Well, that was interesting. Late last week, I started getting a flurry of emails, tweets and comments on Facebook letting me know the blog was down. Naturally, I read these messages while I was working in downtown Nashville and couldn’t do much of anything to address the situation.
I called our internet provider later and was informed that the blog was suspended because someone was trying like crazy to hack it. Can’t say I was too surprised. Over the previous few days, I had received a bunch of the emails that are automatically generated when someone requests a password reset for WordPress. If I don’t respond to the reset request, the password isn’t changed, so I didn’t worry about it. But someone out in cyberspace obviously wanted to hijack the site.
It would be dramatic and self-flattering to assume I pissed off some dietitian or vegan group bent on revenge, but my guess is that it was some random jackass choosing a random site to hack.
Our internet provider cleared the suspended status and updated the site to the newest version of PHP, which (so I’m told) has better security. That was the good news. The bad news is that after the upgrade, the site looked like this:
I considered telling people it was my White Album phase, but thought better of it. After several emails and back-and-forth phone calls, someone in tech support figured out that the blank screen was the result of my WordPress template being incompatible with the newest version of PHP.
Well, no surprise there either. I chose that template in 2009 when I started the blog. The tech guy looked up the template and told me the developer has long since abandoned it, and it’s not optimized for tablets and smart phones anyway. Best just to choose a new one that’s still being supported.
So over the weekend, Chareva and I looked at various templates and chose the one you see now. We were able to install it without any issues, but couldn’t get a header graphic to show up no matter how many times we tried uploading it.
Several hours and countless curse words later, Chareva found an article online that described a series of troubleshooting steps. After following those steps, we finally got the header graphic (which is new, as you’ve probably noticed) to show up.
The remaining issue is traffic, as in we apparently get too much of it for the shared-server plan we have with our provider. When we exceed the traffic limit, the site becomes unavailable until the traffic declines. The tech explained that while it could be legitimate traffic, it could also be a case of the site getting hit over and over by robots. He told me to download something called the raw traffic log and do some Google research on how to interpret it.
Yeah, way big fun, dealing with web stuff. This is why after dabbling in web programming a few years ago, I decided I’ll never, ever become a web programmer.
Anyway, we’re back up … more or less.
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