I was careless — in over two years, I never made a backup of this site. You can imagine how I felt when, two days ago, I accidentally deleted every single comment posted here. Fortunately, it turns out that Hostmonster creates courtesy backups for its customers.
I chatted Hostmonster’s tech support and asked them to restore my site for me. They went right to it, and an hour later the restore finished. Or so they claimed — my database was left untouched. I called them up and asked them specifically to restore the database; déjà vu ensued. Since Hostmonster gives me access to these backups, I did a manual restore and lo and behold! The comments had returned.
I lucked out — my comments very well could have disappeared forever. You can bet I’ll religiously backup my site from now (well, actually yesterday) on.
So if you ever find yourself in desperate need of a backup, contact your web hosting service — you might luck out like I did. If your luck runs out with technical support, you can do a manual database restore through (e.g.) phpMyAdmin.
If you don’t already back up your website, I strongly encourage you to start. You’ll probably want to make backups of your database and all your files. An FTP client like Filezilla, coupled with phpMyAdmin, makes backing up your site really simple.
Have any questions about creating and / or restoring backups? I’m happy to help! Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.