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WordPress site backups – a must

Having a website powered by WordPress has a number of advantages: you can edit it yourself; you can extend the features of the site through customisation and plugins; and it’s pretty cost-effective. One thing you should keep in mind, though, is that technology and the web are constantly evolving and you need to spend a bit of time keeping your technologies – CMS and plugins – up to date. Here’s a useful overview of why a maintenance plan for your site is important if you don’t already have one. One feature you’ll definitely want to consider is a backup of your website files.

In all WordPress sites, the site consists of the WordPress core files, one or more themes, and the database that holds most of the content.

Given that your site exists on a web server, there may be only one copy of all those files and the database. If something should happen to those and you don’t have a backup then you’re pretty much screwed. Sure, you may have copies of some text and images saved on your own computer, but setting up your site from scratch again might take a while, and cost quite a bit. There’s also another important reason why you’d want to have a backup of your site, but first let’s consider how your site could be at risk.

There are a couple of key ways your site can be threatened:

  • WordPress or plugin updates might cause partial or full malfunction of the site
  • A site editor or admin makes changes to the structure of the site that cause it to ‘break’
  • The site is hacked into and defaced or destroyed (all sites are constantly targeted by hackers).

In the first two cases, there may be simple code fixes. In the third, best practise is to dump all files and restore from known-good backups.

In all these cases a site backup at the least gives you peace of mind. It can be the most effective way of getting the things up and running again quickly. Without having a backup saved you could possibly restore the site from the hosting server backups, but this can be expensive and there may not be a completely up-to-date copy. A complete rebuild could take quite a while to set everything up again and, of course, if you’re relying on a designer or web developer to do it then you’re going to be paying for your site all over again – costly! Do note though that recovering a site from backups also will take some time (partly in checking the cause for failure, acquiring the backups and putting them in place, and in testing after the recovery), so there will be an associated cost unless you do it yourself.

And, here’s the thing to keep in mind if you’re using your site for business: being offline for a while may lose you business, and it may also impact your reputation. If you also use your site to collect information – about customers, shopping history or any other kind of databased information – then all that data exists only in that one place: on that hosted server. That database is worth a lot to you – rebuilding it is pretty much impossible. It goes without saying that a site backup function as part of your maintenance plan is a must.

A backup plan can be as simple as keeping a copy of all the theme files and a database backup on a local machine – you can do that manually. But you’ll want to be doing this regularly – daily if you have a customer database – so having a regular automated a backup schedule is a better option. Even better if this backs up to an offsite location, that is not on your own computer (or on the server),  as a precaution.

If you feel technically up to the challenge you can manually do backups yourself, or there are plugins that will automate this – check here.

We’ve tested the options and can provide this service as a one-off setup, or if you’d like some ‘peace of mind’ insurance we provide this as part of a more comprehensive site hosting Maintenance Plan for your site.

As far as recovering a site from backups, again, you can do this yourself if you feel technically competent. We can recover a site fairly quickly if we have setup the backup plan. We can also often recover a site where someone else has made backups, but this very much depends on how the backups were made and how recently.

Talk to us about setting up a backup or maintenance plan, or even if you are in the unenviable position of having to cope with a dead WordPress site.

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