Six reasons you need to back up your website (and how to do it)
When you’re dealing with the day-to-day tasks and challenges of running an online business, worrying about security or site backups can come way down your list of priorities.
That’s understandable. Your website has never been hacked or attacked so it’s difficult to grasp just how much damage it can cause to your business reputation and bottom line.
But it’s not just cyberattacks that can kill your business, and your online presence. It’s other ‘smaller disasters’ too, like: the power going out, an employee deleting an important file, a hard drive failure, a computer crash, a lost or stolen device.
These kinds of disasters happen more often than you think, and they often result in lost data. Can you imagine losing all your valuable data from customer information, bookings and orders, to your entire website? Could your business survive? Maybe not.
The solution? Regular backups, meaning copies of your site files and data, that safeguard your website data and give you peace of mind.
In this post we’ll talk about the importance of backing up your website, why you need to make it a priority and how to go about keeping your valuable data safe and secure.
Why you need to start backing up your website today
- Protect against human error
Everyone makes mistakes. You or one of your employees or contractors might delete an important file or rewrite over a file and break your site or its functionality.
Sure, you can find ways to fix these kinds of errors but it usually takes longer than expected to identify and repair the error, depending on how serious it is.
And what happens during that time? You lose business. Your visitors might not be able to access your site, buy from you or fill out a contact form to get in touch with you.
A better, hassle-free, speedier solution would be to simply restore a ready-to-go previous backup and get your site up and running again.
- Prevent loss of important data
Imagine you have a blog with hundreds of posts and you or someone in your team accidentally deletes one or all posts. You’re left with zero content on your blog. And anyone who clicks on a blog post you’ve shared on social media is sent to a ‘404 error page not found’ like this one:
What then? How do you recover all the valuable content you’ve put so much time and effort into creating for your audience?
This can happen to pages and content on your website as well, not just on your blog. What if you were to lose all your customer accounts and information, or other valuable data?
That’s why it’s important to have backups so you can always have access to your website files, even when mistakes are made.
- Keep your data in the event of a hack or malware infection
Malware doesn’t just infect computers. It infects websites, too, especially if you’ve not yet taken security measures to protect your site against malware infections and hackers.
And if you think that hackers only target big, popular brands or that you have no valuable data that they’d want to steal from you, think again.
Most cyberattacks happen to small and midsize businesses. Why? Because they don’t take security seriously, which means they’re vulnerable and easier to hack.
When your site is attacked, hackers can steal your sensitive data, including customer information, alter your site’s appearance, damage your brand’s reputation and set you back about $3k.
Not to mention that 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a cyberattack. You don’t want your business to add to that statistic, do you?
Having a backup can help you to get your website clean and back to safety faster.
- Make it easier to switch web hosts
If, for some reason, you’re not happy with your current web hosting provider, you might consider switching to a better, more reliable web host.
The process of migrating from one web host to another means you’ll need to move all your site’s files from one server to another.
Fortunately, if you have a backup of your site, the process is easier and faster, which means you can switch web hosts anytime you need to.
- Restore your site if a change goes wrong
If you decide to make a significant change to your website’s design or functionality, you need to be prepared in case something goes wrong.
For example, you might want to redesign your “buy now” buttons or rework your ordering process. If the version you release doesn’t work, it can prevent prospects from purchasing from you.
But when you have a backup, you can quickly restore it so customers’ purchasing journey isn’t affected or interrupted.
- Make sure customers can always buy from you
If you run an online shop, you can’t sell products if your site doesn’t work properly.
If prospects can’t access your site because it’s down or has been hacked, if they can’t buy from your store because your ‘buy now’ buttons don’t work, or can’t email you because a missing file on your site has broken your contact form, then you’re losing business. And you’re also damaging your reputation in the meantime.
It takes time to figure out what’s causing issues on a site, why it’s down or isn’t working properly. It also takes time to fix those issues.
Isn’t it easier and less time-consuming to just have a backup ready to use whenever something goes wrong so you can get your business back online and earning money?
Sure it is. So how do you back up your site?
How to perform a website backup
You don’t need any advanced technical skills to be able to back up your site. In fact, it’s simple and there are two ways to do it: manually or automatically.
You can create a backup of your file on your server via your web hosts’ control panel or by using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). These options are easy and they usually involve following a few steps.
The downside though is that you’ll need to remember to do this regularly, not just once. This ensures you always have an up-to-date copy of your website.
If you’re a 123 Reg customer and want to go with this option, read our support articles to learn the steps to:
- Create a backup of your website using our web hosting control panel
- Backup your website files using FTP
If you’re a 123 Reg customer, we’ve got you covered with the option to schedule backups whenever you want.
You can schedule a backup to run at the intervals you choose, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. You can even set the specific days you want to run a backup. In addition, you have the option to remote backup via FTP.
If you have a Business or Unlimited web hosting package, you can also use the backup and restore feature in your control panel which lets you backup and restore your files quickly, in case something goes wrong with your site.
Read this guide to learn how to configure scheduled FTP backups.
Don’t forget to backup your backups
Having a backup file of your website on your computer isn’t enough. After all, if something were to happen to your computer then you’d lose all the data on it – including your website backup.
So make sure you’re backing up to removal storage such as a memory stick or external hard drive.
You also need to regularly check your backups to make sure the data isn’t corrupted – otherwise you could be in for a nasty surprise if you ever need to restore your site.
Creating and sharing great content on your blog and social media channels, optimising your site so customers can quickly find you in the search engine results, and being helpful to your audience on your site, and outside of it – they’re all important.
But they’re also worthless if your site gets hacked and all your sensitive data is stolen, or if your online business is down or doesn’t work properly. Why take the risk?
Regularly backing up your site can save you a lot of hassle, time and money. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to quickly restore your site so it doesn’t impact your business, customers or revenue.