How to break a website
If you saw on my Twitter, I may have broken my website on Friday night. I lost file and SSH access to it. How did it happen?
This all started with me moving my main domain over to hyper.lol. I thought I could just change all configs to the new domain and it would work. Some things were broken obviously. So I thought the issue was with file and folder ownership. So I change the directory to the site and did this command:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /
To anyone that is stupid enough, don't run that command above. It WILL break your computer/VPS. That command destroys the file/folder perms making your install break. My thought process was that the
/ was relative to where I currently was. That was not the case. At that point, I was unable to login at all. The server couldn't accept my key.
I realized what I did after I typed the command. Luckily, I was still logged in via WinSCP. To fix it, I just went to my root directory and mass changed the ownership back to root. I had to leave it on overnight; however, that still didn't work.
I ended up contacting my hosting's support. After about 10 emails, we decided that these were the best steps to fix this:
- Support would mount a recovery tool. From there, I could access the files.
- Download everything I want.
- Support would unmount the recovery tool.
- I rebuild the server's OS.
That is what we did, and now everything is working once again.
I also did change my domain over to hyper.lol, since I had the chance to rebuild everything.
TLDR, idiot tries to change file and folder perms but messes up the location on the command. Contacts support to fix.