For many WordPress website owners, the most important task is not designing or writing posts, but ensuring the website is always available for visitors. Therefore, backup your WordPress site is very necessary.
Why to Backup WordPress?
Keep an online WordPress presence secure is not very easy because there are many accidents, attacks and hacks happened. According to statistics, there are more than 10,000 websites facing failures every day because of the following reason:
- server malfunction
- human cause
- malicious hackers
- simply overload
Any failure may lead to your site files getting erased or corrupted that you may lose everything your write on your website. No one has full ability to control all of these issues. So it’s especially important to take presentative measures even when the website is running well. If you have backup your WordPress already, you can quickly restore the site back to normal with the backup database and files.
Then, how to backup a WordPress site? Typically, there are two ways to backup a WordPress – by backup plugins or manual approach. Below, we introduce the manual approach which gives you full control to your data.
Backup WordPress Manually
WordPress has a built-in Import and Export system to allow users to upload a local file or download an online file to local disk. We can use the Export system to backup WordPress site, including posts, pages, fields, categories, tags and comments. However, the shortage is that attachments files are unable to be backed up.
The operation is quite easy. Log into your WordPress admin panel, go to Tools -> Export. You can find it on the right hand side in the submenu of Tools.
Then click Export, you will be taken to the Export page where you can choose what to export. There are three choices: All content, Posts, and Pages. You can choose what you want to back up. Here, we choose All content which includes all of the posts, terms, pages, navigation menus, custom posts, comments, and custom fields.
At last, download the export file by clicking the button. The WordPress will create an XML file for you to save to your local computer. Note that you should pay attention to the location where you put the file in case you can quickly find it when you restore.
If you want to restore your data, it’s also easy to handle. Just go to Tools – > Import, you can see the following Import page.
Click WordPress and it will appear a pop-up window reminds you to install Install Importer. You can see the interface as following.
You can simply click the read “Install Now” button, and then activate the plugin and run the importer later by clicking the related button. The process may take several minutes.
Once activated Importer, you will be linked to the Import WordPress page. You can click “Choose File ” button to choose a file from your computer. Note that the file should be smaller than 8 MB.
Click the bottom “Upload file and import” button. Then you can see the page with assign author option. This is an useful function that allows users to assign author to another user or create a new account. Especially, it is effective for merging the content from two websites together. Don’t forget to check the box as the following image displayed.
Click “Submit” button to start upload. Then WordPress will show you a list of files was imported into your site. If the content already existed, it won’t be uploaded again. So, you don’t need to worry about your website has two same pages or posts.
Backup WordPress Automatically Using Plugins
The entire process is simple and easy to finish for advanced and experienced webmasters. For newbies and beginners, however, the use of WordPress backup plugins is better, for they can carry out the whole process automatically. There are many great WordPress Backup Plugins you can use, and in below, we use UpdraftPlus as an example to see how to do backup automatically. And we will store the backup file to Google Drive, a popular cloud storage and file backup service developed by Google. That enables a simple and secure manner to store photos, files, email attachments, or anything as you want.
Google Drive allows you to store website backup in a remote location. By default, each user can get 15GB free storage once signing up an account. The UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration plugin is selected in this guide as the method to help you backup WordPress to Google Drive with a few steps.
Step 1: Install UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration Plugin on Your Site
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration is the top-ranking WordPress plugin designed for remote website backup. That allows users to backup website to any services as needed, like Google Drive, Dropbox, Rackspace, etc. Install and activate this plugin via WP admin to explore more features.
Once activating the UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration plugin, an option “UpdraftPlus Backups” is shown under Menu > Settings. Since everything gets ready, it’s time to backup your WordPress website to Google Drive as planned.
Step 2: Configure Backup Contents and Schedule
Go to Menu > Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups and here you come to the UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration interface. An array of tabs is available for website backup and restore. Go to Settings tab and determine what web content should be backed up.
The first section “Configure Backup Contents and Schedule” is where to set file backup intervals and database backup intervals. Make a decision on which content should be included in the files backup. That can be plugins, themes, uploads and other directories.
The Database Options is where to encrypt database backup. Click the given link and ask UpdraftPlus Premium to help you achieve the purpose. Perhaps, you can manually decrypt the encrypted database via the second link.
Step 3: Select Google Drive as the Remote Storage
The “Copying Your Backup To Remote Storage” section is where to integrate your WordPress website with the remote storage. Choose Google Drive from the drop-down list. The link “Follow this link to your Google API Console … in the API Access section” redirects you to your Google API Console. Click it and expand the drop-down menu.
Create a project and name it to anything as you need. The project ID will be generated automatically. Click “Create” button to confirm all settings. And then, target “APIs & auth” from the left column and go to APIs menu.
Here you come to the API Library. Search for Drive API and then enable this API.
Go to APIs & auth > Credentials. Click “Add credentials” button shown in the popup window and then select “QAuth consent screen” tab.
Click “Configure consent screen” and access to OAuth consent screen tab. Select an email address and then type product name as required. It is optional to customize the rest settings. Save all changes and select “Web application” once you are redirected to a new page.
Your client ID and client secret are shown in a popup window. Copy and paste the client ID & secret to UpdraftPlus Backups settings page as required. You can customize the default Google Drive Folder name if needed. Finally, click “Save Changes” button to have all settings done.
Step 4: Backup Your WordPress Website to Google Drive
Go to “Current Status” tab. There are three actions available for you to backup, restore and clone/migrate a website. Click “Backup Now” to backup your website.
A window pops up, which asks you to determine whether to include database and files in the backup. That also requires you to make a decision on whether to send this backup to remote storage. Click “Backup Now” option to perform a one-time backup.
There is a progress bar displaying the current status of this backup. Since UpdraftPlus displays a message said “the backup apparently succeed”, you have completed the first website backup. The “Last log message” allows you to download the most recently log file so as to have a comprehensive understating of the backup status.
All successful backups are included in the Existing Backups tab. If there is a need to delete or restore a backup, you just need to simply click the “Delete” button or “Restore” button.
Besides UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration plugin, there are some great WordPress backup plugins worth trying, like My WP Backup, Backup Guard, BackWPup Free – WordPress Backup Plugin. Since UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration cannot satisfy your needs, you can select a suitable
WordPress Backup Tips
Frankly speaking, making the full backup is one of the most essential tasks for all the webmasters running the WordPress websites. After all, as compared with many other websites, the sites that are built using WordPress are more likely to be hacked. In this case, even though you have carried out a lot of practices to safeguard your website, you cannot make sure that the site will not be backed in the future. In this case, the backup file is surely important, for it can rescue your hacked site effectively. In the following, we’d like to introduce the top 6 secrets for WordPress backup.
Do the One-Time Backup or Backup Regularly?
Never do the one-time backup for you will update your website constantly. In most cases, you need to do the complete backup for at least once per month. Or, you can consider the backup frequency based on the following situations.
- If you run a product listing site, photo gallery or a portfolio site, the weekly backup can be enough for most of you.
- If you receive a lot of daily comments and feedbacks on your active blog, you can consider the daily backup.
- If you are building a new site or are renovating an existing one, you’d better start a backup whenever you have made a huge modification.
Rely On Your Hosting Provider to Take the Backup or Do It Yourself?
Here, we have to admit that almost all the web hosts now offer the nightly backup service for your entire website. In this case, does it mean that you can rely on their backup service without doing this on your own? The answer is definitely Not.
It is possible that your web host only finishes the backup task in a partial manner, without the backup files of your database. If so, you may only get the public_html folder with nothing in it. In this case, you can suffer the huge traffic reduction and lose out on your SEO scores.
In addition, most web hosts will save your backup files on their web servers. Therefore, once the server machines crash, you cannot restore your site instantly. Even, if you want to download these files on your local computer, you may need to pay some money.
As for the backup for WordPress site, the process is not difficult now. After all, there are a lot of WordPress backup plugins available to help you do this automatically.
Start the Partial Backup or the Full Backup?
This might be a great confusion for many WordPress users. The partial backup also can be called as the incomplete backup. If you choose this type, it means you only take the backup for your website database without the wp_content folder, or just vice versa. The best highlight for doing so is that the backup files are surely small in size. However, these files cannot restore a hacked or a wrecked website.
As for the full backup, this includes both of your database and folders of your WordPress site. By doing so, you can get the complete and the comprehensive backup files. However, the downside is that if the site has a large number of uploads, the backup file can be naturally large and the backup process may take you some time.
In this case, when choosing between the partial backup and the full backup, you can consider the following situations.
- If you update your site using the new blog posts on a daily basis, you need to take the full backup.
- If you upload the new posts on a weekly or even the monthly basis, you can consider the daily partial backup for your database.
Store Your Backup Files in the Local Computer or Not?
In fact, most webmasters choose to store their backup files on the local computer only. As computer will save the data in the hard disk, there might be the unknown failure happened on this device at some points of time.
In this case, the choice of local backup only may not be a wise selection. Here, we highly recommend you to consider the cloud storage as well. This way, you can have your valuable files and important data saved and stored safely.
Choose to Backup before Update or Not?
Surely, you have to backup your site before any update, both the minor one and the major one. After all, you do not know whether the updated version of WordPress, themes and plugins have any conflict issue with each other.
However, most people forget this step before they update the script of WordPress. Especially, since the version 3.5, WordPress has a built-in feature of the automatic update. Due to the achieved convenience, you may pass the backup process unintentionally.
Is Backup Necessary for Newbies or Professionals?
No matter you are just getting started or you are confident enough that you won’t take your site down, you have to start the regular backup for your site.
For newbies, it is true that your new site has less value for people to hack. However, you may take a long time to adjust the whole site and make the frequent changes. In this case, to prevent the data loss, the backup process is necessary.
For WordPress professionals, it is true that you know everything about WordPress and every part of your site. However, you will never know when and where the hackers will intrude your site. In this case, having the backup files stored can at least give you a sense of worry-free.
How to Transfer a WordPress to New Domain
There are times that some customers need to change their WordPress sites’ domains to a new domain names, and we have also received many customers’ emails asking about how to transfer WordPress sites to the new domain names. This is not complicated if you know how to do the backup and restore a wordpress.
One more step after you restore a WordPress site to a new domain, some more steps are required to make the new site work properly.
Change your old URLs to the new URLs. You can install the Search and Replace plugin to find the old URL strings in the database and replace them with the new URLs. You could download the plugins from http://wordpress.org/plugins/search-and-replace/.