As a webmaster it is very difficult to find time for anything that isn’t part of your core business. This means that administration often suffers. It is hard to devote time to doing something that doesn’t produce new content and isn’t immeditaly obvious what you have done.
But the one thing that you should never neglect is backups. You can compare it to insurance. Chances are you won’t need it, but when you do, you are very thankful you took the time to do it.
Doing backups is not as easy as it should be. A lot of time and effort is required to set it all up. But fortunately they can be automated to a high degree. And don’t forget to test them too. Even when a backup appears to have gone without a hitch, the only way to know whether it’s of any value is to attempt to restore the information. If it can’t be restored, the backup is worthless. And it’s not good to find that out just after your hard disk has died.
Most good web hosting companies generate their own backups. These are all well and good, but you cannot rely on them. The backups they make are for their own purposes in case of hard disk failure. If you find you have accidentally overwritten a file that you shouldn’t have, this is where your backups come into play. Your webhost’s backup will not be suitable for situations like this.
If you host uses Cpanel, you have the chance to generate your own backups at will. You can take a full dump of your web server space, including all files, email filters and databases. Unfortunately, you have to save it to your webserver or transfer it via FTP. Don’t forget to keep copies of your own backups however. If you store your backups on the same server as your files then it’s not a backup at all! It is all time consuming and tedious, but it is still essential.
So it’s worth putting some time into developing a good backup strategy and sticking to it.