Website backup speed is commonly ignored and matters only when performing a restore or when website loads slow. Lets take a look at why website backup speed matters to you.

Hosting Industry is big and very competitive. There is cut-throat competition from new entrants, and hosting prices hit lower prices. It has become more important to serve more websites per server. With SSD based hosting, it has helped get more juice out of a hosting server. Despite the advance in technology, hosting servers cannot afford to have backup jobs eat server resources and slow down rendering of websites. With more competition, it has become more important to have close to 100% uptime. All sites need to have good response time 24x7x365.

Resource Impact

Some backup jobs work by creating a local backup copy and then performing a remote transfer of archive. Such backups are not only slow, but impact I/O resources. Files first have to copied to another directory and then archived, and again the archive file has to be read to transfer to remote. There can be significant impact in site speeds, during such backup. So, chances are that sites are loading slow during a backup. Three time I/O operation can be reduced by doing a one time remote direct website backup. The longer the backup runs, the longer the impact it has on website rendering performance.

Slow Restores

This is specific to website backup vendors, where a backup is performed prior to restore. It is essential to run a backup of the latest site, before performing a restore, to make sure you never loose any point of state of your website. If a website backup takes several minutes to run, it is only going to take longer to do a restore.

Imagine a scenario where your website has been reported to contain malware, and you have been asked to fix it. Time is ticking! Hosting provider is not going to give you a lot of time, reverting back. You need to quickly revert your site back to pristine version, to update your hosting provider. Else, you risk your site being taken offline. Quick restore is essential. You can then investigate the root cause, and fix it. So, the point is faster backups leads to faster restores.

Lost modifications

Lets take another scenario, where you requested for a restore. A file has been modified by a visitor, after the backup job has finished traversing that specific directory. The current running backup has missed to backup that modified file. Post backup, restore runs and overwrites the file. In this case, you loose out the file modification. If the backup was faster, the modification would have been on the restored version. And the modification would have been backed on the next schedule.

So, longer the backup time window, the higher the chances of loosing out modifications during a restore.

All site backup

What if all sites on the server are to be backed up? Your backup has to be efficient to pick only changes and if it has a version control, even better. Only the first backup is to have all files backed up. Subsequent backups will always be incremental which means your I/O has further dropped. If not the case, then time taken to backup all sites can take long time and it can become difficult to finish full backup cycle of all sites or can impact hosting server resources. Hence backup speed matters, when backing up all sites on a hosting server.

In a competitive hosting market, it is more important to focus on such granular things. I hope you find this article useful. Do share!

Thank you for reading!