This time round I want to talk about backing up your website in this post.
I appreciate that many of you; particularly artists, including musicians and entertainers, possibly aren’t too bothered about backing up your website – even if you do have a website. ( You’d be surprised how many people in entertainments don’t have a website. Yes every entertainer, in fact every professional and even many non-professionals should have a website; but many still don’t: They don’t realise the benefits of running a website.)
Why bother about backing up your website?
In my geek-capacity, I always advise people to back up their data – or they will lose it one day. Most people turn a deaf ear to me, and then a number of them regret it later; when they lose their data and don’t have a backup. They had all their data on a single computer with a single hard-drive. When the hard-drive catastrophically failed, or their computer was stolen, or they had a fire at their property which damaged their equipment beyond repair, and they had no chance of recovering their data; they lost everything because they didn’t have a backup.
Your website is on a single computer too.
– It’s probably on one of many individual boards – servers – in a network of boards in a set of cells that looks like a huge filing cabinet with hundreds of lights and interconnecting cables… But at the end of the day it’s on only a small part of the whole – a single computer.
The computer that it’s on probably runs what is known as a RAID array: That stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and in short is a number of hard-drives or solid-state drives backing one another up.
– But that in itself doesn’t make data loss impossible. – It just makes it less likely. If you’re hosted with a decent hosting company like SiteGround, (I currently have their Grow-Big plan) then they will quite possibly provide you with daily backups of your site, just, in case you need them one day… But you can’t rely on third party backups alone.
There are two solutions that I myself use for my own backup purposes.
It’s true that I’m a geek and I regularly need to reference previous backups of my websites for one reason or another; but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Since all of my websites are built on the WordPress platform; I use a free backup plugin called ‘UpdraftPlus’. – I say “free”; it isn’t really free unless you have a rather small website. It backs up your website to the cloud; you choose where in the cloud – but you need to hire space in the cloud for it to back up to. places like Dropbox and Amazon S3 for instance. (I use Dropbox. Less than $10 a month buys me a terabyte of cloud storage. – That’s plenty enough to back up all my websites to multiple times, plus store huge files I don’t want to take up space on my computers, and still have plenty of room to spare.) – Like I said; it’s not really free’, but it’s rather cheap.
You read that right; I do it manually too: –
I have a network of external storage devices networked to my computers: I have USB external hard-drives wired as p2p networks via my LAN and accessible from any computer at any time. I also have a server which I rigged up myself. – All in all I have something like just under 10 terabytes of storage space all-told.
I have a special partitioned-off drive on one of my external hard-drives that I use for website backups: –
I have 3 first-level folders: “website1”, “website2”, and “website3”. Each of those folders has 7 folders in each, numbered 1 to 7.
I use FileZilla to back up all of my websites to a single one of those 7 folders; starting with ‘website1>1’ and next comes ‘website1>2’.
When I get to ‘website2>7’ I delete everything that’s in the ‘website1’ folder, add back 7 blank folders numbered 1 to 7, and carry on to ‘website3>1’ for the next backup: That way I always have a minimum of 7 backups, and a minimum of 7 clean folders to use for future backups.
Keep it in 1 place
All my websites are currently on a single server at SiteGround. It has a unique IP address. – I have 2 main domains and sub-domains of those domains. ( I also have 2 domains that redirect to one of the main domains, plus a number of unused domains, some of which I sell for a profit at times.) Since everything is on the one server I can just pre-set FileZilla to download everything to the relevant folder and then click and forget it – letting the computer get on with it and do the work.
I can only back up my website files that way. My security plugin backs up the databases and uploads them to Dropbox plus emails a copy to me.
But my backup doesn’t end there: everything that goes onto Dropbox is picked up by a computer on my LAN. The computer loads everything new that appears on Dropbox to a folder on one of my external drives…
The system swings into action
Just as I was writing that the message “UpdraftPlus: You added 2 new folders to your Dropbox” appeared on my screen. The computer immediately copied those new files to drive K: . Later on, at a pre-set time, software will kick in and back up the new content of drive K: to BackBlaze. – ‘Good eh? I have cast-iron backup. – ‘Some call it overkill – but I won’t be losing any of my data too quickly.
My computers back up all their important files to drive K: also; and it all gets backed up by BackBlaze, just in case something happens to drive K: .
Always back it up
Whether you’re an artist, performer, sound engineer, electrician, plumber…Whatever. – If you have a website it’s always best to have a backup. If it’s a small website you might be able to get away with backing up to free cloud webspace via UpdraftPlus to Google Drive perhaps, or Microsoft One Drive,, or even the free webspace on Dropbox.
UpdraftPlus is a set-it-and-forget-it plugin for WordPress: Once set it’ll make regular backups of your database and files at specified intervals to specified web services.
While I’ve been typing this article I deleted all the files in ‘website2’ on drive M: – which is a parallel backup to drive K: but run by a different computer. (Accessible from both machines, and the entire LAN too… Look I’m a geek; I can’t help it, lol )
I hope all this makes things easier for you; because, no matter how much you dread the thought of doing so; YOU need to back up your data or YOU WILL LOSE IT. – It’s a question of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’.
Now it’s your move: –
It would come as no surprise for me to one day hear that you lost gigabytes of important data because you chose to ignore the advice contained in this article. – Don’t get me wrong; you don’t necessarily have to use the methods that I’ve described above. – All that matters is that your data – all of it – is backed up. When that fateful day comes, as it inevitably will; you’ll be right and prepared – rather than wrong and totally fucked.
Normally, at this point in the article, I suggest some form of plan of action for you – which usually involves doing something that will benefit us both mutually – like:
Do feel free to do exactly that if you wish – of course – but the main thing here; the BIG plan of action that I’m going to suggest for you, has absolutely nothing to do with me, personally, whatsoever. This is purely for you; and the suggestion is this: –
A little inconvenience now will save you a colossal amount of hassle in the future.
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- 'Simply one more edifying post. - Enjoy.