Geelong and District web site – needs your help

Really Really SadThis emoji doesn’t even start to demonstrate the way I’m feeling at the moment!  To say I’m totally gutted that 25 years of work has been wiped off the Internet through no fault of my own would be a major understatement.

It’s not lost – just not accessible – I have the complete database with almost 1.8 MILLION entries on my own desktop and of course backed up off site.  I have a slightly older copy of the web site and waiting for the company concerned to return my USB with a complete copy of my web site.

And that’s where I need help

STAGE 1: I need technical help to get my older version Joomla web site and large SQL database together with my domain name up and running on a DIFFERENT web hosting site.  I have sent out emails to some contacts who may know someone who knows someone who could help.  At the moment I don’t have the money to pay for such help and am planning to do some crowd-funding to help with that.

But of course I can’t even start the funding process until I know how much Stage 1 would cost.

THE CURRENT PRIORITY – STAGE 1

STAGE 2: I also need to get funding for Stage 2 which is to convert to the latest version of Joomla.

THE BACKGROUND – if you want to spend time reading it …

How did this all happen?  Well I certainly won’t be disclosing company names until I have my USB returned with a complete back-up of my ‘current’ site!

  • Just over 25 years ago I started compiling local indexes into one database which was available at the Bellarine Historical Society – on computer and in hard copy
  • 1993 – added this database as static data on an HTML web site hosted by a local company – Company A
  • Company A disappeared so I created my Domain Name and web site hosted by another local company – Company B
  • Created a searchable database with the help of this local company
  • Company B was taken over by Company C
  • Company C was taken over by Company D
  • Company D was taken over by Company E
  • Company E was taken over by Company F
  • I continued to automatically pay monthly invoices sent by Company E but controlled by Company F.
  • I was told that Company F wanted to get rid of Company E‘s server and wanted to transfer all users over to Company F‘s newer server.
  • I spent some time testing my full web site and database on the new server – gave the go-ahead to transfer – and then WAITED.
  • Was then notified by the techo at Company E that Company F had cancelled to transfer of the remaining users.
  • In the meantime I had been trying to do a full back-up of my database and web site but it kept stopping part way through – realised it was a problem on the Company E server.
  • Until March 2016, Company E was still functioning and whenever there was a hiccup on this older server, the technical support would fix it – usually within minutes.
  • March 2016 – tried to contact the technical support only to be told the staff from Company E had been ‘let go’ and I would need to talk to technical support from Company F.
  • Since March 2016 I have been trying UNSUCCESSFULLY to contact technical support staff from Company F.
  • The automatic monthly payments have continued as have additions to the database.
  • Familiar story?  Between 2 and 5 hours at a time waiting on the phone to speak to a technical support person.
  • Problem?  I didn’t have a Company F Customer Number and without that I couldn’t speak to technical support!
  • Night times and weekends since March 2016 – hours and hours on the phone with no progress.
  • Week after week I would fill in an online contact form for Company F – received an email with a Reference Number and then received a follow up email saying I wasn’t a customer!
  • Then before Christmas Company F told me via email that my web site was too large and if I didn’t reduce the size it would be shut down!  I couldn’t even access it!
  • So, more intense efforts to speak to technical support – the emails they sent couldn’t be read in any email options I had – Outlook, Gmail etc. etc.  I eventually downloaded a free file reader so I could at least view the email – chock-a-block full of html code which I had to strip to try to read the email.
  • Every effort to speak to someone at Company F hit a brick wall because I didn’t have a Customer Number with them.
  • Beginning of January – my web site had disappeared from the Internet.
  • More ridiculous hours spent on the phone and eventually received an email from technical support explaining my site was too big and I had to get a Company F Customer Number and transfer my web site to their new server – it appears that with only a handful of Company E customers on the old service they decided to pull the plug.  I argued that it wasn’t my job to transfer it as I had already approved the transfer back in March when they sacked their employees.  Apart from that I didn’t have a copy of my web site as they had prevented me doing a backup.
  • I foolishly agreed to become a Company F Customer – it was going to cost me less that what I was still paying for the Company E service and they would have my Domain Name transferred and my web site back up and running on their swanky new server by MORE THAN A WEEK AGO – they would send me an email the day after to update me on everything.
  • So I waited, and waited and waited – no email.  On Australia Day I spent more than half a day on the phone trying to get answers.  And I finally got an answer …

WE CAN’T RUN YOUR WEB SITE – IT’S TOO BIG AND NOT PART OF OUR CORE BUSINESS

  • Why didn’t you tell me that a few weeks ago?  The answer was basically … wanted to sign you up as a customer.
  • They agreed to send me a copy of my web site and database – I had to send them a USB with a fully paid return post bag so they could sent it back to me, then I should go and find another web hosting company that was in the business of hosting web sites!
  • Express Posted and waiting for the USB to come back.

multicrysadAnd this is how I feel now!

And I definitely need some help … Please.

If the number of people who have emailed me complaining about not being able to access my database were willing to contribute, it would be easy!

Thankfully my blogs etc. are not with Company F

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