Website Backup

Backing up Your Website is so important, here is a guide on how to do it. So what would happen if you woke up tomorrow and your web host had accidentally deleted your website? It happened to me and you guessed it, I didn’t have my website backup done. That won’t ever happen to me again and I’m here to help you get prepared too.

imagesNightmare scenario. My entire business went down the drain with one mistake by my web host. It wasn’t even my fault, but I had to start my business from scratch because of that one mistake. I’m not alone either: 40% of small to medium businesses don’t back up their data.

If you have a website, today is the day to get your website backup plan straight.

Why is Website Backup so Important?

There are five reasons why you should back up your website:

1. It’s not your web host’s responsibility to make a website backup available to you.
A surprising number of web hosts don’t back up your website regularly. Of the few that do, most of them simply do so for their own protection and don’t make the files available to their customers.

2. Storing the original development site isn’t enough.
If you developed your site on a test server, or your local computer, you may think that’s enough to protect you. However, over time, websites are tweaked and changed and those changes often won’t be reflected in the original version. If you run a forum, blog or CRM system, much of your valuable content is uploaded by your users, and won’t exist in any other place than on your website.

3. You need to be ready to react quickly.
Having an up to date back up in place will allow you to get back online quickly after a mishap. There are many reasons why you need to get your website back online quickly including loss of income and potential SEO penalties (according to some sources).

4. Peace of mind.
Before I started backing up my websites, it was always on my mind that I needed to do something. It was my responsibility and I’d be letting a lot of people down if I lost the latest version of my site.

5. It’s your protection against viruses.
Web hosts don’t tend to proactively run virus and malware scanners against your website. Therefore, keeping a backup may be your easiest, and best protection; allowing you to turn back the clock after an attack. While this doesn’t prevent attacks, it does cure them when needed.

Website Backup Solutions

Now that you know why to back up, let’s look at how!

1. Manual backups.
Let’s start with the most low-tech method: manually FTPing your files to your local computer. The downsides however, are clear:

You have to remember to back up regularly.
It can take a long time to download a big website.
There’s no way to only download files that have changed (costing you time and bandwidth).
You must manually monitor the download to ensure that it has completed properly.
You need to create your own, logical way of managing and storing the backed-up files.
Should you choose to go down this route, let me give you some tips:

Set diary entries and reminders to back up your website and make an effort to never skip the task.
Don’t forget to back up your databases too.
Keep a logical folder structure with the date as the directory name.
Ensure that you back up to multiple hard drives, for maximum protection.

2. cPanel backups.
imagesWebsite Back up with cPanel is easy. But there are some pitfalls to avoid. Let’s start with a brief explanation of how to back up, if you are hosting on a server with the cPanel control panel installed:

Log into your cPanel control panel.
Click on the “Backup” icon.
Select “Generate / Download a Full Backup”.
Select “Home Directory” in “Backup Destination” and enter your email address, before clicking the “Generate Backup” button.
You’ll receive an email when the backup is ready.
But here’s the important thing: make sure you download the backup to your computer and keep it stored safely. You must remember to back up frequently and keep the backup files in a safe place. If your backups are stored on your server and your server goes down, you are essentially left without a backup.

3. Backing up to the cloud.
A cloud solution is the perfect place to keep a backup. It’s ever-expanding and with most systems, is backed up and fully redundant. Solutions for backing up to a cloud include:

Amazon S3: the grandmasterfunk of all cloud solutions. But getting your data onto S3 requires some thinking and will require installing server software, if you have access to do so (for example: CloudBerry Backup Server Edition for Windows users). Failing that, there are tools out there for many platforms, designed to get your data onto S3. For example, WordPress users who can’t install software on their server, may like to look into Backup Buddy, a WordPress plugin that backs up to Amazon S3.

Dropbox: while not intended to be used in this way, Dropbox makes for a suitable backup tool. WordPress users, in particular, may be interested in a third-party plugin that backs up the WordPress installation on a specified frequency.

Manual upload: even if you don’t plan on automating your backup workflow with S3, it acts as a secure, reliable place to store your manually-backed up files.

4. Rsync backup.
Rsync is a piece of software that allows you to copy files from one server to another. It’s clever because it will only transfer files (and even just parts of files) that have changed, saving you time and bandwidth.

Setting rsync up is not a straight-forward process, but if you have a second Linux server under your command, this offers a great way to backup your site incrementally.

If you do this, you’ll still need to back up your database. If you use a cron job to back up your database into the synced area of your directory structure, rsync will take care of the rest. If you have a MySQL database, the easiest way to back it up is to run a script called mysqldump. This is a free script which is often installed by default in Linux and Windows alongside mysql client tools.

5. Automated backup solutions.
Why manage the backups yourself when you can put the experts in control? There are a small number of managed backup services out there, including:

Backup Machine: a feature-rich backup solution founded by the writer of this article. Backup Machine offers free backups, plus automated daily website and database backups.

Codeguard: focusing their features on malware detection and alerts when your website is changed, CodeGuard offers manual and automatic website backups.

Dropmysite: a bare-bones website backup solution that, like the others, connects via FTP and downloads backups. However, this system does not incrementally back up the files; it simply re-downloads the entire website every time.

In Summary

With so many options, I’m sure it’s difficult to choose how to plan your website backup workflow. Therefore, we’ll finish up with some final closing tips to help you move on from here:

1. Choose something that fits your budget and timescale.
The full features of the automated solutions will cost a few dollars a month, but it’s important to weigh that up against the time and stress you’ll save over backing up yourself.

2. Decide on the best backup schedule.
If you have a database or any other dynamic element, ensure that you back up at least once a day. Otherwise, back up as often as your website changes. And, if possible, schedule your backups to happen at the quietest time of your website to avoid any disruption.

3. Check your backups regularly
Several surveys have shown that the biggest pitfalls people make with their backups is that they forget to check them. Ensure that your files aren’t corrupt and that your back up contains everything you need to do a full restore of your website.

There’s just one vital tip left to share …

4. Website Backup Do it now!
Disaster could strike at any time. Back up your website now and back it up every day. If a nightmare strikes, you’ll be ready to take control and get back online within minutes.

Why You Have A Slow PC

Spring Cleaning Your Computer System
Let me ask you a very simple question; is your PC running quick enough for you?
Or are you spending too many extra seconds or even minuets staring into cyber space waiting for the page to load? It can be very frustrating and cost you a lot of time.

So why is this happening to your system?
Well there are of course lots and lots of reasons why this could be happening, and although you might think that it is normal behaviour of which you have become so accustom to and have accepted for what it is. Be very aware that it is not normal to have a slow PC and a slow internet connection; you need to rectify it as soon as possible. Without meaning to worry people, you could have been the victim of a malicious system hack and be riddled with computer viruses.
Always be very cautious when downloading anything from the internet, even updating your system with familiar named resources can compromise a computers capacity to run smoothly.
So what must you do?

Firstly, and probably the most important thing to do is to have regular system backups in place. Ideally this should be done on a weekly basis or if you use your PC a lot then even daily. There are automation programs out there which will do this for you, should you ever forget. Personally I use Drop box for all my data files and HD Clone for backing up my hard drive, and these are free.
So with the backup in place it is time to see exactly why your computer is slow to start-up. It is a good idea to check through your ms-config file and take a look at the start-up tab to see what is running in the background when you start your PC. Basically here you can tick and un-tick exactly what you want running, but always keep things like your antivirus software ticked. Remember that the less you have ticked the quicker the computer will start. If within this index you do not recognise anything then un-tick it, this could be a key logging program. If in any doubt at all simply Google the name to see what it is and if it is necessary, this is the best and easiest way to find out if the program is suspect or not. Then still within ms-config check out the services tab and in the same way uncheck what you feel do not need or recognise, but again keep the antivirus ticked. Also here be careful not to un-tick any licences you have with things like Apple for instance, as this may stop them working properly. To save these settings click the apply button.
Another good idea is to check out how much memory is being used on your computer, we do this by checking through the task manager program built into your machine. In order to get the task manager up simple pres these three keys at the same time, ctrl, alt & delete and then choose the task manager key. Go to the performance page and check the memory on your system, you will see some green bars and four black and green graphs in the display.

The amount of memory being used must obviously be less than the physical amount of memory on your PC. If this is not the case the system will grind to a halt because you are using too much ram. This causes the hard drive to supplement the physical ram, which will slow everything down. The CPU usage should be fluctuating in small amounts between 10% and 30% anything higher than this could mean you have something like an anti-virus or defrag program running in the background, this is quite normal if the computer has just been switched on. If the CPU usage is still high after the machine has been on for a while then you will need to check out the processes tab. This tab will show what is using up your ram. You can end any process that is using too much ram by right clicking on it and selecting end process. Tread carefully here because you are looking for once again programs that look suspect and need to be removed from the computer. If after investigation you find an incriminating file then unfortunately the best and safest way to clean it up is to reinstall your operating system and choose the re format hard disk option. This is the reason for always backing your system up regularly, and running a good antivirus software program such as Kaspersky.
With regard to antivirus software, it is always a good idea to avoid the free online security packages; these will almost certainly slow your system down. Besides they are free for a reason, paid versions will do a whole lot more and not eat into the memory as much.
There are a few more ways to speed up your computer on a regular basis, for the less technical amongst us these are highlighted below.
It amazes me how few people regularly defragment there drives. Regardless of which Windows desktop operating system you use, make sure you either manually defragment or set the machine up to automatically defragment. The performance of your computer will drop considerably if this is not done. Usually, the built-in Windows defrag tool works fine.
Have you ever filled up a disk to 100%? If that disk contains both your operating system and your data files, your machine is going to come to a screeching halt. One of the first things people check on a machine that is running slowly is how much of the hard disk has been used. One of the tools I like is Ccleaner. It quickly clears out all temporary files for you and anything else you ask it to such as cookies, stored internet passwords. So I suggest that before you run the program check exactly what it will be cleaning up on your system. Ccleaner will also clean out your registry issues for you as an optional choice.
If you are using a Windows operating system you should definitely have an anti-malware, spyware program on your machine. I recommend using a program called Malware-bytes. Simply run the free quick scan and see what, if any, errors come up. You may or may not want to get rid of whatever the program finds; again do a Google search if you are at all unsure of what has been found to be malware.

Check out ways to protect your site

20 Useful BackUp Tools

In this digital age when everything relies on data; losing important files and documents can be a massive disaster. So I have compiled a list of very useful back up tools.

This is more so if the operation of your business relies on it. It is for this purpose that online storage tools were created as backup for import data that may get lost due to system failure and natural catastrophes like earthquakes, fire, flood, etc. Data backup not only save you time and guarantee the protection of your documents and files, but is also easy to do. It can also save you from tedious and expensive data recovery process, which does not even ensure that you will recover everything.

Subscribing to free backup tools online is the cheapest way to protect your data nowadays; as this also provides the benefits of large file-sharing, handy for collaborative tasks, and allows access from different computers in different locations. Here are the free online backup tools that you can access for your peace of mind.

1. Just Cloud

One of the fastest and easiest to install cloud service offers a great overall package that is very hard
to resist. It has so many features; the most notable of which is the no-nonsense installation process
that lacks the expensive price tag to access one the most secure backup storage programs today.

2. DropBox

A popular online data application that allows you to store and share your files across the cloud using
full synchronization with 2GB free space; it does not require you to download all your files, since all
you have to do is to drag them into the dropbox folder and it will be automatically uploaded.

3. IDrive

An online backup storage service that offers a powerful web interface; it features free 5GB account,
archive and version saving, search in backup set, open file backup; back up mapped drives such as
USBs, external HDs, and network drives; good security options, and a Mac version.

4. SugarSync

An easy-to-use free premium file-syncing service that can sync all existing folder; it offers apps for
every major OS, drag and drop functionality, and a new desktop client that mirrors mobile app
functionality for more seamless experience, making it more intuitive than ever.

5. MemoPal

The free version of this online backup service has 3GB free space for all your photos and documents
with a single click, as alternative to email and FTP. It does not only work with PCs and Macs, but with
other mobile devices as well using a WAP browser.

6. Mozy

This online data backup offers 2GB free space on its Basic Home Plan, which allows you to back up at
the frequency that you specify. It also gives you access to a built-in app that backs up automatically as
new files are added and existing ones changed.

7. ADrive

What made this backup tool stand out is the fact that it offers free 50GB of space in a market where
you can only get 1 to 5GB at most. It is also pretty standard with its functions and easy sign-up

8. Duplicati

The only portable backup program; it allows you to send backups in encrypted from using several
methods, available in 5 languages, time scheduler, support for snapshots via VSS and LVM, back up
open files, and can be started from command line.

9. Ubuntu One

This online data storage, which offers 5GB of free space on its basic file sync plan, does not only store and sync music, but also
allows for music streaming. It also features file apps for Android and iOS devices so you can manage,
access and share file and photos from your mobile device through email or the social media.

10. OwnCloud

An open-source cloud program, it is easy to set up as your own cloud server for file-sharing, calendar,
contact, music-streaming, and bookmark sharing project.

11. SpiderOak

Besides being free and easy to use; it also offers compelling features that helps you access files via
the Web and back up multiple PCs, with long-term retention of previous versions of files so you can
still revert to the older copy of your files.

12. Box

A clean and sleek online storage service, it veers away from other traditional
backup tools by providing file storage that is entirely web-based, even those who are less-tech savvy can navigate it.

13. CloudMe

Also known as iCloud, it works like a virtual desktop that you can access all over the world, even
through your cell phone. It comes with free 3GB storage to handle all your files, music, photos, and videos.

14. MyPCBackup

This software is extremely user-friendly, simple and easy to use, and offers fast backup and restore,
with good customer support. The install process is short and clean; it is also secure, fully automated
process, syncs multiple computers, and offers unlimited data storage.

15. OpenDrive

Compatible with any web-connected device, this backup tool provides an easy uploading option
where you can just drag and drop them into your account. It has a user-friendly interface that also
allows you to preview photos and videos.

16. BuddyBackUp

The only free backup tool that uses P2P technology among all other
storage tools to back up your files; it also stores multiple revisions of your files, which are encrypted for security purposes.

17. Cloud Drive

This free client software offers 5GB free online storage space for each account; and allows you to
upload and download files and folders without opening a new browser or window in a simple drag
and drop process.

18. Comodo Backup

One of the best free online storage tools today, it has useful features that allows you to access important files safely; listen to music, play
videos, and view pictures directly online; scans and categorized your data into files, and burn your backups to optical media.

19. CrashPlan

This backup tool offers a different approach, as it not only allows you to perform local backups on your
on computer but on your friend’s computer as well if they are also using CrashPLan.

20. AllwaySync

A good file sync for backing up data to remote locations; this is perfect for personal use as it supports
FTP and networked locations and external drives with built-in scheduler for automatic synchronizing.


Don’t Get Hacked

So what would you do if your WordPress blog or website got hacked?

Well in this day and age it is  regular occurance, infact 75% of websites have been hacked and comprimised in some way shape or form. But the most amazing thing is, that a lot of blog owners do not even realise it has happend until it is too late!The first you know could be when you receive an email from your web host that your account has been suspended, or worse yet, closed down entirely! Or even worse your  site has been hacked for a while and you’ve not noticed, Google probably has, and they will have dropped it out of the SERPS (Search Engine Rankings).
Or even more scary, if you’re site has been used for a “phishing” attack to gather other people’s online banking or PayPal login information, one of the more common exploits, then you could be about to get a call from the real world authorities, the Police!

So, you need to lock down your site for sure right now, wordpress or otherwise.

Without sounding too salesy and pushy, because that certainly isn’t what Helpful IM Solutions is about, there is a brand new product just released my good friend matt garrett that will show and guide you through the process of securing your WordPress blog as well as your own computer itself.

It is a simple to follow step by step video tutorial guide that leaves no stone unturned. We highly recommend you at least take a look because it could and almost certainly will prevent you losing all of your hard work as a website owner and developer.

So go and check out Blog Defender for yourself.


Roboform remembers your details

Introducing All Readers To Roboform.

Easy Logins

It’s now easier than ever to login to your favorite websites and applications. RoboForm makes the process effortless by automatically saving, then entering your usernames and passwords. Simply click and login-similar to a browser bookmark! You’ll never need to remember or type another password again.

Easy Logins

It’s now easier than ever to login to your favorite websites and applications. RoboForm makes the process effortless by automatically saving, then entering your usernames and passwords. Simply click and login-similar to a browser bookmark! You’ll never need to remember or type another password again.

Fill Forms Fast

Use our RoboForm Identities feature to securely store your name, address, email, credit cards, and all other personal information. Just click on your RoboForm Identity to fill entire web forms automatically. Save yourself hours of needless typing!

Access From Everywhere

Access your RoboForm Logins and Identities on all your computers and devices. RoboForm runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Windows USB drives. We also have apps for most popular mobile phones including the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Use our RoboForm Everywhere (Online) service to synchronize and back up your data with our servers, and enjoy secure one-click form access everywhere!

Cross Browser Support

RoboForm integrates with IE, Firefox, Chrome, and more, allowing you to share info between browsers and making your web experience faster, easier and more secure.

Error 404 Dont Panic

You have probably been surfing the internet and come across an “ERROR 404 Page Not Found” error hundreds of times. If visitors find them on your site, you are losing money. They see that page and either click on the back button or close the browser window. That does not have to be the case however, if you design a customised 404 error page for your site.

404errorYou can generally redirect your 404 page via your server. Make the page friendly and informative, and invite the visitors back to the site by offering a range of alternatives. You may wish to include a special offer you have available or redirect them to one of your profitable but interesting pages. What this does is keep the visitor on your website.

It also apologises for the inconvenience. Also gives then other options all of which should have your affiliate links embeded within them.
It only takes a few minutes of your time to create a custom 404 error page and reduces potential commission losses.

Creating an Error 404 Page

If your WordPress Theme does not include a template file named 404.php, you can create your own. Because every theme is different, there is no guarantee that copying over the 404.php template file found in the Twenty fifteen Theme will work, but it’s a good place to start. The error page you copy from the Twenty Thirteen Theme will adopt the style of the current theme because it actually calls the header and footer of the current theme. That’s less work for you, and you may only have to edit the message to suit your particular needs.

To use the 404.php template file from the WordPress Twenty Fifteen Theme: Copy the file /wp-content/themes/twentythirteen/404.php into the directory of your current theme. Then, edit the error message to present your desired error message.

If copying the default 404.php into your theme directory does not work well with your theme, you can also: Copy the index.php file of your current theme to a file called 404.php.
Open that file and delete all sections dealing with posts or comments, see The Loop.
Then, edit your 404 error message.


imagesTips for Error Pages

There are various improvements you can make to your 404 Error web pages so let’s look at some of your options.

Writing Friendly Messages
When an error message is displayed, you can say many things to help a visitor feel reassured they’ve only encountered a minor glitch, and you’re doing the best you can to help them find the information they want. You should also attempt to show the user what they want. Check out the AskApache Google 404 Plugin to add google search results to your 404.php

Or, say something shorter and sweeter. Almost anything you say is better than an error 404 Page Not Found. You can find more information about writing 404 Error pages on the Internet, like List Apart’s Perfect 404.

As an implementation of the Perfect 404 page, this solution will tell the user it’s not their fault and email the site admin. Helpful 404 page

When a visitor gets a 404 error page, it can be intimidating, and unhelpful. Using WordPress, you can take the edge off a 404 and make it helpful to users, and yourself, too, by emailing whenever the user clicks a link to a non-existent page.


Add Useful Links

If you encounter a “page not found” situation on the WordPress site, it is filled with helpful links to direct you to the various categories and areas of information within the WordPress site. Check it out at

To add similar useful links to your 404 page, create a list, or a paragraph, so the visitor can easily determine which section might be useful to visit. Information of that nature is much better than having the user just reach a dead-end. To help you understand how to link to documents within your site, especially to Pages and Categories, see Linking_Posts_Pages_and_Categories.


Testing 404 Error Messages

To test your custom 404 page and message, just type a URL address into your browser for your website that doesn’t exist. Make one up or use something like:

This is sure to result in an error unless you actually have a php file called fred. If your error page doesn’t look “right”, you can go back and edit it so it works correctly and matches your Theme’s look and feel.


Help Your Server Find the 404 Page

By default, if WordPress cannot find a particular page it will look for the error 404.php web page. However, there may be cases where the web server encounters a problem before WordPress is aware of it. In that case, you can still guarantee that your web server sends the visitor to your 404.php template file by configuring your web server for custom 404 error handling.

To tell your web server to use your custom error files, you’ll need to edit the .htaccess file in the main directory (where main index.php file resides) of your WordPress installation. If you don’t have an .htaccess file, see Editing Rewrite Rules (.htaccess) on how to create an .htaccess file.

To ensure the server finds your 404 page, add the following line to your .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 /index.php?error=404
The url /index.php is root-relative, which means that the forward slash begins with the root folder of your site. If WordPress is in a subfolder or subdirectory of your site’s root folder named ‘wordpress’, the line you add to your .htaccess file might be:

ErrorDocument 404 /wordpress/index.php?error=404