Having a website, in this modern, digital age, is a great tool for many organisations, businesses and individuals to share their views, events or services with a wide range of people. From personal blogs to sports clubs, charity fundraising campaigns to companies, there are many reasons that you might want to have a website.
A website is an essential part of any forward-thinking business. They allow your potential clients and customers to access your services with ease, widens your audience base and are a great way to promote your personal message. Just like with your business, you will put your heart and soul into your website. It will be an online version of you, your company or group, so it is hugely important that you at least consider how you are going to protect all of this valuable online data.
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Why Should I Back Up?
To go back to basics, if you want to create a website, you will need a domain and you need web hosting. The domain is the address of your website (for example www.hosting.co.uk) and the hosting is where all of the data from it lives. There are lots of different options when it comes to web hosting, from hosting your own websites, to signing up to have your site hosted by one of the many different companies out there that offer this service. Either way, everything that you have written or published on your website, actually exists on a separate server somewhere, whether within your own home or elsewhere.
As with anything, digital or not, there is always the risk of it getting lost or damaged.
With physical property, we take out insurance to cover, and hopefully replace, the loss, but with digital assets, like websites, you can create and save a replica of the data instead. Backing up basically involves your website making a copy of itself at specific times and saving it somewhere safe, so that if something does go wrong, you can quickly and easily restore your site to what it was like before the error took place. If you did not have a backup, you would have to start everything from scratch again and the longer your site is offline or not functioning properly, the more likely you are to lose your audience or customers, as they will get frustrated with trying to access it.
So What Could Go Wrong?
Most of us know that horrible sinking fear when you have slaved over writing something for hours and hours and the computer crashes and you panic that you haven’t saved your work. Well, losses like this could happen with the virtual data that makes up your website.
We are all human and we all make mistakes and it can be fairly easy to save over something that you actually want to keep. You might not even realise it at the time, but later on, you might want to get back your previous version. Having a back up allows you to do that. You do not even have to completely replace the new version with the old back up, you can just use it have a look at it, or take elements from it and add it into your new version, almost like referring to your first draft or notes.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) applications are a great way to manage your website. They are powerful apps that allow you direct access to the files on the server that keep your website functioning, making edits to these files easy. However, due to the way FTP gives you access to everything on your server, you could accidentally delete one of the folders while navigating the file structures within the application. Having a back up in place means you can restore your site again straight away, allowing you to be operational again quickly with limited downtime.
FTP apps are great tools, but much like the files stored on your computer, one click and the file could be gone.
Unfortunately, usually due to an insecure password, your website could also have a security breach that results in a loss of data, or the whole site could be replaced with different content. While these scenarios are fairly rare, they can happen. Obviously, you need to make sure your passwords are as secure as possible, but even doing that isn’t always enough to prevent this form of damage, so putting backups in place protects you from loosing all your hard work if something like that did happen.
Backups also cover you in the eventuality of server hardware or software failures. Technology does sometimes fail for reasons outside of your control and all you can do is make sure you are prepared and your web assets are protected if this does happen.
Backing Up Your Website Is Your Responsibility
You do not actually have to back up your website and it is not something that automatically begins to happen in the background when you start creating your own website. The fact that it is not always included as part of your hosting package, allows you to have the flexibility to do select the option that best suits your needs. You can consider different solutions, what each one has to offer and the financial implications of every option. The downside of this freedom is that you have to actually remember to set it up if that’s what you choose you want to do. A lot of hosting packages will have different built in back up options for you to take out, but as with everything, it makes sense to shop around and see what is the best option for you and your website.
Things to Consider When Selecting The Right Backing Up Solution
A back up is a digital insurance policy, which is not something you ever want to rely on, but you would be quite lost without it if something did go wrong. As with all insurance policies, you have to weigh up the risks of the different options before you consider what works best for you.
The most obvious thing to consider is the financial implications of each package. Some companies offer backing up solutions for free, but you might not feel comfortable with the level of cover they provide you with and you might be able to spend a bit more money for increased cover. So you need to think about what you can actually afford and how much your online data is worth to you.
As a back up is essentially a copy of the data that makes up your website, it is hugely important that you have a look at the amount of data storage that the different options offer you.
You can look at the amount of data your website is currently using and make sure that the option you choose can cover that.
It is important to understand what their back up actually involves. You don’t need to know the exact ins and outs of how it works, but you need to be happy that your site will be backed up regularly and often enough to cover you at any time if something goes wrong. You also need to make sure you are confident about what you need to do to actually restore the back up when needed. Make sure the option you choose is quick and simple to use and isn’t overly complicated.
The option you choose needs to give you the ability to quickly restore your backed up data in the event of your site going down. Backing up your website is one thing, but being able to restore it quickly is another big feature to look for.
You don’t just want a back up solution, you want a back up and restore solution.
Finally, just make sure the company you go with has strong security in place for your data. You don’t want to have lost all of your data due to a security breach, only for the place that you have chosen to hold your backed up data to have also been hacked and lost it all of that data too. So you just need to know that they are taking the protection of your data seriously.
What Backup Solutions Does Hosting.co.uk Offer?
Hosting.co.uk offers a wide range of different cloud-based backup solutions. The options of different packages means that you can choose a solution that perfectly meets your specific data storage and financial needs and if these change in the future you can easily switch to one of the other packages. All of the different solutions are fully automated and are initially set to back up your site every day. This means that you can be confident that your site will be being backing up regularly in the background, without you having to remember to do anything manually. If you work on your website at a specific time each day and want your back up to happen straight after that, or even want it to do more frequent backups, then you can change it to fit in with your schedule. You can also alter it to do manual backups every time you work on your site, ensuring that the newest version of your data is always safe.
All the backup solutions are protected by a high level of security technology and they are all very quick and easy to use. If you ever did have any questions or needed any help, there is 24/7 email support and hosting.co.uk offer a Pay-as-you-go option starting at 1 GB to 2 TB. This way, you can try it out and make sure it is the right option for you.
Whatever you do decide to do, choosing how you are going to protect your online data is a really important thing to consider when you have a website. You need to be aware that, unfortunately, things can go wrong and there are steps that you can take to give your valuable online assets the security they deserve.