I’m pretty rigorous about backing up, but I just discovered that our web pages don’t get backed up. We accidentally deleted several pages while editing our website, so I asked the question, ‘How is our website backed up?’ The answer: ‘Duh-h-h-h, don’t know.’ Our web hosts informed us they don’t back up our pages. So we’re having to reconstruct them from original Word docs.
When last I checked, he still hadn’t found a backup system for his website. And if one person has this problem, there are guaranteed to be others, so a newsletter about backing up websites seemed timely.
The easiest way to make sure your website gets backed up is to create and edit your website offline. Programs like Dreamweaver ask you to set up a local directory for your website files. Change the files there, then upload them. Then make sure that the local directory gets backed up along with your other business data.
If you don’t maintain your own website, be sure to ask your web designer to do this. (Chances are pretty good that s/he updates your site offline, but only about 50-50 that s/he backs up.) Any time there’s a major overhaul to the site, get a copy of the files on CD.
There are also other ways to back up your site. If you have control panel access to your web hosting account (and you certainly should; check the original messages you got from your hosting company for details), you should be able to back up your entire home directory in a few easy steps. My current web host, iPowerWeb, uses the vDeck control panel; my previous web host used Plesk. Both are pretty straightforward. You log in at a special URL (usually something like “www.yourdomain.com/cpanel”) and get a choice of things to administer, usually accompanied by colorful icons.
In my case, I click “Host Administration” and then “Backups.” After that all I have to do is enter my e-mail address and click the button labeled “backup.” This results in the message: “Your backup request has been queued. When the backup completes, you will be notified at [email protected]”
And, sure enough, I get notified. Then I need to download that file onto the drive I want to back it up to, so I fire up my FTP program.
This is a big file (428 MB), because it not only includes my two websites (which have a fair number of audio and some video files on them, as well as a collection of PDFs) but also my FTP server, mail server, assorted configuration files, and three blogs.
To restore the site from one of these backups, I just have to tell the control panel where to find the file.
I’m being summoned for a conference call, so I’ll return next week with more ways to back up your website. Meanwhile, if you’re not sure how or whether your website is backed up, go and find out!