Backing up your WordPress website is a key task for any webmaster. Most good hosting companies will backup your site but it is important that you do you own backups. There are many ways to backup WordPress and we will look at a few here.
Backup WordPress Manually
Doing a manual backup of WordPress is straightforward. You need to take a WordPress database backup and a backup of wp-content folder. With these two backups, you can recreate your WordPress site. I use phpMyAdmin to backup the database. You open phpMyAdmin, choose your database and then export the database. To backup the wp-content folder I use an FTP client. This process can take time so this is not my preferred option.
Backup WordPress Using a Plugin
There are hundreds of WordPress plugins that will back up your site. Some are great and some not so great. The plugin that I use is called All-In-One-WP-Migration and it is free. This plugin will create a single file that contains your WordPess Database backup and wp-content folder. You can then download this file to your local machine for storage.
As there is just one file to download the backup process is faster than doing it manually. This is a perfect solution for new and smaller sites. I use this plugin to take a weekly backup and I store the backup files on my local computer.
This plugin is free, but there are some paid add-ons that help automate the process. These add-ons let you save the backup file to cloud storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive. I recently purchased the Google Drive add-on for $79.00. This allows me to schedule a backup and have it saved to my Google Drive.
The All-In-One-WP-Migration plugin is the best WordPress backup plugin I have used.
Using a WordPress Backup Service
There are many WordPress backup services out there. I have used the service from BlogVault and found it to be excellent.
What is interesting about BlogVaults service is they take incremental backups of your site. This allows more much quicker backups and restores. BlogVault requires you to install a plugin on your site. This plugin will then trigger the incremental backup when there is a change on your site.
Cloudways uses BlogVault for their backup service and also in their migration plugin.
BlogVault is perfect for larger sites where automated, incremental backups are needed. You can signup for a free trial of BlogVault here.
Testing Your WordPress Backups
Backing up your WordPress site is important but it is critical that you test your backups. There is nothing worse than finding you need to restore and your backup is not working. This is why I test my backups at least once a month. I use a local installation of WordPress and restore my backups. I then check that they restore correctly.
Doing your own WordPress backups should be on your weekly task list. I do not trust any hosting companies to do it. Using the plugin and service mentioned above gives me peace of mind. I have only had to restore a site once (after a hack). If I did not have the correct backups I would have lost months of work.