You may be here as a regular reader of my wittering, but on the other hand you may be here as you’ve recently tried to access my online shop AgnesAshe.co.uk and found nothing. Or, perhaps you’ve seen some version of ‘sorry, can’t find this site’ that your web browser displays when a website has gone MISSING.
And gone missing is exactly what happened for over 10 days. It’s not only my shop that went missing from the Internet, but the ‘support’ people at the hosting platform went AWOL and the domain registration company were initially less than helpful too.
The very good news is that now it’s all back and running as normal. And, incidentally, within a few hours I received an order.
It has been a strange experience as this was the first major, significant problem I’ve had in nearly 10 years of selling my scarves on the Internet through my own designated shop. And, finding the shop, a daily part of my life, to be absent, offline, disappeared, has been a strange, stressful and somewhat unnerving experience.
Obviously, as soon as I realised there was a serious problem I checked my settings, the stuff I had access to and the stuff I understood. At one point I even found my site had been blocked and may even have been squatted! Reading this made me feel queasy, although fortunately it turns out that was not the case. However, worst of all was the realisation I did not have the skills or knowledge to fix the problem myself.
In the end, ten days after having eventually received both the wrong guidance and the wrong solution and feeling completely at a loss, my site was fixed last Saturday, and not by me. It turns out I could have managed if the support instructions had not been out of date or if the domain company hadn’t assumed I was a total idiot. I am not a computer person and certainly have no idea what’s going on ‘under the bonnet’ as they say, but I can follow clearly set out instructions.
I will never know what happened to trigger the disappearance of my shop, but the resetting/configurationing were not in themselves complicated, but you did need to know the ‘new’ information. Anyway, with fingers crossed, let’s hope the matter is now closed. Reflecting on the episode as a whole, I think it has been the issue of autonomy that has been most unnerving, but I will just have to get used to that.
In conclusion, and more broadly speaking, the overwhelming prevalence of and dependance on information technology in our lives is not an entirely benign situation when even simple faults are difficult to locate and awkward to rectify. And, that is all a minor concern compared to the threat of cybercriminals when you consider the Royal Mail has very recently been unable to send packages abroad due to an extortionate ransomware cyber-attack.