What’s a DR plan and do I need one for my WordPress blog?

I woke up this morning and found that my blogs had disappeared! My host server says they can’t be retrieved. Is there ANY thing I can do? I don’t have any backups saved.


I got this question from a very unfortunate friend of mine, Kathy, who blogs down at Is 8 Enough?. Are you can imagine, she was pretty distraught at the prospect of starting all over again, and unfortunately, in these circumstances, backups are the life savers. Sometimes, everything goes wrong and the only option is to restore from backups. If you don’t have backups, however, you’re stuck, without a paddle. What you need is a Disaster Recovery Plan, which very simply consists of defining what CAN do wrong for your website and planning how to recover if such an eventuality *does* occur.

So, in this case, the disaster we are looking at is the case where your WordPress blog has vanished off the surface of the Web. What do I recommend to make sure you don’t end up in the same predicament? Well, I’ve already blogged in the past about how to backup WordPress, so this post is really a continuation of that. The plugin I recommended is a great one called BackUpWordPress which does an excellent job of backing up your entire WordPress installation, all your themese, plugins, settings and posts.

Now, the great thing about this plugin is that you can also schedule backups to happen at regular intervals. My DR (Disaster Recovery) Plan is simple, and I use this on sites like MBA Geek and Ugh!!’s Greymatter Honeypot. Configure the plugin to take backups once a week, and automatically email them to a dedicated GMail account. Here’s are what the settings look like:

Once all that is set up, I just forget about it. If anything ever goes wrong, I know that I have a full backup of the entire installation in my gmail account. At most, this will be 7 days old, but if your blog is particularly busy, or you think there’s more risk of losing your information, you can schedule the backup to happen daily. You get loads of space in your Gmail account, so feel free to use it up.

I hope Kathy’s experience never happens to any of you. It may not be the sort of thing that will drive you to become an alcoholic, end up in drug rehab or contemplating your life at the top of very high building, but it can be one of the most stressful events that ever happen to you .. especially if you are responsible for someone else’s websites too!

5 thoughts on “What’s a DR plan and do I need one for my WordPress blog?

  1. very good post. i only JUST started getting weekly backups of my busiest blogs because of some ridiculous near disaster just like the one you mention. i thought my blogs were gone, so i hurriedly fixed up my account to send my backups to my gmail.

  2. I just got hacked today. It was minor: just the index.php file in the root directory had been accessed and changed. But seeing the potential for what *could* have happened, I have decided to try out this plugin and have backups sent daily. Thanks. 🙂

  3. @suni: yeah, after Kathy’s story I’m applying the method above to all my blogs. I think she did actually recover in the end, but it must have been a terrifying experience.

  4. Its wise to get this tools for our WP sites. Better be safe than sorry. Hope my sites will not get hack. Sorry to hear about it jenn.

  5. I think that making a backup everytime you update something is an good habit. Save you the trouble when anything happens, and your informations are gone. You can just backed it up by your gmail account, easily and simple.

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