How to do WordPress backups the right way

Lee Jackson | May 9, 2016

If you get backup included with your hosting partner GREAT…. BUT… has your business continuity plan considered the following:

  • How are those backups being stored?
  • Are they secure?
  • How quickly can I access them?
  • What happens if the hosting partner goes bust?

Your website is SUPER important to you, and hours of downtime, or a total loss of your site could do huge damage to your business. I’m going to break down the above questions so that you are armed to go a research to put your minds at rest, and at the end of the post, I have made some recommendations, to give you some extra peace of mind.

Disclaimer: Before we continue, none of this is to scare you, but to simply educate you in a way that gets to asking the right questions, and empowers you to improve your business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

This blog is based on real life events from the media where a hosting company lost several sites and their backups. We had several clients asking for our advice on what to do to ensure they were protected.

OK, let’s break these down:

How are those backups being stored

Some hosting providers may store your backups on the same server as your website, or at least in the same building. So, what if the worst was to happen and the data centre where your site is hosted is damaged? A fire wiping out an entire building could be the end of your website and it’s backup. If the backup is on the same device, and that decide break down for good, then you have the same issue. Be sure to connect with your hosting partner to discuss.

Are they secure?

Your backups will be stored on a device, and you are going to want to know if they are secure. For example, are the file encrypted. Is the device they are stored on secured behind a solid firewall. If the backup server can be easily compromised, and your valuable information (such as database access details) can be gleaned, then that leaves your website very vulnerable, as well as your website code.

How quickly can I access them?

Having a backup is all well and good, but you need to know how quickly you can be live again. Should the worst happen and your site be compromised or the server die, how long will it take the hosting company to get your site back online from the last backup set? Ask your hosting partner for their SLA, and also how they propose to provide your backups. Should you wish to receive your backup and move to another server, how quickly can you access those files and in what format?

What happens if the hosting partner goes bust?

Finally, what if your hosting partner should cease to operate? Unfortunately this can happen. Hosting is an extremely competitive industry and some providers have been know to succumb to competition. To combat this, first be sure you have investigated the first three questions. Secondly you should consider creating your own backup as well to complement what your hosting partner is doing. This can be automated through a WordPress plugin.

Lets crack on with the solution…

Taking control of your backups

So how do you do WordPress backups the right way? You ensure you have done your due diligence with questions such as the ones above, and you compliment your hosting partners backup with your own daily or weekly backup.

There are AMAZING secure storage services out there like DropBox, Google Drive and more that you could store your backups on, and you can automate these backups with some fantastic online tools.

A couple of examples:

VaultPress or BackupBuddy

With these tools, you can set your site to backup on a nightly or weekly basis to a third party, secured storage area giving you back the power over your backups. These are there for you if you want the peace of mind knowing you have a copy in the worst case, and they also give you back the freedom to move your site if you are not getting the service you need from your current provider.

So your homework is… do your homework, ensure your server backups are sound and finally generate your own backups as well.

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Lee Jackson

Lee lead’s two digital businesses providing powerful WordPress solutions for personal brands, design agencies and event companies.

Lee’s core business is creating WordPress themes from designs supplied by designers and agencies around the world allowing them to do what they enjoy most, whilst he and his team get to geek out on WordPress!

He is the host of The Agency Trailblazer Podcast, which focuses on agency life and growing a successful business. He compliments this with a paid community focused on helping stressed out design/web agency owners fall in love with their businesses again. No 10x BS, just practical advice and support to help people undo bad decisions and create an agency they can love that supports the lifestyle they need.

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