September 8, 2011
Considering the impact that a website (or database) gone kaput can have on your mental health and your pocketbook, I want to make sure that the importance of this message is delivered without any distraction… pause for effect …
Now that the importance of this message is out in the open, you can read on
This is a friendly reminder to back up your website (and database if you use one) to save yourself a lot of headaches. It is super important, as mentioned previously, because it can save you a lot of time, money and your sanity (very important) fixing your website, if your website is a victim of accidental or intentional data loss or deletion. Consider your back up an insurance plan for your website (and database) since it may not always be used but you can depend on it when you need it.
BACKUP VS. RECREATE
It is often the case that you have two options when your website/database decides to take its own life (or the user / admin kills it some how):
It should be quite obvious that the quicker and easier option is “Option 1: Restore from previous backup”. Using this option, you may loose some data (this being any data that was not included in the most recent backup) but the issue is quickly fixable and most likely, cheap (yay for cheap!) to do. The keys to Option 1 are that you backup often and consistently. In this way the amount of data lost from a major malfunction or crash is minimal.
“Option 2: Recreate it cuz it is a goner” is the less favorable, more expensive and (most likely) the most time consuming option. This option is often the result of not having a backup to recover your data from or not keeping the backup current. That being said, I highly recommend avoiding this when possible. DELETION OF DATA IS IRREVERSIBLE OR EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO RECOVER without a backup and it is best not to risk it at all.
TO DRIVE THE POINT HOME…AN EXAMPLE OF IRREVERSIBLE DATA LOSS :
Jerry runs his own wordpress site and decides to make some changes to the database. Instead of running a query to find some information, he runs the wrong command and accidentally deletes all of the data in the database. Wordpress runs off of the info in the database so if there is no info, WordPress will not function properly. If Jerry did not backup his database, he is stuck with choosing Option 2, cuz his site is a goner. In this situation, the website files would be there but the information the site depends on to run would not be and Jerry is out of luck.
This could happen to you so don’t risk it. Back up your website (and db if you are using one) consistently and often for best results.
If you are a WordPress user, I highly recommend the “WP-DBManager” plugin since it is easy to use and does a good job of backing up your wordpress database for you. Due to the potential security risk of keeping db backups available, be sure to follow the instructions provided with the plugin regarding .htaccess files, etc. Also keep in mind, this plugin only backs up your database. Be sure to backup your website files as well to make it extremely easy to recover from a case of website data loss.
If you have any questions about backing up your website or restoring a website from a backup (or anything else I’ve previously blogged about), please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help, advise, pitch my two cents, provide a solution or provide a shoulder to cry on.
Also, please feel free to leave a comment on this topic if you have experienced data loss, can expound even further on the importance of backing up your website / database or if you just have something to say.
Thanks for reading.