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Web site and database backup

LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
edited December 2011 in
Quick question to the admins here...

Is the web site completely backed up and stored offsite in more than one location?

I've seen more than one "hobby" website have a major problem when a server crashed or something else happened that screwed up the database, more than one web site has closed over such an event.

Just wanted to know if the forum, the brickset database, everything here was properly backed up and if the backup has been tested...

If there is anything that I can do it help, let me know. :)


  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    Well, I have a jazz drive for back-up that is making really loud noises and something is hogging my memory and i blocked my pop-ups, but and...

    Just kidding...
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,076
    Good question...

    Brickset, the database: held on a shared SQL Server. A maintenance plan backs it up overnight and the server is backed up to tape. I take a copy of the backup file via FTP every Sunday morning so in the event of total disaster at the data centre and loss of backups there, recovery would be possible to within a week. I have restored the backups taken to other SQL servers, although I don't do that regularly. It's likely that I will increase the frequency of downloading the backup copy in the New Year.

    Brickset, the website: on a virtual server. The server is pretty much 'vanilla Windows Server 2008R2' so that can be rebuilt if needed. The website code itself is of course developed offline on my local machine so the 'master copy', if you like, is held locally under version control, and that is backed up on to a NAS drive.

    The forum: hosted by and I'd be very surprised if they didn't have robust processes in place for DR given a large part of their business relies on revenue from the hosted forums.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,258
    If you use it, I would also recommend regularly exporting your My Sets data to csv and keeping a copy, just in case. I have invested significant amounts of time in cataloguing my sets on Brickset, including extensive use of the ACM, and it just gives me a little bit of peace of mind to know I have a physical copy of that data under my own control.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    ^ Great advice - I concur.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    edited December 2011
    @Huw - thank you so much for responding, it sounds like you have done this before. :)

    Good to know the web site is in good hands, I've been a member of web sites in the past that had crashes and lost everything because they did not follow best practices.

    One suggestion I might make is that you use a service like Crashplan or Carbonite to backup your local material offsite as well. I actually use both backup companies, because I don't trust any one company enough with my business data. $60 a year (each) is cheap insurance to make double sure everything is backed up.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,258
    edited December 2011
    I use Carbonite as well, took about 1 month to do the initial backup though (about 160GB) since they throttle upstream bandwidth...understandably. I think with a local copy and a single cloud backup, I've got enough cover to allay my fears.

    To anyone else reading this who doesn't backup any of their personal data, I implore you to do so today. Hard disks fail all the time and without warning, it will happen to you at some point and don't assume you or an expert will be able to recover the data, sometimes you can, and sometimes you can't, don't risk it. Soapbox moment over!
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    ^ What's the recommendation for normal people?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    I have my Mom on Carbonite, backs up all her files, all the time in the background, $60 a year, a bargain.

    I've already had to use it for her, bought her a new computer last Christmas, her old one was really messed up from a virus she got by clicking on all those pop-ups I tell her not to click on! Installed her programs, installed Carbonite, started a restore, within a few hours all her files were back, no muss no fuss.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation Member Posts: 5,572
    edited December 2011
    I have my Mom on Carbonite... .
    But Leia will come and unfreeze her soon, right...? :)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    ^ What's the recommendation for normal people?
    I'm not sure what's considered best practice these days, but for me a 1 Tb external hard drive and an iMac that backs up automatically onto the external hard drive every hour without me having to do anything helps me sleep better at night....

  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,258
    That'll do it, preferably the backup is kept off site in case of fire etc, which is what a cloud backup is good for, but really, as long as you're doing something about it then great.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    @drdavewatford - will your external hd software allow a backup sync for multiple computers? My seagate one (mimeo?) worked fine for my desktop but then failed miserably twice for my laptop. Or are you simply using a program that came with your operating system? I realize this all way off topic but who knows, this may help more forum members than just my techno-useless self. :o)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    ^ I've not tried, YC, although since the back-up is controlled by the iMac rather than any on-board external HD software (I completely formatted the HD before using it) I don't see why not, providing there's enough HD capacity.
  • DavidRod8DavidRod8 Member Posts: 143
    I use idrive and sounds a lot like carbonite... $5 a month, and every night it automatically backs up any new content. I have mostly for pics/videos of my girls. Got a new computer and worked like advertised
  • OnionButterOnionButter Member Posts: 15
    Re: "backups for normal people". If you have a reasonably recent Mac (Snow Leopard, Lion, etc...) or PC (Windows 7) you just need an external USB drive. The built-in backup mechanisms are great for the average Joe/Jane.

    - Chris
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    @OnionButter - I'll try the Windows 7 backup, thanks. My portable HD has plenty of space. For whatever reason, the included backup program just didn't want to work.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited December 2011
    I back up onto external drives. For the stuff I really care about, photos, I have a mirrored external drive as well as a set of DVDs kept offsite. So, triple redundancy and offsite backup.

    One word of advice for those who backup their personal stuff to an external hard drive: you probably keep your external hard drive and computer in the same room. Keep in mind that if that room burns down in a fire or succumbs to some other disaster, you'll likely lose all your data. So if it is something very important to you, either back it up with an online service or keep the copy in a separate location. When people's homes burn down, the personal possessions that often cannot be replaced and are most missed are the family photos.

    For those who have Windows machines, I find SyncToy to be very useful. It is free and rather easy to use.
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