Web Developer Tools

Backup Your Web Site

Last weekend I got a sad call from a client. His web site had gone down. Sadly it happens. It shouldn’t happen often or for very long – but it happens. Unfortunately the web host selection predated me here – but I had some advice and comfort that I thought I’d share with folks.

First, I had a copy of his web site on my computer. So there was no way he was going to lose the web site permanently. Unless you use a content management system, your web developer probably has a local copy of your web site. It wouldn’t hurt to ask. You might also ask your web host if they have a copy and/or how often they back up their servers. If the worst happens you can always go to www.archive.org; they archive lots of web sites and with any luck they’ll have an old version of your site. It’s not perfect, but I used it after a desperate call from a new client and it was better than nothing.

Second, if the domain name and web site are hosted with different companies you might be able to forward the address to a temporary site. Luckily it didn’t get that far but the host of this site seemed small enough that they possibility order domain names from a third party – so I had offered to post the web site or an abbreviated version to my server if we could redirect the domain name to the temporary address. Luckily we didn’t get that far.

Third, now that I know that we may have problems with this web host I have pointed a monitoring service (www.freewebmonitoring.com) at the site that will send me an email every time the web site goes down and again once it’s back up. The “back up” email will tell me how long the site was down, which is helpful if/when you need to talk to the web site.

While it’s never a good day when you’re web site goes down – it doesn’t have to be the worst day either.

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