How to Backup Your WordPress Site

After you’ve been blogging for a little while, you might find yourself starting to become very attached to your blog.

Chances are that you’ve put a lot of work into building it. And you probably spent a lot of time making sure that it looks good. You maybe had a few cool ideas that made it stand out from the crowd. And now perhaps it is started to gain some traction. People are actually reading and they’re even writing in to tell you how much they enjoy your writing! Or maybe they’re commenting on your posts themselves, creating active discussions and flattering your ego in the process…

So it can be pretty devastating if after all of that, your site then gets lost; whether that’s because it got accidentally deleted, because your hosting provider died on you or because you edited something you shouldn’t have and it broke.
Whatever the case, you need to backup your site from time to time to avoid this catastrophe. So how do you do this?

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Internet Users! Know Your Options!

As it happens, there are actually plenty of different ways you can back up a WordPress site but of course not all of these options are made equal.

That’s because your WordPress site is actually made up of two main components. You have the files – such as your theme, the plugins, the widgets etc.; and then you have the other part which is your MySQL database. This stores the actual blog posts, the comments and your options.

A FULL WordPress backup then will backup both the MySQL database and the files as well. That’s what you want to look out for because it’s what will ensure you can simply pop your website back up online if anything should happen to it.

Method One

The first method we’re going to look at for backing up your WordPress site is to simply use a service. There is a good chance that you will have set up your WordPress blog using a hosting account such as Bluehost. Bluehost is a big, well known hosting service and it comes with a plethora of free and paid additional features – which include backups.

The thing you need to do though is make sure that you are getting the right type of backup. This means your backup needs to be of not only the MySQL database but also of all the files. If you’re not sure, then call up and ask! Some services will give you the option to completely backup your entire site by backing up everything that’s on the server. Of course this will do the trick and make sure you can simply restore the files (including the database) and get ready to go again!

Other hosting services however will be less comprehensive and will only backup the files, or only back up the database. Additionally, you need to think about whether the backup is going to be a one off, if it will happen regularly and how regularly it will happen if so. Of course it’s not much good if your site is going to back itself up once every year as that way you’ll lose a lot of new content if your site goes down!

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This is a perfectly viable option then but only if you have checked the nature of the backup and found that it meets all your requirements.

Note that some hosting accounts will automatically store a lot more of your files than others. Especially good are ‘cloud hosting’ services, which store your files on multiple different servers and then simply point users to the files on one of them. These have multiple advantages, one of which is the fact that your files will have automatic duplicates made.

Method 2

The second method we’re going to look at is a manual way of backing up your site. This is about as manually and old-school as it can get but it will certainly do the job.

All you’re going to do here, is to load up your files using an FTP (file transfer protocol) program, or the file manager that came with your hosting account. You’ll be able to find all the files here that you uploaded or created through WordPress and then all you’re going to do is drag and drop them onto your desktop!

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The folder to look out for here is the ‘wp-content’ folder, which contains all of your theme and plugin files. Wp-includes is also important and contains the core files that make up WordPress.

Method 3

Really it’s the database that is most important, so if you want to just make sure you get that one, then you need to head over to cPanel and find the phpMyAdmin icon. This will be found under Database Tools.

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When you select this, you’ll find a page with some more advanced functions. Hit the Databases tab and you’ll see a list of all databases. You’ll be able to find which of these databases is the one you need by looking in your wp-config.php file through the file manager.

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The file you’re looking for will be the one referenced in the line that reads:

1 define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name’);

Click on the database to open it and then just tick all the checkboxes next to the different tables. You’ll see things like wp_comments and wp_links – which are pretty self explanatory! You can also just tick ‘Check All’ in order to select all of them at once. Make sure not to edit any of these or you can do some serious damage!

Method 4

Finally, the last method is to use a plugin. If you’re not sure how to install plugins, then you can find more details on our install plugins post. This will talk you through the process and from there, it’s a simple matter of searching for and installing a plugin that handles backups for you.

Once again though, make sure to read the fine print and identify just how thorough these backups are really going to be!