This Question gets asked a lot - I now have MY Answer

22 replies
Here is a question I see quite often:

What would you do if you had to start all over from scratch?

Well, I am now in that boat.

I apparently had some kind of insecure area on one of my sites - no clue where - but it resulted in a nasty thing finding its way into my files and causing terrible havoc.

It basically was redirecting all of my sites to some .ru domain. The first advice I was given was to go in and change the htaccess files - but every time I did this the little nasty would go back in again and alter them - so my fix would last all of a minute.

I could have gone hunting for the issue and the open door - but I had over 35 sites total and no clue where to start looking. I was informed that the script could have gone almost anywhere.

Trying to back up my sites would not have worked as this thing could easily be saved in the files if I didn't go through every one - one by one.

I have needed to do some cleaning out - but after this I finally got fed up yesterday and decided I didn't want to deal with this bug being in anything or missing finding things.

I nuked my hosting account.

Yes, you can go in and ask the host to nuke - and they will delete every file you have and you can start all over just like it looked when you first bought the account. This can not be undone.

I can't tell you the mix of emotions I have had over this. There is sadness and grief over 4 years of experiments all wiped out. And yet at the same time there is great wisdom and anticipation of setting things up "right" this time - with great speed and feeling a million times more organized from the get go.

I had way too many blogs, dropped projects, bad affiliate links, forgotten subdomains, lol - you name it. And now I am looking at a clean slate and I feel like an artist looking at a white canvas - one that has been jesso'd over with a train wreck of a painting hiding under it.

Gosh, I even had a site I had been building for the past week (on the server) and had to wipe it. Hours and hours of work gone - but now I have a much firmer grasp on what to do from the beginning. So it is bitter-sweet.

Before I go re-installing a bazillion wordpress blogs I am actually looking into creating a multisite install.

I am very carefully re-introducing domains back in - only after spending some time to decide if I really need them and how they should be set up.

I am secretly copying someone else's successful set up. This is someone who I started looking at their organization of things and I really liked how everything was very simple and uniform. I know this person makes a lot of money too - so I'm confident in copying them.

In the beginning I would upload files to the main area with no worries - but later realized how congested things got. I have a better plan for organizing what does go on the server, as well as making more use from my s3 account as a library of my reports, videos, or products.

I know my own business model now better than when I had initially began.

Here is brief list that might help some of you - but be aware this is not the end all be all list as your business may not have some of the same requirements:
  1. Keep a written journal of my daily actions.
  2. Fully realize and plot out the intentions/purpose of each site I'm creating before adding in a new domain
  3. Assemble an area for scripts that are used server wide
  4. Fully integrate analytics into every place possible (I'm using Piwik)
  5. Control affiliate links from one control center
  6. Schedule regular backups for sites that are regularly updated
  7. Keep just one personal test site up.
  8. Keep the focus on having much fewer sites to maintain. Hehe, just because you can have 50 sites on one hosting account doesn't mean you should :p
  9. Install one help desk system to service all my sites
  10. Better management of email accounts created and forwarding to one controlled account
  11. Use appropriate disclaimers etc on all sites
That is a very brief list, but I'm certain if you are new you may see some things you have not considered when entering this wonderful world of IM.

I have to admit - when I started it was difficult for me to see the end picture. So the more of this you can envision before you start building your empire the more prepared you will be in the years to come.

If anyone has anything else to add - please do.
#answer #asked #lot #question
  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Hey Jill

    Sorry mate for the BS that happened I guess you can think of it as new relationship and its all fresh and sweet and maybe this may last longer then the 5 yrs you just had BTW if the logo intro got nuked let me know will make another for you jusy PM me OK.

    Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author Rashell
      Ah Jill,

      That sucks. But on the good side I've always found when I clear out the clutter, remove the excess and lighten the load I'm more swift, accurate and able to get more done.

      Who knows this may be a turning point of increase in revenue for your business. Hopefully, anyway.

      Rashell
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by Regional Warrior View Post

      Hey Jill

      Sorry mate for the BS that happened I guess you can think of it as new relationship and its all fresh and sweet and maybe this may last longer then the 5 yrs you just had BTW if the logo intro got nuked let me know will make another for you jusy PM me OK.

      Jason
      Thank you - that is so sweet. I think it is somewhere here on my hard drive.

      I just realized last night that there are some nice wide templates that actually use the whole backdrop for a video - and this is something I'm considering.

      I'll be spending the next few days writing up my action plan so I can schedule stuff to be back and running again.

      The help desk is at the top of the list - even more important than my primary sites at the moment.

      For those of you using Wordpress (not sure if this was the culprit as I had a lot of scripts installed) I have a couple of recommendations for plugins.

      WordPress › BulletProof Security « WordPress Plugins

      And if you should have lots of members signed up to a membership blog but who may not have jumped on your list, I was able to use this: WordPress › Subscribe2 « WordPress Plugins
      Signature

      "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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  • Profile picture of the author Anita Clark
    Good tips Jill...hopefully you figure out how the bug got in so you can permanently close the door to avoid another nuking!
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    I've got bulletproof security plugin installed and its great......
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    Nuking...Why didnt U hired one virus cleaning service...there r some good ones discussed in this forum.....just saying coz u lost all ur years of hard work...

    Thnx
    Signature

    I can convert your Non-Responsive website to Responsive website ... How sweet is that? :)

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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by dsouravs View Post

      Nuking...Why didnt U hired one virus cleaning service...there r some good ones discussed in this forum.....just saying coz u lost all ur years of hard work...

      Thnx
      They charge per site. The cost was going to be more than it was worth for me at this point in the game. Luckily I have encouraged all my past clients to create their own separate hosting accounts - which is another thing other people need to be aware of. If you are offering services that include hosting for them you need to consider adding on this type of security fee for all their sites. I know I would at this point in the game.
      Signature

      "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Jill, I feel for you. I recently did something similar with a couple of my oldest domains. No hacking, but they went through so many 'rebirths' that there was a royal mess trying to figure out what was current and what wasn't.

        Both currently have placeholder WP installs - secured as well as possible.

        One thing I am finding amusing, though. I set comments to moderate all, and I'm amazed at how insightful, amazing and life-changing people are finding that "Hello, World" post...:rolleyes::p
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  • Profile picture of the author trytolearnmore
    Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

    Here is a question I see quite often:

    What would you do if you had to start all over from scratch?

    Well, I am now in that boat.

    I apparently had some kind of insecure area on one of my sites - no clue where - but it resulted in a nasty thing finding its way into my files and causing terrible havoc.

    It basically was redirecting all of my sites to some .ru domain. The first advice I was given was to go in and change the htaccess files - but every time I did this the little nasty would go back in again and alter them - so my fix would last all of a minute.

    I could have gone hunting for the issue and the open door - but I had over 35 sites total and no clue where to start looking. I was informed that the script could have gone almost anywhere.

    Trying to back up my sites would not have worked as this thing could easily be saved in the files if I didn't go through every one - one by one.

    I have needed to do some cleaning out - but after this I finally got fed up yesterday and decided I didn't want to deal with this bug being in anything or missing finding things.

    I nuked my hosting account.

    Yes, you can go in and ask the host to nuke - and they will delete every file you have and you can start all over just like it looked when you first bought the account. This can not be undone.

    I can't tell you the mix of emotions I have had over this. There is sadness and grief over 4 years of experiments all wiped out. And yet at the same time there is great wisdom and anticipation of setting things up "right" this time - with great speed and feeling a million times more organized from the get go.

    I had way too many blogs, dropped projects, bad affiliate links, forgotten subdomains, lol - you name it. And now I am looking at a clean slate and I feel like an artist looking at a white canvas - one that has been jesso'd over with a train wreck of a painting hiding under it.

    Gosh, I even had a site I had been building for the past week (on the server) and had to wipe it. Hours and hours of work gone - but now I have a much firmer grasp on what to do from the beginning. So it is bitter-sweet.

    Before I go re-installing a bazillion wordpress blogs I am actually looking into creating a multisite install.

    I am very carefully re-introducing domains back in - only after spending some time to decide if I really need them and how they should be set up.

    I am secretly copying someone else's successful set up. This is someone who I started looking at their organization of things and I really liked how everything was very simple and uniform. I know this person makes a lot of money too - so I'm confident in copying them.

    In the beginning I would upload files to the main area with no worries - but later realized how congested things got. I have a better plan for organizing what does go on the server, as well as making more use from my s3 account as a library of my reports, videos, or products.

    I know my own business model now better than when I had initially began.

    Here is brief list that might help some of you - but be aware this is not the end all be all list as your business may not have some of the same requirements:
    1. Keep a written journal of my daily actions.
    2. Fully realize and plot out the intentions/purpose of each site I'm creating before adding in a new domain
    3. Assemble an area for scripts that are used server wide
    4. Fully integrate analytics into every place possible (I'm using Piwik)
    5. Control affiliate links from one control center
    6. Schedule regular backups for sites that are regularly updated
    7. Keep just one personal test site up.
    8. Keep the focus on having much fewer sites to maintain. Hehe, just because you can have 50 sites on one hosting account doesn't mean you should :p
    9. Install one help desk system to service all my sites
    10. Better management of email accounts created and forwarding to one controlled account
    11. Use appropriate disclaimers etc on all sites
    That is a very brief list, but I'm certain if you are new you may see some things you have not considered when entering this wonderful world of IM.

    I have to admit - when I started it was difficult for me to see the end picture. So the more of this you can envision before you start building your empire the more prepared you will be in the years to come.

    If anyone has anything else to add - please do.
    Hey Jill,

    Not a month ago i had the same problem. My website redirected me to .ru domain (a porn website). It took 6-8 hours for the Hostgator admins to clean all the malware code. Now everything works fine.

    P.S
    Great tips, by the way.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShanaRN
    Jill, sorry to hear about your "forced" spring cleaning. Thank you for the tips. I love your positive attitude in adversity.
    Signature

    Shana C. Bates, RN ND Nursepreneur

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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Jill - been there, done that, tee-shirt, yadda-yadda.

    When trying to shut that damned thing out, my tech found it had drilled so many holes that it was coming back in one at the same time you were shutting down another. Everything PHP had to be nuked - including having to contact the host and have them pull one of their own files. Even ended up having to move to a new server. I was lucky in that the HTML portion (on .com - php was on .net) was okay so all I had to build was the php portion - which happened to be the important part and over half of the site - the one with all the traffic, members, etc.

    It took awhile to decide whether to just ditch the whole thing or rebuild it. After 4 years it's just starting to get back to what it was just before it was attacked. It took 6 months just to get it rebuilt and most of the active members just went elsewhere.

    I didn't ever rebuild the one site. Just nuked it and said goodbye. Looking back, that was a mistake, but oh well. crap happens.

    I feel for you -- it is a very, very emotional experience to have something you've put your heart and soul into destroyed for no reason other than someone could do it.
    Signature

    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    What an awesome, positive attitude you have. It is very encouraging and it is people with that kind of perspective that succeed in the long run.
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    • Profile picture of the author davejames909
      Just like to re-iterate what others have said - I admire your positive outlook on this. I've had been having similar issues on a Godaddy account (continual hacking, which infected all my php files with a horrible redirect to a spam site). But as Bulletproof Security Plugin for wordpress (are you running wordpress?) has been the best thing I installed.

      It stopped all the hacking attempts and I've been free of the pain of this for months now. Just remember to install it on every site you do and you should be cool.
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      oh Jill, I'm so sorry this happened to you.

      If something like this ever happens again, please contact me. I've been cleaning out a couple of warriors' hacked WordPress sites lately as it seems to happen a lot especially to those of you who forget to upgrade WordPress core files or plugins because you're busy with other things, like marketing

      The plugin called Secure WordPress is a great one to use because it hides the version of WordPress you're using and it also places a blank index file in the plugin directory so that prevents people from seeing what plugins you have installed. I highly recommend it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Sorry to hear that. Your host didn't have backups of your sites? What hosting company were you using?
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    Wow. That is pretty bold of you to do. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Fereday
    Sad that happened to you - so sorry. But you've got a great attitude and since it's time to start all over that's exactly what you're doing - good for you! And thanks for all the advice...I for one will take it! All the Best!
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  • Profile picture of the author nrupen
    I was always aware this may happen to everyone therefore I always keep everything related to my online business in pretty sorted manner.

    I am an Amazon Affiliate (I also target few digital products but 90% of my income comes from Amazon), and here's how I maintain details about my websites so that if anyhow I suffer above problem I'll never have to start from scratch

    - I have a folder name My Sites on my hard disk on which I create New Project Folder whenever I start new project. Later this name turns into name of domain that I'll buy to continue this project.
    - The project folder then contains three documents files
    - 1st is project detail: In this folder I write about my details about my market research work, backlinking strategy, users I have created on that website, amount on money spent each month, amount of money made each month
    -2nd is URL Guide : Keeps Post name and URL
    -3rd is Change Log : What changes I have made so far to keep everything running fine

    Apart from above text file I make Folder name HOME PAGE, PAGES and other folders named Product-1, Product2 --- Product-n.
    - Each of these folders contains files that save my research work for Product,
    - Post published on website along with URL
    - A folder named backlink
    - A folder named video and URLs of all sites where they where published

    My Backlink Folder Contains Several Folder named as 2012Jan, 2012Feb, where I save my monthly backlinking details. Each monthly detail folder contains
    - Text file containing all blogs where I have left comment
    - All articles along with their spintax and names of services where I submitted them
    - Amount of money spent on backlinking

    I think this type of details will help me build all my website again with every small detail of real one if I ever face a problem due to which I may have to delete everything and start from scratch.
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  • Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

    1. Keep a written journal of my daily actions.
    Agree fully with this one. Keep track of what you're doing helps you identify what you still need to do which lines up with setting goals.

    Setting goals is without a doubt the most important thing any human being can do.....oh, and then of course taking action on them
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

    What would you do if you had to start all over from scratch?

    Well, I am now in that boat.
    I had a similar situation last year... except that someone physically stole the memory, hard drives, and backups for my server.

    It's somehow liberating. You get to throw everything away and build from scratch. That's kind of cool. Of course, it sucks, too... but half-empty, half-full.
    Signature
    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      One thing I am finding amusing, though. I set comments to moderate all, and I'm amazed at how insightful, amazing and life-changing people are finding that "Hello, World" post...:rolleyes::p
      And they say that duplicate content will turn off readers...:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    Hey Jill,

    Long time.



    I dunno why everyone's giving it all 'boo hoo', since you made a conscious decision to cut your losses and start over.

    Anyway...

    Don't forget that most hosts give you a 'skeleton' directory, so you can get yourself up 'n running on multiple domains really quick.

    Cheers,
    Steve
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    Not promoting right now

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