Back up Your WordPress Website

Prevent your hard work from disappearing into the virtual ether by performing WordPress backups on a regular basis. There are a few different ways to backup your WordPress website files depending on how your site is written and what its focus is (commerce vs. blogging, for instance).

What Does Backup Mean?

To create a backup means to duplicate your website in its entirety and save it in a different location. Your WordPress website’s theme, database with all of your comments and users (if applicable), your plugins (we’ll get to those), and any other files are all copied and saved to the location of your choice. You can choose to save your website to a cloud server, an external hard drive, or to your computer. Should something happen to your WordPress website database and files, you will have a backup to install so it’s not lost forever. Some actually keep more than one backup in different locations – backups of their backups. It has happened where a backup was destroyed along with the website backup, so this isn’t that paranoid if you want to play it super safe.

What Needs to be Backed up

Website Files: Website files are anything that comprises the appearance and function of your website, including any themes, plugins, code files, etc.

Database: Your website database is anything that comprises your blog posts, including user comments, user login information, your blog content, tags, categories, keywords, and anything else you save with your blogs.

You can backup these two separately or together.

Types of Backup Methods

Each type of backup method has its pros and cons. You need to find the one that fits you best so you’re not annoyed with the process or storage method. You should find it easy so you don’t put off doing it.

4 Backup Methods:

#1 FTP: A file transfer protocol connection backup allows you to save and store your WordPress website in a remote location (offsite on an external hard drive or on another server). This method allows for additional security in the form of encryption, passive mode, and proxy servers. Your web hosting company should also offer this.

#2 Plugins: You can use a WordPress plugins to help you backup your website. While it’s nice to have a plugin automatically backup your website at regular intervals, there are also some disadvantages. The more plugins your website has, the slower it may load because it creates more work for your server. Try to keep your plugins to a minimum to ensure your website loads as fast as possible.

Note: Most plugins will only backup your database information, not database *and* files.

#3 Cloud: Backing up your website to the cloud allows you to be able to access them from anywhere. The cloud service will copy your website files and database and stores everything to a cloud server.

#4 Local Backup: Using local backup is simply duplicating a copy of your WordPress site and saving it to your computer’s hard drive, an external hard drive, a flash drive, or a disc. A local backup is a must! You can use all four of these methods, or two, but include a local backup so you always have it with you. Store the external hard drive in your desk, fireproof safe, lock box, or even in another location (besides your office or home) to keep it safe.

How Many, How Often?

WordPress recommends that you backup your website in at least three different mediums (cloud, external hard drive and with your host). The more backups you have, the less likely you’ll be to lose your information. However, don’t keep every backup instance. You don’t need to take up that much space or slow your website down. Just keep the most recent backup. If you backup your website once a month, for example, you don’t need to keep the one you did a month ago. After your backup is complete you can delete the older one (or overwrite it).

The more your website is updated, the more often you need to backup your website. If your website is updated daily, you may want to back it up daily. However, don’t go longer than once a month without backing up your website.

How to Backup Your WordPress Website Tutorial

How to Backup With WordPress:

  1. Navigate to the wp-content folder on your WordPress
  2. Transfer that folder to your computer
  3. Save to your iCloud, as a zip file, or as a hard copy

How to Backup with FTP:

  1. Download an FTP application (like Cyberduck, Filezilla, etc.)
  2. Enter the connection information
  3. Navigate to the wp-content folder on WordPress
  4. Transfer that folder

Have you ever lost your website’s information or a back of your files? Tell us your story in the comments below.

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