But even if you do backup your sites – ask yourself the following to see how effective your WordPress backup strategy really is:
- What is getting backed up?
- Where is it getting backed up to?
- Could you lose the backup too?
- How quickly could it be restored?
There have been a couple of news items recently that prompted this post….. like some security issues with a couple of popular WordPress plugins and also an Australian based hosting company that suffered a devastating hacker attack causing significant loss of customer data.
The WordPress plugin situation was quickly contained, but many customers of the hosting company lost their sites and their data, including backups stored there too.
Think About Your WordPress Backup Solution
Everyone knows, or should know, that they need to backup their web-site(s). But many people don’t spend the time to think through and implement an effective backup strategy.
A good backup strategy is important whether your website is the basis of how your business trades, is an additional advertising/marketing medium for it, or even a hobby or just for fun.
Developing a website typically involves an investment in time (certainly), money (likely, possibly lots) and effort (again, likely lots), yet it is often the case that insufficient attention is given to how easily and quickly the site could be restored if disaster struck.
What is Getting Backed Up?
Chances are that once you’ve built your site you found one of the very popular WordPress backup plugins like WP-DB-Backup or WP-DBManager, and these can be useful tools for restoring the WordPress database.
But the WordPress database is not the same thing as your site.
Restoring the database will get the posts and pages back – basically the written content and that’s better than nothing. But your site design, page layouts, and infrastructure will be back to square one and you’d have to rebuild and reconfigure all the theme settings, plugin settings etc…. not a painless process!
Where is it Getting Backed Up?
So, you’ve got a load of disk space on your web hosting service and that might seem a handy place to keep the backup files too.
Well, that’s ok, and depending what might have happened, the files needed to restore the site are already in the right place… no locating the files or upload time needed.
But doing this alone means you’re keeping all your eggs in one basket.
Don’t Lose the Backup Too!
If the situation is serious, as in the case of the hosting company mentioned above, any backup copies stored on the same server as the site itself are likely to be just as vulnerable as the site itself.
So backup the backup. Make multiple copies and keep them in different places.
Once the initial backup has been made (and on the same server as the site is fine), download it to your local system. Keep a folder of backups and put it in there.
Email it to yourself (if it’s not too large)- provided that email is not going to sit on the same server as the site itself of course. If you do this method, ensure it goes to a web-based mail service (like Gmail for example).
Copy it to a secure web-based service, like Amazon S3, Dropbox etc.
Recognise that using any one option alone provides a single point of failure that could severely limit your ability to restore the site should the worst happen.
Backup your local system and keep that backup somewhere physically different in case of fire, flood, theft, lightening strike etc (seriously – it happens, and it happened to a business I worked for).
If you backup your local computer to say, an external USB drive, get an additional drive so that you can keep one at a different location. Swap them regularly so that the off-site drive is never too out of date.
WordPress Backup Solutions
Ensuring that the above is taken care of can take some effort but backups are something that can be automated to a large degree. For example, the WP-DB-Backup or WP-DBManager plugins can be scheduled to do their work automatically (but still only backup the database).
Automattic, the company behind WordPress, provide a full site backup solution called VaultPress and being from the makers of WordPress, it is an attractive option. On a per site basis the costs mount up though (currently $15+/m).
There are several other options, including BlogVault which keeps multiple versions of the site from the last 30 days so you can restore to a previous version if required. There is also a monthly fee for this product (currently $9/m for 1 site upto $99/m for 20 sites).
My favourite for ease of use and flexibility of saving backups to multiple locations (e.g. Amazon S3, FTP, Rackspace Cloud, DropBox, email) is BackupBuddy.
The current prices compare favourably at $75 per year (approx $6/month) for 2 sites, $100 per year (approx $8/month) for 10 sites and $150 per year (approx $12.50/month) for unlimited sites.
I need to backup several sites, so the equivalent of $12.50 a month for unlimited sites is a great option.
If you’re tempted to take a deeper look at BackupBuddy there is more info here, together with details of my exclusive BackupBuddy coupon code D10FRIENDS-25 which will get you 25% discount on those prices too at the checkout!
And the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. I’ve used it to restore sites when things have gone wrong with a plugin/theme/wordpress update – and it works – simply and easily.
Irrespective of any choice of software solution though, you should ensure that you’re aware of how effective your WordPress backup solution would be in the event that say, all your data is lost from your web host.
While there maybe no such thing as a perfect backup solution, each step that adds resilience will increase the effectiveness of your WordPress backup strategy.
I hope this post either reassures you, or has given you some food for thought about your own WordPress backup strategies.
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