Beginners Guide to Manually Backup WordPress Website

So where to begin! The last time I had to face the wretched WordPress website backup experience was when my website was on a shared hosting solution. The previous web hosting solution decided that my website was taking too much of their server bandwidth. Now, I don't know how and why that happened because I was only getting around 200 visitors per day.

Anyway, they sent me an email. As it happened, the email was not in my regular use, and I didn't see that email until after the website was blocked. Yes, they decided to shut down my website the very next day. TL: DR.

Anyways..

I was asked by the company to give $15 for the backup - which I regret to this day. Or, to install a cache plugin that can decrease my website load on the server - although I already had one, you do know how these shared web hosting companies work, don't you?

So, I did the latter, and the website was backed up after some grueling discussions with their support team. The very first thing I did after getting back my website was to back it up. And, I follow the same practice to this day!

You don’t need to be bitten twice to learn a lesson. And, that’s what I am going to teach you today through this post.

Websites are your assets. You simply can't lose them because of the shoddy tactics of web hosting companies or due to the illicit intentions of hackers. You have to keep them safe, secure, and profitable - A thing that we will discuss in some other lesson. For now, let’s focus on the following.

  • How to create manual backups of your website using WordPress plugins?
  • How to create WordPress backups manually without plugins?
  • How to create WordPress backups with FTP client?
  • How to create WordPress backups with SSH client?

Manually Backup WordPress

Mistakes Website Owners Make Regarding WP Backups


  • Don't back up their websites when they should and then go to WordPress maintenance service for help and losing money along the way
  • Relying too much on their web hosting solution providers for backups just to realize in the very end that they charge money for giving it to them
  • Configure backups once and then totally forget to check them. In the end, they realize the backup service they configured only worked once or twice, and they don't have the backup of their website for the last three YEARS. Jeez!

When to Backup Your WordPress WP Website?



Let’s learn why and when you should be backing up your website.

  • Will you worry if you lose access to your WordPress website today?
  • Have you published something important on your website that you simply can’t lose?
  • Is your WordPress website generating profit for you or your clients?
  • Do you rely on your WordPress website in some way or another?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to backup your WordPress website data. Remember that a backed-up website is a safe website.

Also remember, disasters don't knock on the doors before coming. They just happen, and you need to be prepared for them. If you aren't prepared, then that's something you should seriously consider doing.

Regular WordPress Backup Rules To Follow



Considering that WordPress site backups are essential for the success of your business and that of your clients. We decided to create a list of rules that you need to follow to make backups an essential part of your WordPress site maintenance strategy.

3-2-1 Rule

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a simple one, and it applies to all WordPress website backups. You need to create three copies of your WP backups. Store each copy in a different location. Here is how.

  • Store one copy of your backup on your system
  • Store one copy of your backup on Google Drive
  • Store one copy of your backup on Dropbox

Follow this strategy with all regular backups that you create for your website.

Regular Automated Backup Rule

You need to automate regular backups of your website because you merely can't back up all the data at once.

Regular backups are performed after intervals. For example, you can have weekly backups. These weekly backups will be automated, and your website will store the data on an off-site location such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Tip: Make sure that you have at least two backups of your WordPress website so that even if one gets corrupted or is lost, you can use the second one if needed.

Publishing Something Important Rule

This rule applies to only backups you take on an ad-hoc basis. For example, let's say you are having a giveaway. This giveaway is bringing traffic to your website, so it is essential.

So, take a backup of your website so that even if you accidentally lose access to website data. You can recreate the whole scenario just like it was by restoring the backed up data.

Cleaning Old Backup Rule

This rule applies to all backups, whether they are on schedule or ad-hoc basis. If you keep backing up everything on your website, your storage medium will get full. So, clean old backups regularly. Some WordPress backup software like UpdraftPlus offers old backup and temporary file cleaning options so that you only get the latest backup copies on the off-site storage medium.

Does My Hosting Company Offer Backups?



Manually Backup WordPress

Does your hosting provider take regular backups of your website? What measures are in place by your hosting provider for giving back data if you want to move to a different hosting solution? How does your web hosting provider restore websites?

These are just some of the questions that you should be asking your site hosting provider before you subscribe to their package. At the same time, it is crucial to understand that you can't leave the safety of your website just in the hands of your hosting company.

So, make sure that…

  • Don't rely on a web hosting company for backups. Most of these companies only take a single backup of the server, and there is a chance that you won't be able to get your site restored if something happens.
  • Take regular backups of your website because the web hosting companies don’t always follow the regular schedule.
  • Dependency on hosting solution providers can leave you restricted. So, it is better that you take regular backups by yourself or ask a third party like The WP Help WordPress maintenance service to make regular backups of your website.

By maintaining your site backups, you will be able to know what you are missing and what you have already backed up. This will help you easily migrate your website or restore it if, for some reason, you lost access to it or to use the data for your staging website.

Backing Up Website Using WordPress Backup Plugins



Let’s learn how you can use the WordPress backup plugins to manually backup your website to an off-site location.

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus WordPress plugin backup is one of the best when it comes to site backups and restoration. You can use the plugin even if you don’t have technical experience.


First, install the UpdraftPlus plugin on your WordPress website. You can download it directly from the WordPress plugin directory. Or you can use the plugin installation feature available on your website to install it. Go to Dashboard > Plugin > Add Plugin > Search UpdraftPlus Plugin > Install Plugin > Activate.

Now create a backup of your website. The backup plugin can copy your website data to off-site locations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and many others. To do so, click on 'Backup Now.'



Once you have the backup of your website created, you will see the backup in the 'Existing Backup' folder on the UpdraftPlus plugin.

To manually create a backup of your website using UpdraftPlus, click on the 'Themes,' 'Plugins,' 'Database,' 'Uploads,' and 'Others,' and it will create a separate file of each backup that you can download to the computer.

Now, authenticate the off-site location where you want to store your data, and it will create a copy on that storage medium.



When you click on any of these storage mediums, the WordPress plugin backup will run an automated wizard to connect with that storage medium. The whole process will take only 5 minutes. The purpose of this wizard is to verify that you have access to the off-site storage space.

Similarly, you can automate the backups of UpdraftPlus plugin with Settings > File backup schedule > Manual to Weekly. Also, change ‘retain the number of backups’ to 2 (minimum)

That’s it. You have successfully created manual backups of your WordPress website. Now follow the schedule we detailed above to store the backups at a safe location.


BackWPUp

BackWPUp has been downloaded and installed 600,000 times. It is one of the fastest-growing plugins in the market and is known for its simple functionality. To use BackWPUp to backup your website, first install the plugin on your WordPress website.

Now you can backup all data available on your WordPress website to your personal computer or off-site location like Dropbox.

Click on 'Add a New Backup Job' to start the manual WordPress site backup process. You can schedule the backup as well using Cron job plugin. WordPress also offers cron functionality.

The backup plugin doesn’t support copying data to Google Drive. So, you can copy data to Dropbox, Sugar Sync, Microsoft Azure Blob, Rackspace cloud files, or to your local computer.

The good news is that you can also download the WordPress media library, which is available in the Wp-Content/Uploads folder.

That’s it. Once you backup WordPress data manually, the backup file will be available for you to download to the computer. You can also select the backups from the BackWPUp Manage Backup Archives.


WPVivid

You can also use the WPvivid WordPress backup plugin to backup your site data manually to your computer or a third party. The plugin has a five-star rating and has been downloaded over 30,000 times.

To get started with WPvivid, first install the plugin on your WordPress website. After installing the plugin, you will see the home screen.

You can create a backup of the WordPress database or all the files stored in the WordPress directory. The backups can be saved locally or to a remote storage location such as Google Drive, Dropbox, FTP, SFTP, and many others.

Click on the ‘Backup Now’ button to create a manual backup of your WordPress website data. If you have chosen the remote storage option, then you won’t be able to create a backup unless and until you configure the storage medium.

Once your backup is ready, it will appear at the bottom in the 'Backup' option.

Now, if you want to download this manual WordPress website backup to your system, click on 'Download.'

You can also schedule automatic WordPress website backups with the WPVivid plugin. The plugin will automatically create a backup on your desired schedule and copy it to your selected storage medium.

You also have the option to only copy WordPress databases or the whole folder, including media library and theme files.

That’s how you use the WordPress WPvivid backup plugin to create manual backups of your WordPress website.

Backup WordPress Website Manually from Dashboard



There are honestly plenty of options to choose from and youcan check some of the best WordPress Backup and Restore plugins to do your research first. However, what if you don’t want to use a plugin to backup your WordPress website? That’s where the manual process of backing up your WordPress website helps!

In the WordPress dashboard, click on Toots > Export.

From here, you can download all content on your WordPress website. You can download posts, pages, and media. WordPress downloads the content in an XML format, and when you have to migrate the website, you can use the import function on the other installation to restore the data to your website.

To restore content on WordPress, go to Dashboard > Tools > Import > WordPress Importer.

You can upload the file with ‘Upload file and import.’ This will restore all website pages, posts, and settings on the new website. However, it will not show any media unless you restore the contents of the ‘Uploads’ folder in Wp-content/uploads.

Limitations of WordPress Import & Export Tool



The WordPress import function will only download the content in an 'XML' format. So, you will only copy text-based content. It won't download your media files, or the WordPress theme and core files. To download these, you will have to use the FTP explorer and manually backup all data to your system. The WordPress media library is available in wp-content/uploads.

WordPress Manual Backup on Cpanel



If you are using Cpanel, you can also create a backup of your website using the GUI interface.


Source: Namecheap

On many shared hosting platforms like Godaddy, Namecheap etc, you can use the 'Backup' option available in the 'Files' tab to create a backup of your website.

The option allows you to create a complete backup of your website.

Source: Namecheap

Simply click on the ‘Download a Full Website Backup’ to download the backup to your system.

Once the backup directory is completed, you will see it available on the screen in the ‘tar.gz’ format. Simply click on the file link to download it to your system.



Backup WordPress using FTP

You can also manually back up your website data using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). First of all, connect to your browser using the credentials provided by your web hosting protocol.



Now, use FTP software like FileZilla to connect to your server. Once you are connected to the server, copy all the necessary files available on the server, and create a local backup on your system.

Simply use the drag and drop option to copy files to your system. You can also use the mouse to copy the files.

Note: You will not be able to copy the databases of your server this way. To copy the databases available on the system, go to PHPMyAdmin and create a backup of your database.

Click on 'Export' to export the tables to your localhost.

It will ask you about the tables that you want to export. Select all the tables that you want to export to the localhost and then click on 'Export.'

Once done, the SQL file will be downloaded on your system. That's it. Now you have a complete backup of your WordPress website. You can now copy this data to Google Drive or Dropbox or any other storage medium of your choice.

Backup WordPress from SSH

You can also use SSH to download your WordPress files and anything else available on the WordPress website. The process is quite easy. You can use the SSH available in the browser (like we are using), or you can use Putty to connect to the SSH from your local server. It will work in both ways, and you will be able to download all the files on your system quite successfully.

So, first of all, connect to the server using SSH. Use the IP and then SFTP 22 protocol to connect to the server. Make sure to use the right username and password.

Now that you are in, type ‘ls’ to list all the files available in your directory. You need to be in the right directory to create its backup.



To go in a specific directory, type ‘cd DIRECTORY NAME.’ Once you are in the right directory, type your backup command.

tar -vcf mybackup.tar.gz .

You can also use tar -vcf YOURDIRECTORYNAME.tar.gz .

Remember the '.' at the very end of the command. Add that to the end of the command to make the function correctly.

Once you run the command, it will create a backup of all the files within the directory and then save them on the same directory in a ‘.tar.gz .’ file format.

As you can see, the file is now available next to the applications folder. Now use FTP software to connect to your web hosting solution and download the files to your system. That's it. You have successfully downloaded all the WordPress files on your system.

Note: You can’t download the databases using the SSH files. So, follow the same process that we described above to download the database files. You will need to create an export file in PhpMyAdmin and then store it on your local system.

This way, you will have a complete manual backup of your WordPress website and database using SSH and PhpMyAdmin software.

Which Manual WordPress Website Backup Method Is Best?



It depends. You can use any one of the manual methods that we described in this list. All these methods are fully functional and are a substitute for one another. If one method doesn't work for you, you can always use another method to compensate for that. All the methods available on our list are completely free. This means you won't have to subscribe to any paid service to download the manual website WordPress backup on your system. Moreover, all the methods available on the list are completely DIY. This means you won't have to pay heavy charges to any WordPress expert to create a manual site backup.

So then folks, we have listed all of the best methods available right now to create manual backups for your WordPress websites. You can also use most of these methods to create automated backups of your website using WordPress cron or a third party cron job plugin.

But the only problem is that these methods are quite tricky. We both know that you can't leave your regular routine every week to create backups of your website. Moreover, you will need some time to get the hang of all the methods available here. So, what is the solution available to you?

The solution to that problem is to delegate the backup creation task to a WordPress maintenance service like The WPHelp. The WPHelp has multiple WordPress clients that need managed WordPress services. It takes care of everything from manual backups to website migrations, to theme configuration and customization.

So, if you are unsure how to get started with manual backups of your WordPress websites, then perhaps contacting The WPHelp WordPress management service is the best option for you, it’s right here 😉

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