I’ve been seeing messages at Facebook that people’s websites are down because GoDaddy’s server got hacked. There’s an article here about it.
This is a worry, obviously, to anyone who has their sites hosted there. But then it doesn’t really matter where our sites are hosted, are they truly safe? For as long as the hackers don’t have their sights set on your host, your site will remain up.
Something that is really important for anyone who owns a website is to make sure your site is backed up and you have copy of the backup or can get it reasonably quickly. It is worth checking with your host to make sure you can get backups. If, for example, GoDaddy was unable to get the sites back up in reasonable time (and I would say anything longer then 24-48 hours will have everyone very edgy) then it’s safe to assume people might want to move to another hosting service. You can only do that if you have access to your domain name to get it re-pointed and the back up files for the site. But it’s not just the website – if you are using email for that site, then the email will be down for a period of time too.
Important that you have backup plans of your own.
Several years ago my own site got hacked. Defaced with disgusting words plastered across the home page. I was being hosted by a local business on St Kilda Road in Melbourne. When I contacted the web host to find out what was going on, it turned out a disgruntled former employee (only recently sacked) had gotten into the system and defaced client websites. Now, you have to wonder why that company wasn’t changing their passwords when employees left their employ. Or have a different password per employee and shut that account off when they left? But then it was still very early days in the internet and these things were not commonly heard of. It was then and there I decided to find a service that I could trust, as much as possible. After doing some research I found a service in Perth and settled in with them. Then I began to bring several clients to them too, and Andrew, the owner ended up setting me up as a hosting provider with his service so that I could set up my own clients with a hosting service and I only get Andrew involved if there’s back end stuff I cannot do. As the years passed I bought into another hosting service based in the US so that I would always have two services available to me and to my clients and I have two main email addresses I use, one with each server, so if one goes down I still have the other available.
While this might prove to be an overkill for the majority of small businesses, I’ve found it to be effective for the various hats I wear and things I do. Each server does provide back up services, but all the same, I still prefer to keep my own backups because, after all, if one of them was off the air for a period of time, how would I get my backups they have onsite?
If you own your own website, make sure you have some idea about backups. If you don’t, contact you hosting provider and ask them how their backup system works and how you can access the files if you need them.