As a leading Content Management System for managing websites and especially for writing blogs, WordPress makes it extremely easy to back up your valuable content from the database and site files. There are a number of tools you can use that make life easy on website owners and bloggers, but don’t let the simplicity of backing up WordPress leave you with an inadequate back up plan. In fact, there are plenty of back up tools out there that don’t get the job done well enough. Here are five back up mistakes to avoid:
Only Backing up Your Posts
Your website has a lot more going on than just the posts on your blog. While losing your posts would be catastrophic, don’t forget that a true back up will include your pages, theme modifications, and WordPress plugins. These elements of your website make it functional, and losing them will be a major setback for your time.
A tool like Backup Buddy is designed to store all of your site’s information and to restore it all at once should any kind of loss occur. This means you won’t lose page views, advertising revenue, or potential customers when your site goes down. It will be up and running in no time.
Not Backing Up Frequently
If you only backup your website on a weekly basis, but you average about one post per day, you could cause yourself some major headaches if your blog goes down and you lose several blog posts. That means any inbound links, comments, or social media shares to those posts will land on your 404 page. While this may be a temporary setback, you will plant a seed of doubt in the minds of potential visitors about the quality and reliability of your website.
Relying on Manual Backups
There are plenty of online storage options from Amazon’s Cloud Drive to Dropbox, but managing the website backup process on your own is difficult to maintain for the long haul and can take up valuable time. Even if you’ve figured out a quick way to back up your website, it’s one more thing on your to do list that could be easily automated.
Backing Up Your Blog on Your Computer
If a hacker can access your website, there’s a good chance he may have already gotten into your computer and other files as well (For more about further protection from hackers, look at the services Passbook hast to offer). In addition, there’s no telling if the files on your computer have been corrupted with a virus when it’s time to restore your site. You could very well be uploading files with the same problems that took your site down in the first place. While you can use a service like Filezilla to back up your site on your own computer, it’s far safer to rely on an online backup site.
Never Testing Your Backups
A backup of your website is a safety net that will catch you when the worst case scenario happens on your website. However, what good is a safety net if it has a hole in it? By testing your backed up files, you’ll learn whether your website backup plan is adequate to meet your needs in a website emergency situation. Make sure you have the files you need in a format that you can easily access and restore to your site.
Your website has information that is far too valuable to leave your back up files in a state of uncertainty. If you don’t know about the security, scope, and viability of your website backups, it’s time to look into a reliable, automated WordPress back up option or to carefully test which back up plugin is right for you.
This wasn’t going to be the subject for my post today, but a series of events have changed my mind. Here they are:
Yesterday on my blog, WPShout I published ‘10 Awesome Things to Do With WordPress’ Custom Fields‘. This morning I awoke to find not a single comment on the post. I was disappointed as the post had taken ages, but I didn’t think much more of it. Until this evening. I wanted to email a friend a link to the post, so I loaded up WPShout, only to find the post wasn’t there! In the admin was only my draft from a couple of days ago. Odd, I thought. I copied and pasted the post from Google Reader and republished the post. And then I realized that a heck of a lot of comments I’d spent yesterday evening replying to had gone, and so had my replies. In other words, my database had reverted to a version a couple of days old. Why? I don’t know (if anyone does have any idea, could you drop me an email?!) at this point.
Of course, at this point you’re (probably not) screaming at your monitor
“just restore the backup you’ve got!… you, you do have a backup, right?!”
Yes. Of course I did. Or so I thought. I’d set up the WordPress Database Backup plugin to email me a backup of the database every 24 hours, and that email automatically got archived. Which meant I didn’t see it hadn’t been sent for a couple of weeks because when moving domains I’d forgotten to reinstall the plugin. Which meant I didn’t have a backup.
Where this post is going is simple – don’t be an idiot like me and only realize your backup doesn’t exist when you actually need it, spend five minutes now installing the plugin I mention above and set it up to email you every day. Just don’t archive the email automatically. WordPress Hacks Top Tip: don’t be an idiot….always have a backup.