What Went Wrong?

On early morning of October 19th, something happened to this site that I never experienced before. Right after my breakfast, I turned my computer on with an expectation to write something on this Blog. Surprisingly, when I visited the home page of this site it look weird and I knew right away something is not right. As soon as I logged in to the site, my heart sank. It showed my latest post was from December 2016. It didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

I looked at the Dashboard and I could see from the post count that well over hundreds of posts are simply gone. I browsed through the posts section and it looked like I was missing a big chunk of my posts. I logged into to my hosting account just to check that they are not totally deleted from my database. Alas! they are gone from the database as well and they are gone for good. I was devastated and shocked in awe. Those posts are no where to be found!

I do have a database backup plugin which was enabled and it was suppose to make a backup copy on a regular interval. When I checked for the backups they were not where they were suppose to be. I generally do get backup of my database to my email address but getting backup regularly is a pain in the butt as it piles up pretty fast and takes away a big chunk of my mailbox space. I turned that feature off so that I do not get emails with my database backup but I allowed the plugin to make backups on my server regardless.

Soon, I realized some data from the WordPress options tables were also missing which used to keep track of the plugin’s schedule backup timetable and other relevant data. That actually caused my plugins not to activate the backup operations. Talk about bad luck. I also figured all the images that I uploaded with my posts are also un-linked. In other words, images are there on my server but my posts could not trace them as the records for images location has been deleted. It was a nightmare.

What Did I Do?

I called my hosting provider (1and1 Ionos) right away and spoke with a customer support rep. who could not give me a satisfactory answer to some of my questions. What happened to my site and who deleted all these records? How in the world these records could have been missing when the site was absolutely fine even the night prior? Instead of responding to my answer he started repeating that I may have deleted those records mistakenly! I started to wonder if that guy was high on something. In any case, he assured me saying that their system keeps backup of databases for seven days and they can restore my database. However, that would cost me $70 fee and it would take 24 hours to complete the whole operations. I agreed to their offer and they sent me an order confirmation email.

Well over a day later there were no change to my site. I called them up once again and they started to come up with an excuse that are still working on it and it might take another 24 hours. I gave them what they are asking for, precious time. I called them up once again after 48 hours. This time they were saying, they couldn’t restore the database thus they escalated the issue for system admin and would take more time. On fourth day, when I saw there were no progress with this issue, I called them up one more time. This time I was able to talk to a system admin who told me that they could not find any backup of my database! can you imagine? This time I was damn furious. Realizing that I got no more hope left, I gave up on them and started to search my backup hard drives for potential copy. I found none! I moved on and I thought this is it. This is how my blogging inspiration ends.

How I got my Data Back?

On fifth day (October 24th), right after finishing my daily prayers something went through my head. I was like, Google may have a cached copy of my posts as I knew that Google caches webpages. As I submitted my sitemap to Google, chances were pretty high. I downloaded the sitemap from Google that has the all the links of my posts ordered by date. I went one by one and found almost 80% of my records that were missing. Unfortunately some contents were not cached which I searched through Bing search engine. Yes, I submitted my sitemap to Bing as well. Finally I was able to recover all of my posts that were missing. So, a big thank goes to Google and Bing.

However, the problem didn’t end there as my image links were missing. I had all the comments on my database however since the posts were missing from the database it couldn’t be linked with the appropriate posts. I created a new database and manually added well over 400+ posts, 100+ comments and another 200+ images to my database and was able to restore everything back together. It took me well over 4 working days to wrap up everything. It was a daunting task and I would never forget this experience in my entire life.

Lessons Learned

As I learned my lesson one more time. I promised to keep my database backup on a safe location on weekly basis along with a daily backup to my email. For those who are using WordPress based sites, I would highly recommend to use WP-DBManager plugin to backup their database on regular basis. Make sure you automate the system so that your database gets backed up everyday and gets sent to your email. Trust me, you won’t regret.

Finally, I would like to apologize to everyone who visited my site during this period of time and was unable to access the contents you were looking for. One of my YouTube subscriber made a comment on this issue and it was embarrassing. Hey! I Learned my lesson, don’t let it be your experiences too and always backup your site’s database. Happy blogging everyone.

Today In History

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