RE: Website Backups

Website Backups

In information technology, a backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and archiving of computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event.  The verb form is to back up in two words, whereas the noun is backup.

Backups have two distinct purposes.  The primary purpose is to recover data after its loss, be it by data deletion or corruption.  Data loss can be a common experience of computer users.  A 2008 survey found that 66% of respondents had lost files on their home PC.  The secondary purpose of backups is to recover data from an earlier time, according to a user-defined data retention policy, typically configured within a backup application for how long copies of data are required.  Though backups popularly represent a simple form of disaster recovery, and should be part of a disaster recovery plan, by themselves, backups should not alone be considered disaster recovery. One reason for this is that not all backup systems or backup applications are able to reconstitute a computer system or other complex configurations such as a computer cluster, active directory servers, or a database server, by restoring only data from a backup.

Since a backup system contains at least one copy of all data worth saving, the data storage requirements can be significant.  Organizing this storage space and managing the backup process can be complicated undertaking.  A data repository model can be used to provide structure to the storage.  Nowadays, there are many different types of data storage devices that are useful for making backups.  There are also many different ways in which these devices can be arranged to provide geographic redundancy, data security, and portability.

Before data is sent to its storage location, it is selected, extracted, and manipulated.  Many different techniques have been developed to optimize the backup procedure.  These include optimizations for dealing with open files and live data sources as well as compression, encryption, and de-duplication, among others.  Every backup scheme should include dry runs that validate the reliability of the data being backed up.  It is important to recognize the limitations and human factors involved in any backup scheme.     -- Wikipedia

Disaster Insurance !

Back up your website !  We couldn't possibly say this sentence enough !

If a person could -- wouldn't you just love to have a clone of your car, just in case you had an accident ?  You could then trash your dented car and pull out the pristine clone.  Off down the street you go -- errands -- you know.

That, is what website backups are.  Clones.  Hopefully, pristine clones !

If you have a website and you are not making regular backups or have a backup plan in place -- you are making a gigantic mistake.  HUGE !

Every website needs to be backed up -- at a minimum of once per quarter !

When you are building a new website, the FIRST thing you need to implement is a good backup plan and systems.  You are going to be putting in a ton of time and adding a lot of different items into your website.  You are going to want to make a website backup maybe once or twice a day, so you don't lose all of your hard work, just because you added an extension to your website and it all crashed out.

Trust me.  If you don't back up your website, you will pay a price eventually.  And you will remember that RE: told you so.  Back up your website !

Automatic Redundancy

A website backup is a redundancy of your website.  RE: believes that you should also have several backup copies.  Redundancies of your redundancy !

This RE: website is totally safe !  How can we make a statement like that ?  We know it for sure, because we have planned it to be that way.  We fully understand the consequences of not backing up.  We hear about it all of the time.

Backing up is so important, we are going to give away all of our backup secrets for free.  Here is how we do all of this for the RE: website.

BackupOur website is backed up utilizing 3 different programs.  These backups are then downloaded locally, onto our own hard drives -- yes, drives, plural.  These clones are stored on 2, and sometimes 3 or 4, different local hard drives.  At any given time, including the onsite copies, that makes 9 to 15 clones, total.  So we can certainly say that this RE: website is safe !  We plan it that way.

Why would we possibly go through all of this ?  It just seems to be too much !

Because we know, with out any doubts, that websites do crash.  Because we know, with out any doubts, that not all backups are workable and pristine.  Because we know, with out any doubts, that hackers exist.  We know that there are ne'er-do-wells and believe in Murphy's Law.  Shit happens !  Ask Forrest.

AND -- we have planned for most of this backup work to happen -- automatically.  RE: isn't really doing that much once the plan is all set up and running smoothly.

Automatic Redundancy.  That is the plan that every website needs to try to get in place, as much as is possible.

Web Hosting Provider's System

The RE: website is currently hosted at HostGatorHostGator's cPanel has a comprehensive backup system in place where we may back up our website in several different forms.  cPanel's backup system allows you to download (to your local computer) a zipped copy of either your entire site (including your home directory, databases, email forwarders configuration, and email filters configuration) or any one of these previously mentioned parts of your site.

RE: backs up our entire site, home directory & database -- resulting in 3 different types of backup files.  These can be either manual or automatically, set up and scheduled, to be downloaded locally to our hard drives.


XCloner is a professional website Backup and Restore application designed to allow you to create safe complete backups of any PHP/MySQL website and to be able to restore them anywhere.  It works as a native Joomla! backup component, as a native WordPress backup plugin and also as standalone PHP/MySQL backup application.

Again, RE: backs up our entire site using XCloner. This can be either manual or automatically, set up and scheduled, to be downloaded locally to our hard drives.

Akeeba Backup

There are two editions of Akeeba Backup: Akeeba Backup Core and Akeeba Backup Professional. They are targeting different user groups, based on their experience level and what they want to use Akeeba Backup for.

Akeeba Backup Core is the free version.  It contains the necessary features to have a complete backup, restoration and site migration solution for Joomla! powered websites.  It's what 95% of users will ever use.  While it includes all the essential filters, it is missing some of the most advanced features which are appealing only to web professionals.  It is recommend for first-time users, regular webmasters and those who want to evaluate the software.

Akeeba Backup Professional is the version distributed for a fee which has those extra features only useful to non-standard site setups, advanced users and web professionals.  It is recommend for power users and web professionals who want to exploit the maximum potential of the software.

RE: uses Akeeba Backup Core, the free version.  Again, RE: backs up our entire site.  This can also be either manual or automatically, set up and scheduled, to be downloaded locally to our hard drives.

SyncBack Free

Once RE: has our website backups ( 5 files now, in total, 3 entire website, 1 directory and 1 database ) downloaded onto our main local system hard drive, we use SyncBack Free to make copies of them onto any of our other connected hard drives.  This process can also be set up to happen manually or automatically.

SyncBack Free is self described as ... " The best free Windows backup program on the planet. "

SyncBack Free provides great features and benefits at no cost:

Synchronize: Copy files in both directions
Restore backup files easily
Email logs
Run programs before and after profiles
Schedule backups
Unicode enabled for non-English filenames
Process unlimited filename lengths
Simple and Advanced mode
Runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP
Extensive Help Documentation & Support
Completely Free!

Backup Frequency

Every website should be backed up once per quarter at the minimum.  Just do it !  This RE: website is backed up once per month.

Additionally, all websites should be backed up before and after any major changes or any version or extension upgrading.  This just makes perfect sense, but it is seldom fully done.  Just do it !

Multiple Copies

RE: normally and automatically makes copies to an attached 3 terabyte external hard drive.  Then occasionally, and definitely in certain circumstances, like before and after version upgrades, RE: makes further SyncBack copies to a separate systems hard drive and/or even to separate external hard drives and zip disk drives.

With our various systems hard drives and external hard & zip disk drives, RE: actually has 6 different locations for backup files to be stored locally, in-house, at our fingertips.  If a hard drive quits, we have another.  If a desktop system dies, we have another.  If the building burns down, we have a backup with the web host.  Knock on wood !

Off-Site Backups

Keep a backup copy of your website somewhere else safe.  If your backup is at work, take a copy home, or vice versa.  Upload a copy onto the "cloud".  Write a copy onto a CD-ROM and put it in a safe deposit box, take it to your mothers or put it under the front seat of your car.  Or somewhere else.  Can you ever be too safe ?

Archived Copies

RE:'s recommendation is to save your backup copies for at least 3 times longer than your back up frequency.  If you back up once a month, have three months saved.  Once a quarter, 9 months saved.  If something goes wrong, it is better to lose 3 or even 6 months of website changes, rather than start all over from scratch !


This RE: website is safe !  We planned it to be safe.

Your website can be also, and it is a great feeling to have.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

      Our Technology Services

Ask us how we can help you make sure your website is backed up and available should it be needed.  We are happy to assist you with this entire process.  Send us an email !