Oops…


I debated with myself about whether or not to post this, but given all the concern about internet security I decided it’s necessary.

You may have noticed over the past week that there appeared to have been some issues with my site. I say “appeared” because there was no problem with the site, but it was impacted because of problems with someone else’s.  In addition to my own inspection using the tools I’ve purchased to try to keep this site safe, I also immediately initiated a third party inspection of the site for further verification.

If you don’t understand the details below, just know that there was nothing wrong here.  I don’t ask for, and therefore don’t have, any personal information.  However, there’s always the risk of going to a web site and having your computer / tablet / phone infected because of a problem on the site you’re visiting.  That didn’t happen here either.  Finally, there’s the possibility of problems from spam email.  That didn’t happen here either.

The details of what did happen.

I was previously running in a shared hosting environment, meaning many other web sites were using the same IP address – which is how devices on the internet are reached.  It’s much like living in an apartment or condo – there’s one address per building, with unit numbers for each household – except that on the internet you don’t need to know the unit number.  It’s the responsibility of the hosting environment to keep track of all the sites using the internet address and then get the traffic to the correct one.  In my case – the name is godversusreligion.com – which was one of many names that were using the same numeric internet address.  

So, someone else using that same numeric internet address was sending spam emails.  Unfortunately, that means all of us sharing that same numeric internet address were labelled as sending spam – since the email systems on the internet use the numeric address, not the names.  That meant anyone following this site via email probably didn’t get their email when something new was published, since it would have been blocked by most email filters that you all use.  In turn, that meant a 75% reduction in the number of people going to the site during the past week.

To solve the problem, I upgraded the site to have my own numeric internet address.  This also required a new security (SSL) certificate.  It takes up to 24 hours for those changes to take effect around the world.  Since approximately half the traffic on my site is from outside the U.S., that means some of you are still experiencing issues – since I initiated the upgrade about 18 hours ago.  During this time, the site may be unreachable – due to the IP address change.  It’s also possible that you may have seen something about a mismatched security certificate.  This is because of the timing difference in getting all the changes made.  Finally, as of this morning, due to the changes made – my site has been removed from the spam alert lists and you should be receiving notifications if you follow via email.

That’s what happened.  And with the upgrades I’ve made, it shouldn’t happen again.

Stay safe – and have a blessed day!

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