Marc Your Author

Keeping legacies alive

Keeping legacies alive

The year was 2006 and life was busy, I had just moved back into my parents home with my future wife, and we were in the process of organising a move to the other side of the world. In the midst of this I received a phonecall from a friend who would not usually call. My memory of the phonecall is hazy but the meaning behind whatever words were spoken were clear. He was gone, a mutual friend had unexpectedly passed away.

That friend was Kevin, aka “Cosmic Fool”, he was a moderator on a forum I was running at the time, and we shared a mutual love of sci-fi. He was also a great writer, and wrote about his passions on his website Fools Paradox. He was in the process of a massive site re-write which would sadly be lost, but the existing site contained extensive writings about his faith, and his passion for sci-fi and fantasy.

Somewhere in Hertfordshire there are some trees planted to his memory. The website for the woodland trust who planted them is either broken or is blocking requests from overseas, so I can’t see it. I have not been able to visit the wood, but from what I can see online it looks very peaceful.

As time moved on, a group of his friends and I became concerned that the hosting package behind his website was nearing the end of its contract, and that would mean the site and his writings vanishing forever.

At that time the domain ( still had some time left, so we registered an alternative ( and used mirroring software to make a copy of the publicly visible files for the website, re-hosting them on the new domain. Eventually the original domain expired, and due to some pre-planning, and luck, I was able to prevent the domain falling into the hands of domain squatters and acquired the domain for the re-hosted site.

Almost 18 years on I am still hosting that site, no changes of course beyond those required to keep the lights on (ssl is more of a requirement these days, and CSP policies break iFrames, so that had to go). Coz’s online legacy lives on.

As I moved it to the latest hosting platform along with a bunch of other websites I noted that the last update Coz made was dated 19th April, which was at that point a couple of weeks away. It seemed fitting to talk about it here.

The second legacy website I am hosting is Steve Bradshaw, Photographer, a portfolio website for my late brother Steve, who was taken by Cancer in 2016. Being the family tech support person I was already hosting both the site and domain. Our dad was a professional photographer before he retired, and while I had a brief time in the family photography business I moved into a career in tech. Steve became a successful commercial professional photographer and many of his images both personal and professional can still be seen on his website.

Legacies in the digital age are an interesting topic. Which social profiles will stay online for years after one’s passing, which will become “in memoriam” profiles, and which will disappear altogether. Many people don’t think about the implications until it’s too late, and many services don’t consider what happens, or should happen to a users profile and data when they have passed away.

There isn’t a single easy answer, but it’s something we as digital citizens need to think about, and something that tech companies need to consider when building their products.