Nuno Morgadinho

Nuno Morgadinho

WidgiLabs CEO

Do you have a recovery plan for your WordPress site? Yes, you need it. You know… just in case.

I’ll explain why in no time.

First, I have a confession to make.

One day I lost one toy, and I cried.

I was 9, and that toy was my favorite.

I can bet that you had the same feeling of loss sometimes in your life.

More recently I lost some hours of work when I was updating a website. Thankfully it wasn’t anything unrecovered. I just had to do it again.

I had backups and used them.

However, at that moment I thought about the ones that don’t do regular backups.

Because, you know, accidents happen.

As you’re a smart person, I believe that you do have backups ready for when they are needed.

WordPress has a ton of options for data recovery. That is not a problem.

The question is: do you have a plan for getting everything run again in the shortest possible time?

The plan is like insurance. You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll have it at hand.

It helps you to know step by step what to do and avoid panic.

Create a plan simply to read and understand. When a site is in danger zone, you don’t want to read a 30-page document. Make with 5 or 6 pages, in a checklist style.

 

Create a plan simply to read and understand

What you’ll need to make practical a recovery plan

  • By now you must know that you need a great backup solution for your site. WordPress has lots of ways to make it easy.
  • Be sure you have at least one backup version of all your information. All backups must be up to date.
  • When possible, use automated backups tools, that allow you to make it manual and scheduled.
  • Make sure you have the right settings if you need to restore your entire site from a backup.

Make your plan simple in 4 steps

Pick up a paper sheet or a text document on your computer and start the plan.

  1. Tasks for preventing problems
  2. Investigation checklist – with disaster scenarios
  3. Recovery actions – with steps
  4. List of contact details with all team persons

Have a checklist of prevention tasks

You know you have a beautiful mind, but with time new information comes and gets the place of old information. It’s inevitable: you’ll forget something.

So make a checklist in the first say of each project.

  • Register every change in your WordPress site. Yep, it’s annoying but can be time-saving in the future. The problem you now have can be related to the plugin you updated 2 weeks ago.
  • Keep an eye on your plugins. Make a list of the plugins you’re using.
  • Make copies of all important files. Do you post your photos on the site? Store them in another place. The same to text or infographics.
  • Register ‘strange’ things. All irregularities. If you notice something wrong, take a screenshot and create a record of the issue.
  • Setup your backup frequency – real-time, hourly, daily, or weekly

 

Setup your backup frequency – real-time, hourly, daily, or weekly

Nurture your site security

Sorry, but I can’t promise that you’ll never be hacked. No one can. But you can make your site tough to attack.

Try to build a security solution using your system or work with external tools.

  • Use a strong combination of username and password for WordPress and server access;
  • Block directory browsing;
  • Implement a firewall.

Use the investigation checklist to find the ignition point

In the case of problems, you’ll want to find what happened. In some circumstances, it’ll be easy. In others no.

So, your list must have the possible culprits:

  • It’s a server issue
  • It’s a site issue
  • It’s plugins
  • It’s theme
  • It’s an external attack and of what kind

Try your best to find the origin of the problem. It will be important for the future.

Don’t forget your CSI jacket.

Recovery actions – with steps

In the prevention step, we talked about setting up your backup frequency. If you need to apply a snapshot copy, it must be the most recent good version.

It’s possible that you miss some data.

For some sites, the impact might be minimal. For e-commerce sites might be huge, depending on your traffic and sales.

If you have an e-commerce with lots of sales, you might consider using the real-time backup.

Do you trust your host?

If you have a hosting provider, it’s highly recommended that you know the details around its backup policy.

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask:

  • Where are the backups stored?
  • What is the process to restore?
  • How long does it take?
  • How much does it cost?

List of contact details

Have a list with the email address, mobile number, Slack username, Skype username of anyone who is required in this case. Not only the people that can help but your clients too.

They must be informed and kept up to date.

Save it and let everyone knows where it is

Make your plan readily available to all the people involved. Use Google Drive, Dropbox, or another cloud platform. Keep it at hand.

As it is a document that you can change and update from time to time, it’s important to have some version control. But don’t use any tech service. Your clients probably aren’t familiar with those tools.

 

Have a list with the email address, mobile number, Slack username, Skype username of anyone who is required in this case.

 

Test the process

Firefighters have plans for almost every scenario. However, they do regular simulacrums. It’s an important way to test if their plan is good and is working.

Like firefighters, you need to know if your plan is good and working.

Write your restore process and then test it. Step-by-step. Do it regularly and make adjustments, if necessary.

Now, go on. Make or test your recovery plan.

 

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