How to Backup Your WordPress Website
In case you’re wondering, a WordPress backup is similar to a WordPress restore in that it brings your website state back to a previous version. For example, you can use the backup plugin to save a copy of your website to your computer as a HTML file. This way, if anything goes wrong you can easily restore your site to its previous state. Keep in mind that a WordPress backup is different from a WordPress archive in that it typically only saves the most recent versions of your site. This usually isn’t a problem, but it’s worth noting since there are cases where it can be beneficial to have access to older versions of your site.
Why Create Backups?
WordPress backups are essential for several reasons. First, as we’ve mentioned, they’re easy to create and require very little effort. Second, they allow you to restore your blog to its previous state in case something goes wrong. Third, they can be used to clean up your blog. For example, if you’ve been blogging for a while and your content grows to the point where it fills up your entire blog, you can use a WordPress backup to remove some of your older posts and replace them with more relevant content.
When Should You Create Backups?
As we’ve discussed, creating regular WordPress backups is easy enough. However, it’s not always the case that you’ll need to create a backup. For instance, let’s say you’re doing a complete WordPress refresh and you decide to go with a re-branding instead of using the same name for your blog. In this case, you won’t need a backup since the entire WordPress installation is going to be replaced. Similarly, let’s say you’re upgrading from Blogger to WordPress and the process goes smoothly. In this case, you won’t need to create a backup since you won’t have to touch a single line of code.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re using a WordPress plugin that doesn’t support backups or you’ve developed your own WordPress-specific theme (which doesn’t support incremental updates), you’ll need to create a backup sooner or later. The general rule of thumb is this: if you’re not sure whether or not your plugin or theme supports backups, it probably doesn’t. In this case, you should consider creating a backup before going any further.
How Many Backups Should You Have?
There’s no concrete answer to this question since it depends on a variety of factors. First, how often do you update your blog? If you’re maintaining a blog that’s only a couple of years old, you don’t need to be saving backups that often. Second, how critical is your blog’s content? If you have a popular blog that frequently gets linked to and referenced on social media platforms, you might want to create backups more often. Third, what would you do if your blog gets hacked or vandalized? In case something happens to your blog (either by way of a third party or due to human error), it’s important to have backups available so that you can restore your content as quickly as possible. The answer to this question will vary from case to case, but at a minimum you should be creating monthly backups.
Where Should You Store Your Backups?
If your blog gets backed up frequently, you might want to consider saving them to an offline medium like a flash drive or hard drive. While these devices can become easily damaged or corrupted, there’s no replacing the lost data once it’s gone. This being said, if your blog gets backed up less frequently, you can leave it online and make use of the several free storage services available out there. For example, you can use Google Drive or One Drive to store your backups online. If you have a large number of backups or need a more robust solution, you can consider moving your blog to a hosting service that provides this as well. For the best overall experience, try out Dreamhost, which not only provides you with free backups, restore, and transfer but also allows you to install and setup your blog in just a few clicks.
How To Create a Backup
There are several ways to create a WordPress backup. First, you can use the automated WordPress backups created by the WP Dashboard. Second, you can use an online tool like Backpack that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Third, you can download a WordPress backup plugin and install it on your blog. Finally, you can use Your Lifeline to create backups directly from mobile devices. Let’s explore each of these options in more detail.
1. Use the Automated WP Backups
As we’ve discussed, WordPress backs up automatically and stores these files in a designated folder on your server. By default, these backups are saved to your computer in a.zip archive. This is largely unreadable and uneditable by humans, which make it the perfect long-term storage option for your WordPress archives. Keep in mind, however, that these files can grow to be quite large (up to several gigabytes), so make sure you have enough free space available on your computer.
If you want to create a backup of your entire WordPress installation, you can use the WP Dashboard to do this. From your Dashboard, navigate to Settings → Automatically Back Up My Blog. Here you can select the schedules you’d like to use for the backup and click on Create Schedules to get started. Then, you can click on Start My Blogging to have WordPress begin saving backups to your computer every month at the selected times.
It’s important to note here that while the automated backups are great for archiving your site’s content, they don’t provide any guarantee of safety or security. In other words, you’re trusting the software (or your own hardware if you use the DIY method discussed below) to protect your data. Keep this in mind if you decide to use this method of backup (which we highly recommend you do).
2. Use an Online Backup Tool
If you prefer an online backup tool to a local one, try out Backpack. Backpack is, in our opinion, the best online backup solution available. Not only does it offer free storage, but it also provides several other features that make it a standout product. First, it can connect to multiple servers at the same time, which enhances your site’s reliability. Second, it allows you to download a copy of your entire site to your computer as a.zip archive, which is what we’ve discussed so far. Third, it allows you to schedule automatic backups (just like the WP Dashboard plugin), which can be very convenient. Finally, it provides analytics that allow you to track the amount of traffic that lands on each of your blog posts. In case you’re curious, you can get a free trial of Backpack here and try it out for yourself.
3. Install a WordPress Backup Plugin
WordPress backup plugins are, in a way, the middle man between you and WordPress. When you install a backup plugin, you’re effectively telling WordPress to let third-party applications access your blog’s data. For this reason, plugins are the least secure way to back up your site, but they do have their perks. One of the best free plugins for backing up your WordPress site is VaultPress. With VaultPress, all you need to do is click on the Backup button to start the process. Then, you can set the schedule you’d like for the backup (weekly, monthly, or yearly), and the plugin will take care of the rest. Once the backup has been completed, you can restore your site to its previous state in a matter of minutes by following the provided instructions.
There are also premium backup plugins that provide additional features, like the ability to restore content from mobile devices or the option to store your backups on the cloud (like Dropbox or OneDrive). If you’re looking for a more robust tool to manage your WordPress backups, try out the WP Backup Plus plugin. With this product, you can connect several accounts and servers to back up your content. Plus, the developers have been responsive to our queries on the support forums and have provided additional features that address our specific needs. This plugin is currently the best of its kind because of its ease of use and its commitment to supporting the WordPress community.