If you have been blogging for a while now, your website is something that you’ve invested time, energy, and heart into. Selecting a name, picking the right website design, choosing a theme, installing plugins, curating content- it is all just a part of building your website. Unfortunately, a malware attack or even an innocent coding error can bring your website crashing in a matter of minutes.
Why Backups Are Important for Blogging Sites
While you certainly can never be too sure what could bring your site down, you can have a safety net to fall back on. Backups can do that for you.
First things first, what is a backup? A backup is essentially a copy of your WordPress website that you can use to restore your site if anything causes your site to malfunction.
So, as a blogger, why should you care about having a great backup plan in the first place?
Let’s first look at what could happen if you do not have an effective backup plan:
Lose valuable data and incoming traffic after a hack
An avoidable mistake made by website owners is assuming that hacks “only happen to big websites.” Unfortunately, hacking attacks in WordPress websites are widespread and known to target both small and large websites. A successful hack can undermine your blog in various ways, including loss of data. This could include your blog posts, user comments, blog followers, and so on. Additionally, depending on the type of hack, hackers could end up redirecting your incoming traffic to other unsolicited websites or place unwanted ads on your blog.
Website downtime caused by a major hacking attack can result in your site being suspended by your web hosting company or even worse, being blacklisted by Google. This can suspend any incoming traffic to your site.
In this case, the latest backup can help restore your blogging site to its previous state without any wasted time and prevent these consequences.
Your website could be wiped out by a server outage.
No matter how reliable your WordPress web host platform is, your server could still malfunction or even worse, crash completely. The risk is higher when your website is hosted on a shared hosting platform, with multiple websites sharing the same server resources. An overuse of server resources by one website can affect the others. Website downtime is bad news for anyone.
An update that can go terribly wrong
One of the reasons why you must have chosen WordPress is because of its free updates, right? Unfortunately, when you update some plugins themes, you could end up with a blank website screen. The latest plugin/theme version may not work with an old WordPress version (or vice versa). This can cause incompatibility issues that are difficult to solve.
An accidental error can compromise your entire site
Haven’t we all deleted an important file or folder by accident at some point? This could happen with your WordPress files too. Besides, if you are someone who likes tinkering with WordPress, you could unintentionally introduce a bug by making a coding error. A major error could bring down the entire website.
Unreliable backups from your web hosting company
Web hosting companies do offer backups to their clients, either as part of their standard plan or as an additional expense. In the event of your website going down, you can use an available backup from your hosting company to recover your website. However, the question is, how reliable are these backups? Do they contain all the latest website and database files? These are critical questions and reiterate one should avoid relying solely on backups provided by the web host.
Besides, hosting companies also risk facing hacks and server outages, thus putting your backups at risk as well.
Natural disasters can also impact your website.
And finally, your WordPress blog could also be affected by an unforeseen natural calamity in the area your server is located in. While we certainly cannot prevent natural disasters, a backup strategy that stores your website backups in multiple storage locations can be a good precaution.
As a blogger, it is ultimately your responsibility to protect your online business to your best ability.
Now that we know the importance of backups for your blogging website, let’s move on the available methods of taking a WordPress backup and which of them is preferable.
How to Take a Backup of your WordPress Website
For WordPress users, there are three ways of taking a backup of your website:
- Manual backups
- Backups from your WordPress hosting company
- Automated backups using WordPress backup plugins
1. Manual Backups
If you have the underlying knowledge of how WordPress works and its technical aspects, you can go ahead and take a backup yourself. Manual backups typically take involve two sets of WordPress components, the WordPress website files and the WordPress database tables.
For backups of website files, you must be familiar with the mechanism of FTP tools like FileZilla or Transmit. For database files, you must be familiar with the phpMyAdmin tool.
The trouble with manual backups is that besides requiring technical expertise and the entire process can be quite a long and time-consuming affair. It is not recommended for those who do not know how to troubleshoot the issues that can come up.
2. Backups from your hosting company
Hosting companies may offer backups to their clients either as part of their package or at an additional cost. While this can be convenient, it limits the users’ visibility and control over when the backups are taken and where they are stored. Additionally, host backups aren’t built to consider your specific backup-related needs. For example, you may be looking for daily backups, while the hosting company may be implementing only weekly backups.
Other issues could be additional monthly expenses for performing backups, complicated backup processes (depending on the hosting company), or delayed backup restores that could affect your website. It is important to take all this into consideration when choosing a web host.
3. Automated backups using WordPress backup plugins
Possibly the best way to backup your WordPress site is to use a backup plugin. Some of the best ones on the market are UpdraftPlus, BlogVault, and BackupBuddy. Why are these tools the best choice for bloggers? It’s because they are easy to install and execute. Plus, they are very user-friendly and do not need a great deal of technical knowledge to operate.
If you spend a lot of time blogging daily, there isn’t much time that you can devote to taking backups. Backup plugins automate the backup process by executing it at fixed intervals as per your convenience (once every day, week, or even every hour). That way, your valuable backups are taken care of without you having to intervene in the process.
It is important to keep a few things in mind when choosing a backup method. Here are some of the features that your backup must have:
- Backups that do not overload your web server or affect website performance, for example, incremental backups that only backup changes on your site after the first comprehensive backup, so as to reduce website load and make your site faster.
- Multiple versions of backups from which you can select during the restore process.
- User-friendly backup and restore process that can be executed by any user.
- Support for both scheduled backups along and on-demand backups.
- Support for multiple WordPress websites or a multisite network.
- Website staging for testing existing backups before restoration.
Free or Paid backup plugins – which is preferable?
While free backup plugins do have the cost advantage, premium or paid plugins are a better option as they are reasonably priced and offer benefits like regular updates and 24/7 customer support. Plus, a backup plugin like BlogVault also offers useful functions like staging, migrations and security. It also stores all your website backups on its own servers, thus ensuring that there is no extra load on your server- a feature that isn’t usually offered by a free plugin.
We hope this article helps you figure out the best backup strategy for you. Irrespective of the backup method, the most crucial consideration is that your blogging site needs a proper backup plan. Automated backup tools for WordPress sites have surely streamlined the entire backup and restore process, thus enabling you to be more productive and stay safe. So, happy blogging, and all the best!
Akshat Choudhary has always prided himself on his ability to teach himself things. Since starting BlogVault, Akshat has transformed his side-project into a profitable venture that is scaling new heights in the Indian startup space. Being a member of the WordPress community for almost a decade, Akshat is keen on understanding the areas where users struggle. Akshat’s core belief behind building any product is making sure the end-user doesn’t need assistance and to assist them in the best possible manner if they do.