Adriana asked a very good question in the comments on the previous post – how exactly does a webmaster back up his website?
Some hosts provide one click back ups which will allow you to download the entire site including any databases, mailing lists, emails, logs, etc. in .zip or .tar.gz format.
These back ups can generally be accessed with WinZip or another zip utility, but in most instances you won’t need to unzip them. If you want to restore a back up, you should be able to upload it and restore it from the cPanel.
If your host doesn’t provide you with one click back up or another form of back up capabilities from the control panel, the next best option is FTP. You can simply create a new folder and download all the files to your computer.
When naming your back up folder, it’s important to include what website is being backed up and the date of the back up for future reference – something like ‘date-sitename-backup’.
If you need to back up your databases, you can easily do that using phpMyAdmin if your host provides it.
- Log in to phpMyAdmin, but don’t select a particular database from the drop down menu
- Instead, click on the ‘Export’ link
- In the ‘Export’ box in the upper left corner, select all the databases you wish to back up (you can use to ‘Select All’ link to quickly choose all your databases)
- Place a check mark next to ‘Save as file’ and click on ‘Go’
- A download window should pop up asking you where you’d like to save the file, choose a location, rename the file to something suitable and click OK.
- If your database is large, it may be a good idea to save each of the databases individually – saving it as above will save them all in one file which means you’ll need to separate them if you don’t want to restore them all at the same time.
There are a number of other ways to back up a website, such as with software, but this is a method I commonly use to back up my own and my clients’ websites.
Once you’ve downloaded your backed up files, it’s important to store a copy someplace other than your computer – hard drives fail. You can store it on a removable hard drive. If you think that would be overkill, burn the backups to a CD and keep it in a waterproof/fireproof safe along with a master list of your passwords.
If you have any tips or if there’s another method you use to back up your website, please feel free to share.