Last Updated: 27 April 2018
By Maynard Paton
This page describes how to take a backup ‘snapshot’ of your AWS server.
You may wish to take periodic snapshots of your server, just in case. I always take a snapshot before I install any new updates to the server's operating software.
AWS supplies comprehensive details about EBS snapshots.
(I trust you will never need to know about how to restore your server using a snapshot! But here is the relevant AWS documentation if you do.)
Creating a snapshot
The AWS documentation advises:
“To create a snapshot for an Amazon EBS volume that serves as a root device, you should stop the instance before taking the snapshot.”
Your Sendy installation will have a single EBS volume that acts as a root device for your server (or ‘instance’ as AWS calls it).
So the steps will involve stopping your server, taking the snapshot, and then restarting your server.
The whole process should take about ten minutes, although you may find snapshots for very large Sendy databases take longer to complete.
Don’t worry about stopping and starting your server. Your Sendy installation will not be affected!
However, the server will be unavailable during the process and so anyone trying to join your Sendy mailing list will encounter an error screen such as this:
Before you start, please ensure you are NOT logged in to Sendy and are NOT sending any campaigns during this snapshot process!
You can take a snapshot when your server is running. However, I understand there may be a small chance of inconsistency with your data should you ever need to use the snapshot to restore your server. Furthermore, I have found the process takes longer when snapshots are created with the server still running.
Here are the steps to follow
1) Log in to the AWS console at https://aws.amazon.com/
2) Select EC2 from the Services menu:
3) Select Instances from the left-hand menu:
4) Assuming you have just the one AWS server, you can simply select Actions, then Instance State, then Stop:
5) Select Yes, Stop:
You should now see the Instance State change to stopping:
(If the Instance State does not change, click the Refresh button.)
Then wait a few minutes until the Instance State changes to stopped:
At this point, anybody trying to join your Sendy mailing list will face an error screen such as this:
6) Select Volumes from the left-hand menu:
7) Select Actions, then Create Snapshot:
8) Enter a Description. Note: the snapshot description cannot be changed later.
Then click Create Snapshot.
9) A Create Snapshot Request Succeeded message should now appear:
Click the snapshot id.
You should now see a snapshot Status of pending while the snapshot is being created:
Then wait a few minutes until the snapshot Status has changed to completed:
The snapshot has now been created.
10) Click the edit icon within the Name column:
11) Enter a name for your snapshot:
Something like LIVE Sendy will be fine. Click the tick to save.
12) Select Instances from the left-hand menu:
11) Assuming you have just the one AWS server, you can simply select Actions, then Instance State, then Start:
12) Click Yes, Start:
You should now see the Instance State change to pending and Status Checks change to Initializing:
Then wait a few minutes until the Instance State has changed to running and Status Checks has changed to 2/2 checks passed:
13) All done! Your Sendy installation should now be back up and running.
Deleting a snapshot
With a new snapshot created, you may now wish to delete an old snapshot to save on storage costs.
14) Select Snapshots from the left-hand menu:
15) If need be, clear the search filter in order to show all of your snapshots:
16) Select the appropriate snapshot in the left column, select Actions and then Delete:
17) Click Yes, Delete:
The snapshot will now disappear.
If you have any questions or feedback about this page, please let me know so I can keep this website as helpful as possible.
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A Twitter person told me about Sendy. It's a PHP app that you host yourself. It fronts Amazon's Simple Email Service (SES), which is dirt cheap for email. The app is REALLY polished and just lovely.
It's $59 to buy, but they said on their site: "If you encounter problems, we will help you. If it doesn't work out, we'll refund you." That matters to me, so I bought it on the spot.
MailChimp 'Disruptor'. $59 One-Off Fee. Full Refund Available.