How to create a WordPress Backup

Creating regular backups of your WordPress website is crucial to ensure that you can recover your site in case of data loss, security breaches, or technical issues.

Why You Need a WordPress Backup

Before we dive into the backup process, let’s understand why backups are essential:

Data Loss Prevention: A backup safeguards your website content, including posts, pages, media, and databases. Without backups, you risk losing all your hard work in case of accidental deletion or corruption.

Security Incidents: If your website falls victim to hacking, malware, or other security threats, a backup can help you restore your site to a previous, clean state.

Plugin or Theme Conflicts: Occasionally, plugins or themes may cause conflicts or break your site. Having a backup allows you to revert to a stable version while troubleshooting.

Server Failures: Server issues or crashes can lead to data loss. Backups offer a safety net to recover your site’s data.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your website is backed up provides peace of mind, allowing you to experiment with changes and updates without fear of losing your content.

What to Include in a WordPress Backup

A comprehensive WordPress backup should include the following elements:

Website Files: This includes all your core WordPress files, themes, plugins, and uploaded media files (images, videos, audio).

Database: The database stores crucial information like posts, pages, comments, user profiles, and settings. Backing up the database is essential.

Methods for WordPress Backup

There are several methods to create backups in WordPress, each with its own advantages and considerations:

Manual Backups:

  • Manually backing up your website involves using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to download your website files and exporting your database through phpMyAdmin or a similar tool provided by your hosting provider.
  • Manual backups provide complete control but can be time-consuming and require technical expertise.

Web Hosting Backups:

  • Many web hosting providers offer automatic daily or weekly backups as part of their service. Check if your hosting plan includes this feature and how many backups are retained.

Backup Plugins:

  • Using backup plugins is the most user-friendly method. These plugins automate the backup process and often offer options for scheduling, storing backups off-site, and restoring with ease.

Using WordPress Backup Plugins

Let’s focus on using backup plugins, which are suitable for most users due to their simplicity and functionality. We’ll use the popular “UpdraftPlus” plugin as an example:

Install and Activate the Plugin:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” > “Add New.”
  • Search for “UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration,” then click “Install Now” and “Activate.”

Configure Backup Settings:

  • After activation, go to “Settings” > “UpdraftPlus Backups.”
  • Choose a cloud storage service (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) where you want to store your backups. Follow the instructions to connect your chosen service.

Schedule Backups:

  • Under “Settings,” set up a backup schedule. You can choose daily, weekly, or custom intervals.
  • Specify how many backups to keep. Old backups are automatically deleted when the limit is reached.

Manual Backup:

  • To create an immediate backup, click the “Backup Now” button. UpdraftPlus will start the backup process, and you can monitor its progress.

Restoring from Backup:

  • If needed, you can easily restore your site from a backup using the “Restore” button in the UpdraftPlus settings.

Additional Settings:

  • UpdraftPlus offers additional settings for database backup, file backup, and more. You can customize these settings based on your needs.

Storing Backups Off-Site

It’s crucial to store backups off-site to ensure their safety in case your hosting server experiences issues. Most backup plugins integrate with cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, or FTP for this purpose.

Testing Your Backups

Regularly testing your backups is essential to ensure they are functional and complete.

Here’s how:

Create a Staging Site:

  • Set up a staging or development site using a copy of your backup. You can use a subdomain or a local development environment for this.

Restore the Backup:

  • Use your backup plugin to restore the backup on your staging site.

Test Thoroughly:

  • Verify that all content, media, and functionalities are working correctly on the staging site.
  • Test forms, links, and interactions to ensure there are no issues.

Update Plugins and Themes:

  • On the staging site, update plugins, themes, and WordPress to their latest versions. Ensure everything remains functional.

Check Database Integrity:

  • Confirm that your database tables and data are intact and consistent.

Backup Best Practices

To make the most of your WordPress backups, consider these best practices:

Regular Backups: Schedule backups at least once a week, and keep multiple backup copies to cover a range of timeframes.

Off-Site Storage: Store backups off-site to prevent data loss due to server failures.

Automate the Process: Use backup plugins to automate backups, reducing the risk of forgetting to create them.

Security: Protect your backups with strong passwords or encryption to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitoring: Set up email notifications to alert you when backups are completed successfully or if there are any issues.

Document the Process: Maintain documentation of your backup procedures, including the locations and schedules of backups.


Creating and maintaining WordPress backups is a crucial aspect of website management. With regular backups, you can safeguard your site’s data, content, and functionality, ensuring that you have a safety net in case of unexpected events or issues. By following best practices and using backup plugins like UpdraftPlus, you can simplify the process and enhance the security and reliability of your WordPress website.

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