It’s bad enough when your computer’s hard drive seizes up. You can’t access your files and it’s a nerve-wracking experience checking if you backed them up somewhere else.
But we often forget that our website is just a collection of related files sitting on a server. If that server crashes, then our website disappears too. This is why you need to backup your website.
With regular backups, restoring your website is a much smoother process. But without backups?
Less than 200 million of the 1.5 billion websites online are still active. How many of those were abandoned because of downtime?
But you may not think your website is big enough to have problems. Or it doesn’t get enough traffic.
Do you wonder if you should backup your website? Read on to learn the 5 reasons why you need to.
1. Restore Hacked Websites with Ease
Cybersecurity is a real and ever-present issue for businesses. And you don’t just have to worry about shadowy organizations who want access to your network.
Some hackers may want to inject malware onto your site to infect anyone who visits your page. Or they want to infest your site with banner ads for other sites that will destroy your reputation.
Others try to enslave your website to ping other servers to bring them down through excessive traffic. This is known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
A DDoS struck DNS provider Dyn in late 2016, affecting sites like Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, the Guardian, and CNN. The attack actually brought these sites down for most of the day.
You can’t avoid issues with your DNS provider. But using preventative measures is your first line of defense against regular hackers. Using two-factor authentication and managing the permissions of contributors are two simple options.
But daily backups mean that if hackers do get past your defenses, it’s not the end of the world. Delete the hacked site and restore your backup. It’s faster than trying to repair the damaged code.
2. Survive Risky Software Upgrades
Upgrading any software for your website comes with its own challenges. Plugins might end up being incompatible. Or updates can break your site’s code.
This is particularly common with WordPress. It’s important you familiarize yourself with WordPress best practices when you’re working with this CMS.
Taking backups before you make changes means upgrades become less daunting. Scheduled backups also mean you’re covered in case automatic updates go wrong.
Rather than trying to fix the code manually, restoring a backup can bring your site back online while you figure out the problem.
3. Not All Hosts Will Backup Your Website
Many hosting services do take backups of your website. But they’re not always on a daily basis so the backup you get may be out of date.
Some hosts don’t provide backups unless you pay extra for them. And even when they do, they’re not always easy to access.
It’s worth taking your own backups of your website, even if your host does backup your files. Multiple backups are never a bad thing.
Keeping copies on an external hard drive and in the cloud is a good way to play safe. That way, if your host’s server goes down, you haven’t lost the backups they take.
If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can install plugins to take scheduled backups for you.
4. Even Employees Get It Wrong
The more employees with access to your website, the more potential you have for problems to occur.
Someone might accidentally edit some code. Or they might update a plugin that’s untested with your software.
If you work on your site on your local server, it could get infected with malware. All it takes is a scenario like the WannaCry ransomware attack – which could have been prevented.
Even worse, they might share their login details with someone else. While you might think hackers are your worst nightmare, lax security from employees is just as real a threat.
Taking regular backups makes it easy to roll back any unauthorized changes. Look into security automation for your website if this is a real concern for you.
5. A Backup Can Act as an Archive
Even if you never need to restore your website, taking backups creates a digital archive. A website is your online shop window and this archive helps trace the evolution of your business.
There are differences between backups and archive files. A backup is a copy of your files. Whereas you traditionally move files when you archive them.
But by collecting your backups together, they form an archive of sorts. This means that you can always go back into older backups to restore your website in case of longer-term problems.
Not sure if you should create a backup or archive files? Click to find out more about the difference.
How to Backup Your Website With Ease
You can choose from several options to backup your website.
- Check if your host takes regular backups
- Get your web developer to backup your site for you
- Install a backup plugin or software
- Save these automatic backups to the cloud
- Download copies of your files and save them on your server
Or use two of these methods for extra security. Some hosts let you make backups yourself through their dashboard so start there.
Having a method for scheduled backups and another for manual backups covers you for most eventualities.
Remember, problems that make your website unusable could affect your search engine ranking. Minimizing downtime and improving the user experience should be your goal at all times.
Website Backups Are Essential to Your Business
Now you’ve read this post, you might want to go backup your website immediately. And you’d be right to.
Whether you’re guarding against hackers or poor security practices, backups are a great insurance policy. You should still try and avoid problems in the first instance. But knowing you can reverse them with a backup offers fantastic peace of mind.
If you’re a WordPress user, you might enjoy our roundup of the essential plugins your website needs – including backups.