You can’t be too careful these days. You’ve put a lot of work into your blog, and it would be a shame to see it lost forever just because you accidentally deleted something you shouldn’t have, it was hacked, or your server had a catastrophic meltdown.
There are many ways to backup WordPress, so I’m just going to cover some of the easiest and most complete methods.
First of all, your files are easy to backup. Since WordPress can be downloaded at any time, you only need to worry about files that you’ve customized or uploaded, which should leave only your wp-config.php file and everything under the /wp-content/ directory. You can easily backup these files by accessing your server via FTP or SFTP and downloading them.
Now for the database, which includes all of your content and settings. Just like almost everything in life, there’s the easy way and the hard way.
The easy way: Use a plugin, like WP-DB-Backup or BackWPup. These plugins represent the easiest and most customizable backup options, but they are subject to compatibility with your current version of WordPress and may be blocked by your hosting provider’s security filters.
The hard way: Use phpMyAdmin, which most hosting providers offer in their control panel. Yes, this method is a bit more involved than simply installing a plugin and clicking a magic backup button, but you’ll be able to backup and restore your database on almost any hosting provider without the need to access your blog. This method is particularly handy if you’re moving your blog to a new hosting provider.
Many hosting provider control panels feature their own backup systems, which can vary from provider to provider. For example, cPanel often features a “full backup” option which provides all of your files, databases, and emails in a handy gzip archive. While an ideal method to quickly backup everything, this archive may only be restored by a server administrator on a cPanel system. The previously listed methods will ensure the highest compatibility with most hosting providers.
VaultPress, by Automattic, is a newcomer to the backup scene. It is a paid service, but it provides a hassle-free way to automatically and remotely backup your blog whenever a change is made. If your blog is very important to you, I highly recommend that you try VaultPress now while they’re still offering lower beta rates. I’ve used VaultPress for about two weeks now, so you can certainly expect a review here after I’ve had a month to fully test the service.
Personally, I used SFTP and phpMyAdmin to backup my blog in the past, but now I use VaultPress. How do you backup your blog?