Something scary is coming … | Web Hosting Talk

This scary story began many years ago …

It all started when I became interested in computers around 1998. AOL played an important role in my life. AOL led me to my interest in programming and design.

2000 I decided to launch my first web design company. I was young and very proud of the website I built. I used a web hosting company that was very well known in these times. Unfortunately, I learned a hard lesson and my website only lived a short life of 24-48. The server I was staying on had been compromised, everything was lost. At 13/14, this was hard to swallow.

I had so many things going through my head. I was so frustrated. The innumerable nights spent on this project and everything is gone. The website was finally made, launched and now disappeared. How could this happen? Why it happened? Why my website? My host did not offer backups (many did not do it then). I received an apology from my host and my account implemented on a new machine. I remember logging into FTP several times and praying that my files would reappear magically.

This incident is what turned my attention to the administration of the system. I had more momentum than ever. I wanted to learn how I could have complete control over my files and security.

It was only a few weeks of reading books and researching online that I decided to rent a dedicated server, a Cobalt RaQ (oh yes, I did, I just made some of you feel old, right?)

Then … life was great, I had a lodging business, hundreds and hundreds of paying customers. Stacks and stacks of papers filled with customer billing information (everything was done manually, it was filed in folders per month to facilitate the findings next year in the renewal). Backup copies for each client, because I never wanted them to experience the things they had to do. Everything was going well.

I was in the same hosting company, I started renting dedicated hardware and then I bought all my hardware. I was a proud owner of almost a dozen RaQ. I have hosted the biggest developer / designer websites these days. What achievement at 14/15 years. Things could not have gone better.

Then, suddenly, one day I get up and everything is gone. All of my client's websites, domains, my websites, domains, disappeared. GONE!

SH $ T !! What's going on? I call and call the data center, nobody responds! I'm calling the owner's cell phone, he does not answer!

A) Yes. The host is inactive, the servers are inactive, the domains are inactive, nothing can be accessed.

I was in the dark for a few days. There is no communication, there are no answers, servers and websites still down. I did not know what to tell my clients. My stress levels were up to the ceiling, it was quite difficult to overcome at 15/16 years.

It had been almost a week before the second (foreign) owner approached and provided some answers about what his (American) partner had done. Apparently one day, he had enough and decided to cut the power and turn everything off.

I still had many questions and concerns. He did not have access to the domains or the servers he owned. Unfortunately, he had no answer about whether he would ever see them again.

During the following months, I was able to work with a registrar to retrieve some domain names. We still lost many domains.

This is one of the worst things I've had to deal with. It saddened me deeply to disappoint so many good people. All I wanted to do was provide exactly the same service I always expected and a little money was disconnected.

The lesson here? Do not keep all your eggs in a basket. Keep backups offsite and test your recovery plan. Time is the essence.

Happy Halloween!