How often should I back up my website?

Perhaps you’ve never thought of it. But,you back up the files on your computer, right? Because — just as anything that’s paper can be burned or ruined in a flood, anything digital can fail.

I remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when a friend told me that the external hard drive that housed his archive of photographs had died, taking all his work with it.

But what about your website? No doubt your hosting provider creates periodic backups as a normal business practice. Is that good enough?

I would argue: no. As reliable and considerate as your provider may be, there’s nothing like having an archive of your current site within your direct control. Like having a certified copy of your birth certificate, it just feels better having that in your own safe deposit box. Halls of records do suffer catastrophes. Disasters occur.

Okay, so how often?

This can easily be determined: how often does your website change?

  • When do you add new articles or pictures?
  • Do you have a forum or active comments area?
  • Is your site a store that houses records of orders and customer contact information?

If your website is a very quiet one and you post a new article every other week, you risk nothing by doing your backups twice monthly.

What can you risk losing? What is your strategy? Do you know how often your server-managing host provider backs up, should you not opt to do your own backups? What procedure exists should your site become compromised? Are there extra costs involved?

Knowing the answer to these questions helps you be a successful and professional manager of your website.