Watchful.li - a new service to backup, upgrade and monitor your Joomla portfolio

As the owner or maintainer of a Joomla web site, you have likely been in the position of hearing about security vulnerability and having to scramble anxiously to manually check each and every site to see if it was safe and perhaps even upgrade all your sites.

Or perhaps you maintain a spreadsheet with all your clients where you track the version of Joomla and any extensions you have installed and each week or month you accept the tedious task of updating your list.

If you are a new Joomla user, perhaps you have not yet considered the best ways to backup and protect your web sites.

Regardless of the situation, a development agency with hundreds of clients or a hobbyist with a handful of sites each know how difficult it can be to keep two or more Joomla sites current and safe.

The primary problem facing Joomla web site developers and maintainers is that there is no centralized way to be notified of required updates or perform maintenance.

As Joomla users ourselves, we have also long-struggled with this very problem and last week we quietly announced a new service — Watchful.li — that will change how you manage your sites.

Watchful.li, or simply Watchful (Twitter: @watchfulli; Facebook), is centered around a dashboard — see the preview image above — where you register all of your Joomla web sites. From this dashboard you can perform three primary tasks.

1. On-demand and scheduled backups

First, Watchful allows you to remotely backup your Joomla web site. Creating backups is a prerequisite to any maintenance task you might be performing and a simple click of a button creates the backup.

Rather than reinvent the wheel we integrated Akeeba Backup, the leading backup solution for Joomla. Watchful supports both the free and Professional version of Akeeba Backup.

In addition, you can easily configure automated backups for all of your web sites so that you have daily, weekly or monthly backups at-the-ready in case of a problem on your web site.

Scheduling remote backups with watchful.li

2. Remote Joomla upgrade

Once you’ve made a backup of your site, you can now perform maintenance tasks such as applying a Joomla upgrade to keep your site safe. Like the backups, a Joomla upgrade is applied directly from the Watchful dashboard with no need to login to the remote site.

Although this is done remotely, it is important to realize that this is not done automatically and cannot be scheduled like the backups. When a new version of Joomla has been released, you will receive an email or RSS notification and then you can apply the upgrade via Watchful.

Remote updates are not limited to just the Joomla core. If you have compatible add-ons such as the Joomla Content Editor (JCE) that can be upgraded via the Joomla updater, these add-ons can also be updated remotely.

It is hard to overstate how much time is saved by applying all your updates from one centralized interface. In our experience, Watchful also increases upgrade compliance since just a quick glance at the dashboard shows you how many sites have pending updates.

Joomla upgrade with Watchful

3. Monitoring and intrusion detection

While frequent backups and updates are one of the most important ways to prevent unauthorized access, you can never be 100% certain that your web site is secure.

Thus, it is imperative that you monitor your site for signs of intrusion.

Monitoring a full site in real time is generally too expensive or too large a drain on the system to be practical for a vast majority of web sites. With this in mind, Watchful monitors the files most commonly targeted for hacking and defacing. 

If we find that one or more of these files has been modified, we’ll send you a message so you can investigate further.

Revolutionize your maintenance workflow

Watchful is an innovative, one-of-a-kind service (see all features) that changes how you manage your portfolio of Joomla sites.

With plans starting at just ¢15 per day and a free, 30-day trial, you can’t afford to NOT be using Watchful.

Last modified on Sep132012
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