How to Backup a WordPress Site: A Step-By-Step Guide

Having a reliable backup of your WordPress site is incredibly important if you don’t want to lose all your online work. In this post, we’ll cover some WordPress backup basics and how to back up a WordPress site in five simple steps.

By default, the WordPress software running your website doesn’t have a built-in backup system. So, it’s important to take the necessary steps to make sure you have a WordPress backup strategy in place.

When it comes to WordPress backups you have three options:
Rely on your web host (or service provided by your web host) to back up your WordPress site
Perform a manual backup by downloading all WordPress files from your server – see instructions here from the WordPress codex for backing up your WordPress site.
Use a WordPress backup plugin like BackupBuddy

4 Simple steps to backup your WordPress Site:

1. Install the Plugin

The first thing to do is to install the backup solution. For that, go to Plugins > Add New and search for UpdraftPlus.

2. Set up Your Remote Storage

Once the plugin is on your site, you can find its options panel under Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. Under Settings, you can configure everything concerning when and where it backs up your site.

As you can see, UpdraftPlus offers a whole bunch of options from its own service over FTP to Dropbox, email, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drive.

In this example, we will go with Dropbox. The service offers a free basic account with 2GB of space that is excellent for keeping your WordPress backups safe.

The first thing you will do is click on the Dropbox symbol. Then, scroll down and save the changes. When you do, you will see this message

Click on the link to authorize your Dropbox account. After finishing the setup. Hit Complete setup and you will be redirected to your site.

3. Run the Backup

Now that the setup is finished, it’s time to back up your site for the first time. Doing so is pretty easy: just go to the first tab of the UpdraftPlus settings and hit the big blue button that says Backup Now.

This will open the following popup:

Here, make sure to tick all boxes in order to include both your database and site files as well as have UpdraftPlus send them to your remote storage.

Then click on Backup Now at the bottom. This will start the backup process and also show a status indicator bar so you can follow the progress.

Once done, when you go back to your Dropbox account, you should now find a new folder called Apps with another directory named inside. In there, you find your saved files.

4. Set Up an Automatic Schedule

However, relying on manual backups is not the most efficient way. That’s especially because it’s easy to forget to do them, which defeats the whole purpose. The solution: backup automation.

Thankfully, UpdraftPlus offers this out of the box. Under the Settings tab, we have already seen the options earlier.

Use the drop-down menus to choose how often the plugin should back up your site’s files and database. Options include every four, eight or twelve hours, daily, weekly, every fortnight, or once a month.

Which time interval makes the most sense depends on your site. A very active blog with many comments needs more frequent backups than mostly static sites that rarely change.

In addition to that, you can choose the number of backups to keep at hand. Again, decide this depending on the nature of your site.

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