Reminder to backup your website

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by BSDeality, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    Just reminding people to backup their websites. I know its something I don't do very often, but should.

    You never know if your webserver provider will go belly up, have a major catastrophe, or get hacked. One of my fathers websites was hacked by some stupid Arabic hacker team promoting retaliation for the war. I know one of my old sites which I don't really use anymore was also hacked recently too. I took the liberty of backing up my MySQL database for my website onto a thumb drive just in case.
  2. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Just did mine recently.

    To both hard drives, and a backup disc.

    I'm going to make two backup discs now that I'm doing less big changes.

    I also backed up all my images.

    Since I'm going to make a tree care / pruning DVD this next spring and summer, I'm going to have to backup everything in triplicate, with copies in fire vaults at more than one location.

    I plan to sell the DVDs. So once its done, there's no room at all for a lost project, images or files.

    We keep all our computer software in a fire proof box too, along with passwords.
  3. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    An important thing to ask when looking at hosts. How often do they back up? Is it individual sites or the server? (Often companies say "daily backups" but that means the entire server, not any particular site. So if the server crashes it can be restored but if your site crashes you are on your own, if it is individual accounts they can quickly restore just you)

    And, thankfully most good hosts today have a "1 click" backup option in your control panel. Just one click to create a compressed backup file of your entire account (site, databases, e-mail, any or all) and download it to your computer in a small compressed file if worse comes to worse and you need it.

    As far as hackers make sure your passwords contain a combination of upper and lower case letters and some numbers and NEVER a "dictionary" word or common name. If you ever saw a log of a hacker script going after a web site it's amazing how fast they start with the "A's" and go through the list (3-5 thousands of tries in an hour unless your host has attack blocking software)
    So a password of Danny is going to be hacked easily but if Danny lives in house number 1234 then 12daNNy34 is easy to remember and WAY more secure.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The warning is correct, one learns this over the years...
    It's not just the server can go belly up, your own hard-drive could fry, fact is you can not entirely trust magnetic media.
    Personally I never use the server's backup function, this to me is a little like having a spare set of keys in case your car won't start...

    You need a hard backup and more than one.

    First step is you should have an identical copy on your own hard-drive: This makes it easy to work on your site, and you always have a late version of everything handy. Way I do it, I work on the site from the files on my hard drive, then ftp the changes.

    ALWAYS before making any big changes, backup everything LOL!

    Keeping the Web site in a folder on your own hdd makes this next step easy:

    Every so often, Zip up this folder into a file such as - Simply select the folder and right-click, this should bring up a zip option.
    Once you have your first, burn this onto a CD-Rom and write a date on there.
    Repeat the process often, but at least once every 2-3 months. Overwriting previous zips should be ok, I do.
    Repeat the burning process about every 6 months but at least once / year. And yes, keep the older CD-Roms in addition to the one(s) you burn later, just in case, you will always have variously aged versions of your site, and it's actually kinda fun to go back in time someday but...

    Because what if your hosting server's hdd crashes, and takes the backup with it.
    And then, right as you are ohhh so relieved you have a full working copy on your own hdd, you turn on your pc and get some stupid internal Windows critical failure and you can't even get it to boot in safe mode. Oh come on, both the server AND your pc simultaneously, I'm kidding you right? No sir, not with my two sites I'm not, we're talking thousands of hours of work, I take NO chances, so why should you?
    And ohhh but I did burn ONE Cd-rom, where is it, it's hopefully not scratched and how long ago was it made?

    I do agree the worst case scenario should never happen, but what if it did?
    Frequent file backups (at least one exact duplicate), with regular 'zips' of the whole thing, and occasional burns to CD-Rom prevents a slew of headache.

    On that note, you may wish to also keep a list of all your login:password's someplace, I usually burn an encrypted file containing these along with the onto the same CD - And, maybe add your ftp and html editor to those backups as well.

    yes yes, i know, believe you me.
  5. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    By "server's backup function" I meant where you (the account owner) can do a one click backup from your user controls on the host server & it compresses then downloads in compressed form to your computer's hard drive... then you can burn a CD if you want even more layers of safety.
    It's a lot easier than the old days when you had to copy down all the different files etc, and the compression makes it a much smaller file saving HD space and making a quicker download for folks with slower connections. (And no need to do all the zipping etc. yourself, which many folks don't know all the "how to's" of)

    Also makes it super-simple if you get a crummy host and want to move and they drag their feet getting you all your site files. A new host can just have you upload the compressed file to your new account and they uncompress it... "poof" you are all set on the new host almost as easy as if they can transfer for you straight from the old host, a matter of minutes, not hours or days.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    ohhh so sorry man, i get so used to the inexperienced who think the server's backup is one click and they feel much relieved when in reality the backup is still on the same hdd than the original LOL.

    Because that is the point we're making: Don't trust the original server with your only backup.

    Wow, I didn't know all that about the uncompressing but crummy hosts are one of the reasons why I started doing backups, mainly just having an exact duplicate on my own hard drive proved invaluable.
    It's not just them but more than once have I worked on something and flubbed it up... You do NOT want to do this with your only Live copy on the server itself! So that's how I learned, work on the site from your own hdd, then FTP the changes: If a mistake is made, the server still holds the latest working copy (so long you haven't ftp'd it yet).

    Once the site grew out of hand, I wish I had known about what you mentioned LOL. The first time I spent about a month ftp'ing everything (I would go afk while the ftp program transferred gigs of files throughout the day) but then the last time it had grown even more, and I could NOT go through it again...

    So nowadays I use rsync :)
    now rsync really rules
    other than the ownership, the admin has to set this...
    I think it even preserves the properties, it certainly preserves the entire directory structure, all you do is give one command and it is VERY fast, transfers gigs in minutes, maybe an hour at the most during traffic congestion.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I did want to mention one thing:

    Do your best to become non-dependent on server-based features: such as php / mysql / tomcat / frontpage ext. / SSI / etc...
    If your site doesn't need that, it is useless for one...
    I've never used SSI or Frontpage extensions, SSI is a redundant feature can be easily circumvented and is not needed.
    Php is nice but unless you have a forum or a picture gallery... And if you do, then unfortunately several php apps need mysql heh.
    Tomcat? Sounds good, but I have never used it nor ever saw the need for it.

    When selecting a host, one might think that the more features = the better, but this is a double-edged sword:
    - The more features your server provides, the slower its performance, each feature draws CPU power (granted, only when used but)...
    - When it comes time to move, the more features your site is dependent on, the more difficult you will find the new server selection and the more narrow your choices have become.

    So, stick to the basics as much as possible, basic good old html RULES!
    If you can do without, do.

    But yes you need ftp, email, perl and cgi-bin, while some type of admin screen sure helps :laugh:
  8. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    These days most of the features described above simply "come with" hosting. The main difference is Windows based hosting vs. some flavor of Linux based hosting. Any Linux based host will have most of the things mentioned (with the exception of Tomcat which is only useful if someone does a site almost entirely in JavaScript. Tomcat is software to make a "Java" programmer's life easier, no concern to most people and not required to run bits of Java scripts)
    PHP, MySQL (databases) Perl, etc. are all common.

    However if you build a site or use extra software like forums or galleries that use proprietary Microsoft extensions such as files ending in dot-net, dot-asp, etc. then you are "tied" to a Windows host. Windows web server software is more expensive for the host so often this is passed on to the end-user.

    As said above the average person will never use PHP unless you have a gallery or forum or other such program but it is almost universal, this forum for example is all PHP (there is even a way Windows servers can run PHP because it's so common, although it takes a bit of work).

    FrontPage is an "end-of-life" product; there will be no "new versions". True to their nature the new Microsoft replacements for it, due out next year, will require Microsoft servers (FrontPage only requires the extensions which can work on any host server that has it-a very common thing) However there are millions of FrontPage sites so the extensions won't be going away anytime soon. But on the other hand they won't work in a 64 bit environment.
    So predictions are hosts will continue to keep some 32 bit servers for these type programs, (right now only a tiny handful of programs even make use of 64 bits so before you get all excited about Windows "Vista" remember it is 64 bit but as of today the only 64 bit "common" program available is Photoshop in a 64 bit version, so you may have 64 bit Vista but it will be running 32 bit programs :dizzy: The same is true for servers & hosts but everything will slowly start to change over)

    However as years go by things will change just like years ago when things changed from 16 bits to 32 bits. So it's something to keep in mind as you plan for the future...example in say 4-5 years it may be more difficult to find hosts that still support FrontPage.

    Just some more food for thought...and speaking of food... Happy Thanksgiving :drinkup:

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