Archive for November, 2009

My Former Blog Host “Accidentally” Deleted My Blog! (And How I Fixed it)

By Gloson On November 19, 2009 60 Comments

If you have been visiting my blog in the last 3 weeks, you could see that it had a lot of errors and it was behaving weirdly. Here’s why.

My former host, Host Commando, ‘accidentally’ deleted my blog.

And in this post, I will tell you how I restored my blog completely. I did not backup my blog for about 1 month, really! I had to restore the posts and comments in 1 month manually, which I’m going to tell you how!

What Happened

1. Host Commando’s billing system went wrong

My father paid the fees for next month’s hosting. But somehow, their billing system went wrong and said that my father didn’t pay. Then, my account was suspended.

2. They said they ‘accidentally’ deleted my hosting account and all the files

My dad went to their office and told them the matter. They said they were working on some sort of ‘transferring-into-a-new-server’ process or something. They also said in the process, they ‘accidentally’ deleted the files in my account!

3. What happened

Then, I changed the DNS (Domain name servers) of Gloson Blog to point it to my older host, which was outdated (25 September 2009). That’s why you might have noticed that my blog lost October’s posts.

(I also lost the information of my affiliates and customers of my poetry book on my other site, Poetry Talents too.)

Oh, and as I said, and I didn’t make any backups during October, so all the posts in October were gone!

How I fixed it

hostgator How to transfer blog hosts in 7 steps

So, I bought a HostGator account. I transferred the files from my older host to HostGator. Here are the 7 steps which I used to successfully transfer the blog files from one host to another:

1. Use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to backup the database of your older host and download the database backup file.

2. Download all the files of your blog in wp-content from an FTP client like Filezilla.

3. Point the Domain Name Servers (DNS) to the new host so you can create an addon domain. If you don’t know what DNS looks like, it looks like this:

ns2163.hostgator.com
ns2164.hostgator.com

4. Go to your new host’s cpanel and go to fantastico, the automatic wordpress installation tool, and install wordpress.

5. Upload the database backup file to phpmyadmin (to the correct database using the import feature) in cpanel.

6. Upload and overwrite all the wp-content files to the same folder in the new host using an FTP client.

7. After that, your posts and pages will be 404 pages. Log in to your wordpress and navigate to every sub page under ‘Settings’ until ‘Miscellaneous. I don’t know why, but it works!

But the problem wasn’t over yet… the blog was still outdated!

So I had to restore the posts, comments, and other changes manually that were made after the latest backup.

1. How I Restored Posts
Windows Live Writer
Luckily, I use Windows Live Writer (WLW) to write my posts. It stores all your blog posts in your computer.

So, I opened the October posts in my computer and edited the publish date to the date they were published. Then, I published them.

Luckily wordpress has this feature that allows you to edit posts dates! That means you can publish a post with the date set to 1st of January 2001! And if you set the posts to a future date, they will be published at that time.

editdate2 editdate
How to edit publish dates in Windows Live Writer and WordPress

But..what if you didn’t use Windows Live Writer? Don’t worry, here are other methods.

Google Cache
You can also use Google Cache to get your lost posts (this works if only your posts are indexed).

Just type “cache:http://www.(yourblogaddress).com/(yourpost)/” in Google search and hopefully, you’ll get a cached version of your post of a particular date Google spidered your site.

Feed Reader
If you’ve subscribed to your own blog, that’s great! Because it lets you see how your other subscribers see your posts… and stores your posts in case you’ve lost them.

I subscribe to my blog via Google Reader. I’m not sure if this works for other readers but it probably would.

Just click your blog feed’s name and click ‘All items’. Your posts’ latest version will be displayed.

Email
If you subscribe to your own blog via email, you can retrieve it from there.

2. Restoring Comments
Here’s how I restored my precious comments.

If you choose to receive blog comment notifications, which I think most of you do, you’ll receive the comment with the author’s name, email, website, and the date of the comment.

All I had to do is post the comments with the author’s name, email, and website, and set the correct dates. Though, the IP addresses were mine.

Thank goodness wordpress also allows you to edit comment dates, so I can edit the time and date to when the comment was posted, which is the time and date the comment notification email is sent to you.

You can also use Google Cache to help you.

3. Uploaded images
I had to re-upload the images that were lost. Just upload them from your computer into where it was before.

4. Updated Gloson Blog’s layout
I also updated Gloson Blog’s layout. I did this by checking my blog in Google Cache. I could see how the sidebar looked like and what the differences are.

I’ve learned my lessons

1. Backup Your Blog Regularly
If you are blogging on a small blog and you are not posting often, I recommend you backup every week.

But when your blog gets popular and you post very often, you should backup everyday so that you won’t lose your precious posts and comments.

Now I decided to backup two times a week.

2. Have a Backup Hosting
You should get a free hosting where you can place all your files there. Free hosting can be unreliable and can have down times often but who cares? You just need a place to store your backups.

3. Think carefully before buying a cheap host
Even though it’s cheap, a cheap host’s quality may probably not be very good and have frequent downtimes and errors and poor customer support. So you’ll end up losing more if you buy a cheap host.

Instead, buy a popular blog host that is recommended by a lot of people. Their quality would probably be high.

What you should do to make sure your blog is safe

1. Backup often

I’ve now got an alarm that reminds me to backup my blog twice every week. To backup,

1. Use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to backup your blog’s database.

2. Download the backup file.

3. Download all the files of your blog in wp-content.

And don’t forget to test your backups!

2. Subscribe to your blog

If you subscribe to your own blog by RSS or email, you’ll receive your blog posts and can restore them in case they are lost.

Besides, you should also subscribe to your own blog to see how your feed looks like for other subscribers, and whether there are errors in your feed.

3. Get comment notifications by email/Subscribe to your comments

This will make sure your precious comments are safe. Comments are very precious and is one of the best ways to bring a blog to life.

Where Gloson Blog is hosted now

Gloson Blog is now hosted on HostGator, which is probably going to be a good host as I had heard from many. I hope there will be no more problems this time. I hope that now Gloson Blog is much faster too!

What’s been going on last three weeks

You might have wondered why it took more than half a month for this process. Well, it was because I was writing and illustrating my new poetry book for kids in which the poems are to be sung to the tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, which is done now.

1frontcover p01

__________

So I hope you understand what was going on on Gloson Blog and why it was behaving weirdly. I hope there are no more problems or bugs on Gloson Blog (If there are some, please tell me!). I hope Gloson Blog will be running smoothly again!

If you have anything to add to this post, or if you have any questions, please comment! :-)

Update (19 March 2010): Hostgator has been the best hosting for me! Almost no downtimes at all! =)

More tips from rocking commentators below

Gerald Weber
Gloson,

I had an interesting experience where a silly hosting company erroneously canceled my  account. Ever since that incident I always make full backups which is easy simple to do. In cpanel click on backups, generate and then generate and download a full backup.

It will email you once the backup is complete and then you can FTP the full backup to your hard drive. This will backup EVERYTHING. Files database and the whole nine yards.

Now the good news is Hostgator make full backups on all their shared plans every Sunday. So as a fail safe you can always get a full backup from them from the most recent Sunday.

Glad you got your blog back together. :-)

Marie Culver
I love Hostgator and I don’t doubt you will enjoy it too.

However, I wouldn’t recommend anybody depending on them or any other host to be responsible for backups. No matter how good the hosting is.

One, many hosts that include backup services have caveats, like file limits. Too many files or too large and you’re on your own. Hostgator has an “inode” limit (one file of any type equals one inode).

Two, even if a host gets back to you in an hour, that’s still an hour that your site is down when you could have fixed things yourself in a third of the time or less.

Three, there is no guarantee that a host backup is even that good or readily available. Sometimes files do get corrupted, you might need a backup right before the next backup cycle (you may have made many site changes by then), or if the host is having issues, your files are out with your site.

It’s better to take other steps and be able to verify that your backups are not only there, but viable for usage. An interesting site about backing up files is the Tao of Backup (taobackup.com). Ultimately it promotes a backup utility but it’s both entertaining and informative.

Marie Culver´s last blog ..I Love My Thesis My ComLuv Profile

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