Backing Up WordPress

September 20th, 2010
HOW-TO, WordPress, WordPress FAQs, WordPress Tips

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?




  1. slaFFik (1 comments.) says:

    I use WP-DB-Backup. It’s configured to make a full DB back up twice a day and then emailing it to me. So I’m getting 2 emails per day – in the evening and in the morning.

  2. Mosh (2 comments.) says:

    Backupify backs WordPress up to the cloud, along with quite a few other online resources (GMail, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter…) and it’s entry-level product is free. I’ve not had reason to recover a backup using it yet, but it’s nice having the peace of mind! No, I don’t work for them :-p

  3. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    We use the iDrive for WordPress Plugin on this blog. Though the backup is not as configurable as I would like it to be, it works well for us.

    As long as your blog files and mysql are less than 2GB, and you are all right with daily backups, iDrive is free to install and use. It does need a certain level of PHP to work correctly.

    • James Huff (62 comments.) says:

      It’s good to hear that we use iDrive here. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the forums, but if it’s good enough for WLTC, I’d say it’s good enough for me too. I’ll have to try it out and see how it compares to VaultPress.

      • Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

        A recent update made it work much better, so there might be reasons to try it again. Lack of execution versatility still remains a problem.

  4. ContentRobot (2 comments.) says:

    We have tried every backup plugin and tool out there and the one we recommend is BackupBuddy from iThemes. It’s a paid plugin but well worth it. It can handle multiple schedules and backup types (full and db only). It can store backups remotely via FTP, Amazon S3 and via email. It is very actively maintained and also works great for performing site migrations.

    Here is a post we wrote about our favorite backup plugins/services…

  5. naeem (3 comments.) says:

    funny you wrote this thread:)

    Since last week i’v been migrating about 15 of my sites from an old host to a new one. I’m using

    Backups to S3 and usual daily/weekly schedule as well as a bunch of other options and ability to download the zip file from your wp-admin.

    Works absolutely great, so far moved and restored about 8 of my sites. Only 1 issue is if you are using Nextgen gallery, you need to either have the Gallery folder stored in your Uploads or back it up seperately.

    cool thread :)

  6. Louis Kessler (2 comments.) says:

    I never liked any of the plugins or solutions that simply “worked” and you didn’t know what they were doing. Using phpMyAdmin at least gives you control, but it is painful and onerous.

    For file synching and backups, I’ve been using BeyondCompare for years. It’s fast and wonderful.

    Only recently, I came across a similar tool for databases: OmegaSync by Spectral Core. I use it to keep an identical database on my local machine it then quickly and clearly syncs every record on my machine to what’s on the server. It’s expensive, but well worth it.

  7. Edwin (3 comments.) says:

    I most of the time forget to make a backup. But try to make one before I do major work on it, just be copying all the data from phpmyadmin and copy wpconfig.php. Almost never save the contents of wp-content. *makes note to think about it from now*

  8. Paul Hastings (2 comments.) says:

    For the social network that I run I’ve also used phpMyAdmin or set up a cron job. Most recently though, I’ve started using the WP-DB plugin on some of my smaller sites… and man… it’s really handy!

  9. Tiyo Kamtiyono (1 comments.) says:

    Just backing up my post trough the export tool sometimes, non in a regularly period :lol:

  10. Buzz (1 comments.) says:

    Been using Vaultpress since it was opened up and have been very happy with it. For the price you pay it is worth it since you know all of your website is being backed up without any hassle. I still do weekly manual backups to store off-site in a secure place. I have tried some of the other plugins and while they’re good the automation of VaultPress makes it the best I’ve seen.

  11. WpHey (21 comments.) says:

    I am thinking about sign up a VaultPress account, looks like a great service.

  12. Zoran (6 comments.) says:

    My hosting provider does a regular back-up every week and every once in a while I do a database backup through phpMyAdmin.

  13. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    BackupBuddy gets my vote.

    Cheaper than VaultPress with most of the same functionality.

  14. Simon Levesque (1 comments.) says:

    I have my own script that is creating a mysqldump of all my DBs (so all my WP sites) at once. I only click one button and get a .sql.gz file.

  15. Jason Jumat (2 comments.) says:

    Unfortunately I am one of those guys who have lost all it’s data! I am a newbie online (been around for a year but done even know to backup my stuff). My site – which is my’s database was deleted by Godaddy – when I didn’t had a 5 bucks to pay for it. If I would have known that that would be the cause – I would paid the 5 bucks upfront or at least backed up my website’s content!

    Now there are over 30 pages on my site pointing to “Page not found” and I have to build up new links from start. Google doesn’t crawl my site the moment I come up with “new” content anymore – I needed to publish everything again from start – and now I think Google is partially punishing me for duplicate content!

  16. RIA Design SF Bay CA (1 comments.) says:

    I am all for WP-DB-Backup. It does a pretty good job of making backups and even offers 3 options of saving the copy in your web server, download or sending it to you by email attachment. I setup all my blogs to make an automated weekly database backup.
    The current backup process will be even better if it includes also backing-up your media files saved in the uploads folder.

  17. ChrisR says:

    I use BackupBuddy from iThemes for backups and migration from dev to production environments. On one occasion I needed to restore a client site from backup and was able to complete the job in less than 10 minutes. I also like the fact that there’s an active support forum to address any issues.

  18. Fox (1 comments.) says:

    If you have WHM on a vps or server you can use the automatic backup system in there. It sends backup via FTP to another hosting account I have every night.
    Very convenient & included at no extra cost.

  19. Thomas Craig Consulting (2 comments.) says:

    You never realize the importance of backing up your data until you have a harddrive fail or db fail, I finally encountered a hd failure recently and now use a web based backup solution for all my important files, these apps are usually bundled with software to sync up all your files.

  20. Bill Tamminga (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks James – I’ve been working with WordPress for years now and it’s always a good reminder to backup your files. BackWPup has been a favorite of mine, but I’ll have to take a look at WP-DB-Backup and see what the differences are. Many thanks.

  21. Mr. Matt (1 comments.) says:

    I use SFTP and phpMyAdmin as well but I’ve never actually restored one of my blogs. Consequently I think I’m ready for that day I hope never comes but the reality is I’m relying a bit too much on that 1st “Hope & a Prayer” step.

    Having a complete back up is so critically important. Yet because I’ve been at this for only a little over a year my mind-set just hasn’t caught up to my reality. The reality of course is If I lost a web site and all its files today it would be devastating. Six months ago it would have been more like “Oh Crap” there goes my day.

    I need to read a “Backing Up WordPress” type of post every day. Good by mind-set hello reality.


  22. Tom (1 comments.) says:

    I have tried both backup buddy and vaul tpress. I use vault press for my personal site and backup buddy for clients. I actually prefer vault press as its so easy you just set it and forget it.

  23. Kenji (7 comments.) says:

    There are also plenty of good third-party apps that can be used to manage and backup MySQL databases. I use and am very happy with Navicat.

  24. Katie @ Women Magazine (1 comments.) says:

    I understand backup only after when my server crashed and the server guys took numerous hours to put things back online. One of my friend suggested WordPress automatic backup script which is working fine and emailing me the database weekly. I think that is also a good strategy.

  25. Dave (2 comments.) says:

    I nver used to back up my stuff until one day when i went into the dashboard and my 500 posts had turned into 0. Thankfully my programmer friend managed to save the database but never again.

  26. AJEstrada (1 comments.) says:

    I always end up backing up manually. However after reading this i tried vaultpress and wow my life could have been so much easier. thanks.

  27. Suraj Tandon (3 comments.) says:

    I used backup plugin which automatically sends the posts backup to my email address.


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