Backing up your website regularly is vital. Every experienced website owner knows this. Unfortunately, many new WordPress users do not take backing up as seriously as they should. This is sometimes down to the assumption that everything will be ok. Others have looked into backing up their files and decided it was either too time-consuming or too costly. In reality, if something with your website goes wrong, you could lose everything.
It is not uncommon for website owners to not take backups seriously until something goes wrong. It is a hard lesson that they never forget. If you are smart, you will get into the habit of backing up your website from the beginning.
In this article, we will look into why backing up your WordPress website is so important.
No hosting company in the world can offer 100% uptime and reliably. Even the best WordPress hosting companies have had severe problems with their datacenters. Customers can experience irregular downtime and problems during this time for days.
There is a number of reasons why a server can go down. In 2007, for example, RackSpace’s power was completely cut off when a truck crashed into one of their electrical generators. Other outages have been caused by things such as software errors, hard drive failures or a change in server structure.
When a server goes down, the hosting company usually (but not always) can retrieve their data. However, even if your website data can be retrieved, you might have to return to a version of your website that is a few days old. Therefore, when your hosting company goes down, you could potentially lose a few days of work.
WordPress Websites are Vulnerable to Hacking
WordPress is by far the most used content management system for publishing content online. This is perhaps why it is targeted so frequently by hackers and spammers. Even if you use a security plugin on your website, there is still the risk of a malicious script injecting malware or a virus onto your website.
You may not even know that someone has infected your website. One common technique hackers use is to overwrite one of your template files with their own code. This allows them to do a number of different things such as using your website to send thousands of spam emails. As a result, your server will be blacklisted by spam monitors and none of the emails you send from your websites will be received.
It Does Not Matter How Experienced You are: Mistakes Happen
Even experienced website owners who have been working online for several years make mistakes from time to time. The wrong files can get overwritten or deleted. Or a simple MySQL command with a small error can cause lots of data to be wrongly updated.
Mistakes are not something that happens every day, but when they do happen, you will be glad of any recent backups you have.
You Cannot Rely Solely On Your Hosting Company for Backups
Many website hosting companies offer daily or weekly backups of your website. In the event of something going wrong, this allows you to get a copy of your last working version of your website. Most hosting companies can roll back your whole website to a point when your website was working correctly. Be aware that shared hosting plans cannot always offer this feature as there are hundreds of other websites hosted on the same server.
Having your websites backed up daily by your hosting company does offer some piece of mind, however it is dangerous to solely rely on your hosting company as your only backup solution. Hosting companies backup systems are always in-house. As noted previously, hosting companies can suffer outages due to electrical problems, drive failures and more. So if your backup is hosted in the same location, your backup may also be lost during an outage.
Be Smart and Back Up Often
It is important to back up your websites regularly. Backing up to your personal computer every day is not always practical, particularly if your website uses a lot of storage. A more practical solution is to use an external service to backup your files.
There are a number of WordPress backup plugins that will backup your a zipped version of your website to your server. There is no real benefit to doing this if your hosting company offers daily backups as the backup file will be stored on your main hosting package. So if your website goes offline, you will not be able to access the backup file.
I recommend using BackupBuddy to backup your WordPress site. It allows you to automatically schedule your backups and store them directly on the cloud.
Do not be fooled into thinking that because nothing bad has happened to your website in the past, nothing bad will happen in the future. Incidents usually occur when you least expect them. When they do, you will find out quickly that they are time-consuming, stressful and costly. Be smart and back up your WordPress website frequently. You will be glad you did.