This blog is (currently) hosted on wordpress.com with a redirect from my successfulsoftware.net domain. Having wordpress host this blog has a number of advantages, including:
- I don’t have to pay for bandwidth
- I don’t have to update the wordpress software
- wordpress can handle big traffic spikes
- built in spam filtering
I was generally very happy with the service, which has been free so far apart from paying a few dollars for the redirect. But when I tried to log into this blog on Wednesday, all I saw were the chilling words ‘account suspended’. The blog itself was still up, but I couldn’t log in to change anything or export it. I emailed wordpress technical support and started backing up the text of all the articles I hadn’t backed up already.
Then the images started disappearing from the blog.
Then the blog disappeared altogether, replaced by a message saying that it had been suspended for violations of terms of service.
Apparently wordpress can shutdown your blog at any time without warning, without right of appeal and without giving a reason. I was not a happy man. It is bad enough to have your blog shut down, but never to know why would be a particularly cruel and Kafkaesque punishment. I also discovered that it could possibly be a wordpress bug. I sent another email to support and Patrick McKenzie kindly posted onto a wordpress forum for me (I couldn’t even log in to do that).
I was wondering what to do if it never came back. Although I had backed up the text of the posts, all the comments would be lost.
Eventually, after about 24 hours, I got the following email from wordpress.com support (quoted in full):
Sorry about that. Your high quality blog is restored,
The blog reappeared and my login was restored. Phew.
Following this incident I have considered moving the blog off the wordpress servers. I don’t like the idea that wordpress can suspend a blog without giving a reason. I am also not wild about the fact that wordpress can run ads on my blog if they want, which I only found out about recently. I realise they have to make a living, but I would rather pay them a small fee than have ads.
But wherever I move the blog there is a danger some third party is going to let me down. Even if I hosted it myself my Internet connection or server hardware could fail. At the very least I am going to regularly export the full blog in XML format (Manage>Export from the wordpress control panel), so that I can resurrect it elsewhere if needed. As usual it takes a disaster, or near disaster, to make us think about back-ups. Are you backing up all your important data?