It’s remarkable how my personal sense of well-being is tied to how well the blog software is running. This morning was pretty bad when Obama Conspiracy Theories was nothing but a “404 Page not found.”
It didn’t take long to find the problem: the whole web site directory had been deleted.
I’ve been having technical problems with comments. The root of that problem was a new version of the caching software the blog uses to speed up serving pages to visitors. My blog uses WordPress to manage the content and that system dynamically generates the pages you see. Generating all those pages takes time. Caching software saves copies of the generated pages, and if someone wants to see a page that’s already generated, they get the saved version. Anytime someone comments, the page is updated. The saved versions appear much quicker, and caching causes less overhead on the server.
A recently-installed update to the caching software changed the location of where it saved pages; the cache was writing pages into one directory and the web server was serving them out of another directory. That’s why you sometimes saw old pages.
The caching software I employ is widely-used and highly reliable; however, my blog is a little odd because the directory where it lives has an upper-case directory name. It’s the distinction Linux makes between upper and lower case directory names that sent things awry with cached pages in a lower-case directory and the server pointing to the upper-case equivalent.
I had a number of options for resolving the problem, most involving waiting for someone else to get me a fix — or I could make the directory name lower case and all would be well. I inquired of my hosting company whether the name could be changed. Rather than answering the question, they deleted the blog directory and changed the web server to point to the lower-case directory which had nothing of use in it. Whammo! No blog.
I decided that I would go to church instead of staying home to working on the problem. I had 20 minutes before I had to leave and as a long shot, I tried the web host’s “restore” feature. The most recent backup was so recent that it didn’t have the deleted material; however, an older backup did and I was able to get the web site files back. I then had to move some directories round, re-install the caching software and viola, blog. The actual blog “content” (except for media files) is a database somewhere else that wasn’t effected by any of this, so once the software and media files were reloaded, everything picked up where we left off.
I made it to church on time.