How To Manually Back Up WordPress


Backing up your website is crucial. If something bad happens to your website or its files while you are without a backup, how will you restore all the data you used to have? This is even more important with blogs that are updated often – if you write every day to your WordPress blog, you really want to have the backup of your dozens or hundreds of posts if the unthinkable happens!

There are two ways you can do the WordPress backup: either automatically or by hand. The automatic way, in my opinion, is the preferred method because it saves your time and nerves. However, I will also let you know how to backup WordPress the manual way, if that’s something you want to do.

First, a quick re-cap of the things you should be backing up. Files on your web server are responsible for everything more or less static on your site, like the design and functionality of the blog. Then there is the database, which holds all the dynamic data, most importantly the blog posts. It is important to back up both parts, although I would say the database is even more important. If you are interested more about the subject, I have written an article about it.

The files

The easiest way to back up the files of your WordPress installation is with WinSCP. It’s an application that you use to connect to your server where WordPress is installed. For that, you will need the hostname, port, username and password of the server. If you don’t know them, ask your hosting provider – they will have all this information. Once you have the information, use WinSCP to log in to the server. You will most likely see the WordPress installation directory on the right hand side – it will contain the sub-directories wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes. Create a directory called backup on your desktop and navigate to it on the left hand window in WinSCP. After that, select everything in the WordPress directory on the right hand window in WinSCP – all the files and the three aforementioned sub-directories – and drag them to the backup directory on the left hand side. Now the transfer will begin, it might take a few minutes depending on your bandwidth. After the transfer is completed, all your WordPress files are backed up!

The database

To back up the database, you can use phpMyAdmin, the graphical user interface for MySQL database. Chances are it’s already installed on your web server, and it’s usually accessed from cPanel your hosting company has probably set up. Once you are in phpMyAdmin, select the right database from the left hand window. There are a few default databases such as information_schema, mysql, performance_schema, phpmyadmin etc. Your WordPress database is none of those, so choose the one that is left on the list, probably named after your domain or login username. Choosing happens by clicking on the database name itself, not on the little “+” button that will just expand the contents of that database. Once you have selected the WordPress database, you will see its tables such as wp_commentmeta and wp_comments as a list on the right hand side. Above those is a navigation bar, and one of the buttons says “Export”. Click that, and click “Go” on the next page, and you are asked where to save the database backup. You can put it in the same backup directory that you used with files above.

As you can see, it’s not a tough thing to back up WordPress manually. However, it will be even easier with automatic backups once you get them running. It does not matter which method you use, just remember to do the backup often, or you will be at a risk of losing plenty of blog posts! Also, please let me know in the comment section below if you prefer the manual or automatic way, or if you back up your blog at all.

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