Guiding the Joomla novice on their way

Minimising problems maximising opportunity

Thank goodness I had a backup!

on Saturday, 07 July 2012. Posted in Extentions

akeebabackup 1281

Everyone has heard of the need to back up their data, but users are  seldom efficient enough to have a sound system in place.

When developing anything this is important, if you are developing using a CMS (content management system) this is doubly important.

Firstly it is important to have a full backup to reinstall your entire site should something terrible happen to it.  This would include the core Joomla files and your MySQL database.

Here though are a number of other reasons it is a good idea to create a sound backup policy/regime early on and stick to it.

Why Joomla can be different from the last time you viewed it:-

  • You have updated Joomla core
  • you have updated Joomla security
  • you have uploaded a new module or plug-in
  • you have made a change to an article,category,menu etc
  • other people have registered with your site
  • Your ISP has changed their security, PHP etc

The list is almost endless as you can change many minor settings within Joomla admin that will affect the way your site behaves.  The worst case scenario is to be locked out of the site.

At this point it is very comforting to know you have backup choices, varying restore options. Not only being able to restore your database but your core files as well on a varying timescale.  It would be extremely distressing to have no backup plan and you lose weeks of work, not to mention data you can’t reinstate, such as registered users.

I have had situations where the owner of a site has added a complex module, made changes to the core files, copied article files into the new module structure and then realised the using the new module was problematic.  To undo all these minor changes in order would be time-consuming and awkward to do.  Simply restoring everything to where it was before the update was started is a simple and quick process.  This is a practical solution ensuring service is kept running smoothly.

For most IT professionals Backups and change management are part of their daily lives.  For new users I would recommend following their lead and keep a record of every little change you make to your web site and the result of you testing that change.  This record will prove very useful ultimately when considering at what point to restore a site.

It is because Joomla is easy to use and develop with that you can cover a lot of ground when building your web site without realising that some aspect you have changed is not working properly throughout the site.

So what do I recommend?

Get a good provider who backs up your site a couple of times a day. Create a backup routine through your cpanel if you have it, or else make physical backup yourself.  Above this I would also recommend taking a full backup BEFORE changing any significant change to your site e.g. adding a new module or plug-in,  then again AFTER the change.  This will make control so much easier should something go amiss.  You will remain a happy web site developer.

All the above are great free ways to monitor changes and create your own free backup system.

Many people also use a professional backup extension for Joomla named Akeeba Backup Pro a One year of Akeeba Backup Professional downloads and medium priority, public ticket support will cost you 40 euros.  They have a series of explanatory videos at Akeeba videos worth a look.

A word of caution research any module you are going to use to find out if there are any known conflicts with the modules you are already using and that the module will work with any Joomla upgrades you intend advancing to.  You can achieve this using Google and Joomla forums as well as the module forums.  This simple research can save you  a lot of effort further down the line.  Don’t forget you will need to keep the extensions up-to-date.


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