Many people choose where to host their website based solely on cost alone, leaving their site vulnerable to poor security at the webhost, or even poor practices and maintenance of their servers. The old adage of “You get what you pay for” is certainly just as true for web hosts as it is for other goods and services.
Another issue is that even if you do have website backups turned on, it could be backing up to the same server on which your website is hosted. Therefore, if the server dies both your website and backups could die along with it. If you’re not sure how your site is being backed up, I highly recommend you contact your webhost to determine what could be done in the case of an emergency.
We recently had a client come to us whose webhost, one of the biggest in Arizona and that we all have heard of, had erased EVERY ONE of their files. They then charged our client $150 to “restore” from their backup, which was also empty, as the webhost had “backed up” the empty folder, and not kept any previous copies. This was disastrous would have caused the site to have to be recreated. Fortunately, they had saved backups themselves, so they were back up in a matter of hours.
Most websites today use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. These systems have 3rd party tools that can allow you to save a backup that you can keep yourself, just in case your webhost has a problem or makes a mistake, or a hacker makes a big mess of your site. Most CMS systems are comprised of 2 parts, the set of files that makes up your website (which can be in the thousands!) and a database that organizes the content of your site. Both items are crucial to backup. For a WordPress site, I recommend UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore, and whose basic version is free.
You may want to keep 3 or more versions, and determine how frequently you need to backup. Have an online store? You may need to backup more frequently to make sure you save as many transactions as possible. Static informational site? Once every 2 weeks may be enough for you.
Where should I backup?
You definitely don’t want to backup to the same server on which your site is hosted. I recommend Google Drive, as it is free up to 15GB which is plenty for most websites. Setting up UpDraft Backups to go to your Google Drive takes a few steps, but it’s worth the effort in case you ever have to do a recovery. Here’s a link to instructions once you have an account with Google or Gmail. If you’re not a techie, call us and we can help you get it set up.
Iron Springs Design is the leading web design company in Arizona. We are experts in WordPress custom websites and mobile apps, and provide consultation and training to hundreds of companies throughout Arizona and the rest of the United States. Visit us at http://www.ironspringsdesign.com.