Backup your own website
A website can be a lot of different things. From the small family photo albums to the specialty vendor’s online webstore, anyone and everyone can setup a website. As mentioned in another blog post, maintaining backups of a website is absolutely critical for ensuring a sustained web presence. Although paid backup services are more than adequate for most site owners, there are many distinct benefits to maintaining your own backups in addition to available enterprise solutions.
A brief search on the internet yields more options for backup than most people have time or patience to evaluate. Instead of worrying about complex strategies like bi-weekly incremental backup deduplication, this post will highlight the fundamental concepts you need for planning your own backup solution. While the internet is home to wildly different content and uniquely different applications, every website consists of the same three basic types of data that you should consider for backup purposes:
1. Content presented at the user level i.e. photos, videos or text
For most people this is the first type of information we think about when planning a backup. All of the product descriptions or graphic design assets are the tangible results of all your hard work and the most visible to your end users.
2. Database used by the platform software to manage and organize site content
Keeping all of the content on a growing website organized, easy to find, easy to categorize and tag would be impossible without the use of a database. If a backup doesn’t include the database then there’s no way for your website to correlate and display the content. Most of this work is abstracted away from you by the…
3. Website platform software, for example WordPress or Magento
The software you use to manage, maintain and build the website should also be included in a backup plan.
Taking control of your own backup solution offers a lot of freedom as well as responsibility. You can decide on every aspect of a backup plan. What information and functionality is mission critical for your website? Where do you want to store these backups? How often will backups be created? How long will backup data be kept before it is considered stale and removed? Keep in mind that along with the freedom to decide on some of these questions, maintaining your own backup schedule requires you to answer all questions associated with data integrity, scheduled snapshots, possibly providing backup data to your hosting provider for restoration. Remember a backup is only worthwhile if it can restore the site to working order.
Tools you can use for additional backup confidence
There are a myriad of tools available to website owners that allow you to create backups of your domain’s data. Later installments of this blog series will focus on the popular Linux-based tool rsync. But other tools and applications such as scp or ftp can be just as effective for transferring and storing a backup! After all, it is completely up to you.