As many loyal readers may have noticed the last minute prepper website was down for quite a while. Due to a catastrophic server failure the dedicated server this site is on crashed. Now I know what you are thinking, “didn’t you prep for if that happened?” the answer is yes. However sometimes no matter how much you plan or prepare for such an event life finds a chink in your armor. So let’s talk about what happened and then what we can learn from it.
In this scenario I had raided hard drives, which means if 1 drive fails no big deal server keeps running pop a new one in and all is good. However when two drives fail the data is lost. Second I had two nightly backups going one where the server pushed backups to a backup server, and the second where a machine went and retrieved its own backup. Those system processes died silent deaths before this incident and weren’t functioning properly. Then 2 hard drives got corrupted and failed at once and it was game on. So as you can see in this instance technology found a way over time to fail when I thought it was rock solid.
So how did I survive and push on to get the site back up? Adapt, improvise and overcome. The files from the system were recovered but the databases were not. This meant, I had recovered photos but no blog posts. The idea crossed my mind to use two internet technologies and manual labor to try and recover. First was google’s cached pages. I looked up every cached page google had for the site and saved the content. It wasn’t a complete site but a start. Second was the “way back machine”. This allows you to see older copies of web sites from days gone by Here I could grab some additional pages. However I needed some sort of checklist to know what I had and didn’t have. Google Analytics “content” section allowed me to pull a list of page hits since the beginning and that ultimately became a checklist. After I built a checklist I found about 15 articles I didn’t have. Some I could search the web and find syndicated versions of it, the older ones however not so much. However since many articles started out in Microsoft word I was able to recover more articles from my documents folder.
In the end I am left with 6 articles where I don’t have the original content. These were ones I typed directly into the blog. These now make up the “needs fixed” category however sometime down the road this will disappear as I will just rewrite the articles.
So what can we learn from this. It’s good to plan but plans can easily fail. Be ready to think on your feet and find ways to accomplish your goals with what you have available. Most of time this will be in ways you haven’t even thought of before. If a task or goal is worth doing or important you will find a way to achieve no matter the odds. Technology is something meant to make our lives easier but to rely so heavily on it in your prep or in life is problematic. Due to its fragile nature it fails constantly and generally at the worst times. So if you have a GPS in your bug out bag, consider also having maps, star charts (pdf), and a durable compass and learning how to use those. Or if you plan on a kindle wrapped in aluminum foil (to protect from EMP) as your survival knowledge, why not try and learn the knowledge now so you don’t need the ebooks and for the very valuable books have a paper copy as well.
The nature of a prepper or survivalist is we will survive with what we have, whatever it takes, or whatever hell we have to go through. It’s a never give up attitude. In the case of the server crash many other site and projects of mine weren’t as lucky but those I cared the most about survived. Others may one day come back on line as time permits rebuilding. This site is back and my commitment to excellence has doubled. A much more powerful server is in place, a better look and feel, and I am even commissioning an artist to make some unique artwork for the site. His name is Elliott Beaven and he creates some great work which you can see here on Elliott Beavan’s portfolio. Don’t let negative life events stop you. Sometime they push you to reach for something better and never give up the fight.