Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 24/01/17

Hello Again!

Apologies for the temporary disappearance of Yer Judge over the last couple of days.

Although why I should apologise for something that wasn't my fault, I'm not quite sure. Still, that's Customer Service, innit?

See, I got up on Monday morning to find an automated e-mail from my webhost (which is also my ISP, a mistake which I hope not to make again) telling me that my entire site had been 'archived'. 'Archived' is a euphemism for 'removed completely from public view'. And there it was, gone.

The reason? The site had exceeded its bandwidth allowance for a twenty-four-hour period.

A word of background information might well be useful at this point: when I joined my ISP in 2003, the package included 250MB of free webspace. I thought it was a shame not to use it (in fact, it was one of the clinching aspects of the offer, because I was shamefully eager to tart myself about online like all those serious people did). And hence, by a process of tragic inevitability, this site.

The same limit of 250MB also applied to the amount of traffic which the site was permitted for any given twenty-four-hour period. And this is what it seems I had breached.

I was somewhat baffled by this, because it sure as hell wasn't anything that I'd done, and I'd never come close to breaking the limit in nearly fourteen years. So I went into my webstats (I was still able to access them, at least), and I saw that over the weekend, someone had downloaded an enormous amount of data from the site; indeed, it looked like they had scraped the whole thing, possibly more than once. This meant that the bandwidth limit had been exceeded by something like ninety per cent. Hence the removal.

Two things which I found odd, if not troubling. Not the fact that my hosts had removed the site without so much as a 'by your leave'; that's their standard practice, charmless as it may be. But the fact that the IP address associated with this data-grab was from within an address range belonging to my ISP and/or its parent company; and that it seemingly hadn't been done via an ordinary web browser, but by wget.

(wget is a program which can be used to snaffle up the contents of entire sites).

So it wasn't exactly my fault; and yet I had been Yezhov'd, a fate which I found both frustrating and existentially troubling.

So I raised a 'question' via my ISP's website asking how this had come to pass, and asking for the site to be restored to its previous effulgent glory. I was slightly taken aback when I was informed that it would be an average of eight hours before anyone would even look at the case. But there was nothing I could do except wait for a response.

And wait I did. There was no update this morning, nor when I checked again after coming home from work. I put a snarky comment on the Community Forum and carried on seething.

And then minutes later I found that the site had suddenly returned after thirty-six hours. Intact, as far as I've been able to tell.

So it's 'as you were'; or, rather, 'as I was'. I've made a small tweak to a file which controls access to the site which should prevent a recurrence, at least on such a grand scale. But this has re-invigorated my intention to switch the hosting to a different company. I'd held back because of all the complexities involved, but I'm running on such a tight margin now that it has become almost imperative to move. I've got my eye on one possibility, which I will now pursue. More anon.