Websites are hosted on a server which is essentially just like a Personal Computer only more powerful. Even though servers have a lot of built-in redundancy, as with any computer, it is vital to save regular backups in the event of unexpected issues or malicious activity to protect yourself from possible data loss. Backups are also important to perform before making any significant changes to your website, such as installing new plugins or updating the framework to a new version.
If your website is built on a Content Management System (CMS) framework (for example: WordPress), then all of the website information and any changes you make to the site content will be stored in the website database. If it is an Ecommerce website, all customer orders that are processed are also stored in the database. The other website files (images and other uploads) do not need to be backed up as regularly as they do not often change as frequently. Accordingly, downloading a full backup of the website files on a fortnightly or monthly basis is sufficient for most sites. As the main website content is saved in the database however, it is usually recommended to download a backup of the database on a daily basis (or even several times per day for websites with a lot of ecommerce transactions occurring each day). You can download backups yourself through your Website Hosting Cpanel account.
If your website is only a static HTML website (for example, a small ‘online brochure’ website which only consists of a few pages) and does not get updated often, then a monthly or quarterly backup of the website files is usually sufficient. These types of websites do not use a database, so you will not need to backup anything other than the website files.
The other main time it is recommended to perform a full backup is just before and just after a significant or large amount of changes are being performed to the website. If you are upgrading a plugin for example or upgrading your CMS software to a new version, it is vital you take a full backup before attempting the upgrade, in case the upgrade process fails and partially overwrites your files – leaving the site non-functional.
Are there any services that can automatically backup my website files and database for me?
There are several online services that can be ordered to perform regular backups of your website files and database. These services can usually be configured to run several times per day if required, ensuring there is always a backup available that’s only a few hours old at most in the event of any disaster. Most online backup solutions will also securely upload your backups to ‘the Cloud’ (online storage), meaning you dont need to worry about saving the backups on your personal computer and also ensuring the backups are not accidentally deleted. Some services like Codeguard not only backup your files regularly, but also allow you to “roll-back” to various backup iterations and even include options for monitoring the website to prevent hacking and malware.
CodeGuard offer daily backup plans for WordPress websites from only $5 (USD) per month (20% off for Quikclicks customers). We find this plan suitable for most, single-website businesses and will backup all of your website files and database every day. You will also be notified if a backup ever fails and can download several months worth of archived copies of previous backups should you ever need to restore old files.
Quikclicks can also setup a new backup plan for you and ensure it is running correctly. Please contact us if you would like more information about this service.