Losing a single order has significant financial costs for online stores. Real-time backup for WooCommerce sites is the answer; but only if you know for what it is that you’re signing up.
For online stores, the clock does not confine business hours. The window is open 24/7 and users place orders at all times of the day. You cannot afford for either your site to go down or to lose even one of those orders. Both these scenarios will harm your revenue.
Despite all the security measures you take there is no fool-proof plan. For this reason, having a robust backup plan plays a key role in an online store’s strategy to safeguard orders, payments and other data.
Online stores built on WordPress; the most popular CMS in the World, mostly use the WooCommerce plugin. If you too operate your business via the ‘WooCommerce window’ then it is important to know the challenges of backing up WooCommerce sites and the backup solutions available to you. Between 2010 and 2013, the average cost of downtime per minute increased by 54% from $5,000 to $8,000. While the average downtime during the same period decreased by only 11%, the cost of being offline is rising all the time.
What is WooCommerce?
A quick introduction— WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform for WordPress sites. The platform offers many extensions and themes to transform WordPress sites into online stores. As part of this, WooCommerce offers extensions for accounting, marketing, inventory, customer service, and payment gateways among others to easily build e-commerce sites. Get started with the best compatible themes for WooCommerce.
Regular Backups Aren’t Ideal for WooCommerce Sites
Regular backup solutions are not an ideal fit for WooCommerce sites. Transactions on online stores don’t occur at regular intervals. However, when they do happen, they are important and all of the data related to the transactions needs to be backed up. This cannot wait till the end of the interval which may be at the end of the day or the end of the hour.
Losing Orders– The “Oh, NO!” Moment
As we mentioned, on online stores orders trickle round-the-clock. The rate of orders received may vary through any given day, but all orders are equally important.
Just like, orders, the “Oh, NO!” moment can occur at any time of the day. Your website may start malfunctioning or crash at any given point of the day. Waiting for regular backups to backup hourly or daily would mean losing details about orders and transactions made on your website.
Frequent Backups Can Be Resource Intensive
If you decide to run regular backups frequently to avoid losing orders, then you will end up slowing down your site. If your backup plugin is performing backups every few minutes, then your server resources are split between making backups and responding to requests made by the visitors to your site. This will harm the user-experience. Lags in page load times or site performance is as good as turning away potential customers.
Real-time Backup for WooCommerce Sites Is the Answer
A backup solution needs to be comprehensive in backing up all the changes while making efficient use of resources to ensure that user-experience is not affected. Real-time backups is the answer for WooCommerce sites. However, not all real-time backup solutions are the same. Knowing what real-time backups do and knowing how different real-time backup solutions perform backups may make or break your site’s backup strategy.
What Are Real-time Backups?
Real-time backup tracks and save the changes to your site as and when they happen. For example, if a customer places an order on your website then that change is immediately tracked and saved. This ensures that you have the most up-to-date backups from which you can restore your site; and more importantly not lose any orders.
The Challenge of Backing Up WooCommerce Sites
WooCommerce sites cannot be backed up like regular WordPress sites.
A WordPress site has two parts– Files & Database. Database contains information about posts, pages and users apart from other things. In short, the database contains all the content on your site. Such information is stored in the form of tables on your WordPress site. These tables are known as standard tables and come with every WordPress installation.
However, a WooCommerce site has additional information to store which are all important to your business. To store this information, WooCommerce installs custom tables on your WordPress site when the WooCommerce plugin is installed. This is in addition to the standard WordPress tables. Below is a list of some WooCommerce tables and the information they contain.
You cannot afford to not have backups because piecing together items, payment and shipping information for every order can be laborious and it is time that you simply cannot afford.
The immediate financial loss resulting from downtime is only around 1/5th of the overall loss according to estimates. The loss of trust in a potential buyer in returning to your site will continue to harm your revenues even after your site is up and running. This dip in trust, and orders; as part of the after-effect of downtime is said to account for the remaining 4/5th of the loss resulting from downtime.
Regular Real-time Backups Don’t Do the Trick for WooCommerce Sites
To be up and running as quickly as possible without losing data is the goal. To completely backup your WooCommerce site, it is obvious that your backup solution will need to backup both standard tables and WooCommerce custom tables in real-time.
Regular real-time backup solutions; however, do not backup custom tables installed by the WooCommerce plugin. This is a big problem because all the orders and payments are stored on the custom tables installed by the WooCommerce plugin. This renders regular real-time backups completely ineffective for WooCommerce sites.
Ask About the Method of Making Real-time Backups
Even if you find a real-time backup solution which backs up standard tables and WooCommerce custom tables; like BlogVault does, the method of making backups may impact the performance of your website and the efficacy of your backups. Broadly, there are two models of making real-time backups– the push model and the pull model.
First let us take a look at the push model…
Push Model of Making Real-time Backups
With the push model, your site ‘pings’ the backup server that an ‘event’ has occurred. The backup server then checks for what changes have occurred and then saves them to the backup server.
You can see that the push model requires constant communication between your site and the backup server. Although this seems like a good idea, chances are that the performance of the WordPress site may be suffering.
As in the case of frequent regular backups, with the push model your server resources are split between responding to requests made by your visitors and performing backups. This adversely impacts your site load times, and in turn your bottom line. Only 12% of people will wait an additional 5 seconds for a website to load.
Along with your site performance your backup speed may also suffer. If servers are overloaded, then there may be delays in performing backups; or worse backups may not happen at all. Such delays mean that the push model may not always offer ‘real-time’ backups after all.
The alternative is the pull model of real-time backups; and this where BlogVault comes into the picture.
Intelligent Real-time Backups by BlogVault
BlogVault’s real-time backup follows the pull model; and focuses on being comprehensive and efficient. Changes to your WordPress site are immediately tracked and saved on the site itself. The BlogVault (BV) servers checks for changes every 5 mins. and ‘pulls’ those changes to BV servers. Once the changes are securely saved to BV’s servers, then the next set of changes on the site are tracked and saved.
The pull model ensures that all the changes are saved without making excessive demands on your site’s server resources. The backup process doesn’t affect your site performance.
BlogVault Backs Up WooCommerce Tables As Well
Apart from utilizing the resource-efficient pull model for real-time backups, BlogVault backs up custom WooCommerce tables as well. This ensures that none of the data related to your orders is lost upon restoring your site.
If your backup solution does not automatically backup WooCommerce tables as well then it is not a viable option for e-commerce sites.
You Can’t Afford Not to Have Real-time Backups
Real-time backups are a real need for WooCommerce sites. While calculating the cost of downtime it is also important to understand the cost of not having an efficient solution for WooCommerce backups.