*Editor's Note* The below article discusses the incident as well as what you can do to safeguard yourself from something similar from happening to you if you own a website or ecom store that sells guns and gear.
Another day, another infringement. Our friends over at AR15.com received the boot from their hosting provider, the notoriously anti-gun (and apparently free-speech hater) godaddy.
In case you were unaware, the AR15.com (ARFCOM) website is one of the biggest pro-gun forums in the industry, and they're not necessarily just dedicated to the AR-15 platform rifle. They have plenty of other gun info available on their website.
This is significant for quite a few different reasons. First, even though they were smacked with the hammer they weren't given any reasons as to why, or even how to fix their situation if they wanted to as can be seen by the screenshot from their Instagram page:
Thankfully for them, they had a backup in place, which we'll discuss more in a moment, and were able to get back up and online quickly.
It's also bad because I don't think the timing of this is a mistake or coincidence. If you look out into the world right now, are we really surprised that this happened? No? Me neither. And, I wouldn't be surprised if this is just the start of gun-related, free speech websites getting the boot.
Because I do believe this could just be the start, I thought that I'd give you some pointers if you own a website and are concerned for your site being banned.
This is important if you own a website dedicated to selling or talking about guns, or anything related to free speech. If you do, you should take the following steps to ensure your website remains as safe as possible.
First – I never host my websites on the same registrar where my domain name is. While some may argue that it makes it easier to have everything in one spot, it actually gives you less freedom and more power to the registrar.
Here is an example: If I had my domain name on Namecheap but my website host was Godaddy, if Godaddy decides they don't want my website on their servers and shut it down, all I have to do is point the domain at a different server (and upload the website backup to the server) to have the website back up and running again.
In other words, they may be able to lock me out of my hosting account, but if my domain name is on a different registrar (company) they cannot lock me out of that.
Second – having a backup of your website in a third party location is a best practice and it allows for you to get back up and running a lot faster than if you didn't.
Many website owners only utilize their host's backup service. But this has a few inherent problems. While free, if the host itself goes down or loses the backup you will have to start from scratch. And, again, this also gives the host ALL of the power.
If they decide to shut down your site and refuse access to your account to even get your backup there isn't a lot you can do about it.
There are a couple of options here, the free option is for you to just go into your cPanel (or whatever your dashboard is called) and manually download the most recent version of your website if you're given the option to do so.
Some of you won't have this option depending on how you are setup, but there are also paid services that only cost a few dollars per month that do regular backups for your gun website to give you that peace of mind.
To me, this is totally worth the extra cost, especially if this is your livelihood.
At the end of the day, I don't think any of us have a clue about what is going to happen next. If you're in the industry with a gun site, take the necessary steps to keep your site up and running.
Finally, if you're using Godaddy, stop. You may be next.