WordPress Issues, Self-Hosting & Future Plans

[UPDATE 3/17 — I’ve been informed that people who subscribed to the old blog via WordPress Follows can’t be transferred over to the new site. Transfers seem limited to email subscribers. So, I’m afraid any of you who read via WordPress will have to re-subscribe if you want to receive notification of new posts. Unfortunately, the new platform doesn’t seem to have anything analogous to the old “Like” or “Follow” option, and none of the “Plug-Ins” that I’ve looked into thus far are similar. They all center around email subscription. I know some people are not keen on that, so please accept my apologies on the inconvenience. I will understand if you choose not to follow the new blog as a result.

UPDATE: 3/15 — “Houston, we have a problem.” The new site is up, and all the old posts have been moved over. Unfortunately, there are glitches. The main one is that you may have to re-subscribe, re-follow, or re-sign up again, as I’m not sure if the Transfer request that I put in has worked. I remember another blog, Australian Perfume Junkies, having a similar problem when they went to a self-hosting site.

Since I’m not seeing a list of subscribers on the new site administrative page, I worry that many or all of you may need to sign up again, just to be certain. Those of you who are particularly interested in the new Amouage offering, Opus VIII, which was just released may want to do so soon, as that will be the first review on the new blog.

To go to the new blog, you can click on this: Kafkaesque. For your records, the full URL is: http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/

I really apologise for all this, and I hope I don’t lose too many of you. I am seeking help for the problem, as well as for the fact that I’m suddenly not getting email notifications of any comments that have been posted (on either site). Thanks to my Tech Wizard friends, the other snafu of the URL links to all the old reviews being broken and not re-directing to the new site has been fixed. Hopefully, the rest of the growing pains will also be minor and short-lived in nature.

I wish you all a happy Saturday and weekend. On that note, I should get back to the brand new Opus VIII with its fascinating mix of contrasts and contradictions. A new Opus as a new review for a new blog. It seems quite fitting. Happy weekend everyone!]

As some of you realised, the blog was “suspended” by WordPress in the wee hours of the night, and all posts “archived” or hidden. I received no explanation other than a giant red banner across my Administrator’s Dashboard informing me that I had violated WordPress’ TOS (Terms of Service), and that I was henceforth locked out of the entire system. There are no words to convey the degree of my shock, panic, and confusion.

The problem turned out to be a simple name in a caption to my new Tom Ford post that I provided as a source for one of the photos of the champaca flower. I gave the name of a site (which I no longer dare even mention out of paranoia at this point) called MonsterM______________. (There is also a P in that long name.) The site is on WordPress’s automatic red-flag list, and is blocked out of concerns that links to it would lead users to experience malware, viruses, trojans and the like. I certainly understand and commend them for their attempts to protect people.

Just to clarify, though, in my case, I never provided a URL or link, but a mere reference name in a photo caption. It was enough, however, for the system to shut down my entire account within a minute of the post being published. The blog was archived or hidden, I was locked out, and I was greeted everywhere with a big red banner telling me that I had been suspended for violating their Terms of Service. What that precise violation may be, they didn’t say. They merely pointed me to their lengthy TOS page which listed pornography, hacking, and all sorts of inapplicable activities.

WordPress’ red banner did, however, include the gentle hint that I may want to consider taking a hike and hosting my own site elsewhere. To that end, they said they would kindly give me a brief period of time in which to retrieve my files (by means of some complicated, technical gobbledygook that went completely over my head) before all my work would be lost forever.

Thankfully, now, everything is now resolved. WordPress promptly assisted me this morning, acknowledged how inadvertent everything was, and returned the site back to normal. (So you can now read that Tom Ford Champaca Absolute review, if you’re interested.) But last night left a mark.

Those hellish and incredibly stressful hours forced me to do something that I had been thinking about for a while: self-hosting the blog. In simple terms, that means that I get my own url or “.com” name. The blog becomes its own thing with its own site, rather than an adjunct of WordPress. I’ve long hated the current url and name for the site (AKafkaesqueLife), but I had few options when first began. Franz Kafka is too popular, Kafkaesque is too well-known of a literary or philosophical reference, and seemingly every variation on either name was already taken. It’s driven me a little crazy that people call the blog: A Kafkaesque; AKafkaesque; Kafkaesque Life; or any of the other multitude of things that I’ve seen. But who can blame them? Not everyone reads the “About Me” section in which I clarify the issue of the name vs the URL. Besides, in everyday life, URLs generally are a site’s real name.

Things are going to change in that regard. I have registered a new name and a new domain on a new self-hosting site called DreamHost. The url will be very simple: KafkaesqueBlog.com. But everything else should remain exactly the same in terms of WordPress publishing the actual posts.

Nothing should change for any of you as readers. What is going to happen may take a few days, but, fingers crossed, everything should transfer over to the new self-hosting site. All of it, from the old posts, archived information, comments, links, format, followers, subscriptions, and more. (Perhaps that will also fix my current WordPress problem of never getting email notifications of new posts on other blogs. To all of you other bloggers, that is the main reason why I haven’t commented lately on your new posts. I never get emails about them! WordPress won’t answer my queries about it, either.)

All of this should happen behind the scenes, and none of you should even realise anything is different as things move over. If you click on an old post, you should be redirected automatically to its page with the new URL address. You should still get WordPress notification of my new posts, and you can still comment as you did before. However, those of you who follow the blog via an RSS feed or blog reader may need to update the url. I’m afraid I don’t really know how that works.

I’m not going to be doing any of this technical work, as I am an utter idiot when it comes to computer programming. Actually, “utter idiot” probably doesn’t begin to cover it. In this arena — as well as in everything to do with the nightmare of last night, and the self-hosting, domain, registration, start-up, technical aspects — I am wholly indebted to the Temptalia Team.

Christine of Temptalia is a dear friend of mine who walked me through everything starting at midnight last night and for hours thereafter. She suggested the best service for me to start up my own site, and explained the pages and pages of different computing, domain, programming, download, plug-in, and hosting information. She held my hand through my panic at the veritable tsunami of overwhelming technicalities, none of which helped my latent anxiety disorder one bit. (WordPress’ alarming TOS “support” (ha!) pages didn’t facilitate things in that regard, either.) Christine patiently stayed up for hours to help me with all of it, and I’m incredibly grateful.

I’m equally indebted to her husband, Shaun. He is a tech wizard who generously (and totally crazily, masochistically) volunteered to help me with all the programming aspects. He will be transferring everything from WordPress to the new site, and the amount of work involved is substantial. I’m a relative stranger to him, so I’m stunned by his kindness. I honestly don’t have the words to convey the extent of my gratitude for his help, as well as for Christine’s. It will be solely thanks to the two of them that I will be able to give you a new and, hopefully, better Kafkaesque in a few days time.

So, to all of you who emailed or contacted me with concern about my “suspension,” that is the whole silly saga. Moral of the story: never mention a site whose name starts with MonsterM, lest automatic computer systems have a fit and start flashing red. More importantly, be grateful for friends who are always there for you.

Here’s looking forward to the launch of a new Kafkaesque.


26 thoughts on “WordPress Issues, Self-Hosting & Future Plans

  1. Congratulations on the new domain. I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been, but I’m glad it got quickly resolved. Of course, a few hours isn’t quickly enough when you’re left without ANY of your content wondering whether the work you devoted thousands of hours to would ever be retrieved! It’s oddly impressive how stringent the WordPress filters/flagging system is, though! Might have been nice for it to warn you, though, and just suggest that you don’t use that link!

    Congratulations on the exciting next step! I have to say, I’ve been guilty in the past of calling it “A Kafkaesque Life” because of the issue you say – typically a URL and a site name match, and I worried that by referring to it by something else people wouldn’t immediately find it. I think this new domain should help a lot in that regard. 🙂

    • See, that’s the thing, though, I didn’t use an actual LINK! I just gave a name! Plus, that name isn’t on any official watchlist or warning list. When I asked the WordPress advisor what other names I should look for in the future, I was told that “We don’t have a public list of sites that are banned, but we do have checks in place….” I can understand why they may not want to make their list completely official on the one hand, but if they are talking about the checks for the biggest offenders and most well-known problematic sites, then surely that shouldn’t be a problem.

      Of course, I had never even heard of MonsterM-whatever to begin with, so perhaps it isn’t that well-known to the general public. Still, I never violated ANY of their TOS rules as I never gave an actual link!

      • Well then that’s particularly stringent, isn’t it! But still, it must look for the sequence of letters that make up the name, even if it’s not in domain form. Which is still surprisingly rigid criteria. I can only assume they don’t want a Target-like data breach on their hands resulting from people propagating known Spam sites. Or something. God, who knows. The whole thing gives even me a headache, so I’m sure you feel the same way times about a bajillion! Perhaps not actually linking it was the reason they were able to resolve your issue so fast! Although, really, if even *perceived* violations of TOS are enough to get a site taken down, perhaps their warning should provide a little more information or indicate that it may just be a precaution and that barring content which breaks the law or is somehow egregious, you will be able to recover your blog’s content once they investigate the matter. That would go a long way in preventing blogger heart attacks, even if it would still be a huge inconvenience!

  2. I was worried for a moment when I read that you were “suspended!” I’m sorry you had to go through all that stress.
    I’d love to know what perfume you decided to wear either during the fiasco, or once it was all over. I wish you the best of luck with all changes!
    p.s. my love for alahine grows & grows

    • Thank you, my dear. As for the perfume I wore, I didn’t wear a comfort thing but just opted for Amouage’s new Opus VIII in hopes that, should I ever be able to post again, I could review it. I may have gone a little… er… overboard in terms of spraying out of sheer frustration. lol

      As for Alahine, SEE!! Stockholm Syndrome has kicked in! *grin* It’s remarkable how that happens, isn’t it? The damn perfume just wheedles its way into your heart. Either that, or it holds you hostage until you finally surrender and give up the fight. 😀

  3. Oh, my dear Kafka. I totally commiserate and I do have a little understanding of what it means when one’s system or website goes away unexpectedly. It’s more than a bit of Dante’s Inferno and a lot like Paradise Lost. I sympathize with your level of anxiety, hurt, and anger as well. Good, actually GREAT, that you have your own domain now. You also, it seems, have your own set of guardian angels that helped guide you back to Paradise. You’ve touched so many lives with your blog and your honesty, sincerity, humour, and scintillating reviews. I hope you recover quickly from the trauma you’ve just gone through. It was a close call for the rest of your blogosphere as well! Viva Kafka! Viva KafkaesqueBlog.com!

    • You’re going to make me all sniffly, Two2ahorse. Thank you for such a lovely, sweet comment. It means so much to me.

      As for technical issues gone array, I know YOU understand that full well. You know, my friends always joke about how I have a technological curse and how every possible form of device always goes completely wonky on me, but last night may have been taking that curse a little too far! Which is one of the many reasons why your comment about how it is “more than a bit of Dante’s Inferno and a lot like Paradise Lost” is utterly brilliant. It is that, exactly and precisely.

    • Oh lordie, I hear the worst things about Disqus on the AV Club site! As for YouTube, ha, I don’t think that’s very me, do you?

      Plus, given my verboseness, each video may end up being 2 hours long…. 😉 lol.

  4. Ugh, what an awful night. Thank goodness for people who understand these matters, and I feel that all of us who follow and love your blog owe a vote of thanks to Christine and Shawn. See you soon on the new site.

    • Thank you, FeralJasmine. And I’m damn lucky to have friends like Christine and Shaun, along with many of you here who are always so encouraging in supporting me with kindness.

  5. I had similar frequent episodes with WordPress as a blog host and went to a separately hosted site in… 2012, I think. (I continue to have difficulties with WordPress blogs insisting that I use my WP account in order to comment – I notice that this site is making me do it as well.)

    Very frustrating. Good luck with the switchover, and here’s to fewer blog nightmares.

  6. You must have been insane. How can they just lock you out without an explanation? That’s a pretty dumb way to do things. I’m glad you got to the bottom of it and found a solution and friends to help you through it. Odd that they would not let people know what the banned site references are and would instead freeze everything. I would think following the rules is easier when you know what the rules are. Glad you are back on track. 🙂

    • Honestly, I was feeling a little paranoid, like I couldn’t imagine what I had done, to the point where I was surprised I hadn’t been banned from the internet as a whole. LOL.

    • Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully, the transfer will be happening soon, perhaps tonight, in fact. Fingers crossed, nothing will be lost. But if you ever have any problems with the new system, I do hope you’ll let me know. That goes for everyone, actually. 🙂

  7. Thank goodness you are back. These things can be awfull. Very good you are taking hosting into your own hands now !

    • Awww, you’re so sweet, Esperanza. Thank you. Let’s just hope my own “hosting hands” don’t screw up the technical aspects. You have no idea how much of a technical dunce I am! 🙂

  8. What a giant pain in the posterior! I’ve had similar issues with WP – especially about the non-notification of posts etc via email. I can certainly relate to the utter panic of thinking you’ve lost everything. When my system crashed at home, my husband – who is a tech wizard – initially said he didn’t think even he’d be able to recover it. I had years of writing, school work, business stuff, favorites etc etc etc that I could see disappearing into the abyss. I was beside myself. Fortunately he did manage to get it back and now I back up both on a separate hard drive and at an online service. Thanks be for the kind souls who helped you and I’m looking forward to the “new you”.

    • Oh God, if I had been told by a technical wizard that not even HE might be able to recover things — YEARS of work, no less — I think I would have passed out from shock. panic and despair. I’m so glad your husband was able to fix things. I can imagine a little of what you must have gone through, and I just shudder at the thought of it. My situation times a million….. it’s enough to make one break out in a cold sweat!

    • Thank you, sweetie. Let’s just hope nothing gets lost in the transfer from the posts to the comments, etc. Equally important, I hope the subscriptions all carry over smoothly, as I recall some bloggers having problems with that when they turned to self-hosting sites. So, keep your fingers crossed for me. It may all be happening as early as tonight!

  9. The only adjective for your experience is, I’m sorry, Kafkaesque.

    I couldn’t imagine what dark accord, lurking under the sweet heart note your readers all know, could possibly have gotten you so precipitously banished. Spicy, yes, but dark or skanky? Never in a million years. Impossible!

    And it turned out that the fault was not in the fragrance but in the packaging. In the end nobody cares what wrapper the elixir comes in, and the nasty old box is easily shed in favor of a flacon that that will find wide favor in better markets.

    • Aww, what a clever, witty, and utterly lovely comment! “Skanky”… lol…. I did rather start to wonder if WordPress found some of my photos in one post to be “pornographic” under the most conservative definition possible. I was rather beating myself up wondering what could *possibly* have set them off, and I’d starting imagining that maybe it was some of the more skin-focused ones in the Hard Leather review. Or Gisele Bunchen in lingerie. Or the Tom Ford partial nude. Really, I was imagining the craziest things, but all involving some form of “skanky” indecent felony. 😉 I would never have guessed that a simple FLOWER caption could lie at the root of it!

  10. This sounds like just how evilBay operates. I used to sell there not to make money but I just thought it was a way to get rid of good but no longer useful for me stuff. For inexplicable reason, for a small hobby seller like me, they would limit the number of items listed, stop you from listing certain things (allowed per rules) and when asked why, they also threw the “you violated TOS” card and made up where one can find a way to gauge how close one is to violating an undefined something.

    Anyway, at work, we are prohibited from logging into personal emails using company resources (makes sense), certain sites are restricted (makes sense, including Facebook except with if you have business reason) and certain email going out or coming in with keywords or combinations of words are flagged…all these are a piece of cake because pretty soon, every site and every email handle not included in an unpublished white list will be hands off…all in the name of cyber security. Whatever.

    I must not have been up to experience the suspension…had I been awake and viewing your site, I would have panicked because I haven’t yet read all your reviews (ha, you know this in tongue in cheek). Somehow, I managed to make it all about I, me and myself 🙂

    Anyway, all these to say what a crappy way to treat a user and thank God for technologically savvy friends. I am glad you found a solution!

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