At various WordPress meetups where I speak, I’ve often had participants walk up and ask what they should be doing to protect their WordPress driven website. They are genuinely concerned about losing all the valuable content they have so painstakingly created and made available to site visitors on their website. The solution is really so simple that I’m foxed they don’t see it – its backing up your WordPress website.
My first question to them is:
Do you backup your WordPress driven website regularly? Especially if you’ve added, changed or deleted content on the site.
My thoughts being that a WordPress backup ought to be a top priority on their site security checklist. Too often the answer I get takes my breath away. What I hear often belongs to the realm of terrible WordPress myths. Apparently, backing up their WordPress website is pretty much the same as them taking no action at all to ensure their WordPress driven site security.
Most of them appear to be serious Bloggers crafting, rich, useful content on their Blog site, BUT amidst these efforts they forget (or worse) deliberately ignore something as simple as regularly backing up their Blogsite.
Like a whole lot of Bloggers, these people focus on crafting awesome content, building traffic, getting credibility and more BUT overlook the most obvious website security task – Regular Backups.
Then I remember that when I first started out as a Blogger, my approach was identical to theirs. Right up to the time I discovered that my WordPress driven website was hacked into, badly defaced and that a lot of my content, so painstakingly created was destroyed.
Okay, I managed get a backup of the site from my hosting company, but it was definitely not the most recent one, hence I had a fair amount of rebuilding to do.
That is when I learned my lesson Backup Regularly, especially immediately after adding, editing or deleting content.
Here is a list of excuses I’ve encountered for not creating a WordPress backup. I call then terrible WordPress myths.
1. WordPress Will Backup My Site Automatically
Absolutely not. WordPress does no backups automatically.
I find this excuse really amazing. Here are people, working really hard and delivering awesome, useful content via their WordPress driven websites BUT have not sat down for even a short while to read about what WordPress does or does not do automatically.
While WordPress has the ability to export the entire content of posts, pages, menus, comments, tags and so on, you have to do this yourself. Regretfully, what WordPress generates is an XML file of your entire site. This is not a backup of your website.
2. My Hosting Company Will Take Care Of My Website
Yes, every hosting company does backups of your website. These are normally weekly backups or fortnightly backups.
NOTE: The cheaper the hosting costs, the worse will be their backup cycle.
In defense of hosting companies, some of the better one do daily incremental backups. Regretfully, a lot just do not do this. Additionally, some of the cheaper hosting companies may have a limit on the size of website backup.
Larger sized backups are available BUT this is a paid for service and buried in the fine print. So having a truncated backup gets up and bites you at a time when you desperately need a complete and comprehensive backup.
As website owner if you are blissfully unaware of this, there is a huge website security issue being created as you work hard at adding awesome content to your website. As your content grows and your website get more and more attention, this security issue is growing as well.
So depending on your hosting company for backups blindly (i.e. not reading the fine print of that cheap hosting contract) is certainly not the right thing to do.
3. A Database Backup Is Enough
Ouch! No its not.
The complete backup of your website in not just a back of the website’s database.
The complete backup will contain, all the files and folders of the WordPress core, Plugin files, Images that appear within your Blog posts and/or pages, Media files (video / audio), AND the contents of the website database.
Hence, only the database backup, is like backing up only about 50% (or less) of your website. Realizing this truth when you are trying to rebuild your website after it’s been hacked into can be heart breaking.
4. I Do Not Need A Backup
I do not need a Backup. I have all my Blog post content as Word files (or PDF files) on my laptop.
This is really the most ignorant of all website security statements I’ve encountered, Oh! Please trust me when I say I’ve heard more than one Blogger actually say this to me. Kind of takes my breath away. I normally do not respond, as these Bloggers have actually made their minds up that they do not need a website backup.
The truth of the matter is that everyone who runs a site needs to do a full comprehensive site backup regularly, especially if you’ve made changes to your site. If yours is a Blog then regular changes are a given. If your website is modest to large business website AND an authority Blog then most likely it will have hundreds of Blog posts and quite a few pages as well.
If you also think that your website is safe without any backup then you’re horribly, horribly, wrong. If that is what you believe then you have to be prepared to face the fact that one day you could lose everything you’ve built with so much care, effort and love.
You really, really, do need a backup to keep your website safe from such disasters.
5. One Time Backup Is Fine
A onetime backup, taken at the time you first started your Blog site, is just not enough, especially if you regularly and frequently publish content.
If you do, then each time you publish content, you need to take a backup. In such cases a backup frequency can be daily to (at least) weekly.
Paying for a dependable automated, incremental backup solution would be really worth the money spent. This approach will definitely let you sleep more peacefully at night.
6. I’m Not Stupid Enough To Break My Site
Okay that’s true, that’s a given. No one really wants to hurt themselves.
Having said that what if:
- You (in good faith) installed a bad plugin
- You (in good faith) installed and activated a bad theme
- Deleted a bunch of vital posts
- Deleted a set of vital sales pages
Small mistakes can turn into nightmares. Hey don’t beat yourself up!, we are human, we can and will make mistakes. Having a regular, up-to-date backup, will always bail you out of the fire. The alternative is really not worth considering.
7. Local Backup Is Sufficient
If by local backup you mean making a backup at the same place that your website is hosted, then believe me this is a terrible idea.
Web-server hard disks are like any other piece of hardware, they can and do die. With it, will go your website AND your website backup. Hence, local backup is a really, really bad idea.
Always, create a backup, perhaps on your web-server itself because of the speed of backing up. Then, once the backup is complete, download the backup to your local desktop or laptop AND removable hard disk.
Oh Yes, two distinct, isolated copies of your valuable website backup. If you ever are in a soup, and you did this, you will thank me for having a complete backup of your website from which you can re-build your website very quickly if you ever need to.
You could also use your Dropbox account, A Google Account, Cloud storage on Amazon and so on to do exactly the same thing if you so wished. It’s always a great idea to keep your complete website backup at multiple places to protect the backup, and your website, is case of disasters.
8. Backup Is Expensive
No, it is not.
There are multiple Free and Premium, WordPress backup plugins that can create and save a complete backup of your website where ever you want to.
If you are a regular and/or prolific Blogger then I honestly recommend that you go in for a Premium Backup plugin that permits, in addition to complete automated backups, incremental automated backups as well. These are very modestly priced and so worth the money invested.
That said a lot of the Free backup plugins do an excellent job anyway.
9. Hackers Won’t Hack My Website
True, that’s possible.
Regretfully, hackers are really strange animals, it does not matter is your site is popular or it has only five registrants and two visitors a month, hackers hack websites for the sheer perverted pleasure it gives them.
Hence, I truly believe that no website flies below the hacker radar for very long. The law of averages also works in favor of the hackers unfortunately.
NOTE: If you have not updated the WordPress core to its latest version, then you might be leaving a backdoor wide open for hackers.
10. Taking Regular Backups Is Too Much Work
No. it’s not.
If you have any Backup plugin worth its salt installed and configured on your Blog site, then it’s no work at all to take regular backups of your website.
Every backup plugin offers automated backups.
All that has to be done is install and activate the plugin. Then configure the time intervals between backups. Configuration is almost always a onetime affair done when you activate the plugin.
Never forget that prevention is always better than cure.
I strongly recommend you to choose a free WordPress backup plugin and get started right away. You will never regret that you did.