HOW TO BACKUP YOUR WORDPRESS SITE: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Are you looking for an easy way to backup your WordPress site?
If you're like most bloggers, you probably spend a lot of time working on your blog and would be devastated if something were to happen with it. Am I right?
That's why it's so important to make sure you have a backup of your WordPress site.
A backup is a copy of your entire website that you can use to restore your site if something goes wrong, and there are many different ways you can back up your WordPress site, but in this post, I will show you how to use UpdraftPlus, a popular WordPress backup plugin that I use on all my websites. It's free and super easy to use!
Why is it important to backup your website?
Your blog is your business. It's where you share your ideas and connect with your audience. It's where you offer your services and sell your products. So if something were to happen to it, you'd be looking at quite the damage.
Think about it: all of your blog posts, images, comments, and settings could be gone in an instant.
That's why it's so important to have a backup of your site. If you get hacked, the server crashes or you make a mistake, you can restore your website from the backup and be back up and running in no time.
How often should you backup your WordPress site?
This is one of those ‘it depends’ questions because… it really depends.
The common guidance is that you should take a backup of your WordPress site every week, especially if you publish weekly blog posts or have a big site. But if you don't often post or make changes to your site, it may be enough to only backup your website once a month. So it really depends.
Because I publish blog posts weekly, I currently do a backup of my WordPress site every week. If you decide to do weekly backups, I recommend picking a day and time that you can easily remember so that it becomes a habit.
I also take a backup before adding or updating plugins or making significant changes like updating a page, for example.
What happens if you don't backup your WordPress site?
If you don't take the time to regularly backup your website, you're taking a significant risk. If something happens to your site – like a hacker breaking in or a server crash – you could, worst case, lose everything. And if nothing else, it'd probably take you a lot of time to restore everything.
So backing up your WordPress site is definitely worth taking the time to do – it's a painless process that could save you a lot of headaches (and money) down the road.
Now that we've talked about why it's important to backup your website let's walk through how to actually do it.
If you prefer to watch a video on how to do it, scroll to the end of this blog, and you will find a short video there, otherwise, keep on reading!
Installing Updraft Plus
The first step is to install UpdraftPlus, which is a free WordPress backup plugin. You can do this by going to your WordPress dashboard and selecting “Add New” under the Plugins section.
In the search bar, type in “UpdraftPlus” and then select “Install Now.” Once it's installed, activate the plugin.
When you've installed and activated UpdraftPlus, their setup wizard pops up. I always ignore that wizard and adjust the settings myself. I do this because the first step in the setup wizard is to do a backup of your site, and it saves that backup locally.
I prefer to set everything up first before taking the initial backup, so that is what we'll be doing next.
Scheduling Automatic Backups of Your WordPress Site
One great feature of UpdraftPlus is that it allows you to schedule automatic backups of your WordPress site. This way, you don't have to remember to take a backup manually.
Click on Settings, and then select “UpdraftPlus Backups.”
Click on the “Settings tab” and select how often you want your WordPress site to be backed up. The options are hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
For most people, weekly backups will be fine. But if you're constantly adding new content to your site, you may want to consider backing up your site more often. Remember, I said earlier that I do weekly backups, so I have mine set to “Weekly.” But you can choose whatever frequency makes sense for you.
UpdraftPlus will now automatically take a backup of your WordPress site according to the schedule you've configured.
Set up Remote Storage of your Backup files
Next, select where you want your backups to be stored.
There are a few different cloud storage services that work with UpdraftPlus, but I use Google Drive (which I will show in this guide). I actually have a completely separate Google account just for my website backups. It's probably not needed, but I like that the backup is entirely separate from any of my other stuff. To me, it feels safer.
Click on the icon of the remote storage you want to use (in this example, Google Drive), and a new section will open up below. Click on the “Sign in with Google” button and follow the instructions to authenticate the setup.
You'll be taken to a new page where you can sign in with your Google account. Once you've signed in, you'll need to give UpdraftPlus permission to access your Google Drive account. Click on the “Allow” button.
Now that you've given UpdraftPlus permission to access your Google Drive account, you'll be taken back to the UpdraftPlus settings page.
You can now leave the default settings for the remaining options and click on the “Save Changes” button.
Doing Your First Backup with UpdraftPlus
Now that we've configured UpdraftPlus, it's time to actually do a backup of your WordPress site.
To do this, go back to the UpdraftPlus settings page. Under the “Backup/Restore” section, you should see a button that says “Backup Now.” Click on this button.
You'll see a popup window that asks what you want to include in your backup. For most people, the default options will be fine. But if you have a large WordPress site, you may want to uncheck the “Database” option – this will exclude your database from the backup, making the backup file smaller.
My site isn't large, so I use the default option.
Once you've selected what you want to include in your backup, click the “Backup Now” button.
You should now see a notice on the page that says, “The backup has begun.” This means that UpdraftPlus is in the process of creating your backup file.
Depending on the size of your WordPress site, this could take a few minutes – so grab a cup of coffee and come back in a bit.
Once the backup is done, you'll see a notice that says, “Your backup is complete.” You can now go to your Google Drive account, and you should see a new folder called “UpdraftPlus Backups.”
Inside this folder, you should see the backup file (or files) that UpdraftPlus just created. These are the files that you would use to restore your WordPress site if something ever went wrong.
You've now successfully backed up your WordPress site using UpdraftPlus.
Here's a video walkthrough of what you've just read.
That's all there is to it. Now you know how to backup your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus. As you can see, it's not that difficult, but it's essential to do it in case something goes wrong. And if you ever need to restore your website, UpdraftPlus has a great FAQ section to browse through if you need more information.
I haven't needed to restore any of my websites, and if I ever do, I will for sure write about it.
Do you have any questions about installing UpdraftPlus and backup your WordPress site? Leave a comment below, and I'll try to help you out.
I hadn’t actually thought about this so this was a great help and I’m all set up for weekly backups! Thanks Petra