Ask yourself this question: how much business would you lose if you had to completely rebuild your website, rewrite all the content and restart your email subscriber list from scratch?
It’s a nightmare scenario that happens to hundreds of unsuspecting businesses every day; and yet it’s easily avoidable.
How can you lose your website?
Your business website can be lost for many reasons: hackers can break in and corrupt your files and databases; new or updated software may be incompatible with your system and render it useless; your website server might have a hardware failure. It’s not uncommon, either, for site owners to accidentally kill off their own sites by attempting a bit of amateur coding or by unwittingly pressing the delete button in the CPanel.
These things happen all the time and to most forward thinking businesses it’s an inconvenience that can be put right quickly and with minimum impact by installing a backup. Problem solved.
But what happens to the 40% of businesses who don’t back up their websites?
Loss of business
Failure to back up your website could mean a significant loss of business. The longer you are offline, the more business you will lose and the less likely you are to recover – especially if you are an e-commerce website or a company that solely relies on the internet for generating new business.
It’s also unlikely to that your business insurers will be willing to pay out if you haven’t taken reasonable precautions to back up your business website.
Long-term marketing damage
Most online business owners know that growing a list of email subscribers is one of the most effective ways to generate free, targeted advertising and repeat business. It could take years to rebuild your subscriber list if it hasn’t been backed up and this would force you to use less effective and more expensive marketing methods such as Pay Per Click.
If you are an e-commerce website and have taken money for orders just before the site goes down, you may no longer have the order details or the contact details of the people who made purchases. This will lead to angry customers, a depreciation of your reputation and could cause problems with your bank and the company that provides your online payment gateway.
Loss of authority and domain rank
Many businesses and bloggers generate much of their organic traffic though the quality of information they provide to their readers on their blogs. Some of these blogs take years of hard work to create and often contain hundreds, sometimes thousands of posts.
Failing to back up your website can mean that all your valuable content is permanently lost. If this happens you could lose domain rank and your website will lack the authority it once did. As a result, when you build a new site it will not generate the same volume of organic traffic.
If your website goes down for a long time, it means that whenever Google tries to crawl your site all it will get is a series of HTTP 404 (Page Not Found) errors. If this continues to occur, Google may penalise your website and prevent it showing up in search results. You would need to apply to Google to have the penalty removed.
You cannot always rely on your web host to back up your site
Most web hosts will back up the data on their servers, including your website, in case the server goes down. However, they may not be able to make these backups available to their customers. This may be because the way they back up their servers, as an image, does not make it feasible. This is especially the case with customers who opt for shared hosting. You should always undertake your own backups or sign up for any suitable backup package your web host offers.
Backing up is the ultimate protection against viruses
Whilst some web hosts actively run virus and malware scans to protect your website, there is always the possibility that some infection can find its way into your files – you may unwittingly even upload an infected file yourself via an FTP account. By having a clean backup of your files, you can easily restore your website.
How to back up your website
There are several ways to back up your website, though some of them better than others.
Manual backup via FTP
You can use FTP to back up your website by transferring the files from your server to your own computer. However, this will be very slow, especially if you have a large amount of data, and may impact on your site’s speed and performance whilst the procedure is in place.
If you have a site which is updated regularly because of customer activity, visitor comments, sales, cron jobs, etc., this is not the solution for you. This option is most useful for companies with small websites that rarely change content and do not update software very often.
You can backup using your cPanel, fairly easily, but again, you must download and store the backup on your own computer. If you save the files to the same server as your website and it goes down, you lose the website and the backup too. Again, this method is not really suitable for websites that need frequent backups.
You can now back up your website in the cloud provided your cloud space is large enough to store your website and the cloud system is secure enough to guarantee the protection of any personal data you may want storing. You may need to purchase enough storage space to hold the information if you have a large website.
To back up to the cloud, you may need to install third party software on your site and you should check with your host first to see if this is allowed. The software can be used to automate backups, making it more useful for websites that need backing up more regularly. However, this may have an effect on your server’s resources and slow your website down whilst in operation.
Continuous, automatic backup
By far the best solution is to have continuous, automatic backup. As it’s automatic, you don’t have to undertake the process yourself and as it’s continuous, it means that if you do lose your website you can restore it exactly as it was when it went down so there will be no loss of recent files, content changes or customer orders.
This is the kind of backup service we operate at webhosting.uk.com, with the addition that our backup is remote, i.e. it is not stored on the same server as your website so if the server goes down, your backup is still available.
Our backup solution
At Webhosting.uk.com, our remote backup solution uses R1Soft’s Continuous Data Protection (CDP) software which provides bit-level disk-based data protection. This backs up data on a bit by bit basis, allowing near-continuous backups and providing you with multiple recovery points.
R1Soft Continuous Data Protection gives you the ultimate in performance and recovery. The backup process will not affect your website performance even when your server is busy and all the files and formatting you need for a full disaster recovery are available instantly.
You can use R1soft’s CDP to backup your website on both Windows and Linux systems. We can also provide customized R1Soft backup plans, depending on your needs.
If you would like to know more about our backup services please visit our Backup Service page or email us at [email protected].