Recommended Backup Strategy

3 min read

Introduction

Since day 1 GridPane has always recommended a three-tier approach to taking website backups. In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what those 3 tiers are, what their purposes are, and why backups are an incredibly important investment to make both for your clients and your own peace of mind as a business owner.

Patrick, our CEO, summarised our thoughts on backups this way:

Good backups are like insurance… if insurance covered everything, cost practically nothing, and always paid out. They are the single most cost-effective investment in your online presence that you will ever make.

You are more than welcome to use this quote or put your own spin on it in your own marketing.

The Quick Version Summary

We recommend three types of backups for your security and ability to recover from worst-case scenario type situations:

  1. Full server backups at your IaaS provider for quick emergency recovery
  2. Local website backups directly on your server for quick site recovery
  3. Remote backups so you have completely separate backups at a secure third party

A backup or several on your local machine isn’t a bad idea either. We highly recommend you take advantage of the remote backup options available to you when using our V2 backups system. Storage at each of these providers is relatively inexpensive – especially Backblaze and Wasabi.

While V2 is still in beta we do still recommend third-party backups via a plugin or a service like snapshooter.

1. Server Snapshots / Full Server Backups

Server snapshots (not always called snapshots depending on the provider), are full backups of your entire server, taken at your server provider.

By default, we toggle this option on when you spin up servers at DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, and Lightsail, and we will do the same at UpCloud when their API allows for it in the future as well.

This provides you with the fastest route to quickly recovering your server should your server get struck by lightning. It is extremely rare that anyone ever has to use these backups, but they are exceptional insurance and will easily pay for themselves many times over should you ever need to use them.

2. Local Server Backups

Backups of your websites taken directly on your server offer a quick and easy recovery method should you ever need to roll a website back in time. Examples of where this may come in handy include:

  1. Your client has ruined their site and you need to get back up and running quickly
  2. You accidentally delete the wrong website
  3. After core/theme/plugin updates something has gone terribly wrong
  4. You need to quickly recover from a hack and you know you were clean X amount of time ago

You should never rely on these for disaster recovery, however, they are the quickest and easiest way to recover individual websites should anything occur.

3. Remote Off-Server Backups

These backups are your true disaster recovery insurance.

If the datacenter burns down (OVH!), or [insert disastrous event here] happens, then having remote backups at a completely separate third-party storage provider will allow you to get all of your websites back up and running in short order.

It may not be as quick as using a server snapshot for recovery, but your website will not be lost forever, your client’s websites will not be lost forever, and you won’t go out of business potentially overnight.

Our V2 system of course allows you to accomplish this, but while this is still in beta we also recommend a plugin such as All in One Migration, WP Vivid, Updraft, or other services like Blogvault or Snapshooter for example. 

Further Reading

For further information about how backup systems work, the available options for configuring them, and for setting up remote backups (available on V2), please see the articles listed below.

Strategy

Recommended Backup Strategy

V2 Backups

V1 Backups