How to Backup a WordPress Site: Strategies and Tips to Get the Job Done Right

Wordpress Site Backup

About 15 of the world’s top 100 sites are made with WordPress. If that number doesn’t impress you, 75 million websites are backed by the WordPress engine in total.

Why is WordPress so popular? Because it’s easy to use and works wonderfully!

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For the uninitiated, WordPress is a content management system that enables non-tech-savants to build stunning and effective websites. Most of WordPress’s website creation/management tools are plug n’ play and the average person can learn WordPress in about a week (sooner with the help of tutorials).

This post focuses on how to backup a WordPress site given that several people forget to do that regularly and pay the price. Below, we discuss the importance of WordPress backups and offer several strategies and tips to ensure your backups get done regularly, conveniently, and correctly.

Why the Urgency to Back Things Up?

When you backup a WordPress site, you create a copy of it that you can restore from if your live site runs into problems. When we tell people that, the first  question we usually get is, “What’s going to happen to my live WordPress site that would require me to restore from a backup?”

There are a lot of answers to that question.

Your site could be taken over by hackers and held for ransom. A bad template could crash your site. Your web host could go under, taking your site with it.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of potential for adversity when it comes to running a website. When you backup a site with WordPress, you reduce your exposure to damage.

Ways to Backup Your Site

There’s no single way to backup a WordPress site. To give you as many options as possible, our team has compiled an exhaustive list of backup methodologies. Pick the one that works best for you!


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Backup Via Plugins

Plugins are tools you add to your WordPress site that gives them additional abilities. They’re one of the primary reasons why people love the WordPress platform.

Several plugins exist in the WordPress marketplace that allow you to backup your website with a single click. A few of our favorite plugins include:

Updraft: This is the most popular WordPress backup tool. It has been downloaded millions of times and can automatically store your backups on your local machine or in cloud drives.

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Backup Buddy: This is a premium plugin that we love because you don’t have to pay for it monthly. The flat rate you pay enables you to use all of its backup features across your licensed sites.

BlogVault: For larger site backups, we like BlogVault given its SaaS infrastructure. When you create backups through BlogVault, the backup work occurs on its server, not yours. That means no slowdowns for your site during a lengthy backup process.

Manually Clone Your Directory

For those of you that don’t want to use plugins to get your backups done, you can manually duplicate your site directory and store your copy in a secondary location. Manually duplicating your directory can be done by looking up your site through your FTP client and copying and pasting files as needed.

If you don’t use an FTP client, you can clone your files through your web host’s cPanel.

Get Your Web Host to Help

Several web hosts offer backup services. These services will run backups of your site as often as daily which you can restore from via your cPanel.

It’s rare that this backup and restore service would be offered for free through a web host so don’t assume it’s something you have access to without talking to your host first.

Make Sure Your Pages Are Being Archived

This is a poor man’s backup strategy but can be a helpful, supplementary solution to preserving your web content. Some services are dedicated to archiving pages online. The most popular of these services is the Wayback Machine.

To ensure your pages are being saved by Wayback and similar sites, check your robots.txt file to see if there are any lines in there that prohibit bot crawling.

Work With an Agency

Does all of this talk about backing up your website have your head spinning? We certainly don’t blame you if it does.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution that can automate your WordPress backups and other key maintenance tasks. That solution is contacting a WordPress maintenance agency.

Maintenance agencies perform a series of key services on your site at regular intervals in exchange for a monthly fee.

By hiring an agency, you can stay focused on publishing content to your WordPress site rather than focusing on your site’s safety and functions.

Don’t Forget Your Database

Be aware that WordPress relies on SQL databases to function. The SQL database that powers your website lives with your web host and needs to be backed up alongside your site’s files to complete your backup process.

Most automated backup solutions do this automatically. If you’re backing up your site manually, you’ll need to remember to backup your database as well.

When You Backup a WordPress Site, You Save Yourself Serious Headaches

Several people feel that a website catastrophe could never happen to them. Believe us when we say that many of those people have learned the hard way that bad luck online is indiscriminate.

Insulate yourself from serious headaches by taking our backup WordPress site guidance to heart.

Should you find yourself in need of more advice on how to backup a WordPress site or on related topics, we welcome you to browse additional tips on our blog.

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