When ever I hear questions regarding the importance of backups I am reminded by that old dentist saying “floss only the ones you wish to keep”. Backing up your website is a lot a like flossing. It really is not a lot of work and at some point in the future you’ll likely be really happy you did.

Why backing up your site is important?

The following are some commonplace scenarios that will make you wish you had a backup.

– Provides an easy way to undo accidental changes made to a site that ultimately rendered it inoperable or missing key features.

– Site been hacked? The best way to fix a site that has been hacked is to restore it from a backup that has been stored offsite.

– Has the latest version of WordPress broken your website? Are important features no longer working? While the source of the problem will need to be sorted out. You’ll at least be up an running again until the source of the trouble can be pinpointed and corrected.

– Have you been locked out of your host or has your hosting account been closed? Having a complete local copy of your site means you’ll be able to take your site elsewhere. Not having a copy of your website means you’ll be starting out from scratch. Not good.

How often should you perform backups?

The frequency at which you perform backups really depends on a number of factors which can include:

Are you constantly updating your website with new content?

– Does your site have a blog that allows users to comment on the blog posts?

– Does your site use a plug-in such as Gravity Forms that allows users to submit forms that ultimately end up as entries in the WordPress admin area? Do you rely on these entries instead of or in addition to email notifications?

– Do you use plug-ins or a framework that is often being updated?

If you answered yes to any these questions chances are you’re going to wanting to run frequent back-ups. How often you actually run your backups really depends on how much content you can afford to lose. For some this might mean once a month to others once a day or even once an hour.

Where should you store those backups?

Plug-ins such as MalCare/BlogVault will save the backups on the Web server where the website is hosted. While saving a few copies of your backups on your sites web server is fine I also highly recommend saving them on your local computer. Here you will be able to save as many copies of your website without worrying about potentially using up a lot of your web hosting storage space. As an added layer protection it is also wise to utilize an online backup service to backup your local computer.

The Takeaway

No one likes to see their website go down. Whether it be due to a problematic plug-in, a simple yet catastrophic user caused mistake, or even a malicious hacker. Having a good back-up can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience or a major loss. So when considering how often you should backup your site up just ask yourself how much content would be acceptable to loose. If your site has frequent updates, comments on blog posts turned on, or you rely on admin area form entries you’ll probably want to run your back-ups often. As the old saying goes it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re someone that is responsible for a website as part of your job you’ll never be sorry when you have a good backup and you hear those dreaded words… “the site is down”.