Are Your Website Backups Keeping You As Safe As You Think?

False sense Of Security With Backups

You've Done the Backups, But What Does That Get You?

The backup's been done and a little email arrives with your website files attached.  YAY! You're safe.  All is well. If anything happens, your theme breaks or you get hacked all you need to do is restore the backup and it's all good to go again.

Maybe not.

My WordPress Website Is Broken

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WordPress Website Hacked

Imagine you come down one morning to publish a piece of content on your website. You fire up your computer and navigate to your WordPress website to be met with something totally unexpected!

Or it could be worse, your site may have been hacked and there's nothing showing at all, or your lovely words are peppered with links to a Viagra website.

But all is ok, all you need to do is restore the last backup.

Well, not necessarily.

What Does BackUp Actually Mean?

Confusion often arises around the term 'backup' and what that actually means.

Imagine your website is a book.

Your book has pages with words, pictures, video and audio. The book also has a front and back cover, chapter markers and other design features that make it look pretty, unique to you and well organised so your readers can find what they want.

Clone of WordPress Website

When you take a backup of your book all of the files containing your content - the words, pictures, videos and audios are saved.  They are even saved on the same page they were originally on in your book.  But the pages might not be in the right order.  The front cover may not be on the front and the chapter markers, the index and the overall design may be very different.

WordPress Website Backup

In order to get your book back, you need to take the backed up files and reorganise and redesign them to recreate your book.

What About A Clone?

A  Clone Does What It Says On The Tin

It's the Dolly The Sheep of the website world.

A clone takes an exact copy of your website as it is at that moment including all your theme files, plugins and settings plus your content, text, images, video, audio, etc.

As the name suggests you could place a clone (look-alike) of your website on a new domain in a reasonably short space of time, this would normally be an exact match of your website in every look and feel.

Because it is taking everything these files can be quite large and this needs to be considered in the planning process.

(We cover storing your cloned website data in another post)

Website Clone Sheep

Clone Your Site >>>

Website Clone Sheep
Website Clone Sheep

Backup Your Site >>>

Clones website sheep

How Are Backups Or Clones Happening Now?

Your website manager does backups

Your website has a backup plugin installed

Your Hosting company does the backups

You have absolutely no idea!

How Do I Know What I'm Getting?

If this is being sorted out on your behalf, get on the phone, send an email and ask specific questions about if it's a backup or a clone that is being taken.

You should also check you know how the clone will be restored.  Is this a service that's already included if you need it?  Will you have to pay to have a previous clone restored and how much will that cost.

How often is the site being cloned?  Your site can only be restored to the last clone and so whatever was included when that was taken, is what will be restored.  If you publish 10 articles a day and your site is cloned once a month, then when the previous clone is restored you stand to potentially lose a lot of work. So, make sure the frequency of the clones is in tune with how much new work is published on your site.

How Do I Sort Out Getting My WordPress Website Cloned?

If you're managing the website yourself and your existing host doesn't provide a cloning service, move to one that does.  We recommend WPEngine's WordPress Managed hosting, but there are lots about. If you want to chat with us, we can sort out moving you onto a hosting service that will do the cloning for you.

And have a chat with whoever is managing your website now and see if you can get your management upgraded to include this.

There are plugins that can clone your website for you, but before installing something willy-nilly, you must check with your hosting provider because some hosts will restrict the use of some plugins.

Services like ManageWP will help you to schedule clones to your site, but as this tool is aimed at website managers there is a learning curve.

How Much Should It Cost To Get My WordPress Website Cloned?

There isn't a one size fits all answer to this.  If you have premium WordPress hosting, cloning is often included and this type of hosting starts at around £12 a month depending on how big your site is.

If you want someone to do it for you, it could form part of an ongoing WordPress Care Plan which can start at around £30 a month.

You could get cloning as a stand-alone service and a guide price for this would be around £10 a month.

You may also need to pay for storage on top.  If you have a very large site, you could be storing the backups in the cloud, on your computer or on another service like Amazon.  For most small business websites these storage costs are minimal, a few pennies a month.  If you're thinking about setting up a massive e-commerce shop, the costs of storing your backed up data files for the website do need to be factored into your overall costs.

Nag Nag Nag

We know this stuff is really boring.  We know it is often taken over by the important business stuff.  But if your website does go down and instead of a quick restore, you're faced with a lengthy and potentially costly rebuild, the time spent now really will be time well spent.

 

Better Safe Than Sorry