No matter how hard your server is secured or how good your scripts are written – taking regular backups of your server is essential to everyone running an online business. Over the last 16 years I’ve found myself in a number of situations where backups have literately saved me from a catastrophe.
If your website has dynamic content, including shopping carts or databases that are updated every minute, then you need to be taking backups nightly. When considering these you should take a trifold approach: Main Server Backups, Cloud Backups, and Offsite Backups.
Main Server Backups
These are your primary backups. If something goes wrong, you’re going to try to restore your server from these. Often these are kept on the same machine as your website/application but are mounted on a separate partition utilizing a different hard drive than your main site. If your server has Web Host Manager on it, you can easily configure these under Backup Configuration:
As you can see, we simply enable the service, compress the backups, and thens schedule the backups to occur daily. Typically, you only need to retain five days, but you can raise or lower this based on your personal preference.
When scheduling your backups you need to make plans for two important items: Your Files and Your Databases. It’s possible your files aren’t updated as often or aren’t as large as your databases. If you’re using Web Host Manager you can have a couple of choices to make when selecting the files. Here is the setup I recommend:
You can then select your database preferences. If it’s your own server I recommend backing up everything just incase you need to restore quickly. If you have really large databases you can select which accounts you want to retain:
Finally, you need to select which directory you want everything to backup too on your server. As I said in the beginning this should be an extra hard drive on your server that’s mounted on a different partition than your actual site. Attempting to backup on the same hard drive as your site wouldn’t be that beneficial as if the drive fails, you’re going to be out of luck. I suggest setting the /backup directory to mount on the partition with the drive:
Once all of these options are set, you can save, and your main server backups should be good to go. This is the minimal amount of work though as these will only protect you if you still have access to that particular machine. If the entire box is compromised then you may lose access. That’s why it’s very important to also complete cloud and offsite backups.
If you’re using Web Host Manager, then it’s very easy to setup Cloud Backups. Under your main server backups you simply set an additional destination. I’m personally a big fan of Amazon S3™. Its not very expensive at all and places your backups on the redundancy of the Amazon Cloud. This way, if your box is completely compromised, you can simply build another machine and deploy the backups from Amazon:
Don’t let all these values intimate you! These are fields you obtain from Amazon. Simply create these inside your AS3 interface and enter them in. The setup shouldn’t take you any longer than 15 minutes.
Once you have completed all of this, your backup solution is fairly diversified. Nine out of ten times, your primary backups are going to keep you safe, but you also have an extra copy incase of server compromise.
To make sure you’re able to sleep sound, I also suggest doing offsite backups. Here at NameHero we have a special system to do this for you.
Basically, we have the ability to copy your server nightly and place it in our secure datacenter. That way, you can always restore from that backup if needed. You can even provision new servers on-the-fly using this backup! Many customers find this as a great solution for servers doing a lot of replication!
We make this available as an option when you order your VPS, SSD or Dedicated Cloud server. If you don’t purchase during sign-up you can always add it on later:
As you can see, we only charge depending on the amount of backup space you need. This is an easy fee added to your monthly invoice. 100GB handles the majority of our customers, but if you need more, we can handle it no problem.
Inside our all-in-one platform, you can easily take backups, restore, and take full control of your server (residing on our high performance cloud):
Each night, our system will automatically backup your entire machine and you can easily access the copy using the above button. Even if your server becomes compromised (which is unlikely) you can restore in just a couple of clicks to a brand new server. That way your downtime is minimal and you can make sure your visitors are able to access your products or services.
Using this trifold approach you’re able to operate your business with confidence knowing you have multiple ways to restore incase of a server failure. All of our customers using our Basic Cloud Hosting are automatically protected using these various means of backups. All of our clients using our SSD, VPS, and Dedicated Solutions have these resource available at your finger tips. Our Superhero Support Team is standing by to help you configure all of these options and we’ll do so free of charge.
If you haven’t yet moved your services over to NameHero we hope you’ll seriously consider everything we’ve mentioned in this post to ensure your business is bullet proof and able to serve your visitors 24x7x365.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.