I was thinking of writing a post on backups only last week when on Saturday the inevitable happened. I was locked out of all my websites (all are on one server) and unable to correct it. The sites were still live, so people could see my websites (the front end) but I was unable to login as an administrator at the back end to add posts and new content, or to delete and change any settings or files that may have caused the problem in the first place.
During the day and a half that my sites were affected and while I waited for the hosting company to figure out a solution (by now we realised it was on the server side), I decided to do some cleaning up of the server and a undertake a completely clean install of WordPress on my main website. Not just the WordPress files but the database too – everything. In for a penny, in for a pound I figured, so I erased all the files. All. Of. Them. And the database.
The good news was that I knew I had solid backups going back twelve months for everything; the database, plugins and themes etc. No way would I ever have contemplated doing any of this without knowing that they were there and, more importantly, that they would work. The bad news was that it took the best part of Sunday for me to go through the backups and upload only the most relevant files. Out with the cruft and in with the new. Now I’m all “Ooh, look, shiny!”.