JournalSpace Blogs Gone Forever: No Data Backup

By Posted 2009 Updated   BloggingDomain HostingSecurity

JournalSpace was a popular blog hosting tool, till all blogs vanished with no data backup in place. Thousands of JournalSpace blogs were wiped out overnight and bloggers left nowhere to go.

If you visit their site today, it reveals Journalspace is no more and DriveSavers has informed them that the data was unrecoverable. They say there was no hardware failure and both drives were operating fine. Its just that the data was simply gone and overwritten.

JournalSpace Blogs Gone

So how could it happen

The list of potential causes for this disaster is a short one. It includes a catastrophic failure by the operating system (OS X Server, in case you’re interested), or a deliberate effort. A disgruntled member of the Lagomorphics team sabotaged some key servers several months ago after he was caught stealing from the company; as awful as the thought is, we can’t rule out the possibility of additional sabotage

Their blog has more to say

It was the guy handling the IT (and, yes, the same guy who I caught stealing from the company, and who did a slash-and-burn on some servers on his way out) who made the choice to rely on RAID as the only backup mechanism for the SQL server. He had set up automated backups for the HTTP server which contains the PHP code, but, inscrutibly, had no backup system in place for the SQL data. The ironic thing here is that one of his hobbies was telling everybody how smart he was.

The Google cache (30 Dec 2008 00:40:31 GMT) reveals some of the events leading to the crash.

Monday: This is day three of DriveSavers’ 5 to 7 day turnaround time. Some progress has been made, but they cannot give a “yes” or “no” answer on full recovery.

Sunday: The drives will be on their way to DriveSavers in the morning. Their estimated charge for a full data recovery is roughly equal to the amount of money journalspace made in the past year. :-(

Saturday: What happened is that both drives which hold the databases have failed. On Monday we’ll be sending them to DriveSavers for recovery. Because of postal transit times and the holidays, journalspace will likely be down for most or all of Christmas week. We’re very sorry for this inconvenience.

Andrew writes about how to recover your JournalSpace posts using Google Cache. Hurry before the Google cache is updated with blank pages. You cannot retrieve any details about JournalSpace blogs via Internet Wayback machine because “access to http://journalspace.com had been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt”.

You can follow more JournalSpace events on Twitter and Facebook. You can also visit the JournalSpace Refuge forums to get support from other users.

Back Up Your Blog

The grave reality is this – it is very essential to keep a blog backup copy for yourself, on your computer AND email (computers do crash!). Its easy to back up all your server files and MySQL databases with self hosted wordpress blogs via FTP and database back up, or more easily by WP database backup plugin. This also highlights the fact that if you are serious about your website or blog, get your own domain name (try Godaddy) and web hosting (Try Dreamhost) as this gives you complete control over your site, it backups and admin.

So where can JournalSpace users start a fresh blog – for free blogging services you can switch to are Blogger, WordPress.com, and Tumblr – but the best self hosted solution is still WordPress.org.

It also raises a serious security issue of how disgruntled hosting company employees could easily sabotage the hard work of thousands of bloggers and webmasters. How can you stop an angry employee with root access from deleting your blog (and the backup)? – It is frightening.


9 comments on “JournalSpace Blogs Gone Forever: No Data Backup

  1. QuickOnlineTips says:

    Here are some rules of backups

    1. Backup all your data
    2. Backup frequently
    3. Take some backups off-site
    4. Keep some old backups
    5. Test your backups
    6. Secure your backups
    7. Perform integrity checking

    via http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1078665&cid=26301511

  2. Ken Barnes says:

    I hate to say this, but this was absolutely avoidable.

    When the main (or a senior) member of your IT staff leaves the company, you immediately perform a full check-over of your IT infrastructure. You make SURE that things are being backed up correctly, and that nothing untoward is going on, such as the member of staff leaving his usernames and passwords active.

    This quote sums it up:- “A disgruntled member of the Lagomorphics team sabotaged some key servers several months ago after he was caught stealing from the company; as awful as the thought is, we cant rule out the possibility of additional sabotage”

    In short terms…WHY? Why can’t you rule it out? Why weren’t all of his access and passwords revoked? Also, publicising this story (about the member of IT staff stealing) even further doesn’t cover up your incompetence, quite frankly. It makes your company look even worse. There is no scapegoat, here.

    I have to say that I’ve never heard of JournalSpace, but if they can’t even take a backup of a couple of hard drives once a day (or, well…once, for that matter), it doesn’t surprise me that this has happened.

  3. Hosting Admin says:

    Frankly speaking I have never heard about JournalSpace blog, so it is hard to me to evaluate the situation.

  4. Nightsun94 says:

    This is the second time I’ve had a blog/journal site crash on me. The last time was a hard drive with no possible recovery. The site never came back up. Journalspace seemed like a good place to start anew. It took me several months to re-enter all my poetry.

    Yes people should be smarter and back up on a regular basis. But let’s face it, people aren’t. The previous journal site I used, one couldn’t even back up their journal without an email to the owner. And you’d be lucky to get the backup sent to you within a couple weeks. All in all it just sucks.

  5. John O'Neill says:

    This is an aweful story with no winners. It does hilight the important of understanding the enemy within and accepting that this may come in the form at the hghest technical level. A system can only be protected from privilidged users by spreading redundancy accross not alone multiple systems but also multile agenies and individuals. Any system can be brought down by one person with access and informaton. It is therefore necessary to acept this and provide responsibility and power to rstore to multiple parties.
    John

  6. Dalirin says:

    I think the site is back because I am seeing free blogs on it.

  7. digirandi says:

    that’s why you call data back up important, you should always have back ups of all your data, its a big loss when you really loss all your data

  8. Data Backup Strategies says:

    How could this ever happen to an established blog hosting operation? JournalSpace is really writing its name on history of the Internet.

  9. SailorSaturn says:

    Well, that was ultimately retarded. I used to have a JS account as a backup journal when I want to write something private to a different audience than my main journal. Now I don’t remember all the friends I have on that service and the ones that I do remember… I don’t know if they’ve even bother rejoining the service.

    Guess I’ll be resurrecting another closed account from another online service instead of trying JournalSpace again. It’s a shame especially said account had the nicest journal layout of all my online journal accounts.

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