3 Ways to Back Up Your Website

In case you don’t already know, backing up your website is important. Heaven forbid something tragic should happen such as your web host suffering from a massive hardware failure or your website getting, but in life, things do happen. So it’s better to be prepared now than sorry later. Plus, backing up a website isn’t difficult if you know how.

Back Up Your Website with cPanel

If your host uses cPanel, there’s a good chance you already have a built-in backup capability. (I use and recommend HostGator, which does have cPanel.) Depending on the size of your site, you could have a complete backup ready to download within minutes. This backup will take care of your email accounts, databases, files on the server…everything.

  1. Log in to your website’s cPanel account
  2. Scroll down to the Files section and click on the Backups icon
  3. In the Full Backup section, click on Download or Generate a Full Website Backup
  4. The next page will ask if you wish to be notified via email when the backup is complete—this option is good if you have a large site which will take time to process, otherwise you could probably leave it blank and check back a few minutes later; if you leave Home Directory in the dropdown, the backup file will be stored in the directory above /public_html/
  5. When the backup is finished, you can either download the file directly from the backup page, or you can log into your website via FTP and navigate to the directly above /public_html/ and download the file that way

If your host doesn’t offer cPanel, you may still have access to an automated backup facility, but you’ll need to read your hosts knowledgebase or contact them for assistance in using it.

Back Up Your Website Manually

This method is rather tedious, however, it gives you a level of control over what is backed up. With the above method, you’d back up all your website’s files. If you decide to move hosts and that host doesn’t have cPanel (or uses a different configuration entirely), it could be a bear to reinstate the backed up files.

  1. Before you back up your website manually, it’s a good idea to have a plan. Take note of the email addresses/passwords currently in use on the site, along with database usernames/passwords, and any other relevant website information. (I prefer jotting these things down in Notepad.)
  2. Log into your hosting account and back-up your MySQL databases by exporting the data via phpMyAdmin
  3. Download your website files via FTP
  4. Zip up your notes, databases, and files and save in a safe place

Back Up Your Website with an Online Service

When you use an online service such as Mozy, you meld flexibility with ease of use. The upshot is that such services aren’t free (they, however, can be quite cost effective). With online services, you will also be able to schedule your backups to suit your needs.

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