It’s a Learning Journey!
November 22, 2012 … first post in my newly minted blog “effgee’s World”! I entitled it Quite the Journey and proceeded to chatter on about how much I’d learned during the trek from having zero know how to actually getting my blog up and running. Now, almost 4 years later , I’m still chattering, albeit sporadically at times, but chattering none the less here at “effgee’s World”!
And what a learning journey into this “universe” of websites and blogging it has been! Plenty of hick-ups along the way have kept things, shall we say, interesting. None of those hick-ups though has been more interesting … no … downright scary than the most recent “Code Black” (aka – omg … w-t-h just happened) incident! Here’s how it all went down …
On a Sunday evening, not long ago, having happily spent a few hours drafting posts and fine tuning my website, it was time to shut ‘er down and get to bed. Oh, and by the way, when I turned the computer off, everything was working just fine … yes, I said, just fine!
Next evening, I settled in after dinner and fired up the laptop. I tried to log-in to my WordPress dashboard but to my surprise, my access was denied! Whaaaat??? So, I tried again … same thing! Then I tried again … and again … and again. No luck! 😲
With panic quickly setting in, I contacted both the WordPress and my web hosting service’s helpdesk. Over the next few days, I tried everything the techs on both helpdesks could think of but still … no luck! Then, during the chaos of what seemed like dozens of “do this” and “try thats”, one of the techs was able to remove the theme on my website replacing it with a default theme. What an an ultra huge relief it was when that move along with an old back up copy of my website’s content enabled me to regain access to my dashboard!
That wasn’t the end of it though … no, I still had a big problem on my hands. Someone or something had gained access to my dashboard and messed up the coding in my website. When the “you may have been hacked” theory became the “we’re pretty sure you were hacked” answer and when the “you’ll have to find and hire a developer to fix it” became the solution, my heart sank. This leg of the learning journey wasn’t turning out to be very pleasant at all!
The thought of having been hacked really bothered me … in fact, it freakin’ scared me! I changed my passwords and beefed up security but I just couldn’t get past it … ewww … hacked! I felt spooked every time I went into the dashboard. Nothing seemed to be working right. I just didn’t want to use the site anymore. How could this have happened? I finally decided that for my own peace of mind, I had to be done with both the web hosting service and the website itself. And that’s when I got busy! (I was on a mission as the saying goes!).
First, I found a different web hosting service, HostPapa (Canada). I registered a new domain name … effgees-world.com and after selecting a theme, I started getting my new website set up. In conjunction to that, I “copied/pasted” all 27 of my blog posts along with 8 pages from the old website into an 87 page Word document. Once the website was ready, I pasted each post, one by one, in date order from Word into the new website … painstaking but worth it!
Surprizingly, most of the “links” remained intact but pretty well all of the cartoon pics I had so carefully selected were toast. I had to add them back in all over again! Saddest of all though, the actual “publication date stamp” on each of those old posts was lost … the continuity and longevity of the original “effgee’s World” blog … gone … 😢
This bump in the road in my learning journey has not only deepened my burgeoning knowledge of websites and how they really work, but it smacked me with a few rather painful (and expensive) lessons. For example, I learned the really, really hard way about the importance of backing up your “stuff” regularly. I had just assumed that my website was being backed up “somewhere, somehow” and fortunately, it was … kind of. Still, so naive … no, that’s too kind. So DUMB! First plugin I installed? You guessed it! One with good backup capability! Not only that but unlike before, I actually take the time now to back up my site on a daily basis! I also installed a better security plugin, chose a convoluted admin/username and an even more convoluted password (which I will faithfully change on a regular basis!). There are still a few bugs to work out but, thankfully, everything’s gradually falling into place on my new website, effgees-world.com.
Although I’ve learned alot over these last few years, I’ve still got a long way to go … there’s so much more to know about this “computers/internet/websites and blogging” hobby of mine. But, just as a hobby is supposed to, it’s a very enjoyable way to spend time and for me, that makes my ongoing learning journey all the sweeter!