We had been using W3 Total Cache on WordPress 3.0.3 with Nginx web server. The version of W3 Total Cache installed was 0.9.1.3
It was working but many of the W3 options were not active due to lack of .htaccess file warnings, etc. So, we were not getting the great benefits of W3 we wanted. We let it go for a few months.
Today, in WordPress, we updated the version of W3 Total Cache to the latest version. A blank screen resulted. Our website was totally down and not accessible. Using FTP and SSH, we removed the plugin and various caches files. Finally, we were able to get the website back up. WordPress reported that W3 Total Cache was missing, which was no big deal.
Then, in WordPress again, we selected "add new" plugin and chose W3 Total Cache. It resulted in a blank screen. Website was totally down - again. But, using FTP and SSH, there were no W3 files or cache files to remove that I could see anywhere. I went into the WordPress database and manually removed references to W3 and caching. Nothing would work. Website totally down. Ultimately, we were forced to restore the entire server to a backup from yesterday (which meant that I had to redo some unrelated things I had done last night) and we got the website back up and running as it had been (with older version of W3 plugin).
Before I try to use the newest version of W3 Total Cache, what steps should I take to avoid this happening again? We are using Nginx version 0.767, WordPress version 3.0.3, fancy human-readable links, and server OS is Ubuntu 10.10 I believe.
We want the great benefits of W3 Total Cache but we are afraid of bringing down the website again!
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!