Backing up your WordPress Site

How would you feel if one day you realised that your personal website or a clients website has somehow dropped off the face of the earth? Not great right? The internet is a lot more fragile than people believe. Luckily you can all avoid the feeling of your heart hitting the floor by simply keeping your WordPress website backed up.

Backing up your WordPress site is basically insuring yourself from having to spend hours redoing your website. For some people who have had their website for years it may be physically impossible to restore their site to what it once was.

If your site has already crashed, and you didn’t have a backup, you can find out more about saving you site here.

What could happen to my site?

Anything. Literally. Anything from hackers destroying it to nuclear war wiping out the server (less likely) to you accidentally deleting the wrong file causing everything to crash down around you (very likely, I’ve been there. It isn’t a fun place). Once its gone there’s very little you can do to get it back, and even getting what little you can is going to be tough work. Fortunately it is easy enough to make sure that never happens to you. With a backup your site can be back online in minutes from it crashing, and no downtime means happy visitors to your site. It is much better than learning the hard way the importance of backing up your WordPress site.

How do I backup my site?

There are two parts to your site you need to backup:

  1. The database
  2. The files

The database is where all the info from your site is stored. All your posts, pages, comments, links, etc. The files include all your plugins, themes, the media you have uploaded, etc.

Many hosting companies offer inhouse hosting, but remember, even your hosting company can have problems and lose your site and the backup. Sometimes its a software problem, hackers or human error, other times its a truck crashing into a transformer.

So while its reassuring to know you are getting daily backups by the hosting company, there are steps you should take to insure that in any eventuality you will be able to get your site up and running. The general rule for backups of any kind is that they should be stored in at least 3 places. For your website, this could mean the hosting company, on your hard drive and on an external hard drive. Even if you are having the worst day possible, you shouldn’t lose all 3 at once.

Other than that you can do your backups manually or automatically through a plugin, this is a good resource which will give you a how to. Just remember that if you use a plugin to backup your site it will often store the backup ON your site, so you will need to download it manually to store it in a safe location. We also offer a backup solution through our service plan, along with security and other tweaks. See all the features here.

How often do I have to backup my site?

Any time you add content to your site you don’t want to lose, or if you are about to make a a major update to your website. At WP Assist we backup our site daily, so that if anything were to happen to the site we would at most lose one day of blogs, which we may be able to recover through a search engines cache (read more about this below).

What if my site has crashed and I don’t have a backup?

Is there any way to get all your content from your site? Possibly. Search engines, like Google and Yahoo cache websites in order to speed up loading times for people using their service. The problem is that 1) this does not happen instantly, so you may lose some of your most recent updates to your site, and 2) you can only download static html versions of your site, but at least you will be able to recover some of your content.

To find out if your website was cached, go to Google and search for your site. Under a drop down you will be able to see whether the site has been cached.

More reading on how to recover your site.

Here at WP Assist we offer a backup solution through as part of our service plan, along with security and other tweaks. You can view all the features here.

If you have any comments on backups for WordPress sites, we would appreciate it if you left a comment below.

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