How We Almost Lost Our Entire Website

The blog host in question will remain anonymous until we switch our provider. In the meantime, if you want to know who they are, just contact us.

We all of something that means a lot to us, something that we don’t mind devoting large chunks of time to, something that we are willing to see through to the end. Everyone has some sort of passion in their lives, and that passion can change over time. For some people it is raising a family, or maybe a career, or maybe a sport or a hobby car – for me, it is this travel blog.

I have lived abroad for over five years. I have gone back and forth to my home country of Canada, but for the most part, I have lived out of a backpack. This doesn’t allow me to accumulate very much. Plasma Tv, nope. Stereo system, nope. Flashy car? Nope. First home owning experience? Nope. Even the most basic of my possessions, my clothes, are worn out so quickly that it is impossible to form attachments.

One thing however is constant. This travel blog. When James and I started blogging, and the website was in it’s infancy, the only views it received were from family and a few friends. As we devoted more and more time, we saw it grow. We were able to watch it grow with pride – knowing that it was a reflection of our hard work and devotion.

All to have it snatched away from us, in a flash – in a situation in which we had no control.

Losing This Blog Is Like Losing Everything
Losing This Blog Is Like Losing Everything – Creative Commons by Jason Gillyon

When we started the website, I knew nothing about web design or coding. I still don’t know that much. Every little ounce of achievement was won with long hours and bleary eyes, and oh so many open tabs containing tutorials on all sorts of technical details. We made many mistakes along the way – but the biggest mistake of all – was putting too much trust in the reliability of our web hosting service, you can read their findings here. On several occasions, we would come home from work to discover the website was down. I would immediately jump onto the live chat with technical support. Although they were usually able to solve my issues, they were never able to effectively communicate in English and were never able to explain to me what caused the problems in the first place.

The technical support operators would always lay the blame for issues elsewhere. “It is an issue with a plug in,” is one of their favorite lines. “You must have changed a setting recently,” is another. Plug in’s that worked without incident for months were blamed for site down time. Changes that I had supposedly made, even if I had not logged in to the website for days, were another favorite place for blame to be laid.

Somehow though, everything would usually work out. After a few hours online with tech support, the site would be back up, and once the hosting provider stopped meddling with the site, the plug in’s would miraculously start working again.

Lately though, things have gotten out of hand.

On Wednesday we discovered that the website was down. The hosting provider claimed they were having server issues and to give them a few hours. The next day the site was back up again, but a few posts and the last week’s worth of comments were missing!

Now, over the last two months, our hard work and tears have started to return results. People have been commenting on our articles! And meaningful comments as well! Every new comment left on one of our posts made us beam with pride. Losing these comments was like a kick in the stomach.

I couldn’t help myself – I started to cry.

I immediately contacted tech support. Something must have happened while they were having issues with their servers, and maybe, just maybe, they can restore our content. Not only were they unhelpful, but they were extremely rude.

“Live-Chat: kindly stop blaming us for your mistakes”

(yeah right! I guess it must be my fault somehow that all my content went missing, even though I was not online when it happened!)

Computer Frustration
Creative Commons – by Sybren A. Stüvel

Stating that they needed more time to look into the problem, James and I left them to it, and went into Melbourne to see the sights of the city. Late that night, we returned. Upon checking the website – I was one of the most horrible sites imaginable.

Our old logo.

Why was our old logo being displayed? Because the site had reverted to how it appeared in February, before we modified a theme, photoshopped a new logo, and basically learned how wordpress worked.

Everything since February was gone. Content. Photos. And all those amazing comments.

It was like being kicked in the stomach. My throat closed and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even cry. There has been a terrible mistake – they must be able to correct this! I got straight onto the tech support chat line.

Everything was spiraling out of control. All those hours, all the work, was lost. My baby – this website – had been hacked and destroyed by something outside of my control.

Luckily I had a backup, but it was not recent enough to restore many of the comments.

In the end we lost six weeks of content. Most of it we were able to restore due to having typed the original posts in word. Some were not so lucky though. And the comments! That is what kills me the most! As much as I love seeing the stats of our views, tweets, and stumbles steadily rise – nothing makes me more proud than to see that one of my articles has inspired people to comment and share their thoughts and feelings with me.

At one point, I contemplated giving up – but I won’t let all our hard work over this past six months go to waste. We will continue on – sharing our stories, our tips, and our feelings during our travels. We will continue trying to inspire and teach. Although one thing we will now do differently.

We will make regular backups.

Note – After restoring the majority of our site, our host dropped the site again. When we discovered that the site was down, we immediately contacted tech support. They blamed a plug in.

73 thoughts on “How We Almost Lost Our Entire Website

  1. We have had web host nightmares as well–our site when down one day and our web host claimed it was because we got so much traffic that day that the server couldn’t handle it. To fix it, we would need to pay $100 a month to upgrade our hosting package.

    We got fewer than 300 hits to our site that day! We have in the past gotten tens of thousands of hits in a single day with NO problems whatsoever. They were essentially holding our site HOSTAGE. We called them out on it, and then our site magically worked again.

    Some web hosts are just complete crap. I feel your pain!

    Like

    1. WOW that it awful!!! I will have to find out from you later who your host company was…. as we are (obviously) in the market to switch!

      Like

  2. One of my worst nightmares right here. Hope you can get everything up and running with a new provider asap. No one should have to deal with this, especially from someone whom you are paying for a service!!!!

    Like

    1. We are looking into switching now! Luckily we write most of our posts in word documents, so we at least had a copy of those!

      Like

  3. That is a pain. I have a pretty good host but I need a better backup. I have been looking at Backup Buddy by ithemes. It seems pretty decent. I don’t want to have to go through what you guys did.

    Like

  4. Good God, change hosts immediately! They suck. (I hope it’s not the same one I use, LOL.) I am so sorry for the stress you’ve been through. If that had happened to me, I’d have been so upset, I probably would have had a stroke. I hope you find a new host that gives you no trouble at all. I’ve thankfully been very happy with mine, no problems so far, except for the ones I’ve caused by tinkering with code. 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes I know!!! We are looking into how to change hosts at the moment – but with my level of technical knowledge it will be a slow process indeed! haha

      Like

  5. Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. I lost a week’s worth of material when my WordPress theme updated, and it also reverted back to the old logo. Now I back-up like a…well I don’t have a really good analogy for here…but I back-up weekly!! 🙂

    Like

    1. I compulisvely back up now!! Pretty much before and after any major change and after every article as well! And here I though the internet was a safe place to store stuff!

      Like

  6. What a nightmare!!! I’m so sorry you guys had to go through that! My blog is only three months old and I think I would have a massive tantrum….I guess I should look into backing up!! Thank you for sharing. And I’ve been following you guys for a while-your site is fantastic so I’m sure you’ll have everything back to normal before you know it ; ) Good luck!

    Like

  7. We just recently switched after several months of outages, problems and poor service from our previous host, 1&1. the switch is a bit of work, but if you find a good host as we did, its worth the effort. So nice having good support and a faster site, defiantly worth a few extra bucks. If you have any questions in making the switch just drop a line.
    ….Looks like you’re still having problems since CommentLuv giving me internal server error

    Like

    1. UGH! It was working this morning! I did add some new plugins today, but I just deactivated them and am getting the same problem…. I am pretty close to hiring someone to just do this for me – or else the stress might take some years off my life!! hhaha! But thanks for bringing it to my attention!

      Like

      1. Eric! I must must must thank you! Your comment about commentluv not working inspired me to go back to livechat and for once I actually got a tech support person who knew what they were doing! Apparently there was a limit on my memory amount, and I had used it up! Thats why nothing was working properly! So I was right all along and it was not my theme or my plugins!

        Like

  8. This happened to me while I was in Spain and I lost my mind! I know exactly how you feel. I contacted my host and they used the plugin excuse, too, even though I’d researched and it turned out it was a problem with my theme and the new WordPress update. At any rate, it took about 5 days to get it all back…. AND at one point, my host actually said, well it looks like everything’s gone. WHAT?! I was not a happy camper.

    Glad you’re back up and running. Learning all these WordPress lessons the hard way is terrible, but I bet your issues will help others in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. The plugin excuse is just that – an excuse! I found out today that it was a memory limit that they had set on me….. definitely switching as this is likely to happen periodically as i grow.

      Like

    1. Before I began this blogging adventure I never knew just how important it was to have a good host! I have learned a lot of blogging lessons the hard way!

      Like

  9. Install Woredpress database backup – it will automatically email you a copy of your all your WP database content (posts/pages/comments/images) – the theme and the header etc you should already have. Do it now download.

    Sign up with hostgator – there are some very good 1/2 price deals for Black Friday ie today – setup your site with your new backup, change the name server overs, and tell your old host where to shove their invoices.

    Like

    1. Hahahah! I love that attitude! Ya I have heard a lot of good things about host gator – I think thats who I am going to switch to!

      Like

  10. What a nightmare! We can totally understand that you are upset about losing so many comments, we would feel the same way. Hope you are luckier with your new provider, fingers crossed that you can switch without any major hiccups.

    Like

    1. Yeah – we havn’t started trying to switch yet cause it feels a little to daunting at the moment – especially when we are busy job hunting and getting settled into a new city. Soon though!

      Like

  11. Ouch. When WordPress accidentally killed my blog it was like losing a family pet. Lucky for me they recognized their mistake after I pointed out the reason they cited for killing the blog was impossible and could be confirmed by looking at the blog.

    Since then I:
    – Post drafts by email and cc to a second email. No matter what happens to the blog, I have a copy of each new post in two different locations.
    – Use wget (it’s a Linux command) to download an html version at the end of each month. This gets compressed and uploaded to a cloud storage company, I keep a copy on my hard drive and the portable drive it’s backed up to.
    – All the photos are stored in 4 places: my hard drive, it’s backup, and 2 photo sites.

    Like

    1. Wow!! What photo storage sites do you use? I am always paranoid about losing my photos. I have them on my hard drive, and on a portable hard drive, but with physical things like that you never know what will happen. Im always afraid that an earthquake will knock down the desk that they are both stored in and then POOF….everything gone!

      Like

      1. I use Photobucket and Picasa. Photobucket seemed like the best option 3.5 years ago, don’t know how it compares today. Picasa is my backup choice because it’s free and I expect Google to be around for a while. If I had the bandwidth I’d upload the original files and their huge GIMP (like Photoshop, but for Linux) files to my box.net account.

        Like

      2. I used to use photobucket as well! I recently downloaded Picasa, so I need to start playing around with some of the features. Storing photos online definitely seems a lot safer than storing them on anything physical which can easily break.

        Like

    1. Good for you! I’m glad that making regular backups in a lesson that I could help impart to the travel blogging community 🙂 and everyone has been so wonderful and supportive during this process. 🙂

      Like

  12. I would have freaked out too. Thankfully, Scott backs up our site often, but we don’t write our posts in Word, so there is always the chance of losing a newly written post unless we were to back up every day. Glad you got most of it recovered!

    Like

    1. I used to only write my posts in wordpress, but I started writing them in word for the exact reason that I don’t trust the internet anymore!

      Like

  13. It’s my first time visiting your blog. Yout title caught my attention. My blog was recently hacked and I know that “feeling” you were describing when something is wrong with your blog .. actuyally interbet provider. I switched too after the hack. Anyway just want to say Aloha, and hope your new host/server will be a lot better.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by, and thanks for leaving a comment! We havn’t switched yet, but I think I know which company I want to switch to.

      Like

  14. Ugh – I totally feel for you! All of our posts are written in word and we have the articles and photos on a couple of hard drives, but I haven’t actually backed everything up… Obviously I should do that…

    We’re using BlueHost, and haven’t had a problem with them, although I will say we’ve only had them for just over 3 months now. Can you email me back and tell me who your provider is?

    Hope things get better for you and your blog soon!

    Like

    1. I’ve heard good things about BlueHost so far, but you should definitely back up just in case! Losing the comments was the worst bit!

      Like

  15. We had this issue with hostgator. Once our traffic reached a certain level it kept slowing down and crashing. We moved and have had no troubles since.
    wpcdn.com are the best and their support is totally awesome.

    Very personal and helpful

    Like

  16. That’s awful! I’ve been happy with BlueHost since 2007, and I have multiple blogs. But whenever I have a problem, I’m told certain plugins are to blame. Also, the price I pay seems to be creeping up due to increased bandwidth use. Not sure if that should happening considering these accounts are supposed to have unlimited bandwidth!

    Anyway, good luck with moving to a better host. And do tell us who is responsible for your nightmare!

    Like

    1. Hey Sandra! Thats terrible that they keep increasing the price! I guess “unlimited” means different things to different people! I have sent you an email with the name of the host to avoid!

      Like

  17. Ouch. And I must say it’s happened to me as well. Luckily, my son is a website developer with lots of experience in selecting hosts. Our current one has been perfect (knock wood) and i don’t think too expensive. If you want me to get the name and pass it on, let me know. (I know they do redundant constant backup in two widely separated sites in the US.)

    Like

  18. So sorry to hear of your issues; two years ago I got a virus that wiped out about six weeks of content (to the last backup I had made) and it is really a blow. Glad you’ve got things sorted and good luck with the switch to a new provider, that can make all the difference in the world! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks Shannon! I’m glad we decided to not give up, and Im glad you decided not to give up either with your site when you lost a bunch of data

      Like

  19. I completely understand how you must have felt! I had a mini crisis myself when I upgraded to wordpress 3.3 and my background went stark white…granted this was an issue with my theme but I still felt horrible! Keep up the great work guys 🙂

    Like

    1. It’s so scary when things like this go wrong! I don’t understand how it all works enough to know what to do, and i just end up feeling helpless. Now that I have finally figured out what the issue was ( a memory limit my host provider had imposed) I feel a lot more empowered to demand they fix it when something goes wrong.

      Like

    1. Thanks! Since that post I have learned the right language to get the tech support people to be a little more helpful (apparently its a memory limit problem…not a problem with my plugins…and if I ask them to increase my memory limit, everything usually starts working again). So we think we might ride out the rest of our time with this particular host company….. but after that we will definitely move the blog!

      Like

  20. I just found this blog post through the Couchsurfing group, where you posted there. I totally would feel your heartache in losing months upon months of hard work content in writing, photos, and just everything. It’s like getting shot. But I’m very glad you didn’t stop blogging.

    I use Bluehost, and love them. Totally recommend them. I’d be interested in knowing who the blog host is, just for my reference. I would have been super pissed if I had lost that much content!

    Anyways, Happy New Years to you!

    Like

    1. Happy New Years to you as well! We have heard a lot of good things about Bluehost. We are considering them for when we do move hosts. We will probably stay where we are until the end of our subscription and then move later this year. I tweeted you and told you who our host is.

      Like

  21. My heart goes out to you. Last wee lost 16 months of Google Analytics data through a poor unauthorized judgement call made by our web designer. I was devastated. It also didn’t help that it was my birthday and the combination lead me to sob for hours uncontrollably (there was also a bit of PMS in the mix too). After reading your posts, we’ll be sure to do weekly backups. Losing Google Analytics data is one thing, losing the content of your site is a whole different level of despair. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    1. Omg that is just awful!!! I hope you found a better web designer or that your current one learned his lesson! Thing like this are so scary!! Thank god for us, the majority of what we lost were posts we had written when we were on the road… ie… they were written into word documents. But there was no way to recover all the comments… and it is the comments that are more important to me than anything else

      Like

  22. That’s horrible, I had no idea that could even happen. Although I did go through a rough patch that I created myself by deleting albums that I did not realize were linked. Ah how we learn quickly from mistakes of our own and others.

    Thanks for sharing, I will think about having a better backup plan now. 🙂
    Appreciate it, Nan

    Like

  23. Me just recently switched after several months of outages, problems and poor service from our previous host, 1&1. the switch is a bit of work, but if you find a good host as we did, its worth the effort. So nice having good support and a faster site, defiantly worth a few extra bucks.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: