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Site Backups? Why?

Why you should always have a backup of your website

Chances are you invested a great deal of time, money, and effort into designing, developing, and maintaining your website. But let’s face it. The Internet can be a dangerous place: DDoS and brute-force login attacks, server hacks, and SQL injections just to name a few. You’ll want to protect your website, its content, information and reputation.

Even though you have the latest security updates installed on your server operating system, and you’re running the most up-to-date release of WordPress, AND none of your installed plugins have appeared on the dreaded Vulnerabilities Monthly Digest, things happen. Employees accidentally delete pages. Your administrator login gets leaked thanks to a spear-phishing campaign. An email server is compromised opening password resets as an avenue for a rogue group to take over your site.

So how can you recover and restore your website? No problem since you’ve been diligently creating full-site backups regularly. Right?

How to get started

Many of our clients run websites powered by WordPress, so let’s focus on this CMS. Backups can be broken into two categories: database and structure.

Database

Backing up the database is quite simple and will allow you to take piece of mind that all your user accounts, settings, pages, blog posts, and text content can be preserved and easily restored.

While the database can be backed up using server software, one of our favorite methods is a plugin called WP-DBManager. This plugin allows you to easily set up an automated backup schedule, determine the length of time to keep each backup, and even email each backup file to an address you prefer. As an added bonus, it also includes some useful tools to help you optimize and maintain your database.

Structure

While database backups are good, it’s just one part of a multi-step solution. Database backups preserve your data and allow you to quickly and easily restore most the content of your website. But they won’t allow you to restore the look and layout of your website. For that, we need to create a backup of the file structure.

You can think of your site structure as your theme and its related image files and templates. This is likely what most of the design and development effort went into during the initial phases of creating your new website. The structure contains the core WordPress files (PHP, CSS, and JavaScript), plugins, uploaded images, and the theme and template files that comprise the layout of your site.

Most hosts provide file backup solutions, but they likely will need to be configured. These backups should be checked at least monthly to verify that all the files are being backed up correctly and can be retrieved in the event of a disaster.

Another method of creating off-server backups can be set up using off-the-shelf software. WinSCP, for example, can be set to synchronize your website to your local PC. This ensures that you’ll always have an up-to-date backup copy of your website.

There is always the good old-fashioned manual backup strategy. You can do this from any computer using FTP software such as FileZilla. Simply connect to your web server using host-provided credentials and download a copy of everything in your website’s root directory.

Having a developer can help alleviate some of the stress

Configuring, maintaining, and verifying backups of your website can seem like a complicated and onerous task in addition to running your business and serving your customers. Having a qualified developer manage your backups can go a long way toward providing piece of mind that your website is in good hands and can be quickly and properly restored if anything goes wrong. At Weidenhammer, we have the expertise to set your backup strategy quickly and efficiently so you can focus on other things, like executing business as usual, creating amazing content for your clients, and satisfying your customers. Drop us a line.