Wednesday WordPress Quick Tips-Backups

Welcome to my series of quick tips for WordPress bloggers! Please note that nothing I post here will be for experienced users. Instead, the series is just quick little tips that I’ve come across since moving to WordPress. If you happen to have a random question about WordPress, feel free to send me an email and I’ll do my best to hunt down an answer!

This week’s quick tip…backups!

wordpress data backup imageBacking up your blog is something that not many bloggers do, but it is incredibly important. Just imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to see that your entire website, every post you had ever written and every comment that you had ever received, was suddenly and inexplicably gone. It’s not something that happens often…but it does happen. And if you aren’t prepared, you may very well lose your entire blog.

The problem is that backing up your blog can be intimidating. It involves scary-sounding steps like logging into your cPanel and accessing your phpMyAdmin. But while leaving the comfort of WordPress to navigate the unfamiliar world of phpMyAdmin may sound frightening, it is actually fairly straightforward. WordPress has a great step-by-step tutorial for manually backing up your blog and if you follow the steps carefully, it is a fairly easy process. Of course, exporting your content first is always a good plan!

If you’re just too nervous to make the attempt, you do have other options. The simplest solution may be to just ask your website host if they offer any software for easily backing up your blog. But if they don’t or if the software is too complicated for a non-technical user, you’re not out of luck yet!

Because this is WordPress we’re talking about, you may have already guessed that, yes, there’s a Plugin for that. You can find a list of various Backup Plugins here, but whatever Plugin you decide to try, do so with caution! While simple Plugins for buttons and category posts are generally fairly safe, Backup Plugins are large and complex and are notorious for either not working correctly or for causing errors on your site. Read the reviews and the forum for each one! And then, if you do decide to give one a try, make sure that you export your content first.

Which brings me to my final tip for backing up your blog. As a last resort, using the Export feature found in the WordPress Tools category is a great way to ensure that if your site does go down, you won’t lose everything. You can do it every day and not even have to leave WordPress, so it’s also a handy additional step to take in between full database backups. Simply click on the Tools tab in your WordPress dashboard and then click the Export tab. On the Export screen, leave All Content checked, click the Download Export File button and when your browser’s download screen opens up, save the file to your computer.

Exporting your blog will not save your theme and it will not save your Plugins. But it WILL ensure that your posts, comments, categories and tags are all preserved in the event that something happens to your site. As a backup method, it’s easy, quick and much, much better than nothing. In fact, if you are using a basic free theme and just a few plugins, it may be the only backup method you need! But if you have a custom theme you adore or a list of Plugins you’re not sure you’ll be able to remember the names of when you need them, learning to back up your entire site is a good move to make. Because if the unthinkable happens, that backup file may be the most precious piece of data you will ever have!

8 thoughts on “Wednesday WordPress Quick Tips-Backups”

  1. Great tips and explained very clearly. I often wondered what exactly was backed up when using the export feature. I think it’s time I did a backup myself – thanks for this!

  2. I have learned through trial and error on my blog…I am no expert, but I do consider myself to have experience with it. I have not, however, learned FTP nor do I want to! I have almost tried it and downloaded the programs to do it. I didn’t know that you could export your content to your hard drive and save up to date posts, pages, etc… Thank you so much for that information! I make my own themes for my site using a program I bought, so I have my theme saved already. If my site goes down, and I can’t bring it back up…I will now only lose my plugins.

    I have iPage for hosting and their tech support is pretty great when it comes to fixing things. I had a plugin create an error (fatal), and I couldn’t access my site. They fixed it for me and got my site back up. You are so right about backing up your site. When my site went down like that, my heart sank. I thought I had lost all my content. It is not a good feeling. Thanks for the great post!

    1. I am also a trial-and-error fan and I am PETRIFIED of FTP Leslie! lol It looks like you don’t have to go near it to do a backup if you use phpMyAdmin, though. I’m going to give it a go this weekend and then I’ll update the post. I’m so glad you found it useful! I’ve noticed not many people seem to know about that fabulous Export feature; I adore it and use it every other day if I remember to and at least once a week. :)

      You’re right, a good host makes a BIG difference; I’ve also had my site go down and my host is amazing at getting me back up and running. It still just devastates me when it happens though; the thought of losing ALL that work is just heart-wrenching!

    1. Monica, the easy route is all I’ve ever used; I’m JUST getting up the courage to brave my cPanel and try backing up my whole site! lol I highly recommend it because it IS easy and because for us Mom bloggers, those posts and comments are really what “make” our site. The rest is just the wrapping on the package. :)

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