Website Woes

Hi everyone,

Recently Lilac Reviews website has been down.  I’m not entirely geeky enough to explain it.  Evidently some type of hacker/malware was piggy backing off our site to somehow advertise drug companies in Mexico or something.  Anyway the site looked fine, but our processing power was being ramped up so high from what they were running in the background that the hosting company (Blue Host) was ‘throttling’ the site and not letting our legitimate data through to the web so it didn’t hang up everyone else’s speed.

I had to load some FTP software (File Transfer Protocol, I learned) to go back to a previous backup of the website from December to overwrite or clean out the bad programming. I couldn’t use the C-Panel and the backup/restore component there because it kept hanging up (the processing issue effected that too).  I didn’t know how to find it to erase just the bad code.  I found the drug references in the error code log- but didn’t have anywhere near the geekiness to figure out how they were doing it to surgically get just those bad files.

BTW, I was on the phone with Blue Host on 3 separate occasions for more than an hour.  One time I waited 36 minutes for the tech person to get on chat with me- then spent 2 hours on the chat going back and forth.  I was not impressed.  Ultimately I had to figure out what to do myself.  Because evidently what is in my files and stuff is my responsibility and not theirs.  They kept telling me I was using too much processing, but blamed my site and said I needed to ‘optimize’ it.  I insisted I didn’t have any fancy footwork going on.  Book covers and text.  I don’t have a shopping cart or any other fancy shenanigans. I only use standard widgets and plugins like Jetpack.  They wanted me to strip all the widgets and plugins and add them back one by one to see which caused the site to fail.  Isn’t that time consuming and it wasn’t even the right thing to do.  They stripped every last one off and the site was still throttling.

I tell you all this to let you know why there has been an absence of posts for the past three weeks.  I now see that the book covers are not showing on all of the posts.  Weirdly, the older ones are and not the newer ones even though they were before my backup date.  So it may take me a while to go through things and get everything 100% again.  I was almost ready to throw in the towel on this. You can guess for yourself if I’m going to renew with Blue Host when my current term expires.

So bloggers out there, and authors too if you have a self-hosted website (not a free one), DO backup your sites!!  I could have lost 300+ posts, 2 and a half years worth of work over this.  One of the other things I learned is that they are not required to back up- although I swear I read something that it was included in my package.

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