why backups are important for your server and business

Why are backups important for your business? Tips for making backups

8 min read

Data and information are undoubtedly the most important asset of any business in our current digital society. Because of this, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that all of your important data and business information is safely and securely stored.

Luckily, server snapshots and backups have been around for a number of years now, making the process of protecting your precious data much easier.

But what exactly are server backups? Why are they so important and how can they help protect your information?

In this article we are going to discuss the significance of backups when it comes to data loss prevention. We will also provide examples of how we at VPSBG have been providing our clients with such backup options and we will also give out some useful tips that you can use when making backups such as keeping a local copy on your machine, creating a database dump and more!

Why are backups so important?

Performing periodic backups of your server is something really important that you should definitely start doing if you haven’t already!

Regular backups can save your website, its content, your users’ data, your search engine rankings and most importantly - your reputation.

Having all of your website and its database safely stored can help you restore everything before a particular moment or event, which can ultimately save you from hackers, DDoS attacks and other types of cyberattacks. Additionally, backups can also protect you from a total server meltdown, hardware failure and other physical server problems.

As we already mentioned such circumstances could severely damage your search engine result pages performance due to the fact a hacker can either alter your entire content or sneakily inject malicious code that could be picked up by Web crawlers. Additionally, long unexpected periods of downtime can also lower your rankings.

This can also result in worse performance, unhappy customers and users, ultimately leading to a higher bounce rate and your hard-earned reputation being tarnished.

On the other hand, backups are also useful when performing some changes to your website which you might need to revert later. They are also quite handy when doing some code testing.

Overall, backups are pretty important and they can save you a lot of time and headaches if implemented correctly!

Backups in our shared hosting plans

If you are a VPSBG shared hosting user, you’re all set - automatic daily backups are included in every web hosting plan we offer. You can access backups from the previous 14 days and restore the one you need with the click of a single button.

All backups are managed through your cPanel account using JetBackup. You also have the choice of restoring just a single file, a whole folder, your database or your entire cPanel account.

For more information and a step-by-step tutorial, you can read through our documentation entry on how to restore data via JetBackup.

Automatic backups for our VPS and VDS servers

Since we have already discussed the importance of backups, we could not possibly leave our VPS and VDS users without a similar solution. That is why we also offer automatic backups for our VPS and VDS clients as a premium add-on feature to their plan. 

They are disabled by default, but you can easily enable them at any time from the client area. Head over to our documentation for a step-by-step guide on how to activate automatic backups for your server.

Backups are performed once a week with the 3 latest backups being retained, allowing you to rollback up to 3 weeks! Our custom solution makes rolling back to a previous state quite easy, but you can always check out our tutorial on how to restore a backup to your server.

Please keep in mind that booting from a backup is similar to a non-graceful shutdown, meaning it can cause issues if apps that constantly write information were running during the backup process! Ensure to proceed with caution!

To be extra safe and to make sure that your project or site can be restored at any time and under any circumstances, we recommend that you also keep a local copy of your backups.

Keep a local copy of your backups

While backups in general are quite safe when being stored online, similarly to our system, it is always best to also keep a local copy on your machine just in case as they can save you from data loss.

For example, while we pride ourselves on the excellent uptime of our services (guaranteed 99.99% uptime) and while our servers are collocated in a modern and advanced datacenter with a focus on fault-tolerance and redundancy, the unexpected can sometimes happen.

Because of this, it is important to always keep your data stored in multiple locations just in case, which will allow you to restore everything that you need in terms of data and information.

While JetBackup is very convenient and flexible when it comes to restoring your data in seconds, you definitely need to have a plan B in case this option falters.

What you can do in order to be completely protected against any data loss calamities, is to regularly download and keep a local copy of your backups. Thankfully, this is just as easy with JetBackup and we do also have a full guide on how to download a full archive of your website in our documentation.

What is a Database dump and why should you do one?

In addition to backups, we suggest that you regularly make a dump of your database as an extra layer of protection.

Database dumps involve extracting your database information, allowing you to store all data on your cloud provider’s website or your local machine. But how is database dumping different from server backups?

Server backups are made while your server is working. While most modern systems can handle these concurrent operations, there is a slight chance of your database’s data being distorted upon creating the backup.

Because of this, we suggest that you make database backups locally and then transfer them to a different location as an extra precautionary method. This can save your project in the event of data loss as well as database corruption. 

It’s best to regularly perform database dumps, ideally at a given similar interval of time such as every couple of days. You should also always create database dumps before making any major changes to your project.

Creating a database dump using mysqldump

If you are using MySQL (or MariaDB) the process of creating a database dump is made very simple using mysqldump.

Mysqldump is a database backup software that produces logical backups of your database, which are stored in ordinary text files. What this means is that the actual data files are not copied, but instead a series of SQL statements are produced, which when executed, reproduce the original database.

Backups created by mysqldump can be restored in a couple of minutes. Additionally, the file produced by mysqldump is much smaller than a full image of the server. Therefore, you can quickly restore your database or copy it to another SQL server if needed.

If you are new to mysqldump, here is a brief tutorial on how to utilize it correctly. Mysqldump is highly flexible and allows the backup of a single database, multiple databases or all databases on the server. You can even backup a single table, if that is what you need!

Here is the basic syntax:

Exporting a single database:

mysqldump -u USERNAME -p DBNAME > DBBACKUP.sql

Exporting multiple databases:

mysqldump -u USERNAME -p --databases DB1 DB2 DB3.. >DBBACKUP.sql

Exporting all databases:

mysqldump -u USERNAME -p --all-databases > ALLDBBACKUP.sql

Importing a mysqldump is just as simple. First, create an empty database, if one does not already exist (e.g. when you are changing hosts). Then use the following command:

mysql -u root -p DBNAME < DBBACKUP.sql

Server snapshots - a great and a free backup alternative

Let’s say you don’t feel you need automatic backups and you are more than happy to make your backups only when the need arises. There is a simple solution for that as well - server snapshots!

Server snapshots are momentary captured images of your server’s state at a given point in time.

With a snapshot, you get a file much lesser in size when compared to a backup, which can easily be restored onto your server within minutes. While snapshots don’t contain as much data as a full backup, they are quite useful as they are momentous, making them the perfect choice when it comes to testing features and copying servers. You can also check out our article on the importance of server snapshots.

We at VPSBG also offer FREE server snapshots to all of our customers! You can manually create a snapshot of your server by visiting the client area. The snapshot options are located in the Snapshot/Backup tab of the service page in your client area. From there you can view, create and download your images at your convenience.

While the service is completely free, there are some limitations - you can create one snapshot per server, up to 5 snapshots total per account and up to 3 snapshots per day, meaning that you will need to delete older ones if you want to create new snapshots.

Start using backups or snapshots

Sometimes planning your recovery from a catastrophe that may never happen can seem like a pointless chore, but in reality, data loss happens way more often than we like to imagine.

Even before you start a new project or launch your business website or personal project, you should consider how to keep it up and running if any adverse circumstances arise.

Decide on a plan and the tools you are going to use and be confident that your work, time and effort will not be lost because you didn’t make a backup.

We hope that our solutions will make it easier for you to devise and effectively implement your backup strategy. If you happen to struggle with making a backup plan for your business, you can always feel free to contact us.

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