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What is a Backup? 

A data backup is a duplicate record of the information on a computer or server. It is typically stored in an external hard drive, cloud drive, or other off-site location. It is primarily used to restore the original information after a data loss event or other computer error.

Why are Backups Needed?

In the world of web hosting, there is little that is more defeating than losing progress on a site or application you have worked on. Malicious malware can infect an account, critical files are removed, or a developer you are working with accidentally overwrites a live database. Maybe the code that was tweaked for a site was supposed to work but ended up causing unforeseen issues with another application.

Backups are more than necessary for such occasions; they are mission-critical for any website, server, or application today. Having a reliable backup plan in place with multiple points of recovery is critical. Current industry standards for web hosting recommend having at least one remote backup solution and one local solution to ensure your sites and your business’s security. Creating, managing, and maintaining a website or application can be a lot of work, but backups shouldn’t be. Luckily, Liquid Web has multiple solutions to offer. All options are fully supported by Liquid Web and our trained System Recovery or Support Teams.

What are Local Backups?

If you have a server that is utilizing a web hosting panel such as cPanel or Plesk, you should enable local backups from within these panels. A “local backup” means that the backup is stored directly on the server itself. 
Local backups can be useful if you have many clients who may need to restore content themselves from the hosting panel(s) or do not have much content to back up.

These backups are typically included within the hosting panel license fees, so there is no additional charge for these local hosting panel backups; however, they do take up disk space on the server. Generally, these backups offer some options for the number of backups to retain and what to back up so being mindful of the necessary and available disk space is advised.

If additional disk space is required for local backups, there are options such as Liquid Web’s Cloud Block Storage devices or resizing the server if the server in question is a Virtual Private Server. One last consideration is that these backups generally are not full server images meaning not all the files and folders are backed up. Liquid Web’s Support Team is available if you have questions or need any assistance with these backups.

What are Remote Backups?

Local backups are an excellent first step in ensuring your data’s safety. Still, remote off-server backups are just as critical if not more so as hardware failure or other critical events can risk the integrity of your data. Depending on whether you have a cloud-based infrastructure or a dedicated server, Liquid Web offers several solutions.

What are Cloud Backups?

If you have a virtual private server, then there are several options that can be used to back up these servers. First, is the Liquid Web Cloud Server Backups.

Liquid Web Cloud Backups are entirely remote, providing you with peace of mind that your content is backed up to a safe, secure location, without utilizing the valuable disk space on the server. Liquid Web Cloud Backups are full server images. This means they contain a full snapshot of every single file, directory, database, etc. within each of the daily backups.

While there is no external access to these backups, the restoration process for these backups is exclusively handled by a trained and dedicated team at Liquid Web. This team specializes in data restoration, ensuring your data is safe before, during, and after the backups taken. 

These options can be enabled for each server in your manage.liquidweb.com dashboard. The Liquid Web Cloud Backups are taken daily, but the data usage is calculated hourly to ensure accurate invoicing for servers with fluctuating disk space utilization. There are two different pricing options: Pay per Gig and Quota Pricing:

Pricing

Pay per Gig

The most common payment method is Pay per Gig, which costs $0.13/month per GB of usage. This essentially lets you determine the exact number of Cloud Backups you want to be retained. Only then are charged for the total amount due. This is best for servers that may have fluctuating amounts of data usage.

You can set the backups to retain the desired number of daily backups to fit your needs. Then, the total amount of data backed up is then calculated. You can estimate the cost of a single daily backup but looking at the disk space used on the server(s). Then multiplying that amount by $0.13 per GB. There is some compression that occurs, so the backups should be a bit smaller than the actual data amount projected. This can be used to estimate the daily cost. That total can then be multiplied by however many days worth of backups you wish to retain.

Quota Pricing

With the Quota Pricing option, a specific amount of space is specified and dedicated to retaining as many backups that fit within the quota. If the backup taken is too large to work within the quota, the backup is not saved, but you will not be charged more than the amount used. The quotas available start at 100 GB for $13.00 a month and go up from there. These backups are best for servers without a large amount of data or if you want to ensure your monthly cost does not fluctuate with the backups’ size. These backups still run daily and save the data without being overwritten.

What is a Server Image?

Also, available for Liquid Web’s Cloud VPS’ are Liquid Web’s Server Images. These images are similar to the Cloud Backups. They are full server images, containing all the data on the server. Liquid Web’s Server Images can also be enabled from within your manage.liquidweb.com dashboard. The most significant difference here is the cost, which is $0.25 per GB.

This cost is slightly higher because the Server Images is a single snapshot of the server in a specific state. The images are saved independently of any other backups. There is no specific retention policy as the Liquid Web Server Images stay on the account until they are removed. They can also be used to restore or spin up new servers using this static image.

These options are an excellent way to take advantage of securely storing your data. Especially if any major updates or upgrades, such as MySQL/MariaDB upgrades or OS changes are planned. These options can be used to restore the entire server to the same working state from when they were taken. Liquid Web’s Systems Restoration Team also handles these restorations.

What are Acronis Backups?

Unfortunately, Liquid Web’s Cloud Backups and Server Images are not available on a traditionally hosted or dedicated server. However, our Acronis Cyber Backup option provides the same features as Liquid Web’s Cloud Backups and Server Images.

Acronis Cyber Backups provide a dedicated backup solution for Liquid Web’s traditional and dedicated hosting servers. There is a self-service portal for easy backup configuration, management, and restoration with extreme customization levels. This allows you to keep individual drives, folders, or entire servers backed up at any intervals you choose. This includes the dates to start and stop the backups.

This does not cover the number of restoration options which offer similar levels of flexibility. Acronis Cyber Backups can be stored off-server either in the Liquid Web Cloud or in the Acronis Backup Cloud. Both destinations provide the same encrypted, off-server protection for your backups. And it utilizes the same self-service portal for configuration, management, and restoration but vary in cost.

Pricing

Acronis Cyber Backups have a base price of $10/mo, in addition to quota pricing similar to that of Liquid Web’s Cloud Backup Quota Pricing option. If storing the data at Liquid Web, the Acronis Backup Quota starts at $15.00 a month for 250 GB of storage. This option can be increased up to 10 TB. If keeping the backups with Acronis, quota pricing begins at $30.00 a month. Storage starts at 250 GB and can be expanded to 10 TB storage space. 

It is recommended to have at least one remote and one local backup enabled. This ensures multiple restoration points if needed. If you are looking for insight into what the number of backups to retain, we have the following recommendations. (This amount may vary depending on your needs.)

Backup Recommendations

The minimum recommended recovery points are noted below.

  • Two to three local daily backups
  • One remote daily backup
  • One local and/or remote weekly backup 

The ideal recommended recovery points are as follows.

  • Five to seven local daily backups
  • One to three remote daily backup(s)
  • One to three local and/or remote weekly backup(s)
  • One or more local and/or remote monthly backup(s)

This should be sufficient to ensure you have enough backup points to recover data if a restoration is needed. This can be accomplished through any combination of the backups listed above. Liquid Web’s Support Team is always happy to assist with configuring any backups for you if needed.

Conclusion

As you can see, Liquid Web offers multiple ways to ensure your data is securely backed up. Any combination of these backup solutions can be used, and there are many third-party alternatives available on the market. Restorations from third-party backups are not guaranteed to be successful. However, all these backup solutions are fully supported by Liquid Web. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to reach out to Liquid Web Support or our System Restoration Team for further assistance.

We pride ourselves on being The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting™!

Our Support Teams are filled with experienced Linux technicians and talented system administrators who have intimate knowledge of multiple web hosting technologies, especially those discussed in this article.

Should you have any questions regarding this information, we are always available to answer any inquiries with issues related to this article, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year.

If you are a Fully Managed VPS server, Cloud Dedicated, VMWare Private Cloud, Private Parent server, Managed Cloud Servers, or a Dedicated server owner and you are uncomfortable with performing any of the steps outlined, we can be reached via phone at @800.580.4985, a chat or support ticket to assisting you with this process.

About the Author: Joshua Maul

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