How to Backup and Restore a WordPress Website with a Plugin
In this article, you learn how to back up your website. As you will see, it's actually a lot easier than you might have imagined.
- WordPress website;
- free UpdraftPlus plugin.
Why Backup a WordPress Website?
Backing up website is extremely important and can save you from a lot of headaches if things go wrong with your website. For example:
- the website might get hacked or become infected with malware;
- you might accidentally delete something;
- a plugin update might cause problems on the website.
In such instances, without a backup, you would be unable to restore the website to its previous functioning state.
How Does Website Backup Work?
When you make a backup copy of the website, you copy the website’s data to a different location. This could be:
- the computer;
- an external hard drive;
- your web host’s server;
- cloud storage.
But it’s not enough to only keep one backup version of the website. For example, if a virus has been quietly destroying the website in the background without you noticing, yesterday’s backup will be useless.
Ways to Backup Website
There are several different types of backups:
- Full backup – making a copy of all the website’s files and the database.
- Incremental backup – only files that are new or have changed since the previous backup are copied.
- Differential backup – only files that are new or have changed since the last FULL backup are copied.
- Mixed backup – a full backup is completed, followed by a set number of incremental or differential backups.
There are two main ways to backup your WordPress website:
- Manual backup – either with an FTP program or via the web host’s cPanel.
- Using a backup plugin.
Although a manual backup is fine, it is better to use a plugin because you can automate it to back up the website at regular intervals. This means you don’t need to worry about forgetting to do it.
How to Backup a WordPress Website Using a Plugin
Many WordPress backup plugins are available, and most work similarly. It doesn’t matter which plugin you choose if it works and regularly backs up your website.
We’ll use UpdraftPlus in this tutorial, it is the plugin that can automatically do full backups of the website for free. Here is a step-by-step guide for backing up the website with this plugin.
1 Step — Install the UpdraftPlus plugin
In the WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and search for UpDraftPlus and select the plugin, click Install Now, wait for it to install, and click Activate.
Set up remote storage
Before you do any backups, first set up the remote storage. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins, and under UpdraftPlus, click Settings, followed by the Settings tab.
In the remote storage section, select your preferred storage service. You need to authenticate with that service, and instructions are given within UpdraftPlus for each service.
Then you can choose which files you want to include in the backups and whether to receive a backup report sent to personal email address.
Click Save Changes.
Do a manual backup
Click the Backup/Restore tab and click Backup Now.
A message will appear with some options for you to select. Make sure that the database, files, and remote storage are all checked, and click Backup Now.
It might take a bit of time for the backup to complete, depending on the size of your website.
Set up scheduled backups
Click the Settings tab again, and use the dropdown menus to choose how often you want the files and database to be automatically backed up. Also, enter in a number for how many backups to retain.
Click Save Changes once you are done.
How to Restore WordPress Website from a Backup
If the website breaks, you can restore it from one of the recent backups. All you need to do is go to the Backup/Restore tab, scroll down to the Existing Backups section, decide which backup to restore, and click Restore.
Select which components to restore. If you are unsure, select them all to be safe. Click Restore > Next on any messages that appear and wait for the restore to finish.
Afterward, the website has been successfully restored.
So, regularly backing up the website is important. Without backup, you will be unable to restore the website if any problems appear. Thankfully, it is doable to learn how to back up a WordPress website, especially if you use a plugin such as UpdraftPlus.