What if you logged on one night and your blog just wasn’t there?

The title of this post is designed to alert, not alarm you.

On Tuesday night I went to bed with my iPad, as I do every night. Opened up my blog reader app and started catching up on the blogs I follow every day.

I clicked through to this post on Crashing Red and promptly sent an email to myself with the link, thinking this was GOOD information to share in this how-to-blog space on a Saturday.

blog

Photo: Pinterest (click on image for credit)

Turns out I was sharing it a bit sooner and in a context that I really wouldn’t wish on anyone.

The VERY next night I was about to log in to the dashboard of my blog and write my Thursday blog post but my Google Chrome browser timed out when trying to access my site. Then I tried on Firefox and Safari, on my iPhone and my iPad.

I COULD NOT GET ON TO MY SITE AT ALL. WITH ANYTHING.

At this point, I put in an emergency text to my wonderful web host, Michelle at Little Hero Hosting, who gave me sort of good news: it wasn’t the server causing the problem.

I say sort of good news because with both of us at a loss to work out what went wrong. The next five hours were spent uncomfortably in equal levels of frustration and panic.

Michelle re-loaded the core WordPress files and – using the back-up she does of my site every day – was attempting to restore the site that way.

Bless your cotton socks for having a great back-up system in place, Michelle  …  Do you back up your site or does someone back it up for you?  Check out Katrina from the Block’s post yesterday for one way how to do this … my site is so big that the email way doesn’t work any more for me so I’m extremely grateful for the server backup.

At some point close to tears and regretting my no-drinking-during-the-week-hence-no-alcohol-in-the-house policy, I remembered Crashing Red’s post. Like a lightbulb moment, I tweeted her and said I thought the same thing might have happened to me.

That I’d been hacked. That malware had infected my site, possibly weaselling its way in through a plug-in update.  Not necessarily that night, that day or even that week. It got in at some point and slowly started to affect the functioning of my site, to the point that it was no more.

I mean, who does that? Who uses their geeky power for evil? Who sits at home in front of their computer and thinks, hey, let’s put some dodgy code in something that lots of random people will innocently download and see what happens? For sh*ts and giggles?

Not only did Maria have clear steps to possibly get my blog sorted, she kept tweeting me like a virtual hand-hold. Love that girl’s style. In every way. And not just her hot DVF wedges.

Meanwhile, Michelle was also working her butt off and wracking her brain for a solution. We both went to bed in the early hours of the morning, tired and still frustrated and increasingly panicky.

In the bright, optimistic, good-things-happen world that I like to think I live in I woke up a few hours later, reached for my iPad and nothing. Nada.

I cried.

Then did the school run. As you do.

Back in front of my iMac, I pulled up Maria’s post again and took her lead, heading straight to Sucuri, which monitors and removes malware. For less than $100 (this fee also covers me for regular scans and fixes for a year), they not only scanned and found the malware but got rid of it, with a real person “talking” to me via email. And then they followed up with a list of things I should now do to help prevent further hackings.

The fix didn’t show up straight away but after a few hours and communication back and forwards, Styling You was back.

Styling You

Me looking at my restored site while resting my head on my desk

I cried. Tears of exhaustion and relief all rolled into one big heaving sob.

I’m still exhausted. Stress will do that do you. I know worse things happen to people (worse has happened to me) but this was a major stress for me. I work for myself. My work revolves around my blog. My heart and soul go into this blog. I felt utterly helpless and unprepared.

Which is why I’m sharing my story here with you today. So that you share it and you share Maria’s story. The more we share in this blogging community – and this really is the big stuff we need to share – the more we can help each other.

I felt that big bloggie community love this week and I honestly hope no-one out there in blogging land has to go through what Maria or I did.

Ever.

Has this ever happened to you? 

PS. My web host, Michelle, has written a great post – the first in a series – about backing up your blog. You need to read it.

————————————————————————————————–

Disclaimer: yes, this is an affiliate advertisement and yes, if you click through and sign up you will help me to replace my husband’s scotch that I was forced to throw down as it was the only alcohol in the house during my mid-week meltdown. I can assure you all of the above is not a sponsored post. It sadly really did happen.

 

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  • http://cupandsaucer-karen.blogspot.com Karen Wilgar

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your great advice. I’ll take it all on board as a newbie. It must have been all panic stations for you! I hope you have recovered! xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      It was and I took a hit, that’s for sure. x

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  • http://www.redhoteventsandseminars.com sue@redhoteventsandseminars.com

    Oh dear Nikki. Would this be the reason we didnt see you Friday? What alot of stress for you!! Thanks for sharing and letting us know what we need to do. This is something I know nothing about.
    Great information. I’m SO glad this all worked out for you.
    I love the no alcohol bit. Great idea, but sometimes you just really need some!!! Maybe hide some in the ironing basket for emergencies!!
    BTW, you can have credit for another Red Hot event.
    Sue xxx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh, Sue, I kept meaning to email you all weekend. I’m SO sorry. Yes, that was the reason. Was super stressful week and very behind in my work. I kind of fell in a heap on Saturday! x

      • http://www.redhoteventsandseminars.com sue@redhoteventsandseminars.com

        No problem at all Nikki. That is some serious stress!! I get it!! I fell in a heap Sat too after a very big week last week. The event Friday was amazing.
        Just remind me that you have a ticket next time you want to come along to an event.
        Now to catch up on all that lost work. I feel yr frustration. Time is limited at the best of times without spending hours/days on trouble shooting and getting no work done.
        No fun at all.
        How far is Dan Murphys from your place??? lol
        Sue xx

  • http://crashingred.com Maria V @CrashingRed

    Thanks for your wonderful words Nikki! I’m really glad it is all sorted and hopefully others can learn from our sad experience.

    p.s.
    Back up and protect your sites, dear friends! It is really a MUST DO if you don’t want all your work to disappear one day.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Absolutely! And yes, thank goodness we share this stuff so it doesn’t have to happen to someone else!

  • http://84thand3rd.com JJ @ 84thand3rd

    Argh, how frustrating for you – so glad it worked out though. Thanks for sharing these resource links as well. I have a regular database back-up (albeit through a plug-in) but am not doing a full back-up as I should – will be following the Little Hero Hosting series.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Good to work through all the links here – and Sassi Sam has included a couple of good ones below in the comments too!

  • http://www.sassisamblog.com Sam

    Hey Nikki,

    As you know my site has experienced a tonne of downtime, hacking etc and can I recommend this brilliant yearly subscription service called Are My Sites Up? http://aremysitesup.com/ … it costs US$35 a year I think and you can list up to five sites, can’t remember and it sends you an email to tell you when you’re site is down, it’s been brilliant for me.

    The other service I use is Vault Press (http://vaultpress.com/) and is specifically for wordpress sites and is only US$15 a month and it backs up your site hourly or something very regular and is a plugin and it backs up everything separately, your theme, your plugins, your databases etc.

    That heart sinking feeling is just horrendous so I totally feel your pain.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Sam :-)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Sam! I’ll get both!!

  • http://Ilikeiwishiheart.blogspot.com Heidi

    Hi Nikki,
    I really feel for you, I am so pleased you had such excellent support to get your blog back up and online. I recently had a whole post deleted for no reason and I have received no feedback from Blogger about why or what happened or even if they could help me restore it. They probably didn’t even read my request for help. It makes me think more about moving my blog over to a more responsive host, I just worry about losing my readers. My research continues. Thank you for sharing your story. Hx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh, I wish I could tell you that it would be a good move. I’ve only ever done the self-hosting thing. I’ve witness Blogger crash but it affected a whole lot of people and Blogger got it back happening within a day I think. I would imagine as an individual it would possibly be difficult to get their attention?

  • http://www.getthreadednow.com Liz See

    I can completely understand the panic Nikki….I have had my email hacked (and scam emails sent to every contact)and my other website was invaded and taken over too….both times were easy fixes…website fixed by host and email reset and settings changed but my heart was jumping out of my chest for the whole time when these things were happening. My web angel who fixed me when I clicked on a link to someones website through facebook and got my computer taken over told me, all we can do is put all the things we can do in place, BACK UP which I always have and change passwords frequently. Unfortunately there is good and bad with the web…it opens us up to the world but that also means it opens up to the challenging things too x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh Liz .. the email hack is bad. I know what to look for with that one now and never click on suss links (same with DMs that come through on Twitter). It’s awful what people think is a fun thing to do!

      • http://www.getthreadednow.com Liz See

        The email hack wasn’t through a link though….they stole the passwords and login…hopped in and changed it so I had no access. It was tracked back to Nigeria….very scary!

        http://www.getthreadednow.com/theeyebrowexpertblog/13-the-eyebrow-experts-guest-writers/104-email-scammers-strike-get-threaded

        The emails they sent everyone were requesting money and if you knew me you would know it wasn’t from me but they must make money by doing it to people. The website…I don’t know why they would do that except to waste people’s time and patience!!!

        I had a client tell me their website got hacked with people selling tools…when she could not understand why she kept getting emails about tools for sale she looked at her site and discovered it had been taken over!

        I don’t really understand why they would bother messing with sites but there must be a gain for them to do it.

        • http://www.redhoteventsandseminars.com sue@redhoteventsandseminars.com

          Thats awful Liz. How stressful. I would be horrified if that happened.
          What an awful thing for you to go thru.
          Hope it all got sorted okay.
          Sue xx

          • http://www.getthreadednow.com Liz See

            Yes, It all worked out okay Sue….very stressful 24 hours but all good in the end. It’s all a learning experience! :)

  • http://www.gracefullynatural.com Kama

    It s horrible being hacked and I feel your panic. I am super lucky that I live with my web developer (Wayne) so when The Happy Migrant go hacked he had it up and running again very quickly, otherwise I might have really panicked. Can’t understand why people bother hacking for “fun”

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh, that is VERY lucky Kama. Very!

      • http://www.gracefullynatural.com Kama

        Indeed and I appreciate it!

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    That would have been really upsetting. I am glad it’s all up and running again. I hadn’t thought about backing it up, I’m going to get my IT manager (husband) onto it now. Rachel xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Good delegation Rachel!!

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  • http://www.madonnarobinson.com Madonna

    That’s not a good experience Nikki. I will be reading the other posts about backing up. I am only new to blogging, having just completed the 31 day Blog Challenge and I haven’t backed anything up. Must get onto it. Thanks for the advice.
    Madonna

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Well done on completing the challenge Madonna! And yes, get the back-up and protect system in place from the start. You’ve already put a lot of work into your blog – don’t want to lose it!

  • http://www.littleherohosting.com Michelle

    Thank you for the wonderful comments Nikki. I’m so glad everything is back to normal, just so sad that there are people sitting there purposely trying to bring websites down!

    I’m having a drink for both of us tonight xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh, good Michelle! And I’ve now popped your post into my post for more extensive information!

  • http://www.greenteantoast.blogspot.com Anna @ greenteantoast

    Sorry to hear that Nikki, but so glad it’s sorted now. Great advice too, I’m off now to back-up my site!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Good to have that habit in place early on Anna x

  • http://www.themummyautobiography.com Miss Pink

    This scares the bajeebus out of me.
    I would probably shout at the computer and then throw it across the room and determine my blog is dead. Really. It would piss me off that much.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Hahaa Miss Pink … I think the male part of my brain clicked into gear and I just wanted to get it solved. Saved my meltdown for after it was!

  • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie mama

    So, so relieved for you xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Hun xx

  • http://floridagirlinoklahoma.blogspot.com Rhonda

    First Bron and now you! All my favorite blogs are being attacked!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Not fun at all!

  • http://alittlespacelikehome.com Mandy

    wow, I’d have a heart attack and my blog is only personal. so glad it’s all good now.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Mandy! Back-up and protect!