When I was a web design teacher, I always told my students to keep a backup of their homework and any projects they were working on, just in case anything happened. I had a couple of students who had the great misfortune of having their homework assignments somehow “disappear” the day that assignments were due. Being the cruel teacher that I was, I never gave them an extension. Keeping adequate backups of important documents is obviously essential; your website is no different. There are a number of things that can happen that could require a readily available backup of your website.
If Your Website Gets Hacked
It’s an event no business owner or webmaster wants to see. You can be as prepared as you want and have as much security as you want, but the risk of having your website hacked is always there. If there are easily accessible backups, getting the site at least restored back to a safe version of it will get the recovery process started. Once that safe backup is in place, then you can investigate where the vulnerability was in the site and see about securing it. If your site has a feature such as a shopping cart that is always being updated with new products or new orders, this might not be ideal as some of that data might be lost depending on how old the backup is. However, for most sites that only have periodic updates, having a backup ready to simple upload and use is a great way to avoid some horrible headaches.
No matter how computer savvy a person may be, there is pretty much always an instance or two where they quote Homer Simpson and have to say, “D’oh!” (You just read that in Homer’s voice didn’t you?)
A few weeks ago a client called me and said, “Chris, I don’t know what I did, but I goofed something up on the site and I can’t get it fixed. Can you fix this?” Thankfully, we had several backups of his site available, so I was able to tell him that we could get it back up and running right away. I looked at his site for a few minutes thinking it would be an easy fix… but even I have no idea how he goofed the site up like he did. I grabbed the most recent backups we had of his site from a few days prior and uploaded that version. His site was back up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Older Version Worked Better
We also had a client who emailed and said that a few months prior they had made some changes to the text on their site and it was no longer performing as well as they had hoped it would. I went through some basic WordPress versions that were stored there, but couldn’t find the exact version they wanted for of each the pages. Again, thankfully, we had several months’ worth of weekly backups to choose from. I went back 3 months and pulled the content from that backup. It was exactly what they were looking for and we were able to get that desired content back for them. They were worried they’d need to re-write what was there from memory as best they could, but we were able to retrieve it exactly as it was.
Losing data is an unfortunate side effect of having a high-tech, computerized world. There are some documents we just can’t afford to lose. To best protect those documents, such as your website, be sure to keep sufficient back up copies of the site.
We provide a weekly backup for all our clients who have Standard Hosting accounts. Those backups are stored for one week before being replaced with a newer version. With our Security Essentials Hosting plan, we download and store those backups for several months, providing us with several backups to choose from should they ever be needed.