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Why it is vital to have website backups

How many of us can say that we diligently backup our files on a regular basis? Sadly, the reality is that even today, a website backup strategy remains one of the most overlooked and under-utilized precautions taken to protect ones vital data.

Website forums are often crowded with people seeking help to recover and restore their website files. With 40% of small to medium sized businesses not backing up their data and with over 50% suffering the effects of online hacking, all we can ask is “Why aren’t you doing website backups?”

Website backups are undoubtedly the most important maintenance function you can do on your website. If your website is constantly being updated with new content you’ll want to run a lot of backups. A static site that isn’t regularly updated with content will need far less backups. But, the general rule of thumb is “how much data (or work) can you afford to lose?”.

Website backups should be seen as taking out insurance against any hackers, viruses, hardware failures or human errors that could occur. Protecting your business from any possible outcome and easily undoing any damage done. Not investing in a security plan for one of the most important assets of your business may be risking its success.

Why you should backup your website

Hackers
Today hackers have become commonplace on the web and although you don’t feel like you’re one to be targeted, hackers are often malicious and are likely to attack even the smallest of websites.

Hardware failures
Storing all your files in one place is not the smartest move. Should anything happen to that machine all your files will be gone with it. It is always best to backup your files remotely and preferably in more than one location.

Updates Gone Wrong
Regular updates result in updated features and increased security, but they don’t always go as planned. Websites have multiple components, including plugins, themes, software, and back-end programming, and an awry update to any of these can break and take an entire website offline.

Viruses and malware
No matter how careful you are viruses, trojan horses, and other malware can often slip in through the cracks. Having backup files will ensure that you are prepared for any sudden website malfunctioning.

Human error
Regardless if you’re an expert or an amature, the truth is that everyone makes mistakes. And no matter who makes the change and how perfectly harmless they may seem they can often cause major conflictions with a websites software or plugins.

Smart website backups

If some backups are worse than having no backups at all, what is the correct backup strategy? Here are four measures to ensure that your backups have been done successfully:

Location, Location, Location
Your backups should be stored offsite and not on the same server as your website. Not only do off-site backups help protect your data from attackers but it also helps protect against hardware failure. If your web server hard drive fails, you can easily lose all your data, the live site and the backups.

Decide on the best backup schedule
It is often rule of thumb to backup your website as often as your website changes. However the more dynamic (how often changes are made on the site, the website type, the software and plugins used) the website is the more often it should be backed up. You can automate or schedule your backups to happen at the quietest time of your website as to avoid any disruption.

Testing your backups
The biggest mistake that people often make is forgetting to check their files after they have done a website backup. Testing is imperative to ensure that your files aren’t corrupt and that your backup contains everything you need to do a full restore of your website.

Backing up your backups
Your backup strategy should include redundancy, having at least two copies of your website files. This might seem a bit over cautious but if you aren’t 100% sure the data will be there when you need it, what’s the point of making backups in the first place?

So there you have it. While there are a few key issues to consider when making your backup plan, they should be followed. They are important security measures to protect your website and its data. No one plans on the worst happening, and it may never happen, but if it does, at least you are prepared.

If you are still unsure on how to get a start on backing up your website or don’t have the time to dedicate to this, contact us today. We provide all the support you need to keep your website up-to-date, backed up, secure and if you need help with little fixes on your site, it’s all included.

 

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Paula Gries

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