So, last Thursday (about noon) I get a phone call that basically went like this….”HELLLLPPPPP!”
But first some background. Not too long after I had started using WordPress, a friend of mine called and asked if I knew anything about WordPress. I told him that “honestly” I just got started and was learning as I went along. He wanted to setup a website for work and needed help.
So, we met in his office, registered a domain name, chose a hosting company, setup an account and did a WordPress install.
So far so good, right?
I went over some of the things I knew about, setting up different pages like home, contact, about, etc. Oh, I forgot to mention that all he needed were static pages, no blog or post (his choice, not mine).
Now, rest assured that I showed him security and backup plugins both paid and free. We installed a few plugins that he wanted and I left him to his own devices.
I would check in periodically and ask how he was doing with his state, no problems, until…..
I asked him what the problem was and he said he could not get the website to come up. Sure enough, I go to the site and get a server error. I had a user account on his site for emergency purposes (never used) and tried to login, nada.
We decided to get together and try to do a chat with the hosting company. After a few minutes of waiting we found out that PHP was out of memory. Now, I had never heard of this but the the hosting company chat guy said he could fix it. OK then let’s go for it.
After a few minutes we try the site again and…….WOW! I really don’t want to say what was coming up (not porn). Not the website but advertisements for commerce. Asked more questions to my friend and finally found out that, before he called me, he had logged into his hosting account and “maybe” had overwritten the original site.
I got his permission to start digging around and try to find out what he had done. My question about backups was about what I expected, none.
I started doing some searches and found a fairly recent “copy” on the internet archive wayback machine. Please remember that my friend had a site with a handful of static pages. The only thing that changed was the addition of board meeting minutes once a month.
Using the wayback machine, I was able to first, create the pages on the website and then (for the most part) copy and paste the content. I first copied and pasted to Notepad and then into the website. There are some links that my friend is going to supply and that should be about it.
A few hours of panic, lesson learned and a BACKUP created after we were done.
AND a lesson learned for me also, just don’t assume that a friend is doing well with a website. Check in once in a while and offer to help.