If you have a WordPress powered website, you need to take control of your own backups.
Do not wait for the absolutely miserable experience of losing your website data to put backup measures in place.
Let’s kick things off with a few quick website tales.
One morning, Donna discovered that her company’s website was suddenly gone. All the pages were deleted overnight with just a handful of blank template pages remaining.
When she called her website hosting company for help, they responded with something to the effect of “Well, it looks like the website files were deleted on your end.”
They had no backup to provide her and she had to start from scratch (and yes, she did that on a new hosting company).
Jill had just built a brand new website. When she ran some updates on her WordPress theme, she unintentionally and completely broke the website.
With no backup in place, she says she had to rebuild her site just 6 weeks after building and launching the first one.
Denise was a creative service professional who tried to fix something on her website.
She now says she didn’t know what she was doing, but in the process, she somehow managed to delete the entire database for all three of the websites on her hosting account.
Her website hosting company support couldn’t restore it from their backups, and Denise didn’t have any sort of backup outside of her hosting company, which had very poor backups systems.
Why do you need a reliable backup solution?
Your site might get hacked or infected with malware
There seems to be a pervasive belief held by a lot of small business owners that getting hacked or having their website infected with malware will never happen to them, but it does happen quite often.
At least, it happens regularly to those folks who don’t know how to take steps to protect their websites from being compromised.
If your site has been hacked or infected with malware, even once the mess has been cleaned up, there’s a good chance you may lose website data in the process.
It is vitally important that you have regular, easy-to-access backups in place to minimize the fallout if your website is ever compromised.
Your WordPress updates may not go smoothly.
If your website is WordPress-based, it’s extremely important to update WordPress regularly to improve features, to fix bugs, and to prevent hackers from inserting malicious code that can harm your website and even cause it to lose position on search engine results.
However, there’s always a bit of a risk that an update won’t go as smoothly as hoped and suddenly a plugin might stop working.
Or if you run updates to your WordPress theme, you might find that the updated theme is no longer fully compatible with your website’s customizations and suddenly your website breaks.
You need a way to restore your website to the state it was in *before* you did your updates.
You might have a website accident.
We all make mistakes… and at some point, you may make an error while working on your website.
One of our clients called me wondering why their homepage was broken. Turns out, their administrative assistant had accidentally deleted their homepage file.
All it takes is for you to get distracted while making some updates on your site and then yikes, you really wish you could undo it.
Backups allow you to react quickly.
Having a regular, reliable backup solution enables you to make decisions quickly. If your website is on a hosting provider that doesn’t meet all of the backups requirements I outlined in my How to Choose Your Hosting Provider video, you definitely need to have a backup system in place to protect yourself.
Backups: A Real-World Example
One morning, I had a panicked call from Christine, whose website was hosted on one of those hosting companies that did NOT provide easy-to-access backups for her website.
She was near tears as she explained that her hosting company had mistakenly labelled her account as “terminated” even though she had fully paid through the following Spring.
Her website was gone.
Calls to the hosting company ended with responses of “Sorry, we can’t help you” and “You’ll have to submit a ticket to our support email address” (which I will note, still wasn’t responded to days later).
So here she was, no website, no help from the hosting provider.
As many small business owners do, Christine relies heavily on her website to attract and engage her clients and was in full-on panic mode, thinking she had lost her website and that she would have to rebuild from scratch (not to mention the hit that her SEO rankings would take in the process).
So, when Christine called me, I was incredibly relieved to be able to remind her that when we had started working together, I had insisted on putting VaultPress, an automated backup plugin, on her website.
There were 30 days worth of daily backups of her site, and we were able to immediately take steps to restore her website on a new hosting provider and have her back up and running later that day.
This type of scenario happens far more often than I would like.
Whether it’s a hosting company accidentally terminating an account, or a technical issue with your theme that breaks your site, or having your website hacked or infected with malware, or whatever it might be, situations like this happen on the regular.
This is why I have made it a personal mission to educate as many small business owners as I can about how to protect their websites. Because it costs so little and it could save your website someday.
If your website hosting provider doesn’t have a reliable backup system in place, you’ll want to add an automated daily backup plugin on your website.
In that situation, the service I’d recommend in that situation is VaultPress.
As a reminder, this is when you’ll need a separate backups plugin:
- If your web host does not have daily backups for at least 30 days
- If your backups are stored on the same server as your website rather than on a server separate from your website
- If your backups are unable to store fully, for example, if there are storage limits)
- If your backup does not include all files and the database
- If you are unable to restore backups yourself
- If it’s difficult to restore a backup
We’ve consistently found VaultPress to be straightforward to set up, it automatically backs up your website daily in a storage vault separate from your website, and it works reliably.
If you’re not going to use a hosting provider with a reliable backup system, you need to be prepared with a Plan B.