The best offense is a good defense. And in the case of website security, the best defense is to make sure your data is properly backed up. With WordPress being the most popular website platform these days, it’s not surprising that WordPress sites are often under attack. Here are some tips on how to back up your WordPress site and make sure you are protected.
WordPress Backup Plugins
The easiest way to back up your WordPress site is by using a plugin and outside service to perform your backups. I personally don’t use this method. However, here are two of the most popular WordPress backup plugins.
BackupBuddy—Allows you to schedule automated backups and store the data offsite.
WordPress Backup to Dropbox—Lets you backup and store your WordPress site to your Dropbox account.
While plugin backup solutions like these are convenient, they can also cost you more money.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, manually backing up your WordPress site is actually not that difficult and doesn’t take too much time. For my websites, I prefer to just manually back them up. The process is easy and it doesn’t cost any extra money to perform your own backups.
Backing up your WordPress site manually basically involves two steps: Backing up your database plus your WordPress configuration and content files. Here’s how to perform your own WordPress backup using cPanel. I always recommend going with a cPanel web host unless you opt for a more expensive premium managed WordPress hosting plan. cPanel is our preferred hosting interface in most cases.
Backing up your MySQL Database
To back up your database you use phpMyAdmin.
If you don’t know which database your WordPress site uses, you can view your wp-config.php file. Scroll through the file until you see the database define statement that looks like this:
Once you have the database name, launch phpMyAdmin and select that database. Select all of the tables and click the Export tab button at the top of the screen. Then click on the Custom option under the Export Method.
Click the Add DROP TABLE checkbox under Object Creation Options to prevent errors from occurring if you restore the database and there are existing tables with the same names.
Then, just click the Go button to export and download a copy of your database.
Backing up your WordPress Files
The next step is to back up your WordPress configuration files and other content (images, plugins, etc.). You can either use FTP or the File Manager in cPanel. Personally, I prefer the File Manager.
If you installed WordPress into a subdirectory, you can just copy and download that subfolder. However, if you installed WordPress into your root directory, the files you need to back up will usually be in your public_html directory. The contents will look like this:
You’ll want to back up of all of the .php files and all of the folders. If your files are large, you can compress them into a zip archive and then download it to your computer.
For added backup protection, copy your database and WordPress files to an external media for safe keeping.
Web Hosting Backups
Finally, as a last line of added security or backup, your web hosting plan should include an adequate backup and restore service for your WordPress websites. I previously wrote an article on which web hosts have the best backup and restore features, so I won’t go into great detail at this time (you can click the link at the end of this article to see the details).
Just as a reminder, don’t rely solely on your web host to back up your websites. Always perform your own data backups either manually or through a separate backup service to ensure that you always have a valid copy of your WordPress site to restore.
For now, I’ll just let you know that in my opinion two of the best web hosting plans for data backup and restore are from SiteGround and A2 Hosting. Not only do they provide excellent data backups, but they’re also two of the best hosting companies for WordPress. A2 Hosting provides a WordPress environment that is optimized for speed and security. SiteGround offers managed WordPress hosting features at very reasonable prices. And, the customer support at both companies is great.