When your business is based offline, securing and insuring your premises is of utmost importance, whether that be protecting your company offices or monitoring your retail space. It would be ludicrous to leave your business unlocked, or to lack insurance for the hundreds of pounds worth of stock that sits within your warehouse.

For those who work online however, it’s easy to forget the importance of perhaps your most valuable asset – your company website. Are you doing all you can to avoid the one easy mistake that could see your entire business sent straight back to square one? Are you backing up?

Local data backup
photo credit: Brian J. Matis

Imagine if, unbeknown to you, your company website were to go down. If those many hours spent writing compelling blog posts, perfecting your on-page content, and working with professional web designers, were suddenly…all for nothing. If your site went down today, what would you do? Do you have a back-up? Without frequent backups of ALL your website data – from blog content, to .css files, to images – you are putting your business at huge, and unnecessary, risk.

“So, how do I backup?”

If you’re new to backing up your data, fortunately there are a number of straightforward solutions to ensure that you can conduct a full site backup, quickly and easily.

Perform your own backup, manually

You don’t need to pay to back up your website immediately. Depending on the size of your website, it may be a lengthy process, but it can be done and provide instant peace of mind.

Let’s take a look at the most low-tech method:

Manual FTP download of your website files to your computer

This entails, accessing your web server and manually copying ALL your site files directly to your computer hard-drive. Of course, you could also backup these files to an external storage device if you would like to keep your site physically separate, and not take up space on your computer hard-drive.

Although this is a straightforward method of backup, there are downsides. It’s not the most reliable solution. You must:

  • Remember to back up frequently.
  • Be patient, it could take hours to back up a large site.
  • Manually monitor the whole process yourself to ensure it is successful.
  • Create your own logical way of backing up and managing files.

Get automated backups from your hosting provider

By far the easiest solution, although costly, is to invest in automated backups from your hosting provider. Until you hire these additional hosting services, it is not our servers responsibility to make sure that they keep a copy of your website. Only when you are paying for a backup service does this become their duty – meaning you don’t have to worry about the safety of your online business content and files.

Server room
photo credit: Tom Raftery

The exact backup services that you can expect to receive depend on your server and the packages they have available. Take 34sp.com for example; a mix of backup services are available to match the hosting needs of the customer. These include:

  • Professional and business hosting, with automated daily backups
  • Reseller hosting, where backups are only activated on client request

Other automated backup solutions

If you’d rather not rely on your hosting provider but don’t feel confident enough to ensure you’ll remember to backup manually on a regular basis, an automated service is another option. Here is a selection of the most popular external backup services:

  • Dropmysite – a basic backup solution that will connect to your server via FTP and download backups, re-downloading the whole site every time.
  • Codeguard – offers both automatic and manual backups, focusing on website change detection and malware alerts.
  • Backup Machine – a really feature-rich solution offering automated daily backups.

More software, reviewed: