I’m going to take a slight foray out of stationery today for a blogger’s cautionary tale…

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When it came time to renew my web hosting last year I had thought ‘there must be a better/cheaper way of doing this’ – I was using GoDaddy and their WordPress web hosting package. I made a vague mental note to research this and decided to only buy another month’s worth in the meantime. Then I moved house. Then I got married. Then I went on my honeymoon. And various other excuses… I just kept renewing it month by month. I’ve recently started a new (much more stressful) role at work and little life/blog admin jobs that I used to be able to do throughout the working day, like reading emails and quickly renewing things when necessary have gone out of the window… I recently found myself with over 400 unanswered emails in my blog/personal inboxes and that is seriously unlike me. So, along with lots of other things, my GoDaddy notice to renew went unnoticed a couple of weeks ago. They then sent me a reminder last week – although nothing that made it clear what the consequences of not renewing were – and given that nothing had come of me not paying it yet, I just made a note to make sure I pay it by the end of the week.

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And then on Thursday evening I noticed my stats were down that day and checked my site. It wasn’t there… Just an error message. The colour then drained from my face and I realised that this was because I hadn’t paid my hosting. What an idiot!

After some panicking and googling, my husband convinced me to call GoDaddy directly rather than trying to fix it myself (which was obviously impossible but I wasn’t in my right mind!).

So here are some lessons I have learned about the whole thing, which will hopefully help you to never make the same mistake:

  1. They WILL delete your website
    Yeah, so, without warning – none explicit enough for this non-techie blogger to register anyway – delete everything. And then they will charge you (a pretty hefty fine) to get it back from their servers.
  1. It really is gone and they can’t necessarily get it back
    After paying said fine, they assured me that it would be back up within a few hours. By this point it was midnight so I was expecting to wake up first thing and it all be back up and running. It wasn’t. Cue another call to GoDaddy and I was assured again that it was in “the queue” and would be back up shortly. A couple of hours later it was, HOWEVER, the last post showing was 11th January, both on the live version and on the admin pages. Just a mistake I thought… An hour or so back on the phone to GoDaddy and they claim that it has been restored as of the previous day, despite me explaining that that simply wasn’t true and I had been updating content about twice a week since then. But that’s all they had and no amount of arguing from me could bring the last 2 months back. Great.
  1. People of the internet are wonderful
    When this happened I tweeted. Not asking for help, just to explain to anyone who looked on my website and wondered why it was like visiting the past, or who found any broken links anywhere, and asking them to bear with me.

    What I wasn’t expecting was for so many people to be lovely and say they felt my pain, or even offer to help! One amazing person explained to me that there are archived/cached versions of most of the pages still knocking around on the Internet that I could copy these and republish them. He even followed up with emails and found me everything he could. How incredible is that?! Just an Internet stranger being brilliant and helpful, asking for nothing in return. The Internet really can be a wonderful place.

  2. Back the hell up. Seriously. 
    I’m always someone who puts off backing up and even though I had a plugin which allows me to manually back up to dropbox, I hadn’t done this in ages so this was no help. So, stop what you’re doing now. Back up your blog, back up your computer. Just do it. You’re welcome. 

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As bloggers we’re expected to be jacks of all trade, to have mastered all aspects of running a company – website building, photography, content writing, branding, accounts, styling etc. etc. – when we’re pretty much all starting from scratch. For me, the website is the aspect I understand least, to my detriment. My husband designed it and roped a lovely friend into building it for me and sorting out my hosting so apart from the odd tweak in design or the most basic level of coding, I really don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m learning. And this has been QUITE the lesson.

I managed to get all the (SIXTEEN) lost posts back up over the weekend, which is such a relief, but my goodness I am NEVER doing that again!

I hope this serves as a lesson to you all, not just in web hosting but also in not putting stuff off!