Backing up your site can feel daunting. Backups are undoubtedly important: one study found that 60% of small businesses that experience data loss go out of business within six months of the occurrence. But the question is how to minimize costs while keeping your website safe.
Looking for advice online yields plenty of opinions from endless viewpoints. It won’t be long before you begin reading about partial backups, full backups, rotating schedules, and other technical jargon that leaves you feeling confused. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and put off your research for another day.
The good news? You can use online services that were developed specifically to streamline the backup process. Jetpack, for example, offers full backups beginning with the Personal plan, complete with one-click restores and a 30-day archive. But even after you find a service that works for you, you still have to figure out how often your site needs backed up.
Let’s look at how you can find the right frequency for your site backups, including three major items you should consider when making your decision.
Consider how often your site content changes
Your WordPress site’s content is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what you want to avoid losing without backups. Your content may also be one of the things you change most frequently, whether you’re publishing new blog posts or uploading lots of new photos to a gallery.
Your site’s content includes (but is not limited to):
- Blog posts or pages
- Audio and video files
- Downloadable files, like PDFs
The frequency of any additions to your site, or changes to existing content, is an important factor when determining your backup cadence. If you’re adding or changing content on a daily basis, your backups should be run at least daily to avoid any losses, no matter how small. It’s a huge pain to redo changes to your pages, much less rewrite an entire post!
Think about how much user interaction your site has
Another category to consider is user interaction. This would be anything that encourages a visitor to interact and engage with your website beyond simply reading a post. User interactions include things like:
- Comments on your content
- Completed contact forms
- Product purchases
- Product reviews
Whenever a visitor posts a comment, places an order, or fills out a form, your site changes. This type of activity might not be as obvious as a new post, but it does change your site: user interactions are recorded in your WordPress databases, and these databases are critical to keeping your site running smoothly.
If your site activity is very high — for example, if you receive multiple comments per hour, or are taking any amount of orders via a plugin like WooCommerce — your best option is a real-time backup service that creates new restore points every time a new interaction is detected.
Look at the frequency of your updates
Any update you make to WordPress should prompt an immediate backup. These updates include:
- Changes to the WordPress version, whether a major or minor release
- Theme updates
- Plugin updates
- Any major developmental changes, like the addition of a child theme or custom CSS
Many hosting companies enable automated WordPress core, theme, or plugin updates, and you can also enable these through Jetpack. This automated updates are typically done to ensure that your site is protected from potential security breaches or bugs. You may not be actively clicking the “update” button on your WordPress dashboard to make these happen, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creating backups along with them!
If you run a site with lots of plugins or custom code changes you want to be sure to protect, you should be backing things up much more often than if you’re only running Jetpack and a single theme.
The key to deciding on backup frequency: how often things change
As you might have noticed, the real key to deciding on how often you should back up your site is how often your site is changed. These changes may be as small as new comments from readers of your blog posts, or as big as major updates to all of your plugins at once.
If you answer “yes” to any of the below questions, you should be backing up your site as quickly as possible — that is, more frequently than once a day — due to increased site activity and changes:
- Are you publishing or editing your content more than once per day?
- Does your content have a lot of comments?
- Do you run an online store?
- Do you have more than a handful of plugins or themes?
- Are you frequently adding or changing custom code?
If you answered “no,” you’re probably fine with daily backups — but there’s no harm at all in having more frequent backups on hand just in case you need them.
Get effortless backups as often as you need them with Jetpack
You can’t predict when a hard drive or hosting failure might occur, or whether an update to one of your plugins will result in a conflict with another. The bottom line is that all websites should be backed up at least daily, and active sites on an hourly or instantaneous basis. This will help you recover from any unexpected data loss.
The incentive for choosing Jetpack for your backups, whether you want them to happen occasionally or immediately, is the peace of mind that comes with having them. With Jetpack’s reliable backup service, your content, data, and customizations can be recovered in a single click.
Not backing up your site with Jetpack yet? Take a look at our Personal, Premium, and Professional plans to pick the option that’s right for you and your site.