Yesterday was D-Day, my friends. This website showed the first signs of sentience. From one perspective I lucked out, ’cause the quality of sentience displayed was (much like that of our current President) self-destructive. On the other hand, I literally spent all of yesterday cleaning up the shit-show left in the wake of my website (again, parallels can be drawn to our current President and the American people over the course of the next thirty years).

So yeah, the website crashed. Hard. Like, “Daddy, daddy, look at me, no feet!” hard.

 

via GIPHY

Curious to see the full extent of my ignorance when it comes to all things web related? Read the story/plea for help I sent to my theme provider below.

Subject: I don’t even know where to begin.

“Dear Mr. or Mrs. Digital Wizard,

The number of snowballing issues I’m currently experiencing is bordering on ludicrous. I’ll try my best to recall all the cascading gremlins as they appeared, but I might miss one or two because, as previously mentioned, issues have been appearing at ludicrous speed.

As of two days ago I’d yet to update my theme to Divi’s newest version. I’m slow and behind the times, but everything’d been working just fine, so whatever, no bigs. But then I get a message in my dashboard saying, “You’re running PHP 5.6 like a fool. Don’t you know PHP 7.0 is where it’s at?” I’m all for increased efficiency, but if I knew then what I know now about the can of worms I was about to open, oh dear god, I woud’ve stayed in the PHP 5.6 slow lane for the rest of my life.

Anyways, I had no idea what was going to happen (and even less idea what the hell I was actually doing) so I popped over to my host and fiddled with some stuff until I figured out how to switch from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.0.

In the spirit of full disclosure, it was at this point WordPress told me, “Hey Slick, you really should check compatibility with your current theme. It’s totes easy, just click HERE!.” And I would have, I swear, but again, Divi wasn’t upgraded to its most current form, and so your hallowed halls of Customer Support were closed to my heathenish self.

Okay, so we make the switch to PHP 7.0 and this is where the roads get slick, my butt starts puckering, hands go to 10 and 2 (yeah, yeah, I know, it’s now 8 and 4, but I’m old school. That’s just how I roll), and we the back end starts getting a little squirrely. I pop back over to my website and things look more or less normal, except the blog. The blog is there as you can see in picture uno.

 

But when you click on the actual posts, you more or less get a 404 error message. Don’t believe me? I thought you might not, so I brought along picture dos to corroborate my story.

 

I’m a do-it-yourself’er so to Google we go! There, pretty much everybody is in agreement that the solution is easy. So simple even a child could do it. Just go into your dashboard settings —> permalinks and refresh the save. I’m worth at least 2 children, so I figure, I got this.

But I was wrong. I didn’t have it. Not even a little bit.

I refreshed permalinks (which were custom set to some bamboozling concoction of date stamps, ampersands, and post titles) and nothing happened. Not a thing. The world kept spinning. So then somebody says, “Oh, you need to first change the setting, save it there, then revert back to the original. Then you’ll be right as rain.”

In hindsight I have strong reason to believe that person hated me. It’s the only explanation for what followed.

This is where the wheels came off. Actually, that’s selling it short. This is where the Michelins came off, rolled down the side of a mountain while flipping me the bird, hopped into a raging river and went full Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, never to be seen or heard from again.

The website, and I meant the entire friggin’ website, goes full internal server error 500, which I didn’t fully understand at the time, but if Indianapolis has taught me anything, it’s that bad things come in 500s. I was wary.

Oh, and I was also completely locked out of my website. Couldn’t access squat, not even the admin/login screen. It was dire, Mr. or Mrs. Digital Wizard. So I scampered back to my hosting site and fiddled with some more things. I tried reverting to a backed up copy of the site from the good old days when, ya know, there was still an actual site to behold. That didn’t do the trick, so then on a whim I changed the theme from the server side host to some random, free hobo’esque thingamajigger.

Voila! The website goes full Return of the Jedi. It’s back, if not entirely an eye sore, but hey, progress marches on!

In the grips of curiosity, I switch back to Divi and, wouldn’t ya know it, it works again. Not the blog, I mean, we still have that original sin on our soul, but at least we’re back to square one.

At this point, I say, Okay. I need to upgrade Divi because it’s probably running some outdated nonsense that is creating compatibility issues with the PHP/Permalink switches. So I shell out the cash and put my nose back to the grindstone to try and divine why the hell none of my blog posts are actually there anymore.

Fast forward 36 hours and a new problem emerges. I’m being haunted by a ghost. Remember when I told you I went into my hosting service and reverted to a previously backed up version of the site? Yeah, well, THAT version of the site is the one I see when I go into my dashboard to edit things, but when I physically go to my website, THIS is what I see (refer to the picture accurately labeled Ghost Website).

Ghost Website

Actual Website

Before you ask, yes, I cleared my browsing history and ate my cookies at least 12 times. Contrary to what this email might lead you to believe, I’m not a complete idiot. Oh, I also tried turning the internet off and then back on again. That was also a no-go.

So here we are, I’m being haunted by a version of my website that will not respond to any changes I make in the dashboard, and a blog full of posts that lead nowhere. Needless to say I probably exhausted the full breadth of my do-it-yourself’iness within the first five minutes, but I’m finally ready to ask for help.

Please, please, please, for the love of god, save me from myself, Mr. or Mrs. Digital Wizard.”

Interestingly enough, this was pretty early in the evening, and you would think I’d just call it a night and wait for reinforcements to arrive, but you’d be wrong. I got my shovel back out and kept digging my hole deeper and deeper. Exhausted and frayed, I ran over to my host (BlueHost) and asked their 24/7 customer service peeps for help. Long story short, they had me straightened out within 15 minutes.

Moral of the story: Trying is the first step towards failing. So never try.

Second moral of the story: If you’re looking to start your own website, I highly recommend hosting your domain through BlueHost. Those guys saved my bacon despite my many attempts at cooking my own bacon. It’s also super cheap, only like $4 a month. 10/10 would recommend.

Got a website horror story? I’d love to hear from you. Get down to the comments and tell me about the last time you broke the internet!

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