Disaster! Something’s wrong with your site. Maybe you’ve been hacked. Maybe your site is serving up errors or something happened to corrupt the database. Maybe an update went wrong. The bottom line: your site is broken.
Did you know backups are one of the most overlooked things on WordPress-driven sites? A backup is one of those things that if you need one, you really need one. Not having a complete, up-to-date backup of your site could mean you can lose months or years of work… and hours or days trying to recover your site.
So do you have a complete and up-to-date backup of your WordPress site?
The Best Answer
- “Of course, I run scheduled backups and can restore my site at a moment’s notice.” This is the winner! If that’s not you, keep reading.
The Other Answers
- “My host does backups.” This can be a problem – some hosts will not provide you with a backup if your site has been hacked, because they’re concerned that the backup may contain the hacked files.
- “I can get a backup anytime from my control panel at my host.” Yes, but have you done it lately? And these are not always easy to restore.
- “I think my VA does this?” (You think?)
- “Backup? I downloaded some files from my site a while ago.” (That’s not a complete backup and is at best a false sense of security.)
Backing Up WordPress
Lets look at what a full WordPress backup contains. A full backup has 2 main parts: the files and the database. These parts, together, are what make your site.
Part One: Files and Folders
A full backup for a WordPress-driven site will include all the files in your public_html (sometimes called /www) folder. This is where the files that make up your site live. This includes everything that runs WordPress: your theme, your plugins and all of the uploads you’ve added to your site – things like images, pdf files,etc.
Part Two: The Database
Second is an export (or dump) of your database. WordPress uses a database to store all of the settings, all of your page and post content, comments and other information.
If you don’t have both of these parts, you aren’t backing up.
Ways to Get a Backup
You can do the whole process manually by downloading a copy of your site files, exporting the database and then saving these files on your computer or elsewhere (like Dropbox). It can be time consuming and it only works if you remember to do it on a regular basis.
You could also grab a backup from your website hosting control panel. Most have an option to create a zip file that contains your site and database. This also works… if you remember to do it.
Can’t a Plugin Do This For Me?
Yes! What if you could install a plugin and set up a schedule… one that could even be sent to an offsite location like Dropbox or Amazon S3? That’s exactly what BackupBuddy does.
There are a number of free plugins you can use to backup your site, but the premium plugin BackupBuddy is the best one I’ve seen. It installs just like other plugins on your site. Once installed, you’re ready to create your first backup. Go to BackupBuddy > Backup and you’ll see a button for a database-only backup and one for a complete backup. Click your choice to create the backup. Pretty simple.
After you click, you’ll see a status box. It will show you what is happening to create the backup. Once the backup is done, you’ll see a button above the status box where you can download the backup you just created.
You can also view a list of all of your backups by returning to the Backup page of the plugin. The list will show you the date the backup was created, the file size, the status of the backup and the type of backup.
BackupBuddy gives you the choice of local backups that are on your host (with your site) or you can configure remote locations, like another host, via ftp, Amazon S3, Dropbox, Rackspace or even Email.
Once you’ve set these up, they’ll remain in the list of options that you can use to schedule your backups.
You can also schedule backups to run periodically:
- Twice Monthly
In BackupBuddy you can create multiple schedules with different settings – to suit your site. For example, higher traffic sites or sites with lots of comments might want to backup their database more frequently. Sites with less traffic and fewer updates might choose weekly or monthly full backups. You know your site best, but at the very least you should do a full backup once a month.
Once you’ve set up BackupBuddy, you can relax and know your site will have backups ready if you need them.
Other BackupBuddy Features
BackupBuddy also comes with the ability to help you migrate or restore your site. You can use this to move your site to another host or restore your site if something’s gone wrong. This really shines when you need to restore your site. An ImportBuddy script comes with BackupBuddy and automates the restore process with its wizard-like interface. To restore, you upload the ImportBuddy script and your backup file to your host, visit the url in your browser, provide the password and the wizard will take you through the rest of the process.
Remember the hosting control panel backup we talked about earlier? You’d have to manually restore things… taking all the steps to get the files in the right places, and import the database. It can be done, it’s just time consuming and technical.
If you’re developing multiple WordPress sites you can use this to create your site on a test server, then move it to the live server. You can also use this to create a base WordPress install that includes your base settings, theme, plugins… everything configured and ready for customization and content. This can really speed up the development process.
The ImportBuddy script that handles this process updates urls and paths within the database for you, so everything is up-to-date when you’re done with migration. (This is a huge timesaver!)
BackupBuddy also includes a Malware scan that uses Sucuri to do a quick scan of your site, looking for common malware. It takes just a few moments to run and is a good starting point if you believe your site has been hacked or otherwise compromised.
Wrapping It Up
With ongoing development and frequent updates, along with extensive documentation and support, BackupBuddy is one of the best premium plugins I’ve used to stay on top of backups with my WordPress sites.
If you’re managing or developing multiple sites or blogs, it’s a huge timesaver for migrating and deploying.
Ready to get started with BackupBuddy and get your backups under control? You can get it here, and we feel so strongly about you getting a good backup of your WordPress site, we have gotten you a deal. Use the coupon code RODNEY35, and you’ll receive 35% off BackupBuddy.
Lisa Brown has been working online since 1996. With recent changes in online search, technical best practices have become more important. Consulting on and implementing these best practices is a large part of her work at WordPressAngel.com
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