Is Your Website Backed Up Securely? 7 Questions to Ask Your Host or Website Developer.

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to assume that everything online is automatically protected. However, when it comes to your website – a vital asset to your business – assumptions can lead to significant setbacks. Many business owners often assume that their website is automatically backed up, but the truth is, a majority of websites aren’t sufficiently protected. This makes it crucial to ask the right questions to ensure your website’s safety.  Here’s what you need to know about backing up your website and the critical questions to ask your web developer, a potential web developer, or your hosting company. We have a lesson that goes over this in the Toto Coaching course. If you are building or managing your website yourself, consider learning more to make your site more effective!


1. How frequently is my website backed up?


Answer: Daily backups are the gold standard. Here’s why:

Ideally, you’d want multiple backups over a spread-out duration, for instance, daily backups kept for 90 days. This ensures you have a good spread of options to restore from if you discover an issue from a few weeks ago. Your content’s security is directly proportional to how regularly it’s backed up. The frequency of your backups will determine how much data you can recover in case of a mishap.

The frequency of your website backups directly impacts the amount of data you could lose in case of an unexpected event.

Examples: Imagine you update your website with new products or blogs weekly. If your last backup was two weeks ago, and there’s an issue today, you’ll lose all the new content from those two weeks. Daily backups would minimize this loss.


2. Is my website backed up manually or automatically?  What are Automatic Backups?

Automatic backups refer to the system where your data is backed up at regular intervals without your intervention.

Manual backups involve you or your team initiating the backup process each time. This requires someone to remember and physically start the backup process, be it daily, weekly, or at any other chosen interval.

Answer: You want automatic backups of your website. This system is set up once and then runs on its own, backing up your data at pre-defined times. We go over this in one of our modules in the Toto Coaching Full Website Building Course

Advantages of Automatic Website Backups:

  • Consistency: With automated backups, you don’t have to rely on memory or set reminders. It’s set-and-forget until you need it.
  • Convenience: Once set up, there’s no additional effort required on your part.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your website data is automatically backed up provides peace of mind.

Examples: It’s like setting up a monthly auto-debit for your bills. Once initiated, the payments are taken care of each month, ensuring no lapses.

Disadvantages of Manual Website Backups:

  • Inconsistency: Missed backup sessions can lead to data loss.
  • Time-Consuming: Requires manual effort every time, which can be burdensome.
  • Potential for Human Error: The process can be susceptible to mistakes or oversights.

Examples: This is similar to going to a utility company’s office or website every month to pay your bills. It requires effort and attention each time, and forgetting can lead to penalties.

While both automatic and manual backups have their place, for most businesses looking to ensure consistency, security, and peace of mind, automatic backups come out as the clear winner. Manual backups might be suitable for less critical data or if you have a consistent process in place. But for vital business assets like your website, going automatic is the best insurance against potential disasters.


3. How long are website backups retained?

The duration for which your website backups are stored can determine how far back you can go to restore your website to its desired state.

Answer: Retaining website backups for as long as possible is ideal for various reasons:

Flexibility: Longer retention periods provide a wider window to identify and rectify issues. If an error went unnoticed for three weeks, a backup system that only keeps two weeks of data would be of no help.

Security: If your website is compromised and the malicious activity went undetected for a while, having older website backups allows you to restore your site to a point before the compromise occurred.

Examples: Suppose an intern made an error on your website three weeks ago, but you only noticed it now. If you only have two weeks of backups, you’re out of luck. But with extended retention, you can easily revert the changes.


4. Where are my website backup files and databases stored?

The storage location of your website backup files is a crucial determinant of how secure and accessible they are when needed. Think of this as you would with storing valuable possessions in your home. You wouldn’t keep everything precious in one place, easily accessible to potential threats. Or, put another way, this is analogous to storing a fire extinguisher – you wouldn’t store it next to the stove, would you? Because if there is a fire in your stove, you won’t be able to get to the fire extinguisher to put out the fire. You store your fire extinguisher around the corner (if you are storing your fire extinguisher next to your stove, you might want to get up after reading this article and move it!)

Answer: Website backups should be never be stored on the same hosting as your website – they should be stored offsite, separate from your main website. This way, if something catastrophic happens to your primary host, your backup remains unaffected. Opt for solutions that store your website backups offsite or on a different server.

Why offsite storage is essential:

Security: If both your website and its backup are on the same server, a single cyber attack could potentially compromise everything. Keeping them separate enhances security.

Availability: In case of server downtimes or host-specific issues, offsite backups ensure that your website backup files remain accessible.

Examples: Think of it like keeping a spare key to your house. Storing it under your front doormat is risky, as anyone can access it. However, leaving it with a trusted neighbor ensures you can get it when locked out, while also keeping it secure.


5. What’s the website backup restore process like? How easy is it?

In the unfortunate event that you need to use a backup, knowing how to restore it is crucial. Restoring your website from a backup shouldn’t be a complex, multi-step process that leaves you confused.

Answer: The website restore process should be seamless, user-friendly and straightforward. If your host or developer is merely providing you with a folder of databases and files and expecting you to restore your website it manually, that’s a red flag. You need a more integrated solution.

Benefits of an easy restore process:

Time-Saving: In times of crisis, every second count. A streamlined process helps get your site back online quickly. There is almost no excuse for a website to be down for days.  If this has happened to you, you need a new solution.

Less Room for Errors: A complicated process increases the risk of errors, which can further exacerbate your website’s issues.

Examples: Think of restoring your website as changing a flat tire. If you have all the right tools and instructions handy, it’s a manageable task. But if the process is convoluted, with tools scattered everywhere, you’re more likely to make mistakes or take longer than necessary.


6. Who is responsible for the restore of my website?

Knowing who is in charge and how easy the process of restoring your website can save you a lot of stress and money. Clarity on responsibility ensures you’re not left hanging when things go awry. Don’t wait until you have an emergency to figure out this question, especially if the answer is that YOU are responsible! It’s hard to think clearly when there is an emergency, your website is down, and more difficult when you didn’t know this was up to you, and if you are unclear how to do a website restore.

Answer: It should be clear whether it’s your responsibility or the host’s to restore from a backup. If the hosting company handles the website backup, do they also manage the restoration? Do they charge an additional fee for it? How long will it take to get your site up and running again?

Why clarity on restoration responsibility is crucial:

Preparedness: Knowing who’s in charge of your website backup restore prepares you better in emergencies.

Cost Implications: If your hosting provider is responsible, there might be associated costs. It’s best to be informed upfront.

Examples: If your car breaks down, knowing whether your insurance covers towing or if you need to arrange it yourself can save valuable time and reduce stress.


7. What are the costs associated with restoration of my website backup?

Sometimes, a hosting company or website developer or website agency will charge you an arm and a leg to get your site restored!  You want to find out now what your costs will be in a the case of a disaster!

Answer: Restoring a website from a good quality backup should not be expensive. Ensure you’re clear about any costs associated with restoring your website from a backup. If your host is charging for something that should ideally be part of your package, reconsider your options. If your developer says you will be billed for more than an hour or so of work (ideally it should be a 15-30 minute charge unless there is some other major technical issue), you may want to look for a new developer.

Importance of understanding restoration costs:

Budgeting: Knowing potential costs helps you allocate resources accordingly.

Decision Making: If the costs are prohibitive, it might influence your choice of a hosting provider or backup solution.

Examples: Consider this akin to medical procedures. It’s always advisable to understand the costs involved, including those not covered by insurance, to avoid unexpected bills.


Now, I am going to tell you about the backup solution I ALWAYS recommend for WordPress websites:


Why MalCare is a Lifesaver for WordPress Sites

If your website runs on WordPress, then MalCare should be on your radar. In the vast ocean of backup solutions available for WordPress, MalCare stands out as a beacon of reliability and efficiency. Here’s why:

Daily Backups: MalCare backs up your WordPress website every single day.  This is the ideal situation.

Automatic Backups: MalCare backs up your WordPress website automatically. You set it once and can forget about it.

90 days of Retained Backups: Sometimes you need to go back 45 or so days – with MalCare you can do this!

Offsite Storage: Taking the analogy of the fire extinguisher to heart, MalCare stores your backups offsite, ensuring maximum safety.

Easy Restoration: With MalCare, restoration is not a mammoth task. It’s designed to be user-friendly and hassle-free.
I’ve personally had MalCare save my website multiple times. It’s not just a backup solution; it’s a safety net.

You can be responsible: Because MalCare has one-click restore, you can run the process of restoring the website. Or if your developer is responsible, that’s great too because you know it won’t take them forever and your invoice should not be that high!

Cost Effective: Because you are paying for MalCare on an annual basis, the process is easy to do, the files are kept off-site and are readily accessible, MalCare is cost effective!

Not only that, but also what makes MalCare’s backup feature superior?


  • Comprehensive Backup: MalCare doesn’t just offer a one-time backup solution. It ensures that your content is backed up regularly, giving you peace of mind.
  • Incremental Backups: Traditional backup methods can slow down your site. MalCare uses incremental backups which means only changes are backed up, reducing the load on your site and ensuring high performance.
  • Secure Cloud Storage: MalCare provides peace of mind by storing encrypted backups in secure cloud storage across multiple data centers. This guarantees safety against ransomware and other malicious threats.
  • 1-Click Restore: You can do the restore yourself. The process is super easy and takes only a few minutes!!! In case of any mishap, MalCare ensures a hassle-free recovery with its 1-click restore feature.
  • Specialized Solutions: Whether you run a WooCommerce site or have a WordPress Multisite setup, MalCare offers tailored backup solutions to cater to your specific needs.


Why is MalCare Better than Traditional Backup Methods?


  • MalCare vs. Manual Backups: Manual backups are cumbersome and prone to errors. MalCare ensures automated and flawless backups, eliminating the complexities of manual methods.
  • MalCare vs. Backup Plugins: While some backup plugins can slow down your website or come with hidden costs, MalCare promises speed, reliability, and transparency.
  • MalCare vs. Webhost Backups: Relying on your webhost for backups can be risky. They’re not entirely separate from your website and can be difficult to restore. MalCare’s independent backups are easy to restore and guarantee that your data is safe and sound.

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In Conclusion

Don’t assume your website is safe. Proactively ask your host or website developer these questions to ensure your content is as protected as it can be. Knowledge is power. Being equipped with detailed information about your website’s backup processes and understanding the nitty-gritty helps you make informed decisions. Ensure your website’s backbone – its backup and restoration system – is robust and reliable.

Don’t wait for a mishap to realize the importance of a robust backup. After all, it’s not just about having a backup but also about ensuring that backup works when you most need it. Protect your website today.

For anyone seeking a dependable, efficient, and comprehensive backup solution for their WordPress site, MalCare is the obvious choice. Beyond just backups, it offers a suite of tools and features designed to give users peace of mind in the ever-evolving digital landscape. It’s not just about having a backup; it’s about having a backup you can trust. And in that department, MalCare truly shines.


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Web Coach Jennifer Smiling

Former Web Development Agency Owner
Founder of Toto Coaching
Founder of Toto SEO

Jennifer DeRosa

Jennifer is the author of "Building DIY Websites for Dummies," a new addition to the renowned "for dummies" series.

She is also the visionary behind Toto SEO and Toto Coaching. As the founder of Toto SEO, she specializes in offering SEO solutions tailored for small businesses. Through Toto Coaching, she provides an interactive online course, complete with weekly coaching sessions, empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs to craft websites that not only presell their offerings but also foster trust among their clientele.

Jennifer's thirst for knowledge recently led her to complete a program on No Code Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the prestigious MIT University. 

Before her current ventures, Jennifer was the driving force behind TechCare, a web development agency she founded and led from 2001 to 2021, when she had a successful Exit.

Her career also includes consulting roles with industry giants such as Mercedes Benz Credit Corporation, US Surgical, GTE, GE Capital, Unilever, and Calvin Klein.

She is a frequent speaker for WordPress Meetups, SCORE, and others.

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