With WordPress it’s easy to add content to your website so you could quickly build up a lot of content. Since your site is vital in promoting your business, you want to make sure that all that content is kept safe, so implementing a regular schedule for updates and backups is really important.
From time to time you’ll be notified of available updates to plugins, themes and WordPress itself in your dashboard by a number appearing beside Updates. It’s important to install these updates as they’re usually released to fix security issues, bugs and to introduce new features.
To install the updates go to the Updates screen where you’ll see a list of the plugins or themes with updates or a new WordPress version, then click the Update button beside each section.
It’s important to backup your site before installing updates though, especially if you’re installing a new version of WordPress.
It’s essential that you backup your site regularly; if your files get damaged by hosting problems or user errors, or compromised by hackers, a backup will let you quickly fix the damage and get back to normal.
I’ve tried many backup options and one I currently like is Online Backup for WordPress. With this plugin you can do manual and scheduled backups and it can even encrypt your data for extra security. It will backup both your database – which contains all your posts, pages and comments – and your files – your themes, images and so on – and package them into a zip file which can be emailed to you, manually downloaded to your computer, or stored online at the plugin creator’s secure data centres.
For other backup options, see the WordPress codex or plugin directory.
You should schedule a regular backup depending on how often you add new content; if you post every day, a daily backup would be good (or hourly if you really post a lot!). Even if you only post a few times a month, it would be advisable to do weekly backups. When planning a backup schedule, think about how often you post and how much content you’d be willing to recreate if you had to revert your site to a backup version.
You should also store several backups – the most recent one plus at least two previous versions. If you’re really unlucky and your most recent backup file is damaged just when you really need it, if you keep slightly older versions too, you’ll have less content to recreate.
For added security, store copies of your backup files in several locations, eg one copy on your hard drive, another on CD and another on an offsite solution such as Dropbox. It sounds excessive, but files can get damaged and hard drives can fail, so if you’ve taken these extra precautions, you’ll avoid a lot of problems should the worst happen.
With all the effort you put in to creating content for your site, it makes sense to make sure it stays safe.