It has been one heck of a week.
Some of you may have seen my tweets on Wednesday.
My site got hacked yesterday (thankfully it’s all fixed now) but this is a HUGE REMINDER to please create difficult & long passwords.— Charlotte (@gypsyreviews) October 8, 2014
Yup, my site was hacked earlier this week and I was notified by my host on Wednesday that they suspended my account to prevent the spam. I changed all my passwords and such once I got back from work and the spam stopped and the problem was solved. Or so I thought.
Friday morning I got another email from my host stating that they had to suspend my account again because the spam came back. The best option at this point was to start over from scratch and reinstall. I asked if I was allowed to restore a back-up afterwards but unfortunately not, for fear that the back-ups could be compromised as well.
I went through Friday thinking that I was about to lose everything and I made some pivotal decisions in those split moments of panic and fear. Thankfully once I got back home from work and was ready to begin work on this, my host clarified that I would not lose everything but my stuff would be moved to a new directory but I would need to install everything (WordPress etc.) all over again. Hence, this is why if you’re reading this blog post via the site and not through a feed, you’ll see none of my previous posts are here, my sidebar is empty, my menu is empty etc. That is the reason why.
The big lesson here? USE A STRONG PASSWORD. I blame myself entirely for this situation and the grief I had to go through even though I am not 100% sure if the fault was my weak password but it is a possibility so let this be a warning loud and clear to everyone reading this that you should never ever take your internet safety for granted. Be paranoid. Be more secure about your passwords and files and folders. Do not just make back-ups of your databases. Have offline back-ups as well and ones you can access (ie. having a copy of your blog posts in Word) because back-ups can be compromised. This can happen to you and I’m telling you it is a fucking nightmare and not worth all the trouble. Having a strong password could have prevented all this trouble.
So what is going on? For months now I’ve been deliberating on changing my blog name. Why?
- I was beginning to feel uncomfortable that my blog name had a derogatory term in it. I never had the intention of being rude or offensive using ‘gypsy’ in my blog name. At the time, I simply liked the name and notion of what gypsies were in a fairytale sense. I was naive in the creation of my blog name and once I became aware, it just made me very unsettled.
- My blog name felt so restrictive. I started blogging with the notion of only writing reviews but nearly 2 years later, my direction with blogging has changed so much and I definitely want to do just more than just blogging about books. I knew I could still do it even with my current blog name but it just didn’t feel right. Gypsy Reviews was a site for book reviews but that is not what I want my blog to be anymore.
- I could do little with the URL itself in terms of subdomains. I couldn’t make a portfolio, other blog etc. with a name like that. It was a hassle for me in terms of my hosting package and I didn’t want to get stuck with a name I didn’t think I was going to use forever.
I pity and am grateful to Cee for having to deal with my moaning and groaning over choosing a name. I never could find the perfect name for myself and when I was trying to, I was finding names for her instead lol (spoiler alert: it never gets easier). But through a few months which included much ‘IDKKKKKK’s, ‘I’M NEVER GONNA FIND A NAME’, ‘*FLOPS TO FLOOR*’ and even an identity crisis at 1am, I found a name… which was going to be a personal blog name. Plot twist eh?
You see through the process of finding a name, I figured it was too hard to change my own blog name. Exporting nearly 2 years worth of blog posts was daunting and so were the numerous changes to be made so I decided to stick with Gypsy Reviews. But with the recent hacking, I saw it as a sign to make a shift. I had no choice but to start from the bottom up with my blog posts because I could not restore my back-up, I have to copy and paste each blog post manually via phpMyAdmin to ensure I am not letting any malware in. So why not really start from the bottom? Even though the previous name I had thought of was originally meant for a personal blog, I really liked it and it was versatile enough for me to use.
TL;DR? Here’s what really matters:
- Gypsy Reviews will be retired and I will be starting a new blog which will be unveiled when I am done with the design + copied all my blog posts over (due to the internship + various other commitments, this might only happen within a month or two)
- All my social media will change along with the new site. I might change one or two (like Twitter) earlier so this is just a heads-up that changes are coming.
- For now, Gypsy Reviews will still be up with this post to tell anyone what’s happened. But when the new site has been up for about 2 weeks, I will be directing all URLs from Gypsy Reviews onto the new site right up until the domain will expire. I will not be renewing Gypsy Reviews anymore afterwards, the name will be officially retired.
So this isn’t a goodbye, rest assured I intend to stay here for a very, very long time. You’re not getting rid of me that easily ;) But it’s a see you later (I’m gonna be on Twitter of course haha).