When the web is a critical element for your business, uncertainty cannot be an option. Your website is a precious channel for promoting your brand or your products and, therefore, generating revenue. That being the case, you must take all necessary precautions to ensure your website doesn't go down and stay down. The best and only way to avoid such an unpleasant situation is to back up your website regularly and safely.
Backing up files is a common practice among computer users but you may agree that it is still one of the most forgotten or overlooked tasks. This shouldn’t ever be the case with your website.
To understand how important backing up a website is and to make sure you never again forget this vital task, we will consider three important aspects of website backups;
- Why you need to back up your website
- How often you should back up your website
- How to back up your website safely
Why It Is Important to Back Up your Website
Building and promoting a website is a huge investment in terms of time and money. If something goes wrong and you don’t have a backup of your website, you will have to start again from the scratch.
Simply said, not having a backup of your website is like walking a tightrope without a safety net. In just a matter of seconds, all you have built can be gone forever leaving you with dramatic consequences.
According to a survey by CloudTweak, downtime costs an average of $26 billion a year in lost revenue and an average enterprise loses about $686.000 for every hour their website is down.
Probably your website is not even close to those massive figures but that still gives you an idea of the damage you may suffer in terms of money if something does go wrong with your website. Then take into account the impact downtime has on your visitors. If they try to visit your website and cannot access it, this will negatively affect your reputation and credibility.
Another aspect that must not be overlooked is the effect downtime has on your website’s ranking. Once your website pages are lost beyond recovery, all your money and energy spent on SEO optimization will be gone. Even if you rebuild your website, you will once again have to start from scratch to regain your previous ranking on Google and that could take months if not years.
Therefore, if something happens to your website, you need to act quickly. The only way to do that is to have a backup of your website that allows you to recover all your work in just a few minutes.
Unfortunately, the chances that your website will experience problems are extremely high. Threats are always around the corner and may come in different forms:
Website Hackers. Most often we associate hackers with people who try to access a system to steal money or access private information. However, many hackers may enter your website and crash it just for the sake of causing trouble or simply to prove how skillful they are. Once your data has been violated, there is no way to recover it unless you have a backup. Unfortunately, website hackers are mushrooming and your website may experience several attacks a day.
Malware and viruses. The Internet is full of malware and viruses and new ones are discovered on a daily basis. You may get them in countless ways, even while performing tasks that are usually considered safe. Sometimes they do not crash your website entirely but will make it act strangely affecting, therefore, user experience and performance. To clean your system files may take time and can be a daunting task. Restoring a clean backup of your website is by far the easiest and safest solution.
Hardware problems. When you deal with machines, something can always go wrong. Your hosting server can catch on fire, crash, or something else can happen. A good hosting company usually saves a backup of your files. However, never assume third parties will always take care of your business as you do. Having your own updated backup will give you better peace of mind.
Human mistakes. Deleting a file or clicking the wrong button is an accident that happens more often that you can imagine. The chances of human error increases, even more, when more people work on a website. However, this is not a major problem if you have a backup ready.
Updates go wrong. Several platforms like WordPress, regularly release updates to improve its performance and the security of your website. Unfortunately, it may happen that the fix becomes the problem and once updated your website doesn’t work correctly anymore or crashed completely. If that happens, you would be very grateful to have a backup handy.
These are just some of the most common reason why your website may experience downtime. Sooner or later you will have to come to terms with at least one of these accidents occurring, and when it does happen you must be ready to act quickly.
How Often Should You Backup Your Website
There is no straightforward answer to this question. It mainly depends on the type of website you are running.
For instance, if you only add new content a few times a month, you may backup your website less frequently. For instance, you may decide to perform a backup every time you upload some new content.
However, if you run a website where you regularly work on the content and have a lot of interaction with your users, you must make daily backups.
As a general rule, the more often you backup your website the better. As you will soon see, backing up a website is not a difficult or time-consuming task. Therefore, having a daily or weekly backup schedule is a savvy practice that will spare you a lot of pain down the road.
How To Backup Your Website
Before considering how to back up your website, we need to say a few words about where to store the backup files.
We always recommend to have the backup files stored in more than one place and to use at least one cloud service. Saving the files on your machine or on an external hard drive is a good practice but it is not risk-free. In the case of a hardware crash, you may lose all your precious files.
Therefore, besides storing the backup on a hard drive, upload the backup to at least one cloud service. That will keep your files safe and you will have access to them whenever you need.
Once decided where to store the files, you now have to decide how you want to backup your website. You have 3 main options;
1. Backup your website using cPanel. The cPanel is a user-friendly dashboard provided by many host providers. From the cPanel, you can makes changes to your websites' files and one of the preset functions is to backup of your website.
All you have to do is to navigate to the menu “Files” and click on “Backup”. You will see two options available. You can choose full-backup, commonly used when you have to transfer your website to a different hosting service, or partial backup, suitable for restoring your database on your current host.
Choose the option you prefer and click on “Generate Backup”. Once the back up is completed all you have to do is go to the section “Backups Available for Download”. Look for the file with the latest backup, download it to your machine, and don’t forget to upload a copy to the cloud.
All you have to do is install the plugin you prefer, adjust the settings according to your liking and the system will perform the backup on your behalf.
3. Manual Backup. This solution is more complicated and it requires some expertise. However, this backup gives you more control over your files.
To start the manual backup, you need to access your website files on your web server. You can do that using the file manager on cPanel. Once you are in the website files, you need to look for the root folder labeled “public_html” and download a copy of it. If your website is quite large, you must also download the database. To do that you need to install the phpMyAdmin software and perform the download from there. Once the download is completed, do not forget to upload a copy to the cloud.
As you can see, the manual backup is less straightforward than the previous ones. Therefore, unless you have the needed skills, we advise you to ask for the support of a professional website maintenance and support service.
Backing up your website is a vital task that must be taken seriously. As you can see, you have several options to do that. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what methods you choose, just make sure you do it.
Alternatively, you may decide to ask for the support of professionals. QPSoftware is a leading web development agency in Shanghai and we can assist you in making sure that your website is always running smoothly and problem-free. In the case of an unfortunate event that puts your site down, we can react quickly to restore a fresh and clean backup of your website. Contact us today and we will explain how our services can benefit your business.