So we’re back, and not a moment too soon. A little explanation as to what happened…

On Monday afternoon, I clicked the link to Land of Whimsy only to get an error message telling me the site could not be found. No problem, I thought. Outages, while a rare occurrence, aren’t completely unheard of. So I waited patiently, refreshing every now and then over the next couple of hours, but no dice. Then I discovered that my two other sites — the Movie Matters Podcast and my author site, were also MIA. The common denominator: all of them were hosted by my provider of choice for the last decade, LDHosting.

A quick Google search turned up this discussion, and my heart sank. Unbeknownst to me, other users had been having problems with the normally reliable LDHosting for several months, with sites remaining offline and communication from the host non-existent. It seemed the writing had been on the wall for some time, but, ignorance being bliss, I’d carried on regardless, happily beavering away at my various sites and failing to create regular backups.

And then, in a puff of smoke, the whole lot disappeared without a trace.

Artist's rendition of what happened

Artist’s rendition of what happened

Once the feelings of blind panic subsided, I set about rebuilding my sites. Mercifully, my domain names are all registered with a third party, meaning they hadn’t disappeared into the ether along with all my data. The author website, a very basic affair, was a doddle to reupload to a new host, but Land of Whimsy and Movie Matters were another matter entirely. Both use the Movable Type content management system, meaning that simply uploading a bunch of HTML files to a new location wasn’t going to cut it: I needed to restore the extensive databases for both sites that controlled the layouts, blog entries and various custom doohickeys (such as paginated archives) in order to get either site functioning again.

Fortunately, while I hadn’t been nearly as rigorous in keeping backups as I should have been (lesson well and truly learned), I did have backups for both sites — one dating back to May 2018 for Land of Whimsy, one from October 2017 for Movie Matters. I’ve now completed the restoration of Land of Whimsy, in its new home at 1&1 and have recreated, as best as possible, the half-dozen or so entries that hadn’t been backed up. Actually getting things up and running proved to be considerably trickier than I’d been hoping, thanks to older versions of Movable Type not being compatible with modern versions of Perl, and archives created from older versions of Movable Type not being compatible with modern versions. The site is, however, now up and running once again, in more or less the same state as it was before The Bad Thing, following a nerve-wracking twenty-four hours during which it seemed as if nothing I tried worked, and much of which I spent telling myself I was going to have to just write off nearly a decade’s worth of material, including a whole lot of accumulated knowledge not available anywhere else. And I’m now running the most up to date version of Movable Type, having always resisted upgrading for fear that everything would go pear-shaped. Nothing like a crisis to force you to bite the bullet!

Hopefully everything is now working as it should be, though I haven’t had time to poke into every single nook and cranny of the site, so it’s entirely possible that there are things I’ve overlooked (missing images being the most likely problem). If you spot anything that looks amiss, let me know.

Movie Matters, meanwhile, will have to wait till another day…