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How to Avoid the Catastrophic Event of Losing Your Website

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It never fails to surprise me how cavalier business owners are when it comes to backing up their websites. Of course it may simply be ignorance (“nobody ever told me!“) or it may be from misguided advice (“your web host keeps all that on file for you“) but sometimes it’s plain old negligence.

And that, of course, is inexcusable…

Let’s put it this way: by not backing up your website on a regular basis, you are putting your files out into the web each day, entrusting that one and only copy to a host who doesn’t care whether it’s your only copy or not. It’s like typing up The Great Novel on an old typewriter, then sending that single copy to a publisher, having no other copies.

What Could Go Wrong?

If your host has serious issues like a hard drive going bad, they may lose your website files. If you don’t have your own backup stored safely on your own computer or on a cloud-based server, you have no website anymore. It’s simply gone, like an old photo.

Sure, the better web hosting companies do back up their clients’ files from time to time. However, from time to time isn’t often enough. What if it’s once a month? Do you really want to risk losing a month’s worth of blogging, customer emails, or design work on your website?

Besides, trusting the backup storage of your website to your host is asking for trouble. It’s usually “provided as a courtesy” and “not guaranteed”. Some hosts will also change their terms and simply stop providing any backup at all. You may or may not read that lengthy email informing you of the change in policy.

It’s the norm these days for web hosts to state, right in their terms, that they are not responsible for files and data you put on their servers. It’s a bit like the airlines telling you at the end of your flight that they’re not responsible for anything you leave behind. Also, if you’re a smart individual, you don’t rely on outside sources to take care of your stuff for you.

Here’s an excerpt from a typical web hosting company’s terms of service:

A Small Orange is not responsible for files and/or data residing on your account. You agree to take full responsibility for files and data transferred and to maintain all appropriate backup of files and data stored on A Small Orange’s servers. Any and all backup services provided by A Small Orange, whether paid or not, are offered with no warranty or guarantee of their date, accuracy, and integrity.

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More and more, web hosts are turning towards fee-based backup solutions. However, as with many things people blindly pay for, there’s a free way to do it yourself.

What You Can Do

The potentially catastrophic event of losing your website is so easily avoided that you’ll kick yourself for not having done it sooner. You can make a backup of your website yourself, without relying on your host, without paying for it, and without spending much time or effort whatsoever.

In other words, backing up your website is fast, easy and free! You can usually take a backup of your files through your control panel. If your web host is utilizing cPanel, you can generate and even restore your own backups in just a few clicks.

Do yourself a favor. Make it a habit to regularly secure fresh backups of your website or use an automatic backup solution, because you never know when you’ll need those backups the most.

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