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World Backup Day 2020

It’s March 31, which means that today is World Backup Day. Back in 2017, we published our guide to making sure your site is getting backed up. Today, we’re using the ocassion to revisit some of that material and launch a three-part series on backups.

In these times of uncertainty and crisis, having a good backup strategy is as important as ever. Rest assured, though, that Gandi is continuing to work hard to maintain the continued functioning and operation of all of our services.

World Backup Day

If you haven’t backed up your smartphone and computer yet, go do that now. We’ll wait for you here. Okay, got it? Cool.

Now, just like you back up your personal data and your company’s data in case of fire, earthquake, power failure, etc., remember that backing up your website is just as important. Just think of the hours you’ve spent on your site so far and then think of all of that work being wiped away because you didn’t make a backup.

With a Simple Hosting instance at Gandi, you can create backups with our free snapshots feature. But first, just in case you were wondering what kind of dangers are out there …

What’s the worst that could happen

Just in case you still don’t want to take backing up your site seriously, let’s look at some of the worst-case scenarios.

Compromised CMS

Of course, Simple Hosting instances are by and far used to host CMSes (Content Management System, like WordPress). And you just need to relax your guard for one software update and you could wind up with malicious code worming its way into the core code of your CMS software. At which point it’s better just to wipe the whole thing and start over from scratch. Of course, that becomes a lot more painful if you don’t have an un-compromised backup to restore from.

CMS Update Gone Wrong

On the other hand, even when you’re on top of CMS updates, things can sometimes go awry. Maybe you have a custom theme that suddenly breaks after doing an update, incompatible versions, or a connection issue mid-update.

Accidental Deletion of Files

All it could take is a sticky delete key and your whole site would be gone. But, more realistically, sometimes you think what you’re deleting isn’t important or that you’ll never need it again, or it just ends up being something other than what you thought it was.

Missed Renewal

We don’t doubt you’re on top of your renewals (psst you could even try activating auto-renew), but on the off-chance you happen to miss the expiration date of your instance, you could end up losing your data. We warn you before the expiration date and you still have two weeks after expiration to renew, but we all know: stuff happens.

The 3-2-1 backup mantra

To begin with, always remember the backup mantra: 3-2-1:

3 backups
2 mediums
1 off-site

If you follow the 3-2-1 mantra, you’ll be sheltered even from the most catastrophic calamities that could befall your site.

Having three backups of your data

In addition to the original copy that you use, you should have at least two other copies of your data. That way you can greatly reduce the risk of losing it, whether from an accident or a more serious incident.

But having three copies is not enough.

Spread your data across two different mediums

If you save your copies on a single disk, you’re not protected if and when that disk fails. That’s why it’s important to store your data someplace else—whether that means a USB key, an external harddisk, or an NAS server, to name a few examples.

One off-site copy

Finally, you definitely also want to have one copy of your data stored at some physical distance, to protect against a water leak or a fire for example. One way to achieve this is by storing your data in the Cloud (using Nextcloud for example). We’ll come back to that idea later. But it also is true in the inverse—you should also store local copies of data you normally store online, like your website for example.

Backing up your website will be the subject of your next installment in this series but today, remember to follow the mantra 3-2-1, and you’ll be safe from just about any calamity.