Home / Development / The Importance of External Backups
We provide backup services on all of our Managed hosting accounts. Most quality hosts do. But whether we're lucky enough to be your host, or you're with someone else, it's important to not rely solely on your host's backup services. For your sensitive data, you should have additional backups elsewhere. That means your database and any custom code as well. It's unlikely that your data would ever become totally unrecoverable, but unlikely things do eventually happen to someone. If you are that someone, you can avoid potential disaster by having an independent backup of all your sensitive data.

The Importance of External Backups

We provide backup services on all of our Managed hosting accounts. Most quality hosts do. But whether we’re lucky enough to be your host, or you’re with someone else, it’s important to not rely solely on your host’s backup services. For your sensitive data, you should have additional backups elsewhere. That means your database and any custom code as well. It’s unlikely that your data would ever become totally unrecoverable, but unlikely things do eventually happen to someone. If you are that someone, you can avoid potential disaster by having an independent backup of all your sensitive data.

The first thing to do is decide how often you want to make this disaster recovery backup. The more often you can do it the better, but if you don’t have a way to automate, then it becomes more work. If you decide you need to backup daily, then you wil probably want to automate it. If you can do it once a week or once a month, then perhaps a manual process will work for you.

The easiest thing to do is simply download the files you need from your host to your local computer. This can serve the purpose, but it’s not much of a backup. Home PCs are subject to pet hair, drink spills and lots of other damaging factors. But still, a local copy is better than nothing.

Another layer of redundancy would be to have a dedicated home backup appliance. There are many available from various vendors, from Apple to Western Digital. You can find one that fits your budget and needs. It can backup all of your PC’s data not just the local copy of your site.

A more robust solution, though is to backup your data to a cloud storage service, such as Amazon S3 or Google Drive. These options aren’t free, and have ongoing costs, but will provide you with more security for your data than a local copy. Additionally, these methods can be automated. You can set up a script on your hosting account to keep the cloud copy of your data updated every day if needed. Instructions for doing so vary depending on the service you choose, but should be pretty straight forward for advanced developers.

About Dave Matteson

David is a Lead Developer at A2 Hosting. He has been writing code professionally for nearly twenty years, and enjoys writing and reading about programming. David does his coding from his house in the woods with his wife and dogs

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