You are sitting at home, drinking your coffee on a beautiful sunny Saturday. You log into your home pc, tablet, or smartphone to check your email… you get the warning “Unable to connect to server”. You attempt to connect to your website to only find out it is down.
There could be many reasons why the above could be happening, from a something as simple as a home connection issue, server currently down, or one of the worse case scenarios that is seen way to often in the webhosting industry… Your webhost has vanished and you have no way to retrieve your data.
Unfortunately the importance of keeping backups is only realized when it happens to you. When you realizing that the time and work put into your website might be all gone. Whenever people ask me about backups I always advise to keep your own and create a “plan” for yourself. Before jumping into “how often should I backup? and how?” below are some of the most common scenarios I have heard of and some experienced at first hand situations in which backups are crucial.
- Server hardware issues – i.e. hard drive fails.
- Corrupted Backup file forcing you to restore from an older backup saved.
- Your site is compromised and the data is replaced or wiped out. Your host or yourself do not have any backups.
- Web host disappears (believe it or not this happens…)
- You accidentally delete or modify your data. (you have no backups)
So, How often should you backup? This really depends on the content of your website and what you feel comfortable with. Below are couple of ideas.
– Create at least a weekly or monthly backup. (You will at least have some of your work available to you – This is however recommended for sites that aren’t updated often)
– If your content changes daily because you run a dynamic site (I.e. blog or forum) where users or yourself post daily comments, articles, reviews, etc… Increase the frequency of your backups specially your database.
– If you have an ecommerce site. Daily backups up to couple of times a day is strongly suggested.
Note the above are only examples.
So… How do I back up my website? Below you will find 2 of the most common and easiest ways to back up your website (FTP & cPanel)
FTP: Using any FTP client and the credentials your host provides you. You will be able to download all your files to your local computer and even to a remoter server. I recommend FileZilla as FTP Client as it is free and easy to use.
Below you will find a list of available video tutorials including FileZilla if you are not sure how to use it. The tutorials cover Configuring your website with an FTP client, uploading your file , and Managing files. Click here to access the video tutorials.
- Configuring your website in FileZilla
- Uploading files using FileZilla
- Managing files in FileZilla
- Configuring your website in WinSCP
- Uploading files using WinSCP
- Managing files in WinSCP
- Configuring your website in CuteFTP
- Uploading files using CuteFTP
- Managing files in CuteFTP
- Configuring your website in WS_FTP
- Uploading files using WS_FTP
- Managing files in WS_FTP
- Configuring your website in SmartFTP
- Uploading files using SmartFTP
- Managing files in SmartFTP
- Configuring your website in FlashFXP
- Uploading files using FlashFXP
- Managing files in FlashFXP
- Configuring your website in FTP Voyager
- Uploading files using FTP Voyager
- Managing files in FTP Voyager
- Configuring your website in LeapFTP
- Uploading files using Leap FTP
- Managing files in Leap FTP
**Note: Using FTP to download your website files will not download your database. You will need to access phpMyAdmin or your script to download a copy of your database (MySQL).
cPanel: this is probably the easiest way to backup your full site including emails. cPanel is the leading control panel in the web hosting industry due to it’s simplicity and user friendly UI.
Click here to view our video tutorial “How to backup your website in cPanel”.
I hope with the above information it’s a starting step in considering a backup plan for yourself and remember… regardless how reliable your current web host provider is, ALWAYS have your own backups. 🙂
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net