Rough week. Three of my fully operational websites were lost to the void. My two main physical product store sites and one I was preparing to promote. Gone. Long story, but in the interest of leaving lessons for those who follow, here’s the short version …
I was working on site and had backed it up to move it to a new domain. When I tried to unpack the files on the new domain I received an error message which stated that the functions could not be preformed due to lack of disk space. Hmm ..
I got on with Tech Support and the very helpful gal explained what the error meant, and gave me some suggestions on different things I could do to free up disk space. I had numerous cpanel accounts created for sites I had plans for. The Tech gal told me that each cpanel account took up a good amount of disk space, and that if I wasn’t going to use the accounts in the immediate future, I might think about deleting the accounts until I was actually ready to use them.
Sound advice I thought, so I went about deleting accounts I was not currently using.
I continued working on my new site with no problems. Then I went tried to login to one of my main sites to play around a bit and wai .. what!? My site had a fatal database error. Hmm, maybe it’s not my site, maybe is the host, so I tried my second site .. and it too was showing the fatal database error. Oh hell no!
On with Tech Support again. After a good amount of time answering questions, the tech discovered that the databases for my three sites were gone .. non-existent. OMG. I could see my business life passing before my eyes. This can’t be happening. Maybe he can recreate the sites from the server backup. There was a back up on the server, but it was from the day before .. and the sites had been gone, it turns out, for 5 days prior to the backup .. which means there was a backup of blank sites. Doh!
Okay, I’m keeping my cool. Not cussing, not yelling, not panicking. (Who are you, and what have you done with the Real Me?!)
This is what happened: sites were on two different web hosts. Both were shared hosting accounts, and one account could have multiple domains attached through one cpanel account. When I changed web hosts, to a VPS hosting account, the new hosting company migrated my sites for me. Everything went smoothly and worked just fine. Great job!
Then when I deleted the accounts I was not currently using .. turns out I had deleted an account which had been the main account on one of the other hosting companies. So main database was erased .. which also meant that any site which was connected to that main site .. had also been erased.
Now I’ll be up front and say that I had no idea that had happened or how hosting companies work. And I also have no idea why the new hosting company would take “bundled” sites and not “unbundle” them on a dedicated server. Each website should have been it’s own account on it’s own cpanel. But they weren’t. And now they’re gone.
The Tech gal who suggested I remove unused accounts wasn’t aware of how the migration took place .. so I don’t have any hard feelings toward her at all. All of this was discovered after the fact, and after many hours online with Tech Support.
Anyways, I’m still pretty calm about the whole thing. Going to take this as a nudge from The Universe and take this as an opportunity to rebuild my sites better, stronger, and faster. No use crying .. just put on my Big Girl Panties and get to work rebuilding.
One more thing .. my my old hosting companies used Fantastico to install Wordpress. This new hosting company uses Softaculous. So I asked Tech Support again .. if I’m going to rebuild, should I just delete the missing sites accounts altogether (get off of Fantastico) and start with fresh accounts via Softaculous? A resounding yes.
The moral of this story?
Back up everything, and keep a local copy as well as the one your hosting company keeps. Periodically export your sites via .xml file and keep that locally as well. Ask plenty of questions of your hosting companies. And again, back up, back up, back up.