How to Backup a WordPress site

How to Backup a WordPress site

A self-hosted WordPress site is comparable to a hard drive on a computer, you insert files and documents and it goes to work managing them and keeping everything in order.   Every once in a while, user error, malware and other acts of God can cause things go astray making a world of hurt for the common blogger.

Having a recent backup of the entire site can save hours of heartache when things go down.

Don’t simply rely on your hosting company for backup – they probably don’t backup your site.

Believe it or not, most hosting companies do not automatically backup your website as part of a standard shared hosting plan.  A complete “image” backup is often an extra fee. This can be well worth the cost if you should ever need to completely restore. Too often it’s skipped due to new users who don’t see the value in having a full image backup.  The problem is, when you don’t have it, that’s when you’ll need it. (Murphy’s Law)

In addition to server side backup, as mentioned above, there are also various ways you can backup your stuff from the WordPress side:

The Old Fashioned Backup Plan:

1. Keep copies of blog posts and pages in some other type of program such as Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive.  This way, if all else fails, you can always copy and paste them back into WordPress. Also, make sure to backup your images that accompany your posts.

Backup your Database to your Email:

2. WP Database is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to send nightly backups of your WordPress database to your email. Having a copy of your database can be helpful and most of the time, this often contains the most valuable content of your blog or website.

Do a full-site backup with Updraft Plus:

3. A plugin that I use and recommend is called UpdraftPlus, which is comparable to the Macintosh Time Machine but for WordPress. Updraft creates site-wide backup of both the database as well as files such as themes and images.  It will also automatically upload them on a remote location such as Dropbox, Amazon S3 or Rackspace CloudFiles.

This way, if the entire server goes down, you have a remote back to quickly start rebuilding your site from the most recent backup. Also, you can keep two or three recent backups incase the most recent backup is compromised.

Finally, backups are only good if they are tested to work.   No matter what backup plugins or services you use, be sure to test the backup to make sure it works correct or you know how to get it to work.

Bottom Line:

  1. Install a backup plugin.
  2. Test your backup every so often.
  3. Check to see if your web host provides a backup, if not get it.
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The Chicago WordPress Jumpstart is an educational and intensive one-day workshop aimed at beginners who want to install and properly setup their first self-hosted WordPress site.