Bluehost deactivated my account (again)

Last week when work resumed after 4 days of holidays due to Eid Al Fitr, the celebrations after Ramadan, I was so ready to pick up what’s left of my semi-ignored blog and finally write something. Baby Ben had fever all throughout the time I was at home sending us worried to the hospital at 2am. He underwent a urine test which resulted negative in anything suspicious, he had no cough or colds so the doctor assumed the high fever could be due to teething or some viral thing that would go away on its own.

The doctor was right. After 2-3 days of on and off fever, he was well again and two teeth on the upper gums peeked out. Poor baby crying of pain and discomfort. Remember when you had one of your wisdom tooth? How you winced in pain? Well, it’s only one and babies sometimes (most of the time) get two teeth coming out at the same time!

Anyway,when I was ready to go online again, I discovered that my blog is unavailable. Blog gone, just like that. And I got this email from my web host:

Your web hosting account for sandierpastures.com has been deactivated, as of 08/20/2012. (reason: site causing performance problems)

This deactivation was due to a Terms of Service (TOS) violation associated with your account.

Bluehost did not elaborate was part of the TOS I violated. They just shut down my website just like that. Pissed? Word. That word couldn’t even vaguely describe what I feel – mostly because this is the second time it happened AND I am not geeky enough to solve problems like this without the risk of wiping out my blog from the face of the internetz.

They told me I have 15 days to clear the problem or else lose my data. Panic. Where was that backup? When was the last time I even thought of a backup? Silly. After blogging for awhile, I should have realized there’s more to blogging than just writing. There’s behind the scenes maintenance, a.k.a. blog housekeeping – which I suck at doing.

After searching through Google, I deleted plugins mentioned in the error log. This was the workaround to my first suspension with Bluehost last year. There were plugins causing their server to run slow.

But I also discovered that there’s another issue right now: spam comments.

My site had been bombarded with a total of 8,000 spam comments while I wasn’t looking (i.e., offline, taking care of sick baby).

Did I think spam comments is an issue even when they are in the spam folder and are not even visible to the user?

Honestly, NO. But…the thing with spam comments is that if they’re sitting in the spam folder, they could still be approved and allowed on the blog. Spam comments contain trash like porn, illegal drugs etc and it’s a violation of the Bluehost’s TOS, categorized as “inappropriate content”.

Long story short, lesson learned from this mess:

  1. Download backup of databases regularly
  2. Limit installing of plugins, keeping only minimum ones need to run the site effectively
  3. Delete inactive plugins
  4. Regularly EMPTY spam folder
  5. MOST IMPORTANT >>> have a reliable techy person you can count to save your asssite (I’m lucky Kristarella was available – she’s the one who customized the Thesis theme for me and she’s well versed of site backend stuff!)

I tried to do things on my own but found that when Bluehost restored its service, I lost all 30,000 comments on my blog posts! It’s great that it wasn’t the posts that died, comments are also an essential as this is where readers open up and share their thoughts. I hired Kristarella’s service to retrieve my backup databases, delete the spam and restore and repair the databases.

Word of advice to all you WordPress & Bluehost users: Empty your spam comment folders regularly!

So…while my site has “recovered”, I wished Bluehost would have sent me a warning email so I could have deleted the comments from the dashboard and not go through that panicky state!

3 thoughts on “Bluehost deactivated my account (again)

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I went and cleared my spam folder and also backed up my work. After 7 years of daily writing, I can attest to the fact that it really is all…my work!

    Like

  2. Oh man, I can’t IMAGINE having my site shut down just out of the blue; I’m pretty sure I’d have a panic attack. Or a heart attack. Whichever came first o.O

    Having a reliable go-to techy is definitely a MUST!

    Thank you for your great tips, which I will definitely use in the future!

    Like

  3. This happened to my personal blog last year. The cause: spam comments. These spam comments take up a large chunk of the allotted space for the blog database.

    Long story short, I had to purge the database, regardless of whether a comment is legit or spam. Tsk, such a waste.

    Glad Sandier Pastures is back up. 🙂

    Like

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