Good Backups Are Everyone’s Business

Laptop with pendrive, sd card, CD and portable hard drive. Concept of data storage.
Written by Mika Epstein

Laptop with pendrive, sd card, CD and portable hard drive. Concept of data storage.

You’ve spent hours and hours building your site. You made it beautiful and perfect, and it looks amazing! You love it! Then you go to show it to your friends, and it’s all gone. What happened?

Data loss is an inevitability.

It happens to everyone and always at the worst possible time. Just like having that word document you need for your final term paper bomb out as you hit save, the files on your web server are files, and, like anything else, they can become corrupted.

DreamHost, Backups, and You

While the DreamHost team puts a lot of time and effort into making our servers the best possible place for your files, nothing is 100 percent — not even our backups — which is why you should be making regular copies of your data too.

“Now hold on!” I can hear you say. “You guys make server backups, of course, and you can just get my files from there!”

Yes, we do and we can. And if I were to tell you that 99.99 percent of the time, those backups work, you’d be delighted. That’s a pretty awesome number!

But then again, maybe you’re a risk analyst like my dad, and you realize that if 700,000 people host with DreamHost, that means that 7,000 of them would have a failed backup.

What happens if you turn out to be in that 7,000?

Hipster CDC Reports Flu Epidemic Peaked Years Ago

Source: xkcd.com


It’s Not Worth Losing Everything

No one wants to believe that they’re going to be in that 0.01 percent, and that’s just human nature. Most of us don’t even back up our computers regularly because it’s hard.

When Time Capsule came out for Macintosh, I ran and got my parents one because that meant fewer 2 a.m. phone calls when a legal brief or new proof went missing. They understood how to use Time Capsule once I set it up for them, and they knew how to go in and find files. It was a blessing to everyone.

So What Does This Have to Do with Your Website?

Like I said before, your website is just a bunch of files, same as the ones on your computer. And like any files, they can go bad without warning. Having your very own backup — a backup to our DreamHost backup — means you’re not going to be in that 0.01 percent group of people, who are left out in the cold when everything goes cataclysmic.

You will be able to quickly, safely, and easily restore your website to its glory days!

How to Back Up Your Website

The first thing you have to know is what makes your website a website. All sites consist of files, and many (like WordPress or any of our one-click installs) have a database as well, where your content is stored. When you back up your site, you want to make sure you have a copy of all of those files and the database.

Ready to back up your WordPress website? We’ll show you how.

We do our best to keep the wiki up to date with good backup directions, and everyone should find the most comfortable way to perform their own backups.

If you’re using a web app like WordPress or Drupal, there are a lot of extensions and plugins that perform automatic backups for you on a scheduled basis. Here are 13 WordPress security plugins you should consider since several of these help with backups too.

If you’re willing to jump into scripting, there are some tools that can do the same thing, but for everything on your domain and not just one app or another.

And at the end of the day, you will have a backup you can rely on — no matter what.

DreamPress Plus and Advanced plans now include Jetpack Premium and its boosted backups!

About the author

Mika Epstein

A happy DreamHoster since 2012, Mika is one of the WordPress developers at DreamHost. When she's not making DreamPress better or practicing being the person you want with you for the zombie apocalypse, she's slashing bugs in the next version of WordPress.