The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Daily Data Backups Are Essential
Whether you run a personal blog, a professional blog, or a business, your data is important to you. Your data is also important for your visitors if they rely on you for goods or services, or just enjoy your website. A website that loses data loses confidence from their visitors. There is no guarantee that data will be available all the time and there are so many factors that could happen that can cause data loss. Therefore, it is important to make an effort to backup your data every single day. Today is world backup day and is meant to highlight the importance of backing up your data, not just on this day, but as a daily operation.
If you run a website on a platform like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, there are dozens of backup plugins to help you. If you are not storing your data on a CDN, than you need to backup your files as well as your database. The most important file from the data is the .sql file, which has all of your data. If you are not on a website platform at all, it is easier to just keep a backup of your files on your computer or a website like Github. Data loss can result in hundreds to millions of dollars lost. Imagine if a website like Facebook, Amazon, or Ebay went down for an hour, or even 24 hours, the consequences are dire, as millions of people rely on these companies for business.
These types of websites make money for businesses around the world and they make money themselves, so these websites usually have entire teams dedicated to making backups and restorations if anything should fail. While your website or company is probably not as huge as these companies, it is important to get into the mindset that you actually are that important to your visitors, your customers, your clients, etc. Thus, you should be making backups everyday and ensuring those backups exist.
If you have not already done so, create a second website or subdomain and pretend as if your website went down and see how fast you can get it back up. You should get to the point where it takes no more than a half hour to retrieve and restore your data. Losing data causes you to be in panic mode, but having data backed up everyday, knowing the data is fresh and recent will keep you at ease. It is important to make backups after everything has happened for the day. For example, if all of your business usually occurs during the day, you should make a backup at 12 AM. For busier websites, it is probably recommended that you make backups every hour.
On August 4, 2017, we learned just how important backing up data is everyday, when we thought we lost all of our data, and our most recent backup had been a week and a half before. Our website was down for about 24 hours. Considering that we publish 1-2 confessions per day, we would be behind about 10-15 confessions plus anything we had been doing in the backend for that past week and a half. Luckily, we were able to obtain a copy of our database and restore the website without issue. During this time, however, we realized how lackadaisical we were being when it came to backups, and this was bad. There are hundreds of you who rely on our website, and we take that very seriously, so since then, we have made sure there is a backup made everyday. We certainly hope that nothing goes wrong again, but we have taken our own advice, creating another server, and being able to restore the website within an hour or so.
It is definitely easier to sleep at night knowing that you have a backup of your data made each day and that if anything goes wrong, your data restoration would contain the most recent data that your website has, and if it is missing a few hours, that is much easier to recover than a few days to weeks or longer of data lost. Nothing is more important than ensuring your data property is safe, backed up, and not just on your server, but an actual CDN of some sort where it can be easily recovered.
If you are a business, you already know the value of data and what the loss of it could mean for your business, so having a team member dedicated to ensuring that all data is backed up efficiently and can be recovered at a moments notice is worth every penny that you will pay for it. Having the awareness that you can lose your data at any second is crucial and if you are just a personal blogger, it is just as essential that you are backing up your data. Imagine if any of these top bloggers who make thousands to millions of dollars a year from their websites suddenly lost all of their data. It would be the equivalent to any business losing data, so backing up data daily is important.
If data is constant through your website or your business, than it is important to do more than just a daily backup, and aim for doing several backups multiple times throughout the day, and at least obtaining a week worth of those backups. For bloggers, unless you are doing intense things in the background, you may be able to get away with backing up daily, or once per day, but try to back up data during the “offpeak” hours when you are less prone to be working on your website, and when visitors are not so common on the website.
You will save yourself a lot of pain, suffering, helplessness, hopelessness, and everything you can think of. Similar to full coverage on car insurance, home owners insurance, or renters insurance, there is some peace of mind in knowing that you are covered somewhere. You will also save a ton of money in the long run, as you will not have to hire a company in an “emergency situation”, where many will likely take advantage of your desperation, and who may or may not be able to retrieve any of your data. When it comes to your data, that is your lifeblood right there. Protect it, secure it, clone it, copy it, do what you need to do to ensure that no matter what happens, you can recover it in an instant and continue business as usual.