The Big Project™ has been keeping me very busy the last few months, but the alpha phase of the project is now complete and my involvement is done. A regular client (YourTeenMag.com) from previous years came to me in June and has requested to go on a monthly retainer. Last year, they had an agency build them a new WordPress site, so the agency has been handling their monthly development needs, but now they want me to do that instead. They prefer to work with me directly instead of being involved with a multi-layered agency. Over the last few weeks, I have been lining up other work to take on, following up leads, and figuring out the right balance of projects for the summer and fall. This summer we have a few weekend camping trips, a midweek camping trip, and a week at family camp (we like camping!) that all affect how much work I can handle for clients.
A few weeks ago we started getting automated emails from our hosting service saying that the server was at over 80% of hard drive space used. Each day we would get another email with the number creeping up .5% to 1%, so I reached out to the hosting company support to try and figure out what was going on. To me, it seemed very weird to have our space disappearing so fast, but they didn’t think anything out of the ordinary was happening. At this rate it could not have been going on for more than a few months or we would already be out of space. We found some old files and trashed items we could delete from one of the sites on the server, but there was still an alarmingly small amount of space left. The files I had deleted should have cleared up more space on the drive than the disk usage tools conveyed, so I ended up at this serverfault question. After running some of the recommended server commands, I found a bunch of files on the server that had been marked as deleted but that were still linked to an active process on the server. These were very large backup files (over 10GB each), and I figured out that they were from R1Soft backup manager which creates server backups every few days. It also deletes the old backup files that are more than a few weeks old.
The R1Soft backup agent was pretty easy to use and I found the Linux agent documentation for getting the status of the processes and how to restart them. There were 7 processes running on the server for the backup agent that each had a deleted file still linked to them. I restarted the backup agent and then ran
df -h to see how much space we now had on the whole hard drive and we now had 120GB of free space instead of a measly 20GB. To complete the task, I contacted our host to let them know what I had done, and they responded by saying they had noticed it a few times and that they would make sure their support staff were aware that it could be happening. I was very relieved to get to the bottom of the issue and am glad that Practical Ecommerce doesn’t need to upgrade their hard drive space yet.
I’ve been working on an overhaul to the checkout process because their checkout form is very complicated and requires a lot of customizations. We have added more than 20 extra fields to the checkout. Those fields need to be validated and saved, with most of them also needing their values displayed in the order admin and admin emails as well. I’m in the process of getting the fields rearranged and then broken into faux-pages as well to improve the user experience. WooCommerce is customizable, but I would strongly recommend against this many modifications for other clients. Maintaining this type of checkout is going to be a pain, but I think it will be an improvement over their current checkout.
My family, sans me, is heading to family camp next week (bit of a long story but we already went to one family camp and this one was a bit of a last minute decision). So I will be a bachelor all week, working, taking a break from my fatherly duties, probably eating lots of pizza, and rampaging in Dota 2.