Lessons Learned from Migrating a Blog

It was sad. :(

"Where did all the old posts go?" Some of my writer friends asked.

I had show them the blog you're reading now after migrating its server from Digital Ocean, but they spotted all of the old posts were gone.

In fact, it was not my first time to migrate this blog. I had done it once already from Weebly to Digital Ocean, after I became a techie baby.

The blog basically was just me. It didn't just have those 6 months of posts that I used to pitch my hero for a writer job. I kept the writing routine after the job. It was my journey transcending to be not only as a writer but also as a techie. I wrote posts from the point of view of writing and technology.

Starting from Jun 2013 until today, there were 40 - 50 posts. But they are gone now.

Because I had made a mistake in the middle of migrating the blog. Ironically, this was not a technical mistake, but I thought it was. The irony itself made all of the data, the old posts, gone.

I didn't plan to migrate this blog at the first place. I was programming a Wisdom Trigger, another community service for my friends. At the time, I wanted to learn how to use Amazon Web Service. So I decided to fire up a free ec2 instance at Amazon.

As I wanted to keep things simple, I decided to migrate the blog to the new ec2 instance also. So I can manage two apps under one roof.

The picture of my little digital planet was so vivid, I even named the instance as Aero's Digital Planet. I got into the zone of programming and shut down almost everything. I didn't even read the email inbox which is my primary way to connect with friends. I decided to become friend with ec2, my new virtual server, and learned everything I needed to host my two apps over there.

When my friend asked me, "I'm checking out your blog to find a post, but your site is down, what's up with that?"

"The server may be down. I'm learning the server side stuff as a programmer. I'm handling it." Actually I haven't gotten into the stage to configure my server. I was developing the backend code for Wisdom Trigger. I just didn't want to explain the nitty-gritty of tech to a non-programmer friend. "May you come back 2 months later?" So I replied - with the wrong perception of my server problem.

Finally I got the ec2 up and running with Nginx and PM2. Then, going back to the blog, I wanted to set up a new server block for it. My new planet moved in the harmony along the orbit. aerowong.com pointed to my digital planet, going through Nginx and was able to get to the blog. I was overjoyed.

Time to MIGRATE!

So I checked the root cause why the blog was down. I swam in the Digital Ocean. Looking around, here and there, from the official site to my email inbox. 3 emails from Digital Ocean captured my eyeballs.

The headline of the last one was: DigitalOcean - Account Suspended for Non-Payment. The first line in the body went like this: Your virtual server was deleted on 2016-06-04 after having an owed balance go unpaid.

I was shocked and - very afraid. I remembered I extended my credit card service after its expiry date few months ago, but I haven't notified all the digital service providers yet.

As you might expected and had read from my newly migrated blog, I had no way to get my old posts back. Digital Ocean had already destroyed my virtual server and the data in it. I had even tried to persuade them to let me pay a small fee to retrieve my data back. But deep down I knew I was just die trying and deceiving myself by blind hope. I was a techie baby who has the knowledge: once the data were deleted, they were gone forever.

UNLESS I have backup. But I didn't.

So, the lessons learned: backup your data and pay your bill on time.

P.S. All of the data are backed up in my GitHub now. If you're interested to see, here is the link.

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