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How To Backup Your WordPress Blog In Three Easy Steps

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of October 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

A guest post on backing up your wordpress blog by Jason Tarasi

Do you want to see your blog on the side of a milk carton? No? Then keep reading because…

It is very likely this will be the most important article you read all year. Of course you can choose to skip this article, but you will regret it, especially since I am such a groovy kind of guy. Ok, I hate bellbottoms and green furniture, so maybe I’m not so groovy. However, I am going to show you an easy way to protect your most valuable marketing asset – your WordPress blog.

If you understand the difference between how to backup both your MYSQL database and your standard Word Press files, congratulations! You don’t really win anything, except peace of mind, which I consider invaluable. However, there are literally thousands of WordPress users who are in the dark about the proper way to backup their blogs (yes, I’m probably talking about you).

Unfortunately, even experienced online marketers are making this same mistake. My partner, who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year online, was also totally clueless. When I asked him to backup one of our membership site blogs, he sent me a zip file that just included the main WordPress files. When I asked where the database file was, he got a look on his face like he just French kissed Jabba the Hut. Since I couldn’t stand the look on his face for a minute longer, I had to explain why it was so important to have the database file.

Now this is where you should start to pay attention *cough*

Your Word Press blog is powered by a MYSQL database. This database stores all of your content and the settings for your blog. Without this database, your blog would essentially be a black hole lacking any content. Now what most people don’t know is that this database resides on another part of the hosting server. Since the file is in a different location, it needs to be backed up separately from your standard Word Press files.

So here is what all of this means; if your host has a server crash, you will not be able to restore your blog without the MYSQL database. Basically, you will be up a creek without a paddle, a boat, any food, no mapÖ you get the idea, right?

At this point you are probably telling yourself that your hosting company will backup this file for you, right? Not exactly. Many hosting companies are not responsible for backing up your files. I found this out the hard way several years ago, and it could easily happen to you next. So don’t be foolish enough to rely on your Website host to do this for you.

Now here is the good news – you can backup your MYSQL database in three easy steps by following this simple plan:

Step One:

Go and download the “Word Press Database Backup” plugin here.

Step Two:

Install the plugin on your blog.

Step Three:

Set the plugin to your desired specifications. It really is quite straightforward to setup, but you can always refer to the plugin documentation for help.

I personally set the plugin to make either a daily or a weekly backup for each of my blogs. If I post to a blog frequently, I make a daily backup. If I post infrequently, that blog is backed up on a weekly basis. I then have the backup file sent to my email. However you wish for the file to be saved is entirely up to you though. Simply use the method you are most comfortable with.

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 10 minutes per blog. That is of course if you grab a snack to slow you down. So there is absolutely no excuse not to set this up today. I would think ten minutes of your time is well worth the peace of mind you will feel when it’s done.

Now you could be lazy and find out the hard way how much fun it is to have your entire blog wiped out, with no hope of ever seeing it again.

Is ten minutes of your time worth going through that?

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About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Indeed, this is a great plug-in.

    I also make sure to back up my theme files very often, especially if I am tinkering with the code. Tinkering sometimes means breaking, and it’s often easy to just revert to the previous, working version.

  2. Just recently, one of my fav blogs, Site Sketch 101 had his host server hold his blog hostage. Having this program would have saved him a ton of heartache. As soon as I hit submit I’m off to download that program and back up my database.
    Great extremely useful info!

  3. Thanks Jason for sharing.

    I did a blog post on the backing up your blog, this is new to me.

  4. Great post. Many thanks. Am going to be driving home faster than normal now as I have something a really need to do… ;-)

  5. A good database backup plugin is a must, but so is periodically backing up those WordPress files.

    I don’t know about you, but every time I upgrade my WordPress blog I cross my fingers (and I know how to do it properly! LOL).

    Some day down the road bloggers may find that after they upgrade either their blog, plugins, or both, *something’s* different. Something’s not working.

    Make sure to keep backups of your WordPress files in addition to your database. You can use a program like SyncBackSE which can automate the process for you.

    I once upgraded my All In One plugin which ended up breaking the plugin. Restoring my database had no effect – what I had to do was replace my /themes directory from a backup. Somewhere in some file, my upgrade corrupted something.

    So to backup, backup both your database and WP files.

  6. Yes, thanks for sharing. Could someone do one on backing up a Blogger blog?

  7. This is very important – thanks Jason for sharing.

    I always make sure I use it on every site I deploy using WordPress. Can’t stress how important this is if something goes wrong or if you want to move to a new host in the future.

  8. Curious if this plugin backs up just the posted content or everything (including drafts and settings). Thanks!

  9. Thank you! I was actually wondering how to do this since I migrated to WP a few days ago, and so far, I had come up with both zilch and nada. Before, I never worried because I knew that Google kept backups of Blogger posts, but now that I’m self-hosted, I suppose this is the kind of thing that could really ruin my day.

    Thanks so much!

  10. Just now I installed my WordPress in my site which is going to be launched on coming October 14th. I was thinking about is there any plug-in or option in WP to back-up our contents.

    Then i returned here and got this. Thanks Darren!

  11. I have 4 blogs to back up…going to do them all now. Thanks for the tips and the link to the plugin!

  12. I have been using this plug-in with the automatic backup done weekly and sent to me via email. My only concern, which I haven’t had to deal with, is the restore if there was a disaster. Is it easy to restore from one of the backups?

    Great post and definitely a must do for serious bloggers.

  13. Hi, Jason and Darren, nice to see your post about the wp database backup plugin. A few days ago, I moved my blog to a new hosting, after that, the plugin is not able to backup automatically, and I have to log in the wp dashboard and manually back up.

    It will be appreciated if you can advise how to fix the problem, thank you in advance.

  14. I’m curious if anyone has actually restored from a backup using this plugin? I only ask because last year I used a similar, shall-remain-nameless plugin. When I actually needed to restore from a backup, the plugin crashed my entire blog and messed up my database so badly that I’m still finding truncated posts and odds things on my blog today. It was/is a mess that resulted in hundreds of missing/damaged posts (which BTW, was far worse than my original reason for restoring from the backup – frustrating).

  15. Lovely. I was nervous for a moment there but it so happens that I discovered that very WordPress plug-in last weekend. It’s time to go back and do a weekly backup, then I’m covered.

    Thanks for the confirmation that I’m using the right plug-in.

  16. The next question is…how do you restore a backup? I run daily backups of my sites and have them emailed to me. I have never needed to restore, but how would that be done?

  17. Your timing is uncanny. Just this morning I put out a tweet request for help on how to backup since I wanted to upgrade my site from 2.7.1 to 2.8.4. I got a couple of quick responses telling me to use this plugin, then telling me out to get it. Turns out I actually had it installed on my site from when my original web guy created my site, but for some reason he deactivated it and never taught me how to use it.

    I completed the process in a few minutes and then upgraded safely. I’m heading back now to change the settings for a weekly auto upgrade.

    I’ve been on WP for about a year, and am unbelievably lucky since I think my site has only been backed up one or two times. Definitely not in the last 6 months. Whew. Safe now.

  18. I’m a little confused – so this plugin backs up the MYSQL – do I need to do something else as well? Or this plugin keeps me clear and safe?

  19. Oh I know too well the catastrophe of the host server crashing and logging in first thing only to find my blog is-WHAT!?!? GONE!?!?!?! and the hosting server not acknowledging that it was an issue on their end and not me toying with the files.

    Anyway I lost all of the photos from my travel blog and then Google took away my advertising privileges, so I ended up exporting that blog to free wordpress hosting. It just sits there like an orphaned child-the poor thing.

    So, I have started all over as a newbie which I clearly am if I didn’t know well enough to backup my database.

    Lesson learned-I have the plugin installed-did that day one. :)

  20. I recently came up with a more manual wordpress backup technique, which uses a cron job and the actual mysqldump command. You’re going to need to know how to restore the blog too, so I cover the method for doing that too.

    The problem with wp backup plugins is that they only address the database. Your WP content like the themes, customizations, and images you’ve uploaded don’t end up in the database, so you need to back them up them as well. Why? Because if you have a client that uses some other tool to upload to a website, it may take the liberty of deleting the entire wp directory (FrontPage will do that, for instance). The database contents aren’t much use if the theme and pictures are wiped out. I’ve got more details here:

    http://k0lee.com/2009/09/backing-up-a-wordpress-blog-on-godaddy/

    In short, you need to have local copies of all of your WP directories as well as the wp database if you ever want to recover from a mishap or move your blog to a new server.

  21. The first time I tried to move a blog from one server to another was when I realize that I was only backing up the wordpress files and photos I’d uploaded and not the actual posts and comments.

    Oooh, gosh that feeling of what could have happened.

    I’m glad I learned the relatively easy way instead of the hard way. All this time I was feeling so smug for making backups that were almost useless!

  22. Great plugin. I’ve had it installed for a while now and it’s extremely helpful. If it wasn’t for this plugin, I’d probably back up about once every six months. Thanks for featuring it here.

  23. Seems like a great plugin. Just installed it. I’m having trouble finding where to set the preferences though, for some reason it doesn’t show up under settings.

  24. Hey Jason.

    I had a database backup plug-in already installed but didn’t have it set to schedule, so I have now set it thanks to you.

    I also just did a manual backup before that schedule kicks in.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  25. I’ve used a plugin to sent me my wordpress database by email daily. My blog isn’t popular and I don’t post more than every few weeks at the moment, but I decided from the start I didn’t want to risk losing even 1 comment. All my blog’s data is important to me.

    As for the file structure, I’m a lot more lax with it. I back it up when something changes, which isn’t too often (e.g. adding a plugin, changing a theme file).

    I’m glad Jason mentioned about reliance on host’s backups. I’m with Bluehost and the only backups available (through cpanel at least) seem to be weekly ones. Any backup I generate to download is automatically removed after 5 days.

    I certainly wouldn’t expect my host to guarantee I can recover my site’s data because of my own error, but hopefully if their server goes down they’ll have a backup even if I don’t!

  26. Thanks for this. I wasn’t even aware there was a plugin for this! Its so convenient you’d have to be daft not to use it.

  27. It is essential that you schedule your database backup daily. And trust me, it is very wise to keep regular site backups as well because sometimes during upgrades things can get messy.

  28. THANKS! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contests. Keep up the good work.

  29. THANKS! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contests. Keep up the good work.

  30. Seems that this plugin only backs up the wordpress database. I like my wordpress files to be backed up together with the database since I make modifications from time to time.

    I found a script that backs up both the database and wordpress files and sends it to Amazon S3 here. Modified it slightly for my own use and it works beautifully after rigging it with a cron job.

    Using Amazon S3 for backup seems to be a much more reliable solution than using email and I only pay for what I use.

    Original script here:
    http://www.guyrutenberg.com/2008/10/11/wordpress-backup-to-amazon-s3-script/

  31. Thanks for the advice.
    I will use this for my ADD/ADHD blog

    addeternal.blogspot.com

    regards, michael

  32. I have already done this, get the backup data every week in my email.

  33. Thank you SO much for this post! I never even thought about backing my site up. I’d be devastated if I lost everything. Just downloaded the plug-in and scheduled a weekly backup.

    Realy appreciate the tip!

  34. Jason, thank you for this post! I never even considered backing up my blog. I figured since it was out there on cyberspace it could never be wiped out (shows how much I know). I just signed up to read your free ebook and can’t wait to give it a read.

  35. I didn’t know that this plugin existed. Takes a load off my mind. I’ve been manually backing-up my data. This will make it so much easier and automatic :)

    Thanks so much!

  36. I am confused – I have a wordpress.com blog, so since I do not have hosting do I need to do this? Or does this become an issue when I switch to wordpress.org and get my own host?

  37. That plugin rocks…but from what I can tell, it only does your DB. You need to remember to backup your theme files too.

  38. I need to ad this plugin to my list of standard plugins I install on every blog. I currently don’t backup except for occasionally when I do a complete download to my local pc.

  39. I also use wordpress db plugin to save my blog data base. It is an easy way to save wordpress blog data base indeed. :D

  40. I too have been using this plugin on all of my blogs and it has really helped me to backup the blogs on a regular basis.

  41. I was looking for this one. Fantastic, I’ll give it a try now.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Neo
    http://www.expertcore.org

  42. Seems like a great plugin. I usually make my backups from phpmyadmin abd download my archives with Filezilla

  43. This is nice tip for wordpress owners in the case when something goes wrong.

  44. Good ideas! I especially believe in #3, having calls to action. What’s wrong with having the right offer at the right time?

  45. Great plugin and post.

    I use the plugin on a daily basis and email the sql dump to a gmail account which means I can ahve a long history to use incase of emergancy.

    I have used the plugin to restore a database (a fairly big one too) and it works great as long as you are using the same version of mysql.

    I also recommend you backup your bog directory. The database is only the text content of your site. You will want to have a backup of your theme, plugins and and uploaded files. Amazon S3 is a great solution for fast recovery.

    Bruce

  46. Jan, try this free utility to back up your Blogger Website–it works a treat. http://www.httrack.com/

    (No connection to the company; just a satisfied user.)

  47. Thanks for sharing,indeed a helpful plugin

  48. Hey Jason,

    I am one of those guys who didn’t had any clue about this whole My SQL database backup.. and this is really helpful.

    Thanks for sharing this information.

  49. hey good info thanks for sharing this is most important to take backup of data base.

  50. Thanks a great plugin always had issues backing up I am currently using back exec on my server

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