Firstly apologies if you tried to click a link in my recent Friday newsletter and it didn’t work. My hosting company lost a server in the afternoon/evening of Friday 13th January (spooky music noise). And, at the time of writing, I am still waiting for it to be fully restored to me some nine days later. You will be able to see my website and this blog post online, but I have no access to plug-ins which means no SEO and no photos in each blog post and various other tedious compromises.
Here are my observations from my time without a website.
I can’t remember what I was going to do to my website on the Friday afternoon/evening, but I attempted to log in and discovered – yikes, no website.
I checked my automatic backups had worked. They had. But only up to and including 11th January. Oops. That might mean some of my work on my site on Thursday and Friday would be lost. Let’s wait and see.
In the event, it was all lost. The five blog posts I had written in advance to publish each day of the following week, and the last three I had published in the previous week too. Happily, thanks to the fairly new arrival in my life of the Facebook Note, where I had duplicated all eight posts, they are only lost in the back end of my website, not forever. I just had to re-create them, bit of a faff but eminently do-able.
My panic was reduced mahoosively by the fact that email was not affected. And that meant that people could email me and tell me my website wasn’t working and that they’d tried and failed to click things in the newsletter etc. I felt reasonably calm about this. I knew already. We could communicate about it via email and messages on Facebook. I could continue to look after my clients, I just couldn’t market for any new ones. Not the END of the world, except for the fact that my website is my lifeline as it is my livelihood!
I was reasonably calm too because it wasn’t just me. And I felt for the techies who would have to work flat out all weekend to restore however many gazillions of websites on that same server, all of whom would be shouting at them via Live Chat, email Support and telephone, and the majority of whom would be worth a lot more to their business than me at just $14.95 pcm and who had probably also lost emails too.
However, my composure dipped a tad when Monday morning came around, and Tuesday too, and still no restore for moi. I had Live Chatted with them once or twice until they switched me off from that functionality, unable to answer my requests which were mainly “When?” and increasingly embarrassed by that I assumed. Live Chats would just tail off…. frustratingly… with me going…hello? Hello? HELLO?
Email support is too slow so I even phoned the USA once or twice. Signs on Tuesday were better, half the battle was won, I was told. And on Wednesday I woke up to two emails from them, one to say that my website was back online and the second to issue me with an invoice for February. I might not have sent that second one that day, given what had just occurred. Very unfortunate timing which I can see getting up the noses of quite a lot of their clients, possibly even my own now that I think about it. Timing is everything. Well it is the second thing in my list of everything, full restoration being the first.
There is the suggestion of whether or not this 5-day loss (and counting) is a sacking offence. And indeed it may be in due course. But first off, I need to regain full functionality, a pre-requisite to transfer. Which, as yet, I have not.
None of the plug-ins worked this morning so they reinstated them, but I had to activate them all individually. And as I set about that, my site disappeared once more and Support went quiet on me again too. Current status is an email from them dated Friday 20th January (a whole week later) asking for “some time” for them to get back to me on the fix. I wonder how long is their definition of some time?
So, what did I lose?
Some credibility in regard to those who read that week’s newsletter and were unable to click through to what I intended. Perhaps some revenue, who knows?
A small modicum of peace of mind, a bit like a tiny itch you cannot quite scratch.
The ability to blog and send out a FB Note if it had a link in it.
What did I gain?
An awareness and a new appreciation of myself as a woman who can live with stuff like this without losing her equilibrium and an all-too-recent memory of being that other woman.
Time to think about a few of things I often ponder:
1. If I were starting again, now, in 2017, would I have a website?
2. What is the future of the business I use my website for?
3. Is there a better way to achieve what my website does?
4. When I no longer need to work, what will I do with my website? Take it offline completely? Bring down the maintenance curtain while I make up my mind?
I’ve pondered. I didn’t say I had answers. Yet.
And did I manifest it?
I don’t like to think of myself as powerful enough to bring down the server on which my website is hosted, but I am often aware how frequently the void shows up in my life before I know why. I have a sneaky feeling I manifested this, and I can’t shake it. I really must be more careful what I wish for, we all must.
I’ve no idea what the end of this story will be, or when. Good practise at living with uncertainty, the very definition of enlightened self-employment and business ownership and what my clients want to talk to me about ALL THE TIME. Great. Help with resonance, if any should be needed which I don’t think it was but I am grateful for that all the same.
They told me Friday 13th was Goddess Day! At times in the last unintentional week offline I suspect I might have muttered the odd very un-goddess like expression. Blissfully, I don’t think I said or wrote them to anyone at the hosting company though the time may be coming for a bit of that.
What Did I Do Instead With All My Free Time?
I went to the movies!
I ticked off four films in my Oscars 2017 prep series, including Manchester by the Sea (heartbreakingly wonderful) and La La Land (I’m still a bit meh about this, reserving judgement for now).
I adored two quieter films about which you will hear me waxing lyrical at the end of next week’s podcast, episode 115. And they are Loving, about the inter-racial marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving, the true story of the couple whose illegal marriage became the landmark case which changed all that in the USA in 1967 (as recently as that, yes!).
And Hidden Figures, about a posse of fabulous brainy black women who worked at NASA in the same era and who were vital parts of the team who got the first American into space at a time when they weren’t even allowed to share coffee pots, canteens, toilets or water fountains with the other all-white and mostly all-male workers. Don’t start me.
What Hidden Figures made me realise was that if I ever thought I had it hard as a woman in my career, I can think again. One of the women was the first to become a black female engineer and had to go to court to get legal permission to study at her local college (and even then only under cover of darkness). One of them had a brain the size of Stephen Hawking or John Nash, with lots of wonderful calculations done in chalk on a blackboard so big she needed a ladder to use it (she was my fave). And the third had to go into a library she was forbidden to use and steal a book about computer programming language Fortran so that NASA could use the IBM computer (the size of a football field) that they had bought but no-one else appeared to know how to install, let alone use. I suspect Hollywood may have taken some liberties, but even so.
Both of these stories, which happened in my lifetime albeit when I was a young teenager, serve to remind me that the least of my problems, the least of anyone’s problems, is a week without a website.
PS Forgot to say – Hidden Figures? Kevin Costner’s in it and the music is by Pharrell. And if this trailer doesn’t make you want to see it, I don’t know what will.
PPS At the time of publication of this blog post, my website is fully restored. Thank you for your patience.