February 15th, 2017, managed to bring to me one of the biggest This Bloody Sucks Moments.

Why? Going to Avarthrel website just gave me a random “page suspended” error.

I started digging my emails, and apparently, some time prior, the webhost INT2000 suffered a mass hacking incident related to cPanel. I tried to reset my password, but the process failed. I contacted the support immediately. 6 days later, the webhost confirmed that my website had been sending boatloads of spam. They restored the access, I ssh’d in – woop de do, the site root has bunch of phishing garbage.

This incident made me feel extremely vulnerable.

Just a night or two before this happened, I was actually having a nightmare. Did I remember to actually pay my hosting bill? And holy crap, I don’t even have a full backup strategy, and none of my backups of that site have gone offsite. Damn. I really need to build that system, right?

So I woke up, and as I remembered that dream, I went to actually build that stuff.

And the damn website was actually gone.

It was actually gone before I managed to make that full backup.

Oh, and worst of all, Wayback Machine backup of the site is spotty at best.

Now, I didn’t have a whole bunch of stuff on the website to begin with. But this definitely means that I’m doing two things:

  1. Drupal and MediaWiki will be gone – apparently, stuff hidden in a CMS or wiki engine will be too darn difficult for Wayback Machine to process reliably.
  2. I’ll move my writing blog here, to Beastwithin.org.

So this blog – Winterly Scrivenings – will be my centralised writing blog, not just covering Avarthrel but other writing projects as well. It’s actually something that I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, because while Avarthrel is kind of a big writing project of mine, it’s not the only one.

Like beastwithin.org, Avarthrel website will be running Jekyll in the future. I already got rid of Drupal on beastwithin.org, and migrating avarthrel.org will probably be relatively easy.

Eventually, I’ll also get rid of MediaWiki; it’s been a fantastic piece of software, but I think that under the circumstances, I need something that I can just stick in a Git repository, just like the Jekyll websites. I have this crazy idea in my head that I should turn the Avarthrel Encyclopaedia into a massive Scrivener project that could then be exported in various ways for web publication.

I still believe Drupal is a fantastic CMS if you need a coherent, granular and data-oriented system for organising your material and if you are constantly updating your website. However, it has drawbacks: it’s not exactly the most ideal CMS for distributed backups (static site generators like Jekyll are at advantage here, because everything is built out of site source code and source code is trivial to put into a distributed version control system like Git), have a lot more moving parts, and have a lot more attack surface so you need to stay on your toes for system updates. As avarthrel.org didn’t get a whole lot of updates, it was at risk. I genuinely thought I wouldn’t be bitten if I just take a break of a couple of monts. Bullshit. Breached.

Anyhow – the writing blog is here now. Images and such will likely to be broken until I manage to mess with them.

And rest assured, with this new software fully in place, there will be actual relevant content here too! You know. Eventually.