2 Different Ways to Backup WordPress Website

Published: September 8, 2019 / Article by: Siarhei Kulich

People entering the online business and those who just open blogs often forget the crucial to my mind safety issue – the website backup or, in other words, the full copy of all files from the website.

Why is it needed and how often should it be done?

As a rule, a lot of various unforeseen situations may happen to websites: 

  • Your hosting company has been closed and do not return copies of your website;
  • After the website was hacked, its contents may be altered. It is easier to recover the website using the previous full copy of the website (backup)
  • A designer or a programmer you employed for implementing some changes on the website made a mistake and the website operates incorrectly.

A fresh copy of files, or a backup, is necessary for all cases that may happen to your website.

Let’s consider 2 fundamentally different ways to backup your WordPress website:

  • Manual
  • Automatic

Backup Manually with CPanel

1. Login to your CPanel

To login to CPanel you need to fill in your login and password that you have got when bought the web hosting (as a rule, the hosting company sends this data to an email specified when the account was registered)


2. After you have logged in to your CPanel, the menu of different icons will be opened. You should find the “File Manager” icon; the files of your website are there.


3. Click the icon, and the file tree will open where you should find “public_html”.


4. When you click “public_html”, yet another list of files will be opened. These will be particularly the files of your blog (website) that should be backed up (a backup copy). Click “Select All” in the upper menu, and after that, all files in the list will be chosen.


5. When all files have been chosen, find “Compress” in the upper menu and click it.


6. After clicking “Compress”, we see the window like that demonstrated below. Choose “Zip Archive


Attention! At the bottom of this window (see the image below) you can specify the name of your backup file and the way to it.

Then, click “Compress Files”


For those who do not fully understand the mode record:


The backup file with the name my_blog_backup.zip (example) is in the folder public_html

In other words, you can open this folder and see this file in the file list as in the following example:


Now, we have made a copy of the WordPress files. At this stage, it is important to know that it can be kept at the same hosting, but I advise you to have a copy at your personal computer as well, or you can keep it in a cloud, for example, in DropBox or GoogleDrive

To make the full copy of a WordPress website, the copy of the SQL database is needed as well.

8. Backup of the SQL database. Return to the main page of the CPanel of your hosting and find the icon “phpMyAdmin


9. Click it and go to phpMyAdmin panel. In the left database list, choose one that is used for your WordPress website. Then, click “Export” on the top menu. You will see the following window:


Click “Go” after choosing the necessary database.


Then, save your database in a safe place (computer, cloud)

Attention: Database contains all text contents of the WordPress blog (posts, pages, logins, and passwords)

We have considered the manual way to backup your WordPress website.

Now, let’s imagine that our WordPress website is updated daily: new posts are added, and it is difficult to control yourself and backup the website every day in order not to lose the data. 

So, Automated Data Backup Comes to Help

If we deal with WordPress, special plugins exist, and UpdraftPlus is the most widely used among them.


Key functions of UpdraftPlus:

Scheduling the backup (for example, one time a day or once a week)

– Opportunity to save the backup in GoogleDrive or DropBox

To install this plugin, you need to login to the panel of your WordPress website, find “Plugins” in the left menu and click “Add New” (adding a new plugin):


After that, a catalog of plugins will show up. Write “updraftplus” in the search bar, and the needed plugin will be shown. Click “Install Now” and then “Activate”:


After installing and plugin are activated, it will be added to your catalog of installed plugins. Click “Setting” and go to settings:  


Moreover, find “Settings” in the plugin itself and go to this tab:


Everything is simple. We see “Files” and “Database” (we have saved them in the manual mode as well), we can specify how often the plugin will backup (copy) the website, for example, each hour, or daily, or once a week. Most importantly, it is possible to specify where it will be saved: DropBox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, FT, etc. 

You will have to pass the authentication process (see the image below) for each chosen way (where the copy of your website will be saved):


Such plugins as UpraftPlus are very convenient. They backup websites automatically, so if something happens to the website, it will be possible to find the fresh copy of it and to repair it fast.

The backup (copy) of your website is not just an archive you need for some purpose. It is some kind of an instrument that you use in order not to spend much time looking for a damaged file when your current website is broken. You can delete all files from your website (in case of hacking and adding third-party files), copy the backup archive there and open it. As a rule, it takes 1 or 2 minutes to make your website work again.

If the database is damaged, the import of the copy of it saved earlier can be also simply conducted using the phpMyAdmin panel.

Backup your websites in time and you will not have to pay big money to recover the lost data.

About Siarhei Kulich
Co-founder and CTO of HRank.com - a hosting uptime monitoring website. Siarhei has more than 20 years experience in web developing and web hosting.
Connect: Website, LinkedIn
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