Backups are one of the most important maintenance features you can manage. If you aren’t already making regular backups you really need to start immediately. Being vigilant about your data safety is the only way to prevent the unforeseeable.
The most common questions regarding backups are as follows:
Why do I need a backup of my site?
Doesn’t my host do backups?
How often should I backup?
Why do I need a backup?
A lot of problems could but may not ever occur. It is much better to be safe then it is to risk losing it all. Sometimes after a WordPress core update your files or your plugins may no longer work. If you like to tinker or to make changes to your site you may end up making difficult to reverse changes and having a backup means that you can roll back. Lastly, if your site gets hacked you can always restore to your backup and your hard work hasn’t all been lost.
Basically, a backup is the insurance policy you need to prevent your site from going down or disappearing in a disaster. If and when you need it you can be up again in minutes instead of weeks.
Doesn’t your hosting company backup my data?
Yes, managed hosting services like ASPnix do backup your data for you, but you should remember to always have a copy of your own data anyways. There are 3 great reasons to do this.
The first is that having your own copy of your data is an important fallback that you can hold onto in an emergency that gives you personal peace of mind.
Secondly, although your hosting provider is backing up your data you don’t have complete control over when they make their backups. The most recent backup may not be to your liking. The most recent backup may not be what you need.
Third and final reason to make you own backup is to provide a quicker fix for yourself than if you have to depend on your hosting provider. Not all of the hosting companies out there are as quick to handle technical support as our company. In those cases you may find yourself waiting on the phone for a long time, endlessly pushing buttons and listening to an automated system, or you may have a hard time trying to communicate with people who aren’t fluent in English. When your site is down you want a solution as fast as possible.
How often should I back up?
How often you make changes? I would suggest the you should make a daily backup if you make daily changes. I always make a new backup right after changes and a weekly backup is a good practice as well.
How many backups should you keep?
A months worth is a good idea but there is no hard rule. If your site is constantly changing you may want more frequent backups than someone with a static page who needs less. Upgrades to WordPress can put your data at risk but are necessary to continue to maintain a safe and powerful website. Be sure to always make a backup before you update.