It’s Nice To Know That You’re Missed When You Are Away! – More Website Issues On My gspn.tv Website

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 21, 2010

This morning, I did something I don’t typically like to do. I checked my email before I even got out of bed. Before you judge me, please let me explain why.

I use my iPhone as my alarm clock. When I went to turn off my alarm, I noticed that the badge on top of my email icon displayed an unusually high count of emails in my inbox.

It’s typical for me to receive between 40 to 100+ emails on a daily basis. However, when I went to be bed last night, there was only a single email in my inbox left for me to address this morning. I suspected that there might be an additional five or ten emails that came in overnight, but when I saw that there were nearly 70 emails in my inbox, I knew something must be wrong.

I opened up my email app on the phone to see my inbox flooded with emails with the a subject line that said something like “Site Down.” The earliest of these messages came in from my friend Geoff Gentry at 5:58am.

First off, let me say thank you to everyone who emailed me. I REALLY APPRECIATE these messages. If you notice my site is down, please free to let me know about it. I like to stay on top of these sort of issues and these emails help me document how long the site is down. It’s also nice to know that so many people value the content that we put on the site that you miss it enough when the site is down for more than fifteen minutes.

Now many of you probably already know that I had been working on a major re-design of the gspn.tv site. You may also have heard about or read my blog post of how all the sites I run on GoDaddy got hacked. Needless to say, I’ve spent an amazing number of hours in front of the computer screen. After resolving everything on Friday evening, I had thought that I might be able to hit a patch of smooth sailing with my website(s). This would be very helpful given that I’m about to leave town for a four day trip to Boston for Podcamp Boston 5.

However, when I woke up this morning and saw all those emails notifying that all my GoDaddy hosted sites were down, I realized that my time working on the website(s) has not come to the temporary conclusion that I had hoped for. I immediately sent an email to [email protected] and notified them of the issue. Folks, this is extremely important so that you can get an Incident Number that everything can be tracked under before calling their phone support. I found that if I talk to phone support without having an incident number, those conversations are almost as if they never took place.

After I received the email with my incident number, I contacted GoDaddy phone support and was able to get immediately escalated to the top tier of support and they told me that they would notify me when my site is back up.

About an hour or so later, my sites were back online. However, I noticed that I was getting all sorts of errors like these:

By this time, I had to begin a full day of consulting work. I am so very thankful for the consulting clients that I work with! My consulting schedule was booked full from 10 am this morning all the way through 5:30pm this evening. After my last consulting call, I noticed that I had received an email from GoDaddy that says….

It appears that your FTP password for gspn.tv was compromised. This has allowed an attacker to upload malicious content. We have removed the malicious content by restoring your website content to 9/19. We respectfully request, at your earliest convenience, that you update your Hosting Account password. If you have any databases, we recommend changing those passwords (and update the database connection strings) as well.

So guess what I’m doing tonight? That’s right, I’m going to spend an hour or so changing passwords. Oh the joy of running an online business!

Seriously though, this stuff can become quite overwhelming at times. However, everything seems to be back up and running now. I’ve already changed a few critical passwords. I was thankful to see GoDaddy take such quick actions to resolve my issues. This is the fastest that they’ve ever responded.

One final thought. So you hear me talk about BlueHost all the time right? You might be asking yourself how I can be having all these issues with GoDaddy if I use and promote BlueHost. The answer to this is that both PodcastAnswerMan.com & VirtualAssistantPodcast.com are hosted on my BlueHost hosting account. However, I still have a LOT of WordPress installations and other various sites running on a GoDaddy.com hosting account that I’ve had for the past four years. I have a strong desire to move everything over to my BlueHost account eventually. It’s just that this project would take as much as 10 to 15 hours to complete. If I continue to run into issues with my GoDaddy hosting account, I’ll simply have to make this a weekend project in the near future.

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  • Glad I could help

  • I’m thankful that others take interest in what’s happening in my own journey! Thanks for the comment!

  • Chuck

    If you do move everything to BlueHost, I hope you have better luck than others. I’m a former customer and have friends who are current customers…and they routinely oversell their server resources. One friend just mentioned to me several outages with them last week alone. My comments aren’t intended to bash them…I had a couple years’ personal experience with them. They’re not horrible by any means, but they are a budget host…and that can be risky for higher-traffic or server-intensive sites (especially the MySQL databases that hold WordPress data). Personally, I have hosting accounts with 4 different companies (for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I have close to 50 sites)….3 are shared hosts and 1 VPS for really critical stuff. I’ve had good luck with Hostgator as an affordable shared host (about a year’s worth of exprerience with them so far…and I had heard some horror stories with them before I tried them out…so you never really know), but my most important sites are hosted at Acenet (ace-host.net). It’s about 15 bucks a month…but I’ve got sites that get up to 40K visitors a day at certain times of the year (virtually all of those folks downloading media files while they are there), and they handle that traffic without even blinking. I’ve never been aware of any downtime with them. And that’s a shared hosting account….well worth the extra cost to me. Just a word to the wise.

  • Chuck, Thanks for the feedback. I’ve been working with a large number of clients who have all sorts of web hosting providers. Shared hosting is obviously more prone to outages from time to time. Podcast Answer Man, here , is on Blue Host. This site has been down a few times in the past 45 days. Never more than 10 mins. They recently did some upgrades that didn’t take as well as they hoped. They are on top of things over there though.

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff as always. It was nice to go on the journey with you to prepare myself for future situations like this. Sorry it happened but thanks for sharing your journey with us. It helps.

  • Thanks for the comment Andy. Glad to be on the journey with awesome people like yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Again, sorry for your trouble, hope you have something like Lastpass or 1password, generating really strong passwords for you, now don’t forget to get some sleep.

  • Thanks Kim. I don’t use any of those services yet. Though, as an update, while GoDaddy may have said that it was someone who hacked my password, the reality is that this was a second attack on MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS on GoDaddy since Friday. So it’s not that they got my password, they are really getting in some other way.

    For fear that my password may have been compromised, I’ve gone ahead and changed them though. I may investigate this One Password deal though.

    We’ll see.. Do you use it?

  • Yes, I do use 1password, I have also used Lastpass both are good options , although 1password cost more, I prefer it because it’s a stand alone applications that can be used to generate an store both online and offline passwords, plus other personal information. It is Mac only, has an extension for both Safari and Firefox, there is one for Chrome, but it’s in early beta and can be a little wonky at times. I recommend taking a look at both of them, again sorry for your troubles

  • Glad I could help. Just glad it wasn't a direct attack on us this time.

  • I always appreciate your help Geoff. If people in the community only knew how much you do behind the scenes to keep that forum running smoothly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Carnellm

    Every time you post something like this I got check all my accounts and my client's accounts. I appreciate your letting us all know.

  • Maybe one of these days, I’ll end up using something like this. Thanks for the info.

  • I had serious doubts that someone used my password to do anything. You are right, it was a standard email and this 2nd attack was not limited to me and my hosting account.

  • I had serious doubts that someone used my password to do anything. You are right, it was a standard email and this 2nd attack was not limited to me and my hosting account.

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