We Now Return (Again) To Your Regularly Scheduled Program … And I Think I Mean It This Time

Obviously I spoke too soon when I announced just over a week ago that the blog was back up and running. The old site kept getting automatically shut down because of suspicious traffic. I thought our previous provider had the problem solved. The techs switched the site to PHP 7, which was supposed to include better security, but the automatic shutdowns continued. So they offered to move the site to a newer and more powerful server and suggested I use a service named CloudFlare to cut down on bogus traffic.

I was willing to do that, but days went by and the site was never moved to the newer server. Since everything (including the WordPress control panel) was unavailable, there was nothing I could do. I called several times and was told the techs were having difficulties moving the site.  That’s it.  No apologies, no promises, no timelines, no suggestions for ways to get the blog back online while waiting.

So I finally gave up and went looking for another hosting service. The one I chose has quite a few positive reviews online and is optimized specifically for WordPress – our previous host wasn’t. CloudFlare and other security doo-dads are included automatically – again, not the case with our previous provider. I’ll even save a few bucks over the course of a year.

At some point, I’ll move my other blog as well — no big hurry, since I’ve written exactly one post on that blog in the past several years. I had to face reality and let that one go dormant when full-time programming work, part-time farm work and producing a book and film ate up my time.

Anyway, it appears that we really are back up and running this time. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet gotten my Fat Head emails and email folders moved. Apparently there’s some kind of hiccup involved there. If you send an email to my Fat Head account and don’t hear back from me, it probably means I haven’t received it. But I’m sure we’ll get all that straightened out soon.

Chareva also noticed, in the brief time the blog was available last week using the new template, that the purchase page for DVDs didn’t make the transition.  We’ll have to fix that as well.

And then I can actually get back to blogging instead of dealing with technical issues that make me want to break things and say bad words.

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26 thoughts on “We Now Return (Again) To Your Regularly Scheduled Program … And I Think I Mean It This Time

  1. jolly

    Done a *bunch* of WordPress sites – suggest you get all-in-one-wp-security plugin, for one thing. Also, I use linode for my servers, and CloudFlare is pretty good, too, though I’m not liking their politics. *sigh* I’ve been using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Apache2, PHP7, and the latest WP distribution. After that, go to https://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress as one place to tighten the WP ship. I would NOT suggest running your own email server – big PITA and for $2 / mailbox / month, Rackspace works nicely for that. Been using that for a decade, and finally retired my last email server about a year ago ( my BP immediately went down 20 points ). WordPress is a target and there are lots of hacker programs geared just for WP. One interesting hack is when they redirect mobile devices to errant sites, but leave the desktop alone. So – when you’re looking at it, all looks ok. I’ve seen two variations of it – one is a modified .htaccess file and the other was an afflicted wp-config.php. I can’t recommend linode enough – they were rough a few years ago, but they were bought by amazon ( I think ), and have been solid for me the last year when I had to migrate a dozen sites from my old co-located Mac Mini.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I watched several tutorials on WordPress security and had originally planned to go through all those steps once our previous provider moved the site to a newer server. When they couldn’t seem to get that done, I went looking for another provider. The one I chose has all the security doo-dads installed and configured as part of the package, including CloudFlare. (Politics? Haven’t heard anything about that.)

      I deal with technology all day at my programming job. When I come home and put on my blogger hat, I just want WordPress to work, without me having to become a technician again. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the new provider handles all that stuff as advertised.

      Reply
      1. chris c

        “It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to press this button”. John Brunner, 1968.

        Yes looks like your hacker did us all a favour, this server runs like greased lightning compared to the previous one.

        I have a weird and ongoing issue getting blocked from posting on blogs, even those run by friends and other people I know. Originally it was mainly Google Blogger, more recently predominantly WordPress.

        On the grand scheme of things I am a Nothing compared to the likes of Noakes, Fettke or you, so who the hell would be picking on me and why? Well I DID piss off a dietician who spent years warning diabetics on a forum of the “extreme dangers” of low carb diets because after 13 years I still don’t have scurvy, halitosis or constipation. She is far too clueless to be able to put me on a blocklist, which I assume is what is happening, but it may be she has handed me over to someone who is trialling different mechanisms for censoring the internet, and I make a good subject because I post on several blogs.

        Whatever the cause, every so often I get taken off the list and can post again, then presumably when someone notices I get put back on again. Sometimes you aren’t paranoid, they actually ARE out to get you.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Yeah, I’ve noticed everything is zippier with this new host, so the move was all for the best. A pain in the butt, but all for the best.

          Reply
  2. Dianne

    Glad to see you back. Hope it’s for real this time!

    All the spring weather we’re having here in Texas reminds me — how soon before you can turn into Farmer Tom again? You must be champing at the bit.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I am indeed. I finished physical therapy on Monday. I was told it’s okay to do upper-body work at the gym now, but start at about half the load I was lifting before surgery, then slowly work up. For farm work, the instruction was to be careful and don’t jump into carrying heavy loads that strain the bicep. I plan to be smart about it for a change and listen to the advice. I sure as shootin’ don’t want to go through this again.

      Reply
  3. Bob Niland

    Page loads are much snappier now.

    It probably didn’t take much of a botnet to DDOS you on the old host (who seemed to be unresponsive in more ways than one).

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The old host seemed to consider WordPress sites a bit of a bother. I used them for my software-business site and to host online SQL Servers for clients who wanted them. No complaints in that department. But they’re clearly not up to snuff for WordPress sites that draw heavy traffic or bots.

      The blog pages come up much faster now, and so does the admin panel. With the hold host, sometimes it would take 30 seconds for the admin panel to show up.

      Reply
  4. Kathy in OK

    “I finished physical therapy on Monday.”

    Congrats! What an ordeal. The patience that must have taken is beyond me.

    If the surgery had to happen, it was at least at the better time of year, farm-work wise. Can you imagine having to sit and watch everything grow wildly out of bounds and you couldn’t do a thing? Maddening!

    Hope the website is on the same healing trend as you. I was getting worried.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you. I’m looking forward to some Dog Tired Satisfied days around the farm. I trust Chareva will have plenty of projects lined up for us.

      Reply
  5. Elenor

    Welcome back. Missed you. You know what they say about computers (and I guess, by extension, about ISPs?):

    Computers: can’t live without them, can’t shoot them.

    Reply
  6. Dianne

    Hey, I REALLY LIKE the new header graphic! The last one was an improvement over the first new one, but the more I looked at it the more it seemed just a bit too young. This one’s great! Though I have to admit to a childish urge to paint horns and a tail on the guy in the red long johns and replace the picket sign with a pitchfork. Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’m mature, you know.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thanks, I like that one too. Chareva is hunting through her many graphics files to find versions of the individual graphics that aren’t fuzzy.

      I’m old but not always mature myself.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        As former Major League pitcher Larry Andersen said, “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

        Reply
  7. Walter

    Your old hosting service is probably as glad to see you go as you and we are. Seems like this transition was required.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Ahh, I guess that one disappeared during the move to the new template as well. Thanks for the heads-up.

      Reply
      1. chris c

        You’re still up from here but everywhere else wasn’t for a while. Turns out my ISP has been under attack, a DDOS and also DNS poisoning which probably came from someone else’s DNS server. It is quite possible that other ISPs have also been affected but aren’t admitting to it. Could be Putin, could be Facebook, either way it seems there are Bad Things Happening in general. Also I’m noticing an increased number of sites I cannot access due to “invalid certificates” and even the likes of PubMed have been unavailable at times. Pornhub too, or so I am told . . .

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I wish people with the brains to launch all these attacks would find something useful to do.

          Reply

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