A Funny Story About “Backing Up Your Website”

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
By dreeves

A book on fire

Huge thanks to Geoff Hubbard (aka insti) for a delightful meetup in Copenhagen, including board games and nerding out about Beeminder and other topics. We just got home and Beeminder wants us to publish a blog post. Since we’re jetlagged, and since World War II has been on our minds, here’s something which originally appeared as an aside in a forum post.

In 2018 we were setting up an ad campaign through a program with Google (which is itself a long story, but not a funny one) and they wanted to “make sure our website was backed up” and I was… I guess horrified that that’s a question they even have to ask people? Even for normal people in 2018 it seemed like this would be a total non-question. Keep everything in the cloud and you don’t even need to think about the concept of backups. It’s magic! Unless World War 3, climate change, rogue AI, etc manage to bring down the whole internet, I guess.

With version control like we have with GitHub, it’s not just the website that’s automatically backed up but every version of it that’s ever existed. Programmers are really serious about making sure they never lose any work due to computers, or themselves, flaking out. This is something normal people really need more of. Like it’s not enough to have a document backed up. If you mess it all up somehow, you need to be able to go back to any point in time to see how it used to look.

Anyway, this Google Ads person wanted to make sure our website was backed up. Sometimes we get imposter syndrome —  “how are we even running a company?” or “how does the internet actually work? nameservers vs registrars, what? omg I feel so dumb!” —  but apparently there are businesses out there where the only place the code exists is what’s running in production. That was a very long way to say that we definitely have the website backed up oh my goodness can you imagine.

But this reminds me of how my grandma had her entire dissertation destroyed by a bomb in World War II. True story!

Fortunately Beeminder is on multilpe people’s laptops all over the world, plus all the ways GitHub itself backs up repositories. So losing Beeminder (the code/website) would take a pretty apocalyptic scenario. But I’m going to stop tempting fate now.


 

Image credit: DALL-E 2

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