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WordPress Backup: A Two-Step Process

Backup WordPress Files and DatabaseToo many bloggers learn the painful lesson about backking up their blogs the hard way. They have a major catastrophe and lose months of hard work — because they have no way to restore their sites.

The backend labor may not be your favorite part of blogging, but it’s a necessary one. Take some time right now to secure your site with a sound, regular backup plan. You’ll be glad you did!

When using WordPress to blog, backing up is a two-step process. Far too often, experienced bloggers only recognized one part or the other — thus leaving them vulnerable to serious loss.

We’ll discuss both parts that require your attention and how to back them up effectively.

WordPress Site Files

Your WordPress site files consist of the following:

  1. WordPress Core Installation
  2. WordPress Plugins
  3. WordPress Themes
  4. Images and Files
  5. Javascripts, PHP scripts, and other code files
  6. Additional Files and Static Web Pages

The simplest way to backup these files, is to simply use FTP. Open up your FTP client, navigate on your host server to the folder (directory) that holds your site. Drag and drop it to your desktop. The program will proceed to copy your files to your hard drive, where you can then store them appropriately.

For FTP I use Fetch. It’s a Mac only program that costs $29. My oldest daughter uses CyberDuck. It’s also Mac only and is free. Some popular PC clients are: FileZilla, WinSCP, and SmartFTP.

WordPress Database

Your WordPress database contains your post text, page text, users, and most of the data generated on your site.

In an effort to make the transition to blogging as easy as possible for Win with 1 clients, I have tried to make backup as painless as possible by installing a plugin to easily and clearly automate the database backup process. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found a plugin that I love — and that consistently works as described — but I’m currently using WordPress Dabase Backup (WP-DB-Backup). While the options don’t always work perfectly, it has never failed to backup.

To use this, just install, activate, and follow the plugin directions.

Backup Both Sides

When spending your time and resources to create a great blog, don’t forget to protect yourself from the inevitable calamities. If you back up both sides of your site — the files and the database — you can restore and be up and running again in no time.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Albert April 5, 2010, 1:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing… anyway.. I’m suggesting SmartFTP for Windows FTP client. but do not use Filezilla, hackers easily collecting your FTP password via Filezilla only.

    I don’t know what happened to Filezilla community. May be hackers can write the code and release the Filezilla software.
    .-= Albert´s last blog ..Become a Fan on Facebook and win an iPad – Prize available for 1000 winners =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 5, 2010, 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the input, Albert. I’ve been a Mac aficionado for nearly 25 years, so I have to go on others’ recommendations when it comes to anything Windows.

  • Tracy April 5, 2010, 5:35 pm

    Wow. I thought you only had to backup the files. So, are you saying that if I just back up those that I will lose all the actual content of my site?

  • Alison Moore Smith April 5, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Yes, sir (ma’am?), Tracy, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Unfortunately you aren’t alone in misunderstanding. You need to back up your database. If you have a problem, you’ll still have the templates and images, etc., but all the actual content of your posts, pages, etc., as well as any registered users, will be long gone!

  • Tek3D April 6, 2010, 7:09 am

    Useful tips.
    I often do all the backup process manually, copy all files from server and then export database from PHPmyAdmin. Till now, I have moved host several times and it still works perfectly for my blog.
    .-= Tek3D´s last blog ..HTC Sprint EVO 4G Hands-On =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 6, 2010, 11:32 am

    What works for you is what works best! As long as bloggers are backing up both files and database (in most cases the latter is most crucial and most likely to change), they are protected.

    Thanks for dropping by Tek3D!

  • Sunil Jain April 7, 2010, 4:02 pm

    Oh thanks for this tip.
    I usually take a backup whenever i install a new theme or plugin or upgrade the wordpress files 🙂 🙂
    But as you said doing it regularly in both ways will help you to be on the safer side 🙂 🙂
    Thanks once again Alison 🙂 🙂
    .-= Sunil Jain´s last blog ..[How to] Customize Retweet Feature in Multiauthor Wordpress blogs =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2010, 2:38 am

    Sunil Jain, that’s probably just fine. Most people don’t change their files that often. But what I have found is that lots of people back up the files regularly, but NOT the database. When it should be the other way around!

  • Keith Davis April 18, 2010, 5:24 am

    That’s great advice.
    For most of us it’s a case of stable door and horse bolting!

    Could I add that normal FTP is not secure so use an FTP client, which has a secure setting.
    FileZilla for example has a secure setting.
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Flying in formation =-.

  • Mici May 7, 2010, 11:21 am

    I did not even think to make back ups for my wordpress blog. Might save my life in the future, huh? I think I’ll start by first making back ups for posts.
    .-= Mici | Click On Portal´s last blog ..Iron Man 2 Brings the House Down Movie Review (w/ best lines & trailers) =-.

  • Walker May 10, 2010, 11:43 am

    Hey thanks for these great advice.
    Know what, I thought exporting files is enough to back up my files.
    Now I know there are other ways to do it.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 10, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Glad to be of help, Walker. Unfortunately, lots of people think that and end up without their most important data! Thanks for reading.

  • Keith Davis March 1, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Hi Alison
    Not visited for some time but I’ve see you out and about on the blogging circuit.

    Notice that Wordpress 3.1 is now with us.
    Trouble is I’m hearing of people having problems with the upgrade.
    Looks as though I might have to bite the bullet – after backing up of course. LOL
    Read Keith Davis’s inCREDible post…Great Speeches in FilmsMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith March 1, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Hi, Keith, thanks for dropping by.

    Yes, I’m upgrading clients to WP 3.1. This post was written almost a year ago. I usually wait a bit before upgrading to let the minor kinks get worked out. 🙂

  • mandy anderson September 15, 2011, 7:11 am

    Wordpress backup is a great technique to restore our data in the database safely,so thanks for the nice posting.
    Convert psd to joomla

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