First of all, why is backing up your website so important?
Picture this: you are a local business owner with a website. You are proud of the website you have built. Many customers use your website to view your products, place orders and contact you. One day, there is a natural disaster in your city that affects the data centre that hosts your website. Suddenly, your website is down and it turns out the server with your website has been damaged, as well as the backup of your website. You’ve never backed up your website yourself as you figured your hosting company was doing it for you. With no backups, you are forced to start your website again from scratch.
Sounds like a bit of a nightmare, right? Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Canadian Web Hosting does regular weekly backups of all its servers (the amount of storage space your website gets depends on its hosting plan), however, it’s a good idea to have your own physical backup. Hardware and system failure, theft, malware and virus’, and human error are all unanticipated events that can cost your business hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This is why one of the most important things that you can do as a website owner is perform regular physical backups. Having a backup of your website will ensure you can recover your website and be up and running again in no time.
Most hosting companies do not guarantee saving your data onto their servers without purchasing a backup plan. Even then, you should always read the Terms and Conditions to see what your plan covers. You can find out more about the additional backup options Canadian Web Hosting offers here.
Next, how do you back up your website?
There are several backup options to choose from, from cloud to physical, and free to paid. Check out the main ones below and pick what goes with your needs.
1. Backing Up Through cPanel
The easiest and most straightforward way of backing up your website is through cPanel. Simply follow these steps:
- Log onto your cPanel account.
- Click on the “Backup” icon. You will be given the option of backing up your website or your entire account (including your email boxes, databases, web statistics, etc.) Select which option you prefer.
- In “Backup Destination,” select “Home Directory,” as well as the option to receive an email when the backup is ready.
- When the backup is ready, download it onto your computer, or even better, an external hard drive.
2. Manual FTP Backups
Now, the downside of backing up with FTP is:
- Downloading a big website can take a long time (up to several hours)
- You have to manually supervise the download to make sure it has gone through properly. When it’s complete, you are responsible for storing it somewhere safe, like on an external hard drive.
Here are some tips for backing up with FTP:
- Use SFTP, (Secure File Transfer Protocol) when possible, to keep your data safe from hackers while it is actively downloading
- Set a reminder to back up your website regularly and make time to do it (for example, while you’re watching a movie on TV or cooking a meal) so that it doesn’t interfere with your regular computer tasks
- Backup EVERYTHING, not just certain files that look familiar. Backup every file (including databases), as these are the bits that make up your entire website.
- Keep your backups organized by logically naming them after the date of the back up
- Backup your backup! That’s right. Once you have downloaded your backup, store it safely on an external hard drive.
3. Cloud Backups
Backing up your website onto a cloud storage service is another reliable solution. There are many subscription-based cloud options, like: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive and Amazon Cloud Drive. There are even WordPress plugins that allow you to backup directly onto a cloud.
Advantages of Cloud Storage:
- A lot of cloud services are user-friendly, with drag and drop options between your desktop storage and cloud storage
- Offers high accessibility, meaning you can access your files from anywhere, as long as you are connected to the Internet
- An excellent option for disaster recovery as your files are stored and maintained remotely in a separate location from you
Disadvantages of Cloud Storage:
- If you have no Internet access, then you have no access to your files being stored in the cloud
- There are concerns about security and privacy as your files are stored remotely
- There is a specific bandwidth allowance and if you surpass it there may be additional charges
4. Automated Backups
Not a fan of the whole back up experience and would rather be doing anything else? Don’t sweat, Canadian Web Hosting has your back. Speak to our support team about our Managed Support Plan where our technicians can take care of your backup for you. There are many other companies dedicated to automated backup services too, like Codeguard, Backup Guard, and Dropmysite.
The drawback of automated backups:
- Putting the work of backing up your files in someone else’s hands means there is still the possibility of an unforeseen event occurring and corrupting your backup
- Automated backup services can be costly, given the ease of performing a backup and the cost if you have a small website
- Your web host is not responsible for backing up your website
- Unanticipated events like natural disasters, theft, hardware and system failure do happen and can affect your website
- Backing up your website will save you time and money from having to rebuild it from scratch
- It will give you peace of mind knowing that all of your content is safe if you have a physical backup
- Backing up your website makes it easy for you to recover quickly if an unanticipated event does occur
- There are many different backup options to choose from, find out what’s best for you
This year, commit to backing up your website regularly. Whether it be once a week, or once a month, an older version of your website is better than no website. If your website is important to you and it would hurt your business to lose it—back it up!