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How to Backup Your WordPress Site

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This one’s an important one: in this tutorial, you’ll learn how to backup your WordPress site. 

If you’ve ever fallen foul of a server being hacked, or a hardware failure, or you’ve lost data during an update of some kind, you’ll know how frustrating (and potentially expensive) it can be. It’s vital that your WordPress website is regularly backed up!

How to Backup Your WordPress Site

Backing Up WordPress

Most hosting providers nowadays offer backups as standard, and if not as standard then at least as a purchasable addition to your hosting package. If you make use of this, then you might feel you don’t have to make your own backups—but it’s always worth being on the safe side, and I recommend you do!

WordPress Scheduled Backups by Your Hosting Provider

Before we go any further, let me just show you how my hosting provider backs up my WordPress installations. I use SiteGround (and you can get up to 70% off their managed WordPress hosting through Themeforest) and I always recommend it, though most managed WordPress options will offer something similar.

On the Security > Backups page on my SiteGround dashboard you can see every backup which has automatically taken place–in my case they’re scheduled to happen every afternoon. At the top of the page I can also trigger a manual backup if I need one right now.

wordpress backups by sitegroundwordpress backups by sitegroundwordpress backups by siteground

For each of these backups, I have the option to restore:

  • all files and databases
  • files
  • databases
  • email

Automated backups like this are definitely a feature which you should look for when choosing a WordPress web host.

Backup Your WordPress Website With a Plugin

There are a bunch of plugins available to manage backups of your website, but arguably the most popular (with literally millions of installs) is Updraft Plus. Install and activate it by going to Plugins > Add New and then searching the WordPress repository for it.

Once installed (it’s free) you can follow the simple instructions to create your backups (check out the massive blue button):

updraft plus backupsupdraft plus backupsupdraft plus backups

Each time you make a backup, a copy of your website’s files and database will be made and saved in the location of your choosing (on the web server itself, your Dropbox, another web server via FTP, and so on). You can also set a schedule, so you needn’t give it a second thought.

How to Backup Your WordPress Website Manually

To backup your website manually, you need to do two things:

  1. Backup the database
  2. Backup the files

To backup the files, you need access to the server, either through your host’s dashboard (such as cPanel), or via FTP through an FTP Client of your choice (such as FileZilla). Here’s the File Manager in SiteGround, which enables me to explore the whole system and manipulate the files however I want.

File Manager in SiteGroundFile Manager in SiteGroundFile Manager in SiteGround

To be sure your backup is going to be of use to you in the future, make sure you download the WordPress core files, plus the plugins and theme files too. Download the files to your computer, and then store them somewhere secure.

To backup the database, you’ll need access to the PHPMyAdmin where your WordPress database can be found. In the case of my SiteGround dashboard above, I go to Site > MySQL

With your database selected, go to Export and then choose the kind of settings you want. A Quick Export Method is fine for us here.

To backup the database youll need access to the PHPMyAdminTo backup the database youll need access to the PHPMyAdminTo backup the database youll need access to the PHPMyAdmin

Make sure the Format is set to SQL, and then hit Go. This will export an SQL file with all the contents of the database to your download location.


And that’s how you backup your WordPress website, in a couple of different ways! One thing to note: within WordPress itself, there’s a Tools > Export option. Whilst this can be useful, it’s far from complete as a backup solution. It only exports the content of the website, not the underlying website.

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