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Always Backup Before You Change Anything. Seriously.

I’m sure you’ve read about if before. Before or after a tutorial on how to improve your site with a script, plugin or just plain regular hack. Read what you ask? To backup first and foremost. As you may have noticed BloggingPro went offline for a while due to serious hardware failure. As soon as it was fixed all that had to be done was restore the backup. I had a similar problem to other day where updating a bunch of modified PHP files via FTP at the same time somehow screwed up the contents of these files and subsequently a lot of data. Boy was I glad I backed up…

Backing up your software sounds like a chore to most of us out there, but I guarantee you you will thank yourself for doing it plus there a plenty of solutions to automate it.

Perhaps you’re not really sure when to backup and when not? Here’s just a few things you could be doing that in my opinion requires a backup first:

  • Activating a plugin that uses the database to store it’s settings and other stuff
  • Adding a sweet code snippet to your functions.php
  • When you’re about to modify any theme template file.
  • Before updating your WordPress installation to the latest WordPress version (on a sidenote: WordPress released it’s 3.0 RC2)
  • Adding just a few lines of CSS to any stylesheet

There a few things you should backup on a regular basis:

  • Your Theme folder
  • The complete contents of wp-content
  • The complete WordPress installation
  • Your Database

The frequency of these backup depend entirely on how active your site is, but my general rule of thumb is at least every day. At least. Backing up your theme folder every now and then is only really necessary if you’re one of those people who like to temper with the different template files and your style sheet. But again, better be safe then sorry so there’s really no overkill in these kinds of things.

I know we talk about a lot here, but these things ARE really life savers. So confession time: honestly, how well are you prepared for accidental screw ups, hardware failures or even hacked sites? How many times do you back up?

Photo Credit: Pong