5 Ways to Backup Your WordPress Website

WordPress logoIf you’re a webmaster running WordPress, you’ve probably given some thought on how to backup your website.

Whether you’re running a simple blog or an e-commerce website, it’s important to make regular backups of your data.  Who knows what could happen?  Your site could be hacked, your web host could go out of business, or you might accidentally delete files on your server.  Oops.

With WordPress being the most popular content management system in the world, more people than ever are using it to build their websites.  This means more people should be making regular backups (but probably aren’t).

I’m going to show you all the ways you can backup your WordPress website.  That way, you can backup your website right now.  No excuses, okay?

1. Backup WordPress with phpMyAdmin

This is the most basic way to backup your website, by downloading a copy of your site’s database and files.

Log into your web host’s control panel (such as cPanel) and click “phpMyAdmin.”  Select the “Databases” tab and choose your WordPress installation.  Next, click on the “Export” tab where you’ll download a copy of your database.  Click “Go” to do a quick export of your database in SQL format.  That’s all you need to do to download a copy of your database.

Export WordPress database

Export your WordPress database in phpMyAdmin.

Next, you’ll need to download your actual website files.  You can connect to your website with an FTP program, or you can use cPanel to download a .zip of your WordPress site.  I prefer to do it in cPanel, since no extra software is needed.

In cPanel’s File Manager, select all your website’s files and click “Compress.”  Then download the resulting .zip file to your computer.

cPanel compress files

Download a copy of your site from cPanel.

With both the SQL file and the ZIP of your website’s files, you now have a complete backup of your WordPress website.

2. Backup with your Web Host

Most web hosts will let you make a backup of your website.  To check, log into your control panel and look for any backup-related tools that might be provided.

Any host running cPanel will have a Backup tool that can generate a backup of all your websites, then email you a link to download it.

cPanel backup

Backup your entire site from cPanel.

Some hosts take it a step further by automatically backing up your website.  For instance, my host (WP Engine) takes automatic, nightly snapshots of my site, which I can restore from if anything goes wrong.

3. Use a WordPress Plugin

WordPress backup plugins are all the rage – and for good reason.  They’re easy to use and don’t require you to mess with control panels or FTP programs.  The backups are generated right from within WordPress.

UpdraftPlus is probably the best backup plugin out there at the moment.  It’s free, lets you download a backup to your computer, and even lets you backup to the cloud.

To use UpdraftPlus, you’ll need to install it from the WordPress plugin repository.  You can then access it from your WordPress admin area, under Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups.  From there you can backup or restore your entire WordPress website.

UpdraftPlus downloading and restoring

UpdraftPlus easily backs up your WordPress website.

Make sure to download your backups for safekeeping.  Don’t just leave them on your server.

4. Automatically Backup to Dropbox

For those who want the ultimate peace of mind, use a WordPress plugin that automatically backs up your website to Dropbox (or another cloud storage service).  This frees you from having to remember to download your backups, since they’ll be synced right to your Dropbox account.

UpdraftPlus is again the best plugin for this.  It lets you backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and many other locations.  You can even send your backup to more than one cloud storage service.

Dropbox logo

Backing up to the cloud also stores your backups in a safe location, since most use redundant storage and keep backups of their own.  It’s like keeping backups of your backups.

5. Pay for a WordPress Backup Service

Services like VaultPress and CodeGuard back up your WordPress website to their servers.

These services typically have features such as realtime backups, change detection for files, and one-click restores.  The downside is you have to pay a monthly fee.  But for people that rely on WordPress to run their business, the ease of use can be worth it.

Anything Else?

Tip: Keep multiple backups.  This is especially true if you’re relying on your web host to backup your website, since anything bad that happens to your web host could affect your website and your backups.  Ouch!  I always keep at least one backup in an offline location, such as on a DVD or a USB hard drive, in addition to regular backups to Dropbox.

The Bottom Line

No matter which method you use, backing up your site is an important routine for any webmaster.  By using these tools, you can free yourself from having to worry about losing your data and focus on what really matters – actually building your website.

So, how do you backup your WordPress website?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund