Well, it has been almost two months since the technical support people at my website hosting partner accidentally nuked my site. The changes they made screwed up the site and the backups wouldn’t restore properly, leaving me with a huge reliability problem for some of the content. Pages that would work one minute and crash the next, posts that wouldn’t display properly, some pages or posts that disappeared altogether yet were still “active” on the site. Glitches that were annoying and not something I could leave in the site nor was I able to simply “fix” them.
I had all my data, but I needed to nuke the account and rebuild everything entirely. I rebuilt two sites that I host for others, and the content of those was relatively easy with a few annoying features, but it was the main PolyWogg.ca site that was the biggest challenge. 200 pages, 1600 posts, 1.6M words, 400 comments…all needing to be reloaded. And, as I noted, some glitches were embedded in several posts that required me to essentially reload things manually.
Working around the clock
But after two weeks of existential angst and six weeks of working at least 4h/day (at least 10h/day on weekends), and about 260 hours of work in total, my sites are back in business.
Because I had to rebuild the sites, and I didn’t want people getting daily update notices, I had to “force unsubscribe” anyone who was subscribed to my original feed for PolyWogg. Back on March 6, I sent them all emails to say, “Well, the site is down, and I’ll email you again when it comes back up”, while redirecting people to Facebook or Twitter to find me for now or in the future. I’m a little sad that many of them won’t resubscribe, but that’s the nature of the beast when running websites.
Today, I re-invited everyone to rejoin, we’ll see how many do. I now have two feeds though, one for each website.
PolyWogg.ca which includes my more formal “products”, such as my HR Guide, reviews, recipes, and astronomy-related posts;
ThePolyBlog.ca which includes my more informal blog posts, such as posts on Life (experiences, family, humour and computer-related topics like the website itself); The Little Grey Cells (more thoughtful topics like learning and ideas, writing and publishing, quotes, and health and spiritualism); goals; and my annual reading challenges.
If anyone else wants to subscribe by email, here are the two links:
- PolyWogg.ca: https://polywogg.ca/about-polywogg-ca/subscribe/
- ThePolyBlog: https://www.thepolyblog.ca/about-thepolyblog/subscribe/
Of course, people may prefer to access my posts through Facebook (PolyWogg.ca) or via my Twitter feed (@ThePolyBlog), as I try to post notices of new content to both feeds. I had to “force stop” the feeds during the rebuild process too, albeit one seemed to occasionally update anyways on Facebook for a few posts, but everything is back live again.
Of course, the work is never done
I have a few areas that will require more work still, but that isn’t entirely due to the website torching. As I rebuilt, I took the opportunity to redirect some of my efforts in a bit different direction. As a result, some of the solutions are not totally compatible with the previous structure. My trivia efforts had to be reset, my photo gallery is moved over to Flickr, and I’m taking a whole new approach to my PolyWogg Guide to Astronomy. Most of that change though is that as I did the other changes, I figured out better ways to handle those options too. That’s a longer term project though, and I’ll get to it over time. I don’t need to relaunch with those today.
On the other hand, I’ve done pretty well. Both sites (PolyWogg.ca and ThePolyBlog) are running about 45 plugins in total, and about 20 or so are new ways to handle the content (replacing older plugins that I was running before). I’ll blog about that in a bit more detail as the week goes on. More importantly to the reader, I have 604 posts / 45 pages / 570K words on PolyWogg.ca. Plus about 230 comments, most related to my HR Guide. Meanwhile, ThePolyBlog has 879 posts / 14 active pages / 981K words, plus about 220 comments. I’ve also streamlined the categories on both sites quite a bit.
As the planet starts to emerge from the COVID pandemic, one of the phrases being used is “Build Back Better”. I’m not 100% certain that it’s perfectly re-built, but it’s definitely better than it was, with more extensive branding for sub-areas, particularly the PolyWogg “products” like my HR Guide.
And more importantly?
It’s all the way back, baby! Onward!