Backing up your data

We are all familiar with the warnings of not backing up our data, whether it be your holiday pictures or that important presentation for work. You want to make sure that your precious data is not lost.

But what about your website, is it backed up? If the worse happened could you get your website back up and running quickly with the latest data? We explore why backing up your website data is essential as well as solutions to help save your website information.

Why is it important to back up your website

No matter where your website is hosted, or what computer infrastructure it is hosted on, failures can and will occur. These failures can result from human error, physical hardware failure and even malware or viruses.

58% of downtime incidents are caused by human error alone. In the US 93% of companies that lost their website data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington).

Solutions

Many of the large infrastructure providers such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure provide service levels of 99.999% and allow you to host your website in multiple availability zones so if one zone has an issue the other can still be used. While these services provide some peace of mind many websites are hosted on a smaller scale, potentially running on just one cloud based machine.

While these cloud services ensure a more resilient website they can’t stop the human errors. We have all accidentally deleted something we shouldn’t have or updated content with the wrong information. Your website is still running but data has now been lost or is incorrect. How do you recover this data?

Beating Writer's Block

Our CMS automatically stores previous versions of your content so you can always revert to the version before you made that mistake. But how to get back that page you deleted yesterday? This is where our website back up solution comes in. For all our hosted websites we provide daily backups on a rolling 7 day basis so we can always restore your data.

There are lots of companies out there that provide software that can be used to backup files from a server hosting a website. Over the years we have used many of them and always had to change how we work to fit into the process each piece of software requires. So we finally decided to build our own that fits how we work, it is what we do after all :)

Building our own backup system allows us much finer control over what is backed up, when it is backed up and where it is backed up to. It also allows us to build in our own level of security to ensure the data is safe.

Svalbard

Deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, lies the Global Seed Vault. The seed vault ensures against the loss of vital seed crops during global crises. This is the type of data backup we wanted to achieve for our websites so our software solution was named Svalbard.

We decided to use Go, also called GoLang, to build Svalbard. This language was developed at Google and provides us with features that make Svalbard a great solution for us.

Long-form Users First

Go creates one single application file that we can upload to wherever we need to use it. We can also compile the application to run on different systems such as Mac OS, Windows and Linux. Go also comes with concurrency handling that allows us to back up multiple websites simultaneously.

What Svalbard does

We designed Svalbard so it can be configured to backup different types of content depending on the website and hosting configuration. For each website we backup the database containing the site’s content and the files uploaded via the CMS. For the server the site is hosted on we also backup the configuration files and SSL certificates. We also use Svalbard internally to backup the source code for all our websites.

Svalbard collects all the data for backups then zips it up before encrypting it to ensure the data is secure and transfers it to our preferred storage solution. Our storage solution makes use of the cloud providers 99.999% service level guarantees to retain backups.

All these backups allow us to quickly restore a site.

Ensuring it works

Having your website backed up provides peace of mind for all involved. But what if the worst happens and the day comes when disaster strikes, judgement day! Well Judgement Day is the name of our system build to ensure every website and server is backed up and the data is usable. We use this system on a daily basis to check that each website has a backup file from the last scheduled Svalbard run. This ensures that we can access the most recent backup of a website if required.

Backup

But what use is that data if it is not useable? So our system will also randomly download backups and extract them for us to inspect and test.

Backup so you don’t miss out!

Backing up your website is vital to ensure your business can continue in the event of a disaster. Our Svalbard solution will help you recover from whatever the world throws at your website. Worried that your website might not be up to scratch? Get in touch to find out what our bespoke content management systems can do for you

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