In my previous posts about backing up your web sites, I mentioned why it is important to do a backup and what you should backup. In this part, let’s cover how and where to backup.
There are many ways you can backup your data. Here are just a few that I myself use.
Computer Hard Drive
The easiest and most obvious would be to make backup copies on your own computer. The problem with making backup copies on your computer is if something were to happen to it. If your computer “dies” or gets stolen, you lose all your data including your backups. So, why even bother?
There are several reasons why you should.
To begin with, it’s so easy … why not. It’s as easy as creating a “My Backup” folder and dumping your data there. Just keep in mind that this shouldn’t be your only backup source.
Almost all computers come with a DVD burner these days. So, burning your backups on DVDs would be an equally easy task to do. I don’t bother with CDs anymore because my data come up to the GIGAbytes. What I do is have two types of DVDs? One that is not rewritable for my data files that don’t really change, for example ebooks that I have purchased.
Then I have a rewritable DVD for my constantly changing data, like my web pages. The only problem with DVDs that I’ve come across is if the DVD gets corrupted. I have lost all files on a DVD due to this.
Another potential problem is if there was a disaster such as a fire or something that will destroy both your computer and the DVDs. But then again you could always keep a copy of the DVD elsewhere, like mom’s house.
The only other thing I don’t like about keeping data on DVDs is it takes a bit longer to access data from it. You know, having to wait for the DVD reader to start spinning …
Something that’s faster than a DVD is an external hard drive. An external hard drive is just like your computer hard drive only it’s “outside” of your computer. Back when I first used an external hard drive, it was HUGE. Definitely something you wouldn’t want to carry around.
But today, you can get an external hard drive that could fit in your palm at a very reasonable price.
So far, we’ve covered backup media that need to be physically close to your workplace. Unless, you want to make several trips daily to mom’s house, you are still vulnerable to data loss due to a disaster.
One great place to backup your files is on your web host server. In fact, some scripts can have features where you can make backup copies of your data to a folder on your server.
This is an easy option to make backups that are further from your physical location.
Online backup storage
My most recent method of backup, which is quickly becoming my main form of backup is online backup storage. I’ve always thought this to be an ideal backup method. The only reason I waited so long to use it is because it used to cost so much.
But prices have now dropped so low that it’s highly becoming THE IDEAL backup method. In my opinion at least. The companies offering these services are specialized in doing backups so you can be quite sure that they have taken all measures necessary to keep your data safe.
So how much can you expect to pay?
If you do a quick search for online backup, you’ll find plenty of company that offers this services. They all offer different pricing plans. But at the time of writing, you can get a reasonable 50GB backup account for just $9.95/month.
What online service do I use?
Well, I use Amazon S3. It is a storage service offered by Amazon.com. I started using Amazon S3 because it was the cheapest online storage at the time. They currently charge $0.15 per GB of usage and you only pay for what you use. They also charge $0.10 per GB data you upload to their server.
Amazon S3 is not the normal backup service you’d find on the net. Their services are mainly for developers who know their way around the tech world enough to create an interface to use Amazon S3. But I was fortunate enough to find a free intuitive software that provided this interface called JungleDisk that allowed me to use Amazon S3 like a local hard drive. JungleDisk made my Amazon S3 appear like another hard drive disk on my computer. So all I have to do is drag my files to that disk and it will be backed up on one of Amazon.com’s worldclass server.
I highly recommend Amazon S3 but it may not be for everyone. Recently, I came across an online backup service that could be a great alternative. It’s called Mozy. I’ve never used it before though so I can’t comment on the quality. But it provides unlimited storage at just $4.95/month. Something you may want to try out. And if you do, don’t forget to share your experiences with us.