This is a blog post about Magento backups, how you can do them by default in Magento and how a new extension I have made called Cloud Backup will help to make them automatically and send them offsite to Amazon’s S3 storage service – increasing the chance you’ll have a recent backup if (when) bad things happen to your store or server. I’d like your help beta testing this new extension, and this post will hopefully convince you why that’s mutually beneficial for us. The extension is
still pending on Magento Connect so give it a whirl, I’ll update this post with the link shortly, or for those that are particularly keen to test it, you can download the release directly and install it manually.
Making a backup of your Magento Store is an important part of the admin duties for a store owner, without a backup you would be at risk if your web host failed, went belly up or disappeared off the face of the earth. More importantly, some countries require you by law to keep accounting records for several years, for example in New Zealand it’s 7 years! So if that data gets lost, or corrupted by your web host, you have a real problem not just because your store is hosed.
For those of you that didn’t know already, as well as making the best email extension for Magento, I also have a fairly busy day job over at World Wide Access. We run a number of web stores where we export and sell New Zealand products into the US and UK markets. Solving this data security problem became a challenge for us and our solution, I think, is one that others may find valuable too. So we have bundled it up as an extension, and are making it available to others.
Our solution is full-store snapshot backup combined with the cloud data storage service provided by Amazon called S3. This combination allows automated off-site backups to a very reliable, highly available data storage service off-site. So if your web host screws up, or simply goes bankrupt and has their servers repossessed you have a safe, secure backup waiting if you need it. Sound good? We think so too.
The extension is very much still in beta, I have a number of features still in development, but I thought it’d be good to invite some other developers and store owners to begin trying it out, for free (to a reasonable limit!) so that I can get some feedback on the functionality as it stands. So if you are reading this, you are cordially invited to participate in our beta program.
How Magento Backups Work
The built-in backups provided by Magento are fairly laborious, you have to manually create them, then download them to your computer, and then hope that your local computer is more safe than your server. Here are the steps involved:
1. Navigate to the built-in Backup Tool
You can find the functionality tucked away in the System->Tools menu as shown below:
2. Create the DB Backup
Once you click the ‘Create backup’ button you’ll get a new entry in the list that represents your backup.
3. Download the Backup to your local computer.
Once you have the backup, it’s highly recommended to download it to you own computer, or store it somewhere other than where it is put by default.
If you do not download the backups locally, then they sit on the same server as your Magento store (and probably the same server as your database) which means if you lose one, you lose both. Not really useful at all.
Limitations of the built-in Backups
Aside from not being automatic, or offsite backups – one important thing to note is these are Database backups only, so if you have made customizations to your template, spent hours uploading product inventory photos, or have your own translations and email templates, these are not backed up by default.
How Our Magento Cloud Backups Work
Our new Cloud Backup extension offers several benefits over the default backup solution.
- Automated – Cloud Backup can be set to run daily (and in the future even more or less frequently to ensure you have the right level of data safety for your business.
- Complete – The backups we send offsite contain the entire database, but also all of the files within your Magento installation, so that if required you can rebuild everything from scratch quickly and easily.
- Viewable – Just being told a backup is ‘safe and sound‘ doesn’t really put my mind at ease. I prefer to actually see my backups. That’s why we have a bucket browser built in to the Magento admin interface.
- Downloadable – In addition to being stored in enterprise data centers with very low failure rates, you can elect to download any given backup to your own computer.
- Direct relationship with Amazon – I’m not a big fan of putting myself in between a store manager with a crashed server and their backup, that’s why we have set up the extension to work directly with Amazon, you pay Amazon for the storage and the backups are sent directly to Amazon, not us – hell hath no fury like a store owner scorned!
Features In The Pipeline
One of the other reasons we are running the Magento Cloud Backup beta program, is to determine which of the next round of features should make it in to the production product. Some of the ideas we have, that beta testers will be brain-picked about are:
- Backup Encryption – to ensure your data is even more secure, the risk of course is that you forget the key, then your backups are worthless.
- Recovery – allow your backups to be ‘hot swapped’ onto a running Magento store, either for real-live disaster recovery, or just development and testing purposes.
Interested yet? Then get the extension and let us know what you think.
Not convinced? Here’s the why sign up blurb…
- Cheap beta program – first GB free, then only 50 cents per GB-month after that
- Free support for install and debugging
- Free upgrades and eventually discounted access to the paid application