Any responsible corporate manager will tell you that having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place is essential for any business, which is half serious about itself and things are no different, when it comes to blogs and websites.
Developing a BCP for a blog goes much beyond just maintaining a backup of the database and has to be well thought out and planned in advance to ensure, in case of an unfortunate event like server hard disk going kaput or blog being hacked, you are able to get back online in a jiffy and that too, without losing any data.
So here is a simple 5 step BCP for bloggers, which you can implement for your blog:
Database backup: Database backup is the most crucial thing for a blogger, as it contains all the post you have painstakingly written over time. Simplest way to do this is to have a regular backup approach, where after making a blogpost, you log in to phpmyadmin or your server control panel and use the backup feature there to download the latest copy of your blog’s database. However when you are on the road, this can be a bit difficult to do, due to variety of reasons. For instances like this or to completely substitute manual database backup procedure, you can use a WordPress plugin like WordPress Database Backup, which can email a copy of your database to an email address of your choosing, thereby ensuring that you have a backup of your latest blogposts and comments, even while on the move.
Backup for the complete blog: While the above step is enough to recover blogposts, a blog most often than not, consists of much more than a simple collection of text. So it is essential to not only maintain a backup of your blog’s database, but also the images/videos you have uploaded and theme you have so painstakingly modified. Simplest way to do this is by maintaining a local backup of your blog’s home directory, on your computer and augmenting it each time with whatever you are uploading on the server. Alternatively, you can use online backup services to copy your entire blog directory to a remote backup server on a regular basis and maintain multiple copies of your blog, ready for deployment.
Monitor your blog: While checking your blog regularly to ensure it is up and running perfectly is a good thing, it is best to employ services of website monitors like Siteuptime to ensure that you know as quickly as possible, when your blog has developed an issue and is no longer viewable to readers. With sites like these, you can receive email and even sms alerts of your website’s status and can thus take corrective measures in time or start implementing your BCP.
Do not register domain through your host: While majority of webhosts offer domain registration facility, often at discounted rates or even free of cost, it is always best to keep these two things separate. Last thing you want is to get in to conflict with your host or have them go belly up and not only take your data but also your blog’s online identity, domain name, with them!
Keep spare cash: In times of crisis, it is cold hard cash, which often comes to the rescue and things are no different online. From acquiring the service of a hard disk recovery company to renting a new server, all these things require funds and thus you should always have at least enough funds ready to cover the cost of hosting for a month at a new host, even if you have already paid for the next year, at your current host!
While the above five steps will not 100% guarantee, that your blog is always up and running and you do not end up losing precious data, they will however, prepare you for the worst, if it ever happens and ensure that you will know, that you did what you could to save your home on the web.