Note to webmasters: Back up your databases

I backed up the databases for this site and Wikiwrimo today. I really should be doing this more often because you never know what could happen that could cause me to rebuild the entire site from what I have left, especially Wikiwrimo. Lack of thinking about it caused me not to do it before now. Upgrading WordPress today and preparing to upgrade MediaWiki finally prompted me to back everything up.

Backing up a database turned out to be much easier than anticipated. In the cases of WordPress and MediaWiki, guides exist in their documentation, and using them really was as easy as a few clicks in phpMyAdmin. I followed the instructions, downloaded my .sql files, and went on my merry way.

If you’re not using WordPress or MediaWiki but you are using a well-known blogging platform or CMS, you can probably find a similar page within that site’s documentation that’ll tell you how to back up a database. But if you’re using a graphical interface like phpMyAdmin, go to Export within your database manager and select all the databases. You won’t need to fiddle with the default settings too much, but depending on what kind of database you’re backing up, you may want to change a couple of them. Check the documentation of whatever you’re backing up, but you shouldn’t have to change much. Then download the file and celebrate.

Luckily, nothing bad actually happened to me besides a couple of hiccups in WordPress that I fixed fairly quickly. You never know. I feel much more secure knowing that backups exist on my computer just in case something bad happens.

And for you non-web types (and even for those who are), back up your stuff! You never know what could happen to it.

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