The importance of local backups

October 3rd, 2006 by Kat Kingsley-Hughes

Well it happened. Demon, our webhosts for, lost all the files for our site. Not just the webpages and the images, but the backups too. (So much for the benefits of off-site backups. What’s the point if they keep it on the same server?) I know, I can hear you saying it and tut-tutting ‘shoulda had a local backup’. And me married to the PC Doctor, always telling everyone to have a backup, because you never know… All I can say in my defence is that I thought HE kept the backups of the website.

Here’s the email they sent me:

Following on from our email of yesterday, regarding the problem with one of our small Web Hosting platforms, we have now brought the platform back into operation. However, despite our best endeavours, some customers’ data may have become corrupted as a result of the file system software failure. Whilst we continue to recover the data that we can, we request that you check your site to establish if it has been affected by data corruption. If your site is unavailable, then please use your own personal off line backup to restore your site.

No apology. No by your leave. Nothing. They could have just said ‘your data’s gone, you’re screwed’ same diff. I’m surprised they didn’t write “MWAHAHAHA!” at the end. And what the hell is a ‘personal off line backup’? Oh sure, I know what one is but their control panel doesn’t offer you the option to download a zipped backup file. The only way to do it is to download the entire site via FTP which usually fails and boots me off before I can get the whole thing down because their time outs are so short. To read their email you’d think personal off line backups were all part of the service, built-in to the system. I bet a lot of people don’t have any kind of backup.

Funny enough they’d recovered from their outage last week and they’d even fixed the ASP problem too so the site was back up and running again. I guess it went wrong again, only this time they lost the data. I wish I’d thought to download a backup in that little gap where it was running OK…

But luckily, is a website which I work on from a local copy (using a text editor no less – am I the only webmaster left doing that I wonder). I say it’s a website, meaning that it’s not a blog, forum, CMS or anything else that’s database driven. If I hadn’t had my local files (as messy and incomplete as they turned out to be) I’d be screwed. Ah well, all’s well that ends well. After only 9 hours the website is back up again and thankfully only a little data lost permanently.

And yes, I’ve backed it up too!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006 at 5:43 pm and is filed under Web Dev. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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