If you’re a bit like me, then you’ll be slightly paranoid about backups. Usually as a result of being a victim of hard drive failure and losing important material.
I suffered this a few years ago. I put my trust in a certain manufacturer’s RAID drive, thought ‘Oh I’m perfectly safe with this now’ as it was in RAID1 mode, meaning it keeps it’s own mirror image copy in case one drive fails. Until one day a client got in touch asking me to re-send a project I voiced for them a few weeks prior, as they’d had a hard drive meltdown and lost the lot.
I of course said no problem, and went to retrieve said voiceover file from my archive – which was when I realised that for some bizarre reason, my RAID drive had decided of it’s own volition to self-delete 50% of the content of my hard drive.
It wasn’t easy to spot – all of my client folders were still visible, so nothing was obviously wrong – it’s only when you clicked into those folders that I suddenly found them completely empty of all project material. The audio project files for Logic, the exports to WAV/AIFF and MP3.
Thankfully, I managed to retrieve a fair amount by going through some very time consuming data recovery procedures, but it was far from easy and straightforward.
So after this, I thought ‘never again‘.
Nowadays, I create multiple versions of my project files, all in different places. This time my main working drive is a different manufacturer’s RAID1 drive, (a company called CalDigit – a hard drive setup and company that I highly rate, incidentally (And no, as usual, I’m not being paid/receiving kick-backs to say that at all, I just really think they’re great). Once a project is complete, that whole project folder gets copied to a separate G-Tech drive, and lives as a complete carbon copy of my main working drive.
Then as soon as that’s copied and pasted across, I copy and paste the MP3 versions of my VOs into a cloud storage folder, just to be triply sure!
So what is the one thing you may not have backed up recently?
Admit it, a lot of us probably don’t think about that as needing to be backed up. I know I’ve had that thought……certainly not something that would need regularly backing up at least. After all, we trust our hosts’ servers to back things up to multiple servers and make sure everything’s hunky-dory.
Ultimately, every website owner should ensure they have full copies of their website and all it’s content should the worst happen – at least then you’d be back up and running in no time at all. Unless you’re highly skilled in all things web (which I’m not) then it can seem a bit of a challenge to work out how to do that. Or of course, you can ask your web developer if they could take regular backups on your behalf.
But if you have some knowledge of how these things work, you can take manual copies using an FTP client, and keep all your content on your computer/external/cloud storage setups. However there are ways to automate the process too, without needing vast web developer knowledge.
Yesterday, I just had this thought, when prompted to update my version of WordPress – the warning read to the effect of ‘make sure you’ve backed up your website and the site’s database prior to updating WordPress’. So I thought, for once, yes – I better had.
After doing some research into the best backup solutions (that primarily were easy to use), I found a plugin that could do the lot for me – called ‘UpDraftPlus’. [Incidentally, there are many plugins available that do the same or very similar things, this is simply the one that I chose to use]. It enables you to create manual backups of all of your site’s content, it’s uploads, plugins, blog posts, images, the lot. Including the database.
However the service it provides that I most favoured; the ability to automate the process so that it backs everything up itself, on a regular basis, at an interval to suit you (depending on how often your site’s content updates/gets refreshed/changes). For me, monthly was absolutely fine. And you don’t even need your computer on at the time because it will backup your content to a subfolder in Dropbox, or a variety of cloud storage solutions it supports.
So, if you haven’t thought about backing up your website recently, I would certainly highly recommend you do so. For your own peace of mind.
You’ll be glad you did…