Are you relying on your web host to back up your WordPress website? If so, I warn you to think again! Many of the business owners I talk to don't even think about website backups. If they do, they usually assume their web host is taking care of backups. That's a dangerous assumption! Let's explore why you shouldn't trust your web host alone to back up your WordPress site.
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Some hosts don’t back up your website at all. They consider that your responsibility. They won't tell you up front, but it's in the fine print. Sadly, many website owners don't know this until after they’ve had a problem and need to restore a backup.
Some hosts provide an option for you to manually back up. But are you really going to remember to do this?
You need a reliable, automatic backup system that you won't forget about.
Some hosts only back up your site once a week. Think of how many things change on your site in a week. Posts, pages, comments, contact form entries, orders, etc. What if you lost a week’s worth of data?
You need a backup system that backs up frequently. For most sites, that means daily. For active sites, that may mean more than once each day.
Hosts often keep only a few revisions; sometimes 5 or even 1. If your host takes a daily backup but each backup overwrites the previous one, than you can only ever go back 1 day. If you discover that a problem occurred 3 days ago, that's too bad; you can't go back to before that happened. Some hosts only keep backups a certain number of days, also limiting how far back you can restore from.
You need a backup system that allows you to go back far enough in revisions and time. For most sites, 30 days of daily backups should be enough.
Think about backing up your computer. If you back up to an external hard drive, then if your computer's hard drive has a problem, at least your backup is on a separate hard drive. But what if someone steals your computer and external drive, or you suffer a fire or flood? The same disaster that wipes out your computer would likely wipe out the external drive, leaving you with no backup (and no data). However, if you had a backup in another location (an off-site backup) elsewhere in the country or world, it's extremely unlikely that the disaster would affect your backup.
The same concept applies to website backups. If your web host stores your backup on the same server as your website, then the same disaster that wipes out your website would likely wipe out the backup. For a web hosting company, disaster could come from a natural disaster, or issues such as hacking, network issues, or even legal trouble.
You need a backup system that stores backups off-site. It's a good idea to have the backups stored with a different company than your web host, so that even if the web host as a company has issues, your backups are safe.
Don't wait until you need to restore a backup to make sure your backup system is reliable! You can use backup plugins such as BackupBuddy or BackWPup. Or, you can let WordPress maintenance experts like us handle your backups as well as your security and updates. Contact us to figure out which backup system will be right for your site.