So today I was supposed to share with you the details behind my March income and expenses… but that’s not going to happen. Last night when I tried to log into the AspiringBlogger.com WordPress account I was faced with nothing but errors! It looked like something had gone terribly wrong. I have written previously about my thoughts on Just Host, but for some reason I still haven’t moved to another host. It’s probably a question of effort, as it would take a lot of work to move my sites and content over to a new host. Whatever the reason – it was 10:30pm last night and I was staring at an error message in each browser I tried opening the website in. This was definitely not good.
Of course, if I had already written and uploaded today’s post (like I had planned to this weekend) – this would be less of a problem – but as I sat there staring at the blank screen, it was definitely an issue. How did I get from that initial moment of panic to where we are now – with the site (and my blood pressure) back to normal? I’ll walk you through it.
- I used my FTP program (I use a free one – FileZilla 2 – which works great) to make a complete replica of my site, just in case files were still on the server but damaged somehow. I should be making regular backups, but that’s another issue.
- I went to my domain registrar, GoDaddy.com, and verified that my domain hadn’t expired and was still pointing to the correct place.
- I checked my other websites that I host on the same shared hosting plan with Just Host and they all worked fine.
- I initiated a chat conversation with a Just Host employee. I will not mention his name here to protect him/her and myself!
- After about 15 minutes waiting for the chat to initiate, and 10 minutes on the chat, my representative was able to bring my site back to life….kinda. His exact words were “I got your site back“, and when I went to my homepage to check, I was greeted by this:
- While technically this is my site and my content… it looks NOTHING like the site I’ve spent hours and hours working to develop! I asked my rep what was going on and he wasn’t very helpful, basically just saying that he fixed it by removing my theme and plugins, and if I wanted to reactivate things then I could take care of that.
- Luckily, as I’ve spent so much time on my site, I was able to reactivate my theme, but the plugins were a little more difficult. When I went into the plugin menu, a page full of errors was waiting for me:
- At this point, I was ready to scream – but Mrs. AB was trying to sleep, so I decided against it, and went in search of my missing plugins! I looked through my site directory to where my plugin folder should be, and while it was strange, I found a folder called plugins.bak. As I had already backed up the site, I tried renaming the folder to “plugins” to see what would happen. Once I made the change and refreshed my WordPress dashboard, my plugins all reappeared! I only had to go through and reactivate all the ones I wanted and my plugins were all functional again. Why the Just Host representative couldn’t have told me what he’d done with my plugins and how to reactivate them, I don’t know, but at least I got them back with minimal effort!
- That’s it! While it was a scary experience, as I imagined all my hard work going down the drain, the process for recovering my site was easier than I expected. On top of that, I think it was a minor issue and I didn’t lose anything (knock on wood).
- I definitely need to be more vigilant about backing up my site
- I need to be monitoring the site’s uptime so I can be alerted instantly when something like this happens again
- I should attempt to fix any issues myself before letting a random customer service rep handle my website in the future
As the customer service rep was wrapping up, I asked him if there was anything I did wrong, or should have done/be doing to prevent something like this from happening. In his infinite wisdom, he said “Uh, not really. Things just break”. And with that – I leave you again with a warning to backup your site and take extra precautions, because as he said – things just break!
Have you had any website, hosting, server, or other related issues? What did you do to fix them? Any tips for me? Share your stories in the comments!