I’m a member of several local WordPress meetups. I was at one a couple of weeks ago that focused on development. One of the presenters asked the group how many of us had full back ups of our sites, and had copies saved offline. Only half raised their hands. Most of these folks aren’t beginners, either. So, don’t feel bad if you don’t have one. But, let’s take care of that, right now.
Reasons You Need to Back up a Site
- Malware: this type of attack can corrupt your entire site and pass on uglies to your visitors. If your site gets infected, you have to fix it immediately.
- You accidentally erase a file: When you are learning FTP, this can totally happen. If it is an important file, your site won’t work.
- Cowboy coding: Have you ever gone into your editor and fiddled around with something from your dashboard? Ahem, me neither. If you have ever played around in your editor and broken your site, you know how heart stopping that can be.
- Billing mishaps: I know someone that misunderstood the late notices he was getting from GoDaddy. He thought they were for another product he was going to let expire. He thought he had paid for his hosting for a year, but was on a monthly plan. He lost his entire account. The whole thing. This is one case where the hosting company’s back up is useless.
- Shady developers/designers: Some service providers make a point of holding onto a clients files to keep the client with them. They keep all the backups and if something ever happens, the client is forced to come back to them for help. If you have a full current backup, you have options.
- Plugin/theme/WP updates: Sometimes updates go wrong. Anytime you update anything on your site, you need a backup. Conflicts can happen between different parts of your site. A plugin might add some code during an update that conflicts with your theme. WordPress might update and one of your plugins is no longer compatible. This can happen when themes update, too. There are a lot of moving parts that make up a website. It is all too easy for things to go wrong. If you don’t have a backup, this can be catastrophic. If you have a backup, it is just annoying.
- Maintenance Plans: Many of us take care of sites for others. Backups are a great service to provide for those who just want to focus on blogging. I offer backups as a part of my maintenance plans.
There are almost as many ways to back up a site as there are reasons to do so. I’m not going to tackle them all, just the top three, as I see them.
DIY – You can back it up yourself via FTP and PHPMyadmin. If you know how to use these tools, this is a quick perfect solution for taking routine backups. There is a great tutorial on how to do this here. The downside of this solution is that if you are working on your theme, or adding plugins, it isn’t convenient to make a backup before each change you make.
If you maintain websites for others, you would have to login to their server and database to run backups as you work, or anytime you need to make a change. This just isn’t very effective for daily backups. While this is a good solution for occasional backups, it would take too much time to be a perfect solution. You also can’t make manual backups of just your changes, so you tax your server resources with each download.
Plugins – Duplicator and Backup Buddy are the most popular plugins for performing backups. While these will both get the job done in most circumstances, there are times when they aren’t the best choice. If you are not tech savvy, you should probably stay away from this option.
If you ever have to restore from your backups, it is a multi-step process that is beyond the skill set of the average blogger. Plus, if your site goes down, you will have to unzip your backup and restore the appropriate files via FTP. There is also no way to know if your backup will work until you need it. That is a sucky time to figure out your file is corrupted. It happens.
CodeGuard takes a snapshot of your site. When a change happens, it backups just the changed files, which is much less taxing on your server. You always have a perfect copy of your site that is up to date.
What I Use: I’m a stickler for backups. I host my, and my clients’, sites only with companies that perform daily backups. I also have Backup Buddy installed. I don’t use it for daily backups, but like to use it occasionally as another layer of protection. My main man for backups is CodeGuard. If I could only choose one solution, this is the one I would use.
Would you like your own CodeGuard backup? Here are three ways:
- All of my maintenance plans come with CodeGuard daily backups and daily plugin/theme updates.
- Host with me. I keep my clients on WPEngine with daily, redundant backups from the host and CodeGuard.
- Sign up for your own stand-alone account and either set it up yourself, or hire me to do it.
Do you backup your site? If so, how often and what do you use. If not, what is holding you back?