A sunday, ruined by a poor backup strategy.

Today, we’d like to present you the story of an unfortunate webmaster who was out of luck the past weekend.  Let this be a lesson for all of you who think that back-ups aren’t “necessary, because never anything happens to your sites.

Last Sunday held all the elements to become a great day.  Excellent weather, three world cup games to look forward to and a planned trip… life was good!  At least, that’s what I thought.  But it turned out to be a sunday I want to forget as soon as possible.  Around lunch, a customer called.  “My site has been down since friday night, and I’m loosing customers” he claimed.  I was ordered by management to solve the problem immediately.  Much to my dismay, the website was indeed down, and it wasn’t the only one.  A hand full of our sites were showing an error, saying that no configuration file or installation folder was present.

As it turned out, I had made a mistake when updating the Joomla websites to 1.5.18.  I uploaded the files to the wrong directory for our “special” sites that have a custom index page.  The solution was simple:  delete all the files of the patch, and I was set.  But, then I made a mistake.  I accidentally deleted a folder inside the Joomla directory.


I needed a backup of the site, and I needed it fast.  Okay, stay calm.  The hosting company makes a full backup every day, so I contact them.  Hello, no-one there? Crap. I tried to (temporarily) solve the issue by using an older backup; but uploading it broke more things than it fixed… I had no other backup to fall back to, so I had to depend on the hosting company – but they weren’t responding to my tickets at all.

In the end, I managed to fix the website, but it was too late.  Working on a customer site for 4 hours, not finding the solution, ruined Sunday for me.  It’s easy to say that I “shouldn’t have made the mistake(s) in the first place”, and you’re probably right.  But what frustrates me the most, is that I realized that making a backup regularly would’ve “saved” my sunday.   I’ve certainly learned my lesson…

The Lesson

Since our anonymous poor bastard failed to tell you “what lessons he learned”, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to point out four lessons you should learn from this story.

  1. Don’t depend on your hosting company for back-ups.  You need backups available yesterday.
  2. Make your own backups of both files and database regularly.
  3. Keep your login for FTP, MySQL etc. close, just in case.
  4. Don’t think this can happen to you!!

Got your own Joomla horror stories?  Click the contact button and submit your story!

Was this story a wake-up call for you?  Well, it should be.  If it was, then make sure to read the upcoming post, which will explain how Akeeba Backup can save your sunday.

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3 thoughts on “A sunday, ruined by a poor backup strategy.”

  1. There are some very good backup programs that work from the admin area of a Joomla website – I use Akeeba Backup. It is free and very easy to install. I have also changed the address of the login area for the admin part of the site via the index.php. Haven’t been hacked since I made that change.

    1. Linda,

      Believe it or not, but the next post is going to discuss Akeeba Backup! I’ll be looking into your suggestion for changing the admin address though. Any tips?

  2. Pingback: Review: Akeeba Backup Core 3.0 « Joomla and more

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