Whenever an organization or individual is building their first website, the primary consideration is getting the website up and running. Building a website and taking it live involves a lot of time and effort. However, once it is active, the major effort goes into maintaining the website, ensuring that it is available to your visitors at all times. However, failures are inevitable and therefore, it is necessary for every business website to regularly create a working copy or backup all of its data. Backups are the perfect insurance against the inevitable loss of site data.
Backups — they’re important, we should all have a backup in case something goes wrong, and good businesses always ensure that they have the latest backups whenever it’s needed. We’ve all heard this – many times.
But what isn’t often discussed in detail is how exactly a business website should be backed up, how often it should be done, and is there any help that small businesses can get. That’s exactly what this article is about.
Basics of Website Backup
There are a few important aspects of backups that website owners might not know.
- The onus of having a backup isn’t on your hosting company. It’s actually on you. While this might seem counterintuitive, it’s a fact.
- You will lose data at some point. Irrespective of how careful you are, you will lose data, either due to a web host’s server failure, a cyberattack on your website, or some technical error at your end. Anyone who’s been in this industry for a long time will attest to the inevitability of data loss. Huge conglomerates like Google lose data sometimes. So, it’s naive to think that you won’t.
- Backups aren’t a one-time thing. If you create a backup of your website today, and one year down the line if you lose data, you’ve lost one year’s worth of data. If your website relies heavily on content marketing, this is a huge loss. Think about it. You’ll lose images, text, articles, videos, blogs, vlogs, pages — everything.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you can do about it.
How to Backup Your Website
There are two fundamental approaches to creating a backup — Manual and Automatic.
- Manual Backup
The name should clue you in here — manual backup entails you personally taking care of the entire process of backup. It’s a low-tech solution to your backup problems. Basically, you just download every single file of your website to your local storage. When you lose data, you upload everything that you’ve downloaded. Voila! Your website is up and running again.
Of course, there are drawbacks. First off, you need to keep doing this frequently. As we saw earlier, backups need to be run consistently. So, you’re investing quite a lot of time and energy here. Second, you can’t exclusively download the new additions to your website. So, let’s say you took a backup by the end of January. In the third week of February, if you want to take another backup, you can’t just download the content that’s gone up since the end of January. You need to download everything again.
However, manual backups are an extremely viable option for smaller businesses or new websites. These websites do not have a lot of site data. Also, smaller websites and startups have budget constraints when they start out, and they cannot afford automated backup solutions. Therefore, opting for manual backups is not only better but also extremely cost-effective for new websites.
- Automatic Backup
If you haven’t guessed it already, automatic backup doesn’t require as much work from your end. However, you’ve got to pay for it.
So, how does it work?
Once you set up an automatic backup application, you don’t really need to interfere with it at all. From creating backups periodically to storing these backups securely, the application does it all.
Now, there are different types of automated backup solutions. Some applications are completely automatic while others are a mix of automatic and manual, in that they require some human intervention. A lot of the time, these semi-automated applications take that approach so that users have more control over the process.
The advantage of having a backup software is that you don’t have to keep doing the same task again and again. Second, an automated process is just more efficient. It doesn’t forget, get bored, or unmotivated. However, manual backup allows you to have more control over your data and backups.
Creating and Implementing a Robust Backup Plan
Manual and automatic backups have their advantages and disadvantages. But relying exclusively on either one of these models is not going to solve your backup problem at all. If you want to be sure that you will have a fairly recent backup whenever your website goes down, you need a more comprehensive approach. What you need is a combination of both manual and automatic backup methods.
Here is what a robust backup plan would look like:
- An automatic backup software as the backbone
Invest in a good automatic backup application. You’re going to need it someday, and there’s really no reason to sit in front of your computer every day and download the entire website. The money you pay for a good website backup application is worth every penny.
Set the backup frequency to where you want it. Higher is better, of course.
- Don’t discard manual backups at any cost
Just because you have an application that takes backups, it does not mean that you never take a manual backup. It is always good to have a copy of your website offline, just in case.
This does not mean that you have to take a manual backup every day. If you don’t update your website very often, then do it just once every year. If you’re an e-commerce company that updates its website almost every day, taking a manual backup once every three or four months is a good idea.
Now, you must be wondering what’s the point of buying software if you still have to take manual backups. Generally, backup software from most companies have excellent track records. But as we know, anything online can go down. Manual backups, though rarely used if you have an automated solution, are a perfect fall-back in case the automated solution fails. Also, it inculcates a good practice of keeping a track of your site data.
And, if something does go terribly wrong, having a reasonably new copy of your website is going to help you out a lot, either automated or manual.
- Implement the 3-2-1 strategy
Always have three copies of your data (website, in our case). Ensure that these copies are in, at least, two different places. Of these two places, one must always be an offline location.
So to explain in detail:
3 copies of your website data
2 different storage sites for these copies
1 storage site is an offsite location
Having multiple copies of your data eliminates any single point of failure, ensuring high data redundancies. Different storage sites are protected against hardware failures or geographical disasters. Having an offsite storage location ensures the protection of one copy of the data in case you are migrating or moving your primary location.
Just ensure that you follow it religiously. It helps.
Is Data Loss Really That Big a Problem?
Depends on how prepared you are, actually. If you are hosting your websites with leading hosting companies, chances are, it won’t ever become such a big issue. If you’re prepared for data loss, it won’t ever become an issue at all.
It’s one of those problems that you don’t think about. But once you’re faced with it, there aren’t a lot of options. Data loss isn’t a problem until you lose data. If you have backups, there’s really not a lot to fuss about. You load the backup, and the problem is solved.
However, consider that you have a website that you’ve built over the years with a lot of care and cultivated a loyal audience. If your last backup is two years old and you lose your website, it can actually be devastating for businesses. You will lose most of the consumer base and have to build up the website again. So, on the whole, yes, data loss is a huge problem that deserves your attention. Implementing a backup strategy now will help you in the long run.
So juxtapose your manual backup efforts with a good quality automated backups solution. Most web hosting providers offer an automatic backup tool with their hosting plans. At ResellerClub, we offer CodeGuard Website Backup that can be integrated with our web hosting plans. CodeGuard ensures automatic backup, daily monitoring and automatic data restoration. It also ensures regular monitoring of your site and informs you of any changes, thereby ensuring that you always have the latest version of your website backed up. It is pertinent to note that the reliability of your backup is dependent on the efficacy of your backup strategy. Therefore, chalk out the perfect combination of manual and automated backups for your website and ensure an effective fail-safe strategy in case of any data loss.
Comment below or contact us for more details about websites backups and CodeGuard Website Backup
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