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Are your Backups Working?

Author: Kyle

Date: 28/06/2020

Category: Tips & Tricks


  • Custom Code IT
  • Backups
  • Testing
  • Verify
  • Encryption

Backups are a critical part of managing and maintaining a website but you could be wasting your time if you're not testing them.

We have a compiled some tips to help you make the most of your backup strategy.

Understanding What to Backup

Not everything needs to be backed up so you will need to do some research about your particular solution and work out what's important and what's not.

For example, pure static HTML websites need backups of all HTML documents, JavaScript, images, CSS etc. whereas some statically generated sites doesn't need the HTML documents because this is derived from Markdown files.

This changes again when you're working with a Content Management System [CMS] because you typically have to keep a database backup too.

Depending on the CMS, you might only have to backup the database and any assets you have as all of the settings and configuration are stored in the database.

The 3-2-1 Rule

The 3-2-1 backup rule is well known in technology circles but less so elsewhere. The 3-2-1 rule considers the following:

  • 3 copies of your data should be kept at all times
  • 2 of them should be on different devices
  • 1 of them should be kept off-site

A Note About Cloud Storage

With cloud storage getting cheaper all the time it is common practice to store your backups in the cloud.

This is a great way to keep your backups off-site but be careful; encrypt all of your backups before you upload them to the cloud. Your website and its data should only be accessible by you.

We have plans to make a blog post about encrypting your data for the cloud so stay tuned!

Test, Verify, and Test Again

You might as well not bother making backups at all if you're not going to test them. You would be surprised how many people think they're doing a great job with their backups only to realise they don't work when it comes time to roll-back.

All backups should be tested and confirmed to be working. But this isn't always enough because any data stored on a hard drive can become corrupt so it's also worth making a checksum of all your backups so that you can verify them completely.

Don't Implicitly Trust Third-party Backups

Whether you have a "no hassles" backup service included with your web hosting or are paying a company to do it for you; don't just trust or assume that they are doing the right thing.

You should be able to access your backups on demand or by request so take the time to test them periodically or ask to have a backup restored on a test site so you can confirm that everything is working.

We Handle Backups

If the thought of handling website backups yourself sounds daunting then have a chat to us. We follow industry standards and best practices to keep your website safe.

We constantly test and verify our backups and can even setup a test site so you can have piece of mind that your backups are working.

As always, if you're interested in any of the services we provide then get in contact with us!