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How to Make Backups July 2, 2008

Posted by Nathan in tutorial.
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Everyone knows how important it is to keep important documents in a safe place. Since your site is important, it makes sense to also place a copy of it in a secure place. I’ve heard far too many stories of people not keeping backups and ending up with a lost site, and I don’t want that to happen to anybody here.

IsMyWebsite will do its best to keep your data safe, but due to the unpredictability of the Internet and the technology that runs it, we can’t guarantee that an accident won’t happen. That’s why you need to keep backups. Not only does it give you peace of mind, but it also keeps your data safe.

I’ve made a tutorial that will walk you through backing up your home directory (all your site’s files) and databases. Please use it: http://ismywebsite.com/my/help/backup

If you need any further help with backing up, I’ll be glad to walk you through it. Just send me a message.

Quick Tutorial – Moving Your Files May 22, 2008

Posted by ismywebsite in tutorial.
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As some of you are now coming online, you will want to know how to get your files on the new server. Moving things is not difficult:

1) Just go to ftp://72.36.186.2/ with Internet Explorer and log in to grab the files. Open My Computer to a directory of your choice and drag the files you want from the FTP into that folder.

Alternatively, FireFox has the FireFTP extension available at http://fireftp.mozdev.org/. Click ‘Manage Accounts’ > Add New and use the host 72.36.186.2 with your username and password. Then connect to it. You can use the left frame to navigate to a directory of your choice on your computer and the left arrow to move files there.

2) If you have databases, go to http://72.36.186.2:2082/ and navigate into the PHPmyAdmin. Open the database and click the ‘Export’ link. Copy the contents into a text file – ‘data.txt’ for example.

3) Access your new FTP by accessing ftp://ismyhost.com* or using ismyhost.com* as your host. (See instructions from step 1.) Upload the files saved in step 1 into the right directory.

4) Access your new cPanel at http://ismyhost.com:2082/* and use the ‘MySQL Databases’ tool to set up your databases again. Then use the ‘Import’ feature in PHPMyAdmin to upload your old database from the file you saved in step 2.

* Your exact address will depend  on the node of your account. Your details can be found in the hosting section of your account at http://web.ismywebsite.com/. If you cannot access your new node (other than IsMyHost), please wait until we can check all the accounts and declare yours working.

If you have any troubles, you can get assistance by emailing me. Pvcsnathan also has access to help you or transfer the site for you.

Future Hosting Dilemma May 4, 2008

Posted by ismywebsite in uptime.
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16 comments

Rebuilding Our Website

The forum has been brought online and upgraded to PHPBB3. We are successfully installed on a reliable hosting service for the main site, and all data has been transfered from SmokyHosts. There are still a few things to sort out before the site is fully online, but expect it soon.

Hosting And Your Websites

SmokyHosts has set us up on a new server, and, if we’re moving, we have one month to do it in. Unless there is a radical shift in the opinion of my clients, this is how it’s happening.

Our current plan calls for the opening of several nodes to spread out our server load. The optimal capacity with our current 4 planned nodes will only fit 2000 out of 3247 pending websites. Each node will host websites on a separate domain, with the ismywebsite.com sub-domain redirecting to that address. Current nodes (and capacity):

  • IsMyWs.com (750)
  • IsNumberOne.org (750)
  • IsMyHost.com (250)
  • HaloClan.Us (250)

Anyone interested in setting up or helping finance a node of their own can email me.

Forum Restoration May 2, 2008

Posted by Nathan in development.
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Hello, fellow IsMyWebsite users! I have been put in charge of restoring the forum, and am in a bit of a quandary. There is a backup from March 21 sitting here on my computer that I will be using to bring the forum back to life. This seems like a good opportunity to do a little bit of upgrading, so I am proud to announce that you will soon be greeted by a shiny new phpBB3 forum.

As for the restoration, we have four options. If you would, please provide your input on these options to ensure the best one is chosen:

  1. Reopen the forum and forever lose the posts made after the March 21 backup. The disadvantage to this is that even if we get the most recent backup, we could not restore it since doing that would destroy the posts made after the reopening.
  2. Reopen the forum for posting, but as soon as the backup is sent by SmokyHosts, it gets restored overwriting any recent posts in the process.
  3. Reopen the forum, but make it read only. This way, when the backup arrives nothing will be overwritten and all data will be left intact. One thing we must consider is that we do want all the posts and users back, and we do not want to confuse new users by suddenly going from one thing to another, so this seems like the most suitable option.
  4. Keep the forum closed until the backup arrives. This seems to be the least desirable option.

Right now my gut is telling me to go with either option two or option three since that should provide the least shock while providing much needed revenue through the ads. I look forward to reading your responses. 🙂

The Latest From SmokyHosts May 2, 2008

Posted by ismywebsite in uptime.
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“Sir, we have temporarily moved all the old backups of your account to a remote storage so as to give a stable server to the rest of the customers before again restoring your accounts.

We will then be moving all your accounts to a different server than the one where other customers are hosted.

All this will be completed in the next 2 to 3 days time, and once that is done, you will again be able to see all your accounts.

At this instant, all you will be getting is your (and your members) data of the 8th of April 2008, coz the infected server has now finally be disconnected and there is no more access to the infected data.”

From this, it looks like there will be a permanent loss of 17 days worth of data. (April 8th – April 25th) In addition, SmokyHosts has moved us to a different server which may mean better uptime as we will be sharing with less accounts.

There is a tough decision at this point to either:

  1. Move back onto their service, but keep new accounts on separate resellers. This is the easiest plan, but may not be the safest.
  2. Use their service as one of the ‘nodes’ in our new plan (see the last post). This would involve changing all the domain names.
  3. Over the next month and a half, transfer all data from their service through out the other nodes and terminate our account with them.

You can debate this. (And don’t worry – there’s plenty of time since we’re all waiting for SmokyHosts.)

Our Confusing Situation April 30, 2008

Posted by ismywebsite in downtime.
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SmokyHosts has asked me to find out if anyone needs files restored from April 25th, as they will be restoring these selectively. (Just send me an email if this is you.)

I don’t know what’s going on with the server. I could see the website yesterday and I can’t today. According to Host-Tracker, for the other half of the world, it’s pointing to the IP 67.228.0.180, displaying the ‘Great Success! Apache is working on your cPanel® and WHM™ Server’ page.

Regarding new websites, we are quite eager to get them online on a separate, more reliable, server as soon as possible. (The one Mike was talking about in the last post.) However, both the data and the script to create them are currently down with the server. We can’t do anything until we have both of these.

Once I get a reply from SmokyHosts, I will know if this is possible or not. Your patience is appreciated.

Regarding The Latest Downtime April 28, 2008

Posted by ismywebsite in downtime.
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On Friday April 25th at 3:50 PM, I received the following email from SmokyHosts:

“As you’d already have realised, the server … is currently down. We already know about this and our server administrators are working on it to fix the issue.

The actual issue and the reason … is concerned with the server security.”

The following day at 10:09 AM:

“The server … has been down now for about 22 hours. We are extremely sorry for the downtime, but hope you understand that it was very much necessary.

About 22 hours ago, … somebody is trying to hack into the server. At that very instant, we took the server offline so that we can keep all the data protected.

The hacker had launched some infected script/program onto the server! On further thought, … we will instead move all the data to a newly installed hard-disk on the server. And since it was a weekend, we finalised that it will be a wise decision to take down the server and secure the data.

At this very instant, the data movement is in progress and we are working hard to finish the task as fast as possible.

At this time, as we sense it could take about another 12 hours for the task to finish.”

Finally, Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 12:08 PM.

“Now this is … a weeked which we wish never repeats!!

Let us assure you that your data is perfectly preserved and you will be receiving your account and data as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, due to an error … we are having to redo the complete task which has actually made us break our previously given ETA. As of right now, half the hard-disk transfer is already completed and the remaining half is there which we expect would take atleast another 8 hours.”

The latest word at Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 12:56 AM:

“After repeated trials, … we are planning to restore the server to the latest backup of all your data that we have, which will be dated to the 17th of April 2008, which ofcourse will be after a few more hours of trying to remove the infected files.

Keeping our fingers crossed, we will still put up few last ideas in order to get the server back to normal and will let you all know before resorting to the latest available backups.”

And 1 hours later:

“The damage has been caused upto an extent that whichever method we follow to transfer the data to the new hard-disk, the infected files also get transfered! So the only final resort is to restore the backups of last weekend i.e. 17th of April 2008.

Keeping in mind that your data is indeed quite important, we will selectively agree to move your data from the infected hard-disk (as that hard-disk is still with us and connected to the server).

As an appreciation to your patience during all this downtime issues, we will be offering compensation to all of you once this issue is completely resolved.”

New accounts are already planned to be created on our newly acquired servers, however the data to create them is also down with the server. Let’s hope that SmokyHosts can get us back online soon. It will be good to have the security fixed, and the compensation will help us get through the next month for sure.