In the immortal words of Elanor Shellstrop, when it comes to using free web hosting backups: “Ya basic.”
And in this instance, “basic” isn’t as delightfully harmless as the current pop culture obsession with all things pumpkin-spiced. Unfortunately, the cost of relying on basic, automatic backups provided for free by your shared web host will catch up to you in the long run.
At some point, every website goes down, breaks or requires a serious overhaul. When the inevitable happens, a reliable backup is the only way to keep your site live while providing your users with the positive experience and functionality they have come to expect.
The Limitations That Come With “Free”
Anything from a simple update to a malicious hack can seriously affect your WordPress website, which is why having a good backup is vital to maintaining the integrity of your site – especially if you provide a needed service or rely on ecommerce for your business. While you may think your web host’s backup of your site is sufficient, there are some common limitations to consider.
Backup Availability and Size Limits
First and foremost, some web hosts don’t even offer backups as part of their basic accounts or charge an extra fee for automatic backups. Other hosts may include backups in their basic plans, but whether backups are included or are an extra charge, your host’s policies on website size limits can determine what, if any, parts of your site are being backed up.
Many sites will automatically back up sites that are less than 10 GB, but anything larger typically requires you to manually back up your site. In this case, you are responsible for maintaining and organizing your own backups.
There is no hard and fast rule for how often you should back up your WordPress website, but it’s good practice to make a backup any time you make a change to your site. This means, for most websites, daily backups are a necessity. When it comes to ecommerce websites, real-time backups are the only way to ensure 24/7 functionality and avoid lost sales.
Many web hosts that provide WordPress backups tend to provide weekly backups and may only keep one backup at a time – deleting all other backups by simply overwriting previous changes. This is simply not sufficient.
Unlike other sites, WordPress websites contain databases and files. Unfortunately, web hosts treat all websites the same and may not automatically back up your entire database and flies. To ensure your entire site is backed up, you need to ask your web host exactly what is saved and manually back up the missing databases and files.
Backup Access and Storage
Not all web host backups are accessible through cPanel – or even meant for users at all. And while you can request your most recent backup in an emergency, you never really know what you will receive or how old your backup may be.
Also, if your web host stores your backup(s) your site’s server, then they are vulnerable to the same external threats as your site itself. Likewise, if anything happened to your web host – even hosts get hacked – it’s vital that your backups are independent so you always have the option to restore your site when you-know-what hits the fan.
Better Than Free: Reliable Cloud Backups
Cinch believes our clients deserve better than basic… they deserve high-quality, reliable cloud backups they can count on. While we do our best to support and maintain your website daily, sometimes things just break. On the rare occasion you need a full backup of your site, Cinch’s cloud backups quickly get you back in action – without losing important data, functionality or WooCommerce sales.
Here’s how Cinch’s cloud backups are more than just “basic.”
Incremental and Optimized for WordPress
The backend of a WordPress site is organized into two parts, the database and the files. Unfortunately, most free backups don’t account for the unique structure of WordPress sites and often do not – or cannot – back up your site in its entirety.
Cinch’s cloud backup service, however, is optimized for WordPress. We not only make a complete backup of your entire WordPress website, but our backup service identifies any and all changes since your last backup and only stores the relevant changes. That way, our backups are smaller and faster to restore – all while saving the information you need without you having to wade through duplicates.
Auto Restore and Staging
Sometimes, the worse-case scenario happens. In the rare instance that your website is attacked by hackers or it crashes completely, Cinch is able to automatically restore your site to its most recent backup on our cloud server. That means we get you back up and running almost immediately, without any stress or work on your end.
We also provide a secure staging environment designed to test restores or other backups for functionality, and to give developers a safe place to make significant site updates and changes without crashing your live site.
Multiple Independent Backups
One of the most overlooked problems with free web host backups is that your one backup is stored on the same server as your site. If your server is hacked or crashes, so does your site and your backup.
Cinch’s reliable cloud backup services, however, stores your site’s most recent backup in multiple independent locations – on our servers and trusted others. That way, if your server crashes, your site is still safe, sound and ready to be restored.
Oh, did we mention all of your backups are also encrypted?
So, while reliable WordPress backups are a basic necessity for any website, your backups should be anything but. High-end, reliable cloud backups are vital to keeping your site running at its best by minimizing downtime and maximizing functionality.