My apologies for the lack of posts on Thursday and Friday – I had the power to my home cut off completely the whole time. It meant I could not work, could not watch TV, could not enjoy the luxury of hot water and heating, and could not even go online!
This did give me time for reflection though – what if the power went out at your web host? Do they have backup power generators? Site mirroring? When the power comes back on, will your host be able to restore your site from a backup? How old will the backup be?
These are questions which everyone running a website should immediately know the answer to. Even if your host does offer backups you should always keep a personal backup – in particular any databases or scripting you are using.
Static web pages and many images can be recovered from sites such as the WayBackMachine – simply enter your website’s URL and you should be able to recover much of the source code and images. It would be foolish however to rely on this as updates are not always regular and not all images are stored. It’s far easier and safer to ensure you keep copies of all your files yourself.
Backing up your site is relatively simple – especially if your host provides a control panel such as cPanel; then it really is just a case of clicking a link and letting the download begin. If not, you can download copies of your site files and scripts via FTP on a regular basis (I would recommend backup periods of no longer than a week) and copies of your databases through phpMyAdmin for example.
Backups may be something not on your list of priorities – but if the unforeseen does happen, make sure you are well prepared to act. The alternative is the loss of all your hard work.