Let’s over-simplify things for a minute. Your website is a bunch of files that live somewhere on the internet.

If these files were to disappear somehow, your website would disappear too. If you have your website’s files stored somewhere else, you’ve got a backup: all you have to is have the files put back on the internet and your site will reappear.

Of course there are folders, databases, server configuration, blah, blah, blah. But you get my point – let’s not get bogged down with the gory detail!

Backups

There are a whole host of places your website might be backed up to. Some backups happen automatically, others are more manual.

Hosting backups

The chances are, the place where your website is hosted offers the ability to back your site up. Or at the very least you should be able to ‘roll-back’ to an earlier version of your site when it was working ok.

Manual backups through your CMS

Your content management system (CMS) might offer the ability to back your site up. These backups can happen to various degrees:

  • sometimes just the edited content and settings
  • sometimes they back up all of the images and any other files you’ve uploaded too
  • sometimes they back up only certain parts of the site
  • sometimes they back up up the whole site

Depending on what other ways your site is being backed up, you mightn’t need more than the first one or two. Ask your web designer what’s possible and perhaps it’s worth them adding a way that you can back things up yourself.

Manual backups by your web designer

Whenever your web designer carries out some work on your site, they’ll grab a copy of your live site in its current state. They’ll then get all of that up and running on their laptop (or desktop), where they’ll get to work (this is known as working locally).

So your web designer will have a fully working version of your website on their computer.

I like to keep the version I first grabbed from the live site untouched and make a copy of it to work on. So if anything catastrophic was to happen I could just start all over again. So I have at least 2 copies of the site from each time I’ve done some work:

  1. One from before any work was carried out
  2. One following the work

This means that a back up of your site will exist on your web designer’s laptop (and anywhere else it may be backed up to online).

It’s also possible to ask your web designer to manually back up your site periodically. But this can also happen automatically…

Automatic backups

There are ways of automatically backing up your website. Your web designer should be able to configure something for you, so that your site is periodically backed up to a service like Dropbox.

Phew

Lots of options! So it’s likely that if the worst happens and your website disappears from its place on the internet, there’s a recent-ish back up somewhere. Sure, you might have to dig out the last couple of blog posts you wrote, but if you wrote them off-line you have even less to worry about!

As ever, if you’re not sure where you stand on this one, just ask your web designer and they’ll be able to sort something out for you.