Implementing a Website Backup: 5 Reasons Why You Need One ASAP And How To Get Started
Website backup solutions is one of those topics that definitely doesn’t get as much importance as it should. While there is always a lot of focus on good web design and effective website development at the end of the day hundreds of website owners forget one component without which you run the risk of losing all your work which is putting in place a proper website backup solution. If you want to preserve and protect your website you need to understand how important backing up your website is and what options are available to you.
Why do you need a website backup solution?
Because storing the original developed site isn’t enough: If your website was developed in a test environment or on a local computer you may think you don’t need a back up since you have a bug free, clean version you can always restore to however that isn’t enough and doesn’t capture anything past initial website development.
- Your website has been modified, updated, changed and basically evolved since it was launched and that isn’t captured in your test environment code freeze
- You’ve had contributed content in the form of discussions, blogs etc and all that isn’t captured in your original development copy
- If you restore to anything older than the last active website your restoring to a website that is no longer relevant and missing a lot of useful content
Because your hosting company may not do it for you: Relying on your web hosting company to automatically backup your website is never a good option.
- A lot of times they may not be backing up your website at all or may not be doing it as frequently as you require
- Many hosting providers though able to provide backup services do not make that option available to all customers
- In case you don’t understand how the hosting providers backup works call the support department and ask questions or contact your web development company so they can help you
Your website could get hacked: The threat of website hackers, malware & virus’s is constant.
- A lot of work goes in to creating an effective website and the last thing you need is to lose all that work and not be able to recover it in the event your website is compromised
- If you have an appropriate backup in place you can restore your website pretty fast and can figure out how to stop future similar attacks without worrying about cleaning up the effected code and files as well as dealing with website downtime
You know employee errors can happen: The truth is employees are human and sometimes they can click on the wrong button or accidentally delete an important data or files.
- Having a backup in place ensure you can restore your website quickly before customers are impacted
- If you’re smart you will also invest in preventative maintenance measures such as initial training and periodic update training to minimize the likelihood of employee errors
We all know updates can go wrong: Sometimes system scheduled or manual updates don’t necessarily go as planned.
- Websites are a complicated network of plugins, themes, software and back-end programs and any type of update to a single one of these can throw your entire website offline
- Ensuring that you put in place a backup to automatically restore to a fully functional website will allow you to buy yourself some time to figure out what went wrong
So now that you understand the why behind backing up your website lets’ look at the how to back up your website:
Let’s start with the most low-tech method which involves manually FTP uploading your files to your local computer. While simple to execute the downsides to this method of back up are pretty steep.
- You have remember to regularly backup your files
- Often times if you are running a large website it can take a long time to complete a backup cycle
- There is no functionality to allow you to only download files that have been updated since the last upload and hence it can cost you both time and bandwidth
- You must always manually monitor the download to ensure that it has been properly completed
- You need to create your own, logical way of managing and storing the backed-up files
Despite the cons however the biggest pro is the simplicity of this method and if you do decide to go this route here are some tips:
- Set up reminders to backup your website and make sure you never skip this task
- Don’t forget to periodically backup your databases as well
- Keep a logical folder structure using the date as a naming convention for all directory names
- Ensure that you backup to multiple hard drives for maximum protection
cPanel is another very easy to use backup method. In order to use cPanel you need to:
- Access your cPanel
- Click on the “Backup” icon
- Click on “Generate / Download a Full Backup”
- Click on “Home Directory” in “Backup Destination” and enter your email address, before clicking the “Generate Backup” button
- You will then be notified via email once the backup is ready
The catch with cPanel backup however is that you have to always make sure that you frequently backup, download the backup to you computer and store it safely. Always make sure you download a copy to your local machine because in case your server crashes all your data will be lost.
Cloud backup is overall the perfect backup package for a number of reasons. It’s an ever-expanding world and quite frankly as error proof as they come. Some of the most popular cloud based solutions are included below however keep in mind that in order to properly use these options you need to find a suitable tool to backup your website files to the following services:
- Amazon S3: Recognized as the grandfather of all cloud solutions this option does require some research and server software installation paired with proper user access ex. CloudBerry Backup Server Edition for Windows users. If you don’t have that access there are other tools on the market for many platforms designed to get your data onto S3
- Dropbox: While not intended as a backup tool, dropbox does prove itself as an adequate backup tool
While the choice of the type of website backup is up to you it is clear that you do need to implement a proper website backup solution in place to safeguard your website and all your work. Don’t make the mistake of putting this off because every day you don’t have a website backup in place your leaving your website vulnerable to all sorts of possible malfunctions and external threats. Speak with your website development team ASAP to backup your website today.