About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

Backing Up Your Tools

November 13, 2005

Now we can move on to the things you'll need to make updates and operate your website once it's up and running again. This list will vary tremendously from one webmaster to the next, but one thing is for sure, it's probably going to be a lot longer than you expect.

The first items on your list should be whatever tools, mechanisms or procedures you use to update and maintain your website. Do you use a content management system? Do you have any custom scripts to perform any automated tasks? Do you have any crontab entries that are important? What software packages do you use to update and maintain web pages or images on your website? You have to factor all of these things into your disaster recovery plan. All of these items are just as important as the files that actually makeup your website.

You may have noticed that I referred to "updating and maintaining your website". Though "update" and "maintain" sound like the same thing, they're not. In this context, "updates" are pretty straightforward, they are the simple day to day, week to week updates that you would make to your website on a normal basis. But you may be asking yourself what I mean by "maintaining" your website. Though the phrase is generic, within this context I'm referring to all of the things that require your intervention in order to keep your visitors happy. This can be as simple as approving new user accounts on a forum or as complex as processing and shipping an order placed on your website. Unfortunately, you can't simply back up this type of process. This type of issue requires a different kind of disaster recovery plan. You must have a plan should anything happen that would prevent you from performing any manual steps that are necessary. That plan is something you will have to create on your own since it will be very specific to your website and its business processes.

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