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Should You Back Up Your Data? February 26, 2010

Posted by ismywebsite in general.

I just got a message from someone. They were asking about the transfer to Node 4, and if they should back up their data. As I clearly stated in the post, they will “migrate your data”. This means, your data is being transfered. However…

Always back up your data! In fact, keep at least 3 copies. The copy on the server, the copy on your local computer, and a copy stored on some kind of temporary media like a jump drive. Almost all our providers at this point provide some sort of back up, at least weekly, however this is absolutely no excuse that you should rely on it. It happens all the time – companies fold, datacenters kick people out, natural disasters, etc… And guess what? Their backup isn’t going to help you at all, in any of those cases. Why? Because often, it’s in the exact same facility as the server, handled by the exact same company.

Come that plane crash, that nuclear bomb, that huge explosion, everyone else’s data is wiped out. All the people who put their absolute trust in that datacenter are yours to laugh at, because your data is still perfectly safe in two locations. Because good quality hosting is plenty, but your data is one version only, and you put a lot of effort into that. So keep it safe.

Another advantage of keeping your own backup – you can restore things at your own leisure. No need to wait for anyone to restore anything. Say, you accidentally overwrote a major file in your code (which seems to happen to me around once every 6 months), then you just go into the backup and restore it. Often, the only option available from backups is all or none, so that means, you lose any changes to your site if we restore the backup. And that’s not fun either.

So, how should you back your data up. It’s pretty simple. Any of the following are acceptable:

cPanel Full Backup (Not Recommended)
Just go to cPanel > Backups and click ‘Download or Generate A Full Website Backup’.

Advantages: Very very easy. All your data is there in one file.

Disadvantages: You need root access to restore. What this means is, you have to send us the backup, then we send it to the provider, then they restore it, let us know, and we let you know, so the process can take days, especially if a lot of people need data restored (as is often the case in a disaster situation). It also is all-or-nothing. You can’t restore parts of your site. Finally, cPanel backups of this type have the rare tendency to get corrupted, in which case you’re out of luck. As a final note, it takes a bit of time to get the backup ready, so you have to wait and come back.

cPanel Partial Backups (Recommended For Casual Users)
It starts the exact same. Go to cPanel > Backups. Except now you scroll down and click the button ‘Home Directory’. This gives you an archive of all the files on your website to download. Next, scroll down and under ‘Databases’, download a copy of each of your databases. (Assuming you have some.)

Advantages: Almost as easy. Only two files. Backups can be restored in cPanel directly, without any wait.

Disadvantages: These backups are useful only if you use cPanel, so if you were ever to need a hosting provider without cPanel, then you couldn’t restore your data. You can restore database, or files, but you can’t restore part of either.

FTP/PHPMyAdmin Backups (Recommended For Advanced Users)
For FTP, it’s fairly simple. Just log in and set all your files downloading to a local directory. Then, while that’s still running, you can open up PHPmyAdmin, and for each database, use the Export tool. Click the database on the left, click the tab Export at the top, and click ‘Go’.

Advantages: Backups can be restored anywhere, in whole or part. They are also human-readable if you ever need to do that.

Disadvantages: The whole process takes longer, though most of the time is just waiting for the downloads to finish. More data must be transfered, and more space is necessary on your computer.

Backing up data regularly is also important for your health, since it lets you sleep at night. Most doctors recommend at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Ask your doctor if the comfort of backing up your data is right for you.

Final note – I was considering possibly offering an automated backup service, that would act as another backup, taking FTP/MySQL backups directly. This would cost regular credits deducted from your account, but would help keep your data much safer. Would there be much interest in this?



1. dbaba - February 27, 2010

I am on Node4 And i already backup all my data. thanks.

2. March - February 27, 2010

While although I usually have a script routinely email me backups, I’d be very interested in the backup service. Can’t ever have too many of them.

3. jengoo - February 27, 2010

I’m getting the Backups but I have Q! Will the Transfer take place tomorrow or what

4. jengoo - February 27, 2010

Which Backup do we take..I took the cPanel Full Backup (Not Recommended) on to my PC!

5. lakridserne - February 28, 2010

I would have interest in a service. In that way, I can save time backing up my files.

6. ismywebsite - March 1, 2010

One of the recommended backup techniques, are the ones recommended for you.

7. dbaba - March 1, 2010

so when we are going to transfer ??
today is monday ??

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