JournalSpace Blogs Gone Forever: No Data Backup

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.