If you’ve never had a serious problem with your website, backups are probably something you don’t lose much sleep over. But just because you haven’t seen your website go down or lost data in the past doesn’t mean you are immune in the future. There are plenty of ways you can suffer such a disaster, with server failures, hacking and the accidental pressing of the delete button being just some of the potential causes. Without a backup, restoring your website would be a long, difficult and expensive process. Not convinced you need them? Here are five potential nightmares that might change your mind.
1. To err is human
Even with the best will in the world and all the right procedures in place, people still make mistakes. All it takes is for someone to accidentally click on the wrong button and important website files can be wiped. As a result, your website might cease to function. It’s bad for your reputation and you’re losing business while it’s offline.
While restoring your website is possible, it may take a long time to get it back online, especially if you are using bespoke software or a theme that has been customised for your needs. Installing a fresh version of WordPress and your theme, for example, might not take that long. However, if you’ve edited the code to change the look or functionality of the site, all these tweaks will need to be carried out from fresh, once more.
The longer restoration takes, the more your company will suffer and for some, the damage can put them out of business. With a backup in place, everything can be restored, as it was, very quickly indeed.
2. Disappearing content and data
Perhaps more important than the website is the actual content that goes on it and the data you store. If you lost your content there’d be no product pages, landing pages, blog posts or any of the other important information you need to share with your customers. If you lost your data, you may lose all your existing orders, customer details and inventory information.
Losing content or data is more problematic than losing your website files. With content, you may have to start creating it again from scratch which can be a massive task if you sell large numbers of products or have a substantial blog. If you lose customer data, you may never be able to get it back and may be in breach of regulations too.
3. Killed off by infection
According to Hiscox, there are 65,000 cyberattacks on UK businesses every day. One of the main forms of attack is to attempt to infect a company’s website with malware. Malware can do many forms of damage to a website, from putting your site at ransom to installing hidden programs that infect your customers’ computers when they visit your site. As a result, they can take your website offline or corrupt your files. If your site is corrupted, you host may have to take it offline to prevent the spread of malware to others while search engines will stop listing it until the issue is fixed.
Finding the corrupted files (sometimes the infection replicates itself) and getting rid of the infected code can be a long process and the easiest thing is to delete the entire website and install a backup. Of course, you cannot do this without a recent backup in place.
4. When great plans backfire
A common time for issues to happen with websites is when people make changes to them. There are quite a few things that can go wrong, for example, software compatibility issues, tweaks to coding breaking your software or new themes making your content appear all wrong. Indeed, any major modification to the functionality or design of your website can result in unforeseen issues, which is why many companies carry them out in an experimental environment before letting them go live. Unfortunately, lots of other companies choose to make the changes to their live website and when plans go wrong, the site can easily be put offline. With a backup in place, you can restore your old, fully working website straightaway.
5. The vendor trap
The success of your website relies to a great extent on the quality of your web hosting provider. A good provider offers faster loading times, increased reliability, enhanced security, managed services, 24/7 expert technical support and the right packages and prices for the growing needs of your business. There may be a time, therefore, that you consider migrating your website to a new host.
Moving to a different provider means moving your entire website to a new server. Without a backup, this means starting from scratch and for lots of businesses, this is just too much hassle to consider. As a result, many stay with their existing provider even if the services they receive are not up to the standard they require. If you do have a backup, migrating is simple. Indeed, so simple that some web hosts will do it for you.
Backing up your site
You can back up your site in numerous ways, such as doing it manually to a computer or using a plugin that saves your site to places like Google Drive or Dropbox. However, depending on your website’s needs, you may need to back up more frequently or keep several copies of older backups (e.g., if your latest backup took place after your website became corrupted, you’ll need to restore an earlier version). Your backups will also need to be stored remotely, i.e. not on the same server where your website is stored. If you don’t and the server fails, you’ll lose your website and your backup at the same time.
The ideal solution is to use a backup service provided by your web host. Here, you automate backups and control the frequency and number of backups kept. You’ll also be safe in the knowledge that the backups will be stored securely and will be backed up themselves by the host.
As you can see, there are numerous nightmares that can occur if you do not backup your website. All of them can result in your website being taken offline and even the loss of your critical content and data. For many businesses that operate online, such issues can have a significant impact. A backup is an inexpensive solution that enables your site to be restored regardless of the problem which caused it. For that reason, creating regular backups is indispensable.