Backing up your WordPress site easily

Keeping a back-up is vital to running your WordPress site. It might seem like a hassle to have to do but, when something goes wrong, you’ll be very glad you did. This is because you can simply put your site back into a working state and loose little to no content.

How do you back up a WordPress site?

There are many ways, ranging from easy to complex. Some ways might be faster but require significantly more expertise to accomplish, while others are easy but come with limitations. We have backed up sites all kinds of different ways, so we know what we are talking about here. These are the two methods we find quickest and easiest to back up a WordPress site.

Duplicator plugin

This plugin allows you to create a full copy of your site in no time. We often use this plugin to migrate sites, as it takes a lot of the hard work out of doing this manually.

How to use Duplicator

First install and activate the duplicator plugin. This is one of the most popular plugins, so it’s pretty easy to find.

The duplicator plugin installation box.

Once the plugin is activated, it will appear in your sidebar. Hover over it and click on packages. From here, we can go through the process to take a full back up of your WordPress site.

You should see an option called create packages. Click this.

The WordPress admin sidebar with duplicator selected.

On the build screen you are welcome to change any options you need to here but otherwise simply click next.

The first step of creating a package with duplicator, with a blue arrow pointing to a blue next button.

Your site will now be scanned to see if duplicator can successfully make a package out of your site. If you get a red fail message, you might not be able to use duplicator to back up your site. There are various reasons for this, some of which are fixable (contact us, and we may be able to help you out). Otherwise, everything should be green except for size check. Just ignore this for now, click build (you may need to tick a checkbox first).

A duplicator scan with green boxes with the word good. Indicating that the site passes duplicators check.

Duplicator will take a small amount of time to create your site package, but once everything is done, you will be able to download your website. Store this in a safe place as this is what you will need if something goes wrong. Note: there are two files to download and both are required.

How often should I do this?

It depends on how often your content is added, or you edit your website. If your site is updated daily, then back it up daily, otherwise weekly or even fortnightly is fine. It’s a good idea to keep at least 3 back-ups, just in case there is something wrong with the most recent one.

The build process keeps failing.

This usually happens because either the hosting environment has some settings that are causing it to fail or your website is too large. You can get around this by either talking with your hosting provider, or purchasing the premium version of the plugin, which provides some extra options for getting past the size problems.

UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore

This plugin allows you to back your site up on a schedule. You can even back it up remotely to a cloud storage service like Dropbox. This means everything is automated, and you can rest easy knowing that your site is backed up.

How to use UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore

Install and activate the plugin. Updraft is a little different to duplicator and is actually hiding in the settings menu of your WordPress admin sidebar.

A blue icon pointing to updraftplus Backups in the WordPress admin sidebar.

Before you push the Backup button, it’s a good idea to tweak the settings.

A blue arrow pointing to a settings tab in the UpdraftPlus Backup admin page.

There you can choose a schedule for your backups to automatically run and also a place for them to be backed up to. Dropbox is an easy option here, but choose what you are comfortable with.

You can also choose to exclude certain folders if you’d like, but the defaults are fine. Head back to the start and click the backup button. You will be able to see your backup in progress. Once it’s finished, you’re all sorted.

A blue arrow pointing to the Backup/Restore tab in the Updraft Plus admin page. Another blue arrow pointing to a blue button with the text Backup Now.

As you can see, it’s not too hard to back up a WordPress site, and it will save you a lot of time if you ever need it.