Saturday, October 16, 2010

My NEW STORE is Open thanks to Ecwid

Since 3am Sunday 10 Oct 2010 - just about a week - I felt like I was living in Internet Ecommerce Hell!

First, at 3am, I got a Google generated Malware notice that my site looked like it had been infected.

A chill of fear ran through my entire body, everything speeded up and slowed down as, in a nano-second, I could see all the dire consequences of my site coming up on everyone's computer as being Malware infected (not that "everyone" visits my site! LOL! If only!) After running around for a few minutes trying to prove to myself it was a mistake and reading up all the notes that Google had, I contacted my hosting provider (by email): Exabytes.

I gotta tell you, these guys offer fabulous customer service. Some of them, despite it being a shift-work, rotational Help Desk, are just top class. There I am, emailing them in the dead of night (even by their time - i.e. in Malaysia), and they respond within minutes!

The service guy took care of the problem straight-away: checked my entire site and "removed malicious script". It was apparent from the Google stats that I had just been attacked as they had scanned my site a few hours ago and it was all clear.  Anyway, my site was then clean.

I submitted my site to Google for review again (and Google's service is not quite up to the standards of Exabytes as it took them much longer to review and take note that my site was clean.)

Unfortunately, in the "cleaning of malicious scripts" by Exabytes, they must have run some cleaning program coz some code got broke in the process. And thereby .. my hell began.  One problem after another at the site - the worst of which was not no one could add items to their cart.

We went on miserably this way for a week - to and from from me to Exabytes and back.  And mostly, they stuck by me and worked on and on with me - tho in the end, I suspect they gave up.  Despite it being their fault (tho I can understand they will never say that), I don't blame them.

My ecommerce site was run using OS Commerce - an open source software that in most parts, is very robust and efficient.  And I have had a few good years with them.

Nonetheless, there is always a running thread of fear but I guess that is true for all the internet applications and modern technology these days: what if it fails when I most need it?

One thing is very true though - the Hassle of Maintenance is not only arduous, time-consuming, and just a plain Hassle - but it is also Terrifying.  Each time I have to upgrade, apply a security patch, get a new module to integrate into the core software is always a time of crossed fingers and toes.  If anything goes wrong (and with millions of lines of code, the possibility is Big), then your whole system can "crack".

While this was going on, one cheeky yet soothing thought kept running through my mind: "Silver Lining" - but in the face of such disaster (I had just taken out a loan that I wanted to repay asap and I had just expended thousands of dollars on new stock), I could hardly delude myself that there really was going to be a silver lining in this calamity.

In the haze of little sleep and little food and just working on determination, adrenaline, and pure desperation, I went looking for alternatives and after much searching and reading of reviews I found something that looked hopeful.

But that would mean hours and hours of testing.  When things kept going bad to worse at my old site, I had no choice but test out this new found Hope: ecwid (which stands for Ecommerce Widgets). I loaded my items one by one, manually, over the days and nights into my new Hope - testing and tweaking settings. And it worked!!!

Now you can visit my brand new store. I have even taken trouble-free orders from it!  AND it is now merged with my Swarovski and Handmades Product Library so users can easily access Information, Tip and Tricks, Jewelry Gallery and still shop... all at the one place.

And BEST of all?  With ecwid - it is Maintenance Free!  I never have to worry about the back end of patches and security updates and broken code again. Of course it has limitations but even for a fussy bee like me, what it has is More than OK.

So far, I love my ecwid.  And they even offer a free version if you have less than 100 products.  AND it can be integrated easily into Facebook or into any page I wish ... even here!!!

I am so happy that this happened now.  Now I have a maintenance-free ecommerce store.  Now I can once again appreciate the marvelous support from my hosting provider of choice: Exabytes.  And I was also blessed with some friends who gave me their virtual hugs and support. And Now I can relax ... for a few minutes and Smile again!.

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