As promised in part 1 of this series, today I will go over a solution I have found to be effective in backing up a Joomla! website. In that previous post I talked about the headache and the heartbreak I felt when I discovered that our church website had been hacked and wiped out. I had not yet implemented a formal backup procedure for the site and that could have be disaster had the database been lost as well. It still was a lot of work to recover, which inspired me to finally figure out a plan for making regular backups of the site.
I will start off by pointing out that while I’m pretty effective with learning how to do web technology, I don’t pretend to be an ‘expert’ or know all the possibilities that are out there. I share this simply as a way of letting others who might be interested what I have found and am currently using. I may find something better and adjust later on, but for now this is what I am doing to provide that insurance coverage against another catastrophe.
The first test for the solution to work for me was that it had to be easy to use. I’m not a super techie in the area of network servers and if the process is going to last in my world, it must be easy to use. I am also preferential to those that are easy to install, but I am willing to put in more effort up front if the product is going to make my ability to do the job easier afterward.
The second criteria for me was that I wanted the backups to be in the cloud – preferable with Amazon’s S3 web service (Simple Storage Service). Local backups on the same web server as your site are okay, but don’t really provide the best protection. If something happens to your host that backup file could be lost as well. I also don’t like the idea of having to download backup files to my local hard drive as that can take a fair amount of time, depending on the size of the site as well as take up a lot of space.
It was this second criteria that had stalled me from implementing a procedure in the first place. Not a valid excuse, but just being honest. I should have at least made manual backups and put them somewhere until I found a better solution.
After doing a fair amount of research, I discovered Akeeba Backup (formerly Joomla Pack). It is a Joomla! extension by a developer in Greece (I love the global nature of the web). This solution is very robust and comes in both a free and a pro (premium) version. I went with the professional (pay for) version because it gave me that integration with AWS that I really wanted (see above). The process is not 100% automated but it is about as close as you can get. There are many options available but the basic settings are such that you can start there. I only added the link to my AWS account and was able to start backups immediately.
From the component’s control panel you can simply click on the “Back Up Now” option and get started. It gives you a nice progress dashboard that lets you monitor the status of your backup.
In the next post on this topic I will go into some options for WordPress blogs.