A friend of mine went to his website to log in the other day, and all he saw was this:

No Longer in Business

Without so much as an e-mail, his "lifetime plan" at his web hosting company went down in flames, with only the hint that they might be able to find his data if he requested it.

He lost his site. He lost his WordPress database. He lost his e-mail.

What would you have done in that situation, if that site was your livelihood?

I have stressed the importance of backups many times on my site, but you should know that there are multiple kinds of backups.

  • Local backups store snapshots of your site and database at regular intervals. They are great to have if you install a plugin or make an update that breaks your site, and you need to revert back to an earlier version.
  • Server backups create archives of your entire server, including your main site, domain, e-mail accounts, settings, subdomains/add-on domains, etc.
  • Offsite backups are backups copies which are stored on another server in the cloud, or on a local drive.

The best backup plans include all 3, which is why we have included them in our managed hosting plan. By having all 3 varieties, we can insulate clients from pretty much all situations that might be encountered. If the client breaks the site by installing something, we can instantly revert it back. If the server gets corrupted or infected, we can restore it from a backup. And if anything ever happened to the physical server itself, the entire site can be put back up in a new location in a very short amount of time. Combined with scanning and monitoring, this level of protection ensures the greatest amount of uptime for the site.

For the DIYer, you can use BackupBuddy which has options for both local and remote automated backups, and VaultPress which will create a backup of your site on their servers.

IMPORTANT: Backing up your own site is not a "set it and forget it" function. You need to make sure those backups are occuring properly, without errors. And you may want to scan your site periodically to make sure you aren’t just backing up an infected site.

What are you using for your backup system? If you have any questions or comments about backing up, please post below!

Offsite backups would have saved my friend a whole lot of trouble, so I wrote this post to help all my friends and readers avoid this costly mistake. If you don’t have a backup system currently operating on your site, do not delay — set one up today!

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