Backups aren’t optional when it comes to a secure website.

The Importance of Website Backups

Backup aren’t considered a priority with many website owners, even though they should be.

You never know when files could be compromised or a virus infiltrates your databases. If you don’t have a reliable backup ready, you have to start from scratch.

It’s not as simple as just pressing a backup button. Spending a few extra minutes or even hiring a web services company to handle your backups is vital to keeping your site secure and running.

Why You Need Onsite And Offsite Backups

Many premium web hosting plans include at least onsite backups. This is a good first step, but you need two types of backups before you’re safe.

Onsite backups are stored in the same location as your website. These are ideal for quickly restoring files, especially if you’ve accidentally deleted a file or a database was corrupted. But what happens if the backup location itself is compromised? For instance, what if there was a fire or water damage? Your backups would be ruined. The same thing could happen if the backup server’s hardware fails.

Offsite backups work in the same way, but they’re stored at a different location. Cloud backups are a popular example of an offsite option. The main problem with these is sometimes it takes slightly longer to restore your files. A minor issue though if your website just met a quick catastrophic end.

Both types of backups are your protection against unexpected viruses and system failures. You get hit one day and you’re able to quickly delete the infected version of the site, restore from a clean backup and continue running your site with minimal downtime.

You don’t have to rely upon your web host though. You can take matters into your own hands. Schedule backups yourself, both onsite and offsite. You can also work with a website maintenance business who will do all of this for you and ensure everything is backed up properly.

Depending on how often your site is updated or tweaked, you should consider daily or weekly backups. Remember, you don’t want to lose any information. It might seem paranoid to backup your site often, but it’ll save you time, money and major headaches should the worst ever happen.

Back Up Databases And Files

Do you really need to backup everything? The answer is yes. Some sites only have backups of the core design, their databases, their blog posts or certain files. They backup what they feel is most important. The problem is you need all your files and databases to fully restore your website if it’s hacked, corrupted or destroyed by a disaster.

Why is the database important? It’s the heart of your website. For instance, WordPress states the database includes every post, comment and link on your blog. That includes not just posts themselves, but pages. If you have a membership based site, you also have a database with all the user information.

Always include your databases and important files in every backup. If your backups are extremely large, you may be able to leave out data from plugins such as analytics data. Remember, if you’re not comfortable losing it, back it up. WordPress recommends keeping at least three backups at a time of your files and databases.

Run Validity Tests On Backups

You hope you never need a backup, but what happens when you do and suddenly, the backup doesn’t work? You have to run validity tests on backups to ensure they’re not corrupt in anyway. A small glitch during the backup process could render a crucial portion of your database unreadable.

A simple way is to restore the backup to a stand alone test server or create a second WordPress site on the same server. Some hosts handle testing for you or you can just set up a second test site to work with. The process of manually uploading your backup can be time consuming. It’s why many site owners opt to have someone else test the backups for them.

You don’t have to run validity checks on every backup, but it’s a good idea to do it at least monthly. For sites that change often, more frequent tests may be necessary to ensure nothing is lost.

Conclusion

Whether you do the backups yourself or have someone else do it for you, backups are just another important part of website security. It’s always better to be prepared than have to start over if you ever do get a virus on your site. Imagine how many visitors you’d lose if your site was down for days, weeks or months as you tried to recover without backups.

Managing backups on your own sound like far too much work? Don’t worry. Let FatLab take care of all your backup needs so you can focus on running your website.

Image: Jaymis Loveday