Back up your WordPress Website

Vault - Backing up WordPressIt is incredibly important to run regular backups of your website – this includes the WordPress Content, Your Database and the Website Files.

Unless you are on a Web Maintenance Contract which specifically includes Backing up, it is the clients responsibility to back up their site regularly and to safely store the backup.

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There is a 3 part process to backing up which will be outlined below.

  • Scheduled Backups – Have a routine, eg Monthly backups. You could also use this time to run update and defect checks on your website
  • Backup prior to running any updates or major changes to the website
  • Backup following any major changes to a website
  • Ensure all 3 parts of the backup are completed and stored together, individual sections cannot be used to restore or reinstall a website
  • Store your backups safely – make sure that when you store a backup, you do not change file names but do place within a folder labelled with the date that the backup was completed.

Part 1: WordPress Export

The WordPress Export backup is the simplest of the 3 backup sections. It is not a backup that is normally used to reinstall a website unless the other files have been corrupted leading to a clean install.

You can kind of look at it as a backup plan for the backup.

WordPress Export allows you to download the content of the website into an XML file, it is unfortunately unusable alone and will be unreadable to you, however can be used to directly import the content back in to a WordPress installation.

WordPress Dashboard > Tools > Export

Choose ‘All Content’ when prompted, then click ‘Download Export File’

Once the download is complete, you can store this backup away safely. Make sure that when you store a backup, you do not change file names but do place within a folder labelled with the date that the backup was completed.

Part 2: File Backup (CPanel)

Important Note: The File backup must be done at the same time as the database backup – if a change is made to the website between these backup times, the restore from backup system will fail.

Log in to your CPanel:

In the CPanel Dashboard, choose ‘File Manager’

Ensure that you are inside the ‘Public_html’ folder by double clicking on the folder in the list or single clicking to open the folder down the left hand side to display what is inside the public folder only

Highlight all files and folders within the public folder and click compress at the top of the page

Choose ZIP compression and rename the second section of the file name offered to include the date. Click ‘Compress File’

When the file has finished compressing, it will display with the other listed files. Click on the compressed file and select ‘download’ from the top of the page.

Once your file has completed downloading to your computer, store the downloaded file on your machine as with part 1.

Return to the file list in CPanel and select the compressed file name again, click delete at the top of the page (double check that you are only deleting that 1 file!!!!!)

When prompted, check the box for ‘skip the trash’ then hit confirm.

Part 3: Database Backup (CPanel / PHPMyAdmin)

Important Note: The Database backup must be done at the same time as the file backup – if a change is made to the website between these backup times, the restore from backup system will fail.

In Cpanel, to to ‘PHP My Admin’

On the left hand side, click on the database name, a database list will then appear which for a WordPress site should look somewhat like this:

Go to the ‘Export’ tab along the top. Leave the settings for ‘Quick’ and ‘SQL’ in place and click ‘Go’. The backup will automatically download to your computer.

Once your file has completed downloading to your computer, store the downloaded file on your machine as with parts 1 and 2.

Passwords and Logins

If your hosting platform allows access, your website host will provide you with login details for your CPanel.

Your WordPress Logins must be Administrator logins.

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