No matter the level at which you work with the Joomla CMS platform, you most certainly need to have a reliable backup system. Everybody wants to protect the time and finances that you have invested in developing your website, or as is the case for many, websites.
As a forum moderator there are few things that sadden my heart so much as when I come across the dreaded, "HELP! I think my site has been HACKED!!!" or "URGENT! I did something and now MY SITE IS BROKEN!" type of posts. While it is not a daily occurrence it does happen more than one might think. And of course this forces the question every moderator hates to ask, "Do you have your site backed up?" It feels like you are asking someone who has just smashed their car into a ditch or had their house burn down if they have insurance. No matter how you phrase the question it just seems to miss the compassion warranted for such moments of despair or tragedy.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that there is little that can be done when your site has either been compromised or files have been deleted, unless you have a recent backup.
Understanding this may be common knowledge among seasoned website designers. But in case you have not taken this seriously, let me be clear, the backup component on your Joomla site, while less sexy than the cool image thing-a-ma-bob that gives your site that special bling, is THE MOST IMPORTANT EXTENSION ON YOUR SITE. Understanding how it functions and being confident that if the unthinkable happens, you can solve the problem in minutes not days is of critical importance.
So what now? Well as the saying goes 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. Let's take a look at some of the options available to Joomla site implementers. The following are a couple of backup component options that make the potential of a disaster a non-issue, Akeeba and XCloner. Both have some good traits that are worth looking at when considering which might be best for your site.
Many are familiar with the first one on the list "Akeeba Backup". Akeeba is a really good component right out of the box. Simply install it, run the config wizard, and in most cases you are ready to make a reliable backup with a single click.
Akeeba comes loaded with configurable options that allow you to easily control things such as; how many backups are stored on your server, how much file space backups are allowed to take up on the server before old ones are deleted, archive password protection, multiple archive file formats to choose from, new version release notification, one-click update, very user friendly interface, and much more.
Redeploying your site with Akeeba is very easy as well. It is just a matter of creating your new MySQL database just like you would with a new site and then uploading your backup along with the kickstart.php file. Browse to the kickstart.php file on your site and follow the clearly instructed step by step install process. In my experience this works without fail.
The features listed earlier are all part of the free component. There are even more great features available in the "Professional" edition such as cloud back up capability which brings us to the other backup component on our list.
"XCloner" is a less known backup component that functions very well but does require some configuration to be ready to make backups. However, it has some features in the free version that are only in the professional version of the Akeeba Backup component, mainly the cloud backup option.
This is a very nice feature and is easily configured. You can either transfer backups via FTP (file transfer protocol) to directly to Amazon's S3 (simple storage service). This means it can be easily setup to take backups automatically on a set schedule using CRON and then store them off site. Which means you can have backups stored with redundancy in case of some unthinkable catastrophe that hits both your computer and the web host's server at the same time. While it is not as well documented as the Akeeba backup component it does have straight forward documentation at a level enough for someone to get make good use of the product. One thing really nice about the free version of XCloner is that it is very easy to create many different CRON (automated) backup configurations.
How is that useful? Well, I am glad you asked. For example, I have a site setup to take backups once a week and send them via FTP to the FTP Server on my home office server that uses XAMPP (tweaked a bit to allow outside FTP access); and I have the same site set to send backups to my Amazon S3 account three times a week.
There is a lot to be said for ease of use. The backup and restoration process for Akeeba is clearly the easiest between the two. While the added feature of cloud (or off site) backup capabilities at no charge is appealing particularly for those small side business and/or non-profit sites that cannot join every extension club available. However, if you can afford the reasonable expense of the Akeeba professional or deluxe packages, I refer you to the statement I made earlier in this article.
"…the backup component on your Joomla site………is THE MOST IMPORTANT EXTENSION ON YOUR SITE. Understanding how it functions and being confident that if the unthinkable happens, that you can solve the problem in minutes not days is of critical importance."
Whichever option you choose it is important that you spend as much time as is necessary to become confident that, if your site has a disaster of any kind, you can keep down time to a minimum. Backing up is important, but just as important is being able to quickly redeploy your site using a backup. Make it a point to practice this until it is not a problem to redeploy in minutes, not days.
jfyi, you can use both if you like.
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