I usually work late at night after I put my wife (yes, wife ) & kids to sleep for a couple of hours, then I hit the sack. So, last night was no different.
This morning I woke up, turned my monitor on (had left the computer on overnight), and saw a Windows error message that I’ve never seen before, something about semaphores had time out or expired. Apparently my external hard disk (it’s an IOMEGA 250Gb) has crashed (uh-oh!).
I tried turning the hard drive off an on again, and all I hear is the “click of death” (UH-OH!)
Good news is that I have a backup for this external HD, on another 2Tb external HD. The bad news is the last time I did a back up was 9 months ago (OUCH!)
Anyway, I want to borrow this incident and apply the lesson to your blog. Make sure you have regular backups of your blog content and data.
There are quite a few WordPress backup plugins available. The one I use is called WP-DB-Backup. As with most WordPress plugins, it is free, and does the job quite well.
One particular feature of the plugin is that you can schedule your backups, and save it to your web server, or have it emailed to you. I strongly suggest that you use the email function, and just have it emailed to a free Gmail account (Gmail gives you plenty of space anyway).
Although your web host should already regularly back up your site (this includes the database, which is where your blog post/page contents are stored in), having the content backed up to another medium such as an email account spreads the risk in case of a catastrophic crash.
Okay, here is how to install WP-DB-Backup plugin to your WordPress blog:
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard
- Click on “Plugins” -> “Add New” from the menu.
- There you can type in “wp-db-backup”, or simply “backup” and you will quite a few plugins available.
- You can then click on “Install Now” link and the plugin will automagically be installed for you.
- Make sure you click on “Activate Plugin” after installation.
Next, configure the backup plugin to have it regularly back up your blog data and have it sent to your email:
- Click on “Tools” -> “Backup”
- Go to the bottom section called “Scheduled Backup”
- Select the frequency of the back up schedule. I recommend choosing the next more frequent schedule with how often you post to your blog. For example, if you post daily, schedule hourly backups (or twice daily), if you post weekly, schedule daily backups. If you post monthly, schedule weekly backups.
- Specify the email address where the backup files will be sent. I recommend using a Gmail account or another free email account that gives you plenty of space.
- Select all of the tables (click on first table at the top, then hold down shift, and click on the last table at the bottom).
- Click on “Schedule backup” button.
- Wait for the email to come when you think it should arrive. If you haven’t received it in the email based on the frequency you chose, the plugin may not be working properly. In this case, look for another plugin to try out.
Lastly, it may be wise to create a back up of your blog right now:
- Go to the top of page, in the section called “Tables”.
- Select all of the tables.
- Email back up to your email address (I found that the “Download to your computer” option did not work for me).
There, now you can sleep a little better knowing that your blog data is on a backup plan.
NOTE: This plugin only backs up your textual content, comments, and plugin configuration data. It does not back up your media files (such as images, video and audio files).
For the media files, they should have been stored on your local hard drive already (they are uploaded to the WordPress blog). So, having that said, you should have a backup plan for your home computer!
A hard lesson learned, indeed. Don’t let it be you!