Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Why is backing up my site necessary?, part of WordPress: Backing Up Your Site.
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- Before we dive into how to use plugins to do backups, let me address the question of why you need to backup your site to begin with. After all, once you pay a company to host your site on the web, they should be responsible for keeping your site secure, keeping hackers out and keeping proper backups if something goes wrong. Right? Well, the realities a bit more complicated. While your host will run backups there is no guarantee they'll back up what you need or be able to restore your site to the date and time you want.
And for a variety of reasons hosting company backups are not as reliable as you'd expect. I've heard plenty of stories and have several personal experiences of hosting company backups not being there or being corrupted when they are needed the most. That's part of the reason why your own personal backups matter. But there are some more obvious reasons as well First, just like your computer might break down due to a technical or software malfunction, so can your host. After all, web servers are just large computers.
If your web host server breaks down there's a good chance your backups disappear along with your site. And the only way to get your content back on line is to rely on a third-party backup on a third-party service you have set up yourself. Second, no matter how secure your site is, there's always a chance it will get hacked or fall victim to some form of malicious incursion. When this happens, you can't trust any of your files or the contents in your database and the safest thing to do is revert back to an earlier version of your site that was backed up before the incursion occurred.
Sometimes this means restoring your site to what it was a couple of days ago. Sometimes you have to go back weeks or even months. It all depends on how the malicious incursion came in and what it did. In this situation, it's important that your backup is stored on a third-party service because if your site is hacked there's a good chance your backups were hacked too. The third reason may seem less likely but it's still something to consider. Your hosting provider may choose to either discontinue your service, it might get bought by a different company or even close up shop.
In these cases, it's your responsibility to move your site and all its contents to another location before your site goes off line. In some cases, you only get a couple of weeks or even a few days to do this and in some extreme cases you may only learn that your host is no longer available after it went off line. Having proper backups on a third-party service allows you to restore your site to a new location with ease. And that brings us to the final reason, which is not really about backups but more about data mobility.
As I'll mention throughout the course, the backup plugins featured here allow you to migrate your site to a new host. After all, if you think about it, that's really just restoring your site from a backup to a new location. So, now you know the why, let's take a closer look at the how.
- Figuring out what to back up on your WordPress site
- Installing and activating plugins
- Setting up automatic backups
- Accessing and managing backups
- Configuring third-party destinations
- Restoring your WordPress site from a backup