What Happened?

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The Terrible Web Host

YaleWiki was down for quite a while - more than a year.

The original web host (NearlyFreeSpeech.net) decided to lock the 2 administrators (Casey and Adam) out of the service, and then wouldn't let us log in to pay them even. Since we didn't (couldn't) pay, they then automatically deleted the database without even letting us make a backup of it first. We tried everything to get it back, but we didn't even have a second copy of the site backed up anywhere :/

We tried to recover the account - even going so far as to send them a copy of our passports to prove our identity. But they did not budge :/

Lessons learned:

  1. Always back up your data. Even when it's on a server, you should have a second copy elsewhere.
  2. Maybe only use the most well-known and respected hosts, not just any random third party service. Nowadays that might be mostly Heroku and Amazon AWS. Support will be way better at either.

How did you fix it?

One day we discovered someone had found an August 2013 backup on Webarchive, and not all was lost!

At around the same time, the previous host released the domain name "yalewiki.org" so we could re-purchase that again finally.

We're now with a much better, new host - Heroku.

Also, we're now on the cutting edge version of MediaWiki (this wikipedia software) - we're wayy more modern than we were back in the day :)

Source code for this site is here: https://github.com/caseywatts/yalewiki

Casey Watts made a tool to help recover content from the old site: https://github.com/caseywatts/scrape_mediawiki

How about someone at Yale host this instead?

It would be super awesome if some organization at Yale could host this instead! That would be better for everyone :)

Casey Watts talked with both the the Yale College Dean's office and Yale ITS in 2012, and neither was interested in helping with this. Maybe try again?