Creating a backup may seem futile when everything is going fine.
But, it can save you a lot of trouble in case anything goes south.
For instance, a recent update affecting your site’s functionality.
Or, an error that completely breaks your site.
So, if you aren’t backing up your site regularly, put this task at the top of your to-do list.
In this post, we’ll tell you How to Backup WordPress Site the right way.
Let’s dive in.
What Should You Backup On Your WordPress Site?
The short and sweet answer is you should backup everything on your WordPress site.
You can always back up a particular plugin or file but an entire website backup is always a better idea.
Every WordPress site is essentially divided into two parts: WordPress Files and Database.
Whereas the WordPress database files include:
You want to create a backup of both. It can be pretty tough to restore a site from a partial backup.
Let’s now talk about the ways to create a WordPress backup.
How to Backup a WordPress Websites
1. Manual Backup
Let’s start with the most tedious backup method.
Although they’re the most time-consuming, it’d be good to have an understanding of how manual backups are done.
Otherwise, you can just skip to the next backup method.
Now, here’s the first thing you need to keep in mind while creating manual backups.
You need to create two partial backups of your site, one for your files and the other for the WordPress database.
And you got to do that every single time.
Here’s how to make a manual backup of your files:
Creating Manual File Backups
File backups can be done in one of two ways.
You can use your hosting provider’s cPanel to access and download your site’s files. Log into your hosting account and access your files in the “File Manager”
- Alternatively, you can use an FTP client to download a copy of your site. This method is a bit more time-consuming though.
Creating Manual Database Backup
To access and create a backup of your database manually, just go to “phpMyAdmin”. You’ll have to enter your database login details.
Why Shouldn’t You Create Manual Backups?
In addition to the time and effort, manual backups require, there are other reasons to not use them.
For one, the restores are not very reliable. cPanels aren’t designed to handle large sites, which means there’s a limit on the size of backups you can create with cPanel.
Plus, during the backup process, your site will not be live, increasing its downtime. And, you never know for sure that the files you downloaded are complete and not corrupted.
Let’s move on to the next backup method.
2. Using WordPress Backup Software
Now, there are plenty of WordPress backup plugins out there.
And generally, these WordPress plugins can be divided into two types:
Full-site automated Backups Plugins
Incremental backup plugins
As the name suggests, full backup plugins let you create a backup of your full site.
On the other side, incremental backup plugins create a backup every time there’s a change on your site.
One stand-out difference is that the incremental backup plugins cost more. In fact, there are tons of plugins that let you create full-site backups for free.
The good thing is most WordPress backup plugins work in a similar way. So, you don’t have to learn a lot of new stuff if you want to shift to a different one at any point.
A WordPress plugin is by far the easiest way to create backups. But, picking a reliable one with the right features can be tricky.
If you’re looking for a free, effective, and reliable option, the Updraftplus WordPress backup plugin would be great.
The good thing is you can use Updraftplus to create site backups within minutes. It’s probably the best WordPress backup plugin. To start using it, simply go to the WordPress plugin repository and install the plugin.
After activating it, go to settings and click on UpdraftPlus Backups.
Next, select the “Backup Now” option.
WordPress will then ask you about the parts of your WordPress website you want to be backed up.
As discussed earlier, you want to keep a backup of everything; this includes files and the site database.
As soon as you hit the confirmation button at the bottom, the plugin will start creating your backup file.
UpdraftPlus even lets you create backups of file components, such as themes and plugins.
But, what if you wanted to create incremental backups with UpdraftPlus? You would have to use the premium version of the plugin to do that.
3. Through Your Web Host
The third and last method to create WordPress backups is through your web host. Most web hosts offer this service as an add-on or with your existing package.
Some hosts even create backups on their own so that you don’t have to worry about breaking your site.
So, the first thing you need to do is check with your hosting provider whether or not they’re offering free backups.
You can do that by checking the hosting plan you’re on or directly talking to their support. If backups aren’t included in your package, check to see if there’s an add-on service.
Let’s talk about how to backup a WordPress site through your hosting provider.
Fortunately, it’s a few-step process.
First, log into your hosting dashboard and look for the site you want to create a backup for.
Next, find the “Backup” option and click on it.
Your hosting service will walk you through a few simple steps.
Your web host might give you the following options, too:
Setting up automatic scheduled backups
Selecting which parts of your site you want to create a backup for
And, the number of backups you want
Now, web host backups are a good way to keep a copy of your site’s older version. But, they shouldn’t be your only backup solution.
What this means is that you can lose your site’s data even after creating web host backups. Here’s why a web host backup can’t be relied upon.
Same Server: Your backups are saved on the same server as your site. So, your backups won’t be fully secured since server problems can take them down.
Plus, multiple backup files on your server can actually affect your website’s resources.
Unavailability of Offsite Backups: With web host backups, you’ll mostly have to get in touch with customer support to restore your site. This prolongs the process, which you don’t want.
Malware Can Get Your Backup Deleted: Most web hosting providers act quickly in case they detect malware on your site. They’ll likely take your site offline, which isn’t the problem.
The problem is that they can outright delete your site and any backups associated with it.
This was all about how to back up a WordPress website. Let’s talk about the recommended frequency of these backups.
How Often Should You Backup a WordPress Site?
For many websites, daily backups are the right option. That way, if you break your site, the loss will be minimal. But, you don’t want to backup WordPress manually, or use the web host backup method after every 24 hours, right?
Thankfully, you can schedule automatic backups with a free WordPress plugin.
Just set the automated WordPress backups to “Daily” and your plugin will take care of the rest. However, even daily backups might not be good enough for some sites.
For instance, the data on e-commerce stores changes very frequently, so even a 24-hour window would be risky here.
In that case, you can go for real-time backups. This would make sure you don’t miss any important updates on your site.
Plus, you might also want to have the option of on-demand backups so that you can have a fresh backup before making a change.
WordPress site backups are absolutely essential to prevent the loss of important data in case of any unanticipated event
Here’s a quick recap of how to backup your WordPress site:
You can back up a WordPress site easily with a popular WordPress backup plugin.
You can manually backup WordPress websites by accessing site files in the file manager, or by using the file transfer protocol.
Or, you can backup your WordPress site files through your web host.