Even if you’re only running a slightly complex page with a few scripts, you’re going to want a good backup solution. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but think about all the information that goes down the drain if something goes wrong: Customer information, usernames, passwords, invoices… really the whole kit and kaboodle! Since data loss is a real threat that everyone should be prepared for, take the time to think through a good backup solution even before your site goes live; even if your site is live now, give it the attention it deserves!
If you’re renting a managed dedicated server, chances are you’re in luck. For an extra fee, many providers will add managed backup solutions to your server and take care of the setup themselves. LiquidWeb, for example, offers a full-scale and very impressive managed backup solution for about 100$ a month. It may seem a little steep for the price, but they take care of all the backing up and restoring for you and even put your data off-site in case of physical damage in the server location. That’s a pretty good deal for a small business, especially considering the fact that the loss of your entire customer database would cost you far more than that!
For those of you who can’t afford such a backup system, however, there are other alternatives that aren’t quite so ironclad. At the very least, you want to backup your web page and all the database tables (assuming your website uses databases, most do): this is fairly time-intensive and not for the faint of heart technically. You’ll use SQL commands to export your databases and then back those up along with your site’s pages and code for restoring later in case things go south. Note that if something really catastrophic happens, this doesn’t include resetting all your server configurations- you’re going to want to back those up as well if you’ve made significant changes!
Next post I’ll go into some free automated backup solutions for those of you strapped for cash, but remember: Data protection is not something you want to skimp out on! If you can afford to pay for a managed backup solution, do it- it will save you headaches in the long run and give you peace of mind.