Website Backup and Best Practices
Issues might come up any time; don’t think your website is invulnerable to attacks or you can’t lose data you’ve so preciously gathered for a long time now.
But there’s a solution to avoid such issues (or at least minimize their risk). It is called Backup. Backup your website frequently, and you don’t have reasons to bother much about data loss or website crash or your website being hacked.
That’s why making website backups is a must for any website you manage.
We’ll cover all aspects you need to consider so you put in place a backup system that works fine for your website.
1. What is a website backup? Why is it necessary? What happens in the absence of a backup plan?
What is it?
A website backup equals saving all data and files related to your website. You’ll probably update the website, themes or plugins, and in case there are issues with your website, you can revert to the previously saved version.
This is a necessary practice. Website backups have to be performed regularly. They are part of regular site maintenance.
Instead of losing your website completely and needing to start again from scratch, you can restore your website to a previous version from your backup.
Why is it necessary?
Backups are necessary because WordPress might be vulnerable. It’s vulnerable due to its worldwide spread and use, and so it is target for many attacks. To prevent your website from being hacked and target to attacks, you should consider making frequent backups.
What is you don’t have backups?
If you don’t have a backup plan in place, you might find that your website is down, has been hacked or no longer running, and you can’t bring it in place again. Instead, a backup ensures you have a previously stored version of the website, and you can any time revert to that older version, in case something wrong happens to your current website version.
At present, statistics found that about 40% of small to medium businesses don’t back up their data.
But what is a backup plan, in fact?
- It means setting up a certain frequency by which website backups are performed
- It means automatizing backups, so their periodicity should be flawless, without omissions
- It means enabling receipt of notifications when a new backups has been created
- It means storing backups of your website on multiple devices, in case one of them is damaged or becomes corrupted, you also have another source to turn to for backup restore
You have to make an assessment for your website, which then develops into a backup plan (set timing, specify specific cases when it’s needed to make a backup, beside the automatically set timing, select best solutions and costs, be prepared in case of need to restore).
2. How necessary is it to make website backups? How frequently should you make backups for your website?
It is imperative to make website backups. Unless, you run the risk of losing all your work, design and customizations, as well as the content you’ve put into the website over time. So, backups are not just necessary, they are an essential part of website maintenance.
What about their frequency?
It depends on how often you add content to your website/blog.
- For websites whose content doesn’t change rapidly, a monthly backup could be a good solution.
- For websites where you add content on a weekly or daily basis, weekly or daily backups will be a much wiser choice (e.g. ecommerce websites).
- You can combine automated backups (on a weekly basis) with manual backups you’ll want to make in a certain situation (website redesign, for instance).
- You might want to change the backup frequency, depending on how you change the rhythm of website content updates.
What should be backed up for a website?
There are multiple elements that should be included in a website backup. Here are the WordPress site files that need backups (they are mainly divided into database and files, php files)
- WordPress core installation/website code files
- WordPress plugins/add-ons
- WordPress themes
- Images and files
- Additional files and static web pages
- Any website databases
It’s important to make a backup of all files and folders, scripts and databases associated to your website.
Why? In the backup restore process, you’ll retrieve the website as a whole, without needing to distinctly restore specific elements you have to search for and reintegrate optimally into the site.
3. Which are the main tools for website backups?
We’ll start by mentioning some best practices for website backups:
It’s highly recommended that you make a backup at the server level, and not at the site level.
Always backup your website before an upgrade of WordPress, theme or plugins – before any change you make to the website; it’s important to have the most recent backed up version before you make new changes to the website.
The backup service might use multiple storage locations, for security reasons: multiple layers of security and data recovery.
It’s recommended to have off-site backups, not only backups on a website server.
As a rule of thumb (as wordpress.org says): keep at least 3 backups and keep them in 3 different places or forms).
As to the tools you can use for creating backups, here’s a list with the most used WordPress plugins:
- Updraft Plus
- Boldgrid Backup
Install one of them for your website, and activate it. Then, set it to do the work for you: regular backups that keep the site safe, in the long run.