It must be a truism that you never need a backup so much as when you don’t have one. More than once I’ve received a panicked call from a friend, client or co-worker after they’ve suffered a drive failure or other data loss. As long as a recent backup is available, a little restoration work leads to a happy ending. Without a backup, the outcome is often more traumatic.
The same is true for your web site. Server hard drives can fail. Whether your web host does periodic backups or not, you need to take responsibility for your own backups. Any popular web hosting control panel should have a backup utility. I’m most familiar with cPanel, used at Innovative Web Hosting Solution, and as that’s also one of the most widely used control panels I’ll detail its backup process.
cPanel site backup
- Login to cPanel
- Click Backups
- Click Download or Generate a Full Web Site Backup
- Select the Backup Destination, choosing Home Directory
- You may enter an e-mail address: the system will send a message to that address when the backup is finished.
- Click Generate Full Backup button.
The backup will create a .tar.gz archive, in this format:
The first set of numbers denotes the date of the backups while the second set is the time stamp. This allows you to easily differentiate backups, if you accumulate several.
You may then download that file to your personal computer via FTP.
cPanel’s Full Backup backs up the entire site, not only your web pages, scripts and images, but other features such as mail forwarders, mail accounts, and configuration files. If you need to backup just certain aspects of your site, there are also these individual options:
- Download a Home Directory Backup
- Download a MySQL Database Backup
- Download Email Forwarders
- Download Email Filters
It’s vital that you keep a copy of your web site. If you follow my advice, you will already have a copy of your web pages since you will create those on your local computer prior to uploading.
Keep recent backups of your web site. If you ever need them, you’ll be glad you did.