Keeping a regular back up of website files is very, very important. This can save anyone who is managing a website hours of work if something goes wrong.
Why Back Up your Website
There are many, many things that can go wrong overtime while you are managing a website. Here are just some examples of when you will need to restore your website using back up files:
- The website caught a virus and needs to be removed
- An update/change to a file or application suddenly caused errors
- A user accidentally erased data
- Hosting went down and deleted some data
If any of these instances occur you would be happy to have a website back up since you can simply upload it again and it will fix the problem.
Most of the time, developers would have the original files in a test server or local computer. However, this is not enough of a back up. Overtime, tweaks and edits can be done to the site. New content can be added or removed, functions can be enabled or disabled, and more. So having the original website files as a back up can help but it will still mean hours of work to recover lost files.
It is also worth noting that hosting companies are not obligated to back up your website. Some do but it is not always the most recent or not always complete.
How to Back Up your Website
Now, there are several ways to perform a back up of your website. First is to do it manually.
Manual Website Back Up
This is a fairly simple process. You connect to your website’s FTP and you download all files to your local computer. I suggest you zip it after done and label it with the time and date of the back up. In this way you get to keep an organized back up history of your website.
The main downsides here are:
- It takes a lot of time especially for bigger websites
- You need to remember to manually do this each time
- There is no way to download select files that you’ve changed
- You have to monitor the download
CPanel Website Back Up
This is an even easier and less time consuming way to back up your website. Most hosting companies provide a CPanel access and through this, you can simply login to it and click on the Back Up icon. You have the option to do a full back up or a partial one (which will only back up portions of the site where changes are most common). The data will then be stored in the same server as your website.
Now this is important; download the back up of your website once done. Since it is stored in the same server of the website and if something happens to the server, you essentially lose the live website AND the back up.
Back Up to the Cloud
This is very similar to the CPanel back up in terms of process. But the main difference is that most of cloud storages are third party providers and that they store the back up of your website on cloud servers. This is very helpful since you can now access your back up essentially anywhere you are as long as you have a computer.
CMS Website Back Up
Most websites nowadays are built using a CMS (Content Management System) of some kind. Most popular among these is WordPress. Then we have Drupal, Joomla, and many more. Most of these systems would have a plugin or third party application that allows you to perform back ups and even schedule them on regular intervals.
However, much like the CPanel website back up solution, most of these would send your files to the hosting server so make sure to download them. Others would have cloud options as well which are preferable.
Automated Back Up Solutions
Probably the most practical approach to performing website back ups is to go with a third party provider which does automated back ups for you. These services would perform the back up on a regular interval and keep them in safe servers ensuring that you always have a proper back up of your website.
Main downside of course is that they cost more money.
Whatever website back up solution you go with, the important thing is that you have a process to back up and manage your website in case the worse should happen.
If you need help with this, you can contact me and I’ll help you maintain your website.