We’re (mostly) back from the brink of website disaster!

*huge sigh of relief*

Because our website host was decommissioning the server this website is on (along with 4 other websites that I run), I was forced to move all of them to a new server. I’ve been putting this off all month, because unlike when I started making websites 17 years ago, it’s all horribly complicated, and my poor soapy brain has not been able to keep up with all the changes. Setting up a brand new website? Easy peasy. Moving one, though? Yeah, I’ll put that off as long as I can, thanks.

But with the ending of the old server’s time, it had to be done. I installed a plugin into WordPress that claimed to backup your entire website and dump it into Dropbox, went through all the steps, and made sure the files were all saved. (Remember, I’m doing this on 5 different websites, so I’m repeating all of this 5 times.)  Once I had all of the backups, I knew I had to cancel the account, so that the domain names would be released and I could reassign them to the new hosting. OK, no problem – and by the next day, I had a barebones version of this website you’re reading back up and running.

We didn’t have much going on Friday evening at home, so I decided to see what I could work on using my husband’s laptop, since I only bring mine home on the weekends.

Now, if you have ever had to move a WordPress website, or you know more about how WordPress works than I do (which is probably everyone), you’ll already have seen the fatal flaw in my pre-delete-the-old-account prep work. But for those of you who don’t know, here’s what I quickly realized – WordPress sites have two parts. There’s the WordPress installation itself, and there’s the mySQL database that contains all the data.

I hadn’t downloaded the databases before my host deleted the account.

When this dawned on me, I did the only logical thing:

(No, that's not me.)
(Interpretation of what I actually did. It was really vodka.)

Luckily, after almost 30 years of having to deal with me, my husband had the brains to call the host and see if there were backups available. Why yes, there might be, but it might cost $150 per database to restore them. If they still exist. It had been 24 hours since the account had been cancelled, and depending on whether that server was still around, the backups might not even exist anymore.

Now I’m not sure if all the crying I was doing on the phone helped – we’re talking about 10 years of blog entries on both this blog and my personal blog, not to mention my son’s short stories on his website – but it ended up being only $90 to restore all the databases. I think I may have told the tech support guy that I love him, I’m not really sure.

Fast forward to today (Tuesday) and after even more crying (and more drinking, but tea this time, I woke up with a head cold that did NOT help with the thinking required to work with FTP) this website is finally back up – for the most part. The images are all gone – those backups I did to Dropbox were all incomplete.  I have the photos but I’ll have to manually go back and fix them.  That will have to wait until I return from Seattle (yes, the son and I are heading to Seattle next week for his 18th birthday present, don’t worry, the store will be open). But at least my blog entries are back.

And I am NEVER. MOVING. ANOTHER. WEBSITE. EVER. AGAIN.

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One thought on “We’re (mostly) back from the brink of website disaster!

  1. I love your story!! Have been through similar trauma myself. As small business owners, we dont need to worry about terrorists hacking our sites, we do need to worry about where and who is running our servers. Another big thing today is whether our sites are mobile friendly, as Google is warning us that searches will be prioritized for mobile devices. It never ends, tech is changing by the hour, and now we need to worry about “the clouds”. I backup on my own hard drives. Good luck in the future!

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