Why I care about backups and YOU should too
If I’m careful and don’t mess up my CSS or blog posts then aren’t backups just a waste of time and effort? I mean I’ve gone this long without a backup. My friends don’t have backups. Are they really that important?
Yes. Yes they are. Backups are an important part of your site. They are your insurance policy against bad patches/updates, hardware failures, and if done correctly they can protect you from the results of a hacker.
So if you don’t have a recent backup of your site(s) stop reading this and go and get one. Then move it off the server your just backed up. I’ve seen several instances where the backups are run but stay on the same server and are lost with a hardware issue. So if your backups are sitting in the same environment as your production servers (i.e. blog) stop reading this and go move them. You can put them in Dropbox, google drive or read what we do with ours here.
OK. Good if you are still reading this then you have a back up and it’s “offsite”. The next thing to think about is how many backups should I keep and how often. Opinions on this vary. If you are using this site for your livelihood then my advice is to back it up everyday and keep 54 weeks worth.
Did you add up how many backups that is? I come more from the corporate side than the usual WordPress person. I have struggled for hours to duct tape together enough pieces to get a system up and running. But worse than that, was sitting in a meeting afterwards, trying to “defend” how we got there? I can tell you almost no one takes pity on the person who didn’t have offsite backups.
So why so many? You want to have a few recent options in case you have a problem restoring. That accounts for about a month. That is usually how long people will say you need to keep them. So If I am a very smart hacker, I will get into your system and then do nothing until your backups have expired. Now it will be VERY difficult to get rid of me. 🙂 So you can decide how long based on the data you are backing up.
Have you tested your backup? No. OK Stop reading this and go test it. You do not want to know that your backup can’t be restored when it is all you have. Please look here to see how we test.
So now you have backups. They are offsite. You have more than a months worth (probably). You know they work because you have tested them (you must do this at least after every patch). When will I need them? Hopefully never! In the very best situation you will never need to use your backups. If you (or your hosting provider) have hardware issues, screw up your permissions/passwords, screw up your code, delete something really hard to recreate or get hacked you will be ready.