As a business owner you understand the importance of protecting your investments, your building is insured, your products and the delivery vehicles are insured. Yet if I was to ask you if you are backing up your website?, chances are you wouldn’t know or you would answer that it isn’t. The odd business owner might answer that their hosting company or website designer looks after this for them, but they wouldn’t be sure and that’s all they would know.
The reason you backup your website is simple, imagine waking up one day to find that your hosting company has closed down, your website has gone. Imagine waking to find that your hosting company has accidentally deleted your website, and this does happen from time to time. Perhaps you’ll wake to find your website has been hacked or worse still has been infected with Malware. Perhaps a disgruntled employee has deleted it or defaced parts of it, there are a multitude of reasons, just ask around you’ll soon hear lots of horror stories.
With a properly backed up website no matter what happens your website can be up and running as it was previously in a matter of a few hours, everything will work just as it did before.
The Basics of Backing up Your Website
You need to back up all your files and databases. Your content files are all of the text, graphics, videos, and other bits that make up your website. Backing these up doesn’t just mean making copies of these files. A true backup saves the entire code that was used to create the files. For databases, you need to back up the code that allows you to access the data. If your site blows up, you will have a perfect copy of everything saved.
You should store these backup files in as many places as possible. Store them at home, at work, in a detachable drive, etc. They should be backed up on several different servers as well as somewhere in physical form on a disk drive or CDs. Use an encryption software program to encrypt files so that they can’t be corrupted or used if intercepted.
Methods of Backing up
The traditional method of backing up files is to FTP your files to and from a server for safe storage. However, it takes time to do this. There are now software programs that send the files for you. Some sophisticated programs save time and bandwidth by resending only new files or files that have been changed.
These days, many people choose to send files to the cloud. This means saving them in an encrypted form on the Internet in a secure location. The advantage of this is that your files can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection and the passwords.
There are also backup services you can hire to take care of backing up all of your files for you. If you have many that need storage and you have the budget for it, this is an ideal solution.
Do It Yourself
Your web hosting company may also do automatic backups for you, however, no matter what methods you use, you should always back up your most important website files yourself. This gives you an added bit of protection and puts you completely in control of your website’s data.
Just remember to not make simply one backup and then overwrite it with each new backup, you want a series of backups just in case one becomes corrupted.
How Often Should You Backup Your Website
We backup our clients’ website daily, weekly and monthly. This means that I have a full achieve of backed up websites, which gives me a great deal of flexibility when something happens, I can select from any particular day or week in the achieve so if your website has been hacked and you haven’t noticed, I can go back until I find a clean copy to restore from.
My Hosting Company Does This for Me
Many hosting companies will offer a backing up your website type service, this is often part of the service they provide and many businesses, web designers and IT professionals count on this and do nothing else. However ask yourself what happens if your hosting company is no more? Its servers are down? Inaccessible? How do you access your backups?
The simple answer is you cannot because hosting companies backup to their own servers, so should anything happen and they become inaccessible for whatever reason, you’re backups are useless as you cannot use them.
How Good Are Your Backups
Have you ever tested your backups, can you restore your website from them, that’s the only test that matters when it comes to backups and you should ensure your website can be easily restored from the backups you have.
Over the years I’ve survived hosting companies being down for weeks, hard disk crashes and all manner of things. I’ve learned that some backups are worthless and that often the infrastructure surrounding the actual website can actually stop you moving a website, quickly to a new server. And well, I now utilize this experience to better service my clients, if you are in doubt ask us for some free advice, we’re here to help.
Now go out and start backing up your website, you’ll thank me for it one of these days.