In Aug 2019 we were approached by the owner of Lekhnee Academy for a website. The academy started in 2016 with modest beginnings with just one course of Abacus. Today it is hub of activity with multiple courses and activities for children of all ages. It conducts both coaching classes for regular school subject as well as hobby and learning activities. Lekhnee Academy already had the basic social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. The owner wanted a multi page dynamic website befitting a professional coaching and activity centre to complete the online presence. In order to achieve that we decided upon a website and Google Maps entry.
Selection of domain name and hosting
Hosting a multipage WordPress website is technically challenging. Blogging began with tech bloggers because of their ease and familiarity with technical terms. Then came the age of travel and lifestyle bloggers. Influencers only came on the scene when social media arrived. Curating content for a website is the next biggest challenge. These points were made clear to the client during the first interaction.
During first interaction we explained about website hosting and went through various hosting packages offered by websites in India. Due to budget constraints, client requested use of our shared hosting to temporarily host the website. However we strongly urged the owner to buy their own hosting to have complete control over their digital assets. We compared various hosting providers in India and explained the packages and various plans on offer. One point to remember is that every hosting company offers 50% discount on first purchase. Look for a hosting plan which is at maximum duration so that you get the best rebate. Once the duration is over, you can migrate to a different host. At that time, we strongly urged her to have her own hosting too so that she has total control over her website as well as hosting.
A new account was opened on Hostgator in the name of the client for registering the domain name. Sukaone has a shared hosting account with BlueHost which we use for single page websites. An add-on domain was created and new instance of WordPress installed using Softaculous.
Website was completed by the month end. After the website work was done, the client took login credentials from us and changed them. From that point onwards, the website remained on hosting account of Sukaone.
The website changed hands a number of times and few modifications done over the next two years. First it was a known relative, later some IT expert who did not even login once. For these two years, the client believed that she can find someone who can manage the website for free.
Such cases are very common today with influencers and reel makers becoming tech experts. Wrong advice from friends and family and always end up with an egg on face. Over our two years existence serving customers we have come to realise that every year hundreds of students graduate as computer engineers from various colleges all over the country. If they do not get a job in the IT sector, they work as free lancers. For relatives, they will work for free. These are the ones who create the maximum ruckus with a brand.
The incident of 2021
In June 2021, our shared hosting with Bluehost was getting over. We had decided to move to another hosting provider to get the benefit of 50% discount. After migrating all websites we were still left with website of Lekhnee Academy was still residing on our hosting account. We contacted the client and asked her login access for changing of DNS server names. Her reply was that it is not needed as she has already migrated the website to her own hosting. She also emphasised that her hosting and domain are both now managed professionally by an IT expert. We once again asked her to check back with this IT expert as to whether the website has been migrated or not. As far as we knew, the DNS servers were sill pointed to our hosting. Her confirmation call came after 10 minutes and she gave us the go ahead to delete the website from our hosting account.
We could not even take a backup as the login details were not shared with us. However we could take a backup of the installation using Softaculous which we accessed from our cpanel. We downloaded the installation zip file on the hosting server and our PC too and then deleted the website. As soon as we deleted the WordPress installation file from our hosting account, the website went offline. Even after the website went offline, both the client and IT expert did not respond. On the third day, we got her frantic call asking us to restore the website. We had to tell her that the hosting account itself has expired and that the website can no longer go live from the same account. Further since we did not have access to her hosting account, we cannot make changes to the DNS servers.
Then she contacted the IT Expert once again to realise that he did not have her login details either and even though he was supposed to do regular updates and backup, he never logged in. We had a long talk with the IT Expert and came to know that the person actually was not knowing much about IT leave alone website and hosting. He was kinda helping people with social media accounts and computer work. Brand owners shun a legitimate integrator with the right credentials and experience for some self-professed IT expert, all to save a few rupees.
Since the website was deleted without any current backup, the only option available was restoring the Softaculous backup. While all backup and migration plugins of WordPress work smoothly, Softaculous is very temperamental. Using softacuolous for migration between hosting providers almost never goes smoothly.
Our personal favourite is WP All in One migration plugin. Though the plugin itself if free, one of the most important extension, unlimited uploads is paid, But it is worth the money, every paise of it. This plugin can be used for regular backups as well as migration.
First the softaculous backup was uploaded to a new hosting account. There it was extracted to the public html folder. A new database was created and installation restored. We still did not have access to the website since the login credentials were lost. We generated a request for password reset via WordPress. Once in, we created a backup using All in One Migration plugin. With the backup ready, we now started with the process of website migration.
Next task was changing DNS server settings. This account was with the owner who had forgotten the login details. We had to send a password reset request. The new password required an upper case, special character and number which the owner was having difficulty setting. While she was not aware that the password was not getting changed, she kept giving us the incorrect password. We were not able to login the hosting account for days together. Finally we requested access to her email account. She had also forgotten the password to her email account. So first we reset that and then moved on to reset the hosting account. Once we were able to change the DNS server names, the website went live.
Sukaone has two plans for clients, Digital Assistant and Dedicated Accounts Manager. Once we assess the IT awareness level of a client, we strongly suggest the use of Digital Assistant. For a reasonable fee we are available a phone call away to take care of all your technical needs. Such kind of service is unmatched. Today the online world is a complex maze. People with advanced IT skills find the social media daunting. So hiring a digital assistant is a good deal. Why we charge for tech advise is simply because anything which comes for free is assumed to be un-valuable.
We later apologised to the IT Expert because we had used some harsh words with him. Later we realised that he was just extending a helping hand. Even the client too is not at fault. Today is the world of extreme cost cutting and intense competition. Margins are extremely tight. In such a scenario it becomes difficult to hire a digital assistant by paying a monthly fee. Our digital assistant plans are part of all plans which means they basically come for free as an add on.