As my title says, “Hello Again!” from Cheryl’s Bead Jewelry. This is a new website and a new blog that I have just started. You would think I would be an expert at this as I have started a new website and started blogging several times before. Each time before when I started a new website I was upgrading my shopping cart, had changed hosting companies or just wanted to update the look and feel of my website/store. This time it wasn’t my decision to start over, especially at this time of year … Christmas shopping.
Everyone has heard of a website being “hacked” or that a “cyber attack” was launched against someone’s website. These things happen to other people, people you read about in news articles, not me! But that is exactly what happened to my website last Tuesday night (actually Wednesday morning) when my telephone rang at 1:00 am alerting me that my web host had taken my site offline and placed restrictions on the account due to excessive CPU usage on the server. Apparently, my site was hogging all of the server bandwidth and causing the other clients who shared my server to have problems too.
Those who know me personally realize that I have learned enough about html, css and php to be able to edit and somewhat enhance a theme or program that someone else has written, but I am still limited in my knowledge to do “real” programming. After an online chat with a tech support person, I was assigned the task of trying to track down and correct the situation or cause of the malicious script that attacked my website’s index page. Until I could prove that changes had been made to my account to limit or stop the scripts being launched against my domain, my site (and my husband’s website) would be restricted and have a 403 Forbidden page show when you tried to access our websites on-line. Okay, where do I start to track down what was happening? If I find it, what do I do about it? I have a problem!
What I found when I checked my error logs and raw access logs was that a web crawler site’s bot had launched the attack by trying to access my index page simultaneously from hundreds of IP addresses locations. For a two-hour period of time I had 40 pages of raw access logs all showing the name of this web crawler bot from lots of different IP addresses. Research of this site’s web page told me that this site’s services are requested by their clients for market research, etc. and that they usually search/crawl any registered domain listed with keywords within their client’s criteria. Nice job web bot! You crashed my site and corrupted my data as a result of the restrictions placed by the hosting company trying to stop your attack. The web crawler’s site told me that if I had a problem with them crawling my site and I wanted to stop their bot, to use my robots.txt file and they provide the entry and format to do this.
I shared this information with my web host and my support tech told me that the malicious script was my problem, not theirs. I received an email with several suggestions for changes to make to my site so that this would not happen again. They suggested things like changing my caching methods, adding additional cache programs making my website pages static, researching Google Web Master Tools for more fixes, etc. They would not remove the restrictions until their server techs could review the changes I was to make to my site.
A very knowledgeable friend told me that the web host had probably been hacked and it was the web host’s problem that their server was not protected from this kind of attack. Either way, my website/store and my husband’s website (with his email) had been down for two going on three days and I was done!
So … Hello Again! I changed web hosting and am putting my husband’s website back together (his email works currently) again and am rebuilding my site. This time this website will be more informational and include my blog along with pages that have information and links to my Cheryl Skeens Jewelry site and Cheryl’s Bead Jewelry on Etsy shop. Please be patient with me and I will get everything working as quickly as I can. Thanks for listening (reading) and I hope you have a little time to browse too.