Maybe you’ve heard the saying about two types of people in the world. Those that have lost data and those that will. It is both naive and risky to not have a Zen Cart backup plan in place. Ask yourself, what would happen if my Zen Cart when down and I couldn’t get it back?
The way to avoid this disaster is to have a plan in place to recover from it. Disaster Recovery is important for any size business and easier than you might think. It involves knowing what and where your important data is, what options you have available and how to apply the resources you have in an effective and manageable way.
There are two layers to any good Zen Cart backup plan. The first layer is your web host. They should be performing a daily backup of all files, folders and databases. You should be familiar with their backup and recovery services. What do they backup and how often? Can files be restored individually or does the entire account get restored? How long does it take to complete a partial or full restore? What steps do you need to take to initiate a restore? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should *before* you need to use them.
Some web hosts include this in their offerings. Some offer it as an add-on. For our hosting packages, it is an add-on to the Basic Plan and included in both the Advanced and Supreme Packages. Don’t assume your host has you covered. Find out if a Zen Cart backup is included with *your* hosting plan. If you are hosting with Wheaton Website Services, find out about our back up services.
The second layer is a backup that does not depend on your web host. What if they went out of business? What if a fire destroyed the building housing all of their servers (which contain your site AND your site backups)? You need to have a current backup that is stored locally. This is your ‘if all else fails’ backup. The question is how often should you do this. Files and folders do not change very often but the database changes every time a new customer registers, each time a new order is placed, etc. A daily backup is ideal but for many this is not practical. We’ve found that for many a weekly backup is good compromise. Most order data, once it’s placed in Zen Cart, also exists someplace else as well. Maybe it’s imported into QuickBooks or you keep copies of the admin email receipts. Either way, if you’re website crashed, you’d have that data someplace in some form so it was not completely lost.
If you get two orders a month, than a monthly Zen Cart backup is probably sufficient. During any one week, not much is going to change. If you’re getting 20 orders a day, a daily or weekly backup might be a better choice. The decision is how much data would you be comfortable re-entering. This answer will determine how frequently you will want to perform your backups.
Whatever you decide is the appropriate compromise between the time and effort required to perform your backups and adequate protection fro disaster, you should put the steps in place to ensure you have both layers of backup protection. If you’re not happy with you current plan or don’t have a Zen Cart backup plan in place, please contact us for help.