Disaster Recovery – Just Host Style!

by AB@AspiringBlogger.com

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.

Action Steps

  1. 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.
  2. I went to my domain registrar, GoDaddy.com, and verified that my domain hadn’t expired and was still pointing to the correct place.
  3. I checked my other websites that I host on the same shared hosting plan with Just Host and they all worked fine.
  4. I initiated a chat conversation with a Just Host employee. I will not mention his name here to protect him/her and myself!
  5. 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:Aspiring Blogger No Theme View
  6. 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.
  7. 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:Reset Plugins Aspiring Blogger
  8. 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!Plugins backup Aspiring Blogger
  9. 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).

Lessons Learned

  1. I definitely need to be more vigilant about backing up my site
  2. I need to be monitoring the site’s uptime so I can be alerted instantly when something like this happens again
  3. 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!

AB

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Arnel Ariate April 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

Hi, AB. I’m sorry to hear about your Just Host nightmare. I remember in your past post that you talked about how your web host sucks. And I also remember, recommending you my web host, FutureQuest. I still recommend it now. I had a very similar web hosting nightmare as yours with my previous web host, GoDaddy. In the last six months of my blogging, I am very happy with FutureQuest. Should you decide to join FutureQuest, you may click on their icon in one of the article pages in Money Soldiers. That link is an affiliate link, and will let me earn a few dollars. 🙂

Also, your experience reminds us how important it is to make a back-up of our blogs regularly. For that, I’d like to recommend you this article: . That article will guide you on how to create a great back-up plan and set up. Also, making a back up is not enough, we should also make sure that we can successfully restore our back ups. For that, you may explore other articles in WordPress Backup.

Reply

AB@AspiringBlogger.com April 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Thanks Arnel – I remember you mentioning FutureQuest, I definitely need to check it out. Your link for making a backup plan didn’t post – can you send it to me sometime? Luckily I had a backup, and I try to backup pretty frequently – but I definitely don’t do it enough!
AB

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Arnel Ariate April 9, 2013 at 7:33 am

Ooops, I hit Submit too soon. Here is the link to the article: http://www.wpsecuritychecklist.com/wordpress-backup-the-plugin-and-the-plan/

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AB@AspiringBlogger.com April 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Whoops – It was hiding in my spam folder – thanks!

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Jon M April 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Sounds like a ton of fun AB 🙂 I’m glad you were able to get it all straightened out. I’m seeing a new web host in your future. I’ve always used Bluehost and have never had a problem.

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AB@AspiringBlogger.com April 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Haha, thanks Jon – I was up until about 2am – so fun was exactly the emotion that I would go with! I’ve seen a lot of people who are happy with Bluehost, so they’re also on my list to checkout.
AB

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Martin April 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

OMG, don’t even post this horrible stories! :))

I think this is a nightmare of every blogger seeing his/her website down or damaged. I remember when I had my own blog wearing the old coat that I have been convincing myself for a bout two years to change the interface. And when I finally did it, the hosting server went down and I was crazy about it. It was down one whole day! But I found a solution to it and working on it. I registered another domain – same name but different domain (.biz, org, us) and having it hosted on a different server and provider where I have a mirror of my blog, so if my *.net domain will go down, others (us, org, biz) will still be running. Now I need to propagate those other domains to make them known. But at least I will have a backup plan.

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AB@AspiringBlogger.com April 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Haha, sorry Martin – didn’t mean to scare you!!! Imagine how I felt when I saw it!!!

Your solution sounds pretty interesting though – definitely a true redundant backup, but a lot of work!
AB

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