How to Backup a Website

How to Backup a Website

Are you keeping nightly backups of your website? Things happen, and backups are crucial to getting you up and running again. They’re also good to have in case you decide to make plugin or code changes to your website that could make things go boom. 

Here are three recommended methods for backing up your website, depending on your situation.

How to Backup a Website

1. Backup Plugins

There are many backup plugins that can be installed on your site. Check out our article for top tips on Choosing WordPress Plugins.  Here at AndiSites, our plugin of choice is BackupBuddy.

2. Host's Backup Tool

Most hosts offer a backup option.  Some are free and others have an upsell fee, so check with your host to see what options they offer.

The benefit to an automatic backup tool with your host is that it is worry-free, and requires no action on your part after activating it. It’s also easy to restore a backup if you need to. We love SiteGround’s Backup Tool

3. Manually via FTP & phpMyAdmin

Backup Files via FTP

You can manually backup your site’s files by creating a zip archive on your server.  For this option to be most effective, you will want to move the zip archive to a different server.

Each host may be slightly different, but from the File Manager, navigate to the root/public_html directory. From there, select all files & folders, then right click and choose to add them to an archive (zip file).

File Manager Screenshot

Backup Database via phpMyAdmin

Instructions to access the phpMyAdmin dashboard will vary depending on your host.  Two common hosting tools are:

  1. SiteGround Site Tools:
    From the Site Tools dashboard, navigate to Site > MySQL > PHPMYADMIN tab > “ACCESS PHPMYADMIN” button
  2. cPanel:
    From the cPanel dashboard, search for “phpmyadmin”

From the phpMyAdmin dashboard, select the database from the left side & go to the “Export” tab.  Selecting the “Quick” method will backup all tables and all data within them tables.  By default, SQL format will be selected, which will backup the entire database to your computer when the “Go” button is clicked.

A quick note about the Export Tool

This tool is built into WordPress, and may seem like all that is needed to create a backup. However, this only backs up the content – so might be used for content migration.

For example, if there’s a link in the body of a post, the link itself will be included in the export, but the color of the link won’t be.

If you need to create a backup of just your site content, go to the Tools menu within WordPress, then select Export.

WordPress Export - Updating WordPress Plugins: A Guide

Select “All Content”, then Download Export File.

Depending on the size of your site, this may take a little while. When it’s finished, save the export file in a safe location.

Plugins Directory Backup

We recently wrote a post about Updating WordPress Plugins, where we suggested making a backup of the plugins directory prior to any large or risky updates.

But since these instructions may be different for every host, we suggest that you ask for their guidance on this issue.

Worried about doing the backups yourself?

Hopefully these solution will help you learn how to backup a website. However, we totally understand that this may be a part of running a website that you don’t want to have to deal with.

AndiSites offers Support and Maintenance Plans that will take this task – as well as many others – off your hands! Contact us to find out more. 

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