This is a guest article by Richard Adams. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
So there I was installing some new free WordPress plugins on my blog to try and add some functionality to my site when suddenly – BAM! – all my posts disappeared.
Irrespective of where I went on my blog, all I got was a “file not found” error.
I started to sweat. I could feel my temperature rising. Six months worth of work up in smoke.
I checked my admin panel. No articles. I checked my database. Gone.
All those articles – which had taken months to create – and which were drawing significant traffic from the search engines every day had been deleted thanks to one rogue plugin that hadn’t functioned as it should have done.
If this was my only website that could have been “game over” for me. Time to go and get a real job till I had time to rewrite all the content on my site.
But as luck would have it a few weeks before I put in place a system that I hoped would help me recover from situations like this. Situations which only *ever* happen to other people, surely? It almost seemed like a pointless exercise at the time. Now I needed to test it in the real world to see if it really worked.
I clicked the link in my control panel and waited with baited breathe. Time stood still. Everything depending on clicking that one link. Did the system work?
Less than four minutes later my blog was fixed. All my (previously deleted) articles were back and my site functioned just as well as it did the day before that plugin wiped my site from the face of the planet.
I could breathe again.
I don’t know about you but I put a *lot* of time into making my WordPress blogs as good as possible. I spend hours on creating high-quality content, finding the right images, making my theme just right.
If I lost it all – through a mistake or a serious hacking attempt – I would be devastated. I dread to think how long it would take me to get things back to normal – if that were ever possible. Imagine losing your design, all your content, your internal links, your pictures and more.
Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
So why would you take the risk of not backing up your blog? It’s really not your web hosts duty, and while they *may* be able to help if the worst happens, it’s really not down to them and you will have little or no recourse if anything happens to your site.
This is why a short while ago I set out on a mission to try to find a cheap, simple and reliable way to automatically back up my WordPress sites so that if the worst ever happened I could quickly recover from the problem and be up and running again in no time.
Infact, truth be told, I’m glad I did. As you’ve just read I managed to accidentally delete every piece of content on my site yet my back-up system worked flawlessly. Disaster averted.
So now you know the potential problems of *not* backing up your WordPress site, and you’ve heard about how I got to test the method in the real world with satisfying results let me talk you through the exact system I am using so that you can implement exactly the same strategy on your own sites.
Not Backing Up is a blunder in the making!
I use a combination of two services to back-up my WordPress sites.
The first of these is the WordPress Automatic Backup plugin available for free from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/automatic-wordpress-backup/
The second service is the Amazon S3 online file storage service. Run by Amazon.com this is a fast, reliable and very cost-effective place to store large, valuable files off-site so that even if your hard-drive gets fried you will still have a copy of your files safely held.
The plugin is quick and simple to install and then interface with your Amazon S3 account (which you can sign up for at https://s3.amazonaws.com).
As a useful tip, Amazon S3 can be a little hard to use if it’s your first time. To make life a lot easier download the S3Fox plugin for Firefox which enables you to easily transfer files, create folders and so on in a clear, visual manner much like most FTP software.
You can set the WordPress Automatic Backup plugin to save back-ups of your content, plugins and even theme on a regular basis. Then if the worst happens you can simply go into your WordPress control panel, click on the restore link and the most recent back-up will be downloaded and installed by the plugin.
Go and do it today. You may think you’ve got better ways to spend your time but like me – when disaster strikes – you’ll be glad you spent those few minutes to install the plugin. Back-up now, and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your hard work is now safely protected.