The MGA With An Attitude
PRESERVING Your Web Site - WP-105
On 26 November 2008 I wrote the following:
First the problem(s): -- AOL has shut down AOL Hometown, effective October 31. Done with only 30 days notice, lots of people didn't get the message, and several nice MG web sites have been lost. MSN is going to do something similar in February (fortunately with a little more advance notice). Some other servers occasionally vanish or change names with little or no notice. Some registered domain names may occasionally be allowed to expire, resulting in lost web sites. Free photo posting sites often purge photo accounts after a year or so, causing loss of more good MG tech information.
How I know: -- I notice this stuff because I manage the MG Site Ring on the UK server www.mgcars.org.uk/webring which has just lost several member web sites due to the AOL fiasco. My web site www.MGAguru.com has numerous off site links for tech information on other sites. If/when such sites may cease to function, my links are broken, and the tech information is inaccessible. I maintain a list of every known MGA specific web site in my Links section. I also maintain a list of every known MG and all British car club in North America on our local club web site www.ChicagolandMGclub.com. I review all of this periodically to maintain the links lists, so I am quick to notice when things may be lost.
So here's the plea: -- If you have some useful MG information on line, be sure you keep a copy on your local computer, just in case. If you have it posted on a volatile server, like a free photo site (or any free server for that matter), consider posting the stuff somewhere more stable. If your web address is piggybacked on another domain, like www.geocities.com/myMGA, or www.home.earthlink.net/~myacount, or www.myMGA.citymax.com, then consider registering a domain name so you can keep your web address if/when the hosting server might fail or change name (or if you just want to change servers). In general, keep in mind some plan to preserve your valuable information.
And here's an offer: -- I will also stick my neck out to make an offer. While I am not a hosting service, I will often accept MG tech articles or pages from others to post on my web site. On rare occasion I may post part or all of someone's small web site in the Guest section of my site (if it is mostly static information). If you know that some of your MG tech information is destined to disappear from the internet (or already has), and you have no place else to post it, please contact me so I may do whatever I can to help preserve it.
What's already gone. -- One of the more significant losses recently is the Fiberglass Hardtop Restoration by Ian Pearl in Ireland. This was originally posted at http://idpearl.myphotoalbum.com but was automatically purged some time ago.
Bottom line is, protect it or lose it. Keep it in mind, pass the word, ask questions, offer advice. What say you all?
Additionally, registering a domain name is as little as $8 per year and sometimes free with a server account. The personal domain name will bypass the problem of a server changing their domain name, and will allow you to move your web site to another server without changing your web address. It can also give you a permanent email address to keep forever. Many hosting servers also have good mail filters to reduce you receipt of SPAM mail. Many servers now have virtually unlimited on line storage space, so you can not only post anything you like on line, but it also serves as an off-site data backup for your local hard drive (for as much information as you upload to the server).
Back up everything somewhere, and try to preserve your on-line MGA information for all posterity.