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Backing up your site to a cloud storage service

Introduction

For most of us, our websites are a key element to our business. Either being the business itself, or acting as the storefront to the Internet, they provide a significant added value. The last thing any web site owner wants is to see their site defaced, damaged or even lost. Dangers lurk everywhere. From a simple human error in site administration to malicious activity and from hardware failure to natural disasters, no web server is the bulletproof vault we’d like it to be.

While nobody expects a catastrophe to hit their site, a good deal of precaution is required. It's pretty much the same reasoning as in wearing a seatbelt while driving; you don't expect to crash, but if you do you most certainly want to leave the incident unharmed. The web site equivalent to a safety belt is none other than a backup.

Web site backup comes with its own set of limitations and pitfalls. If you trust your web host for backup you might find your expectations fall short. Most hosts take daily backups – if any at all –on a secondary hard disk on the same server or, even worse, on a secondary partition of the same hard disk. If the server goes down due to a hardware fault, so does your backup. A few enlightened hosts also take backups on remote storage, for example NAS arrays. Even they do so on rather sparse intervals, for example twice per week. This means that in a complete catastrophe you will most assuredly lose a fair amount of data.

The solution is simple in concept. Take your own backups and store them on a cloud storage service, like Amazon S3 or even Dropbox. Akeeba Solo / Akeeba Backup supports over 40 different cloud and remote storage providers. Taking your own backups means that you get to decide which data and how often it has to be backed up, making sure that the crucial, regularly updated information routinely ends up in a backup archive. Using a cloud or remote storage device adds a strong data safety clause to your procedure, while keeping costs low. Cloud storage is designed to be redundant and reliable, boasting a negligible risk of data corruption or data loss. Combined with its incredibly low cost (or even no cost for very low storage requirements!), it is reasonably attractive to businesses of all sizes: from hobbyists and sole proprietors up to large corporations and government agencies.

Both Akeeba Solo and Akeeba Backup support automatic transfer of archives to cloud storage in their for-a-fee Professional editions.

This section describes how to set up your site to store its backup archives to either Amazon S3 or Dropbox. More cloud storage providers are already available for use with Akeeba Solo / Akeeba Backup. The setup always follows the same principle, no matter which cloud storage you want to use. Read along and you'll pick up the idea really fast.

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