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Why Should You Backup Your WordPress Website?
Your WordPress site contains all the hard work you’ve poured into creating posts, images, and a brand online. If anything should happen to that information, it could mean you potentially risk losing your data if you do not have a backup in place.
Perhaps the most familiar risk to websites is that of cyber attacks, but cyber security incidents are not the only potential threat to data loss on your site.
Something as simple as updating a theme, plugin, or making slight changes to a website can potentially disrupt compatibility or cause other unforeseen issues. Additionally, if problems arise at the server level, that can also have an effect on the site or its data.
Preparing for these possible scenarios by creating regular backups can help you get your website back up and running more quickly.
Some professionals even recommend storing backups in two or three different places, just to have some peace of mind. This could include using cloud storage options, a local drive, an external hard drive, or a combination of any of these.
How Do You Backup a WordPress Website?
A quick lesson on websites: they are designed so that you visually interact with a graphic interface on the front end, but on the back end, there are many separate files that are stored on your hosting provider’s server. These files contain the data that lets the site know what to do, how to respond to user interaction, and how to present information.
Now with this in mind, there are a few different methods you could employ to backup your WordPress site.
If you are more comfortable managing the back end of your website, you can manually backup files using FTP and MySQL GUI tools such as FileZilla and PHPMyAdmin. (We won’t be getting into the details of how to make that happen in this tutorial, but it is an option should you prefer to go that route.)
Another method of backing up your site is to go through your hosting service provider. Some offer managed WordPress services and can backup your website for you. Keep in mind that depending on your particular host, this may cost extra.
A third option is to use a plugin to create a backup of your WordPress site. In this post, we will be looking more specifically at the UpdraftPlus plugin.
Why Use UpdraftPlus?
On their website, they advertise that they are used by over 3 million WordPress users, including some larger clients featured on their main page. There’s a free version that allows you to complete your basic backup and restores, and schedule automated backups.
They also have a premium version, and some of the features of that include the ability to clone a site for sandbox testing or migrate a site entirely, contacting support from the developers, more specific scheduling options for your backups, the ability to save your backups in more than one cloud location, and encryption of your WordPress backup.
Their other premium features can be found on their website.
How to Install UpdraftPlus to Your WordPress Website
- Log into your WordPress website.
- In the left menu, click on the Plugins link, then click Add New.
- In the right hand search box, type “UpdraftPlus.”
- Click on “Install Now” on the plugin called “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” by UpdraftPlus.com
- Next click “Activate.” You will be redirected to the main plugins page on WordPress.
Using UpdraftPlus to Backup Your WordPress Website
- From the plugins page on WordPress, scroll to the UpdraftPlus plugin and click on Settings. The UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore page will load and you should now see navigational tabs at the top, and scheduled backups, log message info, and existing backups (which may be blank if this is your first time using UpdraftPlus) listed below.
- If you click on the Settings tab, you will see options for automating your backups, setting up a remote storage location, and select which files you want to include in your backup. There’s options for encryption if you have UpdraftPlus Premium, and to select if you want to be notified with a report when a backup has occurred.
- Set up remote storage options if one is desired, then click on the Backup/Restore tab at the top of the page.
- When you are ready to start your backup, click on Backup Now, the blue button to the right of the webpage.
- A pop up window will appear. Here you can select what you want to include in the backup, if you want to save the backup in your remote storage, and if you want the backup to be removed manually. Check the options you prefer and click Backup Now once ready.
- A status bar will show the progress of your backup along with log messages as it processes.
- Another pop up window will notify you once the process is completed.
- You should now be able to see the most current backup listed under the section Existing Backups.
Note: If you want to save these files to your local computer, simply click on each button beneath the Backup Data (Click to Download) section. Once you see File Ready as an option listed above the existing backups, click Download to Your Computer to save.