Tens of thousands of genealogists own personal web sites that display the information they wish to make public to the world. With today's technology, very little computer expertise is required to create a web site. You can find a wide variety of software tools to easily create and maintain a personal web site. Some of those tools will keep copies of everything on your own computer's hard drive while others do not. If your tool of choice does not keep a local copy, ask yourself one question:
"What happens when the web server has a problem?"
Whether you own a genealogy web site or any other sort of web site, you always need to make sure your site is backed up.
Several years ago a web site that I owned crashed. Apparently, the disk drive on the web server developed many read errors, and my site became unusable. The hosting service had to replace the hard drive.
The site was hosted on a large and well-known hosting service. The company's own web site loudly proclaimed that they make daily backups of their customers' data. There was only one problem: that claim was false. When I asked the hosting company to restore my web site from their backup, they admitted that they had no backup of my site.
When I asked for details, the technical rep told me that the company was installing a new backup system and, as a result, had not performed any backups of customers' data in weeks. When I asked him to restore my site from an old backup copy, he finally admitted that the company had no copy of any backup ever done for my site.
In my case, I was fortunate: I had all the original data stored on my hard drive at home (and backed up to another PC in my home as well). It was the original data but not saved in web server (HTML) format. It took several hours of work, but eventually I was able build the site again on the web server of a new hosting company I selected. Everything is operational once again. However, if you own a web site and you do not have a local backup copy on your own computer, I would advise you to read on.
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