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Thread: New website

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018

    New website

    What type of backup would be best for a website?

  2. #2
    Forum manager Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Mid-Wales


    Hi again Ben,

    Another fantastic question, and probably just as open ended to answer as your other post.

    My first thought is (probably as always), security. You want to ensure that your data remains available but confidential and with data integrity (ensuring it doesn't get changed).

    For this reason the first thing I would say to consider is Encryption with a passphrase, and checksum comparison.

    • The first (encryption) ensures that only the person with the right "keys" can access and view the data.
    • The second (checksum comparison) will enable the admin to tell if the data has changed since it was backed up, or further more if there is a "man in the middle" attack possible.

    Now we're passed the security side of things, we can look at the options for "backup type" and then "backup storage options":

    • Full backups - This is where a backup of everything is made (A must have really, its worth making a full backup every month or so, and then using one of the following backups options as a "top-up" to avoid using lots of space or having a very long restore time with not so up-to-date data.
    • Selective backups - You may decide only to backup certain bits of your data, for example the website files and the database, this can be an efficient way to save space, and mean you can make more frequent backups. A great idea, especially in combination with a monthly full backup.
    • SQL backups - SQL Databases are backed up slightly differently to normal files, they need to have all their information put together and stored in a file (often called a SQL file).
    • Incremental backups - This type of backup combines the use of the full backup and makes a more frequent backup of the differences between the time the full backup was made and the changes since. A good way to keep full backups but be efficient with space.
    • Differential backups - These are very similar to Incremental backups, however, as well as backing up the changes, each backup runs through the full backup too. This is fairly costly in time.

    Storage options:
    • Local stored backups - Backing up to a local disk is risky but sometimes useful if you're making a change to the system and want a quick way to restore the information if things break.
    • Backup hard drives - These are slightly better than local backups but not much, they are still at high risk of corruption and damage. They offer very little resiliancy and really should be used for less important data backup that can be accepted if lost.
    • Cloud backups solutions - A very good way of ensuring integrity and availablility of your data, because the data spans not just computers systems, data centres and networks, but countries, and is replicated many many times. There are two main cons with cloud solutions. They are open to attack and unauthorised access due to the nature of the open internet, and secondly the rate at which the traffic can be backed up and restored relies on a good internet connection.
    • Network Attached storage - This is a storage medium which is remotely connected to over a network. A large benefit of this over Local backup is that if the original system is detroyed entirely, the backup is still in tact (assuming the backup and its device remains okay). Typically NAS has disk resiliancy for example by using RAID arrays to mirror and stripe the data. This type of technology allows the reconstruction of data using mathematical functions and parity should one of the disks in the array fail.

    Transfer Protocols:

    • FTP (Insecure) - If you're going to consider this insecure protocol it should be locked down on a network level (to an IP/range) and you should consider using an encrypted backup method such as Duply/Duplicity
    • SCP/SFTP - Secure Copyy and Secure FTP are slightly securer protocol than FTP and use the same types of transfer technology only over an encrypted connection.
    • RSYNC - Rsync is a great tool and can be used in conjuction with SSH to securely move files to your backup store, the main differnce being is that it will only move the newst files, and if specified will remove old files, effectively allowing you to create a mirror of the file data. Note: this is no use really in terms of database files.
    • CIFS/Samba - This protocol is handy for Windows users to copy and map drives, great if you're trying to make use of Windows File history etc.

    Personally I utilise a few different backup types and storgae media including local hourly backups, remote daily backups, cloud based backups including full, incremental, SQL, selective types.

    I've ommitted some of the other options, like tape drives and other protocols for the sake of brevity, but hopefully this gives you some insight into what could be considered and why.

    I'll try to answer any questions you may have in regards to my post.

    Hopefully this helps somewhat!

    Kind regards,

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