Any experienced blogger should know that the importance of regular WordPress site backups cannot be overstated. With all that could go wrong – and so many dangers on the internet– you would not want to be caught off guard and unable to restore all of your hard work, should the worst occur. Many people put their lives and their livelihoods into their blogs, and there is no reason not to take all the necessary steps to protect them.
But there are many misconceptions and myths about backing up WordPress sites. If you are new to the world of WordPress, much of the new interweb talk and unfamiliar terminology to which you have been introduced may sound like Russian to you. In this case, you are more likely to believe anything you hear from a source that uses lots of fancy technical terms. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common ways that people fall victim to the usual backup myths.
The Bad Habits and Common Knowledge
Even savvy veterans of the WordPress world can still be at risk to the common misconceptions that are often accepted as common knowledge. Everyone with expertise in any profession or area of life become set in their ways, and even bad habits become ingrained. Once we feel we have a firm grasp on any concept, we can become overconfident and set in our ways about misconceptions that we have always believed to be true. This could put you just as much at risk as any rookie of losing the website that you have worked so hard to build.
Accepting ideas and concepts that seem to be common knowledge without thoroughly investigating these things can put anyone at risk. However, it can be difficult or impossible to investigate every aspect of any concept. No one knows everything, and we are more likely to believe ideas that seem to be genuine according to a general consensus. Even if you do have all the time in the world to research every aspect of WordPress development, everyone makes mistakes.
Whether you are new to the world of WordPress and need to understand concepts about backing up your site, or you are a veteran to these concepts and looking for a refresher course to help rid you of misinformation, this article should do the trick for you. It is designed with any level of expertise in mind to help debunk some of the most common myths that can get you into trouble and cause you to lose all of the words and work that go into your site.
The Risks and Dangers
In the world of blogging, there are any number of things that can go wrong and cause you to lose the information on your WordPress site. It could be the nefarious workings of hackers who have intentionally destroyed or altered your site, or it could be something as simple as accidentally deleting crucial media. Even typing one wrong line of code in the wrong place can potentially have catastrophic repercussions.
These are just some of the possible dangers that put you at risk, and countless things could go wrong. It could be something you have done accidentally– an accident which may require hours to determine the root and remedy. It could even be the fault of your hosting company, in which case you will find that you are effectively rendered helpless until the mistake is corrected.
The Myths and Misconceptions
Whatever the root cause may be, it is always important to be ready with solid and complete backups in case the worst does occur. Even if it has not happened to you already, it is better to be knowledgeable and understand the concepts that are important to proper preparation. With all that in mind, here are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about WordPress backups that cause far too many bloggers to be unprepared for problems.
One of the most common misconceptions among WordPress newcomers– and even some old pros– is that WordPress automatically provides a backup system for your files. This idea seems to have come about when WordPress version 3.5 was released with an auto-update capability built in. Because WordPress began to automatically update, many people began to believe that it also automatically backed up their individual sites. This was not and is not the case.
No matter how this myth came into being, it is important to know that WordPress does not provide any real backup for your information. It does have a feature that allows you to export your XML file that contains your pages, posts, comments, categories and others, but it does not provide the actual space or capability to save your site. It does not provide any type of restoration, and it does not grant everything you would require to completely backup and restore your website.
2. Only Local Backups
In case you are unfamiliar with the terminology, locally backed-up data is simply data that is saved onto your hard drive or another storage device in your physical possession. If your site is only backed up locally, it means that the only copy of your site is located on your hard drive or another similar source.
While it does provide a feeling of security to be able to physically see and touch the device on which your information is stored, this is not necessarily the best means of backup, and it is certainly not enough on its own. A local hard drive can fail at any point, and it is much more likely to do so than a shared, professionally maintained source. This concept is the quintessential example of putting all your eggs in the same basket, in a digital sense. And these baskets are liable to fail or suffer physical damage from any number of unexpected events.
We live in a shared world, and you should take advantage of the cloud when storing your WordPress site. Sources like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and others provide a great location to easily and safely store your site. Should a problem occur, they provide the capabilities to quickly access and restore your data.
There are tons of reliable companies and sources that provide this service, and there is no reason not to take advantage of a free, safe storage company that can provide an almost unlimited amount of storage space.
3. Not at Risk
Perhaps the most common excuse for not making regular backups– and not taking the proper security measures– is the belief that your site is too small or insignificant to be at risk from hackers. But even if you only have a tiny site you do not change often, it is still very much at risk. Hackers often target these small sites because they can be easily accessed and provide a good bit of practice.
In addition to regular backups, there are other security measures and systems you should be aware of, particularly if you have an eCommerce site. If you can afford one, a cybersecurity firm is great for those who are inexperienced in this area, but you should at least be able to take the basic security measures on your own. Go to https://cbisecure.com/services/strategic-programs and find information on important security protocols.
4. Hosting Reliance
Most web hosting services provide regular backups for your site, but the type of backup usually depends on the specific host you use. For example, some may offer a 30-day redundant backup option, but that might not include the present database in your account. If your host only provides this type of partial backup (that does not recur often), you could be in danger of losing much of your information.
Even if your host provides a full backup daily, you still must remember to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. You could have the best web host in the world, but you do not want to be fully reliant on anyone else to restore your site if the worst occurs. It is always best to have your own copies, should something go wrong with the host.
5. Only Partials
Some backups are only partial or incomplete backups. These normally save information in your WordPress database without making copies of the wp_content folder, or vice-versa. Partial backups have advantages in the convenience they provide, but they do not provide the capability to restore a completely wrecked site.
Full backups are different in that they save both the database and the installation folder. While partial databases can help you more quickly, full backups should be regularly saved and maintained in case of a major failure. Depending on the contents of your site, the size of your files and how often you make changes, you need to find a good combination and routine for both partial and full backups.
6. Won’t Break Your Own Site
It is commonly believed by WordPress experts that they do not need to create regular backups because they are unlikely to make mistakes that will damage or destroy their sites. While this may be the case, everyone is human, and humans are prone to make mistakes. Even if you do not cause the problem, you never know when a new plugin, theme or other update could damage or break your site. No matter the cause of the problem, it is better safe than sorry.
Derek Pursley is an influencer marketing pro with brownboxbranding.com who is passionate about building authentic relationships and helping businesses connect with their ideal online audience. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving digital marketing world by writing on the latest marketing advancements and focuses on developing customized blogger outreach plans based on industry and competition.