Everyone who has ever had a website disappear on them knows that having a current backup is essential. I have seen the poor soul who has had his server crash and lost years worth of blogging way too many times. It is essential that you have a plan in place for your backups. Let me tell you what I do for my backups. Note that I’m not saying you should do the same, this is just what I find easiest and it works for me.

Every Wednesday databases from several WordPress sites are emailed to me. I use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to automatically email me the database backups each Wednesday at a time I set in the configuration. I then have filters set up in a Gmail account so that labels are applied automatically. When the Piece of Shep database comes in it goes directly to the Piece of Shep label and gets marked as read. If I want I can also have an on-demand backup emailed to me or download it directly from the WordPress interface.

Now that my database is safe, on the web and available to download anytime I want, how do I backup my files? The actual website files I download less frequently. I host several sites on my hosting account so a full backup is actually quite large, several gigabytes. Because of this, I only backup the actual files once every month. Using my host’s control panel I generate a full backup then download it to my iMac and then it is backed up to an external hard drive using Time Machine. I also have the full backups backed up over the net using Mozy. Because they are quite large in size, I only keep an archive of two or three of the latest snapshots. Since databases are typically small, (200-600 KB) I keep a much larger archive of those.
So that’s how I backup my sites. What about you? Have you ever lost an entire site and years worth of work? Do you have a backup plan in place? If so, how often do you backup? My motto with web hosting is always plan for the worst because when you don’t, that’s when the worst happens.