>Plugin or FTP client
You need to check that your host is backing up and that the back up works. Unfortunately the first time most people will find out is when they want to restore from backup. Ask your host about their backups and their back up schedule. It might be worth getting them to do a test restore on non-critical data.
As a rule of thumb the better (often equates to more expensive) the host the more likely they are performing reliable backups. Even this is an assumption as I discovered a few months back when I needed to restore a clients website on their hosting.
Regardless of how reliable you believe your host is, things can and do go wrong.
So what could go wrong?
- Natural disasters such as flooding, fire, earth quakes.
- hardware failures causing corruption of the file system and the backups.
- Hackers breaking into your host and destroying all your files.
- Malware slowly undermining the integrity of all files.
- Your host could even go out of business and close up shop, it would not be the first time.
Bottom line is you must not rely on the on-line backups being performed by your host. You need to make your own offline backups
You also can not rely on your web developer may not have an up-to-date and useful backup. They might have a backup of the original site they built, but chances are it would be very out of date. Even if they maintain the site and keep backups, it may be only be the site and not include your data.
You need to take responsibility for your own offline backups and these need to be done on a regular basis. Fairly static sites may only need to be backed up offline when something changes, but dynamic sites need to be backed up offline on a regular basis. This should be monthly or more frequently depending on your site.
There are two components to a WordPress backup.
File system – this is WordPress, themes, plugins and images. This is includes much of the formatting and look and feel of the website.
Database – this is the content including all pages and posts. This also includes many configuration options.
Without both of these your backup is incomplete.
Offline backup locations
Offline backups are to any location remote to the web server. This does not necessarily mean offline to the internet. You can use any other online storage you have access. You can also back up to your local computer.
This is viable if you have a high speed internet connection and plenty of hard disk space.
There are a number of free and paid backup plugins available. The paid ones often include include offline storage.
There are many available – just search WordPress plugins for one that suits your needs.
As mentioned you can back up to your computer or any other storage you have access to. I have a Windows VPS with an FTP setup and will often use that for quick backups as its very fast.