So often we take the time and attention to back up our computer’s hard drive, but don’t even think about backing up our websites. The fact that our site is out there in the WWW gives us a false sense of security that since it’s ‘out there’ it can never have a problem. It’s time to start thinking (and doing) about things differently when it comes to website backups. Here are some examples of what can happen if you don’t back up your website, and many of these actually happened.
1. By accident you have deleted or ‘pruned’ the wrong section of your message forum.
2. The company you are hosting with decides to close up shop or sell to a company you’ve had previous problems with.
3. Your web host decides to upgrade and for a few hours (or even a day) at a time their system is down. Think this unlikely? It happened to me!
4. You work with several people ‘live’ on a website. They accidentally overwrote your work and you didn’t save a copy of the page.
5. You’ve upgraded software or scripts and it’s not working so you need to get your site back to the way it was last night before the changes.
6. Your web host holds your site or domain captive. Pending your dispute, you need to setup your site all over again even in another place and domain.
7. Your website gets hacked and everything was deleted. I’ve experienced this. While not everything was deleted, it was a large enough chunk. Also, in those early days, I had just learned to edit websites live and had no copy on my hard drive.
8. Some web hosts will keep backups but there is no way to be sure they will have what you need, when you need it. One time I was managing a site where we needed to restore a database. After going to the web host we found out that they only had one backup for several days before the problem occurred and two for after the problem occurred. This was disappointing because we had to go with the oldest one and lose a few days of content.
9. While moving web hosts, due to a misunderstanding, the old account was canceled and deleted too early.
10. Your web host reviewed your site and decides you have violated their terms of service and shuts down your account in short notice.
11. You uploaded the wrong site or folder and overwrote the previous one. When using FTP this is pretty easy to do if you have a large list of sites to publish to and you’re doing the updating when you’re just a bit too tired.
12. You or someone reinstalled FrontPage extensions and now your redirects, error pages, fancy URL’s and what not don’t work anymore. You see, when you reinstall FrontPage extensions, it re-creates all your .htaccess files. That means, any customizations you had will also be lost.
13. You had custom programming done to your scripts. Your new web master upgraded the script and can’t remember where or what all the modifications are. Worst, he/she doesn’t know how to re-program those customizations.
14. A hacker inserted malicious code on all your website’s pages and you need to rollback to the previous good version.
15. You or your webmaster forgot to save your blog’s database when saving the files and now you no longer can access your old site.
It doesn’t matter how well you know your web host or how great your relationship is, it’s up to you to keep backups and make sure they are up to date. This is no one’s responsibility but you. Have everything backed up to a place where you, as the site owner, can have access to them. Don’t wait on doing any of this, get your web site back ups done now while there are NO problems to deal with.