One common mistake that many website owners make is not having a current copy of their website files. Many don’t think to ask for a copy from their web design company and don’t have a web master to provide the files or ensure they are backed up somewhere other than the hosting server, or aren’t comfortable technically to download their own.
Depending on your hosting company, your site may or may not be backed up automatically and should they have problems, crash, reset or in some cases we’ve even seen them shut down without warning. Without your website files your entire website could be lost and you incur the expense and time lost to have a new site recreated.
Even if you aren’t technically inclined or experienced there are 2 easy ways in which you can back up your website files on your own computer.
Control Panel – Most hosting companies supply a control panel. The most popular is Cpanel from www.cpanel.net, which is accessed at www.mydomainname.com/cpanel . You will need to know your hosting user name and password, typically supplied when your hosting account was created. Cpanel control panels are very easy to use and icon based. One such icon is Backups. In this section you can download an entire backup of the folders that make up your website all in one easy step. At the same time this section can also be used to restore the website from these backed up files at anytime.
FTP Access – FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and isn’t as scary as it sounds. It does require an FTP program which there are a few good ones that are free such as Filezilla from Mozilla the makers of FireFox or CoffeeCup. Once you download one of these softwares you will need to know 3 settings; FTP address which is usually ftp.mydomainname.com, your hosting user name and hosting password. Once you have this information and enter it in the FTP software you will be able to connect to your hosting server. Your website files will be in the folder typically entitled www or public_html. Once you have opened this folder you can simply drag and drop the website files to your computer just as you would with windows files.
Having your website files backed up other than on your web server is crucial to protecting your website and now you have the steps to ensure it’s protected.