GoDaddy Website Backup: Are you at risk?

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Have you backed up your GoDaddy Website? GoDaddy Website Backup Required

GoDaddy does not guarantee any backups for your website and according to their terms of service, you agree to back-up your own content. This is not a marketing gimmick to promote website backup services; this is the unfortunate truth. Look at their terms of service yourself - Under “5. General Rules of Conduct”, scroll down to number 7. “You agree to back-up all of your User Content so that you can access and use it when needed. Go Daddy does not warrant that it backs-up any Account or User Content, and you agree to accept as a risk the loss of any and all of your User Content.” Sign up for CodeGuard today to comply with the GoDaddy terms of service.

GoDaddy Website Backup, or the Lack Thereof

Today we will examine GoDaddy and the guarantees associated with GoDaddy website backup. Below is a screenshot from GoDaddy’s Legal page. Let’s look at what GoDaddy states about GoDaddy website backup. GoDaddy Website Backup Legal Statement Directly stated in GoDaddy’s terms of service, it says “You agree to back-up all of your User Content so that you can access and use it when needed. Go Daddy does not warrant that it backs-up any Account or User Content, and you agree to accept as a risk the loss of any and all of your User Content.” So the user, which is the website owner, bears complete responsibility for GoDaddy website backup! Go Daddy does not warrant that it backs-up any account or user content, and by purchasing web hosting, the website owner accepts the risk of loss for all content! Astonishing. In light of the discovery that GoDaddy does not guarantee backups of any kind, what should you do?

GoDaddy Website Backup: Manual Options

There are a handful of blog posts across the internet that offer tips for how you can perform GoDaddy website backup – ranging from using homebrew PHP scripts to doing it manually yourself. 1. On GoDaddy’s support site, “metalarcade” inquires how to “download/backup website to hard drive”. He states that he has been running a videogames webiste for a year, and still hasn’t figured out how to back up his site.  He wants peace of mind that the posts on his site won’t be lost, and describes how distraught he would be if something ever went wrong. After six more interactions with the technical support representative from GoDaddy, it can be surmised that metalarcade succeeded in backing up his site to his hard drive.  This exchange occurred over 4 months. 2. The shares a backup utility that can be used to make the manual backup process for GoDaddy website backup easier. But it is . . . still . . . manual. So that means you will need to do it on a regular basis to backup your site. 3. Blogelina provides a tutorial for GoDaddy website backup, specifically, how to perform GoDaddy WordPress backup. She recommends backing up your WordPress site once per month, and this is how:

  1. Go to My Acct
  2. Then click Hosting (in the left)
  3. Click Launch
  4. In the green toolbar hover over Databases and click My SQL
  5. On the far right click the pencil (edit)
  6. On the top left of toolbar click Backup
  7. Then click OK
  8. Confirm OK

GoDaddy Website Backup: Automatic Options

CodeGuard recently announced a super-simple wizard that was released to help GoDaddy customers backup their sites in 2 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly. All CodeGuard needs is your username and password for your GoDaddy account, and we will set up the rest. Learn more here: Other alternatives include building scripts yourself, ensuring they work (and that GoDaddy doesn’t shut them off), and maintaining them. Free options with questionable reliability and effectiveness abound, for those on an extreme budget who don’t value their websites.

Don’t violate your terms of service! Setup automatic or manual website backups today

GoDaddy does not guarantee backups of any kind for its customers. Many customers think that GoDaddy website backups are a sure thing, but this is simply not the case. While GoDaddy may have some type of server backup for disaster recovery, they do not guarantee the safety of your content. What are your options? We’ve looked at manual backups and touched upon a way to automate things yourself. You can simply write a script, upload it to your site, and access the CRON manager in your GoDaddy Hosting Control Panel. From there, you can set a frequency for the backup. If only this automated website backup was as easy as this sounds! But it isn’t.  CodeGuard provides the easiest, most reliable, transparent, and trusted way to accomplish GoDaddy website backup. All you need to know is your username and password. After that, CodeGuard does the rest. -David *Original post: April 2012, updated on August 22, 2014

GoDaddy Backup and 1&1 Website Backup Made Simple

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We know that our customers’ time is extremely valuable, and we want to do whatever we can to minimize the amount of time spent configuring and managing backups. To that end, we’ve designed our system to be robust and reliable, so that after websites and databases are added to CodeGuard customers can trust that their backup will be taken care of every day.

GoDaddy Backup Made Easy

For some time we’ve been working on extending those same concepts to our initial setup process. To date, we’ve asked customers to provide us with all of the connection details for their website. For many, gathering their FTP/SFTP server hostname, FTP/SFTP username, FTP/SFTP password, MySQL database hostname, username and password is quite a chore. We’re excited to launch our new website addition process that allows customers of several large hosting providers take advantage of our new automatic account configuration. All you need to do is provide your hosting account credentials and select which websites and databases you would like to be backed up. The entire four step process is as follows:

Step 1: Select your host

The first step when adding a new website to CodeGuard is selecting a host. Currently, we support automated website addition for GoDaddy backup and 1&1 backup. If your websites are not hosted on either of these providers, the “Other” option takes you to the advanced website connect process.


Step 2: Provide your hosting credentials

Next, the customer is prompted to enter credentials for his or her respective hosting provider. These credentials are 100% secure and are only used one time.


Step 3: Select a Hosting Account

Then, the customer is asked to select a hosting account, which has various websites associated with it.


Step 4: Select a website

Finally, the customer is prompted to select a website to add to CodeGuard.



Throughout this entire process, CodeGuard makes secure requests to our new application Viper. This application drives a headless web browser using Watir and PhantomJS to log into the customer’s account and retrieve the necessary information. When a customer selects a website to be backed up, Viper creates a background job which automates all of the required steps to enable website backup. Within a short time, the customer receives an email that his or her website is being successfully backed up with CodeGuard.

Working with a hosting provider in this way can be complex, so Viper has several monitoring tools which allow for a seamless customer experience and quick failure notification. If anything goes wrong during any of the website addition steps, Viper promptly notifies our team, so we can address the issue and inform the customer that the issue has been resolved. We also run automated tests several times per day to ensure that any changes to a hosting provider’s website are immediately noticed and Viper gets updated.

Looking towards the future, our main goal is to ensure that every CodeGuard customer can take advantage of these new tools. For example, Viper currently detects WordPress sites and adds both the website and database to CodeGuard without requiring any extra information. However, this feature is only available for GoDaddy backup customers. In order to improve every CodeGuard customer’s experience, we are working on extending Viper’s functionality to as many hosting providers as possible.

-Tripp Roberts

The Easiest Way to Upgrade Your Site to HTTPS

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Google just changed their ranking algorithm to give a boost to sites that use https instead of http. Even if you have a content site or a personal website, it makes sense to take all reasonable measures to secure it from hacking, especially when Google could give your site more traffic.

The easiest way to get https is to use a paid CloudFlare account and turn on Flex HTTPS. This avoids the need to buy and install a security certificate, saving money overall. CloudFlare also helps protect your site from malicious bots, hackers, and denial of service attacks.

To configure CloudFlare for HTTPS, login, click the gear icon next to your site, and choose “CloudFlare settings”. Then set the SSL switch to Flexible SSL.  This encrypts communications between CloudFlare and users. CloudFlare still communicates with your web server via http, eliminating the need to make changes there. Most man-in-the-middle attacks happen close to where the user connects, such as an un-encrypted WiFi network vulnerable to Firesheep, or a hotel network that splices ads into web pages, not between major Internet services such as CloudFlare and your hosting provider.

Flexible SSL

After making the switch its necessary to test the site to make sure you get good lock symbols on all pages. If you have embedded assets using non-secure http protocol, you need to update those to https. Search the code for the string src=”http: to find them.

Green Lock Means Secure

To redirect http to https when using CloudFlare, add the following magic code to your .htaccess file, if you have a Linux/Unix server.

RewriteCond %{HTTP:CF-Visitor} '"scheme":"http"'
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L]

Remember to update your robots.txt file and your sitemap.xml file to use your new https urls. Lastly, update Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to reflect your new website URL.

Keep CodeGuard in your Pocket

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CodeGuard's got you covered from your pocket.

If you haven’t already discovered the CodeGuard iOS app, we thought that it was time to give it a formal introduction. The app allows you to monitor your backups from your iPhone or iPod touch, allowing you to take CodeGuard with you and giving you a greater peace of mind.  It also allows you to find out when things change right away, without having to check your email or log in on a computer. Want to know some more specifics? Let’s take a look at some features.

When first logging into the CodeGuard App, you will see a list of the websites that you have backed up on CodeGuard. Tapping any of those websites will take you to a screen showing the most recent backups for your site. You can even scroll all the way back to your oldest backups, with more loaded the further you scroll. If there were any changes on your site for that backup, you can tap on that backup to see more details. On the details screen, you will be shown the total number of files added, changed, and deleted for that backup, as well as a list of the names of the changed files.

Easily navigate to the site and backup you are looking for.

Easily navigate to the site and backup you are looking for.

You might want to view your backups by date instead of by site, especially if you have a large number of sites backed up. (Here’s looking at you, Samurai and Shogun customers!) Just take a quick detour to the Settings tab, tap on “Layout Settings”, and switch from the default “Display Backups by Site” to “Display Backups by Date”. Now, back on the main “Track Backups” tab of the app, you will see a list of dates to choose from. Selecting one of these dates will display a list of all your websites and a short summary of that day’s backup for each site. If you want to look into any of these backups, you can still access the same detailed view by tapping on any of the changes that occurred for that backup.

See a breadth-first view of all the backups from a single date.

See a breadth-first view of all the backups from a single date.

Previously, only our CodeGuard direct customers have been able to use our iOS app. Because logging in required a username and password associated with a CodeGuard account, none of our customers who access CodeGuard through their hosting provider could use the app. If you’re one of those customers, we have exciting news for you. In the app’s latest release, we have built in a QR code scanner that you can use to log in to your account.  Just scan the code generated in your dashboard (look under “Settings”, then click on “Mobile”) and you’ll be ready to go.

Access your unique code to log in from the “Mobile” page found on the Settings drop-down menu.

Access your unique code to log in from the “Mobile” page found on the Settings drop-down menu.

Just tap “Log in with QR code” and the log in scanner will appear.

Just tap “Log in with QR code” and the log in scanner will appear.

Even when you aren’t actively using the CodeGuard app, We’ll let you know what’s going on with your site. Whenever a website is activated on your account or a significant change is  detected in a backup we’ll send you a notification letting you know what’s up. Whenever a website is activated on your account or a backup is taken, we’ll send you a notification so you know CodeGuard is still working. (Note: Push notifications for the CodeGuard app must be enabled in your iPhone’s Settings to receive notifications.)

That’s a basic summary of the essential features of the CodeGuard iOS App. But that’s not all; we have more updates planned for the app in the future. In the meantime, it’s already available on the App Store so you can try it out for yourself today.


Announcing New Backup Retention Settings

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One of the things that makes CodeGuard a leader in the website backup space is our incremental and differential storage engine. This technology allows us to backup and restore websites quickly while using as little storage space as possible. For all of its advantages, this system does have one drawback. Due to the way that each backup incrementally builds on the one before it, removing old backups is a challenging task. Customers have requested the ability to remove old backups from their account and, to date, the solution has been a manual one. However, we hope to make this process much easier with our new Backup Retention functionality. The new Backup Retention option gives customers the ability to keep only the backups that they need and get rid of the rest, or they can keep every single backup for as long as they want.

Backup Retention allows customers to reduce their storage footprint by automatically removing old backups from our system. CodeGuard customers can now visit their Settings Page to adjust their Backup Retention period. You can choose to keep either 90 days of backups or all backups. If you select 90 days, we will periodically remove old backups so that only backups from the last 90 days show up. If you would like to keep more than 90 days of backups, just select “Keep all backups”. More options are on the way.

Keep all backups or only the most recent.

Keep all backups or only the most recent.

What’s so hard about removing old backups, anyway?

Although the process of removing old backups may seem like an easy task, creating the new Backup Retention feature took a lot of time and effort. The reason it was so difficult to implement has to do with the way that our incremental backup process works. Traditional backup processes copy all data from the source to the destination each time a backup is performed. CodeGuard uses an incremental backup process that only copies the changed data from the source to the destination for each backup. Both traditional and incremental solutions make a full backup initially. The difference is that traditional backup processes continue to take full backups, whereas incremental processes only store the changes on subsequent backups. This means that incremental backups take up much less space, but it also means that removing old backups is difficult. Since each new backup is based on the previous backup, removing an old one will affect all backups that occur after it.

Each backup builds on the previous day.

Each backup builds on the previous day.

Getting technical

CodeGuard’s incremental backup solution is based on a version control tool called Git. Git can be used to track changes made to a group of files, called a “repository”. It is an incredibly powerful tool originally built for developers to help them track code changes. It’s not just for keeping track of code, though. Git can also be used as a great backup utility for storing any kind of file. In fact, the popular backup program bup is based on Git. There is, however, a minor downside to using Git for backups: Developers frown upon rewriting the file history that Git keeps track of, and so the creators of Git did not make removing old backups, or “commits” easy. In addition, each new commit is closely tied with all of the other commits in the repository, which means that it is very difficult to untangle one backup from it’s neighboring commits.

Rewriting history

To solve this problem, we created a new tool, that we call git-tail, to handle the complex logic needed to combine incremental backups and remove files that are no longer needed. It uses the “git filter-branch”, “git update-ref”, and “git-gc” commands, among others, to rewrite the Git commit history, remove old files and commits, and compress what’s left so that it takes up as little space as possible. Here’s a snippet of the code from our open-source git-tail repository hosted on GitHub:

git-tail shrinks a repo by removing commit history.

git-tail shrinks a repo by removing commit history.

This ruby code replaces the head of the commits we want to get rid of with a new commit object. It then rewrites the commit history, removes the old commit, and removes any references to the old commit.

One at a time, please

What happens if a CodeGuard customer tries to restore a backup while their backups are being removed? This is a problem we had to address while creating the Backup Retention functionality. If the restore is allowed to take place at the same time that removal is occurring, the files may not be restored correctly. Resource contention and synchronization are common problems for developers. To handle this issue CodeGuard has locking mechanisms in place that allow only one process to use a resource at a time. In the above scenario, the code that handles backup removal will ask for a lock before it begins. This lock prevents any other processes from accessing a customer’s backup while the removal task is running. Then, once the job is done, it releases the lock, and the restore process can begin accessing the customer’s backups.

Now that you understand how it works, it’s time to try it out! With our new Backup Retention feature, it’s now easier than ever to manage the storage size of your CodeGuard account!