I’ve talked a lot about website security but one of the most overlooked aspects of running a website is having a backup. Having an updated copy of your website files and database allows for dealing with unfortunate situations efficiently and quickly. This blog post will dive into six specific reasons why backups are important and share how to setup your own backup schedule, safeguarding your online home.
Why Website Backups are Critical
No matter your industry, the size of your customer base or how often you post content to your website, having a website backup is the digital equivalent to having a spare tire in your trunk. While you really hope you won’t need it, there is a certain peace of mind knowing it’s available. The same is true for website backups.
Website Backups are Crucial because they can provide:
1. Protection from Hackers
Unfortunately, every website is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Most of what I see comes in the form of malware, where hackers have exploited code in an outdated plugin, but insecure passwords are also to blame. Regardless of how the hacker gets into a website, it is estimated that there are about 2,200 cyberattacks per day, which means that more than 800,000 people being hacked per year.
Taking a proactive approach to security also means having an updated backup at the ready in case of disaster. Backups will ensure you have a clean, malware-free version of your site and database that you can restore quickly in the event of a hack.
2. Safeguards from Incompatibilities
With WordPress, it’s crucial that you keep you core files (meaning WordPress itself) plugins and themes updated, though every once in a while, these updates may conflict, causing some functionality (or your site as a whole, to break. Having a backup at the ready allows you to roll back until a solution to implementing the update can be found.
3. Controlled Access to Your Files and Data
I recently took on a new client who needed my help because their previous designer/developer completely ghosted them. They wanted to post some new content on their website and their contact wouldn’t return calls or emails at all. The problem was that this person had sole access to the company’s files and database. The only solution was to rebuild their entire website.
Granted, this case was a bit specific (they were using a proprietary content management system and not WordPress) but it highlighted the issue that is all too common: not having access to backups.
One of the absolute best parts of WordPress is that you can take your entire site with you where ever you go; this means you have full access to the files and database to recreate your website anywhere. The same cannot be said for Squarespace, Wix and the others. If your hosting company (or those other platforms) decide to shutter operations one day, you won’t have access to everything, prohibiting you from replicating your website and getting you back up and running fast.
4. Preservation of Data Loss
This is especially important for anyone running e-commerce through their website, but also those websites that are getting frequent blog updates: human error happens and images or content accidentally gets deleted. Regular backups ensure that stored data (important things like customer purchase history, blog posts and more) can quickly be retrieved in the event of accidental deletion.
5. A Simplified Path to Website Migration
There may come a time when your website’s hosting just isn’t cutting it anymore. A migration is the movement of all of your files and database to the servers of another hosting provider. It can be a tedious task but a full backup of the most recent version of your website means all of your site data is intact.
6. A Sandbox to Test New Features or Designs
If you have ever been through a redesign process, you can relate to wanting to see your actual content in place of Latin placeholder copy and stock imagery. A recent backup allows you to quickly spin up a test site that exactly mirrors your existing site without making it known to the public. You can experiment with new functionality, layouts, font and much more, all without having the site publicly available.
How to Backup your WordPress Website
*For what it’s worth, this is not sponsored; I just really like the plugin.
Updraft allows me to schedule backups and retain as many copies as I want in– what I consider to be the most important aspect of backing up– an offsite location. This means that the backups are not saved on my hosting servers, but rather elsewhere; this is key because if the hosting provider goes down, I have a full backup at the ready. Remember, if the host goes down, the backups go with it. Not to mention that if you site gets hacked, the hacker could easily delete the backups if they were stored on the compromised server. I use Dropbox for the most part, but there are options to use even more storage platforms, including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or even downloading a copy to your computer.
If the idea of regular backups and website security seems daunting, feel free to check out my website insurance plans. This collection of security services aims to give you peace of mind so you can spend time focused on other business-related tasks while knowing your website is secure (and backed up).
While backing up your website seems boring, it can be an absolute lifesaver if you find yourself in need. I cannot stress the importance of them enough; they are your website’s safety net and integral piece of web security.