It seems that Jeff Atwood has experienced a 100% data loss for his blog and the stackoverflow blog.

It's starting to come back up slowly since Jeff has succeeded recovering data from web caches and with the help of his readers.

But it's a sobering experience, nonetheless. Placing all the Schadenfreude aside (like most of this Proggit thread), it makes sense to take a moment of pondering to learn about what went wrong and how you can avoid it for your data. Jeff's hosting - CrystalTech probably had a single point of failure for these websites, and losing a single disk wiped everything out. Jeff had backups, but those were kept on the same server.

My hosting for this blog (and other content, like our photos and travel log) is from bluehost. I remember questioning their support engineer over a chat about their backup strategies when I just started hosting with them. He told me they have backups, but they are all "on-site" - in some kind of a basement somewhere in Arizona. So, although there's no single disk that can fail, a tornado can probably wipe out my website and many others.

This is why I'm using bluehost's full backup ability to download a backup of my whole website once in a couple of weeks to my PC. Naturally it also gets to my backup external HD, which I update every week. This distributes the danger over different continents, so I feel much safer. The gzipped backup has reached half a gig by now, but it's still quick to download over FTP. I've even used it myself one time when I deleted something without purpose. Saved me a day or two waiting for bluehost to bring it up from their backups.

Backups are important! Out data is one of the most important assets we have these days, so it's worthwhile to invest in keeping it safe. You can't just trust the web-host unless you explicitly pay for a bullet-proof replication service that ensures your data's safety. Learning from your mistakes is great, but learning from others' mistakes is much better! So take a few minutes to review the backup strategy for your important data.


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