Back From a Mini-Disaster!

February 11, 2011 | By Rakhitha | Filed in: Me, Myself & I, Tech.

In  case you haven’t noticed this site was off the web for about a week from 21st January 2011. When I first noticed that it’s not there, I didn’t bother much as it could be a very short outage that happen once in a while with my hosting provider. However I got a bit nervous when I realized that this is not an ordinary outage, but something that is going on for days. I created a support ticket at hosting provider, but got no response even after 24 hours. And their phone was also busy most of the time.

Couple of days later, after few calls and leaving negative rating on a web hosting rating site, I was able to get a response that really ran a cold down my spine. Data center provider of the host has been attacked and offline. According to them data stored in about 18 nodes are wiped out. So the response I got from my host was that the server they have hosted my site on is gone and backups might be compromised too :S.

They offered me a new account or a refund at that time. But what good of that when everything I wrote is gone. Obviously what I write has no much value, but I put a lot of effort to write them. Since I directly write posts on the web, I don’t have an offline backup. I am not someone who take regular backups. If this site is gone, everything I wrote is gone. After few hours of scratching my head, I realize that all the posts I wrote before moving on to own hosting must be still there on And it turned out that kottu archive all the posts that it aggregates. Thanks a million Indi. So I brought up my old posts on the wordpress blog, and recreated my newer posts there using kottu archive. It took few hours to do but at least I got my posts back. However couple of more days later data center came online and it turned out they still have my data.

My hosting provider did not handle this situation in a very good way. For starters, they should have communicated with its clients in a better way, instead of letting us discover it on our own and panic. They also made the mistake of not having offsite backups and keeping backups with original data in same data center. They have now promised to use a separate data center provider for backups. Hope they will take offline backups as well, and keep in their own place. Because as long as you store things in some one else’s place, you have very little control.

End of the day ‘Aal Iz Well’. But I learned few lessons the hard way. No matter how often my service provider take backups, I should have kept backups too. Thing is, taking regular backups and making sure they are in an easily restorable state is little too much work. Ideally it has to be done daily. At the time I am taking backups from CPannel. But I am looking for a better way. Thing with CPannel backups is, it uses mysql dump when backing up the database. Last time I checked, that does not backup any database constraints or indexes. One possible way is, keeping  a secondary wordpress blog on wordpress, and export this blog to that one in regular basis.  I can do an export, reverse direction if the unthinkable happen. I am still looking for more options. Hopefully I’ll setup something that is automated, and easy to restore.

I have not yet decided if I am going to stick with this provider or move on to some place else. I have about 6 more months before having to renew my contract. I’ll use that time to decide and to come up with a better ways to do backups. Because backing up is something I have to do regardless of where it is hosted. In the mean time, doesn’t matter how annoying it is, I am definitely going to backup whatever I write. By the way if you bloggers also aren’t taking backups, now is the best time to start the good habit before it’s too late.


Tags: , , , , , , ,