5 Easy Ways to Back Up / Migrate Your WordPress Blog with Plugins

Article written by:
  • WordPress
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2018

If you run a WordPress blog, you need to develop contingency plans that preserve its continuity. As awesome as WordPress is as a site-building platform, it is vulnerable to errors and hacks that can put your site down in a snap.

That’s why, on top of being extra careful with what you integrate into your website, you also need to regularly create backups of your data.

Today, plenty of managed WordPress hosting companies offer paid backup solutions with useful benefits – from automation to priority customer support. If you have the budget for such services, then you might as well let them assist you in securing your site.

Otherwise, read on and learn the tools and steps on how to back up and migrarte your WordPress sites.

Method #1: Using Duplicator

Download plugin & more details: WordPress.org/plugins/duplicator/

What would a WordPress tutorial be without an introduction to plugins that help get the job done?

Duplicator may be one of the lesser-known backup plugins out there, but it’s actually one of the most versatile.

Not only does it help you create regular backups of your data, it also packs the features necessary for cloning or migrating your site.

Duplicator works by creating “packages” that contain your site’s data.

To create a package, go to your WordPress dashboard and click ‘Duplicator’ > ‘Packages’ > ‘Create New’.

This will open up the setup page where you can change the settings for your backup’s name, storage, archive, and the optional installer.

While the default values for these settings don’t need any modifications, you do need to check the “Requirements” section of the setup page. This automatically scans your website for the prerequisites to get Duplicator working.

In case any of the listed requirements don’t have a “Pass” status, click the link for instructions on how to resolve them.

Otherwise, click ‘Next’ to start scanning your site for all the files and information that must be backed up.

This should take anywhere between a few seconds to several minutes — depending on the size of your WordPress site.

Once the scan completes, go ahead and click ‘Build’ to start the creation of your package.
Keep the window open in the “Building Package” screen, otherwise the process might fail and you’ll have to start over.

Again, the completion time for this process varies according to the size of your website. If you already have gigabytes of data, then it may take a long while before your package gets built.

When done, you will be given the option to download the installer or a zip archive of your WordPress site’s data. Feel free to download both files to a local drive for safe keeping.

Take note that, if you plan to use the installer feature to easily restore your site into another domain, you need to fill in the right details under the “Installer” section way back in the setup page. This information should match the server you want to move your WordPress site to, such as the host, database, and URL.

To view all the packages you have created, go back to ‘Duplicator’ > ‘Packages’.

Even with the free version, you can use Duplicator to back up your site as many times as you wish.

But if you want to schedule automatic backups, leverage multiple cloud storage services, or migrate entire databases into new domains, then you should consider giving the paid version a test run.

Method #2: Using All-in-One WP Migration

Download plugin & more details: WordPress.org/plugins/all-in-one-wp-migration/

Another highly-rated plugin you can use for backups would be All-in-One WP Migration.

As the name suggests, this plugin has all you need to create copies of your WordPress website’s data.

Upon installation, simply head to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to ‘All-in-One WP Migration’ > ‘Export’ to launch the utility.

Before you proceed, it’s worth checking the ‘Advanced options’ section for a list of useful backup exclusions. With a single click, you can exclude the export of spam comments, post revisions, theme files, plugins, and whatever you deem unnecessary for future use.

Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click the ‘Export To’ button to reveal your storage choices. This includes exporting to a local file, Dropbox, OneDrive, and via FTP.

With the free version of All-in-One WP Migration, you can only export your website’s backup into a local file. All the other options, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, Box, and FTP require you to purchase an extension.

To begin exporting with your free plan, click ‘File’ and wait for the popup to complete.

Upon completion, you can download your website’s backup directly or click ‘Close’ to keep it saved in your web server for now. Just remember that you need a copy of your backup in a different location from your website. If you make it a habit of storing them into your web server, then they’re as vulnerable as your website when it comes to cyber-attacks and server-side problems.

You should be able to find a list of your backups by going to ‘All-in-One WP Migration’ > ‘Backups’ from your WordPress dashboard.

In this page, you can download, delete, or restore any of your backups by clicking the corresponding button to the right.

If you exported your site’s data into an external cloud storage platform, you can restore it by heading to ‘All-in-One WP Migration’ > ‘Import’. Click ‘Import From’ and choose the service you used.

In addition to compatibility with third-party cloud storage services, the premium version of All-in-One WP Migration also comes with 24/7 customer support.

Method #3: Using Dropbox Full Backup

Download plugin & more details: WordPress.org/plugins/dropbox-backup/

If you use Dropbox for all your cloud storage needs, then Backup & Restore Dropbox is the migration plugin for you.

Once installed, you can launch the plugin straight from the WordPress dashboard and link your Dropbox account from there. Look for the “Settings” section and click the ‘Show’ button to reveal the ‘Connect’ button.
After connecting your Dropbox account, proceed to the bottom of the page to create a backup. Click ‘Create Dropbox Backup’ to save your data to Dropbox or ‘Create Local Backup’ to store it on your web server.
If you choose ‘Create Dropbox Backup’, your WordPress site data will automatically be packaged and sent to your Dropbox account without any further inputs. Just wait for the progress bars to hit 100% to complete the backup.

If, however, you choose to create a local backup, then you should be able to find your backup data at the bottom of the plugin page.

Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to download a backup into a local drive. You can only restore or delete backups saved in your web server with this particular plugin.

The premium version of Dropbox Full Backup includes automated backups, email reporting, one year free updates, priority support, and on-demand services such as copying, cloning, and migration of websites.

Method #4: Using BackupGuard

Download plugin & more details: WordPress.org/plugins/backup/

Judging by its number of active installations and consistently high ratings, it’s safe to assume that BackupGuard is one of the most dependable plugins for creating site backups.

It works by integrating a dynamic backup interface right within your WordPress dashboard.

Upon installing and launching the plugin, you can initiate the backup procedure immediately by clicking the ‘Backup’ button from the main plugin page.
This will give you two backup options: a full site backup, or a custom backup where you get to hand-pick which elements will be saved.
If successful, you should be able to see your newly-created backup in the BackupGuard list. Here, you can restore, delete, or download your backup by clicking the buttons to the right.
Another in the interface you should know about is the ‘Import’ button. By selecting ‘Import’, you can easily upload a backup file into BackupGuard as long as it is no bigger than 128 megabytes. If your file exceeds this limit, then you’ll have to manually upload it via FTP to the designated location.

Heading over to the ‘Settings’ tab, you can modify a couple of things such as file locations to exclude, backup destination path, AJAX request frequency, and reload callbacks.

BackupGuard’s pro features include automatic backups, email notifications, 24/7 emergency support, and direct integration with cloud storage services. In case you want a full-on site migration, they are also willing to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Method #5: Using UpdraftPlus

Download plugin & more details: WordPress.org/plugins/updraftplus/

By now, you should already know that a DIY WordPress site shouldn’t be without a timely backup system in place. While the plugins above are useful for creating quick backups, they don’t allow you to schedule automated backups unless you shell out money for their premium versions.

And for this reason, you need to learn about some of the traditional backup plugins that freely offer automation. UpdraftPlus is, by a clear mile, one of the most popular plugins that can get the job done. It is an easy-to-use plugin that allows you to quickly schedule backups without paying a single penny.

After installing and activating UpdraftPlus, you can launch it through ‘Settings’ > ‘UpdraftPlus Backups’. In this page, you can fulfill all backup, restoration, and migration activities with just a few clicks.
But before you create a backup, it’s recommended that you specify a remote storage location by going to the ‘Settings’ tab and selecting an icon under “Choose your remote storage”.
If you don’t specify a remote storage location, your backup files will remain on your web server along with your WordPress site data. Fortunately, you can manually download them to a local drive by navigating to the “Existing Backups” tab.
Manually downloading every component of your backup, however, will be tedious since your goal is to automate backups. This can be done by going back to the “Settings” tab and picking a backup schedule in the drop-down menus under “Files backup schedule” and “Database backup schedule”.
Don’t forget to scroll further down the page and click the “Save” button to implement your new backup schedule. While you’re at it, specify which among your WordPress site data are included with each backup by ticking the right check boxes under “Include in files backup” — be it your plugins, themes, and media uploads.

You can also enable email reports to your admin account’s address. This will help you stay ahead of the current health of your backups as well as the integrity of your WordPress site as a whole.

UpdraftPlus is one of the plugins that can provide enterprise-grade functionality despite remaining free through the life cycle of your WordPress site.

However, the premium version does put plenty of useful features to the table, including but not limited to FTP encryption, advanced reporting, smart backups that respond to changes, database encryption, and more.

Conclusion

As a WordPress site owner, you need to be prepared for anything. A single plugin mis-configuration can lead to a site-wide crash.

But with regular backups, you will never be caught off-guard. For more backup plugins you can use to secure your data, check out this post.

Article by Christopher Jan Benitez

Christopher Jan Benitez is a professional freelance writer who provides small businesses with content that engages their audience and increases conversion. If you are looking for high-quality articles about anything related to digital marketing, then he's your guy! Feel free to say "hi" to him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Get connected: