Would you drive a car without insurance? Would you buy a home without insuring your investment in it?
Most people would answer “No.” to these questions. Yet, when it comes to a website, especially a business website, so many people take no steps to protect the investment they have in their site.
Even if you built your site yourself, and in some ways more so, it’s a huge investment. Your time, your costs. Your traffic & visitor engagement. All of those are at risk if you don’t regularly backup your site. Why? Because if something happens to your website and you don’t have a recent backup, all of it is gone. Wasted.
Websites face a variety of risks – hardware or software failure on the hosting server, hackers, file transfer issues, and even user-error. Making regular backups won’t prevent any of the above issues from happening. But, like having insurance on your car or house, it will make it easier for you recover quickly and get back on track and moving forward. Below you’ll find two options to backup your site – one for WordPress websites, and one that will work for almost any website, whether it’s on WordPress or another CMS, or even just a simple HTML website.
My go-to backup tool for WordPress is Backup Buddy. Backup Buddy is a premium plugin for WordPress, which means that it requires an annual license fee for updates and support and in this case, I happily pay that license fee every year because this plugin provides peace of mind for mine and my clients websites.
BackupBuddy works for manual and scheduled backups, so you don’t need to remember to make the backups each week, but you have the option of creating a backup whenever you want, such as before running updates for WordPress core files, themes and plugins. Your backups, manual and scheduled, can be for only the database or the database and all your files.
BackupBuddy also gives you the option of sending your completed backups to several different offsite locations – Dropbox, FTP, email, and Amazon S3, among other options. This is great as it doesn’t do you any good to have backups that are only on your server if your server crashes and the backups are lost as well.
One of the classic signs of a great backup tool is the ease with which you can restore a backup of your site. BackupBuddy includes a tool called ImportBuddy that walks you through the steps to restore your site from a complete backup, without having to have a lot of technical knowledge or skill.
Manual Backup Using cPanel
If you don’t have a WordPress website, or don’t want to or can’t use a plugin to create a backup, you can always do a manual backup of the files and database for your WordPress site using the cPanel interface for your server. This method should be undertaken with a dose of caution, especially if you’re not used to working with cPanel, as this is the control panel for your site and making the wrong move could harm your site, which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place.
As I mentioned, there are two areas that need to be backed up to ensure a complete backup of all of the components for a WordPress site – the database, which stores all of the content and configuration settings for your site, and the actual WP core files, plugins and themes. If you use another CMS, such as Joomla or Drupal, this should apply to those types of sites as well.
I made a little video that you can follow for the steps in this process – I thought a visual presentation would be easier to follow along with than text steps.