You can’t rely on the automated backups being performed by your host. You need to be performing your own Website backups. Regardless of how reliable you believe your host is, things can and do go wrong.
- Natural disasters such as flooding, fire, earthquakes.
- Hardware failures causing corruption of the file system and the backups.
- Hackers breaking into your host and destroying all your files.
- Malware slowly undermining the integrity of all files.
- Your host could even go out of business and close up shop, it would not be the first time.
but my Web Designer Keeps backups…
If you have an ongoing relationship with your web developer then maybe they are keeping backups, but it is not likely they are backing up all your content and databases. They are probably focused on backing up design components and custom coding.
You need to either take responsibility for your own backups or find someone to do it for you.
Remote backup service or Offline backup.
Remote backup – the backup is still maintained online, but at a location remote to your host.
The advantage of doing remote backups, or using a remote backup service, is that the process can be highly automated, and is much faster. You do need to have a remote host and there is usually a cost associated with this.
Offline line backup – the backup is stored on a computer or other storage medium that is not always directly connected to the internet.
Offline backups are downloaded and external storage media or stored on your local. They are generally much slower to perform, and while the process can be automated to some extent, it is still often a very manual exercise.
The choice of which is best for you will depend on a number of considerations. These considerations will also determine how frequently you need to backup.
The size of the website will affect both the time it takes to back up and the amount of space required.
How often the site is updated will, to a large extent, determine how frequently you need to backup, but is not the only consideration.
This is the consequence of loss of data, or the entire website being unavailable. For commercial sites, this usually means loss of sales. For sites providing information, or other services, then this is the impact on your visitors. You need to way up the cost of the impact against the cost of the available solution.
A major consideration is how fast you need to restore your website. Remote backups generally offer a much faster solution. The speed of your internet connection affects the time required to download and upload your offline backups.
If you are not familiar with the concepts or processes involved in backing up and restore, then a commercial fully automated service is probably the best option for you.
Even if you have the skills, or believe you can acquire them, your own time may be an even more important consideration. Even with a super fast Internet connection, and plenty of storage space, you may decide it is not the most efficient use of your own time.
If you are operating on a shoestring budget, then some of the premium solutions of backup services may be out of reach, but there are still ways you can setup semi-automated remote and offline backups using free tools and services available online.
It really does not matter which you use as long as you create your own backups, separate from that of the host.
The primary backup you will rely on will be the one being performed by your host.
Your remote or offline backup is part of your contingency plan.
Fingers crossed you will never need to use it.
So how often do you need to perform your own backups?
In the ideal world you would want to backup up in real time so nothing is lost, but in the real world, this is a luxury that only mission-critical systems like banks can afford. Only very important or mission-critical systems, like banks, are backed up like that.
Most website hosting only backs up once a day, and only keeps about three to five days of backups.
Personally, I only perform a remote backup once a month and believe this is adequate for most business websites. Of course, if you make any major changes to your website then you should back up immediately after.
If you use our Secure Cloud Hosting service, it comes with daily remote backups. In addition to this Virtual Webmaster, clients can have a free remote backup performed once a month.
Here is a video I made for Social Visibility Online: