Being Freed
Being Freed
Being Freed

Website Backups

Website Backups can save your digital tushie, so you really want them. But how often should you back up, how, and where do you do it?
Website Backups 101

Why backup your website?

We’ve all heard it a million times: back up your work. 

Mistakes happen.  You might delete data by mistake.  Your host has a slip-up and your files are lost.  Hacker jerks break in and corrupt your site. 

Your website is, of course, supported by software.  WordPress is the core, then you choose a theme, plugins, and perhaps a page builder.  All these bits of software are built by different companies, and they don’t always update at the same time.  Software from two different developers might not work well together, and they break your site. 

If you don’t have a solid backup system and your site goes down, you’ll have to rebuild it from scratch.  This is why website backups are important:  in case of a catastrophic failure, you can easily and quickly get back online in minutes.

Moral of the story?  Back up your website.

When to make backups

  • Before making updates or changes
  • After making updates or changes
  • If you sell a product, have students who need to save their progress, or host an active forum, you might back up weekly, daily, hourly, or in real time.

Depending on how you configure it, you can manually back up your site but you can also schedule automated website backups.

What are you backing up, exactly?

Here’s a basic list, including what you would need to do to restore if you don’t have a backup.

  • Software such as WordPress core, themes, and plugins.  These are available to re-download if you lose them.
  • WP configuration files which pertain to just your site.  These need to be rebuilt if you lose them.
  • Media Files that you’ve uploaded.  You should have these backed up elsewhere, and they would need to be re-loaded.
  • Your database. This is your content: posts, pages, users, etc.  This could be quite time-consuming to re-create.

Where should you store backups?

Redundancy is your friend.  Back up in multiple locations and you’ll know that there’s always a usable copy somewhere. 

You can also save copies on your hard drive.  This will take up some space, but the peace of mind might be worth it.

Most reputable plugins allow you to save backups to cloud storage, and I recommend doing this.  One copy of my backups goes to my Google drive.

Higher-end hosing companies will offer backup options, and they’re a good way to go for one of your backup sites.  How do you know that a hosting company’s backup is a good option?  Look at where they store the backup; it should be on different servers at a different location than your primary site files are stored.  If they’re in the same location, they could both be wiped out in the same catastrophe.  But if one is in Virginia and the other is in Los Angeles, the chances of both being whipped out simultaneously is small.

How to back up website files

There are lots of website backup services out there, and the easiest way to back up your WP site is with a plugin.  How do you decide which backup service is best?  Make sure to choose a reputable one.  Look at their reviews:  how many stars do they have, and how many people have reviewed them?  How often do they update their software?  Is the service free or paid?  How many options are included?  How many places can you save your backups?  Check these things before making a decision for your site.

Backups via your hosting company.  Sometimes this is a good option.  See below for more details.

You can back up your site manually, but TBH why would you when there are free, reliable plugins that will do it for you?

So, what do I do?

I use UpdraftPlus for my site backups.  It is recommended by both SiteGround and Elementor, my hosting company and page builder.  They will send your backup to the cloud storage of your choosing (Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox, or their own Vault), and will even email you the files if you want.

Updraft Plus basic plugin is free, though you can pay to get more features.  Their interface is easy to use and they’re reliable, and they update their software regularly (important, as you know it’ll keep playing nicely with the rest of your site). 

SiteGround, my hosting company, has storage centers located world-wide, and I use their backups as well.  Their system fulfills all the requirements I listed above, so I feel good about using their service.

Both of these backup systems allow me to restore my site with the click of a button.  If one isn’t working properly, I can rely on the other.

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UpdraftPlus

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