Introduction: This is all about protecting your site from the ground up, and is by far the most important technique you can take advantage of to make sure that nothing will happen to your website.
Without properly backing up your website, you may find yourself in a very tough situation. You can find out that your stuck with a bugged out website after a simple update, perhaps a disgruntled user found a weak spot in your website to take advantage of, or maybe you accidentally delete half your website (believe me, it happens). Performing one of these methods below will prevent this from happening, and will keep you from having your web host’s customer service telling you over the phone “Sorry, but for some reason our system didn’t backup your website properly”.
While you are creating a backup of your website there are two things you need to keep in mind, the “physical” part of the website which contains your theme files, styling, links and so on; as well as your database, which is kept in your web host’s server. All data is required from both of these sections to ensure that a complete backup is created.
Side Note: Although the majority of websites have a database, in some cases you may not have one and therefore will not need a backup of the database. An example of a website like this would be a “billboard/pamphlet” site, which would be used strictly to display fairly static information.
Method 1 – Manual backup of website through a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and PHPMyAdmin for database
Through this method, you can install a file transfer protocol on your computer (such as Filezilla) that will allow you to download your website’s files from your server. Filezilla is available for Windows, Linux and Max OS X; this is one of my favorite free FTP clients.
While using an FTP client is easy, you need to obtain 3 pieces of information in order to log into the client and access your website’s files on the server:
- Host – IP address of your website, or the domain name of your website such as www.mywebsite.com. However, it is recommended that you use the IP address.
- Username – This is the username you log into your host’s server with.
- Password – This is the password you log into your host’s server with.
Side Note: It is highly advisable to keep multiple backups of a current version of your website. This will prevent unlikely occurrences where both your backup as well as your website’s files are both corrupted and inaccessible.
Method 2 – Automatic Backup (Easy)
This method is typically achieved by using a plugin if you are taking advantage of a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. The plugin you would be using would create a complete backup of your website, including a backup of your database (just as I mentioned above) quite conveniently.
If you are using WordPress, the only two plugins you need to consider when backing your site up is Vaultpress, and UpDraftPlus.
VaultPress – A premium plugin created by the same team that developed WordPress (Automattic) which was led by Matt Mullenweg.
UpDraftPlus – A free plugin that is extremely dependable, and also allows automated backups to maintain up-to-date versions of your website.
Side Note: While this is the easiest method, it is also one to be slightly skeptical of; this is because the stability of an automatic backup is not always ensured. You can put any concern at ease by simply performing stability tests periodically, this is something I recommend highly.
As you can see, ensuring the security of your website by maintaining proper backups is vital, and could potentially cost you big. However now that you have this information, there should be no reason why you are in such a situation. Anyways, I hope these tips were useful and if you are needing any help, or want to buy me a beer don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.