This is a sad tale of 5 lost websites and much lost time but, thanks to UpdraftPlus, it does have a happy ending. Do you ever worry about losing your website because of circumstances outside your control? I didn’t. because I thought I’d got it all covered with security and backups. Until the totally unexpected happened.
First, let me explain what UpdraftPlus is. It’s a free, or premium, WordPress backup & restore plugin. The premium version includes free cloud storage and a migrate function for moving to a new Webhost or new Url.
Read on for the saga of how I lost two hosting accounts and the 5 sites and backups hosted on them, within a few weeks!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “once bitten, twice shy” meaning you’ll avoid making the same mistake twice. With this post, I hope to stop you being bitten even once.
Four Lost Websites
When I moved over to Siteground last year I left 4 sites with my old host. Three of the remaining sites were those I created for non-profit organisations and the other for a family member’s art site. (The 5th was a site hosted by the person I bought it from – I explain this at the end of the post)
I requested my old host to change me over to monthly, rather than annual billing. The reply to my support ticket confirmed this was done. The next month came along and they charged me the annual fee! I contacted them to say I was moving to another host and they hadn’t changed my account to monthly billing. Could they please do that and refund me the difference.
What I didn’t expect was a refund for the whole amount rather than 11 months. My hosting account was cancelled immediately. I lost four sites and all the backups created with the BackWPup plugin.
The Saga Continues – Website 5
Last year I bought a new domain and WordPress e-commerce site on Flippa. The price was good and it came with a premium theme. The seller had sold masses of sites and had good reviews. I thought it a good way to learn to use WordPress with WooCommerce so I could then create them myself.
The seller offered to continue hosting the site himself. Because the site was super fast I accepted, intending to move it across at some time. Yes, you’re right. It was a mistake! Disaster struck again.
Last month the site went down. It just disappeared! The whole server was gone, never to see the light of a screen again.
UpdraftPlus Migrator To The Rescue
Before moving the sites to new hosts, I purchased the UpdraftPlus Migrator plugin to save me from doing a laborious manual transfer. I am so thankful I did because it saved 4 of the 5 sites from total oblivion. (You can buy Migrator separately from the full premium version.)
I’d used UpdraftPlus to back up the database, plugins, and files, and I’d downloaded them to my PC. One site had a lot of files outside of the WordPress structure which other backup solutions don’t cater for.
Migrator successfully and easily transferred 4 of the sites to the new hosts.
The 4th site was a Multisite install which UpdraftPlus free version wouldn’t deal with. I knew I’d have to transfer it manually. No problem I thought, It was quite complex procedure but I’d done it before and I had backups on the server. Wrong – they’d gone! They’d disappeared into the netherworld of the Wayback Machine.
I had to start from scratch and build the main site and two multi-site addon sub-domain sites. I manually extracted posts from an old database backup, found others on Google cached pages, reuploaded all the images and attached them to the right posts. A long job! I dread to think of the cost if I’d had to pay someone to do it for me.
I Should Have Bought UpdraftPlus Premium
UpdraftPlus Premium caters for WP Multisites and auto-schedules backups to their cloud storage. I’d have saved hours and hours of time and effort.
I now realise how vital it is to keep external backups. The premium version of UpdraftPlus is reasonably priced. The free plugin version is fine if you have plenty of room on one of the supported backup services, your database is small enough for email sending, or you regularly download your server saved backups to your computer.
Why We Need External Website Backups
Even if you have premium firewalls and security on your site, you can still lose them!
- Your host shuts you down, as happened to me twice in a month.
- Your Webhost makes a mistake. A Stark Reminder About Why You Need External Website Backups talks about a major hosting UK hosting company, 123.reg who accidentally deleted sites during a routine maintenance operation.
- Your site is hacked and your files corrupted or deleted.
- Your shared hosting site is hacked and your WebHost suspends your account because of danger to other sites or the amount of bandwidth your site is now using.
- Your Webhost itself is hacked.
- Your site is affected by Ransomware.
All of this sounds awful doesn’t it but all of these problems are solvable with a good external backup solution. At least this site wasn’t a part of the story. I’d already made a major mistake with this one earlier in the year.
Have you ever lost a website? Are you happy that your backup solution will save you from such problems? Please do comment and let us know.