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Weblog Entry

Still in Limbo

September 20, 2003

update: Just so everyone knows, what you’re currently looking at is in fact the new server, with full archives. I pulled the DNS swap (I didn’t find out about modifying local host files until too late) and managed to export my entries. I’m running Berkely DB, just to clear that up — since I was re-installing anyway, I started fooling around with MySQL, but I’m just way too busy to wrap my mind around it right now. Maybe when things settle down.

Disappearing comments are thanks to the server switch. The last 10 to 15 comments are out of sync between the two, although it seems most are seeing the new server now. I’ll lose a few in the process, but oh well.

There are still a few bits and pieces on this site that 404, but I’ll be .htaccessing everything that I can, and fixing links where I can’t. Links to previous posts should still work. More problem-solving once propogation hits my neck of the woods.

So here’s the latest. Apparently you can’t, in fact, drop an entire Movable Type install on a new server and expect things to just work out. In fact, it looks like even though I have my various databases backed up in full, multiple times, I have no way of actually getting that data back into Movable Type. I didn’t try the proper internal ‘export entries’ method from MT before the DNS switch, and now I can’t because the name server resolves here.

What to do? Well, for a while anyway I’ll be jumping back to the other server. Once it propagates out my way, I’ll try a proper export then hop back here.

Since DNS switches are anything but instantaneous, this will take another few days. I’m starting to feel like I’m running around in circles here.

On the bright side, most of the static content on this site has been converted to PHP, so (hopefully) the process of rebuilding the weblog data and re-pointing old archive links to the new equivalents will be quick. Once I have that data. If I can get it.

Any suggestions? I’m all ears.

Reader Comments

dvd says:
September 21, 04h

i just moved to a new server too, but took the export route, mostly because mysql databases are an enigma to me.

on your old server, can you change the cgipath info in your mt.cfg file from to something like http://xx.xx.xx.xx/~username/ for whatever your old nameserver’s ip is [or something like that], then try logging in and exporting the data?

September 21, 06h


Perhaps this is a silly question, but have you checked the Troubleshooting part of the MT manual? There’s a section on 500 errors there with a few double-checks to run though. There’s also a section called "I just switched hosts, and now I can’t log in."

Of course, if you’ve been using that Berkeley DB (which it sounds like you are), you’re better off going the export/import route and switching to MySQL while you’re at it. :)


Dave S. says:
September 21, 12h

So here’s what I’ve done so far in more detail.

I grabbed the entire directory structure of my site a few nights ago, MT install included. When I jumped to the new server, I uploaded cgi-bin again without making changes, and tried logging into MT. No dice, I got an error 500 (Internal server error). I grabbed my mt.cfg file and updated some of the paths, since I’m no longer on G|/Inetroot/users/mezzoblue or whatever my path was under IIS. Still no love.

I loaded one of the .db files from the /db/ directory into a text editor to take a look at what was inside - it seems there are hard-coded references to the old G|/Inetroot path within, so I’m sure that’s not helping.

I tried re-installing MT from scratch (which is what you’re on right now), backing up the new /db/ folder, and swapping. Cute idea, except I couldn’t log into MT. I even tried dumping my NEW author-related db files on top of the OLD db directory, but even though I could log in, I couldn’t see any data once inside.

So it looks like just about anything I could pull involving the old set of data files isn’t going to happen. The only potential way to clear this up that might work is making that error 500 go away. But I don’t even know where to begin on that count.

Dub says:
September 22, 06h

At the risk of being a smart aleck, I could suggest converting from MT to Blosxom, which avoids the whole ugly database issue by keeping everything in a regular heirarchical file system rather than an RDBMS.

One of the really nice things about this approach is several decades worth of power tools for managing, backing up, restoring and synchronizing files works perfectly in your blog’s backoffice.

I’m building my site now, and one of the main reasons I’ve never sone it before was that all other blogging tools are too awkward in one way or another - As a 20-year Unix veteran, Blosxom offers me not only a decent blog, but the ability to leverage the world’s best text-processing tools and environments. Good Luck w/ MT - I considered both it and Greymatter (among several others), but the simple power of Blosxom was what it took to make me take the plunge…

Darren says:
September 22, 11h

If you’re tired of waiting dns to propagate, you can speed the process up by overriding the dns setting on your local box by editing your hosts file.

On XP, the host file is in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc

I don’t have an OSX box handy, but I’m assuming that if it’s like every other Unix box the location should be /etc/hosts

edit it and add a line

<old ip address>

restart your browser.

Now, when you access, your browser should go to the old server, regardless of what the DNS setting is. You can then export the file through MT and do what you wish.

Just remember to delete the line from the hosts file when you’re done so you go back to the proper dns behaviour.

This is a good way to test out the new server as well, without impacting other people. Set up the new server, add the line to your hosts file with the new ip address, test, which is now going to the new server but only for you. Once you’re happy with things, delete the line from the hosts file, update your dns and you’re off to the races.

The server 500 error is a trickier one to debug without more information. Feel free to email me if you’re still stuck…

September 22, 12h

as far as i remember, mysql tables are really just huge files held on the harddrive, in directories named after the databases the table is contained in, somewhere in mysql’s install location.
can you not locate those files (sorry, not sure what your specific situation with regards to your old host is), copy them into a virgin mysql install, and attempt a kosher export of the data from there ?

September 23, 07h

I may have missed something, so I am not sure if you are on mysql or bdb on your install. I know I had issues with switching providers or even getting the BDB databases to work on my Mac with the latest version of BDB installed. I did manage to get them fixed using several commands to update the files. The MT docs and support forums should have something on this. If you are using MySQL, are you sure there may not be a version compatibility issue? I do not remember of a utility to test data integrity, but you should start mysql admin and check your data that way.

Speaking of which, I need to backup my weblog…

KO says:
September 23, 10h

Yes, a write up of the conversion steps would be great, and of your ‘learning php’ process.

MySQL is a lot more reliable than BerekelyDB, or a heirarchical file structure. The MT forums are very helpfull regards this. (and much more)

What stuff do you have which is asp based? I never noticed any asp dynamic stuff whizzing around?

amit says:
September 23, 10h

you say you just dumped the old cgi-bin onto the new server. could the 500 error be as simple as a permissions problem?

Neil Ford says:
September 23, 10h

I hope you’re taking extensive notes Dave, I can see the potential for a rather good ’ PHP/Moveable Type ’ tutorial here.

Hope it all goes smoothly for you, and I look forward to some top tips for faint hearts like myself to follow.