I’m sure you backup your website, right? Even if the answer is “yes” it’s probably worth spending a bit of time thinking about how you do it, how often you do it and whether the process needs to be improved.
Of course it’s not just websites that need backing up, it’s all data. I think most people know the importance of making backups and why they should make backups. But I think it’s also easy to neglect your backups, or not to bother and just think everything will be OK or your hosting company will take care of things. I know I have been guilty of this.
For the purposes of this blog post, I will just be focusing on websites built in WordPress. Why is it so important to make backups? And what you need to consider when deciding how and how often you need to backup.
Why do you need to backup your website?
Your hosting company probably says that they provide free backups of your sites, but I would say you need to take responsibility for your own backups and don’t rely on your hosting company, or you may find out that their backups are not done as frequently as you would expect.
There are many reasons why you need to keep backups. Your site could be hacked (i.e. taken over by someone else), your hosting company’s servers may fail, you may accidentally delete / change something. It’s also a good idea to make a backup before doing any updates in case anything goes wrong. Whatever the issue, you need to make sure that you can restore your site to the state it was in before any problem occurred.
How to make a backup
There are many plugins available to make backing up your WordPress site easier. The two that I use most often are All-in-One WP Migration and UpdraftPlus. All-in-One WP Migration is great for doing ad-hoc backups, to a single file that can be saved on the server, a cloud storage service, and downloaded locally. It’s also great for migrating sites, which is particularly useful if you want to use one site as a starting point for another. The free version is limited to sites of up to 512Mb though. UpdraftPlus allows you to schedule automatic backups as you see fit (with a maximum frequency of every 4 hours) and will save the backups to all the major cloud storage services. If you do automate you backups, you still need to keep an eye on them to make sure that they are being done successfully.
Where should you back up to?
It’s important that you don’t just backup your site to the server that it is hosted on. Obviously if there are any problems with the server you wouldn’t have access to your backups. Good places to backup to are your computer or a cloud storage service (the advantage of this is that you can access the backups from anywhere).
How often should you back up?
To answer this question you need to think about how often changes are made to your site. It may be that your site get’s updated very infrequently, in which case backing up once a week may be enough. On the other hand you may run a busy online shop with sales happening frequently, in which case you would probably want to backup every few hours.
Test your backups
It may sound obvious, but I’m sure this is something that most people don’t do, you need to test your backups from time to time. Can you actually recover your site from a backup? Does it recover everything you expect? If not, then it’s time for a rethink.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check my backups!
A Beginner’s Guide To Setting Up Automatic WordPress Backups