On April 22 of this year, I received a message from A2 Hosting, the hosting provider for this website at the time, that there was a service outage, and my site was affected. I immediately went to my site and found it completely down.
A few long days later, the details slowly became apparent – a ransomware attack had brought down all the Windows servers, and they were bringing up one server at a time. Over a week after the incident, my site was still not back up, and I was not getting adequate responses to most of my emails to support.
I had made a backup, of course, but I naively thought having a backup which resided at the hosting location was adequate. I was wrong. Had I kept a backup, I could have uploaded it to another web hosting company and salvaged my site!
A day is a long time for a business website to be down, and a week feels like an eternity.
Fortunately, I keep my domain housed at a separate facility; I contacted In Motion Hosting (InMotionHosting.com), one of the few remaining independent web hosting providers (most web hosting companies are now owned by a huge conglomerate, Endurance International Group, even if they still retain their original names), and had them set me up with a WordPress hosting plan.
Make sure you are not only backing up your site, but also downloading the backups regularly
To a company with a larger, more complex site, it could have been a disaster. As it was, it made for a stressful week of waiting for A2 to fix the problem and then finally one long day to rebuild my site; fortunately I had the text files and images, so it went fast.
My purpose in writing this post is not to place blame on A2 Hosting, because they do have fast page upload times, and they are not part of the giant EIG conglomerate, but I just couldn’t wait any longer for them to restore my service.
No, my purpose in writing this is to warn my clients, and whoever you are reading this, to make sure that you are not only backing up your site, but downloading the backups regularly. Seems pretty obvious, but I missed it, and I’ll bet I have plenty of company.
It’s all part of the learning and growing process. As you can see from this graphic, I’ve been doing backups every time I add new data to my site.
So, for you small businesses out there who don’t have IT staff doing security and backups for you, run website backups regularly, download the backups, and while your at it, backup your computer data to an external hard drive (which you keep detached from your computer) or on the cloud or both.
Because data storage is cheap, but recreating data is painful and expensive.