While you want your site to never experience any major issues, some situations may arise where the use of a backup copy will be a necessity. A backup, simply consists of a duplicate of the site at a given time, in case a problem occurs with the site. So, this copy could be used to return the site to the state it was in before the problem.
Why would I need a backup?
Your site is hacked
When this happens, the hacker modifies the content of your site in order to take advantage of it. Sometimes these changes are minor and restoring the backup is not necessary, as the problem can be fixed by simpler methods. In other cases, the site is so damaged that restoring the site via a backup copy is the most recommendable approach. It also happens that a site is simply deleted by the hacker. In such a case, using the backup to restore the site becomes the only possible avenue.
The storage space of your web hosting stops working
Computer hardware does not have an unlimited lifespan; computer components break and can stop working at any time. Quality hosts use storage configurations that provide some redundancy on the server containing your site’s data. But beyond the hardware breakage, a software breach could occur and the data could become corrupted. Whether the breakage is hardware or software, using the backup could be the only way to save your site.
You’ve made a major blunder on your site
We all know a cowboy who acts without thinking too much. Imagine, for example, that one of your colleagues decides to “clean up your site”… He feels that there are too many plugins and removes those that he believes are unnecessary to him. However, your dear colleague removes your extension that manages your online business and sends to oblivion all the products of your site, the orders and all the payments made by your customers. Oops! Only a backup copy will be able to help you…
My web host already takes care of my backups, right?
Believe it or not, some hosts do not offer any backup solutions. Others are providing them, but the backup copy is on the same disk as the site… uh… what if that disk dies? You will lose both your site… and your backup copy. At SatelliteWP, we have already seen the case of a host that performed backups, but found that all the backed up files were corrupted. In short, you end up with a backup that is of no use and cannot be restored.
The most recent example of such a situation occurred last April at A2 Hosting, a major hosting provider in the USA. Before this major problem, this web host enjoyed an excellent reputation at all levels. A close employee woke up one morning realizing that his site was no longer available. A2 Hosting had been hacked. The website was inaccessible for 5 days. And when the site came back to life, the database had lost the last 6o days of sales transactions! However, this company generates about 20 online sales per day and it is therefore about 1,200 transactions that have disappeared! Its web host was its only backup solution…
This collaborator is not the only one in this situation. Thousands of other customers of this web host have learned the hard way that backups must be managed by a third party to minimize the risks.
Data had to be restored from complete viable backups. In a couple of cases that was older data, most cases it was only a day or two. In many cases individual account level backups are more recent. You can check the account backups in the backup manager in plesk.— A2 Hosting (@a2hosting) April 29, 2019
What is an effective backup?
A backup is an essential element to protect you from the risks related to your web host or a hacker who could take control of the site. Let’s face it, these backups also help protect us from ourselves, because no one is immune to human error.
But what is an effective backup?
First of all, we must consider the frequency of backup. There is no “right answer” that applies to all cases. For some sites, one backup per month will be sufficient. In other cases, it could be one per week or one per day. We even offer a “real-time” backup solution. What matters is to have an adequate frequency according to your needs.
Then, it is necessary to ensure that the backup is automated. Forget the backup copy started manually by a colleague. Memory is a faculty that forgets and the automatic triggering of your backups is essential.
Then, it is crucial that the backup is kept on a remote server. In other words, the backup must not be located on the same server as your website.
Finally, the backup must be redundant. This means that multiple copies are available in different locations. You can never be too careful!
In the end, your backup strategy could save you thousands of dollars if a problem arises. If you’re one of those lucky ones who’ve never lost data, make sure you follow the best practices to never have to go through that hell. As WordPress experts, we have the technical knowledge to provide advice and restore your backup to the required location if anything should happen. On the other hand, despite our talents, we are not magicians and will not be able to do anything if your site has disappeared and the backup strategy in place was deficient or absent. Be aware that the first element composing a WordPress maintenance plan at SatelliteWP concerns precisely backups…
Are you sure you are not at risk?