Maintenance

Why you should backup your website

There are a few things that you should be doing to keep your website safe. Whether this be from hackers, an update gone wrong or just human error; there is a single most important thing. Creating a backup of your website. 

Give yourself a fallback should anything go wrong by getting into the habit of backing up your site regularly.

So why exactly is backing up your site so important? In this post I will cover 4 of the most important reasons and why you should do it ASAP.

 

What is a website backup?

Before we start, let’s just cover what a backup is. A backup is a copy of all your websites important files and these get saved to another location. 

 

Which files should I backup?

It’s usually easier to backup your whole site but some websites can be HUGE! 

Make sure to always back up these:

  • Core files
  • Anything you’ve uploaded yourself (e.g. Media)
  • Theme
  • Plugins
  • Database

To get more specific with WordPress, you should back up these:

  • Core WordPress files (All files in the root folder and “wp-admin” and “wp-includes”)
  • Any files and folders in the “wp-content” folder (This is where your plugins, themes and uploads will be)
  • WordPress configuration files (“wp-config.php” and “.htaccess”)

So we’ve covered what a back up is and which files really should be backed up. Let’s move on to the reasons why you should be backing these up regularly.

 

How to back up your website:

There are several ways you can back up your website. If you’re confident, you can FTP into your website and copy all of your files that way. This can be fiddly and I don’t recommend doing this if you haven’t done it before!

If you’re using WordPress and are looking for a full site backup or migration to another host, then the Duplicator plugin is a great option. While I haven’t used it myself (yet), the reviews really speak for themselves.

Thirdly, a brilliant option for backups is UpdraftPlus. I find this a brilliant plugin to take a quick backup before any updates are made. The great thing about this plugin is that it’s quick to take a backup and quick to restore it. I’ve used this on a couple of occasions and it’s really helped. However, the downside to this is if you have an issue affecting the admin panel or something a bit deeper in your website, this plugin may not be as helpful. I also wouldn’t use this plugin for site migration. 

Screenshot of the duplicator backup plugin.
 

1. Undo Update Errors

Updates are a crucial part of keeping your website secure and running smoothly. However, when you update there is a chance that some things can break your site.

I’ve had this happen to me before but I always make sure to make a backup right before I update anything. Doing this means that if something does go wrong, you have a recent point to restore your site to. 

You may think it’s just easier and quicker to run a quick update but this can spell disaster. If something goes wrong when updating it can cost you a lot of time and money to fix. It can be a pain to manually undo an update but also you’ll be losing out on revenue from your customers. Additionally, if you have to hire someone to fix it, chances are it won’t come cheap. So take a backup of your website right before you update so you know you have a working copy.

 

2. Human Error

Whether you run a large website with loads of posts or a small website to advertise your business, human error can be a common cause for your site to break. 

It’s quite common for someone to accidentally add a space or a character somewhere it doesn’t belong. Also, it’s very common for people to accidentally delete a page, post, elements etc. Imagine you run an e-commerce website and someone accidentally deletes all your products. If you’ve made a recent backup of your site, chances are you will need to do minimal work to restore it all.

I’ve seen cases of this and similar where the backups weren’t recent enough and it meant that a team of people had to spend the rest of the day re-adding the products in order for the website to function. 

 

3. Simplify Migration

Have you ever wondered why your website’s down? Well one reason is possibly your hosting provider. Not all providers have a great up-time, meaning that occasionally your website won’t be visible to your customer. Obviously in a perfect world this wouldn’t happen, but you might find yourself in this position and need to change host. 

Taking a full backup of your site will help you to move your website from one hosting provider to another with minimal issues. Additionally, this can make the process of moving providers easier, quicker and cheaper (if you’ve hired someone by the hour).

 

4. Boosts Security

There are a few things to watch out for with your website in order to boost its security. 2 of the biggest threats are malware and hackers. 

Should your website fall victim to malware, you should remove it from your site as quickly as possible. A quick way to quickly clean out your website is restoring a backup. This should get rid of the malware (providing you did a full backup of your website before being infected). 

Some of the most common ways hackers and malware can get into your website are through a lack of security and code vulnerabilities due to a lack of updates (from plugins and themes to WordPress itself). 

 

Conclusion

These are just some of the reasons why you should be backing up your website, and doing it regularly. I cannot stress enough how many times a backup has helped me to quickly restore an issue and I really recommend doing it!

If you are struggling with backing up your website yourself then feel free to send me an email at hello@samcoombsdesign.com.
I also offer maintenance plans that will help keep your website in peak condition, without you even having to lift a finger. You can check out my maintenance plans here: Maintenance Plans