It’s not uncommon to incur data loss on your WordPress website, whether by human error or security breach (there is an online attack every 39 seconds). If you’ve invested time and money in your site, you’ll need to take proactive steps to “insure” your digital assets. This is where WordPress backups act as a lifesaver.
A WordPress backup is a perfect copy of your website which can be restored. WordPress sites can be backed up in a variety of methods, including through your web host, a special backup plugin, or even manually.
We will first explore the What’s and Why’s of a WordPress site backup, examining the differences between each WordPress backup method. This will help you choose wisely the best backup method for your needs. If you are in a hurry and want to get straight to the point, skip to How to Backup a WordPress Site (3 Methods).
- A backup in WordPress is a duplicate of a website which is typically created for security reasons.
- Security risks can affect every website on the internet making them vulnerable to server failures, data loss, and hackers.
- There are 3 methods to backup your WordPress website: Hosting Site Automatic Backup, Manual WordPress Backup, and Plugins for WordPress backups.
- It is preferable to back up both the database and the files when you back up your website.
- Your WordPress website should be backed up at the very least once every week.
What is a WordPress Backup?
A backup in WordPress is a duplicate of a website which is typically created for security reasons. In the event that something went wrong with your site, you could quickly and easily fix it by restoring your backup.
The ideal practice is to keep your backups somewhere apart from your website. WordPress backups are also able to make a local copy of your website for performance reasons or to transfer your site to a different server or hosting company.
Why are regular WordPress backups important?
Security risks can affect every website on the internet. Any website is vulnerable to server failures, data loss, and hackers. WordPress backups give you peace of mind by storing your material in a secure location where it may be recovered in the event that something unfavorable were to occur to your website.
Human Error: The majority of WordPress sites are managed by people despite the most recent automation. This means it could crash as a result of a small programming error or maintenance mistake. The majority of human errors happen during site maintenance.
Hacker attacks: The WordPress platform, which powers over one-third of all websites, is unquestionably a hacker favorite. Malware, ransomware, and brute force attacks are just a few of the methods hackers might use to infiltrate a website.
Natural disasters: Natural disasters surrounding can cause a significant data leak or server outage. Offsite and independent backups are crucial to ensuring that your website can be restored without the threat of protracted downtime.
Server failure: Numerous factors, including human mistakes, network intrusion by hackers, power failures, disk failures, and human error, can cause web servers to go offline.
Data loss in migration: Website crashes frequently happen while a WordPress website migration is being done. It is considerably simpler and safer to move your WordPress site to a new host or server if you have backups. Before moving your website, all you should do is create a backup and utilize it on the new host server.
What is the best way to backup a WordPress Site?
Now that we understand the why’s of WordPress backups, let’s dive into the what’s of backups. There are at least 3 methods available for backing up a WordPress website. However, this depends a lot on your needs and technical knowledge. For example, if you are good with technology and have time to deal with creating a backup of your site, the manual method might be favorable.
The following are some of the best ways to back up a WordPress website with its pros and cons.
Hosting Site Automatic Backup
The majority of web hosts include backups in their standard offerings, either as an extra or included in their hosting packages. Nevertheless, some hosts backup their servers as a precaution in case of errors.
Pro: You can perform backups via your hosting company without having to find a third-party tool. The same area where you maintain your hosting package is where you maintain your backups.
Con: Although some WordPress web hosts provide free backups, this feature is sometimes subject to an additional charge, especially if you want to do regular backups.
Manual WordPress Backups
If you choose to do WordPress backups manually WordPress, you’ll need to back up your website every day to save a duplicate of it.
Pro: One of the benefits is having a complete, thorough backup of the most recent version of your website.
Con: This practice is of a time-consuming nature and has the possibility of human error, which could result in accidentally saving an incomplete version of your website.
Paid Plugins for WordPress Backups
For organizations wishing to save time, a premium plugin for WordPress backups may be the best option.
Pro: It’s simple, takes less time and will almost certainly protect the entire website, as opposed to a free plugin.
Con: As the name suggests, this plugin might not be the best fit if you are concerned about the cost.
Free Plugins for WordPress Backups
For companies who do not have the resources or time to regularly back up their content, a free plugin greatly streamlines the procedure.
Pro: The cost is absolutely free which makes it a perfect fit if you are a student who wants to learn around or a company with a tight budget.
Con: The majority of free plugins only collect a subset of the data from your website. As a result, it’s possible that only your database is recorded, not your themes or media assets.
What to back up on your WordPress site?
When making a backup of your WordPress site, there are two key components to take into account.
- The files on your website that are responsible for its functionality, including theme files, plugin files, scripts, add-ons, and media.
- The website’s database – including media files, posts, comments, and customer information all stored in your website’s database.
Database management software can be used to back up databases, although other tools or plugins could be needed for file backups. It is preferable to back up both the database and the files when you back up your website. However, until they are modified, there is no need to back up both components. For example, you might only need to back up the file content if you upload new content, such as posts, once a month or once a week.
Consider backing up the database more frequently than file backups if it regularly updates and exchanges data with your company. By only employing backup resources when necessary, you may conserve resources. This can be achieved through backup plugins that conserve resources like backing up updated content.
When to Back Up Your WordPress Website?
It’s beneficial to regularly back up your website as you never know when something unfavorable will occur. Daily backups may not be possible due to the time-consuming nature of manually backing up a WordPress site.
If your website is largely static, a weekly backup can be adequate. But a weekly backup won’t likely be enough if you operate an online store or blog. How eager you are to take a chance with important information will determine when and how to back up your WordPress website.
How Frequently Should You Backup Your Site?
Your WordPress website should be backed up at the very least once every week, but keep in mind that you may likely still lose important data.
Daily backups are ideal especially in the case of a business that has content that changes daily or over time.
Even though making such regular WordPress backups is an extra step, it will save you time and money in the future. Think of it as an investment protecting what you’ve developed. That being said, finding the method that is most practical for you is the ideal route to back up a WordPress site.
How to Back Up a WordPress Site (3 Methods)
There are 3 methods that we consider the best way to back up a WordPress website. They are the Backup by your Hosting, Manual Backup, and Backup with a Plugin (paid and free).
Backup WordPress through Your Hosting
Once you log in to your hosting account provided by your hosting provider, you may be able to find a backup button. Some hosting providers provide backup for a cost as an option while many others provide it for free.
In our case, we are using Hostinger as the web hosting provider. Hostinger lets you create file backups and database backups separately. It also lets you prepare a new backup with a button click.
The screenshots below show how to generate a new backup, then choose to restore or download the new file backup or/ and database backup.
- First, search for backups from Hostinger.
- Then, select “Generate new backup” to see a message indicating your backups are being created.
- Then, you can restore or download files or database backup.
If you choose file backups:
- Select the date you need as a backup and you will see the download size and date created.
- You can then see the restore and download buttons.
If you choose the database backup option:
- Select the database first
- Then, you can select the show databases button and choose a date
How to Manually Back Up a WordPress Site
Manual WordPress backup is easier than you think it is. There are two ways we can do the manual backup.
- Using Cpanel/hpanel to create a backup.
- Using FileZilla to connect remotely and create a backup..
Backup with Hpanel and PhpMyAdmin
- Go to the database section and select PhpMyAdmin in your Hostinger account.
- Then, you will be able to select a database to open with PhpMyAdmin.
- You can then see your database.
- If you need to export the database, you can go to the export section and click the “Go” button. However, if you want to import a SQL file, you can go to the import section and choose a file from your computer to upload and restore.
- To compress and download files, you can direct yourself to the file manager in hpanel.
- Then, you can select the necessary files.
- You may give a name and extension to your choice of backup file and click the “Compress” button.
- After the compression, you can see your file on the file manager. You may download it if you intend to.
Backup with FileZilla
- To backup files with FileZilla, we need to go to the SSH access in the Hostinger account and enable SSH connections.
- Then you should use a username, password, port number, and host address for the connection.
- On FileZilla, you can click ‘Open the site manager’ and create a new site to connect with our WordPress site.
- Then you can provide your credentials and click connect.
- You will see a confirmation message.
- Finally, you will see the WordPress files within the remote site section.
- If you right-click a file you can see the download option on the popped-up menu. At the bottom of the FileZilla window, you may see the download progress.
Where Should You Store WordPress Backups?
Just as important as successfully keeping your sites backed up, it is essential to be mindful of where you keep your backups.
Keeping your backups on the same website is a huge risk when considering security risks such as malware infections or hackers intruding into your site. Because when malware starts to spread,or if hackers manage to get access to your website, your backups are not useful since you will not be able to access them again. When a plugin lets you store your backups anywhere, you should not choose the same website for the task.
Considering the safety of your business and website, it is better to store your backups off-site and in a remote location. It is better to keep multiple backup copies at the same time in different places for caution. Such as one backup with your personal computer and one on cloud storage. Some of the best backup store solutions are google drive, dropbox, amazon S3, and Microsoft Azure, using FTP to store them on another server or to download them to your hard drive.
How to backup a WordPress site with a plugin
- Go to the plugins section and click on “Add new”
- There you can search to install the backup plugins: “All-in-one wp Migration” or “UpdraftPlus”
- All you need to do now is to go to your WordPress site’s admin panel and find the “All-in-one WP Migration” tool or “UpdraftPlus” to go along with your backup process.
- Then, select the backup feature and you will notice the backup option. If you have not created backups, you can click on “Create Backup” to create a new backup. This usually follows up with a progress interface and download button prompt.
- You can use this backup to either restore your site, download the backup or list the items inside it through the menu that comes with the created backup.
- The list option shows you all the content inside your WordPress backup. There, you can see the database file with the .sql extension.
- You can also import a WordPress backup file through the import menu.
How to Backup a WordPress Site for Free With UpdraftPlus
UpdraftPlus is the most popular free plugin for backing up WordPress websites.
With UpdraftPlus you can create scheduled backups.
- In the settings, you can find the UpdraftPlus backups in which you can find settings related to UpdraftPlus. There you can schedule backups of files and databases.
- Below that, you can select remote storage locations for your backups. Here we selected Google Drive as an example.
- Then, you may fill in the details necessary and sign into your Gmail account to proceed.
- You should allow access from UpdraftPlus to your Google Drive.
- After verifying and providing access, you can click the “Backup Now” button on the UpdraftPlus menu and start your backup process.
- Finally, you will be able to see your UpdraftPlus backup in the Existing Backups section.
For a deeper dive and practical steps on backing up and restoring your site with UpdraftPlus, learn How To Backup Your WordPress Site To Google Drive with UpdraftPlus and How to Use UpdraftPlus to Backup and Restore a WordPress Website.
Running a WordPress website is rewarding, but it has its challenges. There are many things to be concerned about, particularly if you manage an online business. The best part is that important procedures like backups can be automated and made simpler, giving you more time to devote to your interest.
In this article, we learned about how to back up WordPress sites with three methods:
- Backup with the hosting provider
- Manual backups
- Using plugins to backup
We got to know what a backup is, the importance of backups, and how frequent backups are necessary for your website. Finally, we learned where to store and retrieve the backup using a step-by-step approach.
Next Steps: What now?
- Implement a solid backup solution for your website.
- Explore the backup solutions offered by WordPress Hosting Providers
- Follow WordPress Security Methods to Keep Your Website Safe
- Learn How To Restore Your WordPress Website from Backup
Further reading – Useful Resources
- How to use SSH to Back Up Your WordPress Website Hosted on a Linux VPS | HostAdvice
- How To Backup Your WordPress Site To Google Drive
- How to Use UpdraftPlus to Backup and Restore a WordPress Website
- How to Move a WordPress Website from One host to Another Using cPanel Backup Wizard
- How to Backup Your Website, Running on a Subdomain, Using cPanel
1. What’s a WordPress backup?
A backup in WordPress is a duplicate of a website which is typically created for security reasons.
2. How long does it take to migrate a WordPress website?
It relies on the hosting setup, both old and new. The size of your WP website also has a role.
3. What’s the cause of my website crash?
Website crashes frequently happen while a WordPress website migration is being done.
4. How to prevent data loss while migrating?
It is considerably simpler and safer to move your WordPress site to a new host or server if you have backups. Before moving your website, all you should do is create a backup and utilize it on the new host server.