There are many different reasons for copying all or part of a web site. First of all, if it is your site, you need a backup! More than once I have talked with people who lost their entire site when their hosting service had a hardware problem or even went out of business. Another reason is that you wish to move your site. Perhaps you are responsible for a RootsWeb site and wish to move it elsewhere instead of participating in the transfer to Ancestry.com. Another reason is that you want a copy NOW just in case you wish to move it later.
Web site backups protect against hardware failures as well as “political issues.” You may have your site hosted now on a free genealogy web service, but what happens when that service changes its policies to something you don’t like? You never, ever want your data to be held “hostage” by some faceless corporation. Take control of your data! Keep a local copy.
It makes no difference where your site is hosted: USGenWeb, RootsWeb, or the local “mom and pop” hosting service up the street. You should always have a recent copy of your web site. Once a copy is stored on your local computer’s hard drive, you have many options. For one, if your hosting service goes out of business or changes its policies, you can easily upload part or all of your site to another hosting service within minutes!
When I write, “your web site,” I would include not only your personal site but also your society’s site, a USGenWeb county site that you maintain, or any other web site for which you have total or partial responsibility. What happens if the hosting service “pulls the plug?” That has happened before, and I am certain that it will happen again.
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