Important Lessons About Backing Up Your Website From The 123-Reg Fiasco

If you haven’t heard, 123-reg committed the biggest web hosting faux pas of the decade by inadvertently deleting 67 virtual private servers and with it losing a large portion of their customers data, forever! So what are the lessons we can take away from this?

Backup Backup Backup

Firstly a service provider of such stature as 123-reg should not exactly be losing data and have offsite backups of everything. Granted if they were providing unmanaged dedicated servers it can sometimes be understandable why the burden of backing up may be shifted to the customer but even the servers running unmanaged VPSs should be fully backed up as standard. It is not entirely clear why there were no backups of a particular segment of their affected customer’s data and if the backups were lost as part of the clean up process.

That aside it is important for you as a website owner to take responsibility of your data even though you may expect your supposedly reputable host to do so. If in doubt you should check with your web host if they take backups, what their retention policy is and how easily your data can be recovered. We take hourly offsite backups with a 12 hour retention policy as well as nightly backups with a 14 day retention policy using the industry leading continuous data protection solution, R1Soft.

There is a reason backup is written 3 times in this heading. Not only to stress the importance of backing up but also to serve as a reminder that a proper backup regime should amount to 3 copies of your data at least one of which needs to be offsite.

Keep Your Own Copy

Managed web hosting services will tend to have a proper backup system in place so you might think to yourself that you don’t need to worry about having your own copy. However depending on your host’s backup system we recommend downloading a copy of your data maybe once per month just so you have your own copy and don’t fall victim to a 123-reg scale disaster.

Disaster Recovery

Make sure you have a plan of action in place in the event of the worst happening. Firstly it’s important to gain an understanding of your web hosts backup procedures and how you can utilise their tools. Providing your host has a backup solution that should leave you in good stead to easily recover from any data loss in an automated fashion. In the unlikely event that your host goes up in flames like 123-reg then having your own copy of your data as previously mentioned will also come in handy. It’s also worth mentioning that depending on the nature of your website more pertinent than the files will be the database.

Can Anything Be Done

If your website is among those gone forever from 123-reg and the ether then there may be a long shot which at the very least may allow you to access some of your old content. For small business websites this may be a viable option as your website probably doesn’t change much. For more dynamic websites or sites that publish a lot of regular content this may not be so effective however still worth a try. Simply visit The Way Back Machine and enter your web address. With any luck they should have snapshots of your website. This is only cosmetic and won’t allow recovery of databases but in some cases it may suffices and in others it may be better than nothing.


Hopefully you weren’t among the unlucky stream of customers affected by 123-reg’s incompetence but if you were drop us a line and we’ll see how we can help.