How To Recover A Website
The worst thing for a blogger or website owner is waking up, clicking on your website and seeing that it is down.
What a headache.
There are so many things that could be wrong. But it always seems to happen at the worst times when you really do not want to deal with it. On top of that, nine out of ten times it is something within the code, files, or Cpanel that needs to be changed which requires some external help for most people.
Unfortunately, sometimes things get a little too corrupted. This could because you changed hosting providers, messed with some settings, or maybe there was an update that did not sit right with your setup. Regardless, sometimes blogs and websites can get “reset” or completely lose files.
This is horrible. Believe me because I just went through it on one of my blogs: sanfranciscotribe.com
For me, it happened because I recently migrated files from one hosting provider to another, updated my Php version, and then there was a big update that was pushed out through WordPress. I do not fully understand why, but my entire blog went down for 2 months. Yikes.
This cost me most of my traffic, a bunch of backlinks, and plenty of people contacting me asking what was going on. After I had the time (aka stopped ignoring it), I realized that I had made a mistake in ignoring it. It cost me 25 posts which is a lot considering there were only 200 posts on the blog at the time.
Therefore, I want to share my experience with you and help you understand a few things. First is how to fix this. There is an easy way and a hard way:
- The easy way – using a back up within the allotted time frame
- The hard way – using cache versions of pages with google cache or lost webpages
Lets start with the easy way on how to recover a website!
The easy way
The easy way is to simply use a back up of your website.
Website Back Ups
These are generally made every so often by your hosting provider, but I would make sure the package you bought has this feature right now. This is extremely important for several reasons. First, because if your website does go down, you can simply pull the back up version and restore all of your files and posts!
This is the ideal way to deal with your website going down clearly. The best part is the hosting provider can usually do this for you and work with you to fix the issue that caused the problem in the first place
What is a website Backup
Well in short a website backup is just the files being saved that are in your Cpanel to another location on the hosting provider’s server. You can even create copies of your files from the Cpanel and pull them onto your local machine or your C drive to keep a back up yourself.
In addition, there are many plug-ins for wordpress that will do this for you for free!
How long do Website Backups Last
The problem is that typically a hosting provider will update your website backup every 2 to 4 weeks. Some do it monthly, or some only do it when you request it. The backup lasts as long as the files are saved on their server, but once they are updated, then you lost the previous versions forever.
This is what happened to me.
I waited a month to try and fix my site, and when they updated their backup files to my “corrupted” version of my website, my blog posts and everythimg I had done for the past few months was gone.
Therefore, timing is very important in fixing a website. You need to fix it the moment you see it is down or risk losing most of your work.
The Hard way
Now that we’ve discussed the easy way, lets look at the hard way to restore a website.
In short, the hard way is by restoring your website page by page. This might seem easy if you have a small site with only a few pages, but if you write hundreds of posts and you have tons of content on each post it could take a while.
Luckily, I only lost 40-50 blog posts when my site initially went down. After realizing the back up was corrupted as well, I turned to a plug in to do the next best thing. Scrap the Google Cache for my pages previous versions of themselves to get the content on each page. The process is quite simple:
- You are going to want to download this plug in which will allow you to right click on things and pull up their Google cache
- Once you pull up the Google cache, two things will happen. Either there will be an error page, or there will be a txt version of the page available from a month to a few months ago.
- If you get a txt version, then you can simply highlight the content and text, and post it onto a word document. Then simply report the page later.
- I did this for 23 pages or blog posts in my case and saved 23 posts which was about 50,000 words of content!
I know this still sounds like a lose, but from losing 40 posts to only losing 17, I was very happy. Not to mention each post takes 1-3 hours to complete, it is time well spent saving those posts.
You might be wondering though, why would Google only have Cache for certain pages on your blog and not others?
Well, the answer is those other pages did not rank well. So much so that Google basically did not have versions of them cached. That basically means, they were not ranking anyways and in losing them, my blog is not suffering at all. I ended up saving the pages that were ranking which means that my blog is still healthy and thriving once again!
One of the other services you can use on the web is called the Web Archive. Although, this did not work for me and it might not work for you. I think your website needs to be sufficiently popular, of a certain age, or simply added manually to the archive. Either way, it is worth a shot!
The Last Alternative
If all else fails you might want to resort to your local drive.
If you are like me, then you might occasionally save your posts on word or somewhere in text files during editing. I saved a few and this actually helped me recover a couple of them. While this is not ideal and certainly will not work for everyone, it is something to consider and look for.
Regardless, losing your webpages or blog posts is incredibly frustrating. Overall, I suggest being preventive in the first place.
Recover a Website
Thanks for reading our post on how to recover a website. I know these are not full-proof methods, but they are a start.
At the end of the day just remember that a website is nothing more than files being hosted. Make sure to protect your files, protect your investment, and protect your website! Be preventive by:
- Make backups on your hosting provider, and locally
- Constantly update your website and check for site health
- Be quick when errors do pop up
- Try not to move hosting providers or get professional help to do so
- Use a plugin to help make back ups as well
With these tips, you should survive owning and maintaining a website!