A WordPress backup is essential for any good maintenance/security plan. In this day and age, if you're not backing up your site, you are essentially asking for trouble. There are too many threats online, from hackers, server hardware failure, to installing and updating new plugins, there are plenty of things to "take your site down."
What makes a WordPress Backup Useless?
Reason #1 - Not backing up on a frequent basis
If you are adding new content on a weekly basis, but only backing up your site once a month, you are setting yourself up to potentially lose 3 weeks worth of data. Simply increasing the backup frequency will help you to make sure you don't lose valuable data.
Reason #2 - Backing up to the wrong place
I've seen clients with horror stories about how they did make a backup using particular plugins,( which is great), but they backed it up to the same folder on their webhost. "What's wrong with that?" you ask. Well, it's kind of like making a copy of your life insurance policy and placing it in the same folder with the original - if the original is destroyed in a fire or flood, then the copy will be gone as well.
Always store your backup in a different location than your original install.
That means backing up to dropbox, google drive, amazon s3, or skydrive - There are plenty of free places to store a copy of your site. Why not take advantage of them?
Reason #3- Not knowing where your website is backed up
Knowledge is power, but if you don't have knowledge of where your backup is, then it is useless to you. Even if you trust your web developer/design team, you should still know where your backup is stored. Is it stored on your developers/designers personal server? Amazon S3?
Reason #4 - Not knowing how to restore your site
No matter how great your wordpress backup is, if you don't know the procedure on how to restore the site from that backup, then your diligence may have been in vain. You should know how to restore your site if it were somehow compromised, or a plugin or edit caused a major problem.
Reason #5 - Not backing up the database along with the files
A wordpress site has two "layers" if you will. The actual files that make it work, and an underlying database that "holds" all of the data. Some clients who are computer savvy actually backup their site files using ftp or manually log into their webhost and download the files. This is great for backing up your themes, plugins, etc.. But the actual posts, pages, and settings are stored in a database. If you only backup the files, then you run the risk of not having all of the content that you worked so hard for. A backup utility, either through your webhost or via plugin will ensure that your files AND database are backed up.
So what do I do?
Action #1 - Find out what your current situation is - do you have a wordpress backup utility and a schedule?
WordPress.org backup utilities - Here is a list of wordpress plugins that you can use to backup your site. Contact me to find out which ones would best fit your site. My current favorite free utility is updraftplus backups.
Action #2 - Get some help configuring your backup - contact me for a wordpress training session and we'll give you the best backup options for your site and give you additional peace of mind.
Action #3- Get a webhost that does it for you.
WP Engine is an excellent host that does automatic backups of your site for you on a daily basis.
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