How and Why to Back Up a WordPress Site

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON October 19th, 2019

Why to Back Up a WordPress Site

If you run a WordPress site then you should be very interested to know how to backup a WordPress site as bad things can and will happen, and that’s regardless of how safe you are when it comes to operating your website. In the old days, backing up and storing your images, HTML and other web info was a pain. WordPress has simplified the process allowing standardization and quick backup and restore options that even a new user could figure out.


Reasons to Back Up a WordPress Site

That said; many users become far too comfortable operating their website and never stop to think of what bad things could happen. Namely, losing all of your information. Just think of what could go wrong. WordPress itself recommends that you backup your files regularly, and especially before installing an update or installing a new plugin. All it takes is one error and your site will be shut down, leaving only an error message for all your potential traffic.

Sure, you could go into the CSS programming and try to fix the error manually. However, (and we speak from experience) you’re much better off just hiring an expert programmer to help you out because there are hundreds or even thousands of lines to look through when you’re investigating a single line error. If you change something without knowing what you’re doing you could do three times more damage.

In fact, the first reaction of a WordPress user who doesn’t know HTML, CSS, Java or any other programming language, is to simply back the database up and reinstall WordPress. Actually, that’s a pretty good way to handle things since WordPress installs easily and WordPress themes can be installed with just a few points and clicks. Of course, backing up and restoring the database is fairly complicated in its own right. Let’s discuss two approaches here:


How to Backup a WordPress Site

First, you can do it the easy way and this is highly recommended. Just export all of your content to an XML file. From there, (available in the Tools section) you can back up all of your pages, posts, categories, tags, theme details, custom fields, and even blog comments. This option is WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR.

Of course, everyone would do it this way if they could. The problem is that your database (provided it continues for years on end) will eventually outgrow this option. When that happens, the most practical way to export it is to use the MySQL database backup and restore option.

This is more complex and will require you going into the cPanel or file manager of your website and backing up a database in this format. You should ideally do this every day so that you don’t lose valuable information. You should also zip and download all of your saved images and or video since saving these large files is a different process than merely saving content.


Other Importing Features

When it’s time to restore a database you will have to go to the restore option and enter in all the password and username and database name information, so be sure to write this down well in advance. In addition to restoring your own databases, you can also import documents into your WordPress theme. You can export posts from Blogger, Blogroll, Live Journal, RSS, Tumblr, WordPress, and other CMS systems.

Remember, all it takes is one error and that error doesn’t have to come from your end. The hosting company itself can make an error (or shut your site down for exceeding bandwidth) leaving you at their mercy. It’s much better to anticipate what could go wrong and take decisive action.