24th June 2013
When, why and how to back up your website
So to start from the beginning, your website basically consists of files that are stored on a web server, and yours may only be one of many sites that are stored on the same server. Web servers are computers that run 24/7 – but they are machines that can and do fail. Good hosting companies use reliable servers with backups but they do not guarantee 100% up-time or 100% reliable storage for the files. As a result, if there is a server problem, you cannot be certain that your website will be working properly or that you will be able to get your website back.
Also, before making any major changes to your website it is a good idea to run a backup – just in case something goes wrong. You can then easily go back to the last working version of your site.
There are two basic ways to make backups:
- Manual backups. Simply download all files with any FTP client and create a backup copy of all databases the website uses. If you want to make this process quicker you can compress all the files first and then download the compressed archive file.
- Automatic backups. More and more websites nowadays are built on content management systems and most popular systems, like WordPress or Joomla, can have a backup system added to them and then use automated methods which make the process very easy for you.
So as long as you maintain a systematic approach to backing up your files you will have the security you need. Make sure you set up a routine backup often enough – daily, weekly or monthly depending on how frequently your content changes. And make sure you run full backups – that is everything on the server including all your email accounts, databases, public HTML files, sub directories, log files etc.
Lastly, it sounds obvious but worth mentioning, never just leave your backups on the server as they can also be lost if there is a server problem. Make sure you download backups to your own computer, a completely different server or to a local network, where they will be safe.
If you have any questions please contact us.