.web : Backup.

The site is back (if anyone noticed it being down, thanks for being so regular!). The problem was due to the inexperience of the new management at my hosting company, who are upgrading and migrating servers.  My site being down made me realise a very important thing. Backup.

The most important thing my brother taught me about life (and computers), is to always have backup. I remember it every single second. So should you.

It’s very common to see people not backing up their data. Always backup all of your important data. This includes class notes, documents, pictures, music, work stuff and even all the data on your website.
Backups should be preferably stored on an external medium, like an external hard disk or be burnt on a DVDs. Both these medium are very cheap and getting cheaper almost every month, especially hard drives. For weekly backups, keep them on your external hard drive or on a flash drive. For monthly or annual backups, burn them on a DVD. This is because external hard drives may crash. But once the DVD has been burnt and verified, it will work for a long time with proper usage and care.

Online data storage is starting to catch up. Online data storgae is backing up data online on storage sites like SkyDrive, Dropbox, etc. This is a very cheap method as the amount space they give for free is usually sufficient for documents. However, I usually do not recommend this method as your account may get compromised and your data may be stolen. Worse of all you may never know it.

Students, like myself, most of your university life will be spent doing assignments, projects, reports and all others of that sort. As you are doing this, keep regular backup of what you are working on every few hours. The preferred media for this are usb keys. Keep them plugged in while you work and regulary save and send a copy of your work into it. Nothing is worse than loosing all your hardwork because your hard drive crashed or data got deleted erroneouly.

Those of you who are photographers or take a lot of photos, with either your camera or phone, backup all your images. Originals and edits, both are important. Burn your files to DVDs and label them properly as well, preferably by location, event and date.

Musicians, all of you probably have external hard disk(s). Therefore your backing up will be preferably done on DVDs. Keep all demos, samples and performances. Who knows, when you get famous, you might release them as special unreleased tracks.

For all you webmasters out there, a special word of warning. Do not under any circumstances rely on your hosting company to backup your data for you. I almost lost my data because of this. Even if they promise regular backups, it is the smarter and more efficient thing to make your own database dumps.

Always keep in mind, data is important.  It’s your life’s work.