We are taught the value of a backup from a young age. If you have ever played a video game, you would at some point experienced the blood-curdling feeling of losing your progress because you did not save. This terrible feeling can find you even today, and especially when working on websites. In the world of tech, anything can and will happen. And it will be invaluable to know how to save yourself time, effort and tears – the backup (cue Ominous Choir Intro).
What is a Backup?
In the case of Webmastering or developing, the term backup pertains to a type of source control. Source Control is the practice of tracking changes and updates to sets of code. In the past, you may have practiced something similar with projects or even essays in school. i.e. the multiple files suffixed with “_FINAL”, “_FINALFINAL” or “_LASTVERSIONISWEAR” ring any bells?
You would generally do the same here but today, there are fantastic tools available to help with the backing up of priceless projects, no matter what format they take shape in – be it raw code, or word documents.
10,000 Days of Tool(s)
The great thing about the internet world we live in today is that a lot of what would have been considered to be expensive services today, refrain from charging you for useful things – otherwise people simply won’t use them! If you have a Gmail account you automatically have a Google Drive account, which gives you a shiny 15GB of cloud storage absolutely free.
While the 15GB is an amazing offer, Drive is being mentioned for a different reason – it has a source control type feature which is incredibly useful! Let’s say you have your essay in a Microsoft Word file, which you upload onto your Drive for safe keeping. You later realise that you forgot to add your name to the heading, so you make the change and upload the file again. Drive will automatically add the new file to the old one as a new version, instead of overwriting it as would usually happen. You should technically be able to use this feature if you are working on more advanced projects, like code, but there may be better tools out there for this purpose.
If you are working on raw code, here is a fantastic tool for you (and no, this is not a British insult). Git is a product developed by GitHub, one of the Web’s most popular developer portals. Pros and Noobs alike flock to the site to discuss new ideas, share knowledge and follow one another’s progress. Git stands out as a source control tool because it uses a more advanced way to display the changes made in code. What it does is it uses diagrams to illustrate more clearly where changes and annotations have been made, by whom, and how those changes link to other functionalities within the code.
This is so effective and popular that huge companies are listing experience with Git as a job requirement for developers, and it is no mystery why. This allows teams of developers, all working on different facets of the same code, to track and identify changes made by other members, easily and quickly – especially useful during SPRINT sessions.
Now onto a backup tool for our faithful WordPress practitioners. Working in WordPress can somewhat leave one in a false sense of security. Thinking that because it is so straightforward, that there is virtually no chance of something going wrong. But being realistic will make one think otherwise. WordPress is huge, running around a third of the websites currently online. On top of that, they are rolling out new updates on a very regular basis, probably to keep up to date with security. Imagine if they didn’t, the speed with which viruses and hackers could collapse a massive chunk of the internet would be catastrophic.
Keeping that in mind, it makes sense for you to take just one last tiny precaution to ensure that you have that last bit of security. Using a Plugin like Duplicator Pro, which is free, is a must. What it does is it backs up your entire WordPress site into a compact .ZIP file for you to download and store away, along with an installer. This is very convenient because you can decide where to store the backup, and how many times you want to make a backup. There is no limit. Having that extra piece of mind when working on your precious Cat Video Collections website, can make the work much less stressful.
It may seem like an unnecessary and time consuming process, but making a backup of your hard work can mean the difference between shrugging off an mishap, or ripping your hair out. If you choose to live on the dangerous side of life and not take these precautions, the onus is on you. Be warned, it only takes one unsaved game form your childhood to completely change your mind, we here at BFS do hope that you don’t lose too much of your progress though. We have tissues at our office if you need them anyway.