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Don Cranford Maximizing Your Website: Issue 5
By Don Cranford

Why do you need a disaster recovery plan for your website?

Have you given any thought to how you would recover if your website went down? What would happen to your business if your webmaster got run over by a bus? How would you keep your website up and running? There are a lot of disasters out there just waiting to happen to your website. Here are a few common ones:

  • The hard drive on your server decides to go ker-plunk – that’s a technical term for hard drive failure
  • Some wise guy hacker hacks into your website and posts unsavory material
  • Your webmaster gets run over by a herd of rhinoceroses while on vacation in Africa – OK, well, maybe not. But say he just gets mad and walks off the job. Do you know the passwords and how to access and update the site?

Maybe you are just switching to a new webmaster and you want a smooth transition. Whatever it is, it is important to have a disaster recovery plan for your website.

The basics of a disaster recovery plan:

Disaster recovery plans vary with each organization, so this isn’t an exhaustive list. But here are some of the basics to help you prepare for the worst:

1. Record your pertinent website information

Be sure that you know your login and password information. This may include some or all of the following:

  • Login information for email accounts and any additional information such as email groups and email aliases
  • Content management system login
  • Hosting control panel login
  • Domain registrar web address and login
  • FTP login information

You should also have the customer support phone numbers, email and other contact information for your website hosting provider.

2. Perform and save regular backups of your website

Most hosting companies and application service providers back up their server data regularly. However, you should maintain your own backups in case there is an emergency or you need to move to another provider quickly. Many hosting companies offer the ability for you to back up your own website through your hosting control panel, such as Plesk. It is also a good idea to keep copies of all of your files (i.e., images, videos, etc.) as well as the text of your website in an easily accessible location should a need for them arise.

3. Determine an implementation plan for recoverying yoru website

Understanding what you will need to do in case of an emergency will help ensure a smoother recovery. Be sure to keep your backup data and login information accessible, and determine who will be in charge of restoring the backups or uploading the files to your new website.

4. Keep an extra copy of your website data in a safe place

Make sure that you have an extra copy stored off-site in case your main office is inaccessible. This might be in a safe-deposit box in a local bank, or for some small organizations, it may be at a trusted employee's home. You might even backup the data to an off-site backup service.

Whatever it takes, establish a disaster recovery plan, and protect your website. Disasters happen, but when you have a plan in place, you'll be better set to recovering quickly and getting your website back in order!

Do you have ideas for future newsletter topics? Let us know! {contactlink 1}.

Donald Cranford has been in Marketing, Product Development and Product Management in the technology industry for 15 years. He founded Katalyst Solutions in 2004 to assist churches, non-profits and small businesses in succeeding online.


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