What do you mean you don’t have a backup?

Ted S

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Feb 19, 2004
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Ted S submitted a new Article:

What do you mean you don’t have a backup?

Running a forum takes time, energy and money no matter how small the site or what its intentions are. Yet for all the time and energy people put into their sites many never think to protect them from a database crash or system failure. While this may shock some it shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, most sites haven’t had a major crash or don’t consider themselves big enough to need any backups. At the end of the day most people just don’t spend the time dealing with pesky tasks like backups but when things go wrong they wish they had!

Backing up for small sites, why bother?
So your forum has 50 members and 500 posts, it’s small, there aren’t even people on most of the time. So why would you need a backup, after all, it’s not like the data is going to corrupt and if it does, it’s not a big deal. For most forums starting is the hardest part and it’s even been said that once you get past a certain mark any decline, any lack of activity will mean the instant death of the forum. If your site has members and has posts you’ve already started succeeding and to loose all the time and effort, even if it only has amounted to 500 posts is a huge waste. Furthermore, while your post count may not have crossed the million mark yet, your forum is growing and restarting it from zero is going to be nearly impossible.

Backing up for non-profit sites, who cares and who pays?
You have a successful site with a fair number of posts but you don’t make much money off it and you may even be loosing money in the long run, your users don’t pay you for the forum so why on earth would you put the time or money into a backup. Making money is not the goal of all communities and while no one wants to loose funds, not having cash should never be a reason to let your forum teeter on the edge of destruction. Backups don’t require funds or expensive programs, just disk space and if you don’t have enough space to make a backup every now and then, you probably are going to out grow your host every, very soon. If your site is trying to become profitable but has yet to reach that point and you don’t back it up you are basically running a business without a safety net – loosing something you invested hours and hours and possibly thousands of dollars into for the sake of saving a little time here and a little money there is not a wise move on any level.

Backing up for large sites, it’s too hard!
You have a big site and by big we’re talking hundreds of thousands...

Read more about this article here...
 
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Lisa

Chaotically Proportional
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Jan 6, 2004
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Excellent article - the amount of people who I've spoken to and they've complained about losing their forum, then look at me blankly when I state "well, didn't you do a backup".... lol
 

Ted S

Tazmanian Master
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Feb 19, 2004
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Yup yup. We "lost" our photo gallery in a botched upgrade. It took a week for photopost to decide that the best fix was to revert (rather than trying to write a script to rebuild the database from the data files). 45 minutes later we were back online but sadly, another site with the same problem is back at zero because they did not have a backup :(
 

PacMan

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Apr 12, 2004
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Ted, I was going to start a thread on forum backup strategies, but you beat me to it! My VB database is 360 megs with 240 megs being attachments and I rely on my host for backups (!).

I want to move my attachments into the file system in order to make the database backup smaller. I was thinking of backing up the db on a daily basis and doing a complete backup once a week of the db and attachments. I want to get another hosting account from a different host and use it to store my backups. I guess I could write a shell script to FTP the db to the other server?
Does this sound like a viable backup solution?

I would like other admins to share their strategies with taking backups.
 

Ted S

Tazmanian Master
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Feb 19, 2004
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6,127
PacMan,
Don't let me stop you! My article is more about why you have to backup then how you should do it (yes I provide a few ways and an example script but thats far from the complete story).

The option you preposed sounds great. A nighly backup of the critical data which is the most important stuff to have and the easiet to loose (databases corrupt more than attachments and users complain more about no posts then they do about a few missing links)! I recommend you automate the process as much as possible to insure it actually gets done. For me this means an automatic backup every night and the big backup weekly. Ontop of that I do some serious mysql repairs every Sunday night but that really turns into every other Sunday or every Sunday I have time which is why automated = better!
 

Hot_Water

Participant
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Messages
51
What can I add to my home computer to use as backup.

I was thinking I could just add another hard drive to my existing computer and use it only for backups. Is that possible? If so what size hard drive would I need
and do I need to upgrade the rest of my computer to do it?

This is info of my computer:
HP Pavilion
Intel Pentium 4
CPU 2.93 Ghz
504 MB Ram
 

JoshB

TalkSTAR
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,020
You just need a small hard drive, for even the largest forums I would say 2GB is the max. size needed for the db and attachments. So you are only going to need around 10GB to keep the last few backups on. Your current system should be able to support this.
 

Hot_Water

Participant
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Messages
51
THANK YOU VERY MUCH! This is the concrete information I have been looking for. Now I can actually go and get this done.:) :tiphat:
 
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