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Back Up WordPress

Back Up Your Website – Just Do It!

Back Up Your Site - Just Do It.Do you backup your WordPress site regularly? Imagine waking up one day and not finding your website on the internet!

To avoid losing your hard work and potential income, you must have a backup stored safely where you can grab it to restore your site.

Last year having a backup saved my site. It disappeared from the internet after I changed the domain name. The first thing I checked was the DNS address because if the name servers do not point to the right host address, domain mapping will not work and no one will see your blog.  In my case, the DNS settings were fine.

My host back then confirmed that my blog was missing.  The most likely explanation was that I inadvertently deleted or moved critical files while tinkering in cPanel.

Risk of Data Loss

Aside from human error, websites can become inaccessible or vanish for many reasons, such as server crashes caused by storms or natural disasters or someone initiating a DoS (denial of service) attack. Or spreading malicious codes or hacking, to name a few risks. A common mistake is to think that a website is too small or of no interest to hackers because it has no payment or credit card activity.

A while back I was a member in a popular advertising program that had 30,000 members and a network of sites. They had located the entire network on one dedicated server. The server suffered a catastrophic failure, and they had no offsite backup.  The owner lost the source of his entire income overnight and the members lost their advertising campaigns and referral commissions.

The statistical probability is that you will thank your lucky stars one day that you had a full backup of your site.

Web Host Backups and Storage Options

My hosting service at the time (I have since moved to a better one) said they would restore my site from their system backup, but it could take a few days, unless I had a full backup available, in which case they would do the restore immediately.

Thankfully I had a current backup in my Dropbox account.  Other storage services to consider:  Google Drive, s3 Amazon, Rackspace, One Drive.  If you are a member at Wealthy Affiliate, you already know their hosting service is excellent.

This post is not a tutorial on backing up your WordPress. There are several methods and no shortage of expertise on the web and YouTube.

Backup Plugin

I used a plugin called BackUpWordPress. Plugins can be a tremendous time saver, especially when managing multiple sites. If you do not have a routine for doing backups, or worry that you might forget, by all means use a plugin that will automatically back up everything on a preset schedule.

Not all plugins will give you a complete backup or include scheduling. Some back up only your files; some back up parts of your database, and some plugins may not be compatible with the hosting server system.

The fact is you don’t really know how well your backup strategy is working until you test it on a testing sub domain, or you need to restore your website.

Cloning and imaging technology is rapidly improving and having an image of your website’s hard drive is emerging as a popular option. Especially as it enables faster and easier system restores, particularly of smaller niche sites.  But time will tell whether this will keep pace with WordPress developments.

A drawback is that cloning captures the image of the hard drive at one point in time, so, as with data files, you need to implement a regular backup schedule and keep your disks in a safe location.

If you go with a cloning plugin, test it from time to time by rebooting the cloning disk on a test sub domain, and make sure the site is functioning as it needs to (not just looks the same).

At the very least, if you are using WordPress, do use the built-in Import and Export Tool to back up the main content of your site.  Although this will not save your theme files or settings, at least you will have the important data and content of your site as a backup.

Restoring Your Backups

Some hosts do not give you the facility to restore the entire website in one go from cPanel though they enable partial backups and restores, and that may be all you need.

Hosting resellers who use WHM (web hosting manager) do not have this restriction. There is no need to use plugins or worry about partial backups as WHM tools enable you to restore sites quickly.

For the rest of us, restoring an entire site can be daunting. Usually you first have to delete all files located in the public html folder. That’s scary. What if your backup file is corrupted, or you mess up?  Some experts recommend creating a sub domain and restoring your backup there as a test before doing so on your main site.

Even if your host performs daily system backups, it does not mean they will provide you with a backup or that they will extract your backup as quickly as you would like. They probably host thousands of sites.  If you have a membership site, do you want your site to be down for a day or two?  Having your own full backup should speed up the restoring process.

Fortunately I use WA SiteHosting and in addition to the other premium benefits, they provide top notch hosting support for all of my needs.

Remember, your backup is only as useful as your ability to restore your site.  If using WordPress, research the latest and best plugins available to both backup and restore your site.

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Comments 10

  • Hi Jude,

    Thanks for sharing experience with us. Blog security is very important every blogger. Though hosting provider provides backup but it is weekly backup. SO, if you don’t have daily backup then you may lose your important data.

    So always keep the backup of your blog.

    Thank You

    Omar Habib

    • Hi Omar, I back up each time I make a lot of changes. As the site grows, I will start doing daily backups. I agree one should not rely on the hosting provider to do the backup; it is always better to do your own backup and have control.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Regards,
      Jude

  • Hi Jude

    Backing up your site is vital, if you don’t, like you say it can be so easy to lose everything! Last year a few of my sites were hacked but my hosting service got it all sorted pretty quickly, they do backups but like Omar said it is only once a week, it is important we do own own back ups as well.

    Very helpful post Jude, thanks for sharing.

    Have a great weekend
    Pauline

    • My hosting service told me they would restore my site in 48 hours but if I had my own backup readily available they could do it more quickly, so it meant the site was back up in 2 hours instead of 2 days. As the saying goes, time is money, not to mention maintaining a good user experience. The big reason for having your own backup outside of your hosting account is if anything happens to your host – fire, storm, DoS attack (as happened to GoDaddy a while back), you would have the capacity to set up your site with another host very quickly and your visitors would not know the difference.

      All the best,
      Jude

  • Hi Jude,

    Coming from Pauline’s blog.

    I learned a great deal of information from your post. It is a life saver when you are prepared for the worst scenario possible.

    I have been using the BackupBuddy plugin. I like the performance and it does it automatically. I never had to restore my site from a zip file. After reading your post i am determined to learn.

    • Margarita, I’m glad you picked up some information from the post. The crucial thing is to keep a copy of your backup outside your hosting account and even your computer. There’s nothing better than knowing you have all your files in your hand (via external USB) and of course hoping you will never have to use it. Whether you can restore your site from a zip file depends on what your host enables you to do. Check in cPanel, in the section called “BackUp”, and also look in phpMyAdmin to see your options. It doesn’t hurt to send in a support question asking them to clarify your options should something happen. Preparation is the key. Knowledge is the power. Applied knowledge is the solution!

      It’s great that you are “determined to learn”. I’m finding it is a never-ending cycle, this continuous learning. Every time I learn something new, it opens the door to tons of other things I don’t know!

      I’ve heard of BackUpBuddy, but as I only have two sites at the moment, I am happy to back up manually. With multiple sites, such plugins would save a lot of time. Automated backups is an advantage because it is too easy to forget or put off such tasks.

      I’ve bookmarked your blog to visit later. Thanks for stopping by.

      Regards,
      Jude

  • Hello Jude great post my friend, This is a topic I cannot stress enough,I don’t think people realize how important it is to run backups daily to secure your content.

    I also wrote an article a few weeks ago on this subject informing people how important this was.

    I think most people think their hosting providers are responsible for your files stored on their servers, well think again. They can only recover your content if you have a TAR.zip backup of your content.

    Now trust me when I say this, most providers will tell you it your responsibly to make backups of your content,it’s true they run backup of the servers but that does not mean they have backups of all the new changes you have made to your website.

    They do internal backups of their servers weekly, but if anything happen in between those backup your files will be lost. The best practice is to do your own backup after any changes you make to your website,after all you are the one who worked so hard on your content so why not have a peace of mind.

    Thanks again for a very helpful post Jude have a wonderful day my friend.

    • Rob, I have bookmarked your site -looks great- and will go back there soon to browse around.

      It is usually best to be as self-sufficient as possible. These days we are relying too much on gadgets and automation. I was shocked when I found out that my 12 year old niece could not tell the time on my analogue clock. I was reminded when I saw the clock image on your site. She can only tell the time on a digital clock. They either don’t teach that in school anymore, or she missed out on that day!

      I’ll catch up with you again soon when I visit your site.

      Thanks for dropping by and your feedback, I appreciate it.

      Jude

  • All image based backups to the network must be full backups. Full system image backups to local or removable storage can be incremental.

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