Nobunny panic. We can has one. I promise! But plz to read, everybunny, it’s important.
Okies, so… we’ve been getting hammered intermittently by hackers. I’ll spare you the details since most Cheezpeeps aren’t much into technical stuff, but here’s what it adds up to: when they attack, they slow down the whole site by hitting the same page on the site repeatedly at high speed. There are no resources left for Cheezland to function normally. It’s coming in waves, and things seem normal between them.
This is highly unlikely to be a personalized attack. Apparently several million (!) hacker attacks occur per day – depending on how you count, even many times that. If you want more info on what hackers gain from attacking WP sites, click the link for a good article on it.
We’ve been working with our hosting company. They’re trying, we’re trying. We’ve taken several steps that have helped, but they haven’t been entirely successful. We don’t have infinite options, and my skills are limited.
Possibly we can keep going with irregular periods in which they swamp us, but I doubt anyone wants to be uncertain whether they can reach Cheezland on a given day. There’s also the risk to personal info (admins and mods can see the email address you use when you comment, and also your IP address – we don’t do anything with it but it’s automatically saved). And possibly the site could be vandalized, defaced, or entirely destroyed. It can then be used to attack other sites, along the lines of a computer that’s been infected with a virus.
Please take note of this: putting in your name and email address to leave a comment isn’t logging in and does not require a site account. Cheezland is NEVER going to ask you for a password.
I’m also going to increase the frequency of backups.
We can take a fairly extreme step that will keep our community intact and make sure we have a safe playground still, but I need your thoughts on it.
This site is going to be seven years old on August 14th. That is impressively old for a website – most don’t exist nearly that long, or at least not without periodic massive changes. Over time, there have been plugins, like apps or small add-ons, that have done good things (or less good than hoped) but have since been abandoned and not maintained by the creator, or we no longer needed them. They usually do not go away cleanly, they leave bits of themselves scattered around. We also have 19,000 posts and over a quarter of a million comments and 14,000 images. Really! The attic and the basement and that cubby under the stairs and the back hallway are all cluttered, piled with so many dusty boxes that only CC and BC know what’s in them all.
I do not want us to lose any of that history. But I also want us to have a present and a future as a family with a safe home online, and I don’t want to risk the history to a successful hacker attack.
So I’m going to suggest this:
Jackie and I will register a new domain, something easy to remember. It won’t cost much to get the domain, and we won’t need to pay for extra hosting or anything. I will create a new site there, where we can play in peace. Maybe it will take another seven years before anyone finds us to harass us! And when I do that, I will archive the current site: I will close it all down so no more content can be added, but it will still be there to visit and look through old posts for reference or nostalgia (possibly on a separate part of the new site – I’ll look into the best approach). I will not allow it to be lost.
The present and the future can take place in a new house, one with up-to-date wiring and plumbing and all, instead of some jury-rigged patchwork repairs here and there that cause maintenance headaches.
Obviously we don’t want to have our irregularly-visiting Cheezpeeps arrive to find a locked-up house. We also do not want to be followed by automated bots that can read text and get the new link. So the last thing to go up right here will be a picture that includes the address of the new site. Bots generally can’t read lols, but Cheezpeeps have some experience at that.
Jackie and I feel strongly that the best approach to give us the most stable site for the future is to wind the clock back a bit.
- We’ll start clean and fresh, not importing that immense amount of history. We won’t lose it. It will all be safely available. That matters! We just won’t be active in the same place.
- No more forums – they’re based on a plugin that isn’t as well-maintained as I would like, and if something is happening that could best stay pinned where people can find it for a few days, we have a couple of other options. Mostly that will mean asking a mod to step in and add a “sticky” post. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but between me, Jackie, annipuss, maryqos, and puddy_tat (and I’m open to distributing other whappity spoons, maybe someone more West Coast North America will volunteer?) there’s generally someone around.
- I won’t install the rather heavy plugin that allows logging in directly from a WordPress account, which means also no getting notifications of replies to your comments. Daily digest of posts will still be available, since that comes from a different source. This plugin can slow things down and is a potential security leak, despite having a few handy features.
- The whole site will have as little extra stuff as I can manage, which means less that can break. After all, the whole point of Cheezland is the people, whether human or furry, and the lols, not the bells and whistles. (But so many people requested the burger likes for comments that I’ll try to keep those!)
We could move the entire site, exactly as-is, to a new domain and just continue on. It wouldn’t be seamless. Internal links that point to locations on the site would all break, because the domain name would be wrong, although possibly I could find tools to more-or-less fix that. And we would have the same clutter and maintenance headaches and glitches that occur now, just without the hacker attacks and maybe with less spam for the blocker to catch.
It probably wouldn’t be worth just transferring as-is. Cheezpeeps look back and remember our history and our loved ones, but we keep moving. New comments on any post over twenty-four hours old are uncommon, and I can only think of one Cheezpeep who regularly does so – and that’s still only on quite recent ones. A redone new site should make everything run more quickly and reliably, and that is more useful, I think.
We’ll continue the current schedule, but I do have to remind peeps that I am deeply grateful for either captioned lols or caption-me photos as often as I can possibly get them. We’re running heavily on the storehouse of lols created by some peeps on ICHC, and I’m down to only three with any left… and they won’t last forever. (Well, possibly Maryh Cookie’s will…) I know life gets stressful sometimes (I can relate!) and it’s hard to think of funny things to send in. I’ll keep going even with classiclol reruns for as long as anyone is still coming here. But new ones are always great. To the peeps who do send me things to use, thank you with a muchness!
Okay, folks… thoughts, please? I do the maintenance and set up posts but Cheezland is a community. I can give you my recommendations but decisions shouldn’t be just up to me. You have a voice in this too. What features of Cheezland do you consider essential? What can you live without, especially for increased speed and reliability and safety? Do you have any other thoughts on this?
Cheezpeeps have clung together to ride out rough spots before. I have absolute faith that we can make it to the other side of this one intact! I will do everything in my power to make sure this family has a home!