“What’s the most awful thing that’s ever happened to your website?”

We asked UpdraftPlus users to tell us their stories, and we had some crackers.  Someone found that their website had been hijacked by a Tunisian teenager, who was repurposing it as a Palpal phishing host. Another was thrown into a panic when his Web host suddenly went AWOL. But favourite story comes from Liz Maclean, whose coder managed to accidentally delete her entire website.

Back in 2014, Liz spent four exhausting months setting up a website. When all she had to do was create a few intricate plugin customisations, she decided to hire a professional coder rather than risk doing it herself.  And that’s when all the trouble started.

On the fateful day her website disappeared, she was chatting to the coder over Skype. Verbal communication was hard work, as the coder was Indian and seemed to have trouble understanding Liz’ Australian accent.

Speaking as clearly as she could, Liz explained that I wanted him to remove some redundant directories that were taking up too much space on the web server. She then refreshed the browser and noticed that all the media on my website had vanished.

Liz explained what happened next: “I told the coder what had happened, and refreshed the browser again. This time, the index.php had gone as well. Panic-stricken, I logged into the server via FTP, only to discover that my entire website had completely disappeared.”

Furious and stressed at the prospect of 4 months’ hard work vanishing before her very eyes, Liz screamed at the coder: “What have done to my website?” He was quick to defend himself: “It wasn’t me”, he started, “while we were talking, a hacker must have deleted it. The fact we witnessed it is a coincidence!”

For all his shortcomings in English comprehension, the coder was fluent at thinking on his feet. He nervously threaded together lies and excuses, while Liz pieced together what had really happened: “I’d asked the coder to delete a couple of redundant directories; he had obviously deleted the entire website instead- by accident, of course, although I wished he would just own up to it.”

Ending the Skype call, Liz was miserable at the prospect of having to rebuild everything from scratch. It took a while for her to remember something that gave her a glimmer of hope: she had installed a couple of plugins a week or so earlier- was one of them for backups?

“I anxiously reinstalled WordPress and searched madly through the WordPress plugin repository to find them. What was the name of that backup plugin again? UpdraftPlus! It was there.”

Liz managed to restore her entire website. The simple act of installing UpdraftPlus had saved her months of hard work. Needless to say, Liz will never again forget the name of the plugin that gave her horror story a happy ending.