For those of you who don’t know, I was hacked back in December 2019, only a few days before my birthday (New Year’s Eve!) Talk about horrible timing, right? Well, I was devastated, to say the least. I had no idea what to do or where to begin, so I reached out to my host. Unfortunately, Bluehost, my host at the time, did little to nothing to help me save my blog. I pretty much saw my hard work of months go down the drain. It seemed like the end of blogging for me. However, I was very fortunate to have encountered Skystra, my current host. Not only did Skystra save my blog (and all of my work), but they have demonstrated to be an exceptional host.
DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase by clicking on the link, I may be compensated – at NO additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here. My blogging dreams would not be possible without you, so thank you for your continous support. It means the absolute world to me! XO
Before we get started, I want to say that in no way is this post meant to bash Bluehost. I am grateful to have been able to start my blog with them (at a very low cost!) However, if I’m able to help someone else who might be going through what I went through, regardless of their host, I definitely will. Which is why, I will be sharing exactly what happened to my blog and how Skystra helped me rescue my blog!
How did I get hacked?
In the spirit of changing my theme and layout, I decided to install a couple of plugins to add more functionality to my website. So, I went ahead and installed a few plugins and began activating them, one by one. I was so thrilled and excited to begin using these plugins. However, little did I know, a hacker plugin was automatically installed with one of the plugins I downloaded. Long story short, I installed a vulnerable plugin that helped hackers hack my site. And so, my website was hacked in December.
Lesson learned: research plugins before installing them – even if they are suggested.
Since I was so busy with work and the upcoming holidays, it took me a few days to notice that my website had been hacked. In fact, I realized something was up with my website only after one of my blogger friends told me my website wasn’t opening properly. So, after personally inspecting my website, doing some research, and watching videos, I figured out what had happened to my website. It was hacked and had been infected with malware. A blogger’s worst nightmare.
Hacker plugin: One of the articles I read instructed me to go through all of my plugins to look out for any plugin that may have been installed by hackers. And, of course, there it was, a plugin titled “happy hacking” (a plugin that I did NOT install!)
Deactivating my site
So, I contacted Bluehost and explained to them what was going on with my website. After being on the phone with them for a few hours trying to figure out a solution, they gave me a case # and asked me to give them a few days to resolve this. On New Year’s Eve (my birthday) I received an email from Bluehost telling me that they have deactivated my website due to malware and were not going to activate it until I can prove that my website has been cleaned. What a glorious birthday gift, right? 🙁
Although I was devastated, I didn’t let it ruin my birthday. So, I went on with my day and contacted them again after the holidays.
After contacting Bluehost again, they gave me two options:
1) learn how to remove malware and fix it on my own, but still be in danger of being hacked again.
2) pay SiteLock (a security company) $499 every year to clean my site and keep it secure.
And the other two options I could think of were either to:
3) start a blog from scratch with a different host and lose all of my content.
4) give up on blogging for good.
Truth be told, I hated all of these options. I did not want to be at risk of being hacked again, pay an outrageous amount of money every year, start over from scratch (and lose all of my hard work) or quit blogging.
Although I felt like my blogging dreams were falling apart, I did not panic or give up. Instead of making a decision out of desperation, I decided to wait in God. I put my blog in God’s hands and trusted that he would give me the most convenient solution.
And like always, God came through with a solution.
Right after I explained the status of my blog on Twitter (that it would be deactivated until further notice) a representative from Skystra, a hosting company, contacted me via Twitter with a solution. They offered to clean, transfer and keep my site safe.
Obviously, I was very skeptical at first. Like anyone else, I had a thousand questions and intrigues. What they were offering me seemed “too good to be true.”
So, I researched Skystra, read reviews, and asked the representative (I was talking to on twitter) about a hundred questions. To my surprise, all of my questions were answered in a very quick, efficient, and honest manner. I was very impressed by their excellent customer service. So, I decided to hear them out.
Here’s what they offered:
- Clean my entire site from malware (for free!)
- Transfer my site from Bluehost to their server.
- Keep my site safe.
- No upfront payments for years in advance, instead charge a monthly fee.
- $10 package that includes: WordPress, email, security, ssl, and backups.
- Free first month.
Skystra’s Excellent Service
So, after much consideration and research, I caved in. I went ahead and signed up with Skystra and began the entire transferring process. The move from Bluehost to Skystra was completely painless. All I did on my end was unlock my domain on my bluehost dashboard and send Skystra my logins (through their secure client portal) so that they could take care of the rest. And that’s exactly what they did! Skystra, transferred and cleaned my website all in a day, without me having to move a finger.
Skystra gave my blog a new home, cleaned it up, and has been taking good care of it for the past months. You could definitely say that I am one happy customer! (:
What I love about Skystra
- Incredible customer service – patient, speedy, efficient & helpful.
- How solid and reliable their service is.
- Security & backups are not paid add-ons, they are included.
- My website’s security is in good hands.
- Free and easy migration – Skystra handles everything!
If you’re looking for a host that takes security seriously, genuinely cares about their customers, and provides as promised, you have to give Skystra a chance. Although they are not on the cheaper end, their services are worth it! When it comes to owning a blog, your security should be your #1 priority. I definitely had to learn the hard way.
So, whether you’re a new blogger who’s looking for a trustworthy host, or a blogger who’s looking to switch to a better host, join Skystra and give your blog a safe place to call “home”, by signing up here!
Use the promo code: SKYSTRA100 to snag your free month!
Being hacked or having your website infected is never fun, so I hope my experience can serve of help to others! Especially, if you’re not big on tech. Although this experience was stressful, I am grateful to have found a host I am 100% satisfied with. And of course, I am grateful for all the things I had to learn because of this.
If there is something I learned it is to never sleep on your website’s security. Definitely make it your priority now that way you don’t have to stress about it later!
Until next time,