How to Backup A WordPress Site Safely

Published on June 6th, 2012

Last Updated on April 14th, 2021

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Wondering how to back up your WordPress site safely? Backing up a site is saving a copy of your WordPress site on another server/hard disk to prevent the loss of data in emergencies.

If your WordPress site crashes or gets a malware infection, you can use the backup copy to restore it to its original form.

While backing up a WordPress site might look like a challenging process, it is an easy process that can be achieved effortlessly. Not to mention, there are various ways of backing up a WordPress site.  

In this post, we are going to show you how to back up a WordPress site. Let’s dive right into it.

Do You Need To Back Up A WordPress Site?

A WordPress backup copy makes it easier for you to restore your site to its previous version if any error occurs.

For instance, if you delete a critical file in your directory, your WordPress site might stop functioning. Not to mention, some WordPress sites might be vulnerable to different cyberattacks. With a WordPress backup copy, you can easily restore your site to its original form.

While some hosting providers might offer you a backup functionality, they do not back up your site completely. If your site gets hacked, you might lose some of your WordPress files. 

3 Methods To Safely Backup Your Site

A WordPress website is made up of core files and a database. To back up a WordPress site completely, you have to duplicate your WordPress files and your WordPress database. 

These are some of the different methods of backing up a WordPress site:

Manual backup– As the name hints, this is the process of duplicating your WordPress files manually. In a manual backup, you have to save your WordPress files manually with the help of a software. In short, you have to take everything into your own hands.

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Backup via plugins– Simply put, a plugin extends the functionality of your website and helps you perform a certain task. A backup plugin can automatically create a copy of your site and save it on the cloud or on an external harddisk. Some backup plugins are free, while other backup plugins are premium.

Automatic backups– Automatic backups are done by your hosting provider. Some providers might do it at an extra fee.  In this procedure, a copy of your WordPress site is saved on another server.     

Backup WordPress Site Manually- Step-by-step process with screenshots

Backing up your WordPress site with an FTP (file transfer protocol) software.

An FTP software helps you download files from an online server to your personal computer. It also uploads files from your computer to a server. An example of an FTP software is Filezilla.

Open the FTP application and key in your login credentials.

The left panel of the FTP application has a local site option, while the right panel has a remote site option.

backup a WordPress site manually

If a secure connection is established, your WordPress files will appear on the right panel, which has the remote site option. 

Select the public_html file and expand it to reveal the other folders. You will find your site’s folder right there. Right-click on that folder, then select the download option to save it on your computer. 

manually backup WordPress site

On the other hand, you can drag files from the right panel of the FTP software, then drop them on the left panel of the FTP software. 

Here’s the thing:

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You need to make more copies of your backup files. 

Backing up your database.

Log into your web hosting account. Under the database tools section, choose the phpMyadmin option.

phpMyadmin

Log into phpMyadmin to access your WordPress databases.

Click the databases option on the top menu bar. 

Select the database that you want to backup on the right panel.

If you don’t have the details of your WordPress database, use an FTP software to open the wp-config.php file. It has your database information.

Choose the right database. Select the database tables, then click the export option. 

PhpMyadmin allows you to save database tables in different formats. Choose the SQL format option, then click the go button to initiate the download process.   

Your database will be saved as an .sql file on your computer.

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Backup WordPress With Plugins

Backup plugins can automatically save a copy of your WordPress site. Not to mention, they can save your time as you are backing up a site. Here are some of the plugins that can help you backup a WordPress site:

WPvivid Pro Backup & Migrate

WPvivid Pro Backup & Migrate

This is an all-in-one plugin that allows you to migrate and backup your WordPress site. You can store your backup copies on Google Drive, Microsoft one drive, Amazon S3, and DigitalOcean spaces. It also gives you the freedom to backup different copies, making it easier for you to save different versions of your WordPress website. Plus, it makes it easier for you to either back up a section of your site or your entire WordPress site. 

With this plugin, you can schedule automatic backups. Not to mention, this WordPress plugin lets you restore your whole site with one click. As if that’s enough, this plugin allows you to download your backup copies and store them on your PC.

Get WPVividPro

Jetpack Backup

Jetpack Backup

Made by the same team that developed WordPress, Jetpack Backup is a plugin that offers you an automatic backup option. 

With this plugin, you can back up your WordPress site on a daily basis. Plus, you can easily restore your WordPress site with a single click. 

The advanced plans also offer you a security feature that scans your files for any viruses or malwares. Not to mention, such plans have an unlimited archive backup feature. The basic plans lets you backup your site for 30 days, while the advanced plans allow you to backup your site for an unlimited amount of time.

Get Jetpack

BackupBuddy Premium WordPress Plugin

BackupBuddy Premium WordPress Plugin

Active in more than half a million sites, BackupBuddy makes it easier for you to schedule your WordPress backups. You can use it to back up your WordPress site on a daily basis, weekly basis, or a monthly basis. 

Not to mention, your backups will be saved on different platforms such as Amazon S3, FTP, Rackspace Cloud, and stash. The Stash service allows you to carry out real-time WordPress backups. You can also send a backup copy to your email address.

BackupBuddy can be installed on multiple sites. The pricing starts at $52.

Get backupBuddy

Duplicator Free WordPress Plugin

Duplicator Free WordPress Plugin

With more than 1 million active installations, Duplicator is a free plugin that helps you copy and migrate your WordPress site. You can either backup your whole site completely or backup a section of your site.

This plugin compresses your WordPress files and your WordPress database into a zip file, making it easier for you to create a copy of your site.

While this plugin is quite effective in migrating and backing up a WordPress site, it doesn’t offer you automatic scheduled backups. You have to take everything into your own hands while backing up a WordPress site.

Duplicator can be downloaded on WordPress.org for free.

Get Duplicator

BackWPup Premium WordPress Plugin

BackWPup Premium WordPress Plugin

BackWPup Premium WordPress automatically backups your WordPress site on various platforms such as Dropbox, Rackspace, and Amazon S3.

It also allows you to do scheduled backups. Apart from that, it makes it easier for you to restore your site automatically. 

With this WordPress plugin, you can easily encrypt your files to protect them from hackers. 

This WordPress plugin also comes with powerful settings that make it easier for you to back up your site. 

Get BackWPup

UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration Free WordPress Plugin

UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration Free WordPress Plugin

Active in more than 3 million sites, this is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugin. It lets you backup a WordPress site on different cloud services such as Amazon S3, Google Drive, and UpdraftVolt.

Unlike other plugins, UpdraftPlus makes it easier for you to schedule automatic backups. Not to mention, this WordPress plugin lets you restore your site easily. 

That’s not all. 

If you are looking for more features, UpdraftPlus Premium might be a suitable option for you. It comes with more advanced features that take the functionality of this plugin to the next level. Examples of such features include more storage options, encryption, and the ability to backup a WordPress site on a remote storage device. 

The free version of UpdraftPlus is available on WordPress.org, while the premium version is available on their official website.

Get Updraftplus

Backing Up WordPress Site Through Your Hosting Provider

In this procedure, your WordPress files will be backed up by your hosting provider. While some hosting companies might not offer this service, most hosting providers will offer you this feature. Not to mention, backup features may vary from one hosting provider to another. For example, some hosting providers might backup a WordPress site on a daily basis.

That’s not all.

Back-up functionalities may also change, depending on the hosting plan that you are subscribed to. Advanced plans have more backup functionalities than basic plans. 

Backing up your WordPress site from the c-panel.

A cPanel is a user-interface that allows you to manage your WordPress site easily.

To access the cPanel, you have to log into your web hosting account by keying in your login credentials.  

After that, select the cPanel option.

Log into your cPanel and click the file manager option. This redirects you to a file directory.

Backing up your WordPress site from the c-panel

Most files will be located on the left side of the user interface. Navigate to the public_html file and expand it to reveal other subfolders. 

Backing up your WordPress site -Cpanel

Select your WordPress folder. Right-click on the WordPress folder, then select the ‘compress’ option. 

WordPress site backup from c-panel

 

A menu with different compression types will pop up. 

backup wordpress site via cPanel

Select the zip archive type and click the compress file button.

Your files will be compressed in a short period of time.   

Once this procedure is over, right-click on the WordPress zip file, then select the download option.

After that, save the zip file on your computer.

How Often Should You Back Up Your WordPress Site?

Well, this depends on the activity of the site. If a site is updated on a regular basis, then it should have regular backups. To be more precise, it should be backed up on a daily basis. Automatic backups make it easier for you to save a copy of your site on a daily basis. Manual backups can be time-consuming. Not to mention, you can easily forget to backup your site through the manual     

On the other hand, if you don’t update your site on a regular basis, you should only save backup copies when you make changes to the site. Apart from that, your site should also have a scheduled backup that happens after a certain period of time. This acts as a contingency plan if you forget to backup your site. 

How Many WordPress Backups Should I Keep?

The number of WordPress backup copies depends on the type of site that you are backing up. However, you should have more than three copies of your WordPress site. Make sure that you save them on different drives. For instance, you can have one copy on Google Drive and another copy on your local hard disk.

And another thing

Encrypt your backup copies. This protects your WordPress files from hackers.

Summary

And there you go, everything you need to know about backing up a WordPress site. 

With those easy steps, you can easily back up your WordPress site. Not to mention, there are different methods that can be used to backup your site. If anything happens to your site, you can easily restore it to its previous condition. Save your backups on different drives and servers.

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.