World Backup Day 2023: How to protect your business online

Despite only being a few months into 2023, this year has already seen some high-profile data breaches. From Twitter and JD Sports to GoDaddy, even the biggest names out there can be vulnerable to online ambushes. But regardless of size, it’s important to protect your business from the ever-present threat of cyber-attacks.

For your annual reminder to keep your data safe and sound, World Backup Day is taking place today (Friday 31st March). And in the spirit of ‘it’s better safe than sorry’, domain and hosting provider Fasthosts has put together a guide on backing up your website.

What does backing up mean?

A backup is a digital copy of your website that can be restored in case something goes wrong with the live version. What the backup includes depends on whether you have a static website or use a CMS like WordPress, and how you’re backing up your site.

When should you back up?

Always have a recent backup of your website, ideally at least daily or weekly. Obviously, that will change depending on how frequently you update your website, but the longer you leave it, the more work you’re likely to lose if something happens. It’s good practice to back up your entire website before making any significant changes to it, moving it to a new host, or changing your site’s domain.

What needs backing up

There are two parts of a website that need backing up – its web files and its database. Website files are the files stored in the main directory sometimes known as ‘public_html’ or ‘htdocs’. For most sites, a full backup requires you to back up both the website files and the database.

Types of backups

  • Full backup – A full backup is a complete copy of all data in a single instance.
  • Differential backup – A differential backup will include any changes since the last full backup, even if the changes have already been included in a previous differential backup.
  • Incremental backup – An incremental backup will include any changes or new content since the last full or incremental backup.

Backup tips

Consider what to back up

If the data you’re backing up is not regularly changed or is completely static, then you can get by with periodic full backups.

If you are making changes more often, then you might consider incremental or differential backups, both of which are partial backups of data including changes since previous backups.

Automate and schedule backups

In some systems, irregular and/or manual backups can be enough, but where possible, you should implement automatic and scheduled backups. This means you’re less likely to run into issues because of human error and will have consistent backups.

Have multiple backups

Having a single backup is a great start. However, especially when backups are automated, this can result in issues in the original content being copied across into the sole backup – leaving you with nothing to restore from.

Backup to multiple locations

When backing up data, at the very least it should be in a different location from any original/live content.

Whether you’ve got a single website or multiple locations, staying on top of your data protection is vital. If it’s not something you’ve considered before, now’s the time to get on it. Your future self will thank you.

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