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Backups…

A distant of client of mine (software development client, not a hosting client) recently realized that their webhost is not providing backups for them…not at all…not daily, not weekly, not monthly.  For many hosting situations, this isn’t horrible.  After all, most people have a local copy of their website.  However, if your website uses a database to store content, settings or anything at all, backups are imperative.  The only question is “How often do I need to take a backup?”

The answer lies in how often your database changes and how deadly it would be to your site (family, business, club) if you lost those changes…forever.

In this particular case, this distant client of mine left the responsibility of webhost selection to a non-technical person.  This person didn’t understand anything about their site or its architecture.  They didn’t even know to ask the question about backups.  The bad news?  They signed a 3 year hosting deal, so they are stuck trying to come up with another way to back up their site related data.

When do you think this all came up?  It was after their webhost encountered a hardware failure that caused them to lose a month’s worth of site updates.

If you’re about to make a decision about webhosting, make sure you talk to your prospects about backup plans — amount of allowed space, schedule and disaster recovery scenarios.  Will they leave it to you to restore your site or do they believe it is their responsibility?  The truth is that you will both have to work together to get everything back up and running again, but it’s good to know what to expect long before a hardware failure takes your site out of commission.

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