According to a recent survey by CodeGuard and quoted by SC Magazine, “More than three-quarters of organizations and bloggers operating WordPress websites are not using a backup plugin, thus leaving themselves open to data and customer loss should something go wrong”. This is really bad news.
I’ve dealt with thirteen hacked sites in my career, two of them so badly compromised we had to start completely over with new hosting and a new site. Another ex-client moved her WordPress site to a new host without backing up and exporting her database, resulting in the loss of 5 years of articles. Still another client had his hosting company go out of the business, leading him to lose everything. None of these people had backups or a backup system before they came to me.
How to Back Up
Install a plugin – it is really that easy. Backup Buddy and iThemes Security are both very good. They are by the same company and iThemes Security will work with Backup Buddy to save your backups off-site. Each has a scheduler, but Backup Buddy will back up your database and files, while the vanilla version of iThemes Security will just back up your database. Codeguard is also very good and I use it as part of my client back up packages.
How Often to Back Up
I personally just use iThemes Security to back up my database every three days. I save one backup file to my host site and another emailed to me. I use my hosting company to back up my files and also keep a manual backup on my own local server. Because the files don’t change that often I just back them up once a month. For clients I offer a package where I update their database and files and scan for changes (a way to identify malware) at either $10/month for monthly backups or $18/month for bi-weekly backups. Contact me if you are interested.
Other Times to Perform a Back Up
I generally do a manual back up (database and files) before updating WordPress, although I don’t usually back up before updating plugins. If I have a bunch of plugins to update, however, I will back up my database and files just to be safe. If a client asks me to update their files I will back up everything for them ahead of time – better safe than sorry!
How Many Backups to Save
This really depends upon your business and your comfort level. For myself, I just save two – the last backup and the current one. For clients, I save around 3 months worth of backup files.
BTW – for grammar nerds, the difference between back up and backup