Website Backup | Simple Step-by-step Beginners Guide

Nothing sounds more profound than have a well-done Website Backup. And that’s why, through my exclusive Step by Step Guide, you’ll learn how to do a full website backup. Therefore, follow my leads to the end and learn why it’s useful.

So, not long ago, for instance, I had no idea as to what’s in the world of WordPress Site Backup since I was just a WPBeginner. Henceforth, with no idea of how to create a full WordPress site backup, I had to dig harder. And of course, this was not until circumstances made me to do just that.

WordPress Website Backup

For one thing, I had to learn it the hard way, especially, after getting my website login credentials hacked. And certainly, as a newbie, you’re probably as confused as I was.

Yes! I talk for WordPress newbies too since my site is built-in WordPress and there is a lot I have learned with time. So, what the hell is a WordPress website backup?

What is a Website Backup?

Basically, the answer is fairly simple. A Website backup is simply a copy of your site that you can reinstall (restore). In that case, should something go wrong such as hacking or mistakenly deletion of files do occurs.

In other words, it’s a failsafe, precautionary measure that saves you a lot of undue stress. And for sure, it’s like an insurance policy that protects all the effort, time and money you’ve invested in your Website.

WordPress Website Backup

A website backup, or even, backup for your WordPress website, if not only created on the WP platform matters a lot.

So, it’s so vital to backup your WordPress website frequently, as every experienced website designer, owner or other webmasters already knows.

Why is a Website Backup important?

Unfortunately, many new website owners do not take the process of backing up their sites as earnestly as they should. It’s not a good norm to assume that everything will be fine.

While at the same time, others have looked into the process of backing up their website totally differently. And decided it’s either too costly or too time-consuming. Yet, in reality, there is a chance that if your website crashes, you could lose everything.

Yes! Of course, it’s quite common to hear in the news about a high profile company that has experienced a website crash. Especially, due to a security threat, yet these website threats are very real. Having said that, below are some of the major reasons as to why you should do your WordPress website backup more frequently.

1. You’ll get rid of Hackers

Hackers have become a commonplace threat to the worldwide network.

And while some hackers aim to steal sensitive information and credit card numbers, some hack into websites purely to cause trouble.

By regularly backing up your WordPress site you have a fail-safe in place in case your site is hacked. Or, you need to restore your site to a previous version.

2. It eases wrong Updates

Regular updates are required to optimize the security and features of your website, but sometimes they don’t go as planned.

This is one of the reasons why it’s wise to backup your website before you perform any updates. As software, themes, plug-ins, and components can all be compromised. Regular, automatic updates will rule out this problem.

3. Protects against Viruses & Malware 

No matter how secure you think your website is, Malware, Trojan Horses and Viruses can all find their way into your systems via third parties.

They may be downloaded by a plug-in or a theme, or maybe via a gap in your firewall. If you have backed up your site and files, you will be prepared for any eventuality.

4. It helps avoid Employee Errors

Mistakes can happen! It’s a possibility that a contractor or an employee may just click on the incorrect button and accidentally delete an important file.

There is a lesser chance that human error will mess with your processes if you’ve backed up your files.

Without a WordPress site backup system in place, you run the risk of losing all of your hard work.

How is a Website Backup done?

As an example, most of the WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. With this in mind, if your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written.

And in general, there are many reasons why this could happen and not all are things you can control. However, with a proper backup of your WordPress database and files, you can quickly restore things back to normal. Site backups are essential because problems inevitably occur.

Not to mention, you need to be in a position to take action when disaster strikes. Spend a few minutes to make an easy, convenient backup of your database. This will allow you to spend even more time being creative and productive with your website.

Here is How a Website Backup is done

It’s important to realize, there are two parts to backing up your WordPress website. Including your general website database and the content files.

To create the look and information on your site. There is a need to save any new changes. Although, most hosts backup (like Kenya Web Experts or Bluehost) the entire server, including your site. Yet, it takes time to request a copy of your site from their backups, and a speedy recovery is critical.

That’s why you need to learn how to backup your own site files and restore them. And thereafter, you’ll need to backup both your entire site and your website database.

A WordPress site consists of:
  1. Core Installation Files,
  2.  Plugins,
  3. Themes,
  4. Images and Files,
  5. JavaScript and PHP scripts, and other code files,
  6. Additional Files and Static Web Pages.

You use all these in various combinations to generate your website backup.

The database contains your posts and a lot of data generated on your site. But, it does not include the above elements that all come together.

Create a full cPanel backup

The cPanel backups menu in the section files allows you to generate/restore backups of:

  • a full cPanel account
  • a MySQL database
  • mail filters
  • mail forwarders

A full cPanel backup includes all account files, databases, email accounts, and settings.

That’s why I recommend creating a full cPanel backup before any major data modification/migration. To start when ready, you should read and learn more about How to create a full cPanel backup.

The Best Practices for Website Backup

As can be seen, by backing up your website regularly, and automatically, you will avoid becoming an anxious, apprehensive business owner who must resurrect their website from scratch.

It’s a worthwhile investment and doesn’t involve a huge amount of cost, taking into account all of the possible threats that exist.

Here are some of the additional methods that I do recommend;

Host Provided Website Backup Software

Most website hosts provide software to back up your site. Check with your host to find the services and programs they provide.

Creating Sync With Your Site

WinSCP and other programs allow syncing with your website to keep a mirror copy of the content on the server and update the hard drive.

Hence, saves time and makes sure you have the latest files in both places.

Copying Your Files to Your Desktop

Using FTP Clients or UNIX Shell Skills you can copy the files to a folder on your computer.

Once there, you can zip or compress them into a zip file to save space. Thus, allowing you to keep several versions.

Remember, keep at least three backups on file, just in case one is corrupted or lost. Store them in different places and mediums, like a CD, a DVD, different hard drives, etc.

Using Website Backup Plugins

According to Our Online Affiliate – Hostgator, there are various ways to conduct your WordPress Site Back without a Plugin.

As can be seen, therefore, we’ve looked at some of the reasons as to why you should avoid using site backup plugins.

From our previous discussion on WordPress Backup | Simple Step-by-step Beginners Guide. So, if you want to avoid using a WordPress backup plugin, read and learn How to Backup a WordPress site.

Website Backup with or without Plugins 

Surprisingly, you know that having the option to backup files on your WordPress website is incredibly important.

Still, you might not want to use a plugin to backup your WordPress site. If you prefer to create manual backups, you can be sure it’s backing up the right way.

Pros & Cons on Website Backup Plugins

Generally speaking, there are tons of WordPress site backup plugins out there. In fact, these plugins are generally pretty simple to use and can be quickly configured to run automated website backups for the entire site.

Equally, for most WordPress site owners using one of these backup plugins will be more than enough. Still, there are some reasons you might want to stay away from a WordPress backup plugin. And instead, pursue an alternative approach.

1. You Want to Minimize Plugin Use

With multiple thousands of plugins available, it can be tempting to install as many plugins as possible. Even though some are incredibly useful, it’s important to take a minimalist approach to utilize WordPress plugins.

The more plugins you have on your site the slower your site will perform, and you have an increased chance of a plugin conflict taking down your site, or a compromised plugin creating a security hole in your site.

2. You Want a Customized Backup Approach

Although WordPress backup plugins can be useful, they tend to have a basic file backup approach. This is especially true for free backup plugins.

This isn’t always a bad thing if you have a very simple website, but as your site grows more complex you might want more control over what aspects of your site you’ll back up.

3. You Want to Enhance Site Security

A lot of WordPress users are rightly concerned with the security of their WordPress site. In an effort to minimize the number of third-party plugins and programs that have access to your data, you might choose to conduct backups yourself.

That way you’re solely responsible for your website’s data and the secure storage of your backups. Since WordPress plugins have been prone to hacking, by controlling your own backups you improve your levels of security.

Top List of Website Backup Plugins

Creating regular WordPress backups is the best thing you can do for your website security.

Backups give you peace of mind and can save you in catastrophic situations such as when your site gets hacked or you accidentally lock yourself out.

As a matter of fact, there are several free and paid WordPress backup plugins and most of them are fairly easy to use. Below are just but a few mentions:

1. UpdraftPlus

Notably, UpdraftPlus is the most popular free WordPress backup plugin available on the internet. It is used by more than 2 million websites.

Additionally, UpdraftPlus allows you to create a complete backup of your WordPress site and store it in the cloud or even download it to your computer.

2. VaultPress

At jmexclusives,  we use VaultPress to back up our website. VaultPress was founded by Matt Mullenweg (WordPress co-founder) and his team at Automattic.

Although it started as an independent plugin, VaultPress is now a part of Automattic’s other product called JetPack. You will need a JetPack subscription plan to use VaultPress.

There are multiple pricing plans with a different set of features. Here is how to Get Started with VaultPress Plugin.

3. BackupBuddy

Remarkably, BackupBuddy is one of the most popular premium WordPress backup plugins used by over half a million WordPress sites. It allows you to easily schedule daily, weekly, and monthly backups.

With BackupBuddy, you can automatically store your backups in cloud storage services. Like Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Stash (their cloud service), and even email it to yourself.

Here: Connect with the BacupBuddy Team or even see the Website Backup Plugins Suitable For WP Sites.

How is a Website Backup without Plugins done?

According to one of our online affiliates – Hostgator, there are various ways to conduct your WordPress Site Back without a Plugin.

In other words, as I reviewed above, even though using a WordPress backup plugin might be easier, it still might not be the best choice. Especially, for every kind of site owners.

Step One: Do it Manually

A manual backup might sound difficult to do. However, you can create your own manual backups from directly within your hosting control panel. The steps below are for HostGator customers.

To do this navigate to your cPanel, and find the tool called ‘Backup Wizard’. Run the tool and you’ll have an entire backup of your site. You can also use this tool to restore your site to a previous version as well.

If you don’t want to use the built-in backup wizard and prefer to find and download your site’s files yourself, then follow the steps below:

Open File Manager

In the first place, locate the tool called ‘File Manager’ within cPanel. Then find your site’s directory and download your backup.

Secondly, locate your WordPress site’s files. They should be under a directory called ‘public_html’. Once you’ve found your site click ‘Select All’.

Then select ‘Compress’. You can also choose the type of backup you’ll save, and where you want to save your backup.

Download your Website Database

Finally, you’re not quite done yet! Now, you’ll need to download your WordPress database as well.

Not forgetting, to do this locate ‘phpMyAdmin’ within your cPanel dashboard. With this tool open, select ‘Databases’ from the navigation bar. Then locate the database that’s associated with your WordPress installation. Open up that database and click the ‘Export’ tab on the top window. Save this file in the same location as your other backups.

Keep in mind that beyond storing backups on your local computer, you may want to upload your backups to a cloud storage tool like Dropbox too. That way if one of your backups is compromised you know you’ll be covered.

Make sure you regularly complete these backups as well. After all, there’s no point restoring from a previous backup if it’s a few years old.

Step Two: Use FTP Software

By the same fashion, another approach is to backup your site using FTP. Not forgetting, this is probably the least frequently used approach. And inasmuch as it’s more technical.

Wing FTP Server is an enterprise FTP server software that can be used in Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Solaris.

It supports multiple file transfer protocols, including FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, and SFTP. Giving your clients flexibility in how they connect to the server.

WordPress Site Backup via FTP Software

Additionally, it provides administrators with a web-based interface to administrate the server from anywhere.

You can also monitor server performance and online sessions. And even receive email notifications about various events taking place on the server. But, some users prefer working via an FTP connection.

If that sounds like you, then follow the steps below.

FTP Software Website Backup Process:
  1. Open up FileZilla
  2. Connect to your site
  3. Locate your site’s files
  4. Download and save

When you open up FileZilla you may need to show hidden files. There are certain WordPress files that are hidden by default that you’ll need to include in your backup.

To do this navigate to Server>Force showing hidden files. Once you’ve downloaded and safely stored your backup you’ll also need to download your WordPress database.

But, to do this you’ll need to login to your cPanel and follow the steps for phpMyAdmin above.

Takeaway,

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the different approaches you can take to back up your WordPress site.

But, if the entire backup process is too much for you, then consider using a managed WordPress hosting. This style of hosting will fully manage, backup, optimize, and secure your WordPress site.

Finally, the method you use isn’t as important as having a regular backup schedule. Above all, if a problem occurs with your site you want to be equipped to restore your site to a previous version.

But, if you’ll need additional support in regards to this or more of our blog topics, please Contact Us. You can also share your insights and questions in the comments section below.

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