What Is a Web Hosting Backup Policy?


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Your website needs to be operational at all times. One of the most effective ways to ensure your site is up as much as possible is to make sure your website data is backed up safely on a regular basis.

A website backup can get your site restored and back online immediately if you delete files accidentally or the hardware your site is hosted on has problems. You need a good web hosting backup policy in place to make sure your site is safe. Learn how to evaluate web hosting backup policies to find a web host that offers good website backup options.

Key takeaways:

  • A website backup policy describes how and how often your web host backs up your website.
  • Your web host may offer automatic website backups or expect you to do your own backups.
  • Types of website backups vary, including incremental and full server backups, and onsite or offsite backups.

What Is a Web Hosting Backup Policy?

A web hosting backup policy is what your hosting company offers customers for backing up their data. While these companies generally offer reliable web hosting services, it’s always possible something could go wrong. There is also a chance you could delete files accidentally or make changes you don’t like and want your site restored to the original version.

Why Is the Backup Policy Important?

If your site is lost, you can have it restored and running in minutes if it’s backed up properly. Having your website data backed up regularly means you don’t need to worry about mistakes, hardware failures, or even issues with hacking.

While you hopefully never need to use it, the backup services ensure your website data is protected at all times. Technically, it’s possible to download the data from your website to a local server you own, but that’s a lot of work, and quite difficult.

If you care about your website data, make sure your hosting provider offers a good backup policy.

Types of Website Backups

While the majority of web hosting providers offer some type of backup services, not all are the same. There are several types of backup policies available. Most hosting companies offer some combination of these backup types:

  • Full server backup: A full server backup takes all of the data on your server and backs it up to a separate location to ensure it’s safe. Your content management system (CMS), database, images, and everything else on your hosting account will be included.
  • Incremental file backups: Incremental file backups take only files that have changed from the last backup and stores them on another system. You can start with either a full server backup or use this just for files or databases.
  • Database-only backup: In this case only the database for your website is backed up. Generally, the database is where the things you post are stored, which should include blog posts, images, and more.
  • On-site data backup: Some hosting companies have backup data stored on-site at a main data center. It’s on a separate physical device from your website but within the same facility.
  • Off-site data backup: This is when a hosting company stores your backup data at a separate data center it operates. Usually, it has a data storage service at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or another cloud services company to take care of the storage.

Which Hosting Companies Offer a Backup Policy?

Most hosting companies offer at least some type of backup policy. Some manage the backup schedule for you, and others have you handle it. Either option is fine as long as you know what you’re getting. And have a plan for website backups

It is best to avoid a hosting provider that doesn’t offer any type of backup services, or that has extreme limitations on what is backed up. The best web hosting providers generally offer automatic website backups with off-site storage.

FAQS About Web Hosting Backup Policies

What should be included in a backup policy?

A backup policy must include where the data will be stored, what data will be protected, how often the backup should run, and how long to keep the backup copy.

What are the challenges of data backup?

Backups can be slow, damaged, or inaccessible — among other issues — so it is important to choose a reputable provider.

How often should you back up a website?

Websites should be backed up at least daily. Active sites are best backed up hourly or instantly to avoid data loss.

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