How to Backup Your WordPress Website. Best Practices, Tips and Tricks.

To understand how important backing up your WordPress website is, here’s a fun fact for you: the average cost of server downtime for a business is over $300,000 (Statista). Efficient WordPress backups won’t prevent servers crashing, but it will help you get your website back online faster. However, backing up your WP website can be tricky. Doing this by hand takes time you might not have, and using a plugin is risky because not all of them are doing their job. That’s why you need to know what it takes to properly backup your WordPress website and choose the very best plugins available to give your website the highest level of protection.

Why and How to Back Up a WordPress Website: The Basics

The losses caused by website downtime won’t be too big for a small business website. However, you need to remember that you aren’t only losing possible customers but you’re also getting a downscale in your Google ranking. On the other side, a crashed website is a huge blow to big brands. Even for giant brands this kind of failure leaves a permanent mark, just look at Amazon Prime Day’s disaster.

Not having a reliable backup is not an option. Therefore, you need to learn how to make a copy of your website and database as well as understand how to automate this process most efficiently.

Bear in mind that a good practice is to have at least three copies of all relevant data. And they should be stored in different locations with at least one in a cloud storage on a different server. That precaution is necessary to ensure that you don’t lose the backups no matter what.

It’s also essential to remember that no matter how good your WordPress backup plugin is, you should make the relevant copies manually. You can cut down the frequency of these manual backups but never discard them completely as even the best technology might fail when you least expect it.

You should also take precautions against your website crashing as the copies will only help after the fact. The most important of those is to choose a reliable hosting that guarantees nearly 100% uptime. Web Hosting Media is one of the services offering detailed hosting comparisons that include such information. You’ll need to study that data as well as reviews of all services within your price range to choose the most trustworthy one. Note that some hosting providers will also include automated backups and security features into their service packages.


How to Back Up WordPress Website and Database by Hand

The easiest way to back up a WordPress database is by using phpMyAdmin. You’ll be able to access it via your CMS. Once you’re there:

  1. Click ‘Databases’.
  2. Choose the database with WordPress data.
  3. Click ‘Export’.
  4. Choose ‘Custom’ or ‘Quick’.
    1. If you choose ‘Custom’ select all tables and ‘Save output to a file’.

That’s it! Backing up a WordPress database is rather simple and you can get more details for different CMS studying the WordPress Codex.

To back up your WP website you’ll need to use one of the three possible solutions:

  • FTP clients to copy the website files to your computer.
  • WinSCP or a similar solution to create a mirror copy of the website on your hard drive and server.
  • Backup software provided by your hosting company.


WordPress Backup Automation: Top 5 Best Plugins

1. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is free, efficient, and allows to create complete backups of a WP website. The automation feature works quite well and you can do unscheduled backups as well when you need to get an extra copy and upload it into the cloud fast.

This plugin can upload your website copy to Google Drive, Dropbox, SFTP, FTP, S3, and a few other cloud storage options. You can also literally email the copy to yourself. There is a premium account available that has wider functionality, but the free variation of the plugin supports all essential functions.


2. BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy allows for easy WordPress backup automation and uploads the copy of the data to all most popular cloud storage platforms. There is a simple scheduling system that will ensure comprehensive backup protection for any kind of business.

The main advantage of BackupBuddy is that it doesn’t require you to pay for the plugin every month. Their business model is a bit different from what you’re used to. You simply buy the package you need and can use it to backup several websites. The quality of support provided with this plugin is exceptional. That’s why it’s a great option for beginners and everyone else who values quality customer service and helpful forums.


3. BackUpWordPress

BackUpWordPress will back up your WordPress website and database on any schedule you set. The plugin runs smoothly and very efficiently, but it’s another freemium service. This means that the free version of the solution has a limited functionality.

In this case, these limitations include not being able to upload the copies to a cloud storage. You’ll have to get a premium service package for that. Note that you can get a package for one cloud storage platform or many. For example, you can get one that will only upload backups to Dropbox. Quite convenient, I would say.


4. VaultPress

VaultPress is a plugin built by Automattic, the team behind WordPress, so you can be sure it will run most efficiently on your WordPress website. Note that this plugin must have a JetPack subscription for you to use it for backup.

However, when you get that, you’ll be able to make scheduled and real-time backups. Low-cost plans only offer 30 days of storage, so this service can turn very expensive for a small business.


5. WP-DB-Backup

WP-DB-Backup is a very popular plugin because it’s simple, efficient, and reliable. It’s also a great tool for those who cannot access phpMyAdmin to back up their databases manually.

Unfortunately, this plugin only backs up WordPress databases. Therefore, you’ll have to use another one or make a copy of the website by hand every time. This is an acceptable option if you don’t update your media content too often.


Wrapping Up

Backups should not be a commodity. Backups are a must-do and one of the very first things to do when planning ahead your business for success and one of those practices for hardening WordPress security for any website. Never forget that the automated WordPress backup process is convenient but not foolproof. Therefore, ‘handmade’ copies are a must. Decide on the frequency of those depending on the overall rate of your content updates and plans you have for your business.

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Madalin Tudose

A web developer with a crush on SEO. Having my skin in the game of website development and digital marketing for more than 10 years already, you might consider me an expert. At least this is what people call me. Honestly, I HATE that term. I prefer to describe myself as a person who takes action and risks. I test every hypothesis, document every step of the process, and implement what works.