Once you get your Joomla site up and running, one of the first things you should do is set up your backup schedule. People who have had a website go down and didn’t have a backup will understand the importance of backing up a site. When a site goes offline it can result in loss of business and revenue, and also upset customers. If you’ve never been burned, trust me and take the time to set up your backups.
Joomla is a dynamic Content Management System (CMS) that contains two things: your web files and your database. You must backup both of these pieces in order to be able to restore your site. Best practices call for you to store the backup files in a different place than your production server. You want to make sure that your backup files are safe if your production server has problems, goes offline or experiences a catastrophic disaster. An excellent place to store your backup files is on Rackspace’s Cloud Files platform.
One way to backup your Joomla site is to do it manually with scripts; however, you have to be disciplined to run them on your own. I choose to run my backups automatically with a component called Akeeba Backup (formerly known as JoomlaPack). I can select whether I want backups to be run weekly or daily, and the component saves those backups as a JPA file. All I have to do is check that the script is running properly.
Just having backups isn’t enough; you also have to make sure that you can bring your site back online with them. Don’t assume that your backups are running and everything will work fine. You need to test them out by doing a restore. When you test your backups, be sure to restore to another environment: you don’t want to accidentally overwrite your production server.
The key take away is that you need to schedule backups of your Joomla site and test that you can restore from those backups. Be sure to drop by the blog next week when I’ll discuss the importance of updating your Joomla site.