How to Backup Your Website

  • By Darrel Wilson
  • Last Updated: November 21, 2019

As a website owner, there are a number of tasks you should be doing to ensure your website remains safe and secure. One of these tasks involves making regular backups of your website.

In this post, I’ll talk about why backups are important and show you how you can easily backup your site both with a plugin and manually.

Why You Should Backup Your Site

Your website is your most important online asset, however, it’s not going to back itself up, even if the hosting company says they keep daily backups. In most cases, these daily backups are for the host’s internal purposes, in the event something happens to one of their servers. As such, there are three good reasons why you need to back up your site on a regular basis.

1. Your Website Could Get Hacked

One of the most important reasons for backing up your website is the fact that your website could get hacked. Hackers like to take advantage of the fact that WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems because it allows them to target the most amount of websites with the least amount of effort. Even if you use a secure password and username, your site is still at risk due to plugin or theme vulnerabilities or other websites on the same hosting server being compromised.

2. You Can Restore Your Website Quickly

In the event something happens to your site, a backup allows you to get it back up and running as quickly as possible. Most backup plugins allow you to easily restore your website with a single click and it’s just as easy to upload files to your server, in case you prefer manual backups. What’s more, with a backup in place, you don’t have to wait for your hosting website to release the backup files to you nor do you have to worry about the backup files being too old.

3. WordPress Updates Could Go Wrong

Lastly, keep in mind that sometimes WordPress updates could go wrong. Whether it’s a core update or a theme and plugin update, you could experience downtime or see errors all over your website. A backup makes it easy to undo the damage caused by a rogue update and restore your website to its previous condition.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of having a website backup, let’s take a look at how to backup your WordPress website manually and with a plugin.

How to Backup Your WordPress Website via Plugin

When it comes to backups, there is no shortage of both free and premium plugins. The best part about these plugins is that you only have to set up the plugin once and it will run on a regular schedule.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll use the UpdraftPlus plugin and show you how to set up a backup schedule with it.

UpdraftPlus Plugin Overview

The Updraftplus plugin is one of the most popular backup plugins for WordPress. The plugin allows you to set up a schedule for regular, automatic backups and backup your website files as well as your database, plugins, and themes. You can choose a remote location such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, email, and more. You can also easily restore a backup if you ever need it.

Step 1: Download and Install UpdraftPlus plugin

The first step is to download and install the UpdraftPlus plugin. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for UpdraftPlus. Click the Install button and then Activate button.

Step 2: Setup Scheduled Backups

Once the plugin has been installed, go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. As you can see from the screenshot below, you can use this plugin to manually backup your site whenever you want.

However, we want to scheduled backups so you need to click on the Settings tab. From here, you can choose how often you want to backup your website. You can choose between 4, 8 or 12 hours as well as daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly backup schedule. The frequency should depend on how often you publish new content. If you publish on a daily basis, choosing a daily schedule is a great idea. Otherwise, a weekly or a monthly schedule should be more than enough. Once you’ve set the frequency, choose how many backups should the UpdraftPlus plugin keep and then click on Save changes.

Step 3: Choose a Remote Location

The last step is to choose a remote location where your backup files will be saved. To choose a location, simply scroll down the page and click on an icon to select your preferred remote storage location. You’ll then see the instructions for setting up the remote location. In most, cases, you’ll need to login to the chosen location and allow UpdraftPlus to modify and manage the files. Once you’ve done that, select the Complete Setup button to finish the setup.

UpdraftPlus Pro Version

It’s worth mentioning that UpdraftPlus also has a pro version of the plugin which gives you more options for remote locations including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, and others. The Pro version also comes with the ability to migrate your site to a different server and incremental backups. Pricing starts at $52.50/year.

How to Backup Your WordPress Website Manually

If you don’t want to install another plugin on your site, you can backup your WordPress website manually through cPanel. In fact, it’s a good idea to perform manual backups on top of using a backup plugin. This ensures you have multiple copies of your website backup, in case one of the backups gets corrupted.

Step 1: Login to Your cPanel

To begin the manual backup process, you will need to login to your cPanel so use the credentials provided by your host and log in.

Step 2: Export the Database Using phpMyAdmin

In your cPanel, locate the phpMyAdmin interface and select it. phpMyAdmin interface will open up in a new window. Once phpMyAdmin loads, select the database of your website on the left-hand side. If you have only one website, it will only show one database. If you have multiple sites, you’ll need to choose the database that’s associated with the website you want to backup. Once you’ve chosen the right database, you will see all of the tables associated with the site.

Click on the Export tab. Here, make sure the Export method is set to Quick and that the Format is set to SQL. Then, click Go. Save the downloaded .sql file where you want to store your backups.

Step 3: Export Site Files Using the File Manager

The last step here is to export your site files using the File Manager. In your cPanel, go to File Manager and click on the public_html folder. In this folder, click the Select All button and then click the Compress button. You’ll see a popup where you can select the compression type. Choose .zip Archive and then click Compress files.

Once the files have been compressed, click on the zip file and select Download. Store the downloaded file in the same location as the database you’ve downloaded earlier. It’s a good idea to name the folder with the backup files using the date of the backup so you know which backup is the most current one if you need to restore your site.

Final Thoughts

Backing up your WordPress website is crucial if you want to make sure your website stays safe. It helps you quickly restore a website if an update goes wrong or if the worst happens and your site gets hacked. Use this tutorial to start backing up your website.

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One thought on “How to Backup Your Website

  1. Thank you, I’m sure WordPress has this information but after spending time on their documentation it did find in short order, may just me. Found this article very quick on your site

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