We all hope for the best, but sometimes bad things happen. And if bad things happen to your website, you’ll want to have a reliable backup of your WordPress site so that you can get back up and running as quickly as possible.
What sorts of bad things might happen? You might accidentally delete some files. There might be a problem with an upgrade to a plugin. Perhaps your web hosting company makes a mistake or has a hardware failure.
Let’s look at how to backup WordPress, options for backing your site up automatically, and what managed web hosts bring to the game. Knowing how to backup a WordPress site is an important thing to understand.
The Two Parts of a WordPress Backup
To back up the things that make up your WordPress website, there are two separate things that need to be backed up. First is the WordPress database, which contains all of your posts and pages along with configuration options. The second is the set of files that make up your WordPress site. This will include the core WordPress software, plugins and themes, and images or other media that you’ve uploaded to your site.
If you only back up one of these two components, you won’t be able to recover after something bad happens. You need both parts to restore your WordPress site.
Automated WordPress Backup Options
While it’s possible to manually back up the database and files, that’s not a good long-term solution since it requires your manual attention and depending on your web host, can involve some fairly technical tasks. Instead I’d recommend a backup service that will take care of everything. Here are a couple good ones:
- BackupBuddy is a plugin developed by iThemes. It provides full backup services for your website, and offers flexibility to either store the backups on storage provided by iThemes (Backup Buddy Stash is included with your Backup Buddy purchase) or you can back up to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon, or other file storage. If you use a feature called Stash Live, introduced in early 2016, you’ll also get real time backups for changes on your site. BackupBuddy also includes an easy tool for moving your site between web hosts which can help if you ever move to a new web hosting company. BackupBuddy starts at $80/year. Find out more about BackupBuddy.
- VaultPress is run by Automattic and offers a variety of features, starting at $5/month. Even the basic plan involves daily backups, automated restores, and a 30-day archive of backups. Higher-level plans add security scans and realtime backup. While it’s not as fully featured or configurable as BackupBuddy, it’s a solid backup option. Find out more about VaultPress.
Both BackupBuddy and VaultPress are established premium services that have been in the WordPress space for a long time. If you’re not willing to spend any money on a backup service, another option is the free BackWPup plugin. You’ll need to do a bit more cnfiguration, and you’ll need to have your own storage for the backups (Dropbox, S3, Azure, etc).
Managed Hosting Backups
While most shared (cheap) web hosts don’t perform backups of sites, many of the managed (premium) WordPress hosts do include this service as part of their offerings. Backup is one of the services they manage, hence the premium price for hosting. A managed host such as WP Engine will perform frequent automated or on-demand backups, all managed through a user-friendly interface and at no additional cost beyond your hosting fees.
When you’re on the fence over shared vs. managed hosting, consider the advantage that managed hosts can offer with included services.
Backup WordPress Now: Don’t Wait for Best
Looking to backup WordPress? Which option you use is less important than the fact that you have one at all; recovering from a compromised or crashed website is the kind of thing that can ruin your spirits and your income. Get BackupBuddy, VaultPress, or a solid managed
host and rest easier knowing that you have another layer of protection for your online presence.