wordpress-backups

How To Backup Your WordPress Website (Step-by-Step)

If you’ve ever made a major change to your website or updated to a new version, and in doing so broke it beyond repair, chances are you’ve started looking for something along the lines of “how to restore my WordPress site”.

For those of you lucky enough to have had a backup in place, this would really never be an issue. However, if you never took the five minutes out of your schedule to set up automated WordPress backups, then we’re here to help.

In this article, you’ll learn three different ways to easily backup your WordPress website, at varying levels of complexity, so that you can avoid a catastrophic disaster from happening again.

Why Backing Up Your Website Is Important

If it wasn’t clear already, backing up your website can save you a lot of stress in case things hit the fan.

However, what most people fail to realize is that WordPress backups aren’t just there to protect from your own clumsiness or mistakes. Your site can get attacked by hackers, or something as simple as a new WordPress update can cause things to break beyond repair – you just never know.

Backing up your site is like getting insurance for your car. You may never need to use it, but it’s nice to have a safety net in place just in case. 

How Often Should You Backup Your WordPress Site

You’ll find a wide variety of answers to this question, ranging from once a day, just after an update, or even once a month in some cases. 

The simple answer is that you should tailor your backup schedule depending on what type of site you run. It could be after you’ve made a major change, before an update, or just set it on a regular schedule and forget about it.

A new site publishing multiple articles every hour will need to backup much more often than a personal portfolio site that only updates every week or two.

And in the case of an eCommerce site, you’ll want to use real-time backups to ensure no order data is lost in case something happens to the site.

How To Backup Your WordPress Site

Now let’s take a look at the very best ways to set up backups for your WordPress website. Starting with the easiest and perhaps most basic, which is to install a plugin and let it do the work for you; but for those of you who don’t want to rely on plugins due to security risks, the effects they can have on website performance, or whatever other reason you have, we’ll also cover other paid (and more reliable methods later). So, without further ado – let’s dive right in. 

Method 1 – Backing Up Your WordPress Website for Free

The simplest method, and the one used by most website owners, is installing a plugin that’ll manage all of your backups without requiring you to learn anything complex. In a matter of just a few minutes, you can be up & running – here’s how:

Step 1: Install The UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

How To Backup Your WordPress Website (Step-by-Step) 1

As you can see, a simple search for “backup” in the WordPress plugin library gives us a huge number of results.

Each plugin offers something different, so spend time experimenting with them to figure out which one is right for you.

In this section, we’ll be focusing on the most popular plugin, UpdraftPlus. It’s incredibly easy to install and set up, and is great for anyone looking to install a fast backup solution in a few minutes.

Go ahead and find UpdraftPlus in the plugin library and click “Install now” and then the “Activate now” button that pops up afterwards.

Once this is done, you’ll automatically be taken through the plugin tutorial to get you up to speed on how to use it.

configuring the UpdraftPlus backup plugin for WordPress

Step 2: Configure Your UpdraftPlus Backup Settings

You can either press the big “Backup Now” button that you can see in the screenshot above, or if you want to set up a recurring schedule, head over to the “Settings” tab.

UpdraftPlus plugin settings in WordPress

All you have to do now is select the dropdown that currently says “Manual” and choose whatever time period you want.

If you want to have the backups saved in a remote location, you can invest in their premium version, but we’ll cover the paid solutions we recommend next.

Once you’ve done this, don’t forget to save your settings and you’re good to go. It really is that simple to backup your WordPress files.

Method 2 – Use A Professional WordPress Backup Solution

Those of you looking for something more comprehensive will find free plugins too limited in what they offer. You may need to manage multiple websites, add team members, and update plugins across sites with one click. 

For a professional backup solution we’ve found BlogVault to be the best option, and in this section we’ll go over how to set up automated backups in the BlogVault dashboard.

Step 1: Create An Account on BlogVault and Add Your Website

The first thing you need to do is set up your account and add your first website.

Head over to BlogVault and get started by clicking Start Free Trial.

BlogVault backup plugin homepage

You’ll be guided through the onboarding process and, after creating an account, will be asked to add a website.

There are three ways to set up BlogVault on your site:

  1. Automatic installation using your WordPress login credentials
  2. Manually download Blogvault and install it via the WP admin panel
  3. Install the BlogVault plugin and run the automated setup
how to install BlogVault on your WordPress site

For this tutorial we’ll be using the “Auto Installation” option.

Step 2: Initiate Sync and Set Up Your Backup

After you’ve clicked “Continue” and logged in using your WordPress details, a button will appear prompting you to start syncing your website.

How To Backup Your WordPress Website (Step-by-Step) 2

It should only take a few minutes to get everything synced up, and once it’s finished you should be able to see an overview of your website in the BlogVault dashboard.

BlogVault dashboard

Clicking “BACKUP” in the top panel will take you to the backup dashboard, which is where you’ll be able to customize your backups or restore files.

managing backups in BlogVault

In order to get the most out of BlogVault, like enabling real-time updates, you’ll need to invest in a paid plan, but for busy developers and agencies the paid version more than makes up for its cost.

And, because of it’s one-click setup, if you’re managing multiple websites then it takes even less time than using a plugin..

Method 3 – Server-Level Backups

Most websites are hosted through a company like HostGator, Kinsta, SiteGround, WP Engine, and Cloudways. 

There’s no end to the list, so it’s going to be impossible for us to cover all of them in this article; however, backing up your site isn’t going to be too different depending on which one you use.

In our example, we’ll be using RunCloud, a fantastic all-in-one server management platform that makes hosting websites and creating backups a breeze. The benefit of using a service like RunCloud or Cloudways to backup your website is that everything is done on the server level, avoiding any possibility of slowing down your website using a plugin – which often has size limitations and isn’t suitable for bigger or more complex websites.

Step 1: Log into RunCloud (or your hosting provider of choice)

Head over to the login page and sign into your account.

RunCloud signup page

Step 2: Create Your Backups

Head over to the “Backup” tab in the dashboard, and follow the instructions to start backing up your website.

backing up the first website with RunCloud

Clicking “Backup your first site” will take you to a configuration page. If you’re used to basic WordPress plugins, you’ll find a lot more customization options available to you. Here you can change:

  • Frequency of backups
  • How long you want to keep files
  • Notification settings (RunCloud notifies you via Slack, Telegram, or Email if there’s a problem with your backup)
  • What time you want the backup to start

And much more.

how to configure backups in RunCloud

Depending on your hosting provider, you may need to purchase additional storage space to save your backups. For example, Cloudways will charge you if you exceed your plan’s bandwidth limit, and RunCloud gives you 50GB of free storage if you are one of their paid plans. 

When you’re finished configuring your backup instance, just hit the “Create” button and you’re good to go! Notifies

Summary – Protecting Your Website is Easier Than You Think

If you haven’t already implemented one of these backup solutions, now’s never been a better time. Why? Well, because (speaking from experience here) having a proper backup & disaster recovery system in place is essential if you manage and host websites for your clients on website care plans. 

Our go-to backup solution is using a combination of multiple solutions for redundancy – such as RunCloud’s built-in backups, and a paid solution like BlogVault, which can even run real-time backups, which are essential for absolutely critical sites like eCommerce websites where any loss of information or data has serious business effects. 

What’s your backup solution of choice & are you planning to switch to one of the ones we recommend in this post? Let us know in the comments or in our community here! 💬

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