How to Backup Your WordPress Website

Backing up your WordPress site daily, weekly or monthly is one of the smartest things you can do if you run a WordPress website.

There are several things that can happen where you can lose your entire website. Getting hacked, updating themes and many other actions can leave you with a broken website.

For these reasons, it’s smart to backup your WordPress website regularly.

In this article, I am going to show you how to properly backup and restore your WordPress website. There are a few different methods you can use to backup your site and here they are:

Method 1: Use Your Host

Before installing a bunch of plugins, it’s likely that your WordPress host already has scheduled backups.

If your host has cPanel (most do) then you are already getting daily backups of your Website. Just login to your cPanel and look for the backup module.

backup files cpanel

Click the Backup icon and this is where you can view, manage and restore backups from the past 14 days.

cpanel account backups

To download a certain backup to restore, click the dropdown, select a date and then click the Download button. You can use this file to upload and restore files to the Backup page in cPanel.

If you simply want to download your home directory (files) or database you can download the partial backups below.

partial backups

I would recommend downloading a partial backup before any major website changes or migration.

How to Restore with cPanel

If you don’t have cPanel or your hosting provider doesn’t include backups, you can use a free plugin to create backups regularly.

Method 2: Use a Plugin

With a Plugin, you can automate and simplify WordPress backups and restoration. UpdraftPlus is one of the best backup plugins that allows you to regularly backup your WordPress website to several cloud locations like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and more.

Installing and setting up the plugin is easy. Just go to your plugins manager, search for UpdraftPlus and then click install and activate.

updraft plus backup plugin wordpress

Once you have activated the plugin, go to Settings->UpdraftPlus Backups to backup, migrate, or clone your  WordPress website.

To make a one-time backup, simply click the Backup Now button on the dashboard.

updraft plus plugin for backups

This will run for a few minutes depending on how large your site is. Once it is complete, your backup will be viewable below in the Existing Backups table.

You can simply click on the buttons to download each backup.

updraft plus backups

To automatically backup your database and files on a set interval, head to the settings section of UpdraftPlus. You will see some options to set an interval for files, database and choose where to save your data.

If you have a high trafficked site, its smart to backup daily, and weekly for smaller sites.

backup interval

Next, you will need to choose where to save the files to. There are some different options you can choose from. The easier is probably Google Drive so I will show you how to do that.

Select the Google Drive icon and then scroll down to the bottom and click save.

A popup will appear to allow you to connect your Google Drive as your backup source.

restore authenticate

Click the link in the popup to authenticate your Google Drive account with your WordPress site.

Finally, you will be shown a screen to confirm your setup.

restore authenticate

Check the URL to make sure it’s correct and then click Complete Setup.

And that’s it!

Now, your website will automatically backup every week and save it to your Google Drive folder. You will be able to see your existing backups in the table where all of your backups are listed.

How to Restore with a Plugin

Restoring with this plugin is super easy!

All you have to is find the date you want to restore from in your backup list and click the restore button! It will restore your site to exactly how it was on that date.

Method 3: Manual Backup

If the previous methods are not possible for you to do, then you can always do it manually which is a little bit more diffcult.

There are 2 steps you will need to take to download your entire website.

First, you will need to download all of your files via FTP and then you will need to download your database in PHPMyAdmin.

To download your files, you will need an FTP (file transfer protocol) client. I use Filezilla and it works just fine for downloading and uploading files.

fireftp settngs

In order to connect to your site you will need the following details:

  • Hostname
  • Port
  • Username
  • Password

You should be able to get this information from your hosting cPanel or dashboard. In cPanel you can find the FTP Accounts link and create a new FTP account.

Note: Make sure that the directory is the public_html folder so you can access all of the WordPress files.

Copy the FTP details from your host into the FTP client and click connect to your site.

You should see files that look similar to the files below:

wordpress files

Simply select all of the files and download them to your local computer. I would recommend creating a folder with the date of the backup as the folder name. This way you know when it was downloaded.

Now that we have all of our files, we need to download our database.

Go to your cPanel or host manager and find PHPMyAdmin. This is where you can create, manage and export your database, which contains all of the dynamic data from your WordPress website.

phpmyadmin

In phpMyAdmin, you will click on your database on the left-hand side or click the databases tab at the top and then select the correct database.

You will see a list of all of your tables that your WordPress website uses to store important data about your site. Scroll down to the bottom and select the check all checkbox, then choose ‘Export’ in the dropdown.

phpmyadmin export database

In order to export your entire database just choose the Quick Export method and then click the Go button to begin exporting your WordPress database.

export quick database phpmyadmin

Your WordPress database will begin downloading in your browser. Large databases can take up to 15 minutes to fully download but usually, they are pretty small and should download in a few seconds.

You have now manually exported your entire site!

How to Restore Manually

In order to restore your site, you will need to re-upload all of the files that we downloaded before and then upload your MySQL database as well that we downloaded.

Note: You may need to competely delete all of the files and then reupload them. You may also need to delete your database tables in order to overwrite them

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, there are many ways that you can backup your WordPress website. You never know when you will need to restore your site to an earlier date due to hacking, bugs or updating WordPress.

Its always a smart idea to have backups for the last days, months and weeks so that you never lose your website.

If these methods helped you backup your WordPress website, please share this article and comment below!

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