How to Backup Your WordPress Website Manually
Many moons ago, when the world was young and we were all using Macs and PCs, backing up websites was as simple as clicking a few buttons in your hosting control panel. But these days, things are a bit more complex.
Let’s say you’re using WordPress as your content management system. You could have a static website with just a few pages or a complex e-commerce store with hundreds of products and multiple pages. No matter what, you’ve got a ton of content to keep track of.
And what makes things even more complicated today is the fact that you might use a CDN (content delivery network) to speed up your site’s load time. A CDN essentially acts as a proxy for your website, caching and serving web content from multiple servers instead of just one. If you have a WordPress e-commerce store with a CDN, for example, you’ll need to make sure you have all your online stores mirrored on at least two different web hosting accounts so you can restore them in the event of a catastrophic failure.
Why Should You Back Up Your WordPress Website?
Over the years, WordPress has become the world’s most popular content management system. Countless businesses, brands, and websites use WordPress to power their sites. And if you’re one of those businesses, product brands, or website owners, you know that security and reliability are major concerns.
Every time you push a button on your web browser, you’re connecting to a server that’s hundreds of miles away from you. Which is why we all love the fact that WordPress is so open source – anyone can view and edit the code, allowing for countless opportunities for improvement.
And if you’re looking for an even more simplified way to control your website’s appearance, you might consider using a free WordPress MU (multisite) or self-hosted WordPress installation to create a network of websites. With a multisite, you get all the functionality of a traditional WordPress installation with the added bonus of managing a group of websites from a single panel. Or if you’re looking for even more control, you could look into purchasing your own domain and hosting it on your own server.
How to Backup Your WordPress Website
If you’re looking to back up your WordPress website manually, you have a couple of options. The first step is to determine what type of data you need to back up. As previously mentioned, you have a ton of content – for some, maybe even millions of words – and a whole network of websites to take care of. So, you’re going to need a robust solution.
The Definitive Guide to Website Backup
Fortunately, there are several companies that offer robust solutions for exactly this purpose. To name a few, there’s Cloud Backup by Flywheel, Backupsify, and a whole lot more.
So, let’s discuss what differentiates those companies and which one you should consider using.
In a nutshell, value determines how much you’re willing to spend on web hosting and how much you’re willing to spend on the solution itself. You wouldn’t buy a luxury car – even though they’re very cool – if your cash budget for the month was strictly limited to your grocery bill. The same concept applies here: you wouldn’t pay thousands for a backup solution when you can get the same exact functionality for free from WordPress itself.
However, keep in mind that as your website gets more popular, the cost of web hosting will increase.
This one is a bit more subjective and depends on your personal preferences. You might want to look into the features the product offers and determine whether those features are important to you. If you’re serious about protecting your website and don’t want to skimp out on the details, you might consider evaluating the various features that each product offers and determining which one is best for you. For example, you might want to look at the amount of storage that each solution offers and whether you need additional features like disaster protection and online restore.
Last but not least, we have support. You’ll need a solution that’s responsive and offers 24/7/365 live help if you have questions or need assistance whenever you need it. Cloud Backup, Backupsify, and similar products offer great support through their websites and social media channels. So, if you’re looking for an option that’s well-established and has a great community, you might want to consider them.
WordPress itself also offers very good support through its various forums and GitHub. You’ll just need to make sure that you’re subscribed to the right email notifications – especially important if you’re using a free version of WordPress.
Now that you have an idea of what you should look for in a website backup solution, let’s discuss some key points that you need to keep in mind.
First and foremost, your website’s security is of paramount importance. You don’t want unscrupulous hackers to be able to get their hands on your company’s confidential information like customer records and credit card numbers – not to mention the probable damage that could arise from an online virus outbreak.
So, you need to ensure that your website’s host is a reputable one that utilizes robust security protocols – especially if you’re using an unproved web hosting provider. You can also use a reputable VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt all your website’s HTTPS traffic, adding an extra layer of security.
This one is a bit more tricky. On one hand, you have free options like WordPress itself that offer excellent functionality. On the other hand, you have paid options that provide additional features. So, you need to look into the different pricing structures and decide which one is best for you.
The frequency at which you need to backup your website will depend on a number of factors – including how crucial your website’s content is to you, your company, and the network of websites you oversee. If you update your website’s content frequently – as many news websites do – you’ll need to back up your content frequently as well. And if your content gets hacked or leaked, you’ll need to restore it as soon as possible to mitigate the damage.
Many people think that having an offline backup is unnecessary. After all, wouldn’t it be best to just have your data available whenever you need it? While it’s true that having an offline backup is definitely more convenient, it’s important to keep in mind that no matter where you store your data – be it a hard drive, flash drive, or other media – it’s still just a backup. And when something unexpected happens and you need to restore your website, you’ll need to start from scratch. Meaning you’ll lose all the content you built over the years. Even if you had a backup.
It’s important to point out that as your website gets more complex – especially if you have a large network of websites you need to keep track of – the process of backing up and restoring it becomes more cumbersome. If you have a complex setup that involves multiple domains, subnets, and dedicated IPs, you might want to consider looking into a professional solution that can handle complex setups and allow for offline backups.
Many solutions offer the ability to have your website automatically backed up. And who doesn’t like peace of mind? If you’re running a dedicated IP (internet address) for your website – most providers will assign you a free one when you sign up – you can set your website’s automatic backup to occur every day, every week, or whenever you deem necessary. This feature is great if you’re looking for added security or if you want to be sure that your data is backed up even if your internet connection is down for some reason.
The final point we’ll discuss is how to get your data back if you ever lose it. Depending on how much data you have stored on the website and the type of data you have – like text or images – you’ll need to consider how you’re going to get it back. If you have a large enough storage space on your server, you could probably restore all your website’s content from a backup. But if you have small storage spaces or your backed up data is quite old, you might have a hard time getting it all restored. Especially if you use a free web host like WordPress.com – which has extremely limited storage space by default.