How Often Should You Back Up Your Site?

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 real-time backups with all Backup plans, complete with one-click restores and a 30-day archive.

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
  • Images
  • 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:

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. These 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!

My Plugins

If you enable automatic updates with Jetpack, you should also be considering automatic backups.

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 is that all backups are done in real-time, giving you peace of mind that any error that you might make is just one click away from being resolved. 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? Check out our plans to pick the option that’s right for you and your site.

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Lance Cleveland profile
Lance Cleveland

Dad. Explorer. Rum Lover. Code Geek. Not necessarily in that order. Create of Store Locator Plus, the "enter your zip code, find the locations" map solution for WordPress.

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  1. P V Ariel says:

    Hi Lance,
    What a joy to be here today to read a wonderful note. Indeed this is a great reminder!
    It is an important thing many often neglect. Thanks for shedding more lights on this issue.
    Hey Lance, I wonder, If i change my present comment option page to Jetpack option, will the present comments too will appear in the new comment box?
    I am afraid if it get deleted while shifting to a new comment option.
    Thanks in advance for your reply.
    Have a good week ahead.
    ~ Philip


    • Adam says:

      Hi there!

      > If i change my present comment option page to Jetpack option, will the present comments too will appear in the new comment box? I am afraid if it get deleted while shifting to a new comment option.

      Turning Jetpack’s comments feature on and off will not delete any comments. They should appear mostly the same too; it’s only the actual comment posting form that’s changed.



  2. confessionsoftheprofessions says:

    As someone whose website crashed about 2 or 3 times this year, the backup of data as a daily process is extremely important.

    I run a semi-popular website with individuals and companies and even universities who send me articles for publication weekly. To lose their data means I’m not really responsible enough to be running a website.

    When you take the process of backing up data seriously, you are ready to run a website. I’d say, in general, visitors don’t really care if you lose your data or not. Your loyal fans might be upset if a favorite article got lost, but for the most part, it doesn’t matter.

    If you are an established website with other websites linking to yours, and even contributors who publish to your blog, than it is important to ensure that you have a backup created every single day, at least once per day, preferably when your “new day” starts — meaning you should probably make backups AFTER you write your blog posts and do work on your blog.

    I ended up moving my blog to an entirely new host because they actually have an automatic data backup process that I set for 12 AM each night. I also installed automysqlbackup on the server.

    No matter what backup program you use, there are three things you should always check:
    1) backups are actually happening
    2) know where your backups are
    3) you should set up a test website and actually restore the data from the backup to ensure it is working properly.

    I’ve ran into an issue with #1 once before: the plugin I purchased had actually expired and I must’ve missed the message or email that it needed to be updated, so for nearly a week, there were no backups happening.

    #2 is important because if you don’t know where your data is, you have a problem.

    And #3, I went to restore data and the database actually had some corrupt material inside of it, rendering the backup file almost useless, though luckily I was able to extract the most important parts of the database.

    So while I do highly recommend a backup service like the Jetpack offers, serious bloggers and website owners should consider multiple sources of backups. You really can never have too many, and extras are just good measure for insurance purposes. The latest data will always be your best data. But if you need to go back further, it can also come in handy.


    • Nicole Kohler says:

      “No matter what backup program you use, there are three things you should always check:
      1) backups are actually happening
      2) know where your backups are
      3) you should set up a test website and actually restore the data from the backup to ensure it is working properly.”

      ^^ this is solid advice! 🙂


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