Check your automatic backups are working

Check now and again that everything still worksOK, so you have set up your website and installed all those shiny plug-ins. You should now get reports on everything under the sun and an automatic backup of your database and files… Do you ever check that it is actually working?

This article is part of a series on regular website maintenance that you can do yourself.

It seems to be one of those unwritten rules that if you don’t keep an eye on things then they stop working. And if you keep an eye on them then they run for years without any problem.

This part of your website maintenance is easy – you just need to look at your latest automatic backup and make sure it is still running as and when you expect it to. I am using a great plug-in for WordPress called BackWPUp. You can configure backups as jobs that automatically run anywhere from monthly to hourly. You can back up files, database, both, or other options. It will even do scheduled database optimisation!

Your backup can be sent by email if it is small (often I do this with the database). It can be stored locally on the server (not a great idea for security and safety so don’t leave it there). Or my favourite is that it can upload it to a number of different secure off-site services like Drop Box or Amazon S3. This means that if your server disappears it does not take your latest backup with it!

I have configured the plug-in to email me a message whenever it does a backup and I keep these in a separate folder of my email and make sure that one turns up each day/week for my clients. If it does not arrive then I go and check.

As part of my monthly website maintenance I also check that there is actually something inside all these lovely backups!

Check my website maintenance summary page for other articles and ideas on keeping your website safe and secure. If you have any other great ideas on backup then leave a comment below. And sign up for my newsletter for regular tips and updates.