Why do I need to backup my website?

Backing up your website, whether WordPress or not, is perhaps the single-most useful task that can be completed as a website manager or administrator. Keeping the software updated and running the latest version is crucial too, but backups are key. But why? Isn’t my website already backed up? Isn’t that what I pay my web host for? The answer… well, it depends.

Some web hosts are very good to their clients, and backup all parts of a web hosting account (possibly website, email, and databases) on a regular basis. Some will even store these backups at a separate geographic location, or at least on a separate server. Some hosts will do this for free, others will charge for the service; but generally, it’s more of a safety-net than a useful feature. That’s not to say it should be shunned or ignored – certainly not – but most web hosts will look to restoring whole backups, rather than fixing the issue or taking care of what might of changed since that backup occurred.

What if your website was hacked or attacked today? When is the last time you saw a backup of your site? Even worse… what if your site was attacked today, and you didn’t notice for a month…! What would happen then? That monthly backup your web host provides will be infected with malicious code too, meaning that you’ve got no clean restore point to work from. This is going to push the cost of any recovery efforts sky-high, and may actually make it completely impossible to restore the site without combing every line of code one by one. That’s not to say that, normally, some kind of recovery can’t be achieved… it’s just not going to be particularly quick or cheap (both things we want, always, it seems).

So… is there a better way? Yes (of course)! You could either be proactive, and jump on in to WordPress, complete a backup every day, store this away safely, and bring them back out if/when you need them… or, you can leave all the hard work to us at WordPresto. We’ll take a regular backup of your entire WordPress site – that’s your WordPress-related files and database – and store it away in multiple locations, for as long as we possibly can. That’s going to be at least 90 days, guaranteed, but we’ll aim for as many days as we can manage! How often we’ll take a backup will depend on which monthly plan you suggest, but that’s also dependant on how often your site changes. If it’s a fairly static site, perhaps a backup from a month ago is absolutely fine to get it back up and running. If you’re updating regularly, or are security-conscious, perhaps we should be aiming for something more often – say weekly or daily (or even hourly!).

The advantage here is that all of those backups (up to those limits above) are then retrievable for the WordPresto team to start a recovery on your site – depending of course on whether you chose to include this in your subscription, or whether this is additional work (both possible). That’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, and knowing that you’ll be ready to rock and roll, as soon as possible after an attack (which, let’s face it, is probabilistically more likely to happen than not, at some stage in your site’s lifetime). This just leaves your web host to backup your email (should you be using them for this), and any other non-WordPress related files or documents living in your hosting account: something you’re probably paying them for anyway, and less likely to be an issue if the backup is older. These elements are also generally less of a target for an attacker, so will perhaps not have even been affected by an exploit directed at your WordPress website.

Exploits happen all the time, so let’s work together to make sure that your site isn’t one of the huge number still running old software – a prime target – and that you have a nice, recent backup of the site running the way you want it. We’re here to help at WordPresto, so all you need to do is ask!