Do you know what the most important task of a blogger or website owner is?
It is not designing the website or writing blog posts, it is making sure that the website’s content is always available to its visitors. This is especially important if you have a decent amount of traffic and earn some money with your website.
That’s why it’s important to know how to backup your WordPress site or blog so that you can restore it any time something went wrong.
Why should you backup your WordPress site?
The most common reasons of website failure are:
- Server malfunction
- Human failure
- Attacks from hackers
- or simply overload
All of those server outages and errors can result in you losing all of your precious posts that you’ve been working on for last five years. This well may be in the thousands of posts and hundreds of thousands of words and photos, depending on the nature of your website.
What parts of the website you should backup?
When thinking about backing up your WordPress site, definitely you ask this question yourself.
We can divide the structure of a website’s content into three parts:
- The database (i.e. the textual content)
- The wp-content folder (images, plugins, themes etc.)
- The core data (WordPress system files)
The most important part of your backup/website is the database. The database stores all textual content that is on your WordPress website including your posts, pages, comments, etc.
That is the core part of your website. If you are running a business website and if you loose that, you might go bankrupt, or you cannot continue with your website.
The second most important part is the all the “media content” that is stored on your server, images, videos, plugins, themes etc. So it is crucial to back that up, too.
Perhaps, themes and plugins might not be that important because they can always be rebuilt. If you have a highly customized theme or plugin, it might get very expensive to have that rebuilt – so better safe than sorry. Back it up!
WordPress system files are not that important to back up because you can easily download them from WordPress itself, however, if you’re doing a full back up of your website you might as well back them up, too, because they don’t take up much storage.
What is BackWPup?
BackWPup is a free WordPress plugin which allows you to backup your WordPress site including full database and server files. There are free and paid version are available and here I’m going to teach you how to backup your WordPress site using BackWPup free version.
Learn How To Backup Your WordPress Site
In this post, I’m going to teach you step by step how to backup your WordPress site (complete WordPress backup) and have it scheduled to backup every day/week/month or however often you like and uploaded to a free Dropbox.com account.
Step 1: Create A DropBox Account
If you don’t already own a free Dropbox.com account (link opens in new window) you’ll need to create one first. With this free account you’ll have 2 Gigabytes of online storage to use. This is the space that we’re going to keeping the latest backups of our WordPress blogs.
Step 2: Install BackWpUp
First thing you need to do is install and activate BackWPup plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will display a welcome page. It will also add a BackWPup menu item in your WordPress admin sidebar.
Step 3: Create A New Job
Click on “Add New Job” to create an automated backup job for your WordPress website. When creating a backup Job we have several tabs with options that we need to go over, most option you can leave as default but I’ll explain below.
Provide a name for this job. I’ll rename it to “Weekly Backup” that way I’ll know what the job is just by reading the name. Under the Job Tasks section, select the type of tasks you want this to perform. Available tasks include database backup, file backup, WordPress XML export, Installed plugins list, optimize database tables and check database tables. If you want to create a complete backup of your website, then you can select all options except for optimize and check database tables.
Under backup file creation section, choose an archive type. The default option is Tar GZip. Here I choose Zip archieve. Below this, you will see Job Destination section. This is where your backups will be stored. You can choose multiple options from here. I am going to save my backup to Dropbox. So, I will be choosing it. Whatever you do, DO NOT store the backups on your server. If your server bang, your will loose not only your site but also your backup. Double check that the Log Files has a valid email address entered so if something goes wrong you’ll be notified and press “Save Changes”.
To have this plugin create backup every day/week/month you’ll need to set up a schedule. Select the “with WordPress cron” option and you’ll then see more options, you can then select a day and time for the backup to be performed.
At this point, I’m going to set up weekly backup on Friday at 5.00 Am.
DB Backup Tab:
If all of the Tables To Dump are unchecked, you’ll need to click the ALL button to check them all. Doing so will backup all of the database tables.
The backup file compression type should be fine left on none. If you make any changes press “Save Changes”.
Under the file tab you have the option to exclude folders from being backed up if you wish, without getting into all the details and reasons why you may want to exclude unneeded folders, lets just say if you don’t know anything about these folders then DO NOT exclude them.
Here you can edit the name of the file it creates and the compression type. Inside the text file that it creates you’ll find a list of all plugins and which ones were active and inactive at the time of backup.
The file compression type should be fine left on none.
To Dropbox Tab:
If you do not see this TAB then go back to the first General tab and make sure Dropbox is selected for the destination and you press Save. In another browser TAB I recommend that you login to your Dropbox account and then come back to this page.
First you need to click on “Get Dropbox app auth code” or “Get full Dropbox auth code”. If you use “Get Dropbox app auth code”, the app will have access to its own folder, Apps › BackWPup, inside your Dropbox. If you use “Get full Dropbox auth code”, the app will have access to your entire Dropbox.
Then in the following window select “Allow”. It should bring you back to the option page.
The folder name is what the name of the folder over at Dropbox will be called when it’s created. File deletion I recommend you set it too 5. This is the latest number of backup copies of your site you’d like to keep. Don’t forget to press “Save Changes” or you’ll need to re-authenticate again.
Step 4: Running a Backup Job
When you execute a Backup Job manually by clicking on “Run Now” link, BackWPup will display the backup progress. Clicking on “Display working log”, you can see what is going on in the background. If for some reason the backup job fails, then this log will also display the reason. You can also abort a job during the progress by clicking on abort button.
Step 5: Check DropBox
The final optional step is to double check your Dropbox account and make sure you see the backup files was uploaded. Well this is more of a personal habit and for peace of mind, if it didn’t work the plugin would’ve given you an Error.
If for some reason you’re having problems backing up a WordPress site or you just have a question you’d like to ask, please feel free to post a comment below and I’ll try and help you out.
In my next post, I hope to teach you “how to restore your WordPress site from Backup“, so keep in touch..