Let’s face it — creating a website is not enough… you’ve got to maintain it too! And the most important maintenance function you can perform on your website is regular backups!
Backups come in handy when you need to restore your website in the event of website hacks, unexpected server errors, data loss, etc. This is because restoring a backup is pretty much the first step in damage control if your WordPress website falls prey to external factors like human errors, hacks, data loss, natural disasters, etc.
Now, you may tend to procrastinate setting up backups because you think that you generally don’t make any major changes to the website, so nothing would go wrong. But just because you think otherwise, doesn’t necessarily mean your website doesn’t need a backup — after all, there would be plugins and themes being integrated from time to time, that might need updates too! However, what’s important is not just to have backups, but regular backups which should be taken at a set frequency to help minimize any loss of data. But, how regular is regular? Let’s find out!
1. How often should you back up?
Now, we aren’t necessarily saying you need to take a backup every other day! What you need, however, is a strategy for backup, based on your requirements.
i. How often your site content changes
The first thing people notice upon landing on your website is the different forms of content – which could be in the form of text or media files. You simply cannot afford to lose all of that! This content could remain static for some, while for others it could be changing very frequently as they update their blog posts or add new offers on their website in the form of banner images etc. So everything on the website such as images, blogs, and posts, downloadable files like PDFs, audio and video files, etc together make up your website’s content.
The frequency of any additions or deletions to the existing website is a very important factor that would determine your backup frequency. The simple rule is to take a backup every day, in case your website content changes daily, no matter how big or small the change. You could use a plugin like BlogVault to schedule automatic backups, to save you the time and trouble of manually taking backups!
ii. How much user interaction your website receives
Do you have frequent visitors on your website that regularly interact and engage with your website, which involves some action beyond just reading a post? What constitutes user interaction?
- Completed contact forms
- Product Purchases
- Comments on your content
- Product reviews
Every time a visitor fills out a form, posts a comment or places an order, your website changes. WordPress database records these as user interactions. These may not qualify as a new post but are critical to helping run your website smoothly. You may want to opt for a real-time backup service that creates new restore points every time a new interaction is detected, especially if you have high activity on your website – for example, if you are taking any amount of orders via a plugin like WooCommerce or are receiving multiple comments per hour.
iii. What is the frequency of updates
What prompts an immediate backup? Any update you make to WordPress! These updates include:
- Plugin updates
- Theme updates
- Any major developmental changes, like custom CSS or the addition of a child theme
- Changes to the WordPress version, whether a major or minor release
Many hosting companies enable automated WordPress updates, which are done to ensure your site is protected from potential security breaches or bugs. If your website contains lots of plugins or custom code changes which you want to protect, you better be e taking frequent backups that reflect all these changes.
iv. How interactive your website is
If your website is interactive – with a lot of comments coming in on your blog, or visitors filling out contact forms, the ensuing changes get recorded on your WordPress site! If your website is highly active, like if you own an eCommerce store, then you would need to take a backup more frequently than normal! Below is a checklist of questions. If your answer is a positive ‘yes’ to the questions below, you should be backing up your website as often as possible. In fact, you may need to back up your site more frequently than once a day, due to increased site activity and changes:
- Do the posts on your website receive a lot of comments?
- Does your website have more than a handful of plugins or themes?
- Are you publishing or editing content more than once a day?
- Are you frequently adding or changing custom codes?
- Do you run an online store?
Daily backups are a great option as you want to practice utmost caution when it comes to protecting your valuable data. An important point to keep in mind before publishing a large update is to always back up the current working version of your website. This is because even if you may have thoroughly tested the new update, you can never tell if some type of conflict or error arises, and you need to switch back to your earlier best working version of the website for a stable condition.
2. Any way to make it easier?
By using a backup plugin like BlogVault, you can schedule automatic backups as per your requirements and convenience. To conclude, taking website backups is mandatory, but how often you take your backups ultimately decides the stability and efficiency of your WordPress website!