As we all know it is important to backup your websites often. With all of the hacking, exploiting, and straight up malicious people on the internet if your not backing up your website – you should. Like now. Yes RIGHT NOW. While your busy figuring out how to go about doing that I get to kick back,sip on my coffee, and write this review in complete confidence that if anything were to happen to my own site? I could restore it in an instant back to the most recent snapshot. How? Well with the Code Guard service I subscribe to it really is that simple. Read on to find out all of the features of the Code Guard WordPress Online Backup system.
The Importance of Backing Up Your Website
Like I said before its important to perform site backups. Whether you manually FTP and copy down all of the files and folders you have stored under the ‘public_html’ folder and then figure out how to use PHPMySQLAdmin to manually backup your database – you still have to worry about how to restore it back up to the web server.
Not to mention all of the time it takes to do that. Of course there are WordPress plugins that also perform backups. But this is yet another plugin your WordPress install is already straining from. Then you have to hope that the job will kick off inside of WordPress, or you have to manually click a button and pray it doesn’t time out. Then you have to still manually download the created zip file in some instances then find a place to back it up.
When it comes right down to it? Its a big pain in the ass to back up your site.
So what if there was a system that didn’t require yet another Plugin to be installed, didn’t take require for you to have a Drop Box or some other online File Storage service, and you could trust that it would not only backup your site but notify you when changes were made? This is where Code Guard comes into play.
Code Guard WordPress Backup System
Supported Platforms Part of the beauty of using CodeGuard is that it supports multiple types of sites and even better is you have your own web host server running CPanel? You can install the service on the Server itself! CodeGuard currently supports the following platforms:
It will support other platforms as well. Take a look at the next section as I go into it a bit further on what exactly does it backup.
What Does it Backup?
Actually it does a lot more than just WordPress sites. If you run any type of site it can back it up. Joomla, your custom PHP/MySQL Underwater Basket Weaving site – whatever. As long as you can configure it to point to your site and databases it can back it up! Code Guard will backup your entire domain essentially. You have it point to your root domain (www.example.com) and it will start downloading and creating a snapshot of your site. It will take your current folder structure and any files / images etc and keep it exactly the way you have it setup currently on your web server.
What about Databases?
Well, thats a great question! The answer is YES! of course. If you provide the database path along with the login credentials to the database it will create a snapshot of that as well.
How Does it Work?
Sign Up and Pricing
First you will need to sign up with CodeGuard for an account. Take a look below at their current pricing plans (*valid as of July-2013). I currently have the $5 Personal plan and am happy to pay that for a lot of peace of mind. Plus if you ever want to add another blog? It’s only another $5.00 for up to 10 sites before you would have to switch to the Professional plan!
Connect Your Website and Database
Website I’m using WordPress as an example as its what I use it for – but as I mentioned before they support just multiple different platforms. You will need to connect your site to the service. I chose to use the simple method of FTP. I provided CG the information it requested:
- FTP/S(Secure)FTP Server: This would be the same server information you would use to FTP into your website. This can either be a Static IP or example:’ftp.yoursite.com’
- User Name: The account name you use to FTP into your website
- Password: The password you use to FTP into your site.
Note: I would suggest that you setup a custom CG FTP/SFTP account through your web host’s dashboard. And make the password LONG and COMPLICATED. This helps add another level of security. Also note that SFTP is more than FTP due to the additional use of SSL to help encrypt the connection. So if you have that available I would suggest using that was well. Database This is a little bit different and might take a little bit of investigating to get this to work correctly. So do your homework before you sign up and you will be ahead of the game and it should go easier for you. You will need to know the following:
- Database or Hostname IP: Either the physical IP Address associated with your website or the URL: example ‘mysqldb.yoursite.com’
- MySQL User Name: This will be the DATABASE user name – not your CPanel, FTP, or WordPress login information. You can go into your PHPmyAdmin on the dashboard, or you can view it under the wp-config.php file. You can find this information in your initial setup of your WordPress or in the wp-config.php file. You will need to use your webhosts file manager to view this or you can do this using Filezilla and FTP to view the password.
- MySQL Password: The DATABASE password – not your CPanel, FTP, WordPress login. Look to the above on how to find the password if you do not have it written down somewhere.
- MySQL Port: This is set to a default but you might have to change it. You will need to contact your website hosting company if they use a different port to connect.
Where is My Data Stored?
In the Cloud of course! OK, seriously now. Your data is pulled from your site using the CodeGuard backup service. It then sends the data to an Amazon S3 server who takes care of storing your information. It is zipped and encrypted and stored on their servers until you end up needing it – as long as you keep your account active.
Restoring Your Blog/Website
The scary part is if your site was hacked or if your like me and screw up after you make a change how to easily restore your site back to the way it was before it was messed up. With CodeGuard you have a few options. You can have it automatically restore a Snap Shot of the last known good backup of your site. Or you can manually pull the data down in a zip file to restore the files that were damaged. If you opted to backup your database you can opt to get a snapshot of the database too and restore that manually as well through PHPMyAdmin.
Beta – Search For Files
There is also a beta program where you can perform a search for specific files and just restore or download a zip of just the files you need. As it is currently beta I have not had a chance to test it out. This is great if you just need the one or two files that were corrupted or need to be replaced.
Reporting & Monitoring
With the CodeGuard service I get a detailed report whenever something changes on the site. I receive a daily email whenever files on the site has been altered in any way. Most of the time these status updates report whenever I do an update or change a plugin on the site.
You will also see reports on the CodgeGuard site itself. It will tell you how many files and of what type you have backed up on their service. You can see from the example below that is a LOT of images, folders, and php files. If I had to go through all of that by hand it would be a nightmare!
With the Personal Plan I also get a weekly check to see if there is any Malware on the site. This is important especially if you want visitors to be able to trust your site! The last thing you need is to have visitors walk away from your site infected with something you didn’t know your website was infected with!
So Whats the Catch?
Nothing is perfect. Even CodeGuard has some limitations unfortunately if your going to sign up and use the Personal Plan. If you get the Personal Plan for $5.00 a month? You do have some limitations.
- Daily Monitoring
- Daily Backups
- 5 Gigs of Storage
- 50,000 Files
- Zip Downloads
- One-Click Restore
- Email Support
- Knowledge Base Support
If you need more features such as “On Demand” or Priority Queuing backups? Or more storage space? Of if your a company that wishes to have your branding and multiple users manage the account? You will need to upgrade your plan to the Professional $99.99 plan which can get pretty expensive. If you only have to manage the one blog then this should be an ideal solution for you. You can go to the CodeGuard site to get additional details if you wish.
I was using CodeGuard for free due to the fact it was offered through CloudFlare – the CDN service I use for avgjoegeek.net. Then they stopped and I had to start paying the $5.00 a month. Of course by then I was hooked so I more than happily pay the $5.00 a month lol. If you wish to check them out you can get a free 14 day trial to see how the service works and if it is something you would like. As soon as the trial is over if you decide to stop using them? You can just delete your site and you aren’t obligated to pay anything. Be forewarned though – once you join the service you won’t want to quit!
[box type=”warning”]You will need to provide your Credit Card information when you sign up. They will not charge you anything during the 14-day free trial. Also although they do support PayPal you will not be able to use the Free Trial due to limitations in place with PayPal.[/box]
I’ve been using CodeGuard as my backup solution for awhile now. And I couldn’t be happier. I don’t have to worry about any local PHP script or CRON job to fail within WordPress. And I have the security of knowing what has been changed on my site and if I need to be able to get it back to the way it was before I messed things up! I highly recommend using CodeGuard for your blog or website. What do YOU use as your backup solution? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below on what you use.
Update: Code Guard is still up and kicking. I was not paid to do this review when I originally wrote it. And it is still a fantastic service. There are a ton of different solutions out their though so do your research before committing to one.