Fewer than 10% of companies operating today complete daily data backups. Given that astonishingly low percentage, your business is likely among them. But is daily too often? Knowing when to back up your website isn’t a question to be taken lightly. Even a small company website has all kinds of essential data, some of which can pose a security risk—such as personal customer data. Astonishingly Low Percentage Of course, backing up your website costs you money. If you’re backing up to your own servers, you need to pay for the energy to run them, the space to house them, and the staff to maintain them.
So what’s the best frequency that meets both Astonishingly Low Percentage ROI and security demands? Read on to find out.
Why a Backup Is Essential
One of the main reasons to back up your data is to protect against hacking. A 2021 study by Sectigo found that 20% of small businesses reported being victims of a data breach in the past year. Pretty much all the popular website building platforms, including WordPress, are targets for hackers. Backing up your data means you can recover quickly if hacked. You can easily restore your website once the hacked WordPress website repair is complete. Another issue is your website breaking. This could be due to poorly written code, an outdated theme or plugin, or even an unexpected massive influx of visitors. Again, having a secure backup at your fingertips reduces downtime—and the effect on your bottom line.
How Often Does Your Content Change?
The first thing you need to consider when defining your backup schedule is how often the content on your website changes. Content is all the front-end features of your website, the things visitors interact with. These could include articles, graphic elements, audio and video, pop-up boxes, or downloads like product catalogs or e-books. If you’re changing content daily or hourly (think, for example, about a 24-hour news website), you’ll need to back up your content on the same schedule. However, if you only change content on your website infrequently, say, once a week, you can consider a less frantic backup schedule. If you’re still unsure why this matters, just imagine having to recreate all the content you post in a week!
Types of Backups
Of course, it’s probably apparent you need a content backup. But there’s more to backing up a website than saving the media files and text. For almost every website, you need to consider two types of backups: a database backup and a full site backup.
Full Site Backup
The full site backup saves all the images, videos, downloadable PDFs, articles, and more that make up your website’s public interface. This backup is performed for specific folders on the server (or even the entire file system). Thankfully, your website host is typically responsible for making sure this happens. If you want to know how often they complete backups, check their FAQs or contact their customer support team. You can also ask your host periodically for a copy of your latest file system backup. Being able to restore from the backup yourself provides added security and gives you peace of mind in the event a hosting company folds or experiences a system-wide hack.
A website database is a map of your website. It’s accessed online via various applications and stores and arranges everything on your website. You can use the database to collect visitor data and manage all aspects of your website—from the back-end. So, in addition to backing up the files that make up your website’s collateral, you’ll also need to back up this database. How you do this depends on the software you use to manage it. In most cases, however, any application you use can schedule backups, so all you need to do is look for and implement that function.
How Often Do People Interact With Your Website?
Do you have areas on your website where customers or visitors can interact with you? You’ll have a lot of critical archival data if you run a forum website. If you allow reviews on your product pages, you’ll want those backed up—especially if they’re positive! You might also have a lot of data stored for customers on their product purchases. Consider how often visitors add new data and in what volumes when deciding how often to back up your site. If site activity is high and critical to the operation of your business, you may even want to invest in a continual or real-time backup service. This is called continuous data protection (CDP).
Back Up Your Website As Often As Possible
The bottom line is that the more frequently you back up your website, the better protected your data is. Of course, if you’re using an external hard drive (or even a spare drive in your computer), you’ll be limited in space. As a result, you’ll need to implement a rolling backup system, which can be a pain. Choosing to back up to the cloud (complete a cloud backup) gives you more options. Space is cheap and plentiful, and you can back up automatically. Website host companies often offer this service as part of the subscription package you purchase with them. Take advantage of that! If you’re looking for more technology-related content, peruse the other articles on our blog.