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Make Backups

This might seem like a really simple concept, but please make backups of your content. In the past 2 weeks I’ve been encountered with issues regarding lack of backups. The first was due to hardware failure; not much you can do to avoid this. Even RAID arrays fail sometimes so don’t rely on the hardware. The second issue was a user accidentally deleting his entire account. Derp but accidents happen.

Regardless of whether your host provides a backup service, do not always rely on this. If you are a cPanel user, backups will usually run every night at midnight, and it’s possible that your clean backup will get overwritten before hand. In other cases, they may have a custom backup solution. One third party backup solution is R1Soft. I am not fond of R1Soft and I will not recommend it for large servers with plenty of traffic. It can definitely take a toll on IO and network traffic. (That’s a different story for a different day)

So, in both of the above cases, one client was incredibly upset and the other was ok with it and appreciated any efforts we could make to help them. You’d be surprised which was which. If you are a web designer, realize that this is your bread and butter. This is your portfolio and your outward facing representation of your company. Don’t risk losing it. Make backups.

If you utilize cPanel, get familiar with the backup system. The tools are there and they’re easy! Familiarize yourself with the following icons in the panel:

I don’t usually make backups with the wizard, I just use the plain backup tool. Heres another shot:

In this case, my host has 2 options for me. I can download a weekly backup immediately, or I can generate a new backup. If you’re impatient, grab that premade backup. If you do not have this option or would like your site in the state that it is in right now, generate a new backup.

The cool thing about cPanel backups are that they have everything needed to restore your account on any machine quickly and easily. These can also be extracted if you need to replace specific files. Cool.

Now, what if you don’t use cPanel or you don’t have the above options in your control panel? Odds are you have access to your databases via phpmyadmin. You can make backups of databases there. The databases are likely the most important parts of the sites anyways unless you have tons of images you can’t replace. Moving on, make a directory on your local computer named backups. Inside of there make a directory with the date and the domain. Login to your site’s FTP. Click and drag your content into said folder. Wait for it to complete, and you now have site files backed up.

In my case, this would have helped. Had the clients backed this up, I would have know which of his 150+ databases were associated with which of his 300+ domains which were lost, making it much easier to restore. In cases where the client was not overly molesting a shared hosting account and had a normal number of domains, 5-10, I was able to track where the domains previously were and what databases they belonged to. This is good because the WordPress and Joomla sites were easily restored, but would have gone better had they had there own backups.

So team, always make backups of your content. I usually keep 3 backups. One on the hosts machine, one on my local machine, and one on a cheap vps that I have elsewhere. This can even be scripted if you want to be fancy!

Thanks for reading! If you guys have any questions, let me know!

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