The Importance of Backing Up Your Website
This does not only sound ominous in real life. This sound also spells trouble for your website. When your business website crashes without a backup, you may have to redo the whole website. This can mean lost sales and more importantly, lost credibility to your customers. Usually, experienced web designers will have a backup of the original website when it was first launched. But this would mean you still have to redo the changes you have made since the last backup.
Websites, after all, are prone to hacking and other malicious activities. If you subscribe to a third-party website hosting service, their hard drive may crash if they get hacked as well. Even if your website was not the target of the hacking attack, the server failure may also wipe down your website information.
Backing up the website is perhaps one of the most important website maintenance tasks. If you have a stored copy of the website, you can simply revert to the most recent back-up and still ensure that your website is up and running. It is similar to an insurance policy. You don’t want to have to use it, but you are glad you had it if and when something untoward happens.
Making backups of the website involves saving the database and the most recent archive of relevant files. Here are some tips to consider regarding backing up your website:
Do not depend on the website hosting service to maintain the backups for you. Most website hosting services do have backups, but you can feel more secure if you keep files of past versions.
Determine the frequency of your backups. Schedule regular backups of the database. There is no hard and fast rule about the frequency of backups but it will also depend on the frequency of updates in your website (including user comments, blog posts and additional pages). Usually, small to medium enterprise websites will need weekly backups.
Make a back-up of the website whenever you make major changes. Aside from having a regular schedule for backing up your website, make another backup if you are planning on making major changes to the website, especially its platform or database design. The programming will usually be interlinked and a change you make on one aspect may have an effect on other areas of the website. You need to prepare for eventualities when the changes turn out to be disastrous for the website.
Determine when you will backup. Backing up the website will cause the server to slow down, causing slower load times for your users. Use analytics tools to see which times have the least number of visitors in your website.
Keep files of the previous backups. Don’t just keep a copy of the most recent back-up. Store up to 5 to 7 of the previous versions (or at least a month’s worth of backups) so that you can go as far back as those backups, if necessary. If your website is hacked, it may take weeks to notice that something is missing from your website files.