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How to Backup & Restore your WordPress Website (UpdraftPlus)

It is of crucial importance that you backup your WordPress website accordingly and on time. Learn how your can do that the easy way - with the help of a plugin, backup and restore your website seamlessly and automatically.
It is of crucial importance that you backup your WordPress website accordingly and on time. Learn how your can do that the easy way - with the help of a plugin, backup and restore your website seamlessly and automatically.

How to Backup & Restore your WordPress Website (UpdraftPlus)

Did you know that March 31st is the World Backup Day? Yep, you read that right. Introduced first on August 5th, 2005 by a hard disk drive company called Maxtor, it was primarily thought as Backup Awareness Month and later it developed March 31st as the World Backup Day by Ismail Jadun.

This annual event is meant to serve as a reminder that you should back up your data before you lose them either by accident or by malicious events.

But Backup Data Day should be every day, with organizations, businesses or websites hanging more and more by the thread of bits and bytes, the pace of hacks and breaches has hastened and cyber threats have become ancillary, consequently, the value of data has significantly increased and the need for continuous data protection, file backups and ensured system restoration.

I feel like by now pondering over the questions as to why data backup is important or why you should backup your data have long been gone. It is time to resonate on which backup plans and solutions fit me best. Here to help you with that is this article.

Why Should You Backup your data?

Here are some statistics just to convince those who are still sceptical about backing your data ( if there are any).

93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (Source: National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)

According to a Global Risk Report, 2020 said that fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies. 

Before we dive into the tutorial on how you can backup your WordPress site let’s set the distinctive feature of backup and disaster recovery since many people believe these two are synonyms.

Backing up data is a process that implicates case of copying your files and database which then you can use to revitalize the original copy in the event of data loss, whereas on the other hand data recovery is the approach a company or a business together with a set of tools and procedures puts into play to respond quickly and proceed business activity in case of a hazardous event.

Narrowing down to our topic, WordPress does not come with a built-in backup solution. But, not to worry since there are severe possibilities that provide you with data backup.

You could either choose to back up your WordPress website manually ( either using the Cpanel or FTP ), but the downside is that some hosting providers do not have Cpanels integrated and the work from there is just too much to handle for non-techies who don’t know their way around coding and you can easily end up messing your website badly.

Here to your rescue are some great WordPress plugins that will help you finish this process seamlessly and with no effort, you can even restore and automate your backups regularly.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to use the UpdraftPlus plugin, one of the best WordPress plugins on data backup. How do we back up our data with such bold statements? (See what we did there).

UpdraftPlus not only has over two million active installations, but it also has the best ratings and reviews out of all backup and restoration plugins on the WordPress repertoire.

It offers a quick and easy solution, with a quick installation process, automation backups, it works by backing up your website directly into the cloud offering more options than all of its competitors including Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud, DreamObjects, OpenStack Swift, Updraft Vault and Email, all of these possibilities for a free version. Signs us up. Let’s get started.

Step by Step: Arranging UpdraftPlus to backup data and How to use it

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Step One: You need to install UpdraftPlus on your WP Dashboard, it’s a simple process, just navigate to Plugins > Add New, type UpdraftPlus in the search bar, once you locate it, click Install and then Active it, for a more in-depth tutorial check out our article on How to Install a Plugin. If the plugin shows on your WP Dashboard that means you have successfully installed it.

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Step Two: Being done with the installation you can find the plugin under WP Dashboard panel Settings > UpdraftPlus Backup. Once you click on that option you will be presented with the configuration window that holds all the options necessary and beyond. You will have a ton of tabs each containing specific activity.

Click on the first tab Backup/Restore, here you will have all the information you need for your files and database and existing backups since this is a fresh installation those fields will be empty.

How to back up your WordPress website

Step Three: Next on we will proceed by clicking on the Backup Now button. Now you have to tick the boxes on what you want to include in your backup meaning tick first and second to include the files and the database during the process (the third box will be enabled if you choose to send the backup to remote storage) and click Backup Now once again and wait for the adjustments to be made accordingly, you just have to wait for the progress bar to upload fully, the timing depends on the wealth of your website’s content.

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For successful backup, you should be greeted with a positive note that your process has finished.

Step Four: Although backing up your data manually with the UpdraftPlus plugin is so smooth and straightforward you can have this plugin to automatically upload it to a remote storage location. That would comprise scheduling the backup.

This is simply done by first clicking on the Settings tab and setting the intermission value you can choose from the drop-down menu, it can be every 2 4 8 12 hours, Daily, Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly. The same procedure should be followed on both the Data Backup Schedule and Files Backup Schedule.

How to backup your WordPress website with a plugin

Step Five: This next step encompasses uploading your backup data to remote storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud, DreamObjects, OpenStack Swift, Updraft Vault and Email with which UpdraftPlus plays pretty well.

Better safe than sorry they say, so to get started click on any of the units you wish to upload your data to. Whichever one you choose, the integration settings will then appear further down the page with its own unique options. For this article, we are going to proceed with Google Drive.

Step Six: Further down the page you will have the options to include or potentially exclude files like Plugins, Themes, Uploads or directories found inside wp-content.

Upon the Uploads file, you can as well include an extension rule, or exclude files with a certain extension. This is just explanatory, to proceed further you scroll down the page and click on Save Changes.

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Step Seven: Once you click on Save Changes you will be notified with a link that will be directed to Google’s sign-in page. Sing in there with the account you want to link your backup process. Click on Allow to complete the course.

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Now all there is left to do is click on the Complete Setup button and you will be synced.

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Note: The free version of UpdraftPlus allows you to send your backups on only one remote storage, If you wish to spread your backups on more than once remote location you will have to upgrade to the Premium Version, which will have many more cool additions.

Restore your WordPress Site Backups

After you have prosperously completed the backup procedure and after our website is regularly backed up, you are on the safe side knowing you can retrieve it any time something goes the wrong way. Remember how on the Settings > UpdraftPlus > Backup/Restore tab when we first started there was nothing under the Existing Backups section. Well here is where all your backups will appear for you to restore them.

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Here you have all the information such as the Date, Data containing Database, Plugins, Themes, Upload and Other and the Actions to Restore, Upload, Delete or View Log. Click on Restore under Actions.

Afterward another window will open requiring you to choose which of the following components you want to restore.

Note: that when restoring the backup, it will replace this site’s themes, plugins, uploads, database and/or other content directories (according to what is contained in the backup set, and your selection). Select the elements you want to be restored and click on Next

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Next on you will be greeted with a successful message and click Restore. Wait until the process is completed and head back to our dashboard.

That would be all on how you can restore, with this plugin you can download your backup files to your computer. I will show you how.

All you have to do is click on the buttons containing Database, Plugins, Themes, Upload or Other. By clicking on either one boxes will open a box with two options to Download to your computer and Delete from your web server.

Click on the first option and it will instantly begin to download on your PC. Similarly, you can download all other files.

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How to manually backup your WordPress website?

Throughout the entire article, we shared the importance of backing up your website. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to back up your website using a WordPress plugin, which in all frankly is the easiest approach. But if for many reason you still want take the manual way, we will of course walk you through the entire process step-by-step. 

We must warn you that this process is risky and requires a bit of technical knowledge. Make sure you follow the instructions one by one. Also to be on the safe side we recommend you perform the manual backup on a staging site or a testing environment so that your live site won’t be affected. 

How to prepare for a manual backup?

What you need to know about manually backing up your website is that your website is made of two components: files and databases. There must be a clear distinction between the two, and you will need to back up both the files and the databases for the process to be completed. Make sure you set a folder aside for the backup files and organize your files accordingly to find them easier. 

If you are going to manually backup your website you will need to login into the server and export the two main components from two different places, the File Manager and phpMyAdmin. 

Your files reside on the web hosting servers and you can access them either via FTP or cPanel. For this article, we will be using the CpANEL route. To connect to your FTP client you will need to following credentials that are available in your hosting account. Please refer to this video to learn how to obtain the FTP client credentials.  

For databases, you will need access to phpMyAdmin which usually comes pre-installed on your cPanel. You just need to log in with your hosting account credentials. If you can’t access cPanel directly you can download phpMyAdmin here. 

How to backup your WordPress files via cPanel

For the sake of this article, we will be showing you how to backup your WordPress files using cPanel because first of all, you won’t need FTP credentials nor you will need to install third-party software, and using cPanel is much easier. So let’s get to it. Depending on your hosting provider they all present somewhat different interfaces of cPanel, but the steps are almost the same. 

Step One: Log in to your cPanel with your hosting account. Note that not every hosting provider will offer cPanel. This way you will need to use the FTP approach.

Step Two: Once you are logged in cPanel, locate the File Manager option and click upon it. This is where your files reside, now we just need to locate them and export them, and set them on your local system. 

backup WordPress website cPanel - File Manager -

Step Three: Now on the left panel you will see lots of folders, you will need to locate the public_html file. Click on the plus sign to open the other folders on it or you can click on it just once as when you double click on the file it will open, and we don’t intend to do that. 

Select all the public_html files

Step Four: Right-click on the public_html file and from the options available choose Compress. Once you click on it you will see a popup appear giving a few options to compress. Choose zip archive. This makes the process a lot faster and more lightweight as well as reduces the space storage required. 

Locate the public html file 1

Step Five: Once the zip is fully installed and ready, click the public_html file and then choose the Download option. Move the downloaded zip file to a new folder you created before starting the manual backup.

Compress the files 1

How to backup the database via phpMyAdmin

You’ve successfully exported your website’s site files, now it’s time we do the same with the database as well in order to fully complete the backup process. We will be showing you how to access the phpMyAdim interface from cPanel. 

Step One: Log in to cPanel using your login details. WordPress uses MySQL database system to function, so in order to locate your site’s databases, you will need to do that via the phpMyAdmin console. 

Locate the phpMyAdmin section to find the WordPress databases

Step Two: From the databases section click on phpMyAdmin console. This will contain all your databases and at the top panel click once again on Databases. 

Step Three: Select your database from the left panel. Once you click to open it it will show you the content f the database on the right side. You will need to locate the correct database. If you don’t know download your wp_config.php file using File Manager or FTP. This will show you the exact information about your database. 

Step Four: Once you’ve selected the right database, simply select all the tables on the right and export it. If you don’t see a Select All button, scroll down to the bottom, press “Shift” and select the last row. This will have everything selected at once. 

Step Five: Select the export method, leave it as default. You will also be given the option to choose the format in which you want it to be exported. Leave it as SQL. 

Export format for databases

Once the database has been downloaded as an .SQL file you should move it to the backup folder we’ve created. And now you have successfully backed up your website. 

Final Thoughts

I raved about the importance of backing up your data and files a lot in the introduction of this article and we felt compelled to show you how you can outright this vital and paramount step that will keep the pace of your workflow steady and intact from hacking, updates gone wrong and server crashes.

We’ve shared how to backup your WordPress website using both methods, manually by exporting the files and the database as well as using the help of a plugin. We recommend using a plugin for the job as it is much faster, safer, and you can have to backup your website automatically without you having to worry about the technical side of your site. 

We even simplified the process, so there is no excuse for anyone not to perform such a crucial act. Using the Updraft WordPress plugin will have you all hands on deck where you can keep all your files safe, restore them or choose to have them automatically backed up. It is a miraculous handy widget to keep at any time.

We always take into consideration all your comments, critics or recommendations so feel free to speak your truth and tell us yours. Or you could give us some horror stories gone wrong and provide some advice/insights for others. Be safe

By Team Neuron

Director of product design, Freehand

Introducing Kaon WordPress Theme