Dead projects can haunt you

Halloween (2 be or Not 2 be)

If you’ve been online for any amount of time, chances are you have some dead online projects. It could be an old blog, podcast, the website of your wedding x-years ago, whatever.

You may have used a tool like WordPress or Joomla to create the site initially, nice themes, easy content creation, up and running SUPER quick – canoefuls of awesomeness, until the project is over.

When it’s over, you now have a site to maintain or take offline. Yup, hackers and evil-doers find new ways to break into things all the time, and the software creators are usually a step or two behind them. So you need to keep these sites updated to keep them from being hacked.

Like a lot of us, I use a shared hosting package, where a lot of my sites are hosted on the same account. So this past weekend, when an old blog (or maybe an old plugin on a newer blog) fell victim to a hack, it was successful infecting pretty much all the sites I had hosted there.

Crap. Not a fun way to spend time, this delayed my finding the answer to life, the universe and everything. (I know it’s 42, but I wanted to do the math myself).

I won’t bore you with the technical details, but let’s just say I’m happy this was on a unix box, grep and sed continue to be good friends of mine.

I’m at the point now where the “active” projects are back online, and I need to do something about the dead projects. I’m looking at tools that convert WordPress sites into static html, and get all the database and php out of the way. A static site, while not easily updatable, is a great way to treat your dead, but not quite offline, projects. I’d like to keep the Bob and AJ site up a while longer, but not invest the time maintaining it.

So there’s your warning, even if your project is dead, keep the software and plugins updated, or look into converting to static to save yourself some headaches.

Photo credit : George Erwss

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3 Comments

  1. There is a good exporter to take WordPress to Jekyll https://github.com/mojombo/jekyll/wiki/Blog-Migrations. You can run the Jekyll script on a local machine and then host the static HTML elsewhere (Amazon S3) to have a truly static site.

  2. Do share what you find. I’ve got a number of these myself that I’d like to make static HTML.

  3. Happens a lot, we get clients all the time that got hacked and don’t tell us about an old phpbb install, or old test WP site they forgot about. Over the years sometimes things get installed and you forget about them – and it comes back to bite you later on.

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