Well, I need to try some updates of our Bitspec site and I don’t want to risk anything to the live site. What should I do?
First of all, I need to back up the entire site using Akeeba backup. They have a free version of a powerful component. You can download it from here:
. After the backup is done, you have to use a ftp client and copy the full backup files from /public_html/administrator/components/com_akeeba/backup. We have a big site, so there were three files with .jpa, j01 and .j02 extensions. Akeeba staff asked to use their compress method instead of zip format. The backup is ~ 5GB, so we have to wait until the files are transferred to our local server. My recommendation is to copy one file per time, to avoid disconnect from ftp. We have downloaded to our local server (named here http://myserver.x) in a new folder named bitspec. We have to give write access in that folder, because we need to expand the site here.
Now, we have to download the installer from akeeba site. Its name is Akeeba kickstart and you can download from here: https://www.akeebabackup.com/products/akeeba-kickstart.html. It is a archive file, we need to extract it to a local computer and put four files to the server installation directory: kickstart.php, json2.min.js, jquery.min.js and a language file: en-GB.kickstart.ini. More to read about this here:
Next, we have to go to our server and type http://myserver.x/bitspec/kickstart.php and follow the instructions. If you will encounter an error message, please check the write access rights to the user on local server. The kickstart script will expand the archive files to bitspec folder, but we need to manage the database part of site. At Bitspec original site we have different settings than our local server. So, first of all let’s take a look in a configuration.php file found in the public folder at original site. We need to find the database host, name, user and password, so we need to write down this variables content: $host, $user, $db and $password. To properly connect to our mysql server, we need to access our mysql server settings, so we will use our local phpMyAdmin tool that is supposed to be installed to our local server. If you need more information, and download the software, please check here:
. You will find there a lot of documentation, too.
Next, we need to create the database. We will name it like $db variable found in configuration.php file. Next, we need to create a user, with the same password found in that file, and give him access to the new database just created.
Next, we have to return to our kickstart.php part and, after we completed the textboxes with database credentials, we need to move on and follow the instructions. Important thing! You have to properly check the administrator username and password, for the backend access to the site. The script will populate our database with backup tables. After this, we have to let the script to delete the installation folder and give us access to the site.
That’s it! Almost... We have now a copy of our www.bitspec.com site to http://myserver.x/bitspec/ But we have to notice that the rest of the links are not working. Why, because of SEF components, so we need to login in an admin area, and go to the Global configuration -> Site settings and uncheck the Search Engine Friendly URLs and Use URL rewriting options. Now, our site is unfriendly for the Google bots, but is functional.
Now we have all we need to make tests on the copy of the site. Like every test site, we need to write down the changes, so if we will make a mistake or some things will work badly, we have to take it over again. When every test is done and the update/install procedures are set out, we can go to the main site and make the changes. And don’t forget to remove the copy of Bitspec data and database from the local server (remember that the server is, probably a live one...