiped clean hosting and they reset everything, i could actually raise a ticket via cpanel because I wasn't blocked from client/billing area access. Those functionalities were still missing. Also, they do use Let's Encrypt to generate SSL certificates, but they charge $20 per cert! Can't wait to see what other nickel-and-dime scheme they have in store.
posted by cendawanita at 5:08 PM on August 3, 2021

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