Unless you spend countless hours building up a website its hard to explain the utter panic felt when you realize your creation isn’t working properly or has disappeared altogether. This is how I felt when sitting down to work this morning and finding a blank page in place of where almost 2 years of work should have been!.
First I would like to say sorry to anybody who wanted to use this site yesterday only to find it missing and if anybody is interested in such things give a rough explanation of what happened below.
For those that don’t build websites this one is made using a content management system (or CMS for short) called WordPress.
WordPress is a wonderful tool for creating websites but as with anything throw in a certain amount of automation and somethings bound to fall apart in the end.
Before systems like WordPress came along everything had to be wrote out using old school HTML which made making a big website a very serious undertaking and something I don,t miss one bit.
Last nights downtime was caused by an automatic WordPress update, usually this isn’t a big problem and although there can be a few niggles to iron out after an update it doesn’t normally trash your website (thankfully).
The Problem with Plugins
The functionality of WordPress is extended with additional plugins which add all sorts of bells and whistles to websites but as these plugins are made by endless 3rd party programmers who don’t work for WordPress conflicts sometimes happen.
These conflicts can have mild effects like stripping out pictures, slowing website loading or as in our case denying the rest of the world access altogether.
As with anything done online we are constantly at risk of hacking and with WordPress used by just over 22% of every website on the web (source : w3techs.com), building with the WordPress CMS creates a huge double edge blade problem for the webmaster.
On one hand by using a popular CMS your backed up by a huge amount of documentation and tools that make getting a website together much easier but this wide spread use also means your more likely to be the target of numerous hacking attempts. Because everything works around one standard core across all WordPress websites if you have a vulnerability it means any WordPress site could potentially be screwed over by someone with enough knowledge, time and malice.
Even though updates can be a slightly unnerving time for us (across all our websites), on a whole they cause less problems than they cure so are viewed as a necessary evil that must be endured.
We do take regular updates of this website and can’t promise that it won’t ever happen again but as we watch our websites the way a parent watches a newborn child, they’re never broken for long 🙂
All the Best