Mailbag: How Do You Backup Your Drupal ?

Drupal LogoI received this question from a webmaster at one of the webmaster forums I waste too much time at:

I have read your success story. It was really impressive. You mentioned that you use Drupal and also mentioned that once you lost your Database. So can you please give me some advice on a back up solution for Drupal? Do you use any online back up?
Your help will be greatly appreciated. 🙂

Yes.. It’s true.. It is shameful, but I admit it. In what is now referred to as “the crash of 06” I did lose the Drupal database for my best earning site. Because the only backup that I had was weeks old, I lost quite a chunk of data – like posts/nodes/comments/user accounts. It was a shameful time and it brings up many bad memories of the taste of Tums and hair being pulled from my head.

So, yah, i did learn from my mistake of not backup up my Drupal database – so hopefully now you can learn too!

My current backup scheme goes something like this: My server is now configured with a dedicated backup drive. Each day WHM/cPanel makes complete copies of all accounts on the server, including all files and MySQL databases. So at any given time I have backups from the last several days, last weeks, and few from each of the last 5 years on that drive. In addition to those daily backups, several times per week I create a duplicate of the live database in PHPMyAdmin and download it to my local computer. I leave a few of those duplicate databases in PHPMyAdmin for easy access should I ever need it. Since the Drupal files do not change often, I get full-file downloads about once per month or any time I apply a Drupal core upgrade and store them on my Mac with the database files.

The databases & files that get downloaded to my computer stay on their own partition for approx 1 year. They also get automatically backed up to an external HDD. And, just for a little extra peace of mind, they also get uploaded to an offsite/online backup service. So, at any given time I have multiple copies of multiple databases and file-sets in multiple places.

As for automated/online backups for Drupal or Backup Modules – I don’t really trust them. I am more comfortable exporting my databases from MySQL and getting my files via sFTP. I do use an online backup/storage service – but it is backing up the data from my Mac at home and not my server. I would not trust anything connecting into my server. At least I can keep my Mac turned off at night but my server is up 24/7.. Call me paranoid..

What about you Drupal and WordPressers? Are you taking any steps to backup your website files and database? Dont make the same mistake I did!

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