Backing Up Your Website To Your Own Computer
Why it is a good practice.
If you have a reputable hosting plan (and there is no reason to think you don’t) the company you rent your server from should perform regular backups of your site. That being said, I believe it is also a great idea to have backups of your entire website and database on your own pc, computer, external hard drive, cloud or flash drive. If there is fallout with your hosting provider, or, heaven forbid, they go out of business, you have a full backup of your website to migrate or deploy on a new server or with a new hosting company. Back up your website to your personal computer. It just makes good sense.
How to do your own website backups.
To do your own website backups you need access to your server via FTP (file transfer protocol) and to your database, via whichever control panel you are using, usually Linux or Microsoft. There are plenty of tutorials on the Internet to walk you through it. You could also hire someone or have the person that built the website do it for you. It’s worth the investment.
If nothing else it will give you piece of mind.
Server Issues on Older Sites
I’ve been running into sub-par servers (also called hosting) on older websites.
Say, 5 plus years or older. The problem seems to originate from lack of attention. Websites built 5 years ago (more or less) used fewer resources and in most cases didn’t have as much traffic. What I’m seeing when hired to do a site rebuild or upgrade are servers that are woefully inadequate. The disc space is so tiny that the server is running at or beyond capacity. This can cause slow page loads, which can drive away visitors to your site. This can also cause intermittent crashing of the site. Unless someone complains, you may never know about it.
What you should do.
Contact your hosting (server) provider and ask them to check the well being of your server. Ask them if you need to increase your disc space, memory or bandwidth. If you are comfortable, ask for access to your server so you can check for yourself. If unhappy with your hosting provider consider migrating your site to a new hosting company. There are hundreds to choose from. It is very competitive and prices are fairly reasonable as a whole. Prepare to pay for the migration (moving) of your site to a new and improved server. Also consider contacting your web designer to do all this for you and inquire about a monthly maintenance contract.
This harkens back to my article on why, if you are unable to do it yourself, you should hire someone to keep track of your server. A monthly maintenance fee was what I suggested and have employed it on several sites now. It’s worth the money and may save you from a crashed server, a potential hack and loss of new visitors or customers. In addition, newer servers are generally faster. You can upgrade to a SSD (solid state) hard drive for even faster page loading. Don’t wait. Do it now.