Hello dear readers. Can we just start by saying how thankful we are to be posting this blog this week? You may have noticed that the past two weeks have been a little hit and miss with our website. Thankful to all of you that reached out to us when it was down! From your end, it may have looked like our site was down for a few hours then would work again only to stop working a few hours later. From our end, it was chaos.
I want to start by saying that our website is a labor of love.
We have poured countless hours into really making it into our home. From choosing the perfect image, to finding new features to help you be able to see the details of some of our special products, to choosing the perfect words to let you know exactly what a piece can offer you. We were plugging along, making edits, tweaking things, and fine tuning here and there. It seemed that we were finally getting to a point where we were proud of most, if not all, of our content.
I mean, we were so excited to start adding some of these detailed shots to our product listings.
Photos by the wonderful Rebecca Ames Photography.
And then the site went down.
We were able to log into our hosting and find out that some of our files had gotten corrupted. Weird. But okay it happens. We fixed the corrupted files by uploading fresh ones. Website was back up and running. Phew.
The next morning it was down again.
Almost the same error. Lines of code got deleted out of our files. Weird. We again re-uploaded clean files and got ride of the corrupted ones. Back up and running.
Guess what. It was down again not many hours later. This happened numerous times. We worked quickly to keep getting the site back up while also working to figure out what was causing this.
Calls to our hosting company were made. We hired a security agency to help clean out our site and figure out if there was malicious coding. This proceeded for over a week.
While no one was quite able to figure out the exact reason of all the errors.
We have learned several lessons from this experience.
Dear fellow entrepreneur, this is our plea to you. Website issues are no fun. Period. Please do the following to keep your website in tip top shape and provide you with a cushion in case something does happen:
1) Make backups of your site.
Our hosting company was making backups of our site on a regular basis. But unfortunately, many of these backups were corrupted. So we had to restore a back-up from February (which meant many of the changes since then, didn’t work correctly. But we’re slowly fixing those!). If you want to be really proactive, which is a good idea, let your hosting save backups but also make some yourself and save them to either your computer or an external hard-drive. This was just a reminder that technology can fail and it’s always a good idea to have multiple backups in various locations.
2) Take site security seriously.
This can mean different things depending on your business and website. Maybe if you have lots of information (some of it being sensitive) you’ll want to hire a security company to do this for you. Maybe installing a simple plugin will do what you need it to do. But we recommend looking into your options and see what you may need.
3) Make sure, if possible, to still have the ability run your business if your site is down.
Make sure people know how to contact you, whether that’s through Facebook messenger, Instagram, emails, phone calls, etc. Have all your contact information listed on your social media channels. We have a separate invoicing and tracking system that has photos and details of our products. We could still use this while our site was down. And while your at it – are there other platforms you rely heavily on? It’s a good idea to have hard copies of that data saved every so often. Do you have a huge email list? It might be a good idea to save a spreadsheet of those email addresses every once in awhile just in case your platform drops off the planet. You won’t have to start over from scratch.
We sincerely hope this never happens to you, but it’s better to be prepared just in case 😉