Daily backups offer a balance between minimizing data loss & minimizing load on server/site. Is it, however, the most optimum WordPress backup frequency for your WordPress site? Here’s what you need to know about the different methods; and the pros and cons of each of them.

 

Daily backups are the most practical backup frequency for a majority of WordPress sites that have scheduled updates every day.

 

Daily WordPress Backups

Who is it for?

Daily backups are a good option for sites which make numerous changes in a month. These may be blogs that predominantly have content additions everyday, or news/magazine sites which have scheduled daily updates.

Even if daily changes are not made to your site, daily backups may be worth considering. WordPress sites depend on plugins, and themes. As you well know updates to plugins and themes, along with updates to WordPress Core are very important for the sake of your site’s security, and functionality.

Updates are not released at the same time and different plugins and themes have to be updated regularly. While these updates are important, they are part of a complex mix of softwares that together form your WordPress site. If you make an update and the site crashes then it is easy to pinpoint the problem. Often this is not the case. Problems only surface days; maybe weeks after a handful of changes are made. In such cases identifying the issue is a laborious matter.

Performing daily backups ensures that such updates are also saved. You can then restore your site with minimal or no data loss, and figure out any issue affecting your website, later. When you restore your site, fewer of those updates have to be made to harden your site’s security. Otherwise, without those updates, even if you restore your site it may have many vulnerabilities putting you at constant risk.

 

Advantages of Daily Backups

Good backup solutions optimize between resources consumed and efficiency. Daily backups bring the following advantages:

  • Reduces data loss
  • Provides the option of multiple backup versions to test and restore
  • Requires least tinkering once restored – updates made to plugins and themes can be retained.

 

Methods for Making Daily Backups

You can make daily backups in a few different ways. While all the methods used to make daily backups will offer the above mentioned advantages, each method also brings its own challenges. Let us explore them one by one.

Manual Backups

Making manual backups of your WordPress site is an additional, laborious job to add to  your everyday business task list. Remembering to make backups or taking out the time for it may not always be possible.

Securely storing backups is another issue that you are solely responsible for while making manual backups. HDDs or external HDDs or USB drives have been known to fail. Local storage devices, and the data stored in them can also become infected with malware.

Testing backups before restoring/migrating them can become a challenge when you are making manual backups and storing them locally.

Web Hosting Service

While many web hosting services offer backups and it is a seemingly convenient option, it is important to note that not all hosting services offer daily backups. Most of the time, premium web hosts like Flywheel, and WP Engine that do offer daily backups come at a premium price. Sometimes web hosts offer other backups solutions as add-ons and these come with additional costs.

A premium price tag may not be the only drawback when you choose your hosting service as your WordPress backup service. Backups with web hosts don’t have backup descriptions, which makes identifying and restoring the right version a very tedious process. Also, if your backups are stored by your web hosts then they might not be completely independent of your site. It means that your backups may be exposed to all the risks to which your site is exposed. For example, if your hosting service is hacked or the infrastructure is affected by a natural disaster, then chances are that along with your website, your backups are also lost. This is not an ideal way to store backups.

WordPress Backup Plugin

Some backup plugins are free and allow you to schedule your WordPress backups. While these plugins will help you perform daily backups, storage may be an added issue for you to consider. This is because not all plugins offer independent storage options. You can link your cloud storage account (for example, your Dropbox account) to these plugins. Doing so, however, usually means that the plugins store an API key of these accounts on your WordPress site. API keys are how the backup plugins communicate with your backup destination. However, it exposes backups to similar risks as your site. This may allow for your backups to be compromised when your site is hacked.

Backup plugins have to be installed on your site. If you lose access to your site for some reason then using the plugin to restore your site is not possible.

Tip: If you decide to use a WordPress backup plugin it may become important for you to track your WordPress site’s traffic. Backups can be resource intensive and making a backup when most visitors come to your site might slow the site and spoil the user experience.

WordPress Backup Service

A WordPress backup service offers a more complete  backups solution. Backup services perform incremental backups and automatically upload backups to completely independent storage.

Incremental backups mean that only those parts of the site which have changed since the last backup are stored. This means that you do not have to worry about large sites not getting backed up, or about forgetting to perform backups.

Backup storage comes as part of the service and you do not have risk using your personal accounts. Backup services also offer simplified processes for restoring and migrating your site. BlogVault offers you a one-click, test restore option which allows you test your sites on an automatically generated staging environment, before restoring them.

 

Choosing a WordPress backup frequency and solution for your site depends on a few factors– budget, frequency of changes to the site, time available, and the size of the site. There is a case to be made for daily backups as the most optimum frequency for most sites, barring sites with a high frequency of changes like e-commerce or news sites, (which might need solutions providing real-time backups instead). Knowing the advantages and challenges with making daily backups can help you make an informed decision.

 

Frequent WordPress backups can minimize data loss and thereby greatly help your business. However, they can be resource-intensive and affect your WordPress site performance, if not done right.  

Frequent backups present some obvious advantages which are particularly important for WordPress (WP) sites. Content creation takes some planning, effort and resources. Losing such content may become a major setback for your website. Daily backups minimize data loss in such cases.

Finding secure storage solutions is a real challenge with frequent WordPress backups.
Finding secure storage solutions is a real challenge with frequent WordPress backups.

WordPress sites are dependent on many third party plugins and themes. WordPress site owners are always running the risk of installing software that is not compatible with other plugins or themes on the site or installing those which may have some vulnerabilities. The risk of losing data from frequent updates and third-party software vulnerabilities is mitigated to a degree by having up-to-date backups.

 

Advantages of Frequent Backups

  • Minimize data loss
  • Reduce downtime
  • Retain updates & functionalities on WP sites

 

What are Frequent Backup Options?

Of course real-time backups is the best solution to achieve the goals stated above. Hourly/Daily backups may be the most frequent options apart from that.

 

Challenges with Frequent Backups

Higher frequency of performing backups brings its own complications. Backing up sites not only makes demands on your server resources but also brings up the issue of secure storage of the backups made. To add to the list of issues to consider, tracking whether backups have happened correctly and what has been backed up is not always easy.

 

Backups are Complicated

We have been in the business of premium WordPress backup service for over five years now. A number of things can, and do go wrong with backups. Sometimes when someone opts to backup their site manually, it is as simple as forgetting to perform frequent backups.

Often, WordPress site owners don’t know if backups are happening according to plan. Sometimes not all files are backed up.

In cases where site owners may have backups, restoring sites may not be easy. At other times, site owners who are relying on backups by web hosting services may not be fully aware of backup & storage policies. As a result, there have been times when WordPress site owners find out that there may not be any backups when they need it the most.

 

Resource Intensive

Increased load on your server resources could lead to an increased  site load time or pages crashing. Otherwise, the user experience of visitors to your site may be spoiled because certain elements in the site may not function as intended.

 

Large Sites Offer Their Own Problems

 

Backing up larger sites takes more time & more resources. In such cases it is possible that certain sites may not get backed up at all. This is because hosting services; especially on shared hosting, have policies about the time, and the server-resources that a particular task can take. In such cases although you may have employed a backup solution, your site may have not been backed up at all, or may have been backed up incompletely. In both cases, restoring the site is not possible.

 

Storage Space & Security

Frequent backups lead to multiple copies. Storing these copies securely can be a challenge. Storing backups on your own Dropbox accounts or local storage devices like your PC’s hard drive (HDD) or USB drive is not recommended.

Backups stored locally can become infected with malware as you are constantly browsing and downloading files. Also, HDDS or USB drives have been known to crash. This doesn’t even account for the risks associated with accidents and natural disasters.

Storage may drive up the cost of storing backups as you may have to invest in independent storage solutions.
In all the above cases the real risk is that eventually when you need to restore your site you may not have backups, have incomplete or infected backup files. This is not the optimal scenario for your business. Probably a good way to evaluate a backup solution is to list some scenarios in which you would need to rely on backups, and see if the backup solution in question will give you access to backups and allow you to restore your WordPress site.

 

The Answer?: Backup Service as a Solution

A WordPress backup service like BlogVault will not only take care of storage space and security but make incremental backups. This intelligent approach ensures that even large sites on shared hosting can be completely backed up. Apart from this backups services may also eliminate cache and log files from backups, thereby reducing problems at the time of restores. All of this is done automatically, thereby eliminating the human errors so that you can go about your business without worry.

 

With a WordPress backup service restoring your site is always the goal. When the time comes you will have multiple backups versions; securely stored, from which you can choose. You can also automatically restore your site with a single-click. Of, course a backup service comes with a more premium price tag but with the price you’ll have backups with best practices at your disposal.

 

Frequent WordPress backups contribute greatly towards efficient your WordPress restores. The battle is between resource consuming hourly backups and infrequent backups which increase the risk of data loss. Do you know what is the right answer?

The frequency of WordPress backups is a much-discussed topic. At BlogVault we believe that ideally, WordPress sites must be backed up at least once a day. This is a logical idea when you consider that all backups are meant for recovering your site. This means you want to minimize data loss, when you restore your WordPress site.

Daily backups, however, is not a ‘golden frequency’. Different types of sites require backups to be made at different frequencies. Daily backups strike a balance between minimizing data loss and not consuming too many resources of your WordPress site’s servers. Backing up more frequently, however; especially when done inefficiently, may affect your site’s performance. On the other hand, backing up infrequently, like on a weekly/monthly backup schedule may mean that you lose substantial amount of data.

 

How frequently do you backup your WordPress site?

 

WordPress Backup Frequency

 

Why Make Daily Backups?

We mentioned that daily backups ensure that updates to all the posts and pages of your site are saved. WordPress users who manage smaller sites may feel that daily backups are not as important. This may be because the website is not updated with new content. However, we have to remember that WordPress sites are run on plugins and themes which are updated often. Older backups will not contain these updates and restoring them is not very efficient. This can also cause security concerns as plugin and theme updates include security updates too.

 

Restoring from Older WordPress Backups

If older backups are restored, then you may have to go back and update all the plugins, themes and may be even WordPress core. This may not be feasible in case you own multiple sites or have many plugins and and themes on your site.

Also, backups bring up compatibility issues. In case you restore older backups, then you can only test these issues after the site has been restored and the updates are made. However, the more recent the backup, the easier it is to test for functionality. Of course, with a WordPress backup service like BlogVault you can test your backups with a single click.

 

What Type of WordPress Site Do You Have?

 

E-commerce sites & Popular Blogs

While daily backups are a great option, for e-commerce and popular blogs it still may not be enough. For e-commerce sites, it is crucial to track transactions, data on pending orders, and the delivery status of orders with utmost immediacy. For popular blogs, comments and content can be generated very regularly; and this includes news sites. In such cases, real-time backups is the answer.

 

Real-time Backups for WordPress Sites

Backups in real-time are meant to save every change as soon as the changes are made, (or at least as quickly as possible). The concern with this is of course the effect on WordPress site-performance. However, when done right, real-time WordPress backups can be a comprehensive solution.

Real-time backup solutions for WordPress sites track changes and backup only those changes to the site as quickly as possible. Since only the changes are backed up, even large sites with frequent updates and changes can be completely backed up without affecting site performance. However, there are different methods to achieve this result and results vary depending on how effectively your backup plugin does the job.

 

Frequency is Key to Having Secure WordPress Backups

If backups do not allow you to make efficient restores then the point has been missed. Making daily or real-time backups are key to having functional backups which are ready for restores. A WordPress backup service, can allow you to not only automate the frequency of your backups; but also ensure that your backups follow other best practices of WordPress backups as well.

 

Storing WordPress backups on your PC can quickly become laborious and the risks outweigh the convenience or economic benefits. Find out why.

Locally storing your WordPress backups means storing them on your PC or desktop. The other option is maybe to store them in an external storage device like a USB drive or or an external HDD/SSD.

 

Saving backups of your WordPress site to your computer seems convenient, but how reliable is it?
Saving backups of your WordPress site to your computer seems convenient, but how reliable is it?

 

In this article let us look at how you can do it, why you may be looking at this option and also answer the question which matters the most– should you do it?

How To Make WordPress Backups Locally

There are 3 ways through which you can download backups to your computer:

  • Manual WordPress Backup Download
  • WordPress Backup Download via cPanel
  • Plugins

 

Manual WordPress Backup Downloads

You can download WordPress files by using an FTP client— eg: FileZilla, CyberDuck. Making a full backup includes backing up files as well as your WordPress site database. To make WordPress database backups you can use phpMyAdmin.

However, once you download your backup files, labeling and organizing them is important. Otherwise it may be impossible to find the desired version when you want to make a restore.

cPanel

Usually web hosts provide a cPanel account to users. Using the tools in cPanel– Create Backup or Backup Wizard, you can download backups. Again these backups are usually .zip files with filenames containing date names. However, that is not enough information when you make regular backups. You may have to spend more time organizing your backups with descriptions to ensure restores are easy.

Plugins

Most WordPress backup plugins; at least all the popular ones, offer the option to download WordPress backups to your computer. However, regardless of the WordPress backup plugin you use, downloadable backup files; especially of the full site, are available in .zip format when you download a full WordPress site backup. On top of that not all plugins give you the option to download individual files. This means we are back to our recurring theme of how downloading and storing backups also means maintaining them.

Storing WordPress Backups Locally

There are some key concerns when thinking of destinations for WordPress backups.

  • Storage space
  • Security
  • Organization
  • Restoration Issues
  • Ease of use

An ideal WordPress backup solution addresses all of these concerns.

Pros and Cons of Storing WordPress Backups Locally

Storage Space

Backups must be made regularly; daily if possible. If you are making regular backups then storage space will become a concern for you. Your PC’s internal HDD will eventually run out. You can solve the problem by investing in an external HDD/SSD, or USB drives dedicated for storing your backups; especially if you have large sites and you make regular backups. If you use USB drives for example you may be forced to make backups once in awhile and and overwrite previous copies. This is not a good solution.

Security of WordPress Backups

Making a backup is a security measure. Which means your backups must be secure. However, storing them on your PC or on a storage device is not the best idea when considering the security of backups.

Malware

Backups stored on a PC may be infected with malware from a few sources. They may either already be on your computer, or your browser may have been infected by a malware from an unsafe site, or your backup files may be corrupted by malware in external storage devices like USB drives or HDD/SSD.

Storage Location

Apart from malware issues, there is the concern of where your backups are stored. Even if you have a dedicated external storage device– HDD/SSD, it may not be enough as they are not reliable. They do have failure rates, and may crash or be infected with malware as they have to connect to your computer at some point. HDDs/SSDs may also stop working due to heat or natural wear and tear. Along with all of these points, if you choose to store backups locally on a hard drive, then your backups are in a single location, this raises the risk of losing them significantly. As a result, they may not serve as the most secure environment for storing your backups.

Organization

Downloaded backups have to be organized if they have to be useful when you have to restore your WordPress site. Consider that your site is down and you have to restore it. If you are left going through all your backup versions one by one trying to make the right decision, then you might spend a lot of time and effort which you could have invested in developing your business ideas.

Restoration Issues

Manual downloads or locally stored backups usually mean manual restores too. This may suit some developers or those who have spent time working on WordPress but for the majority who are business owners, or bloggers who are utilizing the CMS, this may not be a viable option.

Restorations usually have to be done via your cPanel account or via an FTP Client and phpMyAdmin. There are often limits to the size of files that can be uploaded via cPanel or PHPMyAdmin. These restrictions can cause restores to fail. Again, the lack of backup descriptions, and easy options to make restores, together make extra demands of your time and energy. Expending this extra effort may be unnecessary if you utilize a complete WordPress backup service.

Ease of Use

First of all since this is a manual process. If you are following best practices than you have to make backups daily. This can get tiring, and worse, you may forget to make backups at all.

After taking all of the above points into consideration, the answer to this one seems to be clear. Storing WordPress backups locally doesn’t seem to be a great idea. However, there may be a couple of benefits. It is an economical option, and you can be sure that backups are done as making manual backups or downloading them from plugins allows you to keep track  of your backups.

However, even in these cases, you may end up spending on storage devices, or professional help when you need to restore.  Along with those issues, if you account for the time spent doing the work— making, downloading, organizing, and maintaining backups; and the time spent worrying about their safety, then the economical benefits and surety about backups being done seem to be nullified.

Instead choose a professional WordPress backup service like BlogVault, for worry free backups so you can do what you do best.  A premium WordPress backup service  would allow you to easily track backups, makes one-click WordPress restores, and even one-click WordPress migrations; leaving you worry free.

 

Making WordPress backups with your WordPress hosting service seems like a convenient option. Here’s what you should know about backing up with your web host(s) and why you shouldn’t do it.

Making WordPress backups with your web host may be an option you are considering or are currently following. The idea is instantly attractive as your web host also backs up your WordPress site(s).

However, have you considered why web hosts also provide backups? It is because backups are a basic necessity for most modern day WordPress sites.

Hosting a WordPress site– the act of choosing a host and a plan, may be simple, but maintaining a site and ensuring uptime and quality user experience for visitors to your WordPress site is more difficult. Many things can go wrong with your WordPress site.

 

Your web host's backup might not be as reliable as you think, and might not help you firefight when you really need to.
Your web host’s backup might not be as reliable as you think, and might not help you firefight when you really need to.

WordPress users know that everything from simple updates to hacking may crash your site or cause serious functionality issues. Having a backup can allow you to sort out the issues offline while your users continue to have a good experience and your reputation remains intact.

Running through the characteristics of the ideal WordPress backup solution is a good way to go when you have to evaluate any backup provider. Remember, backups are not for namesakes, you’ll need them at some point. This is true regardless of whether they are made by your web hosting service or not. Which is why backups must held to high standards in all cases.

In this case, let us look at a short checklist of the qualities to look for in a good backup solution:

  • Availability
  • Coverage
  • Frequency
  • Access
  • Storage

And, of course, it all comes down to

  • Restores

This should help you evaluate your backups for functionality, security and use-value.

 

Caveats in WordPress Backups by Web Hosts

While not all web hosts provide WordPress backups, many do. However, even with the ones that do offer backups, there are many caveats attached to the service. The quality of your WordPress backups truly depend on their practices and policies. Let us look at them point by point.

 

Availability of Backups

Some web hosts may offer backups to their basic accounts for an extra fee. However, backups may be included as part of the subscription plan for more advanced plans. SiteGround is a good example. They offers backup services for extra cost the subscribers of their most basic plan– StartUp, but more advanced plans have it included in the service..

When it comes to automatic WordPress backups you also need to be aware of your web host’s policies regarding website size limits. For example, HostGator will backup your WordPress site automatically, if it is less than 10 GB. If not, then automatic backups will not happen. You can only manually  backup your site via cPanel. The onus then, is on you to make, download, organize, and maintain backups. In such cases your backup solution needs to be revisited, because ideally backups must not be an additional responsibility, but must happen automatically.

 

Coverage: What is backed up?

Is your entire site being backed up? A WordPress site consists of files and database. An ideal database must make backups of it all but also give you access to it. This is not a given with all WordPress hosting service. Ask your web host about which parts of the site is backed up beforehand so that you may be prepared with manual backups or other measures when you need them for restores.

 

Frequency of Backups

There really cannot be a golden rule for how frequently you should make backups of your WordPress site. However the general guideline is— frequency of backups = frequency of changes to site. Backups must be done once a day. This will ensure that changes are recorded, and loss of data is minimized in case of a restore. This too is not an ironclad rule. e-Commerce sites may need to backed up more frequently (real-time backups).

Web hosts making WordPress backups may not make backups daily. For example, HostGator makes backups but stores only one copy and overwrites it each time another backup is made; which is only done weekly. This may result in loss of changes and updates.

On the other hand, WP Engine and FlyWheel make daily backups and maintain multiple versions of WordPress backups, but this upgrade in the quality/quantity of backups is also reflected in the price.

 

Access to WordPress Backups

This may seem like a straightforward point but it is not. For example, you can make and access backups with the Create Backup & Backup Wizard tool in cPanel when you have HostGator account. Even though SiteGround does not have a backup service for their most basic plan– StartUp, their site literature mentions that they maintain a backup of all the sites hosted with them. However, this is not accessible to users through the cPanel. In fact, this backup copy isn’t meant for users at all but for technical experts of SiteGround. You may request for this during emergencies, but you cannot be sure of how old this backup maybe. Of course, SiteGround offers Softaculous in its cPanel which can be used to make backups and can also be accessed via your SiteGround cPanel account.

Other web host like Flywheel and WP Engine allow you to access backups through their own dashboard.

 

Storage Backups – Backups are Not Independent

Storage of your WordPress backups is crucial to the security of your backups. The ultimate purpose of backups is restorations. If backups are not securely stored then you may not have them at all to restore your WordPress site in case of emergencies.

Your Web Host Is Not the Ideal Destination for Your WordPress backups

Backups are meant to be your safety net in case something goes wrong with your WordPress site; which can happen for many reasons. If your backups are stored by your web host on your site’s server, then your backups may not serve that purpose. The short version of the explanation for this point is that if your backups if they are stored on your server by your web host, then they are exposed to the same threats as your WordPress site.

Generally your backups may be stored on the same server or in a different location altogether, like an Amazon S3 account. In either of these cases your WordPress backups are not independent of your WordPress hosting service. This means that if you web host is affected for any reason then along with your website, your backups may also be lost.

Even WordPress Hosts Get Hacked

In case your site or server is hacked then you may make the case that your web host stores backups in a completely different location. However, consider a scenario where your web host has been hacked; and this has been known to happen in the past even to the most reputed of hosting services… In such a case, none of the data that belongs to your web host, regardless of location of the infrastructure, is safe.

Natural Disaster

Your WordPress backups must also be your disaster recovery plan. If your web host is affected by a natural disaster and your backups are on their servers, then your backups will be inaccessible.

Backups must be Independent

What this means is that you should be able to access your backups without depending on your web host. In such a case you can always restore your site using your backups no matter what the condition of your web host. This also allows you to easily migrate your site to a new hosting service too, without worrying about the quality of the backup. This is why completely independent backups are needed.

 

Restoring with WordPress Backups from ‘My’ Web Hosts

We can’t stress this enough— backups are about restores. Restoring a WordPress backup must allow for all the same features that you would demand of any other premium backup tool which is considered to be a good experience. The first step to this, is of course ensuring that you have backups from which to restore your website; but as we mentioned, backups with your web host are not independent so this is not a given.

Ways to Restore

cPanel / Tools

One of the way restores can be done, is by using the Backup Wizard tool in cPanel. Generally you cannot restore a Full site backup through the cPanel tools. For this you’ll need to contact your web host’s support. The other way is, if your web host uses a tool like Softaculous like SiteGround does, then you can use that to restore from your WordPress backups.

Auto-restore

Web hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel allow for one-click restores. However, the one problem with this is that there are no descriptions. Although there are dates of when the backups were made, you cannot really track the changes to your site from the last backup.

Differential Restores

Differential restores will not wipe the data on your site but only restore those files from your backup that are not already on your site. This way if the newer posts/files/updates are on your site then they will continue to do.

Most if not all web hosts, wipe the data on your website before restoring from a backup. There will always be a time difference between when a backup was made and when it was restored. This difference may lead to loss of data, since differential restores are not possible with web hosts’ offerings.

Granular Control

Granular control is important since it allows you to restore only a faulty database table or a specific part of your site’s content. In case you downloaded the full site backup, then it is upto you to find the specific table you want to restore. Apart from that downloading or uploading individual WordPress files may be hard, especially for new users because, all backups are .zip files.

Other web hosts like Flywheel and WP Engine, although they offer one-click restores, do not describe the backup versions or allow for restoring individual files or tables. If you want to do this you may have to download a backups version in .zip folder. Extract and choose the files and upload them via an FTP client.

This is obviously not suitable for every circumstance. If you can pinpoint the source of the issue–like a recent update you made to a plugin, you need to restore may that one particular file and not have to spend time restoring the whole site as this can take some time especially if you have a large site.

Test Restores

Backups must be tested before being restored to ensure that they are fully functional. You do not want to find out what may be wrong with your backups once you have restored it on the live site. You may use the staging environment provided by your web host for this. However, if you are a novice, or are not a developer, then this might be difficult for you.

You can check out BlogVault’s Test Restore feature which you can access with a single click from your BlogVault dashboard. This creates a fully functional copy of your site from the backup version you choose. This way you can navigate the copy just like you would your actual site, make sure everything is ticking correctly and then make the restore; all within a matter of minutes.

 

WordPress Backups by Web Hosts Bring Other Worries Too

We have covered how backups by web hosts are not independent. This is important because if you don’t have backups then there is nothing to talk about. However, apart from that glaring miss, there are other big and small worries to which you may have to pay attention.

With automatic backups by web hosts you can’t schedule backups or force backups. There are no backup descriptions (as offered by best-in-class premium WordPress backup plugins like BlogVault). This make organizing backups very difficult.

Also, tracking backups are difficult since you have to login to the cPanel every time to track automatic backups and even to make manual backups. cPanel itself can be a little cluttered and provide an overwhelming experience for new users. The tracking issue may become important to you if your web host has limits on your website size to make backups.

 

WordPress Backups by Web Hosts: The final word

If your backups are not independent, then they don’t fall under the category of ‘following best practices’. So, we cannot recommend this solution it thoroughly. Some web hosts may offer better backup options than others but these options will come at a cost to you. Now that you all the things to consider about backups by web hosts, choose wisely.

 

While it is easy to be online with a WordPress site, the real task starts after you are online. Do you know all the things that go wrong with your WordPress site? Read on to find out.

Every person wanting to start a blog or a small business has heard the words “you can be online in just 5 minutes”. This is true and this is what makes WordPress popular. However, very few people realize that owning a self-hosted WordPress site is the beginning. There are many things that could go wrong with your site… Right from accidentally deleting files, posts or plugins to a bunch of problems with your hosting provider.

 

A number of things could go wrong with your WordPress site

 

A WordPress site and its web host need to fit  well together. Finding the the best for your WordPress site might take some trial and error. Even if you do find the option with the least worries there are still many issues you can run into. The key lies in  knowing what the potential issues are and finding answers to as many questions as possible from the start.  This is a list of many possible things that can go wrong with your WordPress site.

 

WordPress Host Hardware Issues

The hardware in a web host is one of the most common problems to arise. Everything from overworked hard disks, power surges, heating issues to natural disasters and accidents can cause hardware failures.

Usually hard disks are said to be the hardware component to fail most frequently. It is not surprising because most hard disks (which are HDDs) rely on moving mechanical parts. This increases not only the probability of wear and tear, but also heating due to friction, and the rate of failure. This is true when compared to the alternative to HDD, the SSD. There are no moving parts, they are silent and reduce chances of heating too, but SSD cards are more expensive and have a high failure rate too.

Heating issues are generally exacerbated by outdated hardware or when there is insufficient cooling infrastructure. On the flip side, if a hosting provider stuffs a room with servers then the cooling infrastructure might prove to be inadequate, automatically heating the hardware as well as the environment. This increases the failure rate in hardware and more likely heating causes performance lags in servers and in turn in your WordPress site.

Something you may not pay attention to, is the location of your web host’s infrastructure and how prone that location is to natural disasters. If your web host is in a location that is prone to flooding, earthquakes or tornadoes then you might want to ask them about the preparations they have made in case of such eventualities. Even cases of heavy storms, lightning has hit data centers causing damage.

Not just natural disasters, even accidents can cause unexpected trouble, such as the freak accident in which an SUV crashed into a building knocking out the power generator of a data center.

 

Your WordPress Site Is Hacked

WordPress not only the dominant entity in the CMS market now, it is also the fastest growing CMS too. This means that WordPress is big and here to stay for the foreseeable future. This popularity provides hackers a large target.

WordPress is open source software, dependent on plugins and themes and popular. All these points contribute to the CMS being a popular target of hackers.

While vulnerabilities on WordPress core are patched quickly, the security through transparency model means that anyone keeping tabs of WP news knows which vulnerabilities were found, where they were found and what is the patch. This system is just part of the deal when dealing with the open source platform- WordPress.

WordPress, because it depends on plugins and themes to make it extensible is also in an unique position because one of its biggest strengths is also the source of most of its vulnerabilities.

Remember, modern day hackers are not targeting sites but have bots crawling the net searching for vulnerabilities. If you are not practicing basic security practices like updating everything then your WordPress site is at risk.

 

Hosting Provider Issues

While creating a WordPress site may be easy, hosting it can bring up many complications. This is especially true for WordPress sites on shared hosting. On shared hosting your server might be overloaded if your hosting provider hosts too many sites on your server affecting the performance of your site.

Apart from site performance and uptime you also have to worry about the name server going down, again your hosting provider getting hacked, your account being suspended by your hosting provider, or your hosting provider is going out of business.

 

Natural Disasters & Accidents

Hosting providers even today are affected by natural disasters and accidents. While your web host’s infrastructure may be built with disasters such as earthquakes, floods and tornadoes in mind, it might not be true for all data centers. The best defence of course is to ensure that data centers are not built in such locations. However, this is not always possible in the 21st century. The next best option is to be prepared.

This equally true for accidents too. Not only can accidents cause significant damage to your web host, they can also impose significant financial losses to both your web host and you as a WordPress site owner.

The cost of downtime is going up all the time because it not only means the accountable loss in transactions for e-commerce sites but also the more qualitative measure of visitors’ perception of credibility. If not as serious then you could simply lose visitors because there is no destination for them to see and with which to engage.

It is best to plan for a WordPress backup solution that is truly a disaster recovery plan. This means not only reduce or eliminate dependability on your web hosting service, their infrastructure or backups but also protecting your WordPress site from damages caused due to weather which may affect your web host.

 

Software Issues

WordPress is of course an open-source CMS which is extremely popular. This also means that a large number of novices are developing for/on it. Such processes make WordPress extensible and contribute to it is popularity, but also expose it to exploits.

However, along with security scares, bad code on WordPress themes and plugins cause the following compatibility and performance issues:

  • Compatibility with WordPress
  • Compatibility with the theme
  • Compatibility with other plugins installed on the site
  • Proliferation of plugins
    • Security concerns
    • Performance lag

Apart from all these issues bad code might lead to the dreaded the ‘White Screen of Death’ too. Updating plugins and themes with bad code is one of the reasons for this to occur.

Updating WordPress Plugins & Themes

This means that updating, which is a necessary security step, becomes a serious concern  for WordPress site owners. The site may stop being functional and depending on the seriousness of the issue availability of redundancies, your site could be down for hours.

In such cases you have few options that might ease your burden:

  • To start off with the basics making WordPress backups must be the first step of updating your themes & plugins
  • If you’re using a backup service that allows you to test your backups before you restore, then you can you can even use it to test updates before making changes to your live site.
  • Also, in case you make updates to the live site and it doesn’t work out for you, then you can simply restore a backup. This saves time that might have been wasted in figuring out which plugin is at fault for taking your site down.

 

Human Errors

With a self-hosted WordPress site human errors can occur from two ends- you the WordPress site owner, or the web hosting company.

Site owners

Accidental file deletions

As site owner you may delete files, plugins, or even posts. Recovering these may be a difficult job if you do not have them backed up because not all web hosts make WordPress backups and among those that do, not all do it on a daily basis.

Not Renewing Hosting Contract

This seems like a simple enough point and in the modern world with email reminders, it seems like a point that shouldn’t be in this section but it happens often enough for us to not mention it.  In this case, you must know what your web hosting company’s policy  is, regarding your data.

Hosting Providers

Accidental file deletions, or rebooting the system has been reported often enough now for it to be part of our checklist to test the efficacy of a given WordPress backup plan. Unlike individual site owners, when a hosting provider runs a script deleting a file or reboots a section of the data center the scale of the consequence is much bigger. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to underestimate the damage of a single business site losing all its customer and transactions related data. However, generally, errors by hosting providers tend have a bigger effect in terms of scale than a single WordPress user deleting a post on their site.

 

Data Center Issues

A data center can be divided into four parts:

  • Building shell
  • IT equipment
  • Electrical Infrastructure
  • Mechanical Infrastructure – Cooling infrastructure

A data center may face issue in each of these four sections/parts. Apart form this your data can be threatened when your WordPress hosting service’s data center itself is hacked or hit by a natural disaster.

The building shell is obviously the first line of defense. It can regulate access and keep the inside equipment safe. The IT equipment is the very business of the data centers – this refers to the servers, storage and communication equipment. Servers and storage can fail either due to wear and tear, heating or power surges, among other causes.

Communication equipment like cables and switches is not easily visualized generally. A single cable not connected properly or knocked off during maintenance can cause a lot grief. The same can be said of uplink failures, or when network switches fail or undersea cables get cut. A case when a network switch failed and took down four popular web hosting companies, is a good example of how of such issues cause serious enough damage for you consider them a threat to your WordPress site’s uptime.

We mentioned the importance of electrical infrastructure in the previous section. Equally important  and closely connected to the electrical infrastructure is the cooling equipment and all the other  non-IT equipment that the electricity powers.

If A Data Center Is Hacked?

If a data center is hacked then your data may be compromised. What is not obvious is that you may not always lose your data to the hacker. There have also been cases when data centers have gone out business because of a single hack. This means even if your site may not be directly compromised, you might still have to find ways to secure your data.

The point to remember is that your data- your website and your backups are at risk even if your site/server is not hacked. Which is why you must have backups which are completely independent of your web host’s data center.

Power Failures in Data Centers

Power supply is the cornerstone of a good web hosting. If there is adequate and constant power supply is then it powers not only the  servers but all the other equipment required to keep the web host running- air handlers/cooling/heating/ventilation, lighting, UPS system and  generators, fire suppression systems, alarm systems. Needless to say, a reliable web host must have adequate power backup which is tested and functional. If backups fall short then you might be looking at frequent downtimes which may add up to costing you a significant amount. Asking about your host’s power backup system may be an important factor in your decision making process when the time comes to choose a web host.

Bad hardware— outdated power backup systems, lack of maintenance, and lack of testing for power failure are all part of reasons why a data center may experience power outages.

 

Completely Independent WordPress Backups

It is obvious to think— “I have backups. My hosting provider does it for free! I’m safe.” This along with the addition of a moderate financial burden turns most people away from backups. However, ask yourself this— Can I access my WordPress backups when every single point mentioned above does go wrong? If not, then your WordPress backup is not a disaster recovery plan. It is as simple as that. The reason for this is that the functionality and security of your backups are dependent on your web host.

All WordPress backups have one purpose, WordPress restores. For this you might want to rely on a comprehensive WordPress backup service which is all about restores, BlogVault.

 

WordPress has become the most preferred content publishing platform online, and its popularity is continuously growing. For hackers, this means a bigger target with greater payoffs. Are you, as a WordPress site owner committing basic security mistakes that make it easier for them?

 

Common mistakes Website owners make

 

WordPress is the most popular platform to build websites on, and its popularity has only been growing. The CMS has something to offer anyone who has ever wanted to own a website. The WordPress community is supportive, and consists of developers who can build anything in code as well as code-averse site-owners who are given a world of add-ons to make their sites extensible, and more functional.

 

However, maintaining a WordPress site comes with a number of caveats, which are difficult to navigate. The case is worse for new site-owners, since committing a small mistake could knock their site offline, or make it vulnerable to hackers’ attacks.

 

Knowing the common mistakes made, and avoiding them, is key to keeping your WordPress site safer. This is why we’ve come up with a list of the basic security mistakes that WordPress site owners and users make. Are you making any of these mistakes currently?

 

1. Not updating WordPress and its add-ons

Now while the rest of our list talks about mistakes to definitely avoid committing, this issue is a little more complicated. This is why we’ve chosen to get this out of the way right in the beginning.

Everybody talks about keeping WordPress Core and add-ons (themes and plugins) up-to-date, for the sake of security, as well as to add new features to the site. However, you as a WordPress site owner, have one good reason for not doing so– incompatibility.

Your WordPress site could break because of:

Updating WordPress Core

There are two kinds of updates on WordPress Core that keep it up-to-date with the best features, and security measures on the web.

  • Major updates (like 4.5 or 4.6): These add new features and functionality to WordPress.
  • Minor releases like Release 4.5.1 and 4.5.2: These are dedicated to security patches, and bug fixes.

There are a couple of catches with these releases. For one, it can be cumbersome to keep up to date with all of them. Version 4.5, for example, was released on April 12, while 4.5.1 was released 14 days later, and 4.5.2 was released about 10 days after 4.5.1. Secondly, while WordPress Core upgrades are designed to be compatible with all the previous versions; (even the first one), it doesn’t always work out that way. So when WordPress site owners update their WordPress core, their site crashes.

Updating WordPress add-ons (plugins, themes, and widgets)

There a number of problems you could run into while updating WordPress add-ons. Since the developers could be pressed for time or not have the expertise, they can’t make sure that their updates are compatible with every single version of WordPress. As a result, they could be incompatible with previous updates of WordPress Core. Moreover, even add-ons that are coded to be backward compatible might not be developed with other add-ons in mind. Lastly, add-ons’ updates contain significant security patches and bug fixes, which change the way they work and hence cause conflicts. One example of this was the security patch for RevSlider (a premium carousel plugin), that changed the way the plugin worked.

As a result, updating even just one plugins could cause your site to break. If compatibility issues between WordPress Core and an add-on are a concern, the safest route to take, would be to ask the plugin developer to release an update for the plugin, while also looking for alternatives that work with your other add-ons.

The key to keeping your WordPress site secure, is to update every part of your WordPress site. The consequences to your site, its data, and your site’s visitors are all too great to not update.

 

2. Buying/using bad add-ons

As mentioned, WordPress add-ons don’t necessarily have the stringent code quality or security measures in place that WordPress Core does.This is why it’s important for WordPress users and site owners to pay attention to pick a good theme/plugin. Every good add-on has one basic characteristic– it has has good code. But even if you don’t know how to judge the code of a theme/plugin, there are a few characteristics which you spot:

  1. They’re available via a reputed source: This means they’re on the WordPress.org repository, or with well-known theme/plugin seller, like Themeforest, Elegant themes, etc. Just as with material goods, buyers should be wary of a premium theme being available on a questionable website at a huge discount.
  2. They have good reviews and ratings from genuine, long-time users.
  3. They’ve stood the test of time: The longer a theme or plugin has been available, the more bug fixes and security updates they should have.
  4. They get updated often and have been recently updated (in the past 2 months) from the developer’s side

Installing a bad theme/plugin could have a number of consequences for your site, whether in a way that affects function (such as slowing down your site), or in a malicious way, such as sending spam mail on your site’s behalf. Apart from all this, having an add-on with malicious code on your site causes search engines to mark your site as malicious, and hence blacklisted.

 

3. Using bad login practices

There are a number of simple login mistakes that WordPress site owners make, from sticking with easy to guess credentials, to staying logged in on their sites. This makes it easier for hackers, who usually use bots (just like search engine crawler bots), to look for websites with vulnerabilities.

Sticking with the default username (admin) reduces the time bots need to crack your login credentials, by 50%. Combining that with the use of a weak password only makes attacks on the login page (like a Brute Force attack, or a Dictionary attack) that much easier. Once the bots crack your login credentials, the hacker can login as you, and legitimately perform admin-level functions. This is why it’s important to enforce good login practices, and secure your WordPress login page. A couple of other simple ways (and there are more ways) to protect your login page are renaming the administrator account to reflect a different username. WordPress site owners have to look out for legitimate ways to harden their login page though– some widely recommended practices such as  moving your login page to a custom URL, are unnecessary, and can ruin your site’s user experience.

 

4. Making every contributor to the site an ‘administrator’

WordPress sites have different system users with different levels of access, in order to give the site owner the power to assign responsibilities to different users. This also serves as a way to give those with fewer responsibilities, the access to only specific areas they need access to. This principle (known as the Principle of Least Privilege), is one of the basic elements of security on any system.

WordPress has five different user roles:

  1. Super admin or Admin: Has full control over add-ons, content, files, and users on the site. (Super admin is someone who has Admin access over multiple sites, and controls the network administration for those sites too).
  2. Editor: Has full control over content and files, can publish anyone’s content, and is allowed to add script tags for formatting.
  3. Author: Can only create, modify, publish and delete their content.
  4. Contributor: Can only read, edit and delete content. No publication rights.
  5. Subscriber: Can only read content. No other rights

So say you run a successful news website or a blog with a regular guest blogger contributing once a month… You would best assign the guest blogger the role of  ‘Contributor’ or ‘Author’.

Assigning the ‘Admin’ role instead, however, will put your WordPress site at a greater risk. Just imagine what would happen if they deleted a post by another author, a plugin or even an Editor by mistake!

Giving users unrestricted access could also allow hackers to exploit your site more easily. A good example of this kind of damage, was how TechCrunch got hacked by OurMine, a commercial security group that hacks accounts to publicize their services. The site was hacked using one of its contributors’ accounts.

 

5. Being a hoarder

Keeping old add-ons and users presents a number of opportunities to hackers. As a site-owner, it is only natural to experiment with plugins and themes. In the process though, it is easy to forget about unused add-ons in your site’s repository. However, since you no longer use them, you also don’t update them. This opens up your site to a number of exploits.

Forgetting to delete old users (especially contributors) long after they’re gone, allows hackers access your site legitimately after a previous hack (like a Brute Force attack). This is one of the ways WordPress site owners are hacked for a long time without even knowing about it.

 

6. Not checking past uploads

Similar to hoarding add-ons and users, WordPress site owners also fall in the trap of never cleaning out their Media Library, the uploads folder, or the includes folder.

Hackers know this too. This is why they could easily upload a hack-file that looks like an image, and execute a hack later. This is how a number of exploits on the TimThumb vulnerability were carried out.

This method could also be used to create a backdoor. So even if malicious code is removed, and the WordPress site is kept up to date, it will still be susceptible to hacks.

 

7. Not having a reliable backup solution to depend on

Having a backup solution for your WordPress site is paramount to security. Not only does having a clean backup of your WordPress site make it easier to restore your site in case of a hack or blacklisting, it also allows you to scan your site’s code for irregularities and fire-fight more efficiently. However, most WordPress site owners don’t realize that the solutions they’re relying on are not dependable, until it’s too late. Backups must be the perfect disaster recovery solution, so they should be fool-proof, and adhere to the best WordPress security practices. Not only should they be independent of the WordPress hosting service, but they should be independent of your site, be stored in multiple locations, and have both: WordPress files and database encrypted and backed up.

If your site encounters a problem caused by anything as disastrous as your hosting provider being hacked to the deletion of files, not having a good backup plan would lead to your site experiencing a long downtime or worse.

 

The mistakes listed in this article are basic, and yet widely committed by WordPress site owners. Keeping your WordPress site secure lies not in being sure of impenetrability (because there is no such thing as a perfectly secure site), but in making it harder for hackers to achieve their target.

 

If you commit, or have committed any of these simple mistakes in the past, the best way to ensure that there is no malicious code on your site, would be to invest in an intelligent auto hack cleaner for WordPress sites, like MalCare.

 

A data center is a complex entity in WordPress hosting. Do you know the different parts of a data center, what can go wrong in each of those parts, and how it can affect your WordPress site? Find out.

Many factors in different parts of a data center and its operations affect the performance of your WordPress sites. This could be due to a number of factors from simple hardware failures, to a breakdown in power supply.

Different parts of a data center and its operations affect the performance of WordPress sites

Breaking a data center down broadly will help us to understand these issues, and what can go wrong, in a clear manner.

Parts Of A Data Center

  • Building Shell
  • IT Equipment
  • Electrical Infrastructure
  • Mechanical/Cooling Infrastructure

Operational & Other Issues

  • Human Errors
  • Hacks
  • Natural Disasters & Accident

What Can Go Wrong In Different Parts Of A Data Center?

Building Shell

Generally, little thought is given to the structure which houses the servers and all its accompanying equipment because its layout and design is the first line of defence against any errors. Right from setting up the perimeter as well as the first line of defence, to determining the amount of equipment that can reasonable be stocked in any place the layout of the building is the definitive factor.

The building and how the layout is designed within it can also effectively implement access control protection in the form of magnetic strip cards, registry, etc. These points are crucial to ensuring that your WordPress site is secure.

Access control must be a concern for WordPress site owners looking for hosting services. Otherwise, slip-ups like the one that occurred at Joyent (the case when an operator error rebooted the entire section of compute nodes simultaneously), will be a serious issue with which to contend.

Mistakes are bound to happen even when all the checks are in place because there will human, software or hardware errors. It is just that there are ways to reduce the frequency of such errors. However, you cannot always plan for accidents.

A driver in an SUV fell unconscious, and the vehicle accelerated towards the end of the road, hit curb going aerial and damaged the wall of building knocking out the generator inside it. The building was owned by Rackspace and as result of the accident clients had to experience hours of unexpected downtime.

IT Equipment

 

This refers to

  • Servers
  • Storage
  • Communications equipment

Servers

A host of hardware, software  and operational issues can cause server failures. Hardware issues usually occur due to overheating, power surges and physical damage caused due to accidents or natural disasters. Software issues occur overtime if there is lack of maintenance or due to malware or viruses. Even if the equipment is not completely damaged such issues can cause your site to lag, delay your site load times, or your site pages may not load at all.

Storage

Hard disks have failure rates and along with heat, natural wear and tear, and power surges all lead to failure. This is true of all hardware equipment in data centers.

Communication Equipment

Communication equipment like a network switch failing can cause serious outages even though it is not an aspect of web hosting we pay much attention to.

Web hosting businesses are facing increasing demands to remain competitive and keep the prices down. At the same time there is consolidation with a single company owning many brands of web hosting under it. So, downtime from a network switch failure can have a ripple effect, and can affect multiple hosts at the same time.

It is best to diversify your backups in multiple locations to avoid being caught by surprise when facing such situations.

Electrical Infrastructure

While the IT equipment represents the business of the data center, electrical infrastructure is what allows it function. Electrical infrastructure refers to the power supply and power backup equipment. Much of the claims that data centers make regarding uptimes and site performance depend on uninterrupted power supply. This means having effective and adequate power backups is crucial.

For a WordPress site owner, this information could help decide the hosting service to host their site on.

Power failures occur when the backup equipment is not tested- if the batteries are functioning and charged, if the power backup system kicks in immediately, etc. Otherwise sites might go down unexpectedly leading to losses.

Mechanical Infrastructure

Mechanical infrastructure helps regulate the temperature and this plays a crucial role in site performance and determines how dependable your hosting service is. Unregulated temperature can have serious impact on your site performance.

Rise in temperature can also occur when too many sites are hosted on servers. This overworks the cooling equipment in the data center, and as a result fans may fail and exacerbate the problem.

Asking your web host about the access control, power backup and and cooling they have could be crucial to know the estimating site’s uptime and performance; especially if you have large site with many media files.

WordPress Backups Are A Necessity

Apart from this WordPress hosting services face the usual problem of hacking. In this case even if the vulnerability exploited was not on your site but your data center is hacked affecting your site, then you could not only lose your site but your WordPress backups as well as any personal/sensitive information which may be stored on your site. Sometime such losses are irreparable. Not simply because of the impact of the hack which itself may be severe but hacks have forced data centers our of business entirely. In such cases you may not be able to recover your data at all.

While there are many specialized WordPress hosting services available and the number is growing, it is important that you ensure that your site’s backups are not stored on web host’s servers or equipment. That way you can access your backup even in the case of any such failure. This is simply a good way to make WordPress backups and increase redundancy.

WordPress backups are not a luxury but a necessity. While hosting service have gotten more efficient demand and competition has also grown. This especially true for WordPress hosting. With growth of WordPress the number of hackers targeting the platform has also grown. Added to these familiar threats, data centers continue to be affected by natural disasters and accidents.

It may be important to know where the data centers of your WordPress hosting service are located and how prone those locations are to natural disasters. In such cases you may also want to ask your hosting service the kind of preparations they have in place in case of such eventualities.

Now that you know broadly all the pain points of a data center and how it can affect your site, opt for a WordPress backup service like BlogVault which secures your backups and diversifies their location effectively. After all redundancies are useless if they are exposed to the same danger to which your WordPress site is exposed.

We worry so much about performance of servers, PCs and other equipment, that we often forget that human errors have the potential to cause massive damage to WordPress sites.

Owning a self hosted WordPress site is tricky for many reasons. Some of the more entertaining points have to do with human errors. However, they can be just as damaging as data center issues, hacks or natural disasters.

There are many things that can go wrong in data centers due to human intervention, like loosely connected cables after maintenance or other operational issues. However, let us focus on a couple of common and simple ones that are also terrifying to all WordPress users. We have all done it and experienced the cost of it– accidentally deleting files, posts, plugins, users and their content, etc.

 

Human errors can lead to devastating consequences

 

Human errors can occur from two ends- one from system users using the WordPress sites; like admins, editors, and the other from WordPress hosting providers. With both, a common problem which may occur is that of accidental file deletions.

Human Errors by Users of WordPress Sites

Accidental Deletions

Accidentally deleting something on your site is scary. This may include posts, plugins, updates, users and may be even the entire WordPress site itself. When an admin deletes an user, they can also delete all the content authored by the user on the site.

Without backups these may be impossible to recover. We’ve all accidentally deleted files regardless of whether it was on a WordPress site or not. It is that the stakes are much higher when it happens on a live site. So always make backups after you add something to your site and before making updates or customizations.

Forgetting To Renew Hosting Contracts

Another error users make which often leads to WordPress sites going down, is forgetting to renew hosting contracts. This doesn’t seem like an obvious point but it happens often enough to merit a mention here. In such cases you will want to know what your hosting provider’s policy is regarding your data when the contract expires.

Some hosting providers keep data for a week others may store it for different periods of time. If you are too late in approaching your hosting service then you might lose your site as well as its backups.

Human Errors By WordPress Hosts

Accidental File Deletions

Human errors by WordPress hosts may mirror those by users like accidental file deletions but the scale of damage may be much greater. This was very evident when 123-reg knocked off most of their 1.7 million sites offline during a maintenance error.

The result of the error was that some users reported that they had lost access to all their data. A software company; a client of 123-reg at the time said that although the script deleted the servers and the websites of all their customers they could implement their disaster recovery plan because their websites were backed up. At the time, it wasn’t known if websites which were deleted would be restored. 123-reg’s website at the time told users that if they had local backups, then they should use it.

We know of other cases, such as that of  Joyent, when they rebooted all the servers in a section at once. The takeaway is that human errors are a part of most, if not all data centers. However, if you can have a disaster recovery plan that doesn’t rely on your web hosts then you can restore your site with ease and have very little downtime.

Emergency Power Off (EPO)

The Emergency Power Off button is generally used in case of fires or other emergencies to kill the power supply to the data center from a single point and contain the damage. Put in that context the EPO sounds like a good idea.

Guard Against Human Errors with WordPress Backups

However, when the EPO button is highly accessible it makes accidents inevitable. There have been cases of inspectors, delivery persons and even disgruntled employees pushing the button, and causing downtime. All this means that that there can serious unexpected power outages. In such cases, having completely independent WordPress backups with services like BlogVault makes this process easy and worry-free.

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. With WordPress powering 26% of the world’s websites it’s also one of the most preferred ways to publish content. What makes it so popular?

While there may not be a perfect CMS  (Content Management System), WordPress comes pretty close currently to being the best one. At least it is the most popular one by far. Search trends on Google show that there is considerable daylight between WordPress & other CMSes out there. This is, at least, to say that WordPress generates more interest than other platforms.

 

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world.

The popularity of WordPress represented by search trends is reflected in the usage rates of the CMS, with WordPress being used nearly ten times as much as its closest competitor, Joomla. While WordPress tops at 26.7% of websites using the platform, Joomla is used by about 2.8% of websites. This difference in usage rates only becomes more stark when you take a look at the market share of the CMS. WordPress has nearly 60% of the market share.

While the WordPress community across the world was growing, and more and more people were building WordPress sites for varied purposes, only the recent release of statistics has managed to shine a light on how big the CMS has actually become. About 26% of websites in the world are said to be powered by WordPress.

This number is said to grow to 30% in a few years as WordPress is not just the most popular content publishing option on the web, it is also the fastest growing  CMS. It is simply the most popular option for building websites. With this, the mission of “democratizing publishing” as Matt Mullenweg phrased it, seems to have been realized. However, this realization only seems to be the beginning of something bigger.

Here are some reasons as to not only why WordPress is big now but also why it is expected to continue to grow.

WordPress is Open-source

WordPress is an open-source CMS and will remain so in the future as well. With WordPress being open-source, a private company cannot decide to delete your content on their own, regardless of reason. This means that you’re unlikely to lose your content when you publish it using WordPress, such as in the case of Dennis Cooper’s blog on Blogger.

This means that WordPress is not only the most viable option economically, it gives you (the user) complete ownership over your content and and puts the power of publishing squarely in your hands.

WordPress In Your Language – Inclusive

WordPress communities have actively participated in translating the CMS into various languages. Currently according to WordPress.org, WordPress has been completely translated into more than 60 languages. Despite the fact that over 70% of WordPress sites are in English, translation makes the WordPress mission of democratising publishing a real possibility as websites and blogs can be produced in many, many languages and the platform instantly becomes relevant to a truly global audience.

Customizable

Although WordPress was largely seen as a blogging platform for long, it has been used to create  all types of websites. For this to happen not only is it important to have power over content but also the form in which it is published. WordPress was built to be fully customizable, and being an Open Source project, it welcomed contributions– core, plugins and themes, that made it flexible to suit different needs. This is one of the key reasons why the platform has become popular.

The showcase section of WordPress.org is proof of how effective WordPress has been for various purposes along with being a good blogging platform.

WordPress Plugins & Themes – There is a plugin for that!

Themes help enhance the design and functionality of WordPress sites (header:image+text, body:video, sidebar:archive, footer:about company). They provide different templates. Plugins help customize these templates to add more functionality (to make header a carousel, to help site load faster), widgets usually help only appearance (eg: to add footer, sidebar to site).

Plugins and themes are what make it possible to employ WordPress is for building website for various purposes. This is also why there are so many contributors to plugins and themes. While many contributors are professionals, or companies, there is also a large community of amateurs and hobbyists working to make WordPress conducive for every need.

WordPress Plugins & Themes

Plugins

  • Plugin Repository -47, 211 Plugins
  • Downloads – 1,432,006, 605

Themes

  • Spoilt for choice
    • Thousands of free themes on WordPress.org
    • 85 commercially supported GPL themes
  • Themes for every purpose
  • Themes changed – In August 2016 – Nearly 2 million times

The interest in WordPress and growing repository of plugins and themes has also encouraged many third-party companies and developers to produce premium themes, plugins and services professionally.

Social Media

The power wielded by social media platforms is huge. One only needs to take a look at the number of users on social media platforms and their importance becomes clear; particularly for large businesses looking to find a portal to engage their target audience. There are more than a billion users on Facebook alone. Combine this with the growing importance of Twitter as a promotional and engaging platform for large business, and you realise why the ability to embed these posts in your WordPress is such a big deal. As this article on Business 2 Community mentions, “Twitter is the place to engage with companies: While just 20 of the of Fortune 500 companies actually engage with their customers on Facebook, 83% have a presence on Twitter— as do 76% of the NASDAQ 100, 100% of Dow Jones companies, and 92% of the S&P 500.”

Being able to provide an experience for users to engage with authoritative long form content & instantly share it with their connections in bite size form to start a conversation all on a single platform can be a powerful tool for businesses.

While WP gives users control over content it also understands that the real power of content is amplified through connections, which is what social media platforms are all about.

Embedded in WordPress

  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr
  • Vimeo
  • Photobucket
  • PollDaddy
  • SoundCloud
  • Gigya
  • Google Maps
  • Slideshare
  • Dailymotion

WordPress Is A Rising Star

As more people use a platform, chances are that its following will increase because their interest has been roused. If so many people are choosing WordPress then there must be use value from the CMS. The continued growth of the CMS however can be attributed to the initial inklings that pushed them to use WordPress proving true. The scary or exciting part is that all the points that make WordPress useful are only growing bigger and stronger market-wise. We have seen this in the growth of the WordPress market.

People who contribute to the CMS:

  • Freelancers
  • Professional
  • Amateurs & Hobbyists

All contribute to the WordPress community and make it richer. There are also many areas for contributions with:

  • Theme designs
  • Website design
  • Building plugins
  • Content management

“WordPress Hacked!”: Strengths As Weakness

All this interest will definitely attract some unwanted attention too. It is already a concern for many that the top Google search suggestions for– “Is WordPress…” are “Is WordPress free”, or “Is WordPress secure”. The popularity of WordPress makes it a target for hackers or at least is perceived to do so. When a platform runs more than a quarter of all websites, the payoffs from being able to hack it will also be big.

All of these points make WP websites an attractive option for hackers. It is inevitable isn’t it  when a platform offers so many opportunities and is so popular that it will attract the those who are nefarious.

However, this perception of the most popular CMS, also being the most insecure one is simply not true. WordPress Core has been very secure, and more and more spotlight is being shone on hardening and securing WordPress sites than ever before. The growing market share and popularity has brought about the challenge of scale. It has converted WordPress’ most cherished tools– plugins and themes into double edged swords; if only in part. This is because most of the vulnerabilities exploited in the last few years have come from issues dealing with plugins and themes or WordPress site maintenance issues. Scale and an unregulated, fast-growing market have contributed to the many strengths and weaknesses of WordPress.

This is not mentioned as a warning sign but for the sake of spreading information. Awareness of pain points can lead to resolving or managing them more efficiently. WordPress is a community driven project & is based on informed users taking action.

You too can take some steps to put in place best practices for your website and not make it easy for hackers. Chances are that all it takes to protect you site is to make it a little bit harder for hackers, but it is interesting to see how many people miss out on the easy steps.

With all these points considered there is no doubt that WordPress is here to stay; and if anything, it will only grow bigger in the coming years. Being part of its community and this open source project may seem like a double edged sword for some, but if you stay informed and put in basic best practices in place then you will not only be safe with your WordPress site, but happy as well.