Website Backup – Why It’s Important

In every web design class we conduct at Awesome sites, where our founder Andrew Koh is the lead trainer, we will stress the importance of having regular website backups. Yet many students we have ignored this advise, only to regret later, when things go wrong with their websites. A backup is like your insurance. You won’t need it most of the time but when the need arises, you will be kicking yourself if you do not have one. Here are 7 reasons why you should always backup your website…

Crash

Websites can and do crash for a variety of reasons. And when they do, the easiest way to get them up and running again is to restore them from the most recent backup copy you have. This restoration process is usually very easy, if you have a ready backup. Indeed you can even do it yourself. But things can get complicated and costly, if you don’t have one; to recover your website in such situations, you will likely need expert help.

Hacked

It’s important to harden your site and regularly scan it for malware. These are web security precautions many website owners take. But these measures only make your site more difficult to hack, and not impossible to hack. It’s important to understand that nothing is 100% secure and that sometimes, despite your best efforts, your website may still fall victim to hackers. And if your site is indeed hacked, your safest bet is to restore it using a backup copy taken just before your site was compromised. Thereafter, change your password and update the CMS itself, plus theme and plugins. This is the surest way to ensure that your site is free of malware and other malicious scripts the hacker may have left behind. But again, it’s only possible if you have a backup of your website.

Human Error

We all make mistakes. Sometimes, while editing our website, we may accidentally delete a table, web form or some other important content that we need. Or we can be tweaking our website to the point that it breaks or crash. In all these situations, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars yet again if you have a backup.

Act Of God

For your website to be available 24/7, it has to be hosted on a server connected to the internet. And this server is usually located at a data centre managed by your webhost. What if, through no fault of yours, the data centre catches fire and the servers there are all burned to the ground. Some web hosting companies may have contingency plans to handle such acts of god (e.g having a remotely stored backup of the whole server) but no all. Hence rather than rely on others, it’s best that you take your own regular backups.

Issues After Update

These days, most websites are built using a content management system (CMS) e.g. WordPress. And these CMS, as well as the theme and plugins must be kept updated with the latest versions as and when they become available. But this update process is not without risk. At times, you may encounter plugin conflicts or compatibility issues between themes, plugins and the CMS core. Should this happen, you will see critical errors which can result in the much dreaded white screen of death (WSoD); in short, updates can crash your website. Your best bet to mitigate such risk is to take a backup of your entire website including your database before performing any website update.

For Migration If Needed

It’s difficult to know the quality of a web hosting service until you use it. This is especially so if you using shared hosting where the tenants to server ratio is usually unknown to the client. To maximise profits, some hosting companies will squeeze many clients into one server thereby limiting the server resources (eg CPU, Memory, bandwidth etc) allocated to each client. This in turn slows down the performance of your website, making simple task such as the updating of plugins or the backing up of your website painfully slow. Visitor to your site may be affected to with screen messages indicating that the site is temporary down because it has exceeded the allocated resource limits. If you are unfortunate enough to encounter such a web host, one option you have is to migrate your site to another hosting company. And to do this migration, you will need a backup copy of your website.

Hosting Company Bankrupt

Any company can go under. Your web hosting company is no exception. In the unfortunate event that it happens, there may be no warning; your site can be up one day and down the next. Your only recourse once again is to fall back on your backup.

Final Thoughts

As can be seen, having regular backups of your website is of utmost importance. You never know when you will need a them but when the need arises, you cannot do without one. This is especially so if your website is making you money, as data loss and downtime can be extremely costly. That’s why our web maintenance service includes website backup.

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I'm a web design and SEO trainer in Singapore. To date, I've trained more than 5,000 people in SEO and WordPress web design. I love reading stuff related to digital marketing and especially enjoy public speaking. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I worked 18 years in the life insurance industry - 4 years in HSBC Insurance as the Chief Agency Offer and another 14 years in AIA, with my last role there being that of Regional Director of Agencies.

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