Quick, answer this question: when is the last time you backed up your WordPress web site?
Uh-huh. I thought so.
THE RISKS OF NOT BACKING UP YOUR SITE REGULARLY
Just imagine any one of these scenarios:
- Your web site is hacked and you are kicked out of Google. How do you get a clean copy of your site to restore from?
- You install a plugin and it 'breaks' your blog. How do you go back in time before the problem plugin was installed?
- You hit update WordPress and everything stops working.
- You add 40 new products to your catalogue and save, and come back the next day to find they are not there.
I've dealt with all of these problems. Without backups they can become a big, urgent problems fast, and can cost you your search engine rankings, cause sites that link to you to pull their links, and subscribers to opt out of your feeds.
No business owner should ever be in this position.
TOOLS AND TIPS THAT CAN SAVE YOUR BUSINESS
I've been backing up my own network of sites, as well as the sites I manage for customers on a semi-regular basis. Sometimes not until there's a new upgrade to WordPress - and if I've not been retained to look after updates, customers will fall into two camps: run an upgrade WITHOUT backing up their site or DON'T update because it's all so confusing and intimidating.
I have tried a number of plugins and tools. WordPress Database Backup (wpdatabase backup) sends me a scheduled backup of Bigpacific.com's basic bones - database, images, themes and plugins - and I keep the latest version and delete anything older when that comes in. It's a workable solution but occasionally this plugin is incompatible with a theme or other plugins.
The current tool I'm using for my customers is 'Snapshot Backup'. It makes a mirror of your WordPress Site, on demand. It captures everything WordPress Backup does, but also the core files. If your host allows it, when you 'Create a New Snapshot' the system creates it and leaves it in a safe area on your FTP site. Or you can click to download & save. I'm still working on getting it to save into a specific location so I don't have to find it in my downloads folder and copy it into the client's folder ( I'm on a Mac OSX, so if you know, shoot me a note).
BACKING UP GUIDELINES
If you have a very static site, you'll only need to backup when you have to upgrade your WordPress version and perhaps key plugins.
If you have a busy site with a lot of new content coming on daily, you'll need to backup as often as every day, depending on your comfort level.
The basic guidelines are:
- UPGRADES. Before you upgrade WordPress or key plugins, backup and download file to your computer
- SIGNIFICANT CONTENT ADDITIONS. When you add a large amount of information, run a manual backup
- BEFORE NEW PLUGINS ARE ADDED.
I find it hard to follow all of these rules myself - I've got a half dozen sites of my own - so I know it can be onerous. The alternative is just too awful to contemplate: having a runaway train suddenly ram into my life. I know from clients who have not followed the procedures that it can be a heart-attack inducing period of stress working without a backup - and it can take days instead of hours.
Learn from their experiences and back up your critical business storefront on a regular and disciplined basis. Snap!