Backing Up Your Website

Websites are fragile.  Sure, they can be the most stable thing in the world for months at a time, but that won’t last forever.  It doesn’t happen often but hardware can fail, databases can crash or hackers could hack your website  — and that’s when you need your back-up.

What is a site back-up?

To put it plainly, it’s saving your entire website somewhere else in case of catastrophic server events or website issues.  It’s not directly tied to your actual website, so anything you do on your website will not affect your back-up.

Back-ups include themes, plug-ins, website software files and your database.  You’re not just saving the bare bones of your website, but it in all its entirety.

What should I use a backup for?

A backup should only be used for keeping a copy of your website files and database in the case of a catastrophic event. Backups are not 100% fail safe no matter where you host. In most cases, your backup will be complete and contain all of your data. However, there can be times when there could have been a hiccup during the backup, or perhaps one was done but important data was added between the backup and the website issue causing you to consider restoring from backup.

Restoring a backup is taxing on your server. It’s best practice not to use it as a crutch in case you make a mistake with customizations or adding plugins that cause issues to your website. Instead, create a development site and do changes on that. This method ensures that you don’t destroy your live site or create problems for your users. If you make mistakes on a development site you can restore that with a backup or create a fresh one and your main site remains undisturbed. Also, if you restore an incomplete or corrupt backup of your development site you won’t have the stress of losing important user content as it was just a test site so you could fall back to an older backup.

Please keep in mind this point – backups are not to be used frivolously. It’s an important decision to restore from a backup so do this sparingly.

How do I back-up my website?

There are a few methods.  There’s the easy way — using the BryZar free offsite backup with your hosting account.  And then there’s the manual method to zip the files via SSH or WinSCP and download them via FTP or WinSCP. Using the offsite backups, you can rest assured that you have a backup safely stored on an external server in case you need it. Storing on your home computer is ok to do but when your site gets bigger, it could cause issues in uploading those files when you need to.

For more info about BryZar’s free offsite backup services, feel free to contact us.