should I be paying for this?

10 replies
We got hacked. Twice in two days.
We decided after all other fixes were failing that we were going to reset the website. My webmaster said the last backup was two weeks ago so I wouldn't lose much and I should save my most recent blog entries.

SO I saved the last two entries and said "okay go reset it"

it turns out the website was NEVER backed up. It was the way it was when they first put it up! I lost A LOT and have spent the last few days putting things back, but they didn't teach me to do everything and they're on vacation so I can't put everything back right away. Meanwhile I've had the most web traffic I've ever had because of a blog post I did right before the attack that got shared EVERYWHERE and stuff is broken all over the site.

We paid my webmaster for hosting as well - he has some server company that he works with and he recommended we pay him to have it hosted. The price was reasonable.

here's the deal with my webmaster - I don't pay them regularly. I paid them once and training for updating my own website was included. they did not finish training yet and my website needed a few extra tweaks and things added and I was waiting for that. My new site that they built is a few months old, but we've had a site there for a few years.

He says the work he has had to do is above and beyond what he would expect to be doing to put my website back together and he and his partner would have to put at least 10 hours to rebuild the site. He said he would really appreciate it if I could pitch him something extra to work on this.

I told him my website really should have been backed up and he said "yeahh.. well... I guess we should have taught you to do that... We're not actually responsible for backing up sites and thats not something we do."

Yes I'm angry.

Should I pay him to fix my website? I don't want to be a terrible person, but I don't think I should be held financially responsible when the hosting company he wanted me to use through him wasn't as secure as it should be and he didn't back up my site or teach me to back it up.

Whats the right thing for me to do in this situation?
  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    Originally Posted by sharkey View Post

    Whats the right thing for me to do in this situation?
    Get rid of him asap. NEVER trust your business to someone else.

    Get the log-in details for your site.

    If it's a Wordpress site, go to tools/export and save the database to your own computer. Look to see which theme is being used.

    Then get a hosting account that does regular backups. I have two hosts. One is Hostgator who do backups, but I don't know how often. Another is a UK host who I pay to do either daily or weekly (depending on the site and the account it's on) off-site backups. Their off-site backups work. I've crashed a couple of sites - one email to support and they were back within minutes.

    If your old designer is willing to transfer the site, ask him/her to do it. If not, install Wordpress yourself, import the database you exported before, install the theme (or get someone to do it all for you) and make sure that you personally export that database regularly. You can install a plug-in to email it to you daily.

    If it isn't a wordpress site, then I'm sure that a similar procedure would apply if it has a blog associated with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sharkey
      Oh maybe I should clarify - I have admin access, I just don't know how to do everything that I need to do yet. I know how to do most things on there.

      it's wordpress. custom theme - custom everything. My site is still not put back together 100%. I've done everything I know how to do but there's stuff missing.

      because it was a custom theme/template I have no idea how to edit some of the html to change some stuff around and little fixes they did earlier, and I have no idea which widgets are missing (seems to be a few) that they installed for me.

      I definitely need them to at least put it back since I can't do it, or I'd have to pay someone else to do it :confused:

      they also are working on another site for us which we paid them to do half of (other half on completion). I don't want to be out that money either by pulling my sites.
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      • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
        Originally Posted by sharkey View Post

        I don't want to be out that money either by pulling my sites.
        I'm afraid the saying "throwing good money after bad" comes to mind.

        Good luck with whatever approach you decide on.
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  • Profile picture of the author spycraft
    I am not sure whether you have an option... I was in a similar situation and decided to pay up instead of having to transfer AGAIN...
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    • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
      Oh, I feel your pain! I went through a similar situation.

      I've been in your shoes and know how painful it is. You might consider talking to someone at Smart Women Team is a virtual services company put together by my millionaire mentor Sheri McConnell, CEO of the Smart Woman's Institute (and former CEO of the National Association of Women Writers).

      I'm not an affiliate and have no vested interest in your decision. As I mentioned, Sheri is my mentor and I've been tremendously impressed by everything she does.

      I haven't used them yet, but next time I need work done, that's where I'm going. Sheri is a savvy business lady and her sites are always well-designed. She emphasizes good design AND speed because she knows that if your site's not up or not working, you're losing money.

      Smart Women Team charges by the hour or project, depending on what's needed and you can talk to someone before making any commitments.

      I'd at least talk to them. They're professional and a TEAM -- a firm of designers, not a 1-man/woman shop.

      Personally, I am DONE with 1-person wannabe hobbyist designers -- including Warriors! I'm not dabbling in IM anymore; this is a serious business. Previous designers have cost me a lot of money AND time (think 4+ months!), which is totally unacceptable in the "real" business world. My design fiasco seriously set back the launch of my entire business.

      As someone else mentioned, DON'T pay them another dime. It is throwing good money after bad, although it's hard to resist the temptation because you just want the site up!

      For my two current sites, I went through THREE designers (one a Warrior), none of whom did a good job. The first two designers (including the Warrior) just didn't do good design work, period.

      The last designer (who I hired because my millionaire mentor recommended her), did a GREAT job with the design, but she didn't finish it and left me high and dry. (She was incommunicado for THREE WEEKS! Initially, it because there was a bad storm in her town which took out the power and Internet/phone service for a while. But when she came back online, she refused to respond to me.) As we all know, if your website's not working or online, you're out of business, period!

      I was LIVID, but since I'm not a designer/techie person, I really felt held hostage.

      Fortunately, the design portion was done and Warriors here helped walk me through the rest of it.

      Maybe a couple of knowledgeable Warriors here will help you. Since it's Wordpress, you might consider contacting Istvan to help you. (Just type his name in the search bar to find him.) He might be willing to offer some direction.

      "You can't market here. This is a marketing discussion forum!"
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        It sounds like this webmaster has been working with you to help over and above designing the website. You should always be backing up your blogs and sites - that's common advice and it's not his responsibility unless it was in the agreement. If he were on a monthly retainer - it would be his ob to do it...but he's not.

        I expect he assumed hosting (is this a reseller acct he has?) was backing up the site - and then learned otherwise. Is this his own server or did he recommend a hosting company to you?

        In the end, it's your site. If you paid for site design and hosting - those are outsourcing fees. Only if you are paying for ongoing service is the webmaster responsible for your site.

        To me, it sounds the like this webmaster has blurred the lines by providing extra help/advice. Sounds like he helped beyond the service you paid for and led you to depend on him more than you should. At the same time, if you are paying piecemeal you can't depend on someone else to take care of your site or be responsible for it.

        Harsh lesson - but it's a good lesson to learn.

        I could be totally off - but this is my impression with the information you provided above.

        Due to the current pandemic I will no longer be shaking hands or giving hugs. You may wave, bow to me or give me the finger...your choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author mgreener

    I think Kay's advice is great. Also, I would suggest being honest with the webmaster, voicing your concerns and working something out that is fair to both of you. Create a win-win where you are happy and he is happy.
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  • Profile picture of the author sharkey
    I appreciate the responses and advice, however conflicting

    My main problem is that I paid him for hosting (he has told us that it's not him who hosts he just interfaces with the server techs for us). He has never revealed who his hosting people were so he's my only connection to them - maybe that was a red flag, I dunno. (I did find out who they were anyway - just not through him) and neither he nor his partner told me how to back up my site, and they've been responsible for everything I know how to do. They weren't completely finished working on it either.

    this isn't a hobbyist, either - this is a small web company and websites are what they do full time. I've been very happy with them for the most part - my site looked great and major problems they fix right away. (except for this hacker issue - they're on vacation grumblegrumble)

    I know I should be responsible for backing up my site but I didn't know how to do it! to tell me after the fact that this is something they "should have taught me to do" when they were responsible for teaching me everything and then asking me for extra for it is kinda bad business I think.

    I understand they're going above and beyond (we've given them extra in the past when they've quoted us for something, and then they came back when they were working on it and said "we didn't realize XYZ we need more money to complete it" we've given them extra on a few occasions already - and this is all for things that we originally asked them to put on the site during our consultations - not extra stuff. Most recently though - the money just isn't there, and we were really clear on that with them that they're going to have to do they job for what they bid.

    I also sorta wish that they fixed my site to where it wasn't so f-ed up and then asked me to see if we could work out something extra for the future.
    And I will be moving the hosting to someplace more secure. My domain is already hosted in another place - should I move the website hosting there too or is it better to keep them in separate places?

    sorry if this is turning into a vent.

    Really, I very much appreciate the feedback!
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  • Profile picture of the author VictorDamasio
    Search for a reliable company.

    The one I use offers daily backups for free, and they mantain the files for up to 7 days!
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  • Profile picture of the author kokopelli
    Yes, change the logins and get control of your domain, website and hosting. Then move the site (and, if necessary, the domain) elsewhere.

    Also, if you do need to manually restore the site, Google and/or Bing cache may be of great help. You'll have to copy and paste, but it's better than nothing. Just be quick, before they cache the latest version of your site, and you loose your old content. (You can also check the WayBackMachine for copies: Internet Archive: Wayback Machine)

    Good luck!

    P.S. And start making site backups! If your host doesn't do it, install a plugin/script to do so, or do so via cPanel.
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