Why You Gotta Back It Up
I am about to share something that every business owner needs to hear right now.
What I’m about to say is one of those “yeah, I know about this…” topics.
But you’re STILL NOT DOING IT!
In the last fortnight, I’ve had two SOS style enquiries for new websites. Both of these enquiries came from well established business owners who shall remain nameless.
One had a huge promotion on the horizon and a guest appearance on a podcast that has a 6 figure audience. The other had been a content maven for the last 4 years and had over 230 blog posts with tons of comments and shares etc.
Both of them had lost their websites.
Poof. Gone in the blink of an eye and irretrievable through their hosting provider.
The first time I was hearing this story it went a lot like:
ME: “don’t worry! We can get your site back – just send us your latest backup and we can have you back online in a flash.”
CALLER: “Ummmmmm…. we don’t have a backup. We thought our host did them but turns out that’s an extra we weren’t signed up for.”
Surely I wasn’t hearing things right?
Like, NOOOOOOO backup?
Yup. No backup.
Do it now!
It’s not often I urge people to run away from my website as fast as their fingers can carry them – but if you’re reading this thinking – “hell, I don’t have a backup” OR “I think I have backups but I don’t know where they are…” you need to take action immediately.
Imagine what your business would look like if your website was gone tomorrow…
- All of the content you’ve ever written…? Gone.
- The copy you’ve sweated blood and tears over…? Gone.
- The design and layout that took so many hours to get just right…? Gone.
I’m pretty sure it would be devastating. Correct?
Confession: I was hacked!
I used to neglect my own backups. True story.
I had that laissez faire attitude that sites being hacked/lost/broken all got filed under #happenstosomeoneelse.
Then one fateful day – the worst case scenario happened. I received a message from someone saying they couldn’t access one of my blog posts. When I went to find it for them, I was horrified to find that my own content had been entirely replaced with a random story about a knight in a castle…. over and over and over down the page. Every single one of my 127 blog posts had been eradicated.
While I had a backup, it was pretty old. I lost loads of blog content, loads of comments and heaps of social shares.
And I should know better.
The moral of this story being – don’t beat yourself up that you haven’t got your backup situation sorted. Just do it now.
The Good bit -> 3 ways to create a backup of your website
1. WORDPRESS PLUGINS
If you have a WordPress website you can use a plugin that makes this really, really easy. There are loads of backup plugins to choose from. Here at Husson Media we use and recommend BackupBuddy. We install it on all of the sites that we develop and build as a matter of course.
BackupBuddy is a really easy way of not having to worry about your backups. You can set a schedule where they can run every day, every week or however often you want them to run.
Tip -> I have automatic backups to be scheduled once a week, but I also run a manual backup every time I hit publish on a blog post.
You can choose to have your backups saved to a Dropbox Folder, an S3 account, they can be emailed to you or they can be stored within your website (not recommended because if your site is severely compromised you can’t access them either).
2. WEB HOSTING
Some hosting companies take backups as part of your package. Don’t rely on your hosting company unless you know they are taking backups for you AND where they get stored.
Some web hosts will restore to particular time periods for you, others will charge for that service.
Avoid any unknown by taking your own backups or ensuring that they’re being taken care of.
If you are somebody who is into handling files via an FTP client and poking around in a CPanel, etc. you can take your own backups manually.
(This process is typically what’s found when you google how to backup your website and THIS is why people decide to go without. For this reason – I’d refer you back to the first item in this list which is precisely ZERO hassle.)
In order to have a full backup of your WordPress website you’ll need:
- a full copy of your wp-content folder
- a full imprint of your database
If you store these somewhere secure they will be all you need if the worst was to happen.
Frequently Asks Questions About Website Backups
Q. How often should you back up your website?
A. You should back up your website as regularly as you feel is relevant to your business. If you are blogging once a week or more I recommend you take a weekly backup. If you are minimal on the sharing of content and you’re really not making too many changes, once a month would be fine. The main thing to remember is that you want to have an up-to-date backup at your disposal at all times.
If you’re going to make a big update to your theme, plugins, or WordPress, take a backup.
Q. What can I do about security against hackers?
A. Unfortunately, a hacker can get through any sort of security. They find new ways all the time. The great thing to know is that if you have backups you don’t need to worry about it! Whatever happens at any point you can restore to that snapshot moment from when the backup was taken.
For added protection I use Sucuri Security on my own websites to make sure I am as protected as I can be. The awesome thing about Sucuri is that they can also fixed a hacked/compromised website. While I’m not advising you use that as your fallback – it’s great to know that it’s there if you need it.
Q. If I switch web hosts, will I need to change BackupBuddy settings?
A. Only if your backups are using your FTP path in your old host to store backups. Otherwise, nope you can just move 🙂
Q. My website is new and really small. Do I still need to worry about hackers?
A. Yes. Hackers don’t discriminate! They’ll go anywhere so it’s still very important to back up your site.
This one is easy – comment below to tell me that you’re off to sort out your back situ RIGHT NOW! Bonus points if you come back and report that you’re all setup. Then we can celebrate your freedom!
Share this with your business buddies – let them thank you later.
Until next time.