How to Backup your WordPress Blog Easily

The hours of manpower it takes to get your WordPress blog looking just the way you want aren’t something you likely want to repeat because you failed to backup your blog or need to move it and aren’t sure how. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to create a backup of your blog and move it seamlessly to another site or restore it when your site crashes.

WordPress.org says it all with these two sentences:

Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written.

Backing Up Files and Database

Your blog is one of your most precious possessions. Keeping a backup of it is vital. Even if your webhosting company keeps backups, do yourself a favor and make a new backup of your site each time you update. It takes only a few minutes and could save you a lot of heartache and headache.

Step 1 – Backup the Database with PHPMyAdmin

Your WordPress site runs the way it does because it has two parts. One part consists of files that have coding and essentially create the structure and look of your site. The other part is a MySQL database that stores posts, comments, pages, and the content that appears on your site. Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger explained it well when he said:

Without this database, your blog would essentially be a black hole lacking any content.

The database can’t be found in the regular files in your root folder. You must navigate to PHPMyAdmin to backup your database.

  • Go to your control panel
  • Navigate to the section labeled databases.
phpmyadmin

Your selection may vary, depending on your control panel software.

  • In the left sidebar, you will see a list of your databases. Click on the one for WordPress. It is likely titled something like yoursite_wrdp1.
  • Across the top of the screen, you will see text that reads “Export”. Click on it.

export via phpadmin

  • Choose export method “Quick” and format “SQL”
  • Click on the grey button labeled “Go” and save the file in a place where you can easily find it later.

export via phpmyadminStep 2 – Backup WordPress Files from Root Folder

Now that you have your data backed up, you need to back up the structure of the site. This includes your theme, any changes to it, any changes you’ve made to your CSS files and so on. Technically, you can restore the content of a site with the database and a fresh install of WordPress, but you would lose images and your theme and possibly other functionality.

Navigate to your FTP program of choice. Online Backup Reviews recommends Transmit for Mac computers and Filezilla for Windows computers. I use Filezilla myself, but there are numerous FTP programs out there. Choose the one that is affordable (the two mentioned above are free) and easy for you to use.

ftp on mac

Once you’ve logged into your website with an FTP program, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the folder where your WordPress resides. This might be the root folder and might be another. You may need to go to your “public_html” folder to find these files. You will recognize WP folders, because they will start with “WP-“. Look for “wp-admin”, “wp-content” and “wp-includes”.
  • In addition, to the folders, you’ll see several PHP files that need downloaded. They will each start with “wp”. You may want to go ahead and back up the image folder in case you’ve pointed any images directly to that folder instead of uploading them via the WP dashboard.

Step 3 – Backup through WordPress Dashboard

export via dashboard

Finally, go ahead and backup your files through the WordPress Dashboard.

  • Login in via “yoursite.com/wp-admin”.
  • On the left sidebar, click on “Tools”.
  • Under “Tools”, click on “Export”.
  • Choose to export “all content”.
  • Click on the button that says “Download Export File”.
  • Save in a safe place on your computer and backup drive.

Backup Plugins

What if you could automatically back up your site?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using plugins to automatically backup.

ProsCons
If you forget to backup after an update, you won’t lose all your hard work should the site crash.Can become a crutch so that you forget to do regular manual backups.
Easy to install. Set it and forget it.Can be glitchy and make not always backup properly.
Time saver.Plugins need regular updates and may interfere with other aspects of the site.

Free Plugins

You’ve likely heard the saying, “you get what you pay for”, and that can be true when it comes to WordPress backup plugins. If you plan to religiously do manual backups once a month or so on top of the automatic backups, then a free plugin may be all you need. If you are not good at remember things like backups, then you may want to scroll down and check out the paid services available for WordPress backup.

  • BackWPUp – Backs up a copy of your WP install and stores on your server (not recommended) or a cloud server of your choice. It backs up XML export, SQL database, installed plugins and WP files. Try it for free and if you love it and want more features, try out the pro version.
  • WPDBBackup – This plugin backs up the database tables, or core content, for your WordPress website. You can also set it to back up other databases on your system.
  • Ready! Backup – Automate backups of databases and files to a cloud of your choice. Will work with Amazon S3.

Paid Plugins

myRepono – Automatically backup all content, including posts, comments and complete database and website information. Files are stored securely on a cloud. Costs as little as two cents a day, depending on the size of your site and additional needs. Back up as often as you’d like and access files from any computer.

VaultPressState of Digital recommends this service to backup WordPress websites:

This plugin came up several times as top notch. When colleagues use the word ‘special’ closely followed by the word ‘costly” it reminds you that sometimes you do  get what you pay for.

One of the best features of VaultPress is the easy restore option with a single click. It is costly at $15/month for basic service.

Manage WP – This service allows you to backup as different WordPress installations for about $0.70/a month per website. That’s right, just 70 cents. With the individual blog owner program, you get one-click backup. The professional package allows you to schedule backups at specific times and integrates with Amazon S3, Dropbox and Google Drive for only $2.10 per month per website.

don't panic graphic

Just Back That Site Up!

As Jerod Morris at Copy Blogger put it:

Any site owner is playing needless, negligent games with his or her site’s future if the thang is not being backed up daily, and if there isn’t a solid disaster recovery plan in place.

Whether you decide to set up a plugin and automate most of your backups, or you choose to backup manually, the important thing is to remember to backup. That way, if the worst happens and your entire site goes down, you can panic for a mere moment before realizing that you have your WordPress blog backed up and can easily restore it back to its former glory with little effort.

Image credits: blakespot and Sarabbit  via Compfight.