We’re Baaack!

Graphic: © Digital Juice

Graphic: © Digital Juice

Two weeks ago, Trade Show Insights vanished. If you tried to access it during this time, all you saw was a white screen … no error message, no nothing.

If you were left scratching your head and wondering what happened, let me tell you … so was I! It’s taken many hours of investigating, followed by trial-and-error fixes to get things back up and running. There are still a few behind-the-scenes things that need fixing, but you likely won’t notice those small issues, and trust me – they are minor compared to just a few days ago!

Without getting too techie, I do want to give you a bit of an idea about what happened. These are especially important lessons if you also have a WordPress website.

First of all, I don’t believe my site was hacked, but that it was broken due to something my webhost did (although I can’t prove it for sure). You see, a few months ago, they decided to force auto-updates on all WordPress sites they host. Now I didn’t realize this was happening until things went wrong last month, but I believe it was due to their forced update, which somehow deleted my theme and most of my plugins, rendering my site inoperable.

My first thought was, “No problem! I pay extra for daily, weekly & monthly backups!” But oh, how wrong I was! Turns out their backup server was fried and took more than a week to come back online, at which point I discovered that it was only from that day forward, with no pre-existing backups available.

Long story short, I’ve had to rebuild much of the site one element at a time. Thankfully though, through it all, my posts and podcasts were still there waiting for me to resurrect the site. (And iTunes never lost the podcast, so that was a blessing.)

So, here are the lessons learned:

  • Check to see if your webhost is doing auto-updates, and if so, turn them off. Use a security plugin instead to keep things up to date. (Contact me for details.)
  • Don’t count on backups done by your webhost, even if you pay extra for them. Make copies of all your site’s files on a regular basis and store them on another server somewhere (or your own hard drive) so you can restore the data easily if things go sideways.
  • Resist the urge to panic. Check first to see if your site is still accessible via your admin tools, and if so, make your own backups at that point and begin surveying the damage.

If you’re still reading by this point and have additional questions on how I fixed the site, please contact me and I’ll be happy to give you other tips you can use if such a horrible thing happens to your site.

Thanks for being a loyal fan of Trade Show Insights … welcome back! And watch for more trade show tips & tools coming soon. ~ Marlys

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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