How and why to backup WordPress
Backing up WordPress is essential. According to our devs, it’s step 0. And step 3. And step 5. Basically, it’s super important. Here’s a quick walkthrough of what backups are, why they matter, and how to backup your own WordPress website. This example uses WP Engine, but the tips are applicable regardless of your host.
You can follow along with the video for a visual walkthrough of the process.
What is a WordPress backup?
First, let’s talk about what a backup is and how it can help you. A backup is essentially a snapshot of the current state of your WordPress site. Think of it like making a save in a video game. A backup allows us to load a previous version of the site in the case that something went wrong. This is extremely helpful in any scenario where we would need to restore the site, move the site, or fix a critical issue.
How to backup WordPress
There are many ways of backing up a website, but let’s look at two of the most common utilities you can use to do so.
1. Through your hosting provider
The first way to backup your website is through your current WordPress hosting provider. All hosting providers may look different, but the majority of them will give its users the same tools to manage their sites. Here, we are using WP Engine as the example, which is one of the most common WordPress hosting providers. At Pulley, we use WP Engine for the bulk of our WordPress hosting.
WP Engine automatically schedules backups for your WordPress site to run an interval of one day. If you navigate to your “backup points” dashboard, you can see the output of each of the created snapshots. From here, you’re able to either restore from the selected backup, export a backup for a possible transfer, or create an immediate backup at this moment. This functionality makes managing your backup simple. In the case that you’re not on WP Engine, don’t worry— you still have the capability of making backups from within your website.
2. Via plugin
The second most common method of backing up your WordPress website is to use a backup plugin. In this scenario, you will navigate to the plugin screen and make a search for “backup plugin.”
One of the most commonly used backup plugins is called Updraft. Updraft not only allows you to make a single backup, you can also schedule automatic backups on a regular basis as backups to an external storage system like Google drive or Amazon S3.
You’re going to install the plugin by selecting “install” and when that’s finished, select “activate.” You can set up the plugin by heading over the tools and finding Updraft in the hover menu. From there, you can start making backups of your WordPress site right away by clicking “backup now.” But before you do, make sure to take a look at the settings and configure the plugins to your liking.
The free version of the plugin which works great, but if you’re looking for more features, Updraft does offer a premium version which allows website cloning, incremental backups, and more.