What doesn’t kill us makes us… hate hackers

VERY FUNNY, emre5807!  You thought you destroyed us.  But you’ll see… We’re coming back better, stronger, and smarter because of you!  Grrrrrr……….

This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster due to the hacking incident.  We were just getting the hang of the DS106 thing, and bam! out of nowhere, we find ourselves right in the middle of a hacking crisis. I felt like my beloved child of 2 weeks had been snatched away in the blink of an eye, and I felt helpless.  So. much. work. had already gone into getting the blog up and running…

I almost went into a deep depression over it, although my blog was only 2 weeks old.  Can you imagine if it had happened later in the semester? Yikes!

Even when I could get back into my admin page after we were put on a new server, I was having trouble getting my blog back to its original state. I kept getting an error message whenever I tried to upload a theme, and I’m not a woman of a lot of patience, nor do I like to waste a lot of time trying to fix what’s broken when there are clearly other options. Call it a personality flaw, but I usually have no problem letting go of the old to embrace something new.

The following are the steps I took to restore my blog.  This is NOT a “how-to” tutorial.  It’s just a documentation of what I chose to do.  I learned after the fact that @cogdog does not recommend it, and there were other (and probably simpler) ways to skin the cat, but this is working out okay for me so far.  I may live to find out why this wasn’t a good idea, but that would be an opportunity to learn a new lesson, n’est pas?

1.  Created another subdomain called “blog2” and created another WordPress blog. (Because I’d never done this before, I wanted to have some kind of a back-up system in place before I deleted my blog. This was my insurance just in case the transfer didn’t work)

2.  Exported my blog content via wp-admin–>Tools–>Export. (This allows you to export and download the content to your computer.)

3.  Imported the content from my computer into my newly created Blog2 (wp-admin–>Tools–>Import).  This went very smoothly and my back-up blog was now in place.

4.  With my heart pounding, I deleted my blog (cPanel–> Fantastico–>Wordpress), as well as my sub-domain (cPanel–>Subdomains).


5.  Then after my orginal subdomain was deleted, I recreated it. Perhaps this delete/recreate was unnecessary, but I thought maybe it would give me a clean slate to start over.

6.  I went back into Fantastico and tried to install a new WordPress blog again.

7.  I got an error message saying that it cannot be installed because of wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes folders are already there for account with that name and to go delete the files manually.  So I went to the files and tried to delete, but even after I deleted, the files kept showing up over and over again when I refresh.  Wha??  Uh oh.  Now what?

8.  hmmm… decided to change the file names to something else, i.e. adminwp1, contentwp2, includeswp3. Then it can’t tell me that the same folders already exist, right?

9.  Tried the install again, and voila! It worked. I now had the WordPress blog up under the original URL.

10.  I imported the content from my computer, and I had my blog back!  …minus the images, but I’m willing to work with that (so please excuse the broken/lack of images for the time being.) So far, so good.

11.  I then tried to upload some themes to my “public_html/blog/wp-content/themes” file in cPanel, but I still kept getting error messages. I was at my wit’s end at this point. So I went into wp-admin and tried directly uploading the zip files into “themes”.  It worked. I know that we were warned against doing this, but until someone convinces me exactly why this is so bad, I’m going with what works.

Whether I took the right steps or not, it works for now. That’s good enough for me. I also decided to take this opportunity to look for a new theme, although I worked so hard learning my other one inside and out. Time for a change, because new means new. Why? Because I can!  (update: I tried some other themes, but nothing was better than what I had before…. *sigh* The search continues.)

I’m also in deeeeeeeeeeeeeep thought about our digital storytelling assignment for this week.  I need to come up with an idea fast…



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0 Responses to What doesn’t kill us makes us… hate hackers

  1. linda says:

    “…would have been to rename the old directory (“blog-old”), made a new one with the name “blog”, and re-installed WordPress there.”

    Ah, yes! That makes more sense!! 🙂 I didn’t even think to rename anything until I ran into that problem of #7. Even then, I was bracing myself for the cPanel police to jump out of the computer.

  2. linda says:

    Yeah… You were one of the lucky ones who got to learn about what could happen to your site without actually having to go through it. 🙂

  3. linda says:

    hmm.. CyberDuck… Would that be ‘duck’ as in the bird or ‘duck’ as in ducking for cover? jk.

    I shall make a point to get to know this duck. 🙂

  4. swplunkett says:

    Sorry to hear about all the trouble you’ve run into due to the hacking! I was under the impression only plugins were lost but everything else was set back to normal. (reading this does make me glad I randomly chose host gator though)

  5. Alan Levine says:

    Kudos to you for persistence. My words of caution were because I misunderstood what you were sayin (pitfall of those measly 140 characters). I thought you had downloaded the WordPress directory to your computer and were going to reupload via the file manager.

    You were on target to export your blog content. What would have done would have been to rename the old directory (“blog-old”), made a new one with the name “blog”, and re-installed WordPress there.

    I find the cpanel file manager clumsy, and showed Annie today how to use CyberDuck to directly move files to/from your server. What I would have done is to delete everything in my blog directory BUT wp-config.php and the wp-content folder. I then download the current version of WordPress from WordPress.org and upload everything BUT the WP-content folder. This gives you a clean install w/o any crazy swapping.

    There are like 99 ways to go about these things, what matters is that you find one and stick with it til you get it done.