Welcome to AppleTalk, Uh, Again


You’re probably wondering what happened to the AppleTalk blog over the weekend, seeing as it looks a little bare right now. I would be too, except I’m way too tired from watching the World Cup and the ESL One Dota 2 league to play the what-if game, so here it is.

Over the weekend the AppleTalk website suffered a small outage. After restarting the instance, we discovered that while the forums were fine, our WordPress install was completely hosed. Totally gone, back-to-the-WordPress-install-page wiped, and with it, our posts and content from the last two months, not to mention our theme customisations (which is why this might look a little different right now, different fonts and so on) and any other blog setup we had done.

As far as we can tell, it’s because our machine was power cycled by our hosting company, which resulted in something similar to what happens when you just pull the plug instead of shutting your machine down the proper way; nothing saved, everything lost.

Now, all of this wouldn’t have been so bad if we had backups. But as it turns out, we didn’t — at least, not any usable ones. I have personal backups of everything I’ve written for this very contingency, but nothing that lets me get the stuff back into WordPress without a lot of manual work. The many-faceted aspect of WordPress makes it difficult to restore everything in one hit, although there are solutions for that.

Needless to say, we’re pretty embarrassed about this. As guys who consider themselves pretty computer-savvy, you can almost feel the egg on our faces as we have to tell people “we didn’t have backups”. It’s the worst possible scenario.

In our original “welcome to AppleTalk” post, which I can’t even link to right now because it doesn’t exist, I said we’d be the masters of our own fates, to triumph and be successful as much as we’d make, and be held accountable for, our own mistakes. The situation we now find ourselves in falls squarely into the latter category, and I accept full responsibility for what happened.

Over the next few days, we’ll be restoring content to the blog, putting it back together piece by piece. You’ll have to forgive me if your RSS reader starts spewing out older articles, as we’ll be republishing two months’ worth of content.

So, lessons learned: backup. Test your backups. Then backup again. Make sure you have some kind of backup strategy in place for your own stuff, whether that be a local Time Machine, a nightly SuperDuper! clone of your hard drive, or even a CrashPlan backup to an offsite location.

If you want to commiserate or bathe in my tears, drop me a line below in the forums. Which are still working, by some miracle.

Sad iPod by Flickr user Mudge. CC by NC.

Notable Replies

  1. It happens!

  2. Hmm. Looks as though re-publishing all the old content wants to re-create topics (for comments) in the forums. I’m considering just re-publishing the features/reviews first, and then seeing if we really need the news posts…

  3. It happens, a shame when it does but it does, I recently deleted the entirety of my Wordpress database thinking it was the test one and not the primary one.

    Does the webhost have a database backup that you can restore the Wordpress posts table from? Most webhosts have them if you ask really really nicely (at least the Aussie ones I’ve used).

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