Creating and managing a website is easier than it once was, but things still go wrong. Sites still get hacked. Updates might break certain features or bring entire websites down. Mistakes get made, sometimes right before a really important, high-traffic day.
To avoid these situations, making a backup of your site on a regular basis is critical. It’s even more important to ensure that this backup happens outside of your host. But many of us are guilty of failing to prioritize this important task. You may already have backups, but are they stored in a safe location?
In this post, we’ll cover why you need to perform regular backups, why they should be made offsite, and offer a solution so that you won’t have to worry about losing your data in the event of a mistake or emergency.
The Importance of Site Backups (and Offsite Backup Storage)
There are several important reasons why you need to back up your website and its data:
1. Your site could get hacked
The internet is awash with people and bots who would just love to find and break into vulnerable sites. If your site is infected, you may have business data stolen, visitor information collected, and important files damaged or locked behind ransomware. Small businesses without dedicated IT teams are particularly vulnerable to attack. Some hackers even break into sites simply to vandalize them.
By backing up your content and core site data, you can quickly deploy your data recovery solution to restore lost service, minimizing your revenue loss and service interruptions for your customers.
Prevention is the best form of medicine, as they say, so it’s vitally important to secure your site before hackers can get to it.
2. Hosting providers aren’t perfect
Most reputable web hosts are extremely careful about managing their users’ data – after all, that’s what will make or break their reputation – and therefore they will often have some internal data backup solutions in place in case something goes wrong with their own servers. Nevertheless, whether through malware, human error, or natural disaster, things can go wrong, and by relying solely on your host to back up your site, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket.
3. Mistakes get made
We’re only human, after all. Whether you’ve been messing around in your site’s database to try and free up space (please don’t do this) or released an updated design of your site before it was ready, the last thing you want is for your mistakes to be visible online for everyone to see – or for your site to be completely broken! Backups are, therefore, the ultimate disaster recovery solution.
4. Sometimes updates go wrong
On rare occasions, updating a single plugin or WordPress itself can cause major errors and site downtime. Without a backup, you could be looking at several days offline before your site is up and running again. Every hour spent offline means more lost readers, customers, and search engine impressions. If you’re running a news site that’s reliant on frequent updates for reader retention, they might turn to other sites and be lost for good.
5. You need peace of mind
Finally, an offsite backup gives you peace of mind. You’ll always know that you can restore the latest version of your website no matter what happens to it.
If your backups are stored offsite, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not your host will give you access to backup files, or if they have the most recent version of your site available. With an offsite backup measure, you can easily schedule your own backups and know they’ll be available right when you need them.
Why Your Backups Need To Be Stored Offsite
1. Anything that affects your site could affect your onsite backup
The humble autosave is, in a sense, the most basic backup solution. If you’re unhappy with the edits you’ve made to a WordPress post, you can simply go through the revision history and revert it. Several backup solutions work in a similar way.
The problem is, all these autosaves are stored in your own database. That means if something has gone catastrophically wrong with your site (from a malware incursion to a natural disaster damaging your host’s data centers), it’s likely to have gone catastrophically wrong with your database – and therefore your backup.
Offsite backups are stored in a decentralized way completely independently of your site and are therefore safe no matter what happens to your site.
2. Local backups are extremely difficult to manage
Perhaps you don’t trust any cloud backup solutions. What about a good old external hard drive, paired with some decent backup software? The data storage requirements of almost all WordPress sites are relatively minor unless you’re archiving huge numbers of posts with a large volume of embedded media. So a local backup might seem tempting. However, they’re rarely a good idea.
The key issue is that most websites are dynamic – they’ll constantly be changing with new posts, pages, comments, updates, and so on. How often do you want to be manually running your local backups? Once a month? Once a week? Good cloud backup service providers back up data from your site every time there is a change.
Then there’s the data protection issue. If you’re the kind of person who likes to work in cafés or shared work environments, the data protection risks of carrying around all your reader and customer information on an easily-lost-or-stolen external hard drive don’t bear thinking about!
3. Offsite backups let you restore your site quickly
Having the most recent website backup immediately available allows you to fix problems quickly. You don’t have to wait for your hosting company to get back to you and release the latest update they have on file, or pay an additional fee to use it.
On top of that, restoring your content quickly prevents you from losing customers or damaging their trust in you and your business.
What to Look for in an Offsite Backup Solution
Not all backups are created equal
Unfortunately, many hosts will not back up your site regularly. Those that do make backups do so for their own protection and may not make those files available to you or may charge extra fees for the service.
Sometimes, even if a host does provide access to your backup files, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to restore your site in the event of an emergency. This can result in additional frustration, not to mention downtime or lost sales, in the event of an emergency.
Keeping your original website files is not enough
Many operating systems now come with cloud backup services built-in (for an additional fee, anyway) – Windows has Microsoft OneDrive, Mac/iOS has iCloud, and so on. But a true website remote backup solution is about more than just syncing individual files that you might see in your file explorer to be sent to a cloud storage service. This also goes for third-party online backup services such as Dropbox or Amazon S3 – these are designed for file-sharing, rather than the kind of service required for full-site backups.
Having files provided by a developer or designer isn’t enough to restore your website if it crashes, especially if new content is constantly being added. To fully restore a WordPress site, you also need access to your database, where your posts, pages, comments, settings, and other important data are stored and constantly updated.
If your backup doesn’t include your database — or you can’t access your database at all — you’re not going to have much luck recovering from data loss.
A good cloud backup provider should provide frequent, automatic backups, with a clear log of changes, and allow you to restore from any backup point, whenever you need to. Luckily, you don’t have far to look…
Jetpack – the Best Offsite Backup Solution
Back up your site with Jetpack
If you already use Jetpack, you probably know that it includes a lot of really valuable features. One of those features, included in all of Jetpack’s paid plans, is real-time backups.
Jetpack’s backups are stored on dedicated servers, so you never have to worry about losing access to your files if something were to happen to your site, your host, or even Jetpack itself. Our backup service also allows you to restore your site immediately with a single click.
With Jetpack, backups are performed in real-time — that is, every time a significant change is made to your site. We’ll back up changes to your WordPress database, plugins, themes, and uploads, as well as all of your site’s settings, users, and content.
With Jetpack, you can access an unlimited backup archive – depending on what pricing plan you choose, you can take advantage of unlimited storage for site backups – so if you want to restore your site to exactly how it was five years ago, go ahead!
With Jetpack, you can restore your site from anywhere – with the WordPress mobile app, you can fix problems with a touch of a button, whether you’re on iOS, Android, or any other mobile device.
With Jetpack, you get excellent customer support from our dedicated WordPress experts.
If you ever need to restore your WordPress site, all you have to do is log in to your Jetpack dashboard. Jetpack will have the backup ready and waiting to be restored to your site so you can get back to work ASAP.
Never worry about your site again
Using Jetpack makes it possible to keep your site backed up outside of your host. It also makes it easy to restore all of your hard work if the worst ever happens.
Learn more about Jetpack’s backup features and give yourself peace of mind in knowing that your site can be restored at any time, from anywhere, with just a few clicks.
Get Jetpack today and keep your site safe, no matter what happens.