Up until the last few days, this website has been hosted on a Raspberry Pi, a tiny single board computer that has taken the maker community by storm. I had loaded the Pi with Raspbian Lite, secured it down and set up an NGINX server running WordPress. Configured WordPress with plugins and a theme and dragged in all my old content from the various sub-domains I had knocking around.
Sounds complicated? It kind of was and took me quite a while referencing several websites to make it all work, but I did get it online and it’s been working well for months. However, the fragility of this setup all became apparent last week. We’ve had the pleasure of my dad moving in with us for a while, along with his two Windows based laptops. I’ve heard of devices becoming a little too hungry for WiFi, but hadn’t witnessed it first hand until now. Essentially, once both these laptops were in use, or at least on, various devices around the house stopped working. We have some house related hardware that uses the router and some other things and some of them stopped working, requiring a restart, for the first time since installation. I decided to restart the router and that is what broke the website.
Broadband to consumer properties is generally dynamically assigned IP addresses so when a router is restarted, the external IP address changes. I was using NO-IP, a means to keep everything connected, but in this case it didn’t. Even though it recognised a new IP address and adjusted accordingly, the Pi had stopped serving. Although actually, it seems like NGINX had stopped serving WordPress because I could still reach the Pi’s dashboard. I tried all sorts of things to get it reconnected, but it just wouldn’t work, so I decided to go back to my domain host and create a new site.
Luckily, I had used Updraft, a backup plugin for WordPress and was able to restore from a very recent backup stored on Google Drive. A few hours later, the site is back in business. It proved to me that whilst serving a site at home is completely possible, I think it’s thwart with peril and can be potentially very time consuming to keep it all together. Knowing me, I’ll probably go back to it at some point…