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Protecting your Data when Web Hosting Services Disappear

As a society we increasingly rely on web hosting services to protect our data and provide it when we need it. We always assume the data will upload to an account, blog service or web page. That is because we always accept that the services will be available tomorrow. However, over the past several years there have been numerous examples of providers that have completely disappeared taking gigabytes of data with them.

Here One Minute, Gone the Next

It is safe to say, nothing lasts forever. The web hosting providers we trust with our data can vanish in an instant. If this occurs you must always have a plan which will protect critical information and allow you to easily bounce back.

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Web Services that have disappeared

One example of a web service that shut down was GeoCities. Due the emergence of free software blogging and free websites, it is not surprising GeoCities disappeared in 2009 when Yahoo pulled the plug. Unfortunately Yahoo did little to preserve the many sites that were on their servers. Luckily, there were third-party efforts to retrieve and save the contents of those websites.

Another instance of a disappearing web service was Windows Live Spaces which was shut down in March 2011. Luckily Microsoft gave users the option of migrating their content to WordPress. Even more recently, as of May 24, 2011, Yahoo’s MyBlogLog was eliminated by the company. Unlike GeoCities, this time around Yahoo provided tutorials as to how to migrate data from the websites.

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Main Indicators of Dying Companies

There are several warning signs you should look for that could indicate the potential for a shut down. First, there is a list of websites and services produced by the Archive Team that are dying. If the site is listed there, it is best to take your data elsewhere or back it up. Also, by reviewing the company’s numbers, some issues could be uncovered. Although financial statements are not always available, following news stories about the company could reveal a great deal of information about their future.

Other Warning Signs

Other signs include the decline in the quality of service, a decrease in third-party support and sudden changes in the terms of service. Basically any strange changes within the company could indicate its downfall. If you notice abrupt changes, it is always best to be proactive and do some digging into the health of the service. Don’t forget to check their customer reviews. Here at Web Hosting Geeks, we have almost 6,000 hosting reviews of the most popular web hosting services.

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Companies can be here one second and gone another. Luckily there are many warning signs that could be indicators of a dying web service. Nothing is certain in life and web services are no exception. Therefore, always keep an eye on the company that holds your most sensitive information.

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