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Poll Results: How do you back up your websites?

Published by Chris Coyier

It's nice to hear so many people have a backup plan! It's probably a much rarer situation that your web host loses your data than it is that your own computer fails. But still... backups can save your ass in a major way.

Personally, I backup files and databases locally. Then my local machine is backed up by Time Machine. I'm thinking that is alright for now, but I'd like to beef it up at some point.

I admit a large reason for this poll was to tap into your collective knowledge and find some sweet automated backup solutions. Christina's solution is absolutely awesome and fits into my situation perfectly (being on Media Temple, and having an S3 account). I still haven't actually spent the time and got it working yet, but it's high on my list.

I'll leave this poll up a little while longer before retiring it to the Polls Archive. Then we'll start off a new one. I have one idea... but if you have your own poll ideas, feel free to share.


  1. trs21219
    Permalink to comment#

    Let us know when you do set it up on mt. i know hers is based on a (gs) account and my company has a dedicated box and i know you do (or at least a dedicated virtual) so let us know if you run into any problems so we dont have to :P

  2. As an added security, you could use JungleDisk to backup your web server files that you have downloaded locally. It makes use of Amazon S3 so your in control. They have a very nice workgroup edition too, for larger teams.

  3. Trs,
    I’m working on a follow-up and I’ll address (dv) stuff there too — but the script can be modified pretty easily to work with that. Paul Stamataou (I’m misspelling that, Stammy is how I know him) wrote up a great guide for (dv) users.

    My dad’s company site (that I maintain) is on a (dv), and I use S3 to back that up too. I wrote up the guide primarily because there was no (gs) based tutorial and the (mt) backup was down and people in the forums wanted an easy alternative.

  4. One way to backup your website is to use a version control system (e.g. Subversion or Git). The benefit of this is that you have an off-site backup as well as being able to keep a record of all the changes you ever make to a website.

    This is great for keeping track of the different iterations of a website as you change the structure, style, add new features, etc.

    I feel a lot better about adding a new, complicated feature knowing that if things go wrong I can always roll back.

  5. trs21219
    Permalink to comment#

    @ alex – the only thing about version control is you cant backup databases (besides exporting an sql file and then commiting it) and VC isnt really a great option for say backing up a gig of videos…

    @Christina – thanks for doing what you have so far and i cant wait to read what comes next…

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  7. Ashley Williams
    Permalink to comment#

    I prefer to think about it as my local computers being the main location of my code, and the servers I’m running the site on is a backup. Then I don’t have to worry about backups — its already backed up. (though I do also use GitHub for my code too, but not intentionally as a backup.)

    Files (uploads) are never on an app machine, use some other solution (AWS S3, …) and any good machine should be RAID 1’ed so your safe there; same with the database, keep it on a dedicated machine and slave it out to another machine (which is your backup — and you could use it in your app too, to take read queries off the master if you wanted too).

    Overall, I just let machines do the job for me — a RAID1 is far better than me manually downloading backups every night for changing files, and my actual code is already in three places.

  8. Permalink to comment#

    The beauty of Christina’s solution is that it’s cheap and can be automated. I’m not entirely sure that backing up daily is necessary for a smaller blog, but weekly wouldn’t be a bad start. I know for most folks, backing up your site is an afterthought…until you lose everything. :)

    Great writeup Chris, thanks for sharing your findings.

  9. Permalink to comment#

    I use subversion (tortoise svn) which I have found to be essential when working with a team. I use drupal and have the backup and migrate module so DB backups are done automatically every so often.

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