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Having a WordPress website is an important part of your business, especially if most of your work comes to you online. 

Although web hosting services have greatly improved their uptime and system redundancy, there are situations where your website can crash. Sometimes, the files for your site can even be lost due to a serious system failure.

That is why you should always back up your WordPress site.

Having a backup file for your website lets you quickly restore your website to full functionality, even if all of the files are removed from the server. You should always have a copy so you can restore it yourself and ensure that you can start your website again. 

While the above information seems attractive, some of the pressing questions remain.
How to back up a WordPress site? Is it a complicated task? Will you need to be a tech expert to do it?

There’s no need to worry! 

Thanks to WordPress and web hosts like Bluehost, it is easier to back up a WordPress site.

Regular website backups ensure the ability to restore a website to a previous state, preserving valuable content, customizations, and configurations, providing peace of mind and minimizing downtime in case of emergencies.

Here is how to back up your WordPress site.

What is a WordPress website backup?

A WordPress website backup or a WordPress backup is a copy of the files needed for your website. 

This includes the core files for WordPress, any plugins or additions you made to the site, and a copy of the database that it uses to store information. In essence, it is a snapshot of your entire website, that you can use to restore it if something happens to the files on the server.

“WordPress database backups are critical, especially if you have an online store on WooCommerce. WordPress stores all of its data (posts, page content, pictures, user accounts, etc.) in a central database. If this database is changed in the wrong way or deleted, your website will break. If you have a backup of your site, you can restore the damaged parts or replace everything to get your site back online right away.

You should back up your website regularly. Most people try to do it once per month. However, sites with higher traffic should do it more often. If you have an online store, you should try to back it up at least once per week. That way, you won’t lose track of new user accounts, shopping carts, or sales data.

Full backup vs. partial backup

There are two main types of WordPress website backups, a full site backup and a partial website backup.

Full Backups: Full WordPress backups include all the files and data associated with your site, such as themes, plugins, media uploads, and the database. A WordPress full backup allows for a complete restoration of the entire site.

Advantages:

  • Rapid Restoration: WordPress full backup provides fast restoration to ensure efficient recovery.
  • Simplified Storage: All the data is stored on a single version for easy storage management.
  • Hassle-Free Version Control: Enables seamless maintenance and restoration of various versions.
  • Effortless File Search: Facilitates easy and convenient file searches.

Disadvantages:

  • High Storage Demand: Requires significant storage space compared to other methods.
  • Lengthy Backup Times: Backup processes can be time-consuming depending on file size.
  • Elevated Cost: Additional storage needs contribute to higher expenses, making it costlier.
  • Increased Data Loss Risk: Concentrated data storage raises the vulnerability to data loss.

Partial Backups: Partially backing up a WordPress site focuses on specific elements of your WordPress site. This can involve backing up only the database, which contains essential website data like posts, pages, comments, and settings. Alternatively, you can choose to back up only the files, which include themes, plugins, and media uploads. Partial site backups are useful when you want to restore specific components of your site without affecting the rest.

Advantages:

  1. Optimized Storage Usage: Files aren’t duplicated entirely, leading to efficient storage consumption.
  2. Swift Backups: The backup process is exceptionally fast.
  3. Flexible Recovery Points: Frequent incremental backups create distinct recovery points.

Disadvantages:

  • Lengthy Restoration: Data restoration takes time due to assembling from various backups.
  • Dependency on Backup Files: Successful recovery relies on the integrity of all backup files.
  • Complex File Search: Restoring specific files requires searching through multiple backup sets.

Before You Start Taking Your WordPress Backup 

Before you begin to back up a WordPress website, decide which method works best for you. Check with your host to see if there is an existing backup file and if you can download it. Also, you need a place to store the backup files. You can download it straight to your computer. 

However, businesses may want to have an external hard drive to save backup files. You also want to keep at least the three most recent copies of the backup, so that you have multiple options for restoring your website.

Ways to back up your WordPress website

There are several ways to back up your WordPress website. Here is how to take a backup of a WordPress site.

1: Manual WordPress backup: Remember, this is a process for people who have some experience working on website backends. Performing a manual database backup is not for everyone. If you are unsure of any of these steps, stop and ask your web hosting provider for help.

2: Log into Hosting Platform: This is not the WordPress site that your website sits on, but the administrative system that your web host has. 

3: Navigate to Backup Tools: After logging in, locate the backup tools section among the available tools.

4: Use Hosting’s Backup Program: If your host has one, you can use it to download the latest backup file. If you don’t see one, then look for a program like PHPMyAdmin and MySQL.

Usually, they will have the words “PHP” or “SQL” in the title. Open each one separately and download the files there.

By following these steps, you can manually perform a backup of your WordPress website’s database and files using the hosting platform’s tools.

Alternatively, you can use an FTP manager to access the website files you need. FileZilla is a common option. You will need the FTP information for your site, which is in the hosting platform. 

Once you can give FileZilla FTP access to your WordPress site, download everything that is in the main file for your site files and web host. Make sure you don’t delete anything.

5: Some Plugins Can Back Up WordPress Regularly

If you are going to use the plugin, then use the plugin installer in WordPress on the plugins tab. It will take you to the plugin store, where you can search for and download the plugin. Much of the process is automatic, so it will be quick and easy. 

Once you have the plugin installed, activate it and follow the instructions from the manufacturer. It will usually be as simple as pushing the backup button in the plugin’s interface.

The following plugins can be used for automatic backups:

  • UpdraftPlus – uploads files to the cloud via Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Onedrive & more. There’s a free version for you to try it out.
  • BackupBuddy – schedule daily, weekly, or monthly backups to the cloud.
  • Vaultpress (now part of jetpack) – they don’t offer a free version. There is only a monthly and yearly plan.
  • BlogVault – although on the “pricier” side, this is a reliable backup solution for WordPress sites. They also provide a lot of features for the price.
  • BackupWPUp – has a few packages for different websites and different needs. It’s also on the cheaper side compared to other options.

If you ever need to utilize your backup file, there is a backup restore feature.

6: Automatic backup from your hosting provider

Similar to doing a manual backup, log into your hosting account. Look for the tool that your host has for automatic backups. When you open it, it should give you the option to download the backup files. 

If you have any questions, reach out to your host for assistance.

When to Back Up Your WordPress Website

The timing of WordPress website backup plays a significant role in safeguarding your site against unexpected issues. 

Here’s how to decide when to back up a WordPress website:

1. Frequency of Updates and Changes:

Consider how often you update content, plugins, themes, and user interactions. More frequent changes necessitate a higher frequency of backups, such as daily or multiple times daily.

2. Website Activity:

Analyze your website’s user engagement patterns and traffic flow and schedule backups during off-peak hours to minimize disruptions for visitors.

3. Content Publishing:

If you publish content regularly, especially time-sensitive or critical information, opt for backups that are more frequent. Daily or weekly backups might be appropriate for content-heavy websites.

4. Plugin and Theme Updates:

Before updating plugins or themes, create a backup to mitigate potential compatibility issues. This precaution allows you to restore a previous version if problems arise.

5. Major Design or Structural Changes:

Back up your site before implementing significant design or structural alterations. This ensures you can revert to the previous state if the changes don’t go as planned.

6. Pre-Update Backups:

Always perform a backup before applying any substantial updates or changes. This practice acts as a safety net in case the update process encounters errors.

7. Backup Tools and Plugins:

Explore backup tools and plugins available for WordPress. Some tools offer automatic scheduling based on your preferences.

8. Testing and Verification:

Regularly test your backups to ensure they can be successfully restored. Verify that the backup copies are complete and functional.

How to back up a WordPress site with Bluehost

Accessing the Backup Panel requires logging into your Bluehost Control Panel.

For Bluerock:

  1. Click on the My Sites tab in the left-hand side navigation menu.
  2. Find the specific site you wish to back up or restore, then click the Manage Site button.
  3. Proceed by clicking the Backups tab.

Backing up a WordPress Site in Bluerock:

  • If you haven’t set up CodeGuard yet, you’ll need to select a plan and configure your preferences before making a purchase.
  • Under CodeGuard Backups, hit the Create New Backup button.

Please note: Backup options depend on your CodeGuard plan; if backups aren’t available, this button will be inactive.

If you need further assistance on backing up a WordPress site, feel free to contact us.

How often should you take WordPress backup

The frequency of WordPress backups depends on the dynamic nature of your website and the extent of its updates. 

For websites that undergo frequent changes, including regular content updates, plugin installations, or theme modifications, a daily backup regimen is recommended. This approach guarantees that each day’s alterations are captured, assuring minimal data loss in case of unforeseen issues.

For websites with less frequent alterations, a weekly backup may suffice. This is applicable to sites that publish content less often or have a steady setup without significant changes.

Moreover, performing backups before making substantial updates, such as core software or plugin updates, is prudent. This precautionary measure ensures a restore point if updates cause compatibility problems.

Tools you can use for automatic backups

There are many tools you can use to back up your WordPress website. Check with your current hosting provider to see if they offer a backup service. For example, Bluehost provides managed WordPress hosting and automatically creates backup files regularly so that you don’t have to.

If you run a standalone WordPress site, you can install a WordPress plugin to make the process easier. There are backup options using plugins that can make the file and download it for you to your computer, or you can choose to upload your backup to cloud storage. It is a much easier and faster process than doing it manually. Plugins should also work on hosted sites if you prefer not to use tools provided by the host.

Your web host should have a method to let you back up your data manually. If your host uses cPanel as its dashboard, then this feature exists. You will have to go to the two programs that WordPress uses, called PHPMyAdmin and MySQL (there are other options, but these are the most common), and download the database and the rest of the files manually. This is only recommended if you are used to working in the backend of web hosting platforms or if you have no other options. 

Related: Read the top 10 features a web hosting company should provide!

Conclusion

We hope the above information has offered you clarity on how to backup a WordPress site.

It is important to back up your WordPress website regularly. A timely backup of a WordPress blog or other website creates a safety net that guards against unexpected mishaps, ranging from accidental content deletion and data corruption to security breaches and server failures.

Thankfully, WordPress and hosts like Bluehost make it much easier to do so. 

You can learn more about our WordPress Hosting options here. Make sure you keep several copies of your latest backup files so that you can recover them in case of a problem.

FAQ on How To Backup a WordPress Site

Why is it crucial to regularly back up a WordPress website?

Regular backups ensure protection against data loss caused by hacks, server issues, or human errors. It allows you to restore your site quickly, preserving content and functionality in case of emergencies.

Are there plugins available to simplify the process of website back ups?

Yes, back up plugins like UpdraftPlus, BackWPup, and Duplicator offer user-friendly interfaces for automated back ups. They allow you to schedule regular back ups and store them locally or in cloud storage.

How often should I schedule automatic backups for my WordPress site?

Aim for daily backups, especially for active websites. E-commerce sites and frequently updated blogs might benefit from more frequent backups. The frequency depends on your content and update frequency.

Where should I store my WordPress website backups for maximum security?

Opt for remote storage solutions like cloud services (Google Drive, Dropbox), dedicated backup services, or an offsite server. This ensures data redundancy and protection against server failures.

What’s the process for restoring a WordPress website from a backup?

Access your backup plugin, navigate to the restore section, select the backup you want to restore, and follow the prompts. It’s crucial to follow the plugin’s instructions to avoid errors.

How can I ensure the backup process doesn’t affect my site’s performance?

Schedule backups during low-traffic hours. Use backup plugins with minimal impact on server resources. Consider using incremental backups to reduce server load during the backup process.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Education
    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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