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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Backup in websites and Construction Marketing

About 15 months ago, I migrated the primary Construction Marketing Ideas blog from this site to one on a server under supposedly under my control, using WordPress software and templates.  When I switched things to the new site, I considered whether to redirect the posts here to the new location, and essentially shut this blog down -- but decided instead to leave things alone, perhaps posting less frequently.

The decision to leave this blog intact (in general) has proven to be wise -- especially after things went very wrong last week on the new blog.  Suddenly, spam comment postings -- previously blocked by the blog's software -- started pouring into the in-box.  Meanwhile, the "load time" to update and maintain posts increased to the point that the blog became nonfunctional.  Worse, as I researched the problem, I discovered a totally unauthorized individual had gained access to the blog's back-end control panel as an "authorized user".

Fearing the worst -- that a hacker or some malicious individual had gained access to my blog -- I started working on defensive measures.  As one solution after another failed, I reached the "nuclear bomb" stage when I decided to clean out the entire server -- saving what I could, but essentially erasing every file, database and posting.

I then installed security software, new blog software and tried to reload the postings I had been able to save.

The problem remained as bad as it had been originally.  Worse, my Internet Service Provider (ISP), asked me to take my business elsewhere, saying my problems were causing serious problems in email transmissions for the service provider's other clients.

I dug into the problem even deeper, asking an offshore consultant to set up a parallel blog with exactly the same software on a totally different server (the consultant had the foresight to set this blog to be invisible from the search engines to avoid duplicate content penalties.)  His conclusion:  Everything worked fine, so it must be my ISP.

This indeed turned out to be the case.  Suddenly, yesterday morning, everything started working properly on the new blog -- and the ISP sent me an email saying, indeed, they had discovered the problem at their end.

Of course, I have many hours of rebuilding to do.  I need to reset the links, features, and other elements of the new blog and (more significantly to readers here), catch and correct cross links which may now lead to defunct or non-existent pages).

As for the ISP, I'm following through on their recommendations to move to a dedicated server with an upstream host.  This will give me some more control, ability to expand, and lower costs overall.

Of course, I'm glad I didn't close this blog down in making the transition because it has been able to continue throughout the problem and backup data and resources here will help me in the rebuilding at the new blog site.


Highland Builders said...

You should take your isp's advice and move to a dedicated server, on a different isp.

Construction Marketing Ideas said...

We've done that!

Now we are rebuilding our other sites to improve quality and reduce the threat of malware.

While I've approved this comment, I'm not certain how it can help anyone with search engine optimization because of embedded 'nofollow' set ups within blogger for comments.