Bug #10997

Website disappeared

Added by Lisa Rhody over 3 years ago. Updated over 3 years ago.

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We (Steve Zweibel and I) built a site at, and checking it today, it has been overwritten by the basic template. We'd like to recuperate the old site if possible, as we seem to have also lost the data.
Thank you!

Screenshot_2019-01-23_14-19-13.png (137 KB) Screenshot_2019-01-23_14-19-13.png Boone Gorges, 2019-01-23 03:20 PM

Related issues

Related to CUNY Academic Commons - Support #11017: site didn't save?Resolved2019-01-25


#1 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

I'm seeing a site, but it looks like it has content from the teaching template. Can you confirm? See screenshot.

#2 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Priority name changed from Normal to High

I'm looking into this and leaving some notes for myself and Ray:

The mysqlbinlog shows that the site was reset (TRUNCATE...) at 20:20:17 on 2019-01-15. There happens to have been a corresponding post on the dataforgood site edited (apparently legitimately) just seconds before that happened, but I don't see the connection. In fact, I only see a small number of hits on the dataforgood website during the time period in question, which makes me suspect that post editing was happening via Jetpack or XML-RPC or something like that.

My assumption is that the cac-site-templates feature kicked in incorrectly, but I can't understand how it would happen. It is triggered by wpmu_new_blog, which passes the ID of the new site to the hook. It's not possible to spoof, as this value is not provided by the user. It could be that another plugin incorrectly triggered this hook, but I haven't been able to see how.

I have to step away but I'll take a closer look later. Ray, if you have any ideas, I'd welcome them.

Lisa, it's likely that I'll be able to piece together the missing posts, but it will be more complex to get the missing settings (theme, etc). I'm hopeful that those parts won't be as hard to reproduce manually.

#3 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

Another thought is that the site creation process sometimes takes so long #10701 that the process hangs, and it could be that there are very isolated instances where the request is left open for hours or for days, with the wpmu_new_blog routine run at the end of this period of time.

I'm going to run some more tests to decrease the query overhead of site creation (I see that something is writing to the database hundreds of time to copy over some user roles) and I'm also going to put in place a failsafe that prevents the site template clone mechanism from running if the site was created more than, say, five minutes ago.

#4 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Assignee set to Boone Gorges
  • Target version set to 1.14.6

Here's one bit of fairly low-hanging fruit in WP, which I've patched with a similar workaround for the Commons:

#5 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

Another update. I've been reading through the bin logs from around the time of the event, and it appears that it overlaps directly with some testing that I was doing related to #10961. That bug caused site creation to abort prematurely in some cases. I'm not 100% sure of the mechanism, but it seems likely that there's a connection. While this isn't exactly good news, it does strongly suggest that this is a one-off occurrence that came up because of a specific server issue, and is not a software-level bug.

I'll spend some time putting together what I can of the site content.

#6 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

Scratch that previous comment - I was looking at the wrong thing. The template overwrite happened the day after the firewall issues.

#7 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

The gap between the last legitimate site update and the data loss was over 24 hours, which means that IT should have a full-fidelity database backup. I've just put in a request to have it restored, so that I can replace the affected tables wholesale.

#8 Updated by Lisa Rhody over 3 years ago

Thanks for looking into it in detail, Boone!

#9 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Resolved

Hi Lisa - The content has been restored. Thanks for your patience and sorry for the trouble.

#10 Updated by Lisa Rhody over 3 years ago

Thanks, Boone!

#11 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

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