If you’re one of those 3.8 million ecommerce stores powered by WooCommerce, there’s no need to sell you on its features. You already know that it makes the creation and management of an online store so easy that you can go from business idea to execution fast. It even keeps track of inventory, manages payments and taxes, and handles shipping.
WooCommerce is one of the best ecommerce plugins for your WordPress site, but unfortunately, like all things digital, your store can also crash at the worst times. It happened to Amazon when Prime Day began in July 2018, and it could happen to you too. In this article, we’ll talk about how to save your crispy bacon behind with WooCommerce backup.
Why you need to back up your store
This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of site owners don’t back up their websites, either regularly or at all. They rely on their host to take care of those details, only to discover at the worst possible time that their faith was misplaced.
You absolutely need a WordPress backup system in place to protect your business from the following:
- Tech snafus: Like we said at the beginning,digital things break like everything else. Your hosting company could experience server failure or you could hit the wrong button and delete your entire site. It happens!
- Hackers: There are a lot of unscrupulous individuals who can’t resist taking down websites. An average of 30,000 new sites are hacked every day, and hackers steal approximately 75 records every second. Your WooCommerce site, with its goldmine of client data, is an ideal target for pro hackers in particular.
Crashes are bad enough when you’re running a hobby site and have to recreate all of the updates you did since the host last ran a backup. When it’s an ecommerce site that pays the bills, you’re in serious trouble. It could take days to get back up and running, which means:
- You’ll lose money. That’s a big one. Get ready to think of creative excuses to tell your landlord.
- Customers might stop trusting your site. Who’s going to hand over their credit card details to a site that takes days to come back online? They’ll wonder- and with good reason- if they’ll ever see their orders.
- You’ll lose credibility. A website that goes down for a long time is the digital equivalent of a burned-out storefront. You may have been there yesterday, but you’re gone today, and people will move on. So will Google indexing.
A WooCommerce backup will get your site back up and running quickly, protecting both your revenue stream and brand reputation. We’ll go into the ‘what’ and ‘how’ below.
What should your backup include?
The short answer is that it needs to include everything that will get your WooCommerce site back online and functioning the way it was before it crashed or disappeared. This includes:
- All content updates, such as new product sections, new images, and rewritten descriptions.
- All backend updates, such as the most recent site and plugin settings
A comprehensive WooCommerce backup strategy consists of the following:
- Restore capability: It’s not enough to save all of your site assets. You need to be able to restore everything so that the site is quickly back online in its entirety.
- Offsite backup: You need to save your backup files in multiple locations: your server, a local hard drive, a king-sized memory stick in a fireproof lock box. This may sound like overkill, but when it comes to protecting your livelihood, is there really such a thing as too much?
- Total site backup: Yes, that means everything. Back up your databases, plugins, files, etc. Some site owners think that a database backup alone is sufficient. While this can restore a lot of site and client data, it won’t include your plugins, themes, and other assets that your site needs to resume its former look and functionality.
How WooCommerce backup works
Here’s a tip: WooCommerce sites can’t always be backed up like regular sites.
When you install the WooCommerce plugin, it adds a custom table to your database. This table contains mission-critical information like customer orders, shipping details, and tax rates, but a lot of backup systems are not designed to detect it and include it during a routine backup of your files and database. Therefore, you need a backup that is customized for WooCommerce.
Tip number two: you need real-time backup. Ecommerce sites are constantly active: during any given hour, you might have customers buying things, entering their contact information, and making purchases. Even with hourly backups, you risk losing order data, so implement a backup system that goes into action whenever any changes occur on your WooCommerce site.
Once you’ve got the right backup solution in place, here are some additional ways that you can minimize data loss:
- Test your backups on a staging site before using them to restore your WooCommerce site. Some programs, like BlogVault, have a built-in staging capability but if yours doesn’t, you can always use a staging plugin like Duplicator or WP Staging.
- Review your Google Analytics to pinpoint the time of day when your site gets the least amount of traffic and arrange to restore backups during that period. If your site is still somewhat functional, you can use a Maintenance mode plugin to prevent it from accepting any new orders until restoration is complete.
When you run a WooCommerce site, frequent backups should be a regular part of routine site management. Not only does your site have multiple processes running at any given time, but it contains a lot of important data about customer orders, vendor relationships, and more. You have an obligation to keep your customers’ information secure, and any losses can have legal repercussions.
Remember: a well-run WooCommerce site is an investment that you need to protect. Great products and stellar service will put food on your table, while routine backups will save your bacon.