Creating regular WordPress backups is an important task. Backups allow you to restore your website when your site gets hacked or you accidentally lock yourself out from admin Dashboard. Every webmaster should have backup of website, just in case something goes wrong. There are different ways you can backup your WordPress site. This article answers how to backup WordPress manually and automatically. A backup is simply a copy of your site that you can restore should something go wrong. It’s a precautionary measure that saves you a lot of undue stress. If you are a WordPress user, then you definitely know the importance of keeping backup copies of the files and database because there is always a risk of losing your data. You would never know how your site might get hack.The worst thing is you could lose all the files and databases. There are a lot of ways to strengthen your WordPress blog’s security. But we still think one of the best way is to backup regularly so that you can re-install your files or content and roll back in no time if the site is compromised.
How to Backup WordPress Manually and Automatically
Your hosting may or may not provide regular backups for your site. So the best way to setup a backup for your WordPress are :
- Backup WordPress manually
- Use Plugins for your WordPress
Backup WordPress Manually
WordPress is a web application based on PHP and MySQL. So you need to backup all its files and its database to have a full copy of your site. The easiest way to copy your files for manual backup is via FTP. Make sure that you save all the files and folders in the directory where WordPress is installed.
The WordPress database can be backed up as any other database. In case you have multiple MySQL databases and you wonder which one your site is using, open the wp-config.php file in the WordPress root folder and you’ll see the database name saved next to the DB_NAME option.
WordPress Files to Backup
Your WordPress site has three kind of files and one database.
- Core WordPress Files
- Files in the wp-content Folder (your theme, plugins, and uploads)
- WordPress configuration files
- Your WordPress Database
Backing up Core WordPress Files
When you install WordPress, you are actually installing a group of files the “WordPress core” that become the admin interface of your website.You may never need to look into these WordPress core files. The Core files make up the appearance and functionality of the WordPress platform. You can always get fresh copies of these files from WordPress.org due to which you don’t always need to backup these files. There is also a special file called wp-config.php that tells WordPress where to find your site’s database. The selected files and folders are core WordPress files as shown in screenshot below.
Backing up wp-content Folder
The wp-content folder is where you will normally find your WordPress media and resources — such as images, themes, and plugins. You can get the fresh copies of the plugins and themes from their sources that are installed in your WordPress site. If you know the plugins and themes you have installed then you don’t need to backup plugins and themes folders but if you are unaware of it, you probably need to have their backups.
All your images and uploads of your WordPress site are in the /wp-content/uploads folder. If you lose this folder, then you won’t be able to recreate it. You must always backup this folder.
Backing up WordPress Configuration Files
The WordPress configuration files contain important settings information for your WordPress website. Files are used to override many server configuration settings, used for authorization, cache control, website optimization, URL rewriting, to stores all your database information. The two most important WordPress configuration files are:
- wp-config.php file
- .htaccess file
These files contain settings that are relevant to your WordPress site. They can be manually recreated, but it is safe to the backups of the configuration files.
Backing up WordPress Database
WordPress stores all the data in a MySQL database. WordPress MySQL database where the content, all your posts & pages, user information, passwords and privileges, website settings, theme settings, WordPress plugins settings and other similar data is stored. This is the most frequently updated part of your WordPress site. This is why you need to create database backups more frequently. You can backup your WordPress database with any of the options below.
- Backup your WordPress database from cPanel
- Backup WordPress database using MySQL command line
- Backup WordPress database using phpMyAdmin
Till now we discussed about the manual approach for the WordPress backup. Let’s get started with the plugin use for backing up your wordpress site which is as simple as manual approach.
BackWPup – WordPress Backup Plugin
The backup plugin BackWPup can be used to backup your complete WordPress site including /wp-content/ and push them to an external Backup Service, like Dropbox, S3, FTP and many more. With a single backup .zip file you are able to easily restore an installation.
Features of BackWPup – WordPress Backup Plugin
- Database Backup (needs mysqli)
- WordPress XML Export
- Generate a file with installed plugins
- Optimize Database
- Check and repair Database
- File backup
- Backups in zip, tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2 format
- Store backup to directory
- Store backup to FTP server
- Store backup to Dropbox
Getting Started with BackWPup
First thing you need to do is install and activate the BackWPup plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will display a welcome page. It will also add a BackWPup menu item in your WordPress admin sidebar.
Creating Backup Jobs with BackWPup
Click on Add New Job to create an Automated Backup Job for your WordPress website. Under General tab, provide a name for the job. Under the Job Tasks section, select the type of tasks you want this to perform from the Available tasks for backups. If you just want to create backup of your website, then you can select all options except for optimize and check database tables.
Choose an archive type to save your backup file format. Below this, the Job Destination section helps to store your backups. BackWPup can store backup file on your server, send it via Email, backup to FTP, backup to Dropbox, amazon S3, Windows Azure, Rackspace, and Sugarsync. Whatever you do, DO NOT store the backups on your server.
Scheduling Automated Backup in WordPress
Schedule section helps you to choose how often do you want to backup your site. You can schedule it to run monthly, weekly, or daily basis by WordPress Cron option. Alternatively, you can choose to manually run the job, so that you can create on-demand backups of your site. For advance level users there are more choices.
What to Backup?
The DB Backup tab helps you to select which tables you want to include in the backup. Sometimes WordPress plugins create their own tables into your database, most of the time this data is not crucial and you may not need it. Unchecking these tables will reduce your backup size.
For the selection of directories and files you want to include in the backup job, Files section helps you out. It’s not important to backup core WordPress files. Instead, only backup your wp-content folder. You can exclude the folders that you don’t want in wp-content folder.
WordPress Backup To Folder
Depending on what you choose as destination for your backup, you will see a tab automatically being displayed. When you click upon the To: Folder tab, the settings will appear where you need to provide location to store the backups and the number of files to be stored in the respective stored folder. When you verify the Folder details the plugin will take care of the rest.
WordPress Backup Jobs
In order to view all your Backup Jobs go to BackWPup > Jobs page. You can run any of the backup jobs by clicking on Run Now link below the job, even for scheduled jobs.
You can also edit settings for a job or delete it entirely. When you execute a Backup Job manually by clicking on Run Now link, BackWPup will display the backup progress. Clicking on display working log, you can see what is going on in the background. If for some reason the backup job fails, then this log will also display the reason. You can also abort a job during the progress by clicking on Close button.
Troubleshooting WordPress Backup Jobs in BackWPup
Running a backup job may cause extra load on your hosting server. This may result in unfinished backup jobs. When your server stops BackWPup for crossing the time or memory limit, it waits for 5 minutes and then resumes the process.
To continue with the settings go to BackWPup > Settings and click on the Jobs tab. Increase Maximum number of restricts for job steps option. The default value is 3, you can increase it to 5 and see if this works or not. Just to reduce the server load go to the option and select medium or minimum server load options.
We hope this article helped you to learn how to Backup your WordPress site using both manual and automated approach by using the plugin BackWpup.