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What Backups Do You Need When Updating Your Site?

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The Power of Backups

Backups can be a site-saver. Site infected by malware? You can use a backup to roll back to before the malware set up shop. Made an irreversible mistake when redesigning? Roll back to your backup to save yourself the trouble of troubleshooting. 

When done properly, backups are a fabulous way to ensure your site bounces back from numerous site problems. 

But how about when you’re doing routine maintenance on your site or refreshing its design? What backups do you need for that?

Some of the answer will depend on your site, but we’ll walk you through the basics of Pair backup features and which backups you’ll need to ensure your site is protected. 

Different Types of Backups

If you’re not familiar with site backups, asking what backups you need might feel like a trick question. You’re just backing up your site, right? So you might think you only need one backup. However, site backups aren’t always so simple. 

That’s because sites are often made up of different parts. These parts work together to bring your site to live in a seamless way. However, because there are a few different moving parts, they may each require a separate backup. 

Common backups include:

  • Database backups
  • File backups
  • CMS site backups (like WordPress XML files)

If You’re Using WordPress

Before you get started on a WordPress redesign, we highly recommend turning on your free Automated Site Backup feature (available on our WP Enthusiast and WP Professional packages). It will automatically create backups for your site on a recurring schedule. Because the backups are automated, you don’t have to remember to backup your site. Instead, you can rest easy knowing that even if you forget to take a backup, but make a site-breaking error, the feature is likely to have a backup you can roll back to.    

WordPress Tip: If you’re using a WP Enthusiast or WP Professional account, you can use the WordPress staging feature to keep your live site active while you redesign. 

When taking backups in WordPress, it’s necessary to do more than just export a version of your WordPress XML. The WordPress XML is just an XML file with your posts, pages, comments, etc. It’s main purpose is to help you move content between WordPress installations, not serve as an entire site backup. 

WordPress is made up of more than just pages, posts, and comments. 

In fact, WordPress actually uses a combination of files and databases to operate.  If you’ve ever taken a journey through your WordPress file directory, you’ve likely seen just how many files it takes to run WordPress. 

So, long story short, only exporting your WordPress XML file will leave you with only part of your WordPress site.

Backing Up WordPress

How do you make sure you get the entirety of your WordPress site backed up? Well, you need to take backups of both the WordPress files and its database. How you accomplish this depends on your hosting package, which is where both the files and databases are stored.

Luckily, if you’re using any WP Enthusiast and WP Professional hosting packages, then you can use our easy manual backup feature. This feature only requires one click to create a backup of both your WordPress site files and databases. 

Find specific instructions for taking manual WordPress backup in this article

However, if you’re on our Shared, VPS, or Dedicated, you’ll need to take a backup of the files and databases separately. We’ve included instructions on how to do this below: 

If you prefer to use the WordPress admin interface to take your backups, consider installing a backup plugin, like BackupBuddy

Tip: Not sure what type of account you’re using? You can check by clicking your username in the top right of the ACC, then clicking Your Hosting Package Details

If You’re Using HTML/CSS 

The type of backups you’ll need to fully backup your site will depend on how you built your site. For HTML and CSS sites, you almost always need a file backup. However, if you have additional elements involved, like a database, you may also need to back those up, as well. 

We’ll go through a few backup methods below for files and databases. Some backup features are package-specific, so be sure to pay attention to which packages the features are available on!

File Backups

File backups are almost always necessary for HTML and CSS sites. As such, there are a number of ways to backup your site files in Pair’s Account Control Center (ACC). We’ll go over a few below. 

Tip: Not sure where your site files are stored? In the ACC, go to Files > Web, then look for your domain name. Often, site files are stored in the directory named after your domain name. 

Manual File Backups

Available on: Shared, VPS, and Dedicated

Manual file backups allow you to take on-demand backups of your files. In Pair’s Account Control Center (ACC), it only takes the click of a button. The manual file backup is stored on your hosting account by default, but you can download it and store it elsewhere if you so desire. 

See specific instructions on how to take manual file backups here: How to Take Manual File Backups on Shared, VPS, and Dedicated

SFTP File Backups

Available on: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, WP Enthusiast, and WP Professional Accounts

SFTP is a secure method through which you can download, upload, and edit files between your hosting account and another device. It’s an easy way to create a backup of your files on your personal device. 

All you need to do is connect to your web hosting account through SFTP, then download the site files. 

See our FTP article for more information about how SFTP works and how to download your files: Using FTP with Hosting Accounts

User-Controlled Off-Server Backups

Available on: VPS and Dedicated

User-controlled off-server backups are a great way to have a safe, separated backup of your website files. We oversee the separate server hardware, while you manage the backup. It’s a great resource if you want to add more space between your hosting account and your backups, but don’t want the hassle of creating a backup, then moving it to another location off your web hosting account. 

You can enable user-controlled off-server backups in the ACC. From there, go to the Backups tab in the left sidebar. Then, click the Activate Server Backups tab. Then, select the amount of space you’d like to have for off-server backups, then click Add Server Backups.

Database Backups

If your website utilizes a database, then it’s wise to also create a backup before starting your redesign. Database backups can either be taken manually or automatically, both of which you can do directly in Pair’s Account Control Center (ACC)

Manual Database Backups

Available on: Shared, VPS, and Dedicated

If you just need to make a single database backup on-demand, you can do so with manual database backups in the ACC. Taking the backup is as easy as navigating to your database interface, then clicking a button and entering your password. Once you have done so, a backup will be created in the Backup directory in your web hosting files. From there, you can choose to leave them their or download them to a separate device. 

Find specific instructions for taking a manual database backup here: How to Take Database Backups in the ACC

Automated Database Backups

Available on: Shared, VPS, and Dedicated

Our Pair Account Control Center also has the capability to take automated database backups. By setting up automated database backups, your hosting account will take recurring backups on a set schedule. 

However, setting up automated database backups does require a bit more technical knowledge than the previous backup features. But don’t worry – we’ve created an in-depth guide to walk you through the process. The guide you should use will depend on what operating system (OS) your hosting account is using. You can check to see what OS you’re using by going to your hosting account, clicking your username in the top navbar, then click Your Hosting Package Details. Your OS will be listed next to the Web Server Operating System. 

Once you know what OS you’re using, you can use its tutorial below:

Where to Store Your Backups

Once you’ve taken your backups, where do you store them? Many of our features default to placing backups on your hosting account’s file directory. However, you can download them via the ACC or SFTP to store on your personal computer or on a separate device, like a portable hard drive. 

Need Help?

Have questions about the backup process? Our 24/7 support team can help! You can call or email them any time and they can assist you with any backup-related questions or concerns. You can find our support contact information here: Contact Us!

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