How To Backup Your Website

August 29, 2007

Blogging, Site News

Data loss can be an absolute nightmare for anyone who owns valuable computer files, no matter whether you are a webmaster or email user, sudden loss of all your files can occur in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s down to you, the user, other times outside influences such as hackers and virus or malware applications can see your data literally vanishing into thin air.

Making regular backups of files really is essential and this chore should certainly be a matter of routine for all webmasters.

A backup refers to a copy of existing files on a separate storage device to preserve data in case the original has been damaged or deleted. Don’t rely on your hosting company to backup your data, they may well do so but you must have a duplicate of all your files stored safely in another place, independent of your host. No matter how reliable your hosting company has always been, they can suffer server failures just like anyone else, so, for your own peace of mind backup everything and store it either on your own PC’s hard drive, or an external drive, preferably both if you can.

Never underestimate the importance of having a backup. There is no excuse nowadays as the task really is a simple one and there are a variety of options.

1. Back Up With cpanel
Every time you log in to your hosting account, you are usually greeted by your control panel, the place that contains all the tools you need to manage your website. C-Panel is one of the most commonly used control panels for Linux based hosting and if you are a cpanel user, backups could not be easier.

To perform a full backup using cpanel, you just have to find and click the Backup icon on the main interface. (sample below)

cp How To Backup Your Website

This offers you options to generate various backups including your databases. Backup everything, including those vital database files. It’s simple. Then download the generated files to your PC, or other storage medium.

Below is an excellent video courtesy of showing the exact steps to follow in cpanel to make complete backups of your websites and databases. Where you store your backups is your choice of course and I recommend at least two separate locations.

Additional Resources: Mohamed Bhimji has also provided an ebook in PDF format covering the full process. You can download a free copy below.

cPanel Backup Guide PDF

2. Backing Up Using Online Storage
Your server is already an online storage medium of course, but if you want more security for your files, you could get another. You may already have another hosting plan where you could store data or you could just sign up to a free online storage service instead. Some of these may not offer enough space for larger backups however.

3. Backing Up Databases Using phpMyAdmin
Databases are the most common repository of important records. If you are running MySQL, but don’t have cpanel, you can back up your databases using phpMyAdmin, a common database management tool. It is very simple – log in to your phpMyAdmin account and click the Export option which will take you to a list of your databases. Select them all and save – you will be prompted to provide a name for the backup file and the desired location. Click OK and your backup database(s) will be created.

Wherever you decide to backup and save your data remember to do it on a regular basis – the more often you update your website or blog the more frequently you should backup. I prefer to store backups in two separate locations which gives double the security and peace of mind.

If you haven’t backed up in a while, make time to do it today.

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