Blog : Normal service will be resumed

To my dear readers, it’s probably worth explaining why there’s been little in the way of updating and activity on here over the past few days. A couple of weeks ago, AROnline ground to a halt and, after doing a little investigating, it looks like the site back end was attacked (or hacked – call it what you will) in such a way as to render the database the site runs on unusable.

That brought the site down, which meant that, for a full day, AROnline became AROffline and all you’d see here is a white screen. Not good… I managed to restore the site and databases from a backup, which saw the site up and running again, but with limited functionality – so after some tinkering with the databases, I managed to get it all up again.

However, since then, it’s been impossible to update or edit any posts and so I’ve had to call a halt on any further contributions to the site while we investigate further. Having spoken to our hosts, we’re going to have to download all of the databases that AROnline is built upon, repair them locally, re-upload them as new ones and then see if we can kick-start AROnline back into action based on that.

Our tech says, ‘the issue can be also caused by the fact that the [WordPress] blogsposts table contains 191,025 rows and the total size is 478MB. Please be advised that this is a shared hosting environment/SQL server and, due to the large size, the SQL server might not be able to repair it. You may try to reduce the table size or get in touch with a MySQL specialist so he can advise you on the matter if you are not sure how to do this.’

As we’re approaching our 20th birthday, this is going to be a slightly worrisome process based on the fact there is so much information on this site… I’ll keep you posted.

Keith Adams


  1. Hi Keith
    Since the Comment stuff is still here, I guess it’s OK to use it. Some people are just bastards; what’s the point of hacking a website such as this? Hope you get back to full operation soon.
    Cheers, Paul, Austin Maxi RTY 265N & others

  2. Yeah, it’s worth saying that nothing’s been lost and everything is safe. You can still read and comment as normal. And as you can see, I can add new posts. What’s not working is that I can’t update any existing posts, which is a big part of what makes AROnline useful – I can keep adding new stuff to existing stories as it comes in.

    • Nope – it was the blogpost table of the main ar database that was affected. That is all. If anyone wants right to be forgotten, WP has a nice button that manages that for me

  3. The test card! I’ve not seen that in years. Your site really does take me back to my youth, in the English Midlands in the 70s.

    Really sorry to hear about the hack. As Paul Bennett above says, why? It’s not like the hacker can profit from it. Glad to hear everything is safe though.

    If you need funds for the repairs, have you considered setting up a GoFundMe page, or similar? I’d quite happily chip in. I’d consider it fair payment for the entertainment I’ve got from reading your writings.

  4. And while the test card might be British, the TV set is actually Australian, as evidenced by channels 0 and 5A on the tuning knob. (In addition to cars, one of my other interests is television.)

    • Same here, I’ve been interested in television for a long time.

      Recently I’ve managed to collect up a few 1980s sets & quite often watch old TV in films on them.

  5. Sorry to hear about the hack. The figures quoted (191k rows and total size ~500 MB) are pretty small in database terms. The company here ( quotes a maximum of up to 20 million rows in a table or 1GB for total table size so you are well within these limits. What’s more of a concern is being part of a shared database environment if other users are taking up a lot of the total database space. Moving to a dedicated environment is a way out which will cost more £££ and a lot of migration hassle. Good luck with fixing it….

  6. Is this the first time in nearly 20 years that the site has broken down, hack or no hack? If so, that’s a pretty amazing record! Imagine if a car was as reliable, (especially a BL one!) the AA would be out of business!

  7. Nice to see the site back in operation with good new content since I last visited – keep up the good work!

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