Why You Should Care about WooCommerce Backups

Have you ever had a day where you felt like everything was going right? Things just fall into place and work like they should. You make every traffic light. You have your favorite food for lunch, and you get an unexpected compliment from that person who’s always impossible to please. 

But other times it seems just the opposite. And if it starts with hearing the dreaded phrase, “your website is down,” you might begin to brace yourself for a long day. Thankfully, there’s an “easy button” to undo a broken site. You don’t have to worry about a damaged reputation, lost sales, or hours of troubleshooting. You can just start over.

We’re talking about backups. They’re a simple-to-implement solution that can save you a lot of trouble. 

You can give yourself peace of mind with an effective backup strategy. Whether your site is experiencing a minor problem or a total shutdown, you can get your shop back up and running quickly by restoring a complete set of files, buying yourself time to find and resolve the issue. If you rely on your website for income, having a reliable backup plan in place is a must.

Why you might need to restore a WooCommerce backup

What kind of problems could cause your site to go down? 

1. Update conflicts 

A WordPress site typically has a theme and supporting plugins to enhance functionality and add extra features. And when you’re running a WooCommerce store, there can be even more moving parts, as the number of extensions you use will likely increase. 

It’s important to keep all of your software updated for security reasons. But sometimes, updating a single plugin can result in a conflict that breaks a part of your site (or worse — takes it down completely). This might cause an error message at the top of your store, or cause the checkout process to stop working.

Or, if you’re updating multiple tools at once, you might not even know the exact source of the problem. In that case, you’ll need to deactivate your software and then enable them one by one to identify and solve the problem.

2. Human error

With a WordPress.com Pro plan, you have the freedom to edit the code of your site. While that can be a huge benefit, it can also introduce errors or problems. If you’re not sure what went wrong, restoring from a backup will enable you to try again without having to pore through lines of code.

Even if you’re not doing anything complicated, human error can still cause problems. For example, you or a member of your staff might accidentally delete a page or product, losing critical content. You might make the wrong edit to a customer account or uninstall a plugin and lose all of its settings. Manual errors like this can all be fixed by restoring a backup.

3. Hackers

Although an updated WordPress site with strong security measures can prevent most attacks, it’s not impossible for hackers to find a way in. 

And if they’re able to compromise your site, bad actors can inject malware, change links, create dangerous redirects, capture client information, or even completely remove some of your content. 

It can be hard to find malware, identify backdoors, and make sure that all accounts are properly repaired. Your best chance in this situation is to restore a full backup from before the hack.

How to protect yourself with backups

When your site is down for any reason, you can quickly restore it with a backup — but only if you already have one on hand. 

There are a few things you’ll need to know to make an educated decision about your backup strategy. Here are the basics:

Automatic vs. manual backups

The easiest way to set up backups is with a plugin. Several backup plugins and services exist, and most of these will allow you to either:

  • Manually save a copy of your site. This can be useful if you know you’re about to do something risky, but in general, you won’t want your backup strategy to be “whenever I remember to do it.” 
  • Set an automatic backup schedule. Automatic backups are a must when running an online store. They give you peace of mind without adding to your daily task list. 

Real-time vs. interval backups

Automatic backups are great because they simply happen. There’s no need for constant intervention or monitoring. But how frequently should these backups run?

  • Based on a set interval. In this case, your website will be automatically backed up based on a certain interval, such as monthly, weekly, or daily. While this might be a good solution for more stagnant sites, it’s not the best option for online stores because of how frequently they’re updated.
  • In real time. Real-time backups mean that your data is saved every single time something changes. A customer places an order? It’s backed up. You change the price of a product? It’s backed up. You alter your shipping rates? It’s backed up. When something goes wrong, you can pinpoint the exact moment it happened and restore every bit of data up to that point.

WordPress.com backups

If you’re hosting your WooCommerce store on WordPress.com, you already have access to a great backup solution: Jetpack. The backups provided by Jetpack are taken in real-time, so that every transaction and piece of content is always saved, without slowing down your store’s performance. It’s fully integrated with your WordPress dashboard, so you can quickly access backups at any time. Plus, it includes bonus features like an activity log to help you identify the source of your problem. 

How to restore a backup on WordPress.com

With Jetpack Backup, you can restore a backup with just a few clicks. There are a couple of ways to do this.

How to restore a backup using the activity log:

  • Navigate to the WordPress dashboard.
  • Go to Jetpack → Activity Log. Use the filters at the top to search for an individual event on your site. For example, you can look for a specific order, a login session, or an upgraded plugin. Once you’ve found the event, click Restore to return your site to its condition before the event took place.
  • Verify the sections of your site you’d like to restore. Typically, you’ll want to restore everything.
  • Confirm your selections and then wait for the restore process to finish.

How to restore a backup without the activity log:

  • Go to Jetpack → Backup. This is a better route if you don’t frequently make changes to your site or have a lot of incoming orders. Choose a date and time that you’d like to restore to and simply click Restore.
  • Verify the sections of your site you’d like to restore. Typically, you’ll want to restore everything.
  • Confirm your selections and then wait for the restore process to finish.

That’s it — just a few clicks and your site should be up and running again. 

As an online store owner, you have enough to worry about. Losing data and sales because of a website problem shouldn’t be one of them. With real-time backups in place and the ability to restore them with a single click, you can avoid a day of frustration and stay focused on your passion. 

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The WordPress.com Team

At WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on WordPress.com. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

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