Do Me A Favor – Don’t Back Up Your Databases…

Huh? Why would I say such a thing?

Simple really. If you don’t back up your databases of customers, subscribers, etc., then when your database becomes corrupt, or your webhost screws you and dumps your databases or whatever, then you’ll have to start all over from scratch.

And while your doing that, I will continue to market my products and services. See, you’ll be busy REbuilding, and I’ll be busy prospering. Because I took the time to back up my databases with an automated, hands-free system.

In all the years I have been operating a business on line, it still amazes me how few people take the time to properly back themselves up. People have way too much faith in technology and/or the competence of others.

Either one can let you down. In fact, odds are one or the other will. There’s no way to predict when, how, where, etc. so why take a chance? Especially these days when there are so many ways to stay backed up?

In this article I am specifically talking about databases. Not your local hard drives or not your web pages. Why?

Let’s take these one at a time…

Your hard drive on your local computer…even though not everyone backs up on a regular basis, there seems to be an endless supply of backup solutions – both free and paid – to cover this. There are also many articles and “how-to’s” on the various ways to back up your hard drive. Doing a simple Google search will reveal thousands of discussions, products and more on this topic.

Backing up your web pages…Let me ask you a question. When you build a website, do you build it entirely on line? Or do you typically use an off-line web page builder (such as Dreamweaver, Nvu, Frontpage) then upload them to your web server?

Most people build them off line. I know I do. So to me, backing up all of my web pages is already taken care of when I back up my hard drives. No sense in doing this two ways.

Databases. Now here’s the one most people either overlook or avoid. Overlook because some don’t even realize they are even USING a database (as odd as that may sound). Think about it…these days, you have CPanel hosting complete with Fantastico installer. When you set up a WordPress blog, some may not even realize that a database is being set up in the background.

Many people also assume their webhosts automatically back up their databases. This is a BIG mistake. Good hosting services will do automatic backups. But with the popularity of cheap and free hosting, people are more attracted to the 2 GB of storage and don’t even bother to ask about backups.

Avoid – the biggest reason people don’t back up their database is because unless you know how, it’s technically challenging for the average person. Some may know how to properly back up using phpMyAdmin, but most do not. It’s intimidating for the average person.

Even those who know how to back up a database fall short in this one last area: consistency. They log in, back up, log out and that’s it. A few months may go by before they remember to back up again.

While this may be better than nothing, if you have an active business where your database of customers grows daily, than anything less than once per day is not enough.

Hope is not all lost though. There are answers out there for you. I can think of two right off the bat.

CPSiteSaver (http://www.webhostingunleashed.com/cpsitesaver/ ): This one is a Windows desktop application. It’s very reasonably priced and simple to use. It will back up your entire website and your databases. There are two “drawbacks” to this one.

1- Since it’s a desktop application, it’s not technically fully automated. You must have your computer running and the application open for backups to take place. This is not so bad if you are on your computer a lot. Just make sure the application starts up with Windows, and schedule your backups for when you know you are on line.

2- It only works with CPanel/MySQL systems. Also not the end of the world as it seems the majority of the hosting solutions out there use CPanel/

Database Backup Generator (http://www.databasebackupgenerator.com ): This one is installed on your website (server side). Also very reasonably priced. The drawback to this one:

1- If you are not familiar with installing scripts, you’ll need to hire someone.
2- Only works on CPanel/MySQL systems (see above)
3- Only backs up databases. To me, not the end of the world if you build your sites off line and you do regular backups to your system.

What I like about DBG is once you set it, it truly is hands-free, set and forget. It will continue to do automatic backups (via Cron) until you tell it to stop. It also allows you to send your backups via FTP to another server, and/or it will email you download links for your backups.

No matter what your preference is, just make it a point to back up the most important part of your business…your database. Websites are easily replacable. Your database of customers is not.

Remember – there are people out there that will gladly scoop up your customers.

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Article Copyright 2008 Central Net Enterprises, LLC and Michael Ambrosio. You may reprint as long as you leave this resource box in place.

Michael Ambrosio is an entreprenuer and online marketer. To read more marketing nuggets from Michael please visit http://www.mikeambrosio.com. Marketing For The Rest Of Us!
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