You probably already have regular computer backups in place. You may manually back up all your important files to an external hard drive, or you may have found a way to automate the process.
Do you do the same thing for your website?
Backing up your computer helps prevent data loss if anything unfortunate occurs—like your computer gets damaged or hacked and you need to reinstall your OS and start from scratch.
Just as your computer is susceptible to online threats, so is your website. Perhaps even more so.
Beyond taking the necessary security precautions to protect your website, you’ll also want to regularly backup your website. That way, if something unfortunate does occur, you won’t have to completely start over. Instead, you can simply restore your site from a previous backup.
Below you’ll learn what an online data backup service is, why you’ll want one, and the benefits it’ll bring you, so you can decide which website backup service is best for your needs.
What Is a Website Backup?
Simply put, a website backup is a copy of all of your website data. What the backup storage encompasses will depend upon your online backup provider. As a general rule of thumb, the more data that’s included in the data backup, the better.
This is especially the case if your website runs on a content management system like WordPress, where you’ll need all of your site’s files, content, media, and databases to get it up and running again.
How Often Should You Back Up Your Website?
Like computer backups, website backups should also be done on a regular basis. It won’t do you much good to restore your site from a backup that’s a few years old.
The best case scenario is either daily or weekly backups. Whether you go with daily or weekly depends on how often you update your website. If you only publish a single blog post per week, and that’s the only update you make to your site, then weekly backups will suffice.
Why You Need to Backup Your Site
It’s hard to imagine what losing all of your website data feels like until you’ve gone through it yourself. Regardless, it isn’t a fun experience. More importantly, it’s something that’s completely avoidable with the right online backup software behind you.
Here are three unfortunate situations that could occur when you don’t backup your site:
1. You Lose All the Work You’ve Done
Building a website takes a ton of time and energy. This effort only multiplies the longer you’ve been running your site. Could you imagine losing years of work on your website overnight?
All the customizations you’ve done to your site. All of the content you’ve created. All the time spent getting everything just right.
If you don’t have any backups to restore from, then you’ll have to recreate all of this from the very beginning. Or, if you hired someone to make customizations to your codebase, then you might have to hire them to do it all again.
2. Loss of Site Revenue During Recovery
If your site has been generating revenue via content, products, or services, then you run the risk of all of this being lost. If your site is content driven, then you’ll have to create all of this content from scratch. If you run an eCommerce website, you’ll have to completely recreate your product pages, category pages, and more.
When your site is offline, any existing revenue will completely stop until you can completely restore your website. Depending on how much data you’ve lost this could be a long time—especially if you’re a small business or solopreneur and you’ve created every piece of content yourself.
3. Loss of Time During Site Rebuild
You should spend time growing and managing the day to day of running your website, not having to re-do tasks you’ve already done. Imagine the frustration of trying to re-do years’ worth of work.
Some sites that have been running for years will have hundreds of blog posts or product pages. If you haven’t done a single backup since starting your site, then you’ll have to create all of this again. If it took you years to do once, then it might take you years just to get back to your starting point.
Of course, this is the worst case scenario. With regular website backups, this nightmare won’t happen to you.
How Website Backup Services Work
Online backup companies help to simplify the process of backing up your website. By way of example, let’s talk about an online backup service for documents, like Dropbox. If you have a Dropbox account, you drag and drop files into the application, and a copy of your files are stored on a cloud server. It’s pretty seamless, but it still requires you to select which files you need to back up.
This is great for documents and other media files, but backing up an entire website is a bit more technical in nature.
Websites have a ton of moving parts and a variety of files required just for your website to load the right way. Forget to backup a crucial file and your website might not load properly. If you’ve ever played around with the code of your own website, then you’re probably familiar with how changing a single line of code can bring your website offline. Yeah, not fun.
When you use an online backup service, all of this is taken care of for you. You’re not the one individually backing up every website element and file yourself. The service does it automatically in the background. This helps to ensure that every single file is backed up and you can easily restore your site if the need arises.
Once you choose your online website backup software of choice and configure it to your website, you won’t have to touch it again. Just select the website you’d like backed up, and choose the frequency. The application will then run in the background, silently backing up data in your site to your preferred guidelines.
This helps to take the headache out of backing up your site while giving you a safe and secure backup if you ever need to restore your site to a previous version.
3 Benefits of Using an Online Backup Service
If you don’t know how to backup your website, online backup services can greatly simplify the process. All you have to do is sign up for a service and the rest is taken care of for you. You don’t have to worry about remembering to backup your site, or even securing your backups the right way.
All of this and more will be taken care of by your online backup service.
Here are some of the biggest benefits you’ll realize from using an online backup service:
1. Backups Are Effortless
With an online backup service, you don’t have to think twice about whether or not your site is going to be backed up. All you have to do is sign up for the service and the rest is taken care of for you.
Cloud-based backup solutions are very efficient. Instead of having to manage your backups yourself and ensure they’re properly stored, the entire process happens automatically behind the scenes, and your site’s files and folders are stored securely on a remote server.
You also don’t have to worry about the maintenance, or physical protection of your data storage devices as well. All of this is taken care of by your website backup provider. Usually, your website data will be stored across multiple different storage locations as well, in case one becomes corrupted, or damaged in some way.
2. Enhanced Security Protocols
If you’re manually backing up your site and using a basic storage solution, then your levels of security won’t be as high as what a cloud backup solution can provide.
Simply using an HDD backup can open your files up to all sorts of risks like data corruption, storage malfunction, physical damage, and more. Even if you’re regularly backing up your site, it’s no use if you can’t actually access your data.
Online backup services not only have multiple layers of security to protect your files, but they’ll be stored on redundant servers. This means that copies of your site’s files are stored across multiple server physical servers.
It’ll be near impossible to get this level of security and data recovery when managing your backups yourself.
3. Speedy Site Recovery
One of the biggest benefits of using an online backup service is being able to restore your site to a previous version in an instant. With quick website recovery and data restoration times it’ll be like your site never took any damage in the first place.
When you’re managing your own backups this will be a much slower process, especially if you don’t have the necessary technical skills.
A lot of online backup services will also offer technical assistance for restoring your site or even have one-click recovery options. This is a must-have for website owners who don’t want to go through the technical process of restoring their sites themselves.
Choosing the Best Website Backup Service
When you’re looking for a solid website backup service there are certain features you’ll want to keep an eye out for. The last thing you want to do is choose a low-quality online backup service.
Here are three key features you’ll want to keep an eye out for when choosing a backup service:
1. Off-Site Backups
You want your backups to be protected from hackers and hardware failure. This means that your backups need to be stored in an off-site protected location, not just on a traditional website server. Look for an online backup service that offers off-site backups as part of their service offering.
2. Automated Backups
If you have to create your backups yourself, then you’ll probably never get around to it. Our lives are busy, and you probably have a handful of website-oriented tasks you’re trying to complete every day as well.
The last thing you’ll remember to do is backing up your website. Plus, it’s a simple enough task that it’s easy to put off until “tomorrow”.
With automated backups, you don’t have to think twice about backing up your website. Just sign up for a service, create a backup schedule, and the rest is taken care of for you.
Automation is one of the most important aspects of an online backup service. Without automation, the task probably won’t get done.
3. Redundant Backups
Another very important feature of your online backup service is redundant backups. This is where your website files and folders will be stored in multiple server locations. Or, you’re having backups of backups made.
This ensures that a single event won’t bring down your backups or storage, and you have multiple lines of defense, instead of a single point of failure.
Introducing the CodeGuard Backup Solution
If you’re already a HostGator customer then you should probably consider CodeGuard as your preferred backup solution. Think of CodeGuard as a time machine for your website.
Have a website update that goes wrong? Or, your site gets hacked and your site will barely function? Or, maybe your site is going haywire for no reason at all?
In one-click, you can restore your site to a previous version that functions how it should.
CodeGuard is equipped with features like:
- Daily automatic backups (or whatever frequency you prefer)
- One-click restore of your entire website, or a single file that’s been corrupted
- Email alerts for any unauthorized changes that are made to your website
- 24/7 website monitoring and scheduled scans
- The ability to backup multiple different websites in a single storage space
- Download a zip version of your entire site for manual backups (if you want even more stored versions of your site)
If you’re already hosting your site with HostGator and looking for a backup solution, then CodeGuard is a no brainer. It immediately integrates with your existing web hosting plan, so configuration is a breeze. Just choose your backup plan, select the websites you want to save, and this tool will do the rest.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why website backups are so important, and something you must do before an unfortunate incident occurs. With a solid website backup solution behind you and an experienced web hosting provider to rely on, you’ll protect the future of your site from any risks that are lurking online.