Try as I might, I am never able to get a filesystem backup of any reasonable size to complete. If I only include, say, the EE system folder (I always exclude the cache) and my templates folder, then sure, that works (only ends up as 5-10 MB). But as soon as a site's primary images folder is in play it's game over - the backup times out. (In my latest attempt it's a folder ~800 MB in size.)
This is on both Arcustech and Dreamhost.
What can I try to try and get file backups successfully running?
Hands down, your best bet is gonna be Console Routing. When running any PHP from the web server (read: viewing output in a web browser), PHP has all sorts of dumb limits in place. And they're all variable. Sometimes the server's configured to allow 30 seconds per script, others at 90 seconds, and even others that have no limit. (Which I know you know, Derek, but this being a forum post and public, let's get specific, right?)
But from Console there are no limits. Any PHP scripts ran from command line will run until complete. So, back up GBs of data; Backup Pro won't care and neither will PHP. So yeah, Console Routing. Check it out.
I'd actually put together a list of suggestions as well if anyone's interested.
Thanks Eric, I was ignorant of this console method. I gather that once setup, I can run the console commands from a cron job?
To be fair, it's a new feature, added last December in fact, and ExpressionEngine isn't known for this sort of thing. Take a look though and all your problems should be good.
And, yup, just setup a Cron job to hit the command for running your backup type (file or db).