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General Discussion

Jason Atkinson
Jason Atkinson
26,245 Points

whats the best way to backup and restore websites?

i'm currently at a company who prefer to put all there eggs in one basket by having all of there websites hosted on the same ftp.

A little while ago the server became corrupted, which meant a long period of down time and 2 days of contentiousness uploading to get the sites back up and running.

Is there a better / low cost way of possibly getting all the domain names to point to a different server when the site goes down? so the sites can carry on while we fix the problems with the first server.

I'm manly a front end designer, so dont now a great deal about how web servers work but if any one can explain a bit more about how this could be possible or how this is totally not possible i would be very grateful. thanks

3 Answers

Depending on how your web servers are setup, and which web server you're using, there are multiple ways to redirect to a temporary site.

If you're using Apache, the httpd.conf file is one option. Turning the ReWriteEngine to "on" and adding a new domain name should do the trick. Of course, you would need an alternate domain at the ready to redirect to. It might be worth the investment to pay for another domain name and hosting to have this option available.

You could also change your A-record entry to point to a new IP address for the temporary domain.

The best option is to take regular backups of not only your site, but the web server(s) as well. Again, depending on your systems, you could recover your servers, then apply the website restores from backups and be up and running in as little time as possible.

Disclaimer - If you're unfamiliar with any of the options above, I would highly recommend finding someone experienced to lean on. If you have a server team in your organization, definitely get them engaged.

Jason Atkinson
Jason Atkinson
26,245 Points

Hi Tod,

Thanks for the suggestion but it still doesn't really help me out. The Apache httpd.conf file may well be the best option but i still dont feel confident about using it even after completing some videos about the ReWriteEngine on this site.

This may add to the confusion but it wasn't the domain name which went down it was the web hosting; it appears that they have always just used one web hosting for all of there 13 websites but as past web designer have come and gone they have used different places to register domain names leaving me with a head ache and a giant mess to sort out.

how do you backup the web server apposed to just backing up each site? (Heres the link to the wiki section of the web host they use https://secure.servage.net/wiki/Main_Page)

as they are a small company in the sense of people i dont have any one to lean on for support, we only have one IT technician and from knowing him, i think he may know even less than i do.

Jason,

Unless you have access to the web server, you don't really have any options of backing it up. The best you could do is backup your site files. Your web host should be attending to their servers. If it's taking them an unreasonable of time to get the server back up, it might be time to look for a new host. If you're just concerned with taking backups of your site(s), any host worth their salt will have options for that. Just looking at the link you provided, I'm assuming you have access to the databases. If you have access to the phpMyAdmin area of your site, you can use MySQL dumps as a mean of backup. You need to know how to do it though, and that's only backups of the databases. The content might also need separate backups.

Having an alternate host available to failover to isn't necessarily practical either. It would still require a change to your A-record to point your site to the new temporary domain/web server, which could take 24 hours to replicate, then when it's fixed, another 24 hours to replicate back.

My suggestion would be to consider a new host. GoDaddy, Host Gator,, Bluehost, are all good choices. Most have a 99.99% up-time.

Where the domains are registered isn't really an issue until it comes time to make a move. Just make a list of all the sites and domain registrants and keep it handy where you (and your backup) can find it. In your case, it's the hosting solution that's the concern. Address that problem first.

Jason Atkinson
Jason Atkinson
26,245 Points

That's great to know, thanks