How to Backup Your WordPress Website to a USB Flash Drive
If you’re new to web design or development, you might not know how much work is involved in creating a completely new website from scratch. What might surprise you is just how much work goes into saving your existing site too. Having a backup of your site is an absolute must, and one that you should be taking advantage of as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll discuss some simple steps to help you backup your WordPress website and what device you’ll need to use.
Create a Restore Point
The first and most critical step to take before you begin making any changes to your website is to create a restore point. A restore point is simply a snapshot of your website as it existed at a certain point in time. The beauty of this is that if you ever do make changes and things don’t work out the way you planned, then you can simply go back to the restore point and everything will be as it was before you started editing the file. You don’t want to be scrambling to figure out what came before the fatal change you made because something unexpected happened while you were editing the site. Having a restore point also allows you to experiment with different changes and designs without fear of losing your entire site if you happen to make a mistake.
Saving to a Flash Drive
Saving your site to a flash drive is something you should do as soon as you’ve created a restore point. The main reason for this is that the information on a flash drive is easily portable and can be accessed from almost anywhere. If you decide that you no longer want to keep your site in its current form, you can simply take the information from the drive and start over again with a new website or blog. This makes saving to a flash drive an absolute must, especially if you want to continue experimenting with different designs and content without worrying about losing everything if you make a mistake. You can also use a tool like My Passport to create a bootable flash drive with all of the necessary files and folders from your computer. This way, you can take your website anywhere and begin enjoying the freedom of offline editing as soon as you power it up.
Backup Your Database
The next step is to backup your database. This is a critical step because if your database gets messed up for some reason then you’ll have to start from scratch again to restore it. If you’re using a shared hosting account then this will be taken care of for you, but if you’ve got your own server then you’ll need to take the time to back up your database manually. Luckily this is a pretty simple process that involves only a few steps and might take you all of 10 minutes to complete. First, use your FTP software to connect to your server and upload all of the SQL files (these are the database backup files). Then, visit your hosting account and click on “Options” in the upper right corner. Next, click on “SQL” under the Main heading and then download and save all of the SQL files to your computer. This will ensure that you can always go back to your original database if need be. You can also use the Import/Export feature in WordPress to create a local copy of your database on your computer (this is especially useful for when you’re making major tweaks to your site and want to ensure that everything is preserved when you go back to the original database).
Revert Back to the Restore Point
Once you’ve uploaded all of your files to your server and backed up your database, the last step is to return to your restore point. It’s important to note here that you can’t simply click on the “Backup” button in WordPress and have everything be restored. This is because when you click on this button it will auto-update your database with the current date and time, which will save everything EXCEPT for your most recent edits. To return to your original website, you’ll need to manually update your restore point with the most recent version of your site. This can be achieved by clicking on “Saving” in the upper left corner of WordPress, selecting the “Restoration” link, and following the instructions that appear. You can find the most recent version of your site by going to http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/ on your computer or mobile device. If you’re not sure where to find this link, you can use the Search feature in WordPress to quickly locate the page you need to edit. Once you’ve returned to your restore point, you can then begin experimenting with different designs and content to your heart’s content without fear of losing everything when you make a mistake.
As you can see, all it takes is a little bit of time and some organizational skills to get yourself set up with a proper backup system for your WordPress site. Once you’ve taken these few steps, you’ll be able to rest assured that if something happens and your site is damaged or destroyed, you can simply follow these same steps to get everything back up and running (with the exception of your database, of course, which you’ll need to restore from backup). If you have any questions or comments about this tutorial, feel free to leave us a comment below!