Part of your website housekeeping is that of making sure that you have backups just in case something goes wrong, like a system failure or corrupt files or data loss or any number of other possibilities. It is always best to be safe now rather than sorry later.
A WordPress backup should be done on a regular basis and certainly every time you need to update WordPress to the latest version. (Make sure you do the backup before upgrading the WordPress version.) Once you get into the rhythm of doing your backups you will find it very straightforward.
How to Backup your WordPress Blog
There are 2 steps involved in backing up your WordPress blog or website:
- Backing up the database
- Backing up the files
1. Backup Your WordPress Database
The database is a critical component on your blog or site because it holds all of your posts, pages, comments and other content. You don’t want to risk having this wiped in the event of some kind of corruption.
First of all, create a backup folder on your computer and include the current date in the folder’s name. The reason that I do this is because I like to keep the last 3 backups, just in case and it is much more helpful if I can see the date in the folder name. It is also a very wise decision to keep these backups in different locations on different mediums (hard drives or CDs or different computers etc.).
1. Login to your site’s cPanel or Control Panel.
2. Click on phpMyAdmin in the Database section.
3. Select your database to back up from the list in the top left corner under the phpMyAdmin heading.
Most likely you will have just 1 database listed in which case you will probably see information_schema and your database name (look for your login name at the beginning of the database name)
4. From the next screen, click on Export.
5. Make sure all the tables are selected (“Select All“) and that the SQL radio button has been checked. (Each of these will most likely have been done by default.) Click the “Add DROP TABLE” checkbox in the Structure section and then make sure the “Save as File” checkbox has a tick in it.
6. Click Go to start backing up. You will be prompted for where to save the database file. Just select the backup folder created earlier.
2. Backup Your WordPress Files
The easiest way to backup your files is to use a free FTP program, such as FileZilla, to copy your files from the server to your own computer.
If you are experienced with FTP and know which folders need to be saved to your backup folder on your own computer then proceed to do so. Otherwise, if you are unsure, just copy the entire public_html folder to your backup folder. This can take some time.
If you are wondering about the difference between some of the folders that are on the server, the wp-content folder (and everything inside it) contains all of your theme files and any plugins that you may have installed. The wp-config.php file contains all of your settings information.
Automatic or Manual Backups?
There are some plugins that can automate your backups for you. However, you would need to research the differences between them and check that they accommodate the latest version of WordPress.
One plugin that I have used successfully is Duplicator. This is a nice plugin that also works well for making a copy of your live site to a local server such as XAMPP.
However, I find it just as easy to follow the manual process listed above.