How To Keep Your WordPress Website Backed Up

What would you do if you woke up one morning to find your WordPress website had been hacked and all of your posts and pages had been removed, or even that your Webhost had gone out of business, or had a catastrophic server failure?

If you've chosen a good webhost, chances are they will take regular backups for you, but in the case of a web host going bust, or perhaps it's taken you a long time to notice that your website was hacked, there may not be any usable backup available, and that's why we recommend you keep your own backups too.

There are several ways of backing up your WordPress website - we'll show you the best method.

The best method, in our opinion, is to use a plugin - UpdraftPlus, after initial setup, the backups are taken automatically.

Backing up your WordPress website using the UpdraftPlus plugin

Backing up your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus is quick and easy, you can take manual backups, or set it to back up on a schedule. Not only that, UpDraftPlus offers a range of options when it comes to storing your backups. Getting the plugin installed and set up is simple, just follow our steps below and you'll be set up in no time.

Firstly, let's install the plugin

In your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Plugins->Add New and then search for Updraft Plus

Now click on Install Now and once the installation completes, click on Activate.

Now, open up the UpdraftPlus settings by going to Settings->UpdraftPlus Backups

You should now see the main settings page of UpdraftPlus

You'll notice a "Backup Now" button - as the name suggests, clicking this will back your site up there and then, however, we're more interested in setting up automated backups so that you have regular backups, stored somewhere safe, so lets go ahead and click on the Settings tab at the top of the UpdraftPlus settings page.

On the UpDraftPlus settings tab you'll see various options - first, let's take a look at the schedule

As you can see, there's a couple of options:

  • Files Backup Schedule
  • Database Backup Schedule

If you regularly create posts without images, or if you have an online store and don't add new posts/pages/products and simply take orders, then you may wish to back up your database more often than you back up your files, but for most websites, we'd recommend backing everything up regularly.

Updraft lets you choose the frequency of backups

  • Manual - Updraft will only create a backup when you click the back up now button
  • Every 2 hours
  • Every 4 hours
  • Every 8 hours
  • Every 12 hours
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Fortnightly
  • Monthly

Depending on the type of website you have, and how often things change on your website (new posts, pages, signups, orders, comments etc) you may feel you need to update every few hours, or you may find that once a month is fine - but it's always better to be safe than sorry, so if you're not entirely sure and can't pick between two frequencies, choose the more often.

You may also notice the option to "retain this many scheduled backups" and what this means is, if you set it to 2 (the default) and choose to back up weekly, after 4 weeks, you will have the last 2 weeks backups stored, the first 2 weeks of the 4 will be removed. Again, the amount of backups you retain will depend on how often your website changes and how important it is that you can restore to a specific period in time.

Now let's take a look at where we can store the scheduled backups

As you can see, the options are extensive - some of the services you may never have heard of, the most common option for users who are looking to back up free and easy is Google Drive, however, many people who use Dropbox for other things also choose to back up their website to Dropbox.

In this example, we'll go ahead and set up Weekly backups retaining 4 weeks worth of backups, and saving them on Google Drive.

When you select these options, you'll then see the following message:

After you have saved your settings (by clicking 'Save Changes' below), then come back here once and click this link to complete authentication with Google Drive.

So do as it says, save the changes at the bottom of the page and you should then be presented with a popup and a link

Go ahead and click the link, you'll then be prompted to choose an existing account, or add a new one

Then give permission for Updraft to access, so go ahead and click on Allow

You'll then be taken to an orange page, and asked to click the complete setup button. Click on it and you'll then be taken back to Updraft settings on your website, and your scheduled backups will now be enabled.

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