You’ve heard a lot of talk about the importance of backing up your hard drive just in case something should happen to your computer. There are few things more painful than knowing that all of your precious files have been lost forever. The same holds true for websites. It seems like every day there is a new headline about the latest high profile website crash. Unfortunately, website threats are very real. Backing up your website helps you to safeguard against those threats.
Unfortunately, hackers have become commonplace on the web. While the aim of a hacker may be to steal credit card numbers and other sensitive information, often people hack websites merely to prove themselves or cause trouble. If your website is online, there is always the chance that it may become compromised.
Storing a copy of your files on your computer is a good idea, but should your machine crash, get lost, or fall off a cliff, then your files will be gone with it. Backing up your files remotely is a more practical option in the event that something happens to your machine.
Updates Gone Wrong
Regular updates refer to updated features and increased security, but they don’t always go as planned. This is why WordPress always tells you to perform a backup before updating. Websites have multiple components, including plugins, themes, software, and back-end programming. An awry update to any of these can take an entire website offline for any amount of time.
Malware and Viruses
Viruses, trojan horses, and other malware can find their way into your website even via third parties that are normally safe. You can download them unknowingly with a theme or plugin, or they can slip in through a chink in your firewall’s armor. Having backup files means that you’ll be prepared just in case your site starts acting mysteriously weird.
The truth is that people make mistakes. It’s perfectly possible that an employee or contractor might click a wrong button or delete a necessary file by accident. When you backup your files, there’s less chance that human error will mess up your operations.
Minimise the Damage
Say you log onto your website one day, only to be greeted with an unfamiliar error page. You try again and again, but it still doesn’t come up. You get a sinking feeling in your stomach as you realize that something has gone wrong. You could either a) Go into an all out panic as you try to figure out what went wrong, and whether or not you’ve lost all of your precious content, or b) Become a bit annoyed that you may have to spend some time reloading your website, but you won’t have reason to go into an anxious tailspin.
How to Backup Your site
If by now you’re convinced that backing up your website is the right thing to do, there are a few ways you can go about it.
Find out if your web host provides website backups as service. This won’t give your site any further protection or security, and quite often hosting backups are irregular and can be unreliable.
Contact the person who designed your website and ask them to do it for you. They should have enough knowledge of how content management systems work that they would be able to manually backup your files. They may also offer website maintenance, support and backup plans.
Use an additional “just in case” backup service, like WP Assure. Many of these services exist, so do your research. Some are more cost effective than others, while others have software that’s more or less user friendly.
Install a backup plugin on your site. Some plugins allow you to schedule backups, as well as send your files to cloud services like Dropbox.
If you have a smaller website, you might just choose to compress your files in a ZIP folder and email them to yourself. Again, this works best for small websites. So if the size of your files is bigger than your email provider allows you to send, or if you expect that the size of your site will expand, then look into one of the other backup options.
It’s a good idea to also save a copy of your files on your computer, though you should also do this in addition to one of the other techniques. Having two copies of your files isn’t a bad idea. As the old adage goes, better safe than sorry.
Backing up your site doesn’t take a lot of time or money, and it it’s a worthwhile investment considering all of the threats that exist online. Backup your website today, and avoid becoming one of those anxiety-ridden business owners who must reluctantly restart their website from scratch.