How To Thoroughly Backup Your WordPress Blog

In this post I will show you how to backup the data which is your WordPress blog so that you will be able to restore in the event of your computer crashing, your server losing your blog, your blog randomly breaking or any other mishap that can occur.

When my blog broke yesterday, there was no need for me to freak out because I was pretty sure I have all the bases covered when it comes to backing up my blog.

Here are the three things you should do:

  1. Backup your WordPress database once daily – this is done automatically with a plug-in and should be emailed to you, preferably to an online email account such as gmail
  2. Have all of your comments sent to your online email account
  3. Download your site files to your computer (through use of an FTP program such as Filezilla).

Step 1 – Backup Your WordPress Database Daily – Very Simply Done with a Plug-In

To the best of my understanding, there are two distinctive areas that need to be backed up in order to fully recreate your blog in the event of disaster.

  1. The database which holds your posts, plugins, settings, dynamic user-created content
  2. The site files which hold your theme, plugins, uploads and images (accessible by FTP).

You can’t do one or the other, you must do both. The database is more important, in my opinion because the sweat and tears of my blog is in the posts.  The way the blog looks, photos, etc. isn’t something I spend the bulk of my time on.

There are many backup plug-ins available, but the one I use WordPress Database Backup aka WP-DB-Backup was recommended by Ms. Crafty when she migrated my blog from blogger to WordPress.

If you are a techie person, here are the steps to follow for installing a backup plugin. If you need a bit more detail, each step with a screenshot of what you are looking for, click here for How To Add a Backup Plugin To Your WordPress Blog Step by Step With Screenshots.

  1. Log in to your WordPress account. On the left hand side you’ll see a button that says plugins.
  2. Click on Plugins one time and it will drop open and show you several other choices like Installed, Add New, Editor, etc.
  3. Click on Add New.
  4. You will see a screen that looks like the following – type backup database backup in the search box, making sure “Term” is selected. Click Search Plugins.
  5. You will have many to choose from, but WP-DB-Backup which was recommended to me.
  6. Click Install Now. You should receive a pop up message asking “Are you sure you want to install this plugin?  Verify that you clicked on the correct one.
  7. Click OK. You will see the screen showing that the plugin is installing.
  8. Click Activate Plugin.
  9. You will be returned to the previous screen and will see that the Plugin has been Activated. Scroll down to see that it is present.
  10. Go to Tools and Backup to set up the plug in.  It is fairly straightforward. See the step by step tutorial with screenshots for the settings which I use.

I recommend that you go to BACKUP OPTIONS and send a backup of your database to your email immediately, then go down further to SCHEDULED BACKUP and set up your scheduled backup.  I highly recommend having your blog backed up at least once daily. I recommend having the database emailed to an online account such as gmail.  If you have your database downloaded to your computer, or you download all your mail to your computer… and your computer crashes, then you just lost your backups.  I know, the chances of your computer crashing, and your web host crashing and losing your blog are practically nil, but this is what makes me feel safer.

I know there are some of you out there who delete within minutes of receiving. I urge you to keep at least a week’s worth of your blog database backups. Again, this is what makes me feel safe.

Step 2 – Set WordPress to email a copy of all your comments to your online email.

  1. Login to WordPress
  2. Go to Settings > Discussion > and check email me whenever anyone posts a comment, and also check email me whenever a comment is held for moderation.
  3. Scroll down and click Save Changes.

Step 3 – Download your site files using an FTP program such as Filezilla.

I find this final step to be less dramatically important, although I try to do it at least once per month. I don’t do a lot of tweaking to the design of my blog, but if I did, I would backup more often.

There will be at least one more post in this series, in which I will share how to restore your backups in the event that your blog breaks.  I hope to put that together next weekend.

Again I’d like to thank Third World Geek for the post that has helped me get through two restorations: How to Backup and Resurrect Your WordPress Blog.

OUT OF DEBT AGAIN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. OUT OF DEBT AGAIN is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. This post may contain affiliate links.

19 thoughts on “How To Thoroughly Backup Your WordPress Blog

  1. This is very helpful. I know how to download and save my theme with all the changes I’ve made, but I haven’t figured out how to back up my database. When it comes to databases, I’m sort of clueless. Somehow I’m able to edit php, html, and css pages but databases blow my mind. (They shouldn’t since they are really just fancy spreadsheets.) Thanks for this info on the plug-in. I’ll give it a try.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Little House: You’ll have to let me know if it helps you. The plug-in makes it totally effortless once it is set up. And I have used it to back up on my blog and another blog, so I know it works. Good luck, I know you can do it!

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  2. What a fantastic post. I am going to follow these steps today. I have had 2 computers break this summer, and I might as well take care of backing up the blog more reliably too. (Even though I know it doesn’t exist in my computer, I just have been unlucky lately!)

    Thanks so much!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Everyday Tips: OH!! Two computers in one summer! Horrible!! The wonderful thing about the backup plugin, once you set it to backup, you’ve at least got the most important part being backed up. You can always recreate the theme settings you had, but the posts, oh, can you just imagine having to recreate them? I cannot! I hope you’ll come back and let me know if my post helped you get your blog backed up. 🙂

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  3. Great post. Instead of Filezilla, you can use your webhost’s backup functionality to download an entire site backup. With Bluehost this is as easy as clicking “Generate backup” or “download system backup”. This includes everything including the databases.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Kevin: I use Lunarpages and not sure where that to find that option, but thanks for the suggestion. Me and FTP go way back to when I use to hand code html for my Geocities site some fifteen years ago, so I’m pretty familiar with it. Do you have c-panel on Bluehost?

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    Kevin Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability,

    Yep, I have cpanel. There’s a backup option there where one can schedule backups and download already prepared backups, that include things that FTP doesn’t, such as your databases and email forwards. It’s very convenient!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Kevin@InvestItWisely, I will definitely have to check that out. I was in c-panel yesterday, dang it, broke my blog again! But this time I backed up the database just before making changes. Coincidentally, it was the very topic you and I were discussing on the Yakezie list. I’m still trying to find a way to track RSS subscribers. I thought I found a way, but I had to change functions.php and must have put in an invisible character or something. Anyway, thanks for getting back to me on that and I will definitely take a look at it.

    Kevin Reply:

    I discovered that I can do it using this plugin:

    ©Feed

    You can’t really *track* subscribers with this, but you can put a custom code there that they can then send back to you as proof that they viewed your feed. You can enter custom text to go in the bottom of your feed; I’ve used it to add a code for my upcoming giveaway, as well as a link to the comments and a copyright message.

    Hope this helps you out!

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Thanks, Kevin! This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for!

  4. Excellent and informative post. This is information that can truly benefit all active bloggers. Nobody wants to have their hard work disappear!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Squirrelers: My goodness no! And I didn’t do anything that I know of to make it happen. Although, while tweeting that day, a guy told me he’d had that happen when he updated a Blogger post. Coincidentally that was one of the last things I was doing that day as well. So maybe that is what triggered the foul up with my database. Whatever it was that happened, I am so very grateful that I had set my backups to happen daily! As it was I lost half of a post that I’d been working on and will have to recreate that one. But that wasn’t bad at all. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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  5. This is a post worth bookmarking. Just a couple weeks ago i logged into my blog and all of my posts were gone. One of the databases had been corrupted somehow. Fortunately I have a daily backup delivered to a gmail account so I was able to restore it pretty quickly. but I was pretty nervous because I had never had to do that before.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Mike, oh definitely can relate to the nerve wracking part of having to restore the database. I’m glad you got your blog fixed!

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  6. Thanks for posting this. I am going to make a backup of my wife’s blog right now and set it up to email a backup daily. I do most of her tech work and she would kill me if she lost her blog one day.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Seth, glad you found it of use!

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