As much as I have talked about the importance of backing up in the past, it’s a little odd that I have yet to talk about the importance of backing up your WordPress website. Backing up your website is probably the most important thing that you can do immediately after you have finished setting up your website. This means that if you haven’t put a backup plan in place, you’re at risk of losing it all.
The WordPress Backup System
The key to backing up is to ensure that you have a proper backup system in place. Every good system should meet the following criteria:
A backup system should be automated in order to ensure that you don’t forget to create a backup. It should be redundant so that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Finally, it should also be secure so that you don’t need to worry about if the system is vulnerable.
Long ago I wrote about how to backup your home computers and in that article I discussed the importance have having your data stored in three locations. For our WordPress backup system we are going to also ensure that our website data is stored in three locations.
The first location is on your web server where the website currently lives. The second location is on your home computer where you know it’s safe. The final location is Dropbox since this gives us a redundant location to keep our data safe and secure.
The workflow will go as follows, WordPress creates a backup on your server (more on this below), the backup is sent to Dropbox and finally Dropbox syncs the backup to your computer. The best part is that this is a set it and forget it system.
Setup Your System
The first thing that you will need to do is make sure you have a Dropbox account. If you don’t already have one, it’s quick, easy and free to setup. When you first signup, you’ll start out with 2 GB of online storage which is more than enough to do what we are going to do here.
Dropbox is a fantastic service that let’s you store files online and sync them back to your computers so that you have access to them from the web, your personal computers and your mobile devices.
After your Dropbox account is setup, you’re going to want to make sure that you have also installed the Dropbox software on at least one of your computers so that you can sync all of the data from Dropbox to it.
The next thing you are going to do is install the BackWPup plugin on your WordPress website. The video below is taken directly from my WordPress Course and it walks you through the entire process of setting up the BackWPup plugin. As a little aded bonus, the video also briefly covers how to update your WordPress website. Something that is just as important as backing up.
(If you’re reading this in email or RSS, click here to watch video.)
After the initial setup is complete, your WordPress backup system will run in the background. It will ensure that if your server ever gets corrupted that you still have copies of your website. By scheduling your backups, you will never have to worry about whether or not you remembered to backup your site. If anything ever goes wrong, all you need to do is restore one of your backups.
Myself, I usually schedule complete backups once a month and database backups weekly. Since the database backups are usually pretty small I get them emailed to me. I use Gmail so I just archive these backups and I know they will be there if I ever need them.
One last note: If you are planning on doing any major modifications to your site or if you are going to move to a new theme for your website, then make sure you run a complete backup first. That way if something goes bad, you have a bit of a safety net.
If you are looking for a more complete solution, I also recommend that you take a look at my ManageWP review. It handles backup and a lot more.
Do you have a backup plan? Have you ever had to restore data from a backup? Leave a comment and tell your story.