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How to Backup WordPress Site?


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How to Backup WordPress Site?

Nov 21, 2023

By, Editorial Team


Backing up your WordPress site is one of the most important things you need to do as a website owner. If something happens to your site – whether it’s a server crash, getting hacked, or accidental deletion of content – having a proper backup means you can quickly restore your site and avoid extended downtime.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of WordPress backups, including different backup types, software and plugins you can use, where to store backups, and how to schedule automatic backups. With the right WordPress backup strategy in place, you’ll sleep easy knowing your hard work is safe.

Why Taking WordPress Backup Is Important?

Before we dive into the how-to, let’s look at exactly why backups are so critical for your WordPress site:
  • Protect Against Data Loss: Server crashes, failed updates, hackers, accidental deletions – these things happen. Backups give you the failsafe to recover lost or compromised data.
  • Guard Against Malware: If your site gets infected with malware, your backup contains a clean, unaffected version you can restore.
  • Migrate or Restore Your Site: Backups make it easy to migrate or restore your entire site in case of domain changes or moving hosts.
  • Troubleshoot Site Issues: Accessing backups allows you to compare site files and database information to identify and fix problems.
  • Recover After Disaster: Whether it’s server failure, natural disasters, or ransomware attacks, backups enable you to get your site back online quickly.
  • Comply With Regulations: Depending on your industry, data backup may be required to comply with legal regulations.
Clearly, having a solid WordPress backup solution provides tremendous peace of mind and keeps your business protected. Now let’s look at the key elements that go into it.

Types Of WordPress Backup

There are five main components of a WordPress site that require backup:
  1. Files: The WordPress installation files, themes, plugins, uploads etc.
  2. MySQL Database: Contains all your site content, settings, users, etc.
  3. Media Files: Images, videos, audio files uploaded to your site.
  4. WP-config File: Contains key configuration data like DB info.
  5. Plugin/Theme Files: The actual .PHP files and assets for any custom plugins/themes.
Backing up each of these elements ensures you have everything you need to restore or replicate your site if needed. There are two main approaches to backing up a WordPress site – full site backup and database backup.

Full Site Backup

A full site backup includes every single file that makes up your WordPress site—all five of the components listed above. It creates a complete snapshot of your entire site that can fully restore it exactly as it was at the time of backup.

Benefits of full site backup

  • Full restoration of your site if disaster strikes.
  • Migrate your site to a new host or domain seamlessly.
  • Identify and restore previous versions of modified files.
  • Completely clone or duplicate a site.
The downside is that full site backups take longer to run and take up more storage space. Database Backup A database backup contains just the MySQL database powering your WordPress site. This includes:

  • All your content, pages, posts, menus, etc.
  • Plugins, themes, and uploaded media files.
  • WordPress settings and configurations.
  • All users, roles, permissions, and settings.
Database backups are faster and smaller in size compared to full site backups. But keep in mind – a database backup alone won’t suffice for full restoration of your site. You’d need a copy of the WordPress core files to restore just a database backup. The ideal solution is utilizing both full site and database backups as part of your overall strategy. Even just having regular database backups provides significant protection.

Where to Save WordPress Backup?

Where you choose to store your WordPress backups is critical – after all, if your backups are compromised or lost, they’re useless in the event of an emergency. Follow these best practices for backup storage:

  • Local storage: Save backups to a computer or external hard drive that’s different from your live site. This protects backups if your live site has issues.
  • Remote cloud storage: Services like Google Drive, Dropbox, iDrive let you save backups securely offsite so they’re available from anywhere.
  • Remote servers: Host backups on a separate server from your live site.
  • Multiple locations: Use both local and cloud storage for backups so you have multiple copies in different locations.
The overarching goal is redundancy across multiple mediums and physical locations. This guarantees your backups remain available even if one location is affected.

Best WordPress Backup Plugins and Software

There are a variety of software solutions and plugins available for backing up WordPress sites:

  • BackupBuddy – Robust paid plugin with backups to local, cloud and more. It has cPanel integration and advanced features like scheduled backups, restore wizard, and migration tool.
  • UpdraftPlus – Popular free plugin supporting backups to local storage, cloud services like Google Drive, S3, Dropbox, SFTP, and more. Provides easy restore and duplication of sites.
  • BackWPup – Free plugin with options for WordPress XML exports, cloud storage via various services, database and file backups, and schedule options.
  • BlogVault – Paid SaaS solution focused on real-time WordPress backup and security. Offers incremental backups, archives, and priority restoration.
  • BoldGrid Backup – Paid plugin with configuration flexibility and support for various storage destinations like FTP, S3, Google Drive, Wasabi, Dropbox.
  • WP Engine System Backups – Automated daily cloud backups and one-click restore integrated with WP Engine WordPress hosting service.

These represent some of the most widely used and capable WordPress backup plugins and tools available. The choice comes down to your specific needs and budget.

How to Manually Backup WordPress?

In addition to using plugins and software for automated WordPress backups, it’s smart to know how to manually create backups. Here’s a quick rundown on manually backing up files and the database:

  1. Backup WordPress Files: Use FTP to download a copy of your entire WordPress installation folder, themes folder, plugins folder, and uploads folder and store them locally or remotely.
  2. Export Database Backup: In your WordPress admin, go to Tools > Export to export and download a copy of your entire site database in .XML format which contains all your site content and settings.
  3. Download wp-config.php File: Access your WordPress installation folder via FTP and grab a copy of the wp-config.php file which has key configuration info.
  4. Backup Custom Plugins/Themes: Manually copy the theme and plugin folders containing any custom code via FTP.
Following this manual process periodically provides redundancy beyond automated backups. Just be sure to store the backups remotely.

Schedule Automated WordPress Backups

While manual backups are useful, you really want to have automated WordPress backups scheduled on a regular basis. Here are some best practices for scheduled backups:

  • Daily Database Backups: Schedule daily backups of your database for quick restoration if content gets deleted or your site is compromised.
  • Weekly Full Site Backups: Do a weekly complete backup of all WordPress files in addition to the daily database backups.
  • Backup Before Major Site Changes: Manually create a backup before doing things like updating WordPress core, adding new plugins, editing theme files, etc.
  • Redundant Offsite Storage: Have each scheduled backup automatically stored both locally and remotely in services like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
  • Ongoing Backup Monitoring: Check your scheduled backups routinely to make sure they are completing successfully without errors.
By setting up automatic WordPress backups on a schedule like this, you ensure your site is fully protected at all times against data loss.

How to Restore WordPress Site Backup

The reason we go through the trouble of WordPress backups is to have them ready in case we ever need to restore our site due to catastrophe. Here’s a quick rundown of how to restore your site from different types of backups:

Restore WordPress Site From full backup

  1. Reinstall a fresh WordPress instance on your server if needed.
  2. Upload the backed-up WordPress files via FTP to overwrite your existing installation files.
  3. Import your database .SQL file via phpMyAdmin to populate your content, settings etc.
  4. Upload media files and themes/plugins to complete the restoration.

Restore WordPress Site From database backup

  1. Leave existing files and software as is.
  2. Import the .SQL database file into phpMyAdmin.
  3. Upload any updated media files that weren’t in the database backup.

Restore WordPress Site From managed WordPress hosting

  1. Log into cPanel and navigate to the backup tool.
  2. Locate the desired backup file and select Restore option.
  3. Choose files or database portion to restore.

That covers the basics of how to restore common types of WordPress backups. Refer to documentation of your specific backup plugins for detailed restore instructions.

Migrating WordPress to New Domain or Host

In addition to disaster recovery, a major use case for WordPress backups is migrating your site to a new domain or hosting provider. The process looks like this:

  1. Take a full site backup from your existing WordPress installation.
  2. Set up new empty WordPress site at your desired domain/host.
  3. Restore the backup you took to the new site via import tools.
  4. Update the site/database settings in wp-config.php and URLs in the database to the new domain.
  5. Test the new site thoroughly and tweak settings.
By using backups to migrate WordPress sites, you can seamlessly move a site to a new web address or host without starting from scratch.

Debugging and Troubleshooting Site Issues

Accessing previous backups of your WordPress site provides a way to debug and troubleshoot issues that arise. Some examples include:

  • Site crashing after a particular update – restore previous backup before the update and re-apply changes incrementally to identify the problem.
  • Sudden change in site content or settings – compare current database with backup to isolate unauthorized or accidental changes.
  • Major decline in traffic despite no visible changes – inspect backup files to see if there are error triggers.
  • Reverted design changes – compare backups of theme files to see where changes were undone.

Backups give you the insight to methodically troubleshoot by reviewing and comparing site history.


In conclusion, safeguarding your WordPress website through a robust backup strategy is a wise investment in its long-term security and well-being. By combining automated software backups with occasional manual backups, you create a comprehensive safety net for your site. Remember to store backups both locally and in the cloud for added redundancy.

Don’t forget the importance of testing your restoration process periodically to ensure that you can reliably recover your site if the need arises. With the right backup procedures in place, you can have peace of mind, knowing that your hard work is secure and your website is prepared to thrive for years to come.

Ready to take the next step in securing your WordPress site? Explore our customized WordPress maintenance services that cover all the essential factors, allowing you to focus on your core responsibilities. For further discussions and to explore how we can tailor a solution for your specific needs, get in touch with us today. are our priority.


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