Backing up website data regularly is one of the most important things a website owner or developer can do to ensure the security and integrity of their site’s content. Website backups protect against data loss from hardware failure, hackers, accidental deletion, and a wide variety of other threats that could potentially cause irrecoverable damage.
With so much vital information often stored on websites – from business databases to customer details and more – it’s essential to have a backup plan in place. While many assume their web host or server will handle backups for them, this isn’t always the case. And even when backups are handled by a third party, having your own backups as well provides an extra layer of protection.
In this 10,000 word guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the importance of regular website backups for security. We’ll look at backup types, best practices, how often to backup your site, where to store backups, tools to automate the process, and much more. Let’s get started!
The Risks of Losing Website Data
Before we dig into backup best practices, it’s important to understand why website data loss can be catastrophic if you don’t have a backup plan in place. Some of the biggest risks include:
- Hardware failure – Server hard drives and other hardware inevitably fail over time. Without backups, this can mean losing all website files, databases, and content.
- Hackers – Hackers and malware threats are growing increasingly sophisticated. Even robust security measures can’t prevent every attack. Backups provide an offline copy of site data unaffected by hacking attempts.
- Accidental deletion – It’s easy for admins or developers to accidentally delete key files or database information. Backups make recovery from these mistakes quick and painless.
- Hosting outages – Even reputable web hosts can suffer major outages from things like power failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks. Backups allow you to restore site data regardless.
- Software failures – Bugs, crashes, or corruption in CMS platforms, databases, and other software can wipe out or alter website data. Backups provide restore points.
- Human error – Well-intentioned team members may make changes that damage site content or data. Backups let you “undo” these errors.
The costs of losing website data can be immense, from lost revenue due to downtime, potential legal/regulatory problems if customer data is lost, and costs to rebuild and restore lost content. Backups mitigate these risks.
Types of Website Backups
There are a few main types of website backups to understand:
A full website backup includes every single file and the entire database. This provides a complete snapshot of the entire site that can fully restore it if disaster strikes. The downside is full backups take time and storage space since every byte must be copied.
Incremental backups only copy files and data that have changed since the last backup. This makes them faster and smaller than full backups. But you’ll need access to other incremental backups from the same backup chain to fully restore your site.
Differential backups copy all files/data changed since the last full backup. So they provide more flexibility for restores than incremental backups. But differential backups are larger and take longer than incremental since more changes accumulate between full backups.
Manual vs Automated Backups
Backups can be performed manually by an administrator, or automated on a schedule via backup software. Automation is vastly preferable since manual backups are unreliable – they’re easily forgotten or skipped when admins are busy. Automated backups run like clockwork for reliable protection.
Local vs Off-Site Backups
Backups can be stored locally (e.g. an external hard drive attached to your server) or off-site (e.g. cloud storage services). Off-site backups protect against local failures like fires, floods, or device theft. A hybrid approach with both local and off-site backups provides comprehensive security.
How Often to Backup Your Website
So how often should your website be backed up? Generally, most experts recommend backing up your website daily at a minimum. However, the “right” backup frequency depends on factors like:
- Website size – Larger, more complex sites take longer to backup and require more storage space. Small blogs may tolerate less frequent backups.
- Amount of new content – Websites that are updated constantly should backup more often than static sites.
- Importance of uptime – Ecommerce sites and other business-critical sites can’t afford extended downtime, necessitating more frequent backups.
- Server reliability – Unstable servers prone to crashes warrant daily or even twice daily backups. Robust enterprise-grade servers can potentially tolerate less frequent backups.
- Traffic/usage – Heavily trafficked websites with millions of visitors should backup daily. Low-traffic personal sites might backup weekly.
- Database size – The larger the database driving a site, the more frequently it should be backed up.
- Regulatory requirements – Sites handling valuable user data may need to backup extremely frequently to meet data protection regulations.
- Web host reliability – If your web hosting provider handles backups reliably, you can be less aggressive with your own backups.
For most small to medium sized websites, backing up your entire site daily is a safe bet. Critical sites should consider twice daily or even hourly backups.
Where to Store Website Backups
When implementing a backup plan, one key question is where to store the backups themselves. There are several good options to consider each with their own pros and cons:
External Hard Drives
- Pros – Inexpensive, fast local backups
- Cons – At risk for physical damage, theft, fire, flood, etc.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
- Pros – Convenient shared network location for backups
- Cons – Single point of failure if NAS is compromised
Cloud Storage Services
- Pros – Offsite protection against local disasters
- Cons – Slower backups/restores, ongoing subscription costs
- Pros – Provides redundancy if one backup fails
- Cons – More complex to manage and maintain
Many experts recommend a layered approach – storing backups both locally (for speed) and in the cloud (for protection). Just be sure to encrypt cloud backups to secure sensitive data from prying eyes.
Automating Website Backups
The biggest barrier to consistent backups is the need to manually run them. Thankfully, a number of tools exist to automate website backups on a schedule. Here are some top options:
Website Platform Native Tools
Many CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal include native backup features or plugins you can use:
- WordPress – Built-in export tool, plugins like UpdraftPlus
- Drupal – Backup and Migrate module
- Joomla – Akeeba Backup plugin
Web Host Backup Tools
Many web hosting providers offer simple backup tools through your hosting control panel:
- cPanel – Backup Wizard
- Plesk – Backup/Restore tool
- WHM – Backup Configuration
Third-Party Backup Tools
There are various third party tools you can use to schedule automated backups:
- CodeGuard – WordPress specific automated backups
- BackupBuddy – Plugin for WordPress backups
- R1Soft – Disk-based backup for servers
- Veeam – Backup solution for virtual machines
The easiest route is to use any native backup tools offered by your CMS platform or web host. Third party tools offer more customization and granular restores.
What to Include in Website Backups
To fully protect your website, your backups should include:
- All site files – WordPress uploads, JS/CSS files, HTML, images etc.
- Database – MySQL or other database with all site content.
- CMS core files – WordPress, Drupal etc. core files.
- Configuration files – php.ini, .htaccess, wp-config.php etc.
- 3rd party code – Plugins, modules, extensions, etc.
- Application code – Any custom code powering the site.
- Email – Email accounts, settings, and emails.
- Git repositories – Any Git-managed code repositories.
- Email spool – Email queue on email servers.
- System files – OS files, crontab schedules, etc. if doing full server backups.
- Gzipped archive – Compress backups into a .tar or .zip archive to save disk space.
You want your backups to provide sufficient restore points to get the site operational again after any disaster. Test restores ensure your backups have everything needed.
Tips for Efficient Website Backups
For large or complex sites, backup speed and storage space can become an issue. Here are tips for more efficient website backups:
- Archive backups – Compress old backups into .zip or .tar archives to save space.
- ** Delete old backups** – Automatically delete backups older than a set time period.
- Only backup essentials – Exclude OS and log files to save space.
- Backup to local then cloud – Backup locally first then transfer to cloud storage to improve speed.
- Schedule non-peak times – Run overnight to avoid resource contention.
- Enable multi-threading – Parallelize backups across multiple threads using backup tools that support it.
- Incremental backups – Use incremental backups between full backups to save time and space.
- Warm caches beforehand – Primes disk caches before backups to speed up read times.
- Use backup staging server – Stage backups on a separate server to reduce load on live site.
With some smart optimizations, even the largest sites can perform automated backups quickly and efficiently.
Validating Website Backups
It’s crucial to periodically validate your website backups by performing test restores. This confirms your backups contain what you expect and are restoreable.
Some ways to validate backups:
- View backup contents – Spot check backup files and folders.
- Restore to staging – Restore backup to a staging environment. Test site functionality.
- Verify database – Check counts, tables, and records match live database.
- Compare file counts – Confirm backup has same number of files as live site.
- Check dates/sizes – Validate dates and file sizes match live.
- Test selective restores – Restore subsets of backups to check granularity.
- Confirm compressibility – Re-compress backups to check for errors.
Address any validation issues discovered before backups fail when you need them most. Automate validations for regular peace of mind.
When Disaster Strikes: Restoring Backups
Despite best efforts, website disasters can still strike. When the worst happens, having reliable backups on-hand is what stands between a quick fix and an utter catastrophe.
Here are best practices for restoring website backups with minimal downtime:
- Assess damage – Determine scope of data loss or corruption before restoring.
- Isolate unaffected data – Move unaffected data offsite to prevent overwriting during restore.
- Follow site restoration plan – Consult docs to ensure proper restore order and steps.
- Restore databases first – Get database back before files that depend on it.
- Adjust file permissions – Update file system permissions if needed after restore.
- Test functionality – Verify site, integrations, and data work correctly after restore.
- Point DNS to restored site – Update name servers to direct traffic back to restored site.
With backups directly accessible from online storage and detailed plans, even major outages can be resolved in hours versus days. Practice test restores to stay prepared.
Who Should Handle Website Backups?
For small sites, backups are often managed by the owner or a single web admin. But larger sites should consider involving multiple stakeholders:
- Web/server admins – Configure backup software and scripts on servers.
- DBAs – Ensure database backups run and retain needed data.
- Security staff – Protect backups and key sensitive data like passwords.
- Development team – Provide insight on application files needing backup.
- Product owners – Define backup policy requirements around frequency, retention etc.
- Senior management – Oversee backup strategy and budgets.
- Legal team – Ensure backup approach complies with data protection laws.
- Third party services – If using platforms like CodeGuard or BackupBuddy.
Backup responsibilities should be shared across roles to cover specialized skills and knowledge requirements.
Choosing the Right Website Backup Solution
With so many backup options and tools available, how do you choose what’s right for your website? Key criteria to evaluate include:
- Supports local and cloud storage for comprehensive protection
- Backs up files, database, and all system components
- Enables flexible recurring automated backups
- Performs validation checks to confirm restoreability
- Allows granular and complete site restores
- Lightweight software minimizes load on servers
- Handles growing websites and expanding storage needs
- Encrypts sensitive data and protects backups from unauthorized access
Reporting & Alerts
- Provides logs and notifications if backups fail
- Responsive support team to help configure and troubleshoot
Prioritize solutions that match your use case – a blog may tolerate less rigorous backups than an online store. Test potential tools before deploying them.
Key Backup Features to Look For
Here are some specific backup solution features to keep an eye out for:
- Backup testing – Simulates backups without changing live data to test integrity.
- Backup Mounting – Mounts backups as a virtual drive for easy browsing and inspection.
- Incremental backups – Only backs up changes since last backup to save time and space.
- Differential backups – Backs up changes since most recent full backup for flexible restores.
- Compression – Compresses backup files into zip or tar archives to conserve disk space.
- Encryption – Secures sensitive files and data so they are unreadable without keys.
- Archive integrity checks – Validates archives weren’t corrupted during storage or transfer.
- Deduplication – Avoids backing up identical data to enhance efficiency.
- Delta copying – Only copies data block differences between versions instead of whole files.
- Bandwidth throttling – Limits backup bandwidth usage to avoid disrupting live environments.
Offloading Backups to Managed Services
Maintaining your own backups requires hands-on management. For larger or highly complex sites, outsourcing backups to managed service providers is an option to consider.
Benefits of managed backup services include:
- Time savings – No need to configure, monitor, and manage backups yourself. The provider handles everything.
- Scalability – Services scale to accommodate your backup needs as your site grows.
- Retention policies – Providers manage long-term retention and archiving of backups.
- Security expertise – Experienced security teams protect your backups from sophisticated attacks.
- Compliance assistance – Providers ensure backups meet regulations like HIPAA and PCI DSS.
- Reliability – High SLAs guarantee very low risks of backup failures.
- Recovery assistance – Engineers help restore backups quickly if disaster strikes.
- Cost predictability – Fixed monthly fees rather than large capital outlays for backup infrastructure.
Downsides include loss of full control over backups and reliance on an outside vendor. Overall though, outsourcing can provide greater backup reliability and effectiveness for many organizations.
Key Backup Reports for Monitoring
Backup software and services should provide reports to help monitor status and catch any issues. Useful reports to review regularly include:
- Backup history – Lists all backups with key metadata like dates, sizes, durations etc.
- Backup success rate – Shows percentages of backups hitting errors to watch for problems.
- Restore testing results – Confirms backups are passing mock restore tests.
- Storage capacity – Charts backup repository growth over time as site expands.
- Bandwidth utilization – Graphs network impact of backups to avoid bottlenecks.
- Backup life cycle – Illustrates age and retention status of all stored backups.
- Error logs – Details any failed backups and specific issues impacting them.
Set calendar reminders to review reports so you don’t miss warning signs of backup problems. Configure alerts for key events like repeated failures.
Top Vendors for Website Backups
Many solutions are available when evaluating website backup software. Here are some of the top vendors in the space:
- Acronis – Offers backup products for small, midsize, and enterprise use cases. Known for easy UI and rapid restores.
- Veeam – Leading enterprise-grade backup tool focused on virtual environments.
- BackupBuddy – WordPress-specific backup and migration plugin from iThemes.
- CodeGuard – Specialized WordPress backup solution fully optimized for site recovery.
- Carbonite – Multi-platform backup solution with cloud Dashboard for central management.
- Backblaze – Simple secure backups targeting consumers, SMBs, and enterprises.
- Druva – Focus on cloud backups with options for endpoint, server, and SaaS app backups.
- MSP360 – Popular managed service provider that handles backups for clients.
- Datto – Network and cloud backup solutions built for MSPs to provide to end customers.
- SolarWinds – Provide server and VMWare backup products.
- Axcient – Cloud-based backup service with a focus on MSP use.
Do your research to match business needs. Test products thoroughly before purchase.<h2>Getting Buy-in for Website Backup Initiatives</h2>
Getting stakeholder buy-in is key when launching a new website backup plan. Strategies that help get approval include:
- Highlight risks – Summarize financial, legal, and productivity impacts of potential data loss. Dramatize risks.
- Reference competitors – Note competitors with more rigorous backups to demonstrate need.
- Calculate costs – Estimate costs not just of backup solutions but also of potential disasters they prevent.
- Set expectations – Clarify any staff responsibilities required so the workload is understood.
- Address concerns – Listen to worries about resources, complexity, or features and directly mitigate them.
- Start small – Propose a pilot or minimal viable solution to test benefits before larger investment.
- Use metrics – Establish key metrics like backup success rates and monitor progress.
- Discuss compliance – Review any regulatory or standards gaps backups will help close.
Framing website backups in terms of risk avoidance, competitiveness, and visible ROI goes a long way in securing approvals.<h2>Training Staff on Website Backup Processes</h2>
Once your backup solution is in place, training any involved staff helps ensure smooth operations. Topics to cover include:
- Backup types – Explain the various types like full, incremental, differential.
- Scope – Review which data and systems are actually being backed up.
- Storage – Discuss where backups are stored and how long they are retained.
- Frequencies – Share schedules for automated backup runs.
- Monitoring – Show key reports and dashboards for tracking backup health.
- Alerts – Define which events trigger alerts and who receives them.
- Logs – Illustrate where to check backup process logs for debugging issues.
- Restores – Demonstrate how to restore backups to various environments and use cases.
- Responsibilities – Clarify who is accountable for specific aspects like monitoring or restore testing.
- Contacts – Provide info for managing services providers if outsourcing backups.
Hands-on demos and clear documentation help teams fully leverage your backup solution.<h2>Backup Strategy for Small vs Large Sites</h2>
Backup solutions for major enterprise websites require far heavier investment and complexity than simple small sites and blogs. Strategies diverge in a few key ways:
- Start with built-in CMS or web host backups
- Cloud storage provides ample offsite data protection
- Manual or basic scheduled backups may suffice
- Validate restores once a quarter
- Single low-cost tool meets needs
- Custom scripts and software for specialized backups
- Local servers plus multi-region cloud storage
- Constant near real-time automated backup schedule
- Test restores monthly or weekly
- Orchestrate multiple backup tools for redundancy
- Dedicated teams manage backup process
Aim for automated cloud backups with occasional test restores as a starting point. Grow more rigorous as your website scales up.<h2>Common Website Backup Challenges</h2>
While vital for security, website backups do come with some common challenges to be aware of:
- Storage demands – Large full backups consume substantial storage space over time.
- Backup duration – Larger sites take hours to fully backup, delaying completion.
- Service disruptions – Backups can slow production systems and impact site performance.
- Restore complexity – Massive databases with intricate correlations make restores tricky.
- Offsite transport – Slow networks delay transferring backups offsite for protection.
- Test overhead – Restoring copies to test integrity taxes time and storage.
- Legacy compatibility – Backups may not work properly when applied to new site versions.
- Costs – Backup systems, storage, and services carry real financial costs.
- Compliance pressures – Some industries have strict backup regulations that add complexity.
Invest in robust backup infrastructure and smart solutions tailored around challenges specific to your website.<h2>Backup Strategies for Popular CMS Platforms</h2>
Popular content management systems like WordPress and Drupal have preferred methods for handling backups:
- Built-in export for content
- SQLite databases are single files for simple backups
- Plugins like UpdraftPlus enable automated backups
- Limit file size with multipart archives
- Back up wp-config.php and .htaccess files
- Enable lzma/gzip compression and encryption
- Backup and Migrate module for automated backups
- Complex MySQL databases often used
- Backup both codebase and database
- Exclude cache and temp files to save space
- Enable gzip or bzip2 database compression
- Test restores to staging environment
- Akeeba Backup plugin is popular choice
- Also back up configuration.php
- Exclude logs and tmp folders
- Compress into smaller archive files for storage
- Use site cloning feature for staging restore tests
- Schedule daily or weekly based on update frequency
Follow platform best practices for most reliable and painless backups.<h2>Cloud vs Local: Where to Store Backups</h2>
One key decision in your backup strategy is whether to store backups locally onsite or in the cloud. Here’s how the two options compare:
Local Backup Storage
- Faster backup and restore processes
- May meet regulatory data residency requirements
- Doesn’t rely on internet availability
- Storage costs scale with website size
- Hardware failure can corrupt backups
- Physical theft and disaster exposure
Cloud Backup Storage
- Protection against local disasters like floods
- High scalability without capacity planning
- Allows distributed geographic redundancy
- Better supports remote teams
- Restores dependent on internet speeds
- Subscription costs involved
- Potential security risks
In most cases, a hybrid approach combining local and cloud backups provides the best protection and flexibility. Apply security controls like encryption with cloud storage.<h2>Recovering Deleted or Corrupted Files from Backup</h2>
Backups prove their value when you need to recover a deleted or corrupted file. This typically involves:
- Identifying the specific backup containing the lost file in its correct state. Check backup catalogs and metadata like dates and sizes.
- Isolating that backup archive from general rotation to prevent it being overwritten before the restore is complete.
- Extracting just the specific file(s) needed from the backup vs doing a full site restore. Most backup solutions support extracting subsets.
- Confirming the recovered file’s integrity by checking size, content, and hash digests against the original
- Moving the recovered file back into production and confirming proper operation.
With frequent backups and comprehensive catalogs, locating and restoring lost files without harming other data is straightforward. Just take care not to overwrite good data with the restore.<h2>Leveraging Backups for Website Migrations</h2>
Backups aren’t just reactive disaster recovery tools – they can proactively enable major website migrations and replatforming.
Some ways backups assist migrations:
- Restore site to staging environment for development and testing
- Extract specific data like images needed on new platform
- Backup just subset of data to migrate vs entire legacy site
- Quickly rollback changes during phased cutovers
- Backup new site during migration to protect from issues
- Sync old and new platforms with periodic backups
Having a vault of reliable backups provides flexibility to adapt and evolve complex sites over time.<h2>Security Risks to Avoid with Website Backups</h2>
While vital, backups also introduce potential security risks that must be mitigated:
- Unencrypted sensitive data – Backups often contain private customer, financial, or personnel data that should be encrypted during storage and transfer.
- Insecure transfer channels – Backups sent to cloud services over unencrypted connections can expose confidential records in transit. Require TLS.
- Poor access controls – Backup archives with lax permissions allow unauthorized access or even tampering. Use strict least-privilege controls and immutability.
- Weak passwords – Anyone gaining access to weakly protected backup systems then has complete site data access. Enforce strong randomly generated passwords.
- Lack of Auditing – With no logs recording access attempts and history, backup breaches can go undetected. Implement robust logging.
- Unlimited retention – Keeping backups far longer than required creates more exposure. Set reasonable retention limits.
- System vulnerabilities – Like all systems, backup tools can contain their own flaws hackers exploit to breach archives. Keep software updated and patched.
Treat backups with the same security precautions as primary systems. A rotten backup could cause more damage than no backup at all.<h2>Backup Terms IT Leaders Should Know</h2>
As with any technical domain, backups come loaded with specialized vocabulary. Here are key terms managers should familiarize themselves with:
Differential Backup – Contains data changed since the last full backup. Relies on other backups for restores. Faster than full backups.
Incremental Backup – Only backups up data changed since the last incremental backup. Small in size but less flexible restores.
Compression – Reduces the size of backup files by eliminating redundancy. Saves storage space.
Encryption – Scrambles backup data so it can only be read with a provided key. Critical for security.
Archiving – Long-term storage of old backups for compliance, analysis or redundancy.
Retention Policy – Rules defining how long backups are stored before deletion.
RTO – The maximum downtime during outages before major impact. Backup frequency should support RTO.
RPO – The maximum data loss tolerable during a failure. Determines backup frequency needs.
OLR – Online, Live, or Hot Backups of live production systems without interruption.
Off-Site Backups – Storing backup media remotely to protect from physical disasters like fires or floods.
Knowing key terms helps managers make informed decisions and have productive discussions around backup technical details and requirements.<h2>New Website Backup Technologies to Watch</h2>
Backup technology continues advancing rapidly. Here are some newer innovations changing the landscape:
- Immutable backups – Backups that can’t be deleted or modified for ransomware protection.
- Synthetic fulls – Full backups created by combining incremental backups for efficiency.
- Backup mirrors – Live mirror backups continuously replicate changes to mirror production.
- Auto-verification – Tools that automatically verify backup integrity after creation.
- Smart compression – Machine learning optimizes compression and deduplication on backups.
- Smart tiering – AI informs optimal placement of backups across storage tiers.
- Global deduplication – Removes redundant data across multiple distributed backups.
- Direct-to-cloud – Backups created directly in cloud storage vs local then transferred.
- Orchestration – Platforms that manage and orchestrate multiple backup tools from one pane of glass.
- As-a-Service – Cloud-native backup services requiring no local software to buy or manage.
Keep an eye on new advances that can improve backup reliability, efficiency, and security.<h2>Top Backup Standards and Regulations</h2>
Certain highly regulated industries must adhere to defined backup standards and regulations including:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Requires tightly restricted access controls on backups storing cardholder data.
- Backups must be encrypted when transmitted over open, public networks.
- Backup policies must align with defined data retention guidelines.
NIST Cybersecurity Framework
- PR.IP-4 mandates backups of information assets be created, maintained, and tested periodically.
- Requires controls on backup security, testing, availability, recoverability, and retention periods.
- Backup procedures must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information.
- While not prescriptive on backups, does require financial data integrity assurances. Robust backups help demonstrate compliance.
Consult standards bodies in your industry for applicable rules. Build backup processes to satisfy requirements.<h2>The Importance of Website Backup SLAs</h2>
Service level agreements (SLAs) provide measurable benchmarks for backup solutions. Typical SLAs may guarantee:
- Scheduled backup success rate – Failures for less than X% of scheduled backups.
- Backup duration – Maximum hours for full or incremental backups to complete.
- Restore times – Maximum time to restore backups in various use cases.
- Off-site replication lag – Acceptable delay tolerances for offsite backup copies.
- Recovery Point Objective – Maximum potential data loss in event of outage. Informs backup frequency.
- Recovery Time Objective – Minimum time to fully restore site functionality after disaster.
- Encryption – Backups must be encrypted both in transit and at rest.
- Testing frequency – Minimum regularity for performing and verifying test restores.
- Compression ratios – Consistent backup compression rates as site scales.
- Deduplication rates – Fixed deduplication percentages over time.
Enforcing SLAs ensures organizations get the performance, reliability, and security they pay for with backup solutions.<h2>Conducting Website Backup Audits</h2>
Regular website backup audits help ensure ongoing effectiveness by asking questions like:
- Are backups succeeding as scheduled without errors?
- Do backups contain all required files, folders, and databases?
- Are restores from backups validating successfully?
- Do backups provide the recovery points and times needed?
- Are backups stored and encrypted according to best practices?
- Are backups compliant with organizational policies and legal regulations?
- Do documented procedures match reality?
- Are service provider SLAs being satisfied?
- Are costs reasonable relative to business needs?
- Are necessary personnel trained on backup & restore processes?
Frequent audits identify gaps to strengthen backup resilience and close security vulnerabilities. They provide assurance during technology changes and staff turnover.<h2>Cost Considerations for Website Backups</h2>
While mission-critical, backups still carry real costs to weigh:
Ongoing storage for backup archives long-term can become exponentially expensive at scale. Balance retention policy needs with costs.
The bandwidth required to transfer backups offsite adds up substantially for large sites. Consider backup size in cloud solutions.
Backup repositories, media, specialized hardware/networking all require capital expenditure.
Backup tools often charge hefty licensing fees, especially for advanced enterprise functionality.
Backup services and managed providers invoice monthly fees which are predictable but recurring.
There are also indirect costs like staff time spent managing and monitoring backups.
Given the criticality of backups, costs are usually justified, but have stakeholders budget adequately to avoid surprises. Prioritize automating backups to lower associated labour expenses.<h2>Questions for Vendor Selection of Backup Tools</h2>
Critical questions to ask vendors when selecting backup software or services:
- How are backups encrypted? Both in transit and at rest?
- Can backups be automated on set schedules?
- How are backups validated and tested?
- What is the maximum recovery time for various restore scenarios?
- How long are backups stored and what deletion options exist?
- Can backups be restored to dissimilar environments?
- What network bandwidth utilization is required?
- How are backups compressed and deduplicated?
- What happens if a backup fails? Are there alerts?
- What reporting and dashboards are available for monitoring?
- How quickly does support respond in a crisis?
- What training resources are included?
Get clear written answers to validate capabilities match needs and avoid surprises down the road. Always test with trials before purchase.<h2>Example 3-2-1 Backup Strategy</h2>
The 3-2-1 methodology provides a straightforward standard backup scheme:
Keep at least 3 total copies of data:
1 Production version 1 Local backup 1 Offsite/cloud backup
2 Different Formats
Store backups in 2 different mediums for isolation:
Example: Onsite HDDs + cloud storage
1 Off-Site Copy
At least 1 backup copy must be stored offsite to enable disaster recovery:
Example: Cloud storage like S3
This covers the core principles of availability, redundancy, and geographic distribution. Tailor specifics like frequency and retention policies to your needs.<h2>Top Backup Best Practices</h2>
In summary, leading website backup best practices include:
- Automate backups on a set schedule for reliability
- Validate backups regularly with test restores
- Follow the 3-2-1 rule for backup copies and mediums
- Encrypt sensitive data like customer PII
- Compress backups to optimize storage capacity
- Set reasonable retention policies balancing needs and costs
- Use incremental backups between full backups for efficiency
- Store backups both locally and in cloud services
- Document detailed backup procedures for staff training
- Invest in backup tools that simplify management
- Treat backups as critical infrastructure with ample resources
- Continuously investigate new backup technologies for improvements