Backing up is a wise move. But it hasn’t become as easy as 1-click yet. Sadly. Given all the great tech advances on the Web, this is something that should already be available as a plugin.
However, in the last few months, I’ve researched, tinkered and toyed with a few tools out there to arrive at a super slick setup that works amazingly.
Here are the benefits:
1. Backups are automated.
Backups run weekly but can run as often as daily if you wish. You schedule them, and they run on their own. You can even end the backup wherever you want it to go. You also get a message when the backups are done or if there are any issues.
2. Backups are sent off-site.
This means the backup file (which has everything) is sent away from the hosting company to a different location. Therefore, if your host company fails, you won’t lose your website. It’s like sending a copy of your birth certificate to a safe deposit box at the bank (off site from your house in case your house is destroyed).
3. Everything is backed up.
This setup backs up the database (the data — like written content and various settings) AND your website files (the code, the images, the themes, plugins, etc). It puts them all into ONE single file.
4. Recovery is easy.
If you lose your site, get hacked, or have to move to a new host, you can simply use the short recovery process to restore your site from the backup file. It’s done in a few simple steps.
So what are the tools I’ve used? And, can YOU do this?
Here are four pieces that I’m using that are worth noting:
1. I’m using GoDaddy Hosting.
This isn’t a requirement, but I want you to know this works on GoDaddy. It will work with other hosts like HostGator and Bluehost (other popular hosting companies that many WordPress web designers like to use).
2. I’m using the Backup Buddy plugin from iThemes.
This is a great plugin. This backs up both the database and website files into one file – all at once. It also has a quick way to restore your site from a backup.
3. I’m using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Amazon provides various services on the Web in addition to selling books (well, they sell everything). One service is data storage at dirt cheap prices. So, I’ve set up my backups to go there. Amazon provides me the off-site location for my backups.
4. I had to tweak a few things to ensure backups are complete.
If you venture into this, you could face files size limits as well as timing out issues, which simply mean that your hosting company is limiting the amount of computer resources your site can use. You may need to tweak these and it’s pretty simple for a web designer to do (you could do it yourself if you were told how).
So, can you easily do this as the everyday casual web user?
If you’re the type who is not afraid to venture into tech stuff, they I’d say go ahead. It’s all a matter of setting things up, reading instructions, and then testing it out. Also, being willing and patient to ask questions to your host or other online support groups (one possible is the WordPress Web Designer in LinkedIn).
If you get easily frustrated or have low patience for tech stuff, skip it and give it to your VA or web designer who will be more than capable of doing it for you.
I tested it out. Yes, you should test yours out as well.
I had my VAs test out running a backup and restoring my website, CoachingSitesThatWork.com, on a new host company. And they were able to do it. They aren’t super techies, but they are daily computer users.
Once you are able to create a backup, you should try to “restore”. Restoring means that you take your backup file and try to install your website from the backup file and do this in a different location such as your web designer’s test server.
So to be clearer, you want to (1) set up the backup to run and complete without any errors and (2) try to restore your website from a backup somewhere else. This is proof your backup system is working.
In conclusion …
Backing up is something you should be doing for your website and, to date, from my recent research, the slickest way I’ve found is using the Backup Buddy Plugin and Amazon Web Services.