Are Backups for Your Website Scaremongering, or Do You Really Need Them?
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Every digital business dreads the moment where their website is down or hacked and you can’t get the files back. It’ll cost you time, money, effort, and a lot of stress!
This is why it’s surprising that most small businesses that we work with either have no backup for their website or don’t know how to recover them. The argument we hear over and over again, is ‘yer but I don’t need a website backup, I’m not a target and I have other protections in place.’
And unfortunately the argument is wrong.
Most of the time the bad guys aren’t deliberately targeting small businesses in the same way they would actively hack someone like Apple! But, they can get you as collateral damage or by casting a very wide net.
And then where will you be? No website, potentially damaged business reputation, and a lot of wasted time and money.
To be honest, it can be a boring tasks, but website backups are NOT scaremongering, backing up all your website’s files can be a lifesaver! Here’s everything you need to know:
What is a backup for your website?
Really simply, a backup for your website is a copy of all data you have and you can choose what you back up. We would always advocate for backing up everything, but you can choose whether to just back up the things that really matter!
Note, it depends on what set up you have (get in touch with us if you’re not sure) but for businesses whose websites’ run on a CMS like WordPress – you will need every piece content, database, file, and media to get your website backed up in case it goes down.
Why do you need to backup your website?
In general, your website hosting doesn’t run malware and virus scans on your website. Of course you can get plugins that do this for you, but they only detect them when they are already there (and likely causing damage!)
For this reason, your best line of defence against the ‘bad guys’ is to have an up-to-date backup in place.
Even though it doesn’t shield your website from attacks, you’ll have the assurance that you can recover your files should you be attacked or have a security breach. With backups your impact of a hack on your business will be minimal and you can just reinstate a previous version of your website from before you were attacked.
Keep in mind that your website is the first port of call for potential clients, so you can’t afford to be down for too long. For this reason, always have backups for your website.
Okay so we’ve looked at the importance and ‘why’ of backups, let’s look at how:
Types of backups
‘The Techy Ones”
These are the types of backups that you can look at doing yourself if you have some technical knowledge or are confident in the back-end of your domain and hosting providers!
Word of warning: If you’re not confident, don’t try to attempt these without help! A wrong setting here can bring your website down at worst, or at best, just not backing up properly.
This is a low-tech and fairly easy method (once you know where to find your files) where you have to manually transfer your files via FTP to your local computer. However, it has some downsides like the time taken to download files from a huge website, manually monitoring downloads to make sure it is properly completed, etc!
This method will do for a one time “in-a-pinch” but we wouldn’t recommend it!
This method is probably the easiest and your domain or hosting provider can usually help, but you have to make sure it is done properly. Your server has to have a cPanel installed so isn’t available to everyone, but from here you can download a full backup or set up historic and ongoing backups which are stored in the cloud (this is how we recommend doing it!)
We love Siteground as our hosting provider because they have great backup options from the CPanel so we highly recommend if you want to look at the cPanel route!
“Less Techy Options”
Use a Plugin
On a lot of CMS platforms there are pre-built options for everything! For WordPress for example, you can download a plugin like WPBackup (there are others too) which will help you create backups for you.
The only downside is that they won’t backup anything OUTSIDE of the WordPress environment.
Tip: Make sure you save them in locations that are not on your website (because if your website goes down you have no means to access them!) Learn more about where to store your backups below…
Automated Hosting Options
Many hosting providers will offer some sort of backup solution as part of your package. So to get you started you can set up your backups with them! (it’s pretty much just click and go once your website is set up and operational.)
Make sure to check how often they back up your information, and what time of day they back up. You should also see if they offer ‘historic backups’ which means you can go back further than a day and see the different versions.
Where To Store Your Backups?
We recommend the Rule of 3 for backing up your website!
3 different timestamps
Take a website backup each day and store them at least 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month ago (in case you don’t notice an issue in time for your daily backup to run)
2 different locations
You want to make sure that you have two separate locations where you store your backups.
For example, one copy on your laptop, and another on a memory stick, or in your cPanel of your hosting provider. That way if you lose your laptop you’re not losing all backup files as well!
1 off-site backup
We always suggest keeping a backup in the cloud!
The cloud is one of the safest places to store your backup files because it’s not directly connected to your website so won’t be corrupted if your website is! Cloud solutions are ever-expanding, fully redundant, and are backed up with several systems and there are plenty of them to choose from. Some are free and even the paid options are inexpensive.
Need help backing up your website?
If you need help backing up your website we can do it for you, and show you how so that you know for the future! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.