There are many reasons why you should back up your computer’s hard drive. They mostly revolve around malware that can rend your computer inoperative, hardware failures that could destroy data or a computer that suddenly doesn’t want to work anymore.
A wayward power surge, magnet or spilled drink can ruin your computer forever.
You might think about it, but you should back up your website as well. Chances are, your website hosts vital business operations, your blog, and your web presence as you relate to potential clients and customers.
Don’t take chances when your lifeblood exists online. Even though your web host may seem secure, you should back up your website often in case something unexpected occurs.
Here are several reasons why you must back up your website, and a tutorial on how to accomplish it.
Once you learn how to keep your website safe, you’ll be glad you invested the time, money and energy to do it.
Peace of Mind
Perhaps the most important reason to have a backup is for your own peace of mind. You can’t monitor your website 24/7, nor can you control who sees it, who might break into it or when a mechanical failure may prevent you from seeing it. Rest easy at night knowing your investment is safe and secure, even if something beyond your control happens.
Keep track of any website backups as you perform them. You might take notes as to the day, the latest blog entry you posted or what your main page looked like when you go to bed at night. Take a quick look at your website when you first get up. If anything seems different from last night, a backup can save the day.
You need a reliable way to back up your website that stays consistent. You can download the entire contents to your hard drive or removable memory. That may take awhile to accomplish. Another solution is to employ a cloud-based backup.
Several companies offer software that can back up your website in another location. The difficulty with a cloud-based solution is that if your internet connection goes down, you may not have access to a backup right away.
No matter how you back up your website, having something is better than nothing. A minor delay as you find your backup is better than having to completely re-do an entire website from scratch.
A web host may or may not back up your files, which is why you should ask your website provider if that service is included in your contract. If not, find out if you can pay extra to back up your website. Otherwise, you may have to create a backup on your own.
Peace of mind is great when it comes to saving your business from unexpected technical glitches. However, when you back up your website you also save it from possible intrusions from outside sources.
High-profile security breaches plagued national retailers such as Target and Lowe’s. These security breaches exposed flaws in electronic systems that compromised customers’ private financial information. Hackers gained access to credit card and debit card information. Don’t let a security breach happen to you, as it could destroy your website and your reputation.
You should have the highest possible security and encryption for your website.
Talk to your website host or a specialized cybersecurity company about that software. However, you should also have a backup just in case.
Malware, viruses, cybersecurity breaches and unwanted intrusions can come from someone reading an email with a virus on it at work, a download that contains spyware or any number of sources.
A backup can protect you in case something goes tragically wrong. You can set up your website to a point before the security breach caused problems. Then you can see the differences to try to rebuild what the breachers stole.
Again, your website host may or may not be liable for backing up your website, so it’s a good idea to have an alternate plan in place.
Back up your website to bring your web portal up faster. Hackers may have stolen some information, but at least you are back in business quickly.
Software updates constantly, and these updates may not work well with certain programs or web applications. When a piece of software updates, but your website doesn’t yet follow along, you might lose content.
Your HTML may look weird on your blog, your videos may not load properly, or your click-to-pay buttons may disappear. A backup can save the day until you figure out what happened.
Perhaps you need a different version of a web browser, or maybe your website host needs to fix something with a server.
Hardware fails can get in the way of your website’s performance as well. A bad server at your website host could lead to a catastrophic failure. Although these incidents are rare, it could possibly happen. Servers and power lines could go down due to bad weather.
A cybersecurity attack could, conceivably, bring down your website host. Although this isn’t your fault, you may not have time to wait around for the web host to come back online.
Move your backup onto another server to mitigate any further losses.
A website backup also protects you from your website host itself. Sometimes, the company’s IT team institutes upgrades that cause outages and loss of content.
The reason for this is because companies often cobble together server upgrades from various vendors rather than having one company deal with the entire system. When one company updates something one week, that might send the server into a tizzy. A different vendor or provider could perform an update the following week, and that could change things as well.
A backup keeps things running smoothly until your website host figures out what happened.
Some aspects of our website you do control, and that’s another reason why you should have a backup.
Someone Else Makes Changes
Ideally, you see changes made to your website before anything happens. When you have many people who work on your website’s design and content, someone might change something that you didn’t approve.
For example, you wanted a blog post for October 2016 on how e-commerce websites use Halloween as a dry-run for the winter holiday shopping season. Instead, one of your employees deleted five years’ of blog posts while only keeping the most recent one. Instead of reconstructing hundreds of blog posts from scratch, you backup saved everything for you.
It’s not just the content of your website that’s at risk to changes. Someone on your staff may accidentally erase or change your customer data, analytics and sales metrics. The person may not have been familiar with making a website update or change to the system, and accidents do happen. Having a backup gives you the means to re-create data from an unexpected problem. The unexpected things are the main reasons why you make a backup in the first place.
A backup also gets your own feet out of the fire. What if you change something and then it doesn’t work out so well? Do you remember how to change the website back to its previous form? If you can’t remember how to do it, the backup saves the day. No more hunting for the right HTML code or spending hours trying to retrieve your website’s former glory. All you do is upload the backup.
How Often Should You Back Up Your Website?
Back up your site files before the new month begins, especially if you save financial data on your website. If you are ready to upload thousands of new e-commerce files, definitely store a backup right before you import the files.
You may find a weekly backup suits you better, especially if you bring in new merchandise every week or if you post a blog every Tuesday. Some websites, such as restaurants or high-volume retailers, may even need a daily backup after the close of the business day. How often you backup your website depends on your needs based on traffic, volume and how often you change things.
If you completely rely on your website for all of your business, consider daily backups versus monthly ones. Luckily, you have several options with regards to performing a backup.
How to Back Up Your Website
There are numerous ways to back up your website, all of which have pros and cons. You can manually back up your files, but that may take a long time if you have a huge website. This involves a file transfer protocol (FTP) that sends files through the internet and to your computer.
If you have a huge website, backing up might eat up a good portion of a day. Once you figure out how to do this, it becomes easier once you know how to store the files on your hard drive.
Some software lets you download a back up to your computer while organizing files for you. The program called cPanel is fairly easy to use. The downside with this software is that you have to remember to do the backup on your own. You can’t set it to automatically save the files to your computer. You have to activate the program at the correct time. If you forget to save a backup, you might have a version that is several months, rather than several days, obsolete.
You can always back up your files to the cloud. Amazon’s gigantic cloud-based storage systems offer you a way to save your files through a third party. Dropbox is another alternative, even though this company specialized in WordPress-style backups. If you know how to use WordPress, you can learn to easily back up your website on your own.
Another option is one of pure convenience, but it also gives you the most peace of mind when it comes to saving your website when things go awry. Specialized tech firms help you back up your website by offering a full-range of services.
These companies schedule regular backups, inform you when this process happens and show you what you get when you reload an older version of your website.
It’s like having a professional IT guy in your corner. Shop around to find the best companies that offer this service. Get a price quote before signing on the dotted line, and most certainly get references from other companies before you trust your livelihood with another company.
You could find a local company that takes care of this, or a company with a broader reach with nationwide accounts. Either way, you can make an informed decision about hiring someone to back up your precious website and all of the files you save on it.
You expect that your website may not run smoothly all of the time, but you need a backup for the things you don’t expect. You don’t want a cyber security breach or a catastrophic failure of a server, but you must have Plan B in case something goes really, really wrong. Backing up your website is like car insurance–you never want to use it, but you have to have it for when accidents happen.
You also want an expert to back up your website, if at all possible. This costs money, yes. However, can you afford not to have this extra protection for your website? Your initial investment could save you thousands of dollars later.
If your website goes down, all you need to do is make an announcement on social media to let your customers know. Hopefully, your web presence comes back soon thanks to your handy-dandy backup that you made just a few days prior. Don’t become another cyber security statistic and do whatever it takes to save your online presence from accidents and malicious, targeted attacks.