How to Back Up a WordPress Site
Posted July 29, 2019 by Lee
Backing up your work is essential, no matter what field you work in, if you don’t want to lose it all. With a website, you might think that putting it online means that it is all protected. However, your site is really just a big collection of coding and files all linked together by the instructions in the code, and if you change or delete part of that code, it will no longer work as expected.
This means that backing up all of that data is really important. A back-up file will allow you to restore your whole site from scratch, which is essential if your site goes down and you can’t get it back. You might even try to change something only to have a catastrophic effect that deletes everything, meaning you have no choice but to start again – unless you upload your back-up.
Here’s how to back up your site so that this is never a problem for you.
Download a plugin
The best way to back up your WordPress site is through the use of a plugin. Backup Buddy, UpDraft, and WordPress Backup to Dropbox are all examples of plugins that you can install onto your site in order to get the job done.
Once you have installed your plugin, take a look at the settings. It’s a good idea to set up a regular automatic backing up process, so that perhaps once a week your files will all be backed up and saved. You can get the file sent to your email address in order to always have it on hand when you need it.
If you are doing something in particular, like updating to a new version of WordPress or playing around with your theme, make sure that you do a manual back up beforehand. This will save everything exactly as it was before you made the changes, just in case something goes wrong.
For example, sometimes your other plugins might be incompatible with the new version of WordPress. That can bring everything down, even your backend. And how can you disable a plugin if you can’t reach the menu? By restoring your back-up, then disabling it!
Manual back up
This is a bit more complex and definitely only for those who are tech-savvy. If you feel confident playing around in the developer tools of your site, then you can do a manual back up option.
To start with, you will need to log in to your server, via either cPanel or an SFTP program.
For cPanel, log in to your web host and navigate to the cPanel page. Go to your file manager, where you will find either public_html or the Home directory. Find your WordPress folder, and compress it by selecting this option from the menu bar. Now download the file, and you’re done.
When using an SFTP program, you will want to download a file manager which is popular and easy to use, like FileZilla or Transmit. The bonus is that so many people use them, there will definitely be someone on the average tech forum who can troubleshoot for you.
Log in using your STFP credentials, and select everything. Yes – everything. Now use the right click option to download all of your selection, and put it into a zipped folder so it is easy to store. You’re done!
It’s so easy to back up your WordPress site that you can even set it and forget it. This little step is hugely important, as it can save you a lot of heartache and stress further down the line.