What do you do to keep your WordPress-powered website safe and operational at all times?
Let’s say you update your WordPress core and plugins/themes regularly, install only trusted plugins and themes. That’s undoubtedly good, but the question is, is it enough?
You might have implemented security practices to secure your site, but your website data could still be vulnerable. The risk of hackers stealing business data or an innocent coding mistake bringing down your site will always be rampant.
This is where a proper backup comes to your rescue. A good backup solution creates a copy of your latest data and stores it safely so that it is available for a quick restore in the case of an unforeseen event.
Through this article, we shall take a look at why you need website backups, the types of backups available, and the features that every backup tool must possess.
Why Does Your Business Need a Website Backup?
As a business, you cannot afford to lose your website data even for a single day. A major data loss can happen due to various reasons, including:
Even a seemingly innocent human error can cause your site to crash, causing you to lose data. Regular backups of your website can help your business recover quickly from such a data loss and get your operations back on track.
In recent years, cybercriminals have successfully executed data breaches resulting in the loss of critical business data, including customer records, payment transactions, and database records. In the event of a successful hack, your priority would be to recover this critical data and restore your website without losing any time. While there are many services to remove malware, a sound backup strategy can be a lifesaver.
Depending on the geographical location of your business infrastructure, natural disasters like floods or even cyclones can seriously damage your hosting systems resulting in loss of business data. In this case, a backup stored on storage systems located in another country or geographical location can easily be used to restore your site.
Server Crash or Failure
Data loss can also happen due to website crashes or failure of your servers. Backup systems can store your backup data on independent or cloud-based systems, which are not impacted by any server failure or crash.
WordPress Updates are regularly released to improve security and avail new functionalities. This typically involves updating the main WordPress version or each of its installed plugins/themes. However, in some instances, the update process can end up breaking or crashing your business site.
Types of WordPress Backups
There are multiple types of WordPress backups available in the market. Let’s evaluate each type:
Backups from your web host provider
Most WordPress web host providers include backups in their hosting packages. A reliable backup solution from your web host provider ensures that you, as the website owner, don’t have to conduct backups yourself nor worry about losing any data. Check with your current web host provider regarding the backup services that they offer with your hosting plan.
However, in this case, you have little control over when or how backups are taken and where they are stored.
If you possess the technical know-how or expertise, you can backup your site manually on your own. You can perform manual backups of your WordPress files and database records using an FTP tool like FileZilla or the phpMyAdmin tool.
Compared to other types of backups, a manual backup is a long and time-consuming process; It could even require you to troubleshoot and resolve any issues that may come up during the backup process.
Automated backups using plugins
Automated backups using plugins are the fastest and most convenient way of taking website backups. This is especially useful in case you don’t want to depend on your web host provider, or you don’t have the technical skills to perform manual backups. WordPress backup plugins are easy to install and can be executed by any new or novice WordPress user.
Using a WordPress plugin to automate backups is the best option available. Let’s evaluate the features that backup plugins must offer:
Features That Every WordPress Backup Plugin Must Have
Any backup solution you choose must be comprehensive, meaning that it should take backups of both your website files and your database records. This ensures that you have the complete backup package if you ever need to restore a failed website.
Apart from that, here is a list of features that every backup plugin must possess:
Independent and Offsite Storage
This one’s a no-brainer.
Backups must be saved in an independent and different location so that they’re unaffected by your site. Plugins that store backups on the client’s web server end up reducing the existing storage space and also exposing the backups to external threats.
Taking a daily backup of your entire website data can put a lot of load on your web server by utilizing its resources and bandwidth. As backups are a very server-intensive process, regular backups can impact your server performance and the space available for storing backups.
Incremental backups optimize the backup process by breaking your data into smaller and manageable data chunks, which are then synced into the existing backup. The entire website is not synced each time. Instead, after the first backup, only incremental changes are synced. This process prevents any overloading of your web server and can be effectively used even for large websites.
In addition to using offsite storage locations, backup tools must provide multiple backup versions that can be stored at multiple locations for maximum safety. Backup tools can either provide their dedicated servers or external cloud-based storage (like Google Drive or Dropbox) from where any backup version can be easily downloaded and restored.
Additionally, backups also need to be encrypted so that hackers cannot use them for breaking into your website.
Easy Restore or Recovery
Backup plugins must also offer a reliable and convenient mode of restoring backups to WordPress websites. Backups that cannot be restored quickly defeats the entire purpose of performing backups in the first place.
Just like website files, your backup file can also get corrupted. It could also be missing some crucial information. Restoring a damaged backup to your live WordPress website can create further complications and incompatibility issues. Hence, as a safety measure, it’s a good practice first to test your existing backup to see if it is safe to be restored.
For example, BlogVault provides the Backup Test Restore feature where you can create and test an exact copy of a backup version on its test servers.
Scheduled and On-demand Backups
A scheduled backup is an automated backup process that does not need any human intervention. It can be scheduled at fixed intervals (daily, weekly, or monthly) depending on your website needs. Additionally, backup plugins must offer on-demand backups that can be executed at any time.
Installing a new plugin or theme or applying a new update can be risky sometimes. It could potentially crash your live website. The best way to avoid this is website staging. A staging environment lets you create a duplicate of your live website and test out all your changes/ updates on it without impacting your live website.
Some backup plugins feature a built-in “website staging” feature where you can test your changes before merging the changes to the live website. You can also create a staging site through your web host or manually create a staging environment.
Migrating a WordPress website to another web domain or a different web host can be very complicated. Additionally, you must take a backup of all your WordPress files before initiating the migration.
Backup plugins also offer smooth migration of your WordPress website to a different web host. For instance, BlogVault lets you easily migrate your site to another host.
Real-time Backups for WooCommerce
Regular backups are crucial for WooCommerce websites. However, unlike any other business website, WooCommerce sites cannot afford any website downtime or even the loss of a single customer order. Hence, real-time backups are recommended for WooCommerce websites that are executed each time there is an online transaction or change.
Unlike manual backups that require technical expertise, backup plugins must be user-friendly and easy to use for any novice user. This essentially means that you must be able to execute a complete backup or restore with a few easy steps.
Most backup tools have an independent and intuitive dashboard where users can log in and perform most of the backup-related tasks on their own without any technical assistance. Additionally, an independent dashboard ensures that you can easily access your backups even when your web server or website is down.
Taking regular backups is crucial to your WordPress Security. Choosing the right backup plugin that can satisfy all your backup-related requirements is equally critical for your business.
Through this article, we have highlighted essential features that every WordPress backup tool must-have. Features like multiple backups and scheduled backups ensure that you never lose any website data, while features like incremental backups and offsite storage ensure that your website performance is not adversely impacted in any way.
We highly recommend taking a close look at your website needs and investing in a reliable backup plugin today.
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