As some of you know, in the past month, my web host briefly disabled my blog. At first, I wasn’t going to blog about my blog (blog-ception!), but because plenty of my readers are bloggers, too, I thought I’d go over what happened and possibly prevent some unpleasantness for others down the road.

Let me say up front that I am not technically savvy, and some of this may seem silly to someone who is. But I’m not the only non-tech-savvy person with a WordPress.org blog, and this was written with people like me in mind.

 

The Horror: My Blog Meltdown and What I Learned #blogging tips #blog disabled #traffic #DreamHost #blog disabled #where did my traffic go #virtual private server

 

DAY ONE

On Saturday, Dec. 9, I shared a link to a blog post on social media, as one does…only to see a horrifying “this blog has been disabled” message show up.

I Googled my blog. Sure enough, Google informed me it was gone.

 

The Horror: My Blog Meltdown and What I Learned #blogging tips #blog disabled #traffic #DreamHost #virtual private server #blog disabled #where did my traffic go
Stock photo representation of me on Dec. 9, 2017.

 

Now, I should point out that I was never worried about my content being gone. It was all still there, and besides, VaultPress does a complete backup of it daily.

No, my blog was just disabled, but that still upset me. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this blog over the last few years, and I’ve been getting between 4,000 and 5,000 page views a day, every day, for at least the past year.

I make a little money from it, and I’d just been thinking about how lucky that was, since Mr. Donovan had just been downsized. I’d had some other unsettling news that week, and my blog was a stable, comforting constant. Except now, it wasn’t.

DreamHost emailed me to say that my blog was overloading their shared server, and I needed to fix the problem. If I put it back online without fixing it, they’d take it offline forever. They’d sent me a warning on November 15, and I’d missed it, so it was really my fault.

I spent over an hour with DreamHost customer support, and it was a waste of all of our time, because I didn’t understand what they were telling me.

Luckily, I had an expert to call: Frauke at CrocoDesigns. Frauke is the one who moved my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (for a very modest fee, I might add).

 

DAY TWO

Frauke was on it right away. She went through my whole blog and got rid of all kinds of problems that were bogging it down. And this brings us to the first lesson.

If you blog on WordPress.org, do not install a Pinterest “pin it” button on your Safari browser.

I love Pinterest and I like to be able to pin things easily. But this button added tons of garbage coding to hundreds of posts on my blog.

For some reason, when I installed it, Safari didn’t warn me: “Oh, by the way, this will ruin your website.” At least, not in so many words.

 

The Horror: My Blog Meltdown and What I Learned #blogging tips #blog disabled #traffic #DreamHost #virtual private server

 

But they should’ve. This was the biggest problem for my blog (besides high traffic, which is a great problem to have.) I removed the plugin. Frauke spent hours cleaning up messes.

DAY THREE

Frauke installed extra security measures. Although it made me nervous, because I was afraid I would mess it up somehow, I made the switch to a virtual private server that can handle high traffic. It costs a lot more, but I felt like it would be worth it.

The blog was up and running again.

DAY FOUR

Except nobody was visiting.

Yes, my regular subscribers were there, bless them. They read my latest post. But other than that, I wasn’t getting any traffic.

I reached out to DreamHost, and their customer service folks said the sudden 90% drop in traffic had nothing to do with the blog getting disabled (obviously not true, but whatever). Anyway, there was nothing they could do to help.

DAY FIVE

My pageviews crept up a tiny bit, but not much. I resigned myself to rebuilding my traffic somehow and supposed I might as well move back to the (much cheaper) shared server.

DAY SIX

Then my traffic started really coming back again. I can’t tell you how much happiness that brought me!

 

 

The Horror: My Blog Meltdown and What I Learned #blogging tips #blog disabled #traffic #DreamHost #blog disabled #where did my traffic go #virtual private server
Stock photo representation of my joy.

 

Here’s a graph of my pageviews for most of December. You can see the day where it was disabled, where it was offline and being worked on, and where I was despairing. (That other little drop in late December was Christmas. People were opening presents, not perusing writer blogs.)

 

The Horror: My Blog Meltdown and What I Learned #blogging tips #blog disabled #traffic #DreamHost #virtual private server

So here’s the second lesson:

If your blog gets disabled, it’ll take a few days for your pageviews to return to normal. Don’t freak out. 

I’m guessing it was still showing up as disabled in a lot of places. Maybe it takes search engines and the like a little while to catch up to the fact that it’s back online again. Maybe someone will explain it to me in the comments section!

TODAY

My blog is much more secure and much more efficient than before, and it can handle much more traffic. I’m  glad to have it all fixed up. Despite my anxiety, it wasn’t all that horrible — just a temporary inconvenience.

Have you been through this with your blog? Do you have other comments or advice? Let us know below! Thanks so much for reading!