Backing up WordPress website and data

Posted on May 2, 2023 at 8:27 am

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In this article, we will dive deep into the world of WordPress backups. You will learn about different types of backups, backup plugins, manual backup methods, automating backup procedures, storing backups in secure locations, testing backup integrity, the backup restoration process, and the best practices for backing up your WordPress website.

Knowing the importance of backing up your WordPress website and data is crucial. It enables you to rewind to a previous version of your website, giving you the ability to recover lost content, database files, images, and code. Additionally, having a backup of your website prevents you from experiencing downtime, which is costly for any business. The truth is, anything can happen online, and having reliable backups ensures you are prepared for the worst-case scenario.

We all know the saying, 'better to be safe than sorry'. The same applies to backing up your website. Taking the extra step to prepare for the unexpected may seem tedious, but it is an investment in safeguarding your online assets. So, join us as we explore the world of WordPress backups and discover the best practices for keeping your website secure and functioning at all times.

Importance of Backing Up Your WordPress Website

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world, powering more than 40% of all websites on the internet. However, being popular also makes it a prime target for hackers. Your WordPress website contains valuable data, including content, customer information, and important business files. Losing all this data can have devastating consequences for your business.

That's why backing up your WordPress website on a regular basis is crucial. It ensures that you have a copy of your website's content and data in case your website is hacked, attacked by malware or viruses, or for any other reasons. Here are a few reasons why backing up your WordPress website is of utmost importance:

Accidental Deletion or Changes

Even the most experienced website owners can make mistakes. If you accidentally delete files, install a faulty plugin, or make changes to your website that ruin its functionality, a backup can be used to restore it to its previous state.

Website Hacking and Malware Attacks

WordPress is prone to hacking attacks, and even small incidents can cause significant damage to your site. A recent study found that 545,000 websites are hacked each month. A backup can help you restore your website's data and quickly get back online.

Server Problems

Your website is hosted on a server, and these servers can experience problems such as hardware failure or crashes, causing your website to go offline. If you have a backup, you can restore your website's data and quickly get back online.

Data Loss Prevention

As mentioned earlier, your website contains a wealth of valuable data, including content, customer information, and important business files. Backing up your website regularly ensures that you don't lose precious data.

Now that you understand the importance of backing up your WordPress website, let's look at the different backup methods.

Different Types of Backups

When it comes to backing up a WordPress website, there are multiple types of backups to consider. Each backup type has its unique advantages and should be selected based on the website's specific needs. Here are the most popular backup types:

Full Backup

A full backup is a complete copy of your website, including all of your files, database, and settings. This type of backup is the most comprehensive as it includes everything required to fully restore your website. However, it may take more time and space to complete.

Incremental Backup

An incremental backup only saves the files that have changed since the last backup. It saves time and space as it only copies the updated files. However, you must have a full backup before starting an incremental backup.

Differential Backup

A differential backup saves all the files that have changed in comparison to the initial backup. Hence, it is smaller and quicker to create than a full backup. However, it can take longer to restore than an incremental backup because it needs both the full backup and the differential backup to restore the website fully.

Database Backup

A database backup only copies the website's database, which contains all its content and configuration. This type of backup is more straightforward and quicker to create than a full backup since it ignores non-database files. A database backup is useful if you make frequent content changes on your website.

File Backup

A file backup only copies your website's files, including plugins, themes, uploaded media files, and more. A file backup is useful if you only need to restore files that may have been accidentally deleted or lost.

Overall, it's essential to choose a backup type that suits the website's specific needs. Furthermore, there are different tools that you can use to make backup processes easy, such as dedicated backup plugins.

For those looking for a comprehensive comparison of different backup types, the BlogVault blog post is a great resource.

Backup Plugins for WordPress

Using a backup plugin for your WordPress website is a convenient way to automate your backups and ensure that you always have access to an up-to-date backup of your site in case of an emergency. These plugins come with different features and options, and the best ones provide flexible and easy-to-use methods for creating backups and storing them in secure locations.

Features of backup plugins

The following are some of the features and options that backup plugins offer:

  • Full or partial backups: Backup plugins can create full backups of your WordPress site, which includes all files, databases, themes, and plugins. Alternatively, some plugins can create partial backups, which only include specific areas such as media files, content, or the database tables.

  • Scheduling: With backup plugins, you can schedule your backups to occur automatically at regular intervals, so you don't have to remember to do it manually. You can choose the frequency of backups (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and the time of day when they should occur.

  • External storage options: Backup plugins can send your backups to a range of external storage options, such as Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, or FTP.

  • Restoration: Many backup plugins offer an easy restoration process. This process involves downloading the backup file and uploading it to the WordPress dashboard where the backup plugin can retrieve all the website's data.

Popular backup plugins

There are many backup plugins available in the WordPress repository, both free and paid. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • UpdraftPlus : With over 3 million active installs and a 4.7/5 star rating, UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular backup plugins for WordPress. This plugin offers full backup and restoration for both files and databases, as well as scheduling options and the possibility to store backups to a range of cloud storage services.

  • Jetpack : Jetpack is a popular security plugin that also includes backup features. The Jetpack backup service runs daily or in real-time and stores up to 30 days of backups. You can choose to restore your entire website or specific files, and it integrates with popular cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

  • BackupBuddy : BackupBuddy is a premium backup plugin that can create full or partial backups and send them to a range of storage services as well as offering various scheduling options. It also includes a feature called 'Instant Backup' that creates a backup of the site in a single click.

How to install backup plugins

To install a backup plugin on your WordPress site, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on 'Plugins' in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click on 'Add New'.
  4. Search for 'backup plugin' in the search bar and browse through the available options.
  5. Hit 'Install' and then click 'Activate'.


Using a backup plugin is a smart way to save yourself the worry and headache of losing your WordPress site due to unforeseen circumstances. Whether you choose a free or premium plugin, make sure it offers the features and functionalities that align with your needs and preferences.

Manual Backup Methods

While using backup plugins provides convenience and ease for backup procedures, manual backup methods also serve as an alternative when working with limited resources. Manual backups involve downloading and storing all website files and data on an external device or storage space.

Advantages of Manual Backup Methods

One benefit of manual backup methods is the flexibility it provides. With manual backup methods, website owners can schedule backups according to their preferences. Manual backup methods also do not require premium subscriptions or plugins for the backup process.

Disadvantages of Manual Backup Methods

Despite its advantages, manual backup methods have disadvantages that make using backup plugins a better option. Manual backup methods are more time-consuming and tedious compared to using backup plugins. Manual backups also require a higher level of technical skill and knowledge of WordPress files since failure to recognize crucial files can result in incomplete backups.

Steps in Performing Manual Backups

To perform a manual WordPress backup, website owners will need access to their website files, such as FTP logins or cPanel. Here are the steps in performing manual backups:

  1. Log in to your website's cPanel or FTP account.
  2. Once logged in, navigate to the WordPress installation folder.
  3. Select all files and folders, then download them to a local device or external storage space.
  4. Export the website database using phpMyAdmin or any other database management tool available in your cPanel.
  5. Verify if the backup files and folders are complete.
  6. Store the backup files in a safe location.

When to Use Manual Backup Methods

While backup plugins provide convenience and ease of use, there are instances where manual backup methods can come in handy. For example, when facing plugin compatibility issues, it is advisable to perform manual backups. Manual backups also serve as a contingency measure when backup plugins fail to work.

Manual backup procedures can be time-consuming, but website owners with limited resources can take certain measures to limit the workload. Scheduling backups accordingly, isolating backups of critical files, and using automated tools for minimal intervention are some ways website owners can adapt to manual backup processes.

In the next section, we will discuss how to automate backup procedures and the tools that make the task easier.

Automating Backup Procedures

Automating your WordPress website backups is crucial for ensuring that your website's backups are up to date and require minimal intervention.

According to a survey conducted in 2019, more than 60% of website owners only backup their websites when they remember or when they have been reminded to do so. This approach leaves the majority of websites vulnerable to data loss due to hacks, server crashes, and other factors.

By automating your WordPress website backups, you can reduce the chances of data loss by frequently backing up your website's data. Automating the process can be done by using one of many WordPress backup plugins such as UpdraftPlus, Jetpack, or Backup Buddy.

Most backup plugins offer scheduling options for daily, weekly, or even monthly backups. The backups can be set up to run automatically in the background, and you will receive an email notification once the backup process is complete.

Another alternative to using a plugin is to write scripts to automate backups. Cron jobs can be used to schedule backup tasks that will run at specific times. This method is recommended for advanced users who are familiar with web development and server administration.

Automating your backups can also save you time and energy, as you won't have to remember to backup your website at specific intervals, and you'll have peace of mind knowing that your website's data is protected.

Overall, automating your WordPress website backup processes is a significant step towards safeguarding your website's data. Regardless of what backup method you choose, always ensure that your backups are stored in secure locations, and perform regular tests to ensure that your backups are working.

Storing Backups in Secure Locations

Backing up your WordPress website is important, but equally important is storing those backups in a secure location. If your backups are not stored securely, they become vulnerable to cyber attacks or accidental deletion. Ensuring the security of your backups should be a top priority as it allows you peace of mind and the ability to recover your website’s data in case of any unwanted event.

The Risks of Insecure Backup Storage

According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report for 2019, there were over 4.1 billion data breaches in the first half of that year. This number is alarming and highlights how important it is to safely store your website backups. Hackers can take advantage of your website’s vulnerabilities and gain access to sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and even credit card details. Having a backup without the proper security precautions could be potentially dangerous or even catastrophic for your business.

Secure Backup Storage Options

The safest way to store your backup data is on an external hard drive or storage device, preferably encrypted. Cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3, are also a good option for secure backup storage. These services not only offer secure storage but can also automate backup processes. By storing your backups online, you can easily access them from anywhere and restore your website in case of any data loss incidents.

Encryption is Key

Encryption adds an extra layer of security to your backups, making it difficult for unauthorized parties to access them. Ensure that your backup files are encrypted by using a secure password that only you have access to. You can use any software encryption tool, such as 7-zip to encrypt your WordPress website backups.

Best Practices for Secure Storage

  • Keep multiple backups and store them in different locations
  • Use secure passwords and encryption
  • Use a trusted backup plugin or manual backup process
  • Test your backup files for integrity
  • Set up automatic backups and make sure they are completed without any errors
  • Regularly check your stored backups to ensure their accessibility and security

By ensuring your backups are securely stored, you can be sure that your website’s data is safe and can be easily recovered in case of any hardships. Follow best practices to keep your backups secure and your website data safe.

Testing Backup Integrity

Regularly backing up your WordPress website is crucial, but just creating backups alone is not enough. It is equally important to ensure that your backups are reliable and can be successfully restored when needed. This is where testing backup integrity comes into play.

Testing backup integrity involves checking if the backups are complete, accurate, and free of errors or corruption. It is recommended to test backup integrity at least once a month or after any significant change has been made to the website.

Why Test Backup Integrity?

Testing backup integrity helps to ensure that:

  • Your website can be restored from a backup in case of a site crash, hack, or data loss.
  • The backup files are not corrupted or incomplete, which could lead to data loss.
  • Your backup system is working as intended and that scheduled backups are occurring as expected.

How to Test Backup Integrity?

The best way to test backup integrity is to restore the backup files to a test environment or staging site. This will allow you to check if the restored website is fully functional and if all the data and files are intact.

WordPress website owners can create a test website by using a subdomain or subdirectory on their main website domain. Another option is to create a local WordPress installation using XAMPP, MAMP, or WAMP on your computer.

To restore your website from a backup, follow these steps:

  1. Install a new WordPress site on your test environment or staging site.
  2. Install the same version of the theme and plugins you use on your main website.
  3. Import the database backup you created earlier.
  4. Copy the latest backup of your website files to the test environment.
  5. Update wp-config.php file with your new database credentials.
  6. Run a search-and-replace tool to change the old domain name with the new one.

Once you have restored the backup, it is recommended that you check the following:

  • Check if the website is functional, and that all pages, images, and links are working correctly.
  • Check if all essential functionality, such as forms, user registration, search, and e-commerce carts are properly working.
  • Check if any customizations or settings you made are still intact.
  • Check the website speed to ensure it is loading at a reasonable speed.


Testing backup integrity is essential for ensuring that your WordPress website can be successfully restored in case of data loss or any disaster. Without regularly testing backup integrity, your backups may be of little use in a crisis. To avoid this, ensure that you create regular backups, store them securely, and test their integrity frequently.

Backup Restoration Process

Backing up is only one step of the process; the ability to successfully restore a backup is equally important. When restoring a WordPress website from a backup, it is crucial to ensure that all of the website components are restored, including the website files, database, and configuration files.

There are two methods for restoring a WordPress website from a backup: manual restoration and automated restoration.

Manual Restoration

To manually restore a WordPress website from a backup, follow these steps:

  1. Access the backup file.
  2. Download and extract the backup file.
  3. Create a new database or use an existing one.
  4. Configure the restored database with the website files and configuration files restored previously.
  5. Replace the necessary details in 'wp-config.php' with the credentials of the restored database.
  6. Upload the website files to the restored database.
  7. Update the website's permalinks.

Automated Restoration

Automated stores can be useful, especially for those who are not technically inclined or lack the time to restore their website manually. Backup plugins like UpdraftPlus, Jetpack, Duplicator, and BackupBuddy can perform scheduled, automated backups and restorations of your website. Automated backup plugins come with three types of restoration features:

  1. One-click Restore: allows you to restore the website from a backup with a single click.
  2. Directory Synchronization: compares the files on your website with those on your backup server to identify and restore lost or missing data.
  3. Direct Restore: restores your website by downloading the backup, extracting it, and copying the files to your website's directory.

Testing Backup Integrity

After restoring a backup, it's vital to ensure the website is functioning correctly. This process includes checking the website's pages, posts, images, plugins, and themes for any abnormalities. Additionally, website owners should ensure that all the website features, data, and overall aesthetics are still the same before the backup restoration process.

Best Practices

To ensure the best backup restoration process and maintain website security, always make regular backups of your website's files and database, avoid storing backups on the same server as your website or in local devices, test backups regularly, choose a web hosting service with automated backup features, and be vigilant of data security breaches.

Overall, the backup restoration process is essential in ensuring that your website can recover from data loss and cyber-attacks effectively. The process may seem daunting, but taking the necessary precautions can save time, money and ensure data security.

Best Practices for WordPress Website Backup

Backing up your website is essential to ensure its security and smooth operation. Here are some best practices for backing up your WordPress website:

  • Choose a Reliable Backup Plugin: Choosing a reliable backup plugin is crucial for backing up your website data. Some popular backup plugins for WordPress include UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, and BlogVault.

  • Backup Frequency: It is recommended to have a backup frequency of at least once a week. However, if you make frequent updates to your website like blog posts, products, or pages, consider taking a daily backup.

  • Offsite Backup Storage: Backing up your website data on an offsite location is essential to safeguard against data loss. Consider using cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3.

  • Testing Backup Integrity: Check if the backup file is working correctly and check if all the necessary data from your website is included in the backup file. Test your backups regularly to ensure data integrity and consistency.

  • Automate Backups: Automating the backup process ensures you never miss a backup schedule. Set up an automatic backup schedule, ideally when visitor traffic on your site is the least, to avoid data overload.

  • Have Multiple Backup Copies: Never rely on a single backup copy of your website data. Save multiple copies of your backups and store them in different locations.

  • Document Your Backup Process: As important as having regular backups is documentation. Keep a step-by-step guide for the backup and restoration process in case of emergencies.

  • Keep Your Site up to Date: Keep your website core files, themes, and plugins updated to help prevent vulnerabilities and data loss. Running updates can improve your website's performance while adding extra layers of security.

By following these best practices, you ensure that you have a reliable backup system in place. With the right backup plugin, regular backup schedule, and offsite backup storage, you can secure your site against significant data losses such as malware and ransomware attacks. In summary, a backup plan is your first line of defense against cyber-attacks, so take control and implement one today.

If you want to learn more about WordPress website backup, please refer to this comprehensive guide.

In conclusion, backing up your WordPress website and data is crucial to ensure the security and stability of your website. It is not only important for website owners but also bloggers, businesses, developers, and anyone who has invested in creating their online presence. Failure to backup your website could lead to a catastrophic loss of data that can result in broken links, loss of traffic, or even worse, losing your entire website.

We have discussed the different types of backups, including full, partial, and incremental backups and the different backup plugins available such as UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, etc. We have also covered manual backup methods, which are useful for those who are not comfortable using backup plugins. Automating backup procedures such as scheduling backups to run at certain times and storing backups in secure locations like cloud storage or external hard drives can save time and provide additional protection in case of data loss.

Testing the backup integrity is also an important step that should not be overlooked. Without testing, you may be left with backups that fail when you need them most. The backup restoration process has also been discussed in detail, and we have highlighted the best practices for WordPress website backup, which should be followed to ensure backups are secure and usable.

In conclusion, we highly recommend that every WordPress site owner, regardless of their technical expertise, invest in an appropriate backup solution. Doing so will help you establish and maintain a reliable backup strategy to protect your website and its data in the event of hacking, software failures, or other issues. Remember, having a backup is the only way to get your website back online if something goes wrong. So, make sure you take action to ensure your website’s security and create a website backup today!

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