The problem with the Internet
a rant about website being down and what options you may have, things to think about you never know they could happen to you.
Sorry about this rant... but it happened to me this weekend and I feel I must.
Saturday morning, the first call came in.
"WHAT HAPPENED TO MY WEBSITE?" the client asked.
I went to their site and instead of the usual webpage; there was a black page with a big headline DEFACED and a photo of some warrior guy with a sword, there was even an email left there.
We got hacked all of our own sites and many of our clients who host through us. I use a 3rd party supplier for web hosting and now I had no idea if it was just us or was it ALL of their sites.
A call was placed to their support team which never answered (just to add to the anxiety that was building at warp speed).
Then I started thinking about this...
The hacker did this for no apparent reason other than ego. To show he did it and even supply his email (I never checked if it was a real email, that would probably make him even happier if I emailed).
Christmas season on a Saturday, not good to have your store closed. Not good at all.
What options did we have?
1. Find another hosting service that would take longer to move everything over than it probably would to fix the problem
2. Redirect everything to other places (assuming we did have a secondary hosting account somewhere)
We opted to wait for our hosting service. Which (surprise, surprise got to love techies) never phoned to update us (emails were down as well that isn't a bad thing in my eyes).
I ended up calling them again to get an update (this time spoke with someone) and the hacker took down the whole server and they were restoring it.
All said and done, 7 hours after we noticed it being down it was back up.
Imagine if you are doing $50,000 a day during the Christmas season!
Gone never to be recovered.
Plus the long term damage of the perception on your website being down is beyond immediate measure.
So what can you do to avoid this?
1. Make sure your web host is a good one
2. You could have a backup hosting account with another provider (and should, especially if you are doing high sales volumes) for the extra $500 $1,000 per year, pretty cheap insurance)
3. Move it all offline not that good of an option. Even that is not fail proof as any number of things can go wrong.
I think the best route is to have an alternative hosting account with a different supplier even have the majority of your sites posted there so that, in the case of emergency, you can redirect all your web sites to the other host.
Not good though big losses incurred by some and a definite loss in faith with their service (7 hours to recover?).
This had very little to do with advertising... other than the fact that your advertising costs would be a complete waste if the site was down (we did have some ads running so we have no idea how much was lost due to this either)!
It was a rant, but also a word of warning, have some form of backup plan. It may never happen to you but WHAT IF it did?
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