Why You Need to Back Up Your Site (and How to Do It)

Your website likely serves as the cornerstone of your entire business strategy. It’s the central hub for all your online marketing campaigns, and often serves as the first impression for your new customers.

Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to build a website-for free, if you know where to look—and keep it running indefinitely. Unfortunately, as Disk Copy points out, even in our modern era, it’s possible for the data on your site to be lost, corrupted, or otherwise compromised by outages, host failures, or other unforeseen circumstances.

The best way to prevent this is by backing up your website’s data consistently and thoroughly. But why is this the case, and how can you do it?

Doesn’t This Happen Automatically?

Many web hosts don’t automatically back up their customers’ sites, meaning if something happens to your site, you’ll have nowhere to turn. Even those that utilize backup don’t always make those files directly available to the customer—in fact, some less reputable hosts may hold those files hostage in exchange for more money for the service of providing them. You might have your original design files, but any changes you’ve made onsite and any content you’ve added could be lost if something were to happen.

Why Make a Backup

Let’s recap the main reasons you’ll want to make a backup in the first place:

  • Save time. Assume for a moment that your site goes down. There may be a convoluted series of steps that can save your data, regardless of whether you have a handy backup. However, this process may be daunting and/or expensive, depending on the nature of your site, your hosting provider, and other variables. Backing up your site in a consistent and predictable way will, if nothing else, save you time when something unfortunate happens. The same logic applies if you’re forced to recreate your site from scratch; having your files backed up could potentially save you dozens of hours and thousands of dollars.
  • Have an insurance policy. Of course, backing up your files will also give you a reliable insurance policy. Having your site hosted and updated in two separate locations will ensure that even if one is completely lost, you’ll always have a backup. Just like a traditional insurance policy, it doesn’t cost much, but could save you tremendously when you’re in dire straits.
  • Get peace of mind. Finally, you won’t have to worry about the state of your website. Even if your site goes down, you’ll know the exact procedures for how to restore it.

How to Backup Your Site Consistently

There are a few ways you can back up your site reliably:

  • Manual backups. Manual backups are the most straightforward option, and the one that keeps your files as close as possible. Here, you’ll purchase a hard drive and manually back up your website data. There are just two problems with this. First, the fact that you’ll be using a local hard drive means your files will be more vulnerable to things like technical failures, fires, theft, and other damage. Second, it’s on you to remember to manually back up your site periodically.
  • Cloud-based backups. You could also use cloud-based storage services, like Dropbox or similar apps, to store the backup files of your site. Cloud hosting provides an extra degree of security over manual backups; because it’s hosted remotely (and usually in several locations), you don’t have to worry about hardware failures. You can also access it from anywhere, at any time.
  • Automated backup software. Finally, you could rely on software specifically designed to back your site up automatically. Some web hosting providers offer this service for free, automatically included with all packages, some offer it for an extra fee, and others offer it as a third-party service. It’s up to you which company you choose to go with and how you wish to split the hosting and backup of your site-just make sure to test the reliability of your chosen solution before fully depending on it.

None of these methods are particularly intensive or expensive, so there’s no real reason why you wouldn’t back up your site regularly. Take a few hours to investigate your options, and select the option that best fits your business. From that point on, it’s a matter of checking your backups periodically to ensure you remain up-to-date.

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