Backup Importance, Its Types And Strategies

Backup Types and Strategies

Data is the lifeblood of your business, so you can’t afford to lose a single byte. A backup is a copy of your data – something everybody should do regularly, as a comprehensive disaster recovery policy. When your business relies on complex systems, there’s plenty that can go wrong. So you must have measures in place to save you when they do.

Things that typically lead to data loss are:

  • Disk failures due to hardware malfunctions, power outs, or improper use
  • Network difficulties. There are lots of scenarios for this, and one would be lost packets that don’t get acknowledged due to router congestion
  • Files corrupted by viruses
  • Hackers – or unhappy employees erasing or corrupting data
  • Theft – people stealing hardware

Try as you might, you’ll never be 100% safe from these sorts of unwanted events. That’s why you’re always going to need a backup strategy to protect you. There’s no perfect plan because everyone’s circumstances are different. So here are some examples to help you weigh up the pros and cons.

Possible Backup Strategies

Possible Backup Strategies - Plesk

Mediums

First, you’ll need to decide what medium you’re going to use to back your stuff up.

In the age of cloud services, tape drives look like yesterday’s technology. However, they do have the advantage of being cheaper and still reliable. It’s up to you whether you go for the tape route for your long-term server backups. You can actually save money if you do.  Naturally, there are high capacity discs as well, and the cost of those is coming down all the time. With either tape or disc, you’re relying on network backup systems that suffer from a single point of failure. But they have the advantage of being easier to administer than many individual ones.

Location

Whatever media you use, you’ll need to decide where you are going to keep them. But if it’s on-site, what happens if the building catches fire? Safety of the environment has to be one of your concerns. And you also need to think about climate control too, because magnetic media are picky about the conditions they’re kept in.

Owners

You could automatically back the stuff on individual workstations, or you could educate your staff to do their own at regular intervals on a shared network location. The strategy you choose will be a combination of a schedule and different types of backup. Such as normal, copy, incremental, differential, and daily. You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll verify your tapes as soon as each one is done.

If this all sounds too complex then you can always employ a third party to do it for you. They look after everything and all you need to do is upload your backed up stuff to them.

Backup types - Plesk

Backup Types

We mentioned some of these in the preceding paragraph. The majority of network backup software, such as Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 , supports five ways of backing up:

Normal

Covers your most important system and data files. Restoring is no more complicated than just going to the most recent backup.

Copy

This provides an extra copy of a backup, which might be useful to your accounts department for regular archiving and reporting. It backs up the same files as a normal one but is slightly different. A normal backup clears the archive bit associated with each backed up file and indicates that they’ve been backed up. But a copy doesn’t do this, which means you can do it at any time without interrupting the cycle. The copy backup tape is separate from the cycle and you don’t need it to restore anything.

Incremental

This only backs up files that have been created or changed since the last backup. If you combine normal and incremental backups, you’ll save time and use less storage space than if you only perform normal ones. But if you need to do a restore, you’ll need to use the normal backup along with all the incremental backups from the current cycle to do so.

Differential

Copies whichever files have been created or modified since the most recent normal or incremental backup. The archive attributes of differential backup files aren’t cleared. Which means that during the next differential backup, these files will be backed up again. In terms of changes, differential ones will accumulate them as they go. So with each differential one, in a given cycle, there’s every file from the most recent one. Along with any files changed since the last time it was done. So, when you want to restore, you’ll typically just use the normal backup and the most recent differential one from the current cycle to do it.

Daily copy

Copies every file that’s been updated on the day this is performed. This is useful for when you want to know there’s everything backed up for all that has been done that day. It’s useful and it doesn’t interfere with the cycle in any way.

The Effects of Backup Operations

The different operations affect the archive attributes of the files and directories they back up in different ways. A backup operation marks the archive attribute by removing it to show that the file has been backed up. If that file is modified later, its archive attribute is set (unmarked). This table shows what the different types of backup operations do to the archive attribute:

  • Normal backup – cleared
  • Copy backup – no effect
  • Incremental backup – cleared
  • Differential backup – no effect
  • Daily copy – no effect
Types of Backups - Plesk

Backup Solutions For Plesk Servers

Plesk hosting platform provides various reliable cloud backup solutions as well as granular/self-service recovery options for administrators.

#6 reasons why you need to update Plesk now

Six reasons why you need to upgrade your Plesk today - Plesk

After New Year, I was sitting in an airport cafe far from home and work, waiting to board. Suddenly, my meditative state of mind was interrupted by two IT-looking guys who, I guess because of my branded hoodie and backpack, asked me if I worked for Plesk. So naturally we got to talking and it turned out that they worked in a small firm using Plesk to manage web projects. As I was the first company employee they had encountered, I ended up listening to their piled-up claims against Plesk.

The same old excuses

It was clear they used an outdated version – Plesk 17.0 on a CentOS server. And their argument for this was the same old “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. They bought, launched, configured, and started using. They feared the latest version carried unnecessary problems as new products offer not only new functions, but also new bugs. Because of this, some don’t take the risk. Others don’t know how to update Plesk properly; and others have no clue that new versions are available.

Mind you, I can understand these reasons for not updating, however, they don’t outweigh the advantages of using the latest product versions. Luckily there was still plenty of time until my boarding announcement, so I started argument by going through their complaints.

Reason #1: Better Backup Storage

Reasons to update your Plesk - better backup and cloud storage - Plesk
To create and store backups in cloud storage, just install the corresponding extensions.

It’s essential for them to have a stable, reliable backup system to work on their web projects. The guys mentioned using a remote FTP server for this, however, it was unstable and they sometimes had issues during backing up or restoration. FTP server service and maintenance also required extra resources. So, I prepared my first argument – that with the latest Plesk, they could use cloud storage for backups.

Not just any cloud providers either, but industry giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or even DigitalOcean. They tick off important criteria like security, redundancy, affordability and flexibility. They can easily set up scheduled backups and store them at one time in Google Drive and at another in Amazon S3. So they no longer need to spend resources on their FTP server for storing backups. However, the guys still shook their heads so I went on to my next reason.

Reason #2: Improved Website and Server Performance

“Do you find your websites’ performance important?” I asked, “And what are you currently doing to speed things up?” The guys eagerly explained how they spend all their working hours on that. Tinkering with the server via CLI, picking the required parameters, testing various caching-speeding plugins, and so on. They were really impressed when I told them that they could turn on effective nginx caching in Plesk with just one click and fine-tune. “And if that’s not enough”, I told them, “visit our Extensions Catalog and install Speed Kit – a complete solution for speeding up websites.”

6 reasons to update your Plesk - enable nginx caching
To turn on and configure nginx caching, go to Apache & Nginx Settings of your subscription.
6 reasons to update plesk - turn on nginx caching - Plesk
If you have a WordPress website, then you can turn on nginx caching with just one click.

Reason #3: Finding the important bearded owl

I had to talk about Plesk’s new best friend: the Advisor. The intelligent Adviser-owl recommends ways to improve performance of your Plesk server, without being annoying.  Once you achieve all-round security, you level up to the bearded owl. The other party was so interested I had to open the laptop with my own Plesk server so they could see.

6 reasons to update plesk onyx - screenshot-5 - install advisor extension
Install the Advisor extension and start getting helpful recommendations for your server at once.
6 reasons to update Plesk Onyx - screenshot-4 - the real bearded owl - Advisor

Reason #4: The Self-Repairing Feature

To further prove how the latest Plesk outshines their outdated version, I revealed the new self-repairing feature. This lets you repair Plesk by yourself right from a browser window, without having to connect to the server via SSH. Handy if you don’t have SSH access. And there’s the long-awaited process list that helps identify and manage the processes consuming the most system resources. So, before going to Plesk Support, you can launch Repair Kit to perhaps fix an issue yourself.

6 reasons to update your Plesk - screenshot-6 - How to access Plesk Repair Kit - Plesk
Go to https://domain.tld:8443/repair to access Repair Kit where you can try to get your server back to work.
6 reasons to update your Plesk - screenshot-7 - Find and fix server issues yourself with Plesk Repair Kit - Plesk
With the Repair Kit extension, you can check your server for errors and issues and then fix them.
6 reasons to update your Plesk - screenshot-8 - see what consumes server CPU & Ram with Plesk Repair Kit - Plesk
If you want to know what consumes CPU and RAM on your server, go to Repair Kit’s process list

Reason #5: You’re always up-to-date

Another thing – if their projects grew, sooner or later they would need new, high-demand features, solutions, and technologies. Serious updates of third-party components are always implemented in the latest versions of Plesk on a clean OS. Operating systems on which Plesk is installed also have their own life cycles. So older OS versions stop supporting Plesk over time, as well as outdated versions of third-party components.

Our conversation had become a one-man show, with the guys listening attentively. It was time to finish on a high. So I said that Plesk wants all users to get the best out of the product. From increased reliability to security innovations and implementation of new demanded features. For this to happen, we occasionally stop supporting old Plesk versions.

Lastly – there’s nothing complicated to update Plesk. And once you do, you get access to all the cool, new features our team worked so hard to roll out.

Reason #6: All the latest features and more

I asked if they had seen how powerful and convenient the new WordPress Toolkit became.  And SSL – which offers access to kickass features like “Keep domain secured” HSTS management. Our community, documentation, and support will always help you update and explore new opportunities. Moreover, according to our technical support data, the update from versions 17.0 and 17.5 to 17.8 goes very smoothly and Support requests are very rare.

Finally, I said, “if I was not persuasive enough, trust your peers – the Plesk server-owners. Because 41% of all Plesk Onyx 17.0 and 17.5 instances have already updated by their owners to version 17.8. Also, there are currently 61% of all Plesk servers on Plesk Onyx 17.8. Also, 80% of all new installations are Plesk Onyx 17.8.”

I could see that my recent acquaintances were satisfied and ready to update their server as we said goodbye and went towards our gates. I hope I can persuade you too that using the latest Plesk versions is the right choice for your business.

How to Schedule Automatic Backups to Cloud Storage

Automatic Backups to Cloud Storage

When you’re planning to scale your business, you need a solution that can deal with with backing up high volumes of data in a secure way. Because loss of data is one of the biggest risks for any growing business. The best you can do in this situation is go for Cloud storage.

Choosing a platform like Plesk with hyperscaling capabilities gives you access to high performing cloud services and reliable server management options. And what’s more, you can continue to manage automatic backups along with the rest of your system’s infrastructure from just one dashboard.

Multiple Backup Options

backup to multiple cloud storages - amazon/AWS, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, Vultr, OVH, Azure

Plesk’s Backup to Cloud Pro extension caters for multiple services depending on your cloud storage of choice. You can secure your domains with Google Drive, Amazon S3, DropBox, DigitalOcean Spaces and Microsoft OneDrive.

Just like with Google Drive, backing up and accessing your data is done without the need for any special coding or integration. You even have full control on when and how often backups are made. Making this pack the perfect choice for Hosting companies and Web Professionals.

In fact, using practically all cloud storage systems available through this Plesk extension gives you the same features. So as to keep data even more secure, rather than have just one backup it is possible that each authorised user makes a backup on his or her own account. Your only choice now is which cloud storage option you prefer working with.

Backup to Cloud Pro

Backup to Cloud Pro Features

This Backup to Cloud Pro pack gives you the opportunity to focus on more exciting and innovative tasks as it automates your backup management. It’s easy to set up and can run automatically. Plus, easy access and restoration of these backed up domains from Google Drive. This means that if your data is lost or corrupted, replacement via backup is quick.

All you need to do to start backing up domains is connect your Plesk user account to your preferred Cloud storage and start scheduling. The fact that we are integrated this extension expands our backup functionality at Plesk, allowing you to create a secure copy of your domains.

Install Backup to Cloud Pro on Plesk

Just a single package will unlock the ability for you and your customers to use all cloud storages. You can set up different backup schedules for Plesk Resellers, Clients and Subscriptions.

Here’s how a Plesk user installs and uses the Google Drive Backup extension in under 5 minutes.

The backup extensions offered by Plesk compliment the other extensions available to website owners. Webmasters don’t even need to worry about compatibility because they support all Linux and Windows development tools and platforms. In a world which demands instant results, we are proud to be able to deliver superior, reliable solutions like this Backup to Cloud Pro.