This weekend a fire destroyed the datacenters of cloud computing provider OVH. No one was injured, but numerous companies and websites suffered outages and disruptions to their websites. Some lost a great amount of data from their website. However, those are probably not all completely lost. Our website development team explains how affected companies may recover some of their data without a website backup.


The fire, for which the cause is yet unknown, destroyed one of their datacenters and damaged part of a second one located in Strasbourg, France. Since OVH is one of the biggest players in the market besides the big three (Google, Amazon and Azure), this incident has had a big impact on the .FR web space, millions of websites, niche government portals, news providers, e-commerce platforms and much more.

If you or your company has been affected by this incident and you don’t have a website backup to quickly recover your losses, here are some things you can try that might solve your problem without you having to build your whole website from scratch.

Google or Bing cache

The quickest and perhaps easiest way to find a copy of your website is perhaps by using search engine cache. Since search engines like Google and Bing constantly crawl the web to index pages, they save a copy of the contents of the pages they visit on their own servers. This is a necessary process in making web searches work, and is the reason why you can enter a search term in Google and get millions of results in just milliseconds. If you have a webpage, there is a good chance that it is cached somewhere Google or Bing’s servers.

For Google, just visit this link (with the URL of your own website at the end):

And you will visit the cached version of your site, with a notice up top informing you that this is an older version:

Website backup

You can choose between seeing the whole page, or just the text, but you can also opt to see the source code behind the page.
In case you don’t have a back-up, this will be a lifesaver.

Internet Archive

Alternatively, but very much in the same fashion, you can use an internet archive service. Wayback Machine is by far the most popular and oldest running internet archive in the world.
Like Google and Bing’s crawlers, Wayback Machine constantly goes through websites and… well, archives them.
While with the previous method we can only see the latest cached version of a given page, using an internet archive often gives us the possibility to see multiple older versions of webpages.

Simply enter your site’s URL (in this example we use, and choose an available date and time from the calendar to see what your site looked like at the time:

Website backup

However, internet archive services have a low chance of having indexed your whole site, so you will often recover only parts of your pages. But this is still better than having to start from scratch.

What now? How can I recover my data without a website backup?

So now you have (hopefully) recovered most of your site. But how do you get the content from the caching or archiving service to your new hosting?

I coded everything myself

If you are a developer and you coded the webpages, you can just click on the source code and copy paste everything into your IDE. In practicality some adjustments will probably need to be made. And this will only save you from redoing the whole front-end of your page, since the backend code was running on the server that, in this case, burned down.

I’m using SiteBuilders

If you created your platform with a site builder like WordPress, you are less lucky since you can’t import the code you retrieved into WordPress.
Basically, you will have to rebuild your site. This will go quickly however, since you have all the text and images that were present on your pages, and you can copy paste them while rebuilding.

Automatic Website Backup

This guide can help you recover your lost site, but if your online platform uses a database with saved records, that data will be gone if the hardware it was running on is damaged. Hopefully you had some redundancy protocols in place to prevent that from happening (RAID storage comes to mind).

To prevent future headache and the loss of valuable data, it is strongly recommended that you enable a form of automatic back-up, for which there are multiple options out there.

WordPress has plugins that backup your data automatically, so that everything can be recovered with just a single click.
For hardcoded websites running on webservers, some Linux magic will allow you to install tools that backup your whole doc root periodically.


Final Word

It is well-known that at any point in time having a recent website backup of whatever it is you are running online is good practice. But it is always possible that through unforeseen circumstances there might still be a reason that you don’t have a back-up ready to use. This situation is, evidently, not ideal. But hopefully the methods described in this article can help you recover most, if not all of the data you lost.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. If there is anything the #NotOnlyIdeas team can help you with, feel free to contact us.